My Two Centsss - A WWE Off-Season Might Just Be What The Doctor Ordered
By Super Chrisss
Nov 16, 2013 - 2:23:01 PM
WWE, like every other business in the world, has one primary goal: to make money. It doesn't matter if you're a food chain like Subway, a retail chain such as Wal-Mart, or a guy standing on the corner of the street selling hot-dogs. All of these people have one intention in mind, and that's to become successful and make as much profit as possible. This is why Subway is open seven days a week, Wal-Mart has long opening hours, and the hot-dog vendor never seems to take a day off. They don't want to lose business, or have someone else take their spot in the market. Therefore, they try to maximize their operating hours to the fullest. After all, if you have the goods, then why not sell them?
This is one of the main reasons why WWE runs shows around the globe twelve months a year. They will often hold a Raw taping on Monday, a SmackDown taping on Tuesday, and spend the weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) holding either live events or having a Pay-Per-View. As a result, most talent are required to work four-five days a week minimum for the majority of the calendar year. It's a grueling schedule that has been in place for over a decade, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
But, maybe it's time WWE did seriously consider taking a few months off to recharge everyone's batteries. The only reason they haven't already is because of what I alluded to earlier - WWE is a business looking to maximize it's profits. Think of all the lost revenue if WWE went a month or two without holding any live events or TV tapings, as well as untapped PPV buys. They'd be letting all that potential money go down the drain. Simply put, a WWE off-season is not what's best for business.
However, we're only looking at things from a business perspective. When you start taking other factors into consideration, WWE taking a break from the road for a month or two might help them out in the long run. For starters, there's the worker's health to take into consideration. I know that all WWE superstars and divas are contracted performers who are raking in more than enough cash on an annual basis to cover any medical bills, AND WWE puts their employees' health before everything, but is it really enough? The recent tour of Europe has resulted in several top stars - including the likes of John Cena, CM Punk, and Aj Lee - all suffering some kind of injury over the past week. Multiple reports have said that the rest of the roster is "beyond exhausted at this point", which isn't hard to believe. Since the tour commenced, when was the last time a worker was able to take a day or night off?
Of course, this could all be a coincidence. Both Cena and Punk seemed to suffer a scare at live events according to witnesses, nothing more. Aj collapsed due to dehydration, not exhaustion, and she's supposed to be "okay". Still, you can't help but feel for these men and women. Maybe they aren't all hurting in some way physically, but what about mentally? Could you imagine having to work for nearly ten days straight, but not just at the same place, same time every day. We're talking about travelling from one city to the next, a lack of sleep, being forced to go the gym practically daily to keep yourself in proper shape. That kind of schedule has to be tiresome on the human body, and probably not a lot of fun.
I know some people would interrupt me by saying that it's the choice of every current superstar and diva on tour to take part of this schedule. After all, they knew when they signed up for this career the kind of lifestyle that was included. It was the constant touring and limited amount of days off that forced many guys and girls to quit, including a huge star in Brock Lesnar. Many people give Lesnar and Rob Van Dam shit for only showing up for a certain amount of dates per year, but they're the smart ones - they have no desire to commit to WWE's schedule, and I don't blame them. Neither Lesnar or RVD would have ever agreed to return under a full-time contract, no matter how much money WWE offered them. For some people, money isn't everything.
If WWE had an off-season, they wouldn't have to worry about their stars being 'worn out' after the touring. Workers would have time to stay home, rest up, and be with their family. Storylines would be vastly improved, as WWE would actually be forced to produce a season finale and kick off a new season a few months later. That would give the creative team enough time to plan out more angles, and we wouldn't be forced to see the same matches over and over again (see: Los Matadores vs. 3MB, Big E Langston vs. Alberto del Rio, or Ryback vs. John Cena as recent examples). I'm sure neither the wrestlers or the folks working behind the scenes would be opposed to having a few months of vacation per year, as opposed to only a week or two, at most.
Now, theoretically speaking, when would this off-season take place? Well, what better time than when WWE Creative isn't firing on all cylinders, ratings are being crushed by Monday Night Football, and attendance/PPV buys are some of the lowest of the year? Of course, I'm talking about the fall months. Should WWE go ahead with an off-season (which, sadly, will probably never happen), I would have it begin after SummerSlam goes off the air, and return late-November, early-December. I think that would be an ideal time, especially since the September and October PPVs have never drawn very well in recent years to begin with.
Of course, that would mean the cancellation of Survivor Series, the second-longest running PPV after Wrestlemania. I know long-time WWE fans would be opposed to the idea, but like my colleague and radio co-host The Doc talked about in a column the other day, Survivor Series has fallen far from grace. It is no longer one of the "Big Four" PPVs it once was. The traditional five-on-five elimination match - which was once as essential to the PPV and as big of a draw as the Royal Rumble match - has all but gone extinct over the years. Hell, we're eight days away from this year's show, and WWE has yet to announce an elimination match for the card. In my opinion, Survivor Series is no longer a must-see PPV with a drawing gimmick, but just another throwaway PPV. The Survivor Series may still exist in name, but the concept as we once knew it is now dead.
Another part of me that wishes WWE had an off-season is extremely curious whether TNA would see an increase in viewership during that time period. Let's face it; after WWE, they are the only other wrestling company that has a weekly time-slot on an American cable channel. Would the lack of wrestling force fans - both casual and die-hard - to check out Impact every week in order to get their weekly wrestling fix? Or would Impact's ratings stay, for the most part, unchanged? I assume the rating would go up by certain points, but not to a 2.0 or something like that. Keep in mind that despite being around for over a decade, there are still thousands of WWE fans who have no idea TNA even exists. Still, I would be curious to see if a WWE off-season would bring TNA a significant amount of extra viewers, and whether they would stick around once WWE returns.
Unfortunately, as great as a WWE off-season sounds on paper, I just don't see it happening anytime soon. Like I said, WWE is a business, and those in charge of the financial sector would never allow for the company to "go to sleep" for several months when there are thousands, if not millions, of dollars out there waiting to be spent on house shows or PPVs. Wrestlers would also have to take salary cuts, and there would likely be a large number of talent cut every year to save on expenses.
It's a shame, as I really think a WWE off-season could benefit a lot of people, even if it's not what's "best for business".
Your Two Centsss: Do you think WWE having an off-season is a good idea or a bad idea? Also, do you ever see it happening someday?
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