This week on Raw and SmackDown, WWE added a little Attitude Era to their New Era with a brief dressing room scene scene featuring Alexa Bliss and an extended hotel room segment with Mandy Rose.
According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, these scenes are part of a deliberate effort on the company’s part to “bring back… old time stuff” and “make things sexy”. And, whether you were titillated or disgusted, thought it added to or detracted from the product… it seems unlikely to go away.
There are a lot of factors which go into what WWE decides to put on television, and we don’t know exactly how much weight they give to publicly available metrics. But when two prominent measures like ratings and online traffic spike for the promise of Bliss and Rose in provocative situations, it’s not unreasonable to think we’ll be seeing more things like Bliss and Rose in provocative situations.
Alexa’s bare back was seen during the least watched hour of Raw on Monday (Jan. 14), but it didn’t lead to people choosing not to watch SmackDown the next night. On Jan. 15, WWE offered up a show-long storyline about Jimmy Uso going to Mandy’s hotel room, and that also had more people tuning in then the Tuesday prior.
Then there’s the YouTube numbers. While I personally don’t think video views are the end-all-be-all for WWE decision makers, they’re definitely something the company takes note of. Especially when one breaks out, like the Bliss video has…
That’s the best of anything from this week’s episode, more than a million views ahead of the always reliable “Braun Strowman wrecks stuff” opening scene. It’s also the most watched clip from Raw since early December 2018, when a Ronda Rousey & Ember Moon vs. Nia Jax & Tamina tag match broke 4.3 million (something Braun’s limo lift from this week has yet to top).
There’s no competition from Tuesday, where “Mandy Rose welcomes Jimmy Uso to her hotel room” is above 2.7 million and nothing else has hit seven figures. Something from the blue brand has busted out like this more recently, however, as Becky Lynch & John Cena’s New Year’s Day face-off broke five million views.
It’s not something WWE tracks obviously, but our own traffic here at Cageside for content related to these scenes has been good, too. That’s probably a combination of people searching for the clips and fans not thrilled this type of material is working its way back into the biggest sports entertainment company in the world. But, as the Raw General Manager who once gave us HLA wrote, “Controversy Creates Cash”.
We can call it dumb and make jokes about whether or not the WWE Universe knows PornHub is free (I’ve done both). But we should probably expect to see more scenes like this in the weeks ahead.