Last year had been a struggle for a lot of television productions, but the WWE has arguably faced among the most struggles as it got back to work without live fans. Loss of live events for months and an inability to travel have certainly impacted the organization's pocketbook and led to job cuts, and some fans would say the quality of shows like Monday Night Raw and SmackDown have taken a hit as well. Now, Vince McMahon has announced a change behind the scenes that could certainly mix up what fans see on screen, but is it the right call for the WWE?
A new report from RingsideNews.com claims that Vince McMahon has announced a new unwritten edict to his creative and writing team. Going forward, writers are instructed to keep "cold matches" out of the programs for Monday Night Raw and SmackDown. This means if two wrestlers step into a ring in the WWE going forward, there has to be some reason and stakes behind why they are doing so.
The new rule may have been why Jeff Hardy had a random match stipulation recently implemented in a bout with Cedric Alexander that would force him to retire if he lost. It was a jarring and somewhat over-the-top premise for a random Monday Night Raw, and while stakes are always exciting, such outlandish stakes like that can tip the hand to fans on who is going to come out on top in that situation. Were we really supposed to believe the WWE would fire one of its legendary wrestlers on a random Monday night without any build-up?
In theory, the idea that wrestlers should only be performing if there's a story to be told is good. In practice, it sounds to me like we'll be getting a lot more of matches between wrestlers who have already had drawn-out storylines going back and forth until their feud finally comes to an end at one pay-per-view or another. Did someone say more Drew McIntire and Bobby Lashley? I didn't, but this reported edict does seemingly mean there's going to be a lot more repetition like that.
The bad news, of course, is that we're already getting a lot of the same storylines, and this demand that every match has meaning could potentially lead to even more stagnation in episodes. I know the last thing I want is for the WWE to feel more stagnant, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that sentiment. Luckily, Vince McMahon is known to change his mind, so if the rule is a legit thing that's been happening, perhaps this change won't last that long.
We can only wait and see, and one has to think the WWE will look to pick up the pace once it returns to its live touring schedule. We've already seen reports that WWE is hoping to make SummerSlam 2021 even bigger than this year's WrestleMania and is looking to pull in outside legends back into the brand to pull in mainstream audiences. Hopefully, it will all result in a better product and get fans back on board with being excited about the WWE on a week-to-week basis.
Monday Night Raw airs on USA Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET, and SmackDown airs on Fox Fridays at the same time. For more on WWE and what's going on behind the scenes, read up on the latest rumblings on what's happening with Bray Wyatt.