Today, both WWE and TNA have made huge announcements regarding the future of their respective companies and flagship shows. John Cena tweeted the following during a USA Network press conference earlier:
Not to be outdone, TNA have announced that their flagship show, IMPACT Wrestling, will be going live every week. It’ll still be coming from the IMPACT Zone in Orlando, but it’ll be live instead of taped.
Starting with the WWE RAW announcement: I can only see 3 hour RAWs becoming tedious, boring and frankly very un-entertaining. Sometimes, two hours of RAW is more than enough, but with the recent expansion to RAW Super Shows, maybe this extra time will see more SmackDown superstars wrestling on RAW. Maybe WWE are testing the waters to see what they can do with a permanent 3 hour time slot, with both rosters. Potentially, SmackDown could be coming to an end and this is just a trial run to see how the audiences, both live and on TV, react.
Personally I think that the live audience may lose some interest throughout the 3 hours. Yes, PPVs are 3 hours long but they have all the hype and build surrounding them and backing them up. RAW will not have that. I also think the TV audience will lose interest, turning off or maybe deciding to record it due to the increased amount of adverts during the increased time slot.
Only time will tell…
Regarding TNA’s big announcement, I think that going live is a good idea. Knowing that the show is live can often lift a crowd and improve the atmosphere of the show, which can only improve the look of the show on TV. However, TNA are only going live in the Impact Zone in Orlando, not on the road where most of TNA’s best and hottest crowds are. The Impact Zone has been a long time problem with TNA, with a lot of the events being heavily papered (free tickets) to fill seats which then leads to a lacklustre crowd.
Going live is the first step, though. If TNA receives better ratings through this (i.e. people not viewing spoilers and actually tuning in to watch the action) then it could open the door for TNA to travel the road more often, which would then bring TNA up another level.
Whatever happens with both companies though, today has been huge for the two biggest wrestling companies in America and over the coming weeks we will see the outcomes and repercussions of both announcements. It sure is an interesting time to be a wrestling fan.