Report: WWE ‘leaving the PG era behind’ to gain more teen viewers

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Potential good news for folks who agree with my boss, Geno Mrosko, about WWE’s main roster product needing more “edgy content”, and any fans who want to see the company rely less on aging Superstars.

On the post-SmackDown edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said Raw and SmackDown will be using more salacious material and focusing on younger wrestlers as part of their effort to win back the teenage demographic. Examples of the former would be Corey Graves’ scripted “Holy $#!+” during the Braun Strowman/Bobby Lashley Falls Count Anywhere match on the July 1 Raw, and WWE champion Kofi Kingston giving Samoa Joe “the finger” on SmackDown the next night.

Meltzer followed up with this short, to the point answer to a fan on Twitter:

The move away from strictly family-friendly programming is interesting. For years, we’ve heard how the PG rating was crucial for improving the company’s reputation with television partners and advertisers. Those relationships have improved, but WWE is worried the cost was the teenage audience. Meltzer says the company is “afraid” they’re losing the demo. Especially with the arrival of AEW on the scene, they reportedly felt they had little choice but to spice things up.

We’ll see if kids in 2019 are as impressed with a few curse words and R-rated gestures as 1990s youth were.

As far as the youth movement goes, it seems like we could be seeing more NXT wrestlers on the main roster. It doesn’t necessarily mean call-ups, but appearances similar to the Street Profits’ segments this past Monday will probably become more routine.

There were positive signs for the new approach in the ratings from Monday, but nothing earth-shattering. And Tuesday’s numbers saw no gains. We’ll see if this report is correct, and how committed WWE is to showing off their new Attitude, in the coming months.




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