For the last 8 years, WWE has been known as a PG product. The first installation of the PG Era began around the Fall period in 2007, and WWE has not looked back since. The idea behind the move was that it would be more profitable for WWE to go PG in a time where they were losing money with the same TV-14 product. People think that the Attitude Era in WWE ended and then WWE went PG right after. This is inaccurate.
The Attitude Era really ended around 2000, when WWE was clearly beating WCW in the ratings war. In 2001, WCW was sold to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, and the WWE began an Invasion angle that lasted from around April to December of 2001. Afterward, WWE began a WWE Draft in 2002 in an effort to bring competition back even within the company. This worked for some time, but WWE was still losing viewers.
This was key in WWE’s decision to go into PG. Even after 2001, WWE stayed with the TV-14 rating until 2007. Meaning WWE without any major competition, still losing ratings, needed to find a way to offset that.
WWE saw that by going PG, they could entice different advertisers and allow themselves to move up with the everyday family instead of just the coveted 18-32 male demographic.This worked out for WWE as they were able to bring in the family base. They do well in merchandise due to this and they were able to sign major deals with companies that have helped to generate millions of dollars. Earlier this year, WWE stock was the highest in its history.
So the PG Era has worked, but WWE realizes that they also have to entice the adult fans as much as the family crowd. This is why WWE began doing some adult material. On WWE Main Event, only available on the WWE Network, Rosa Mendes’ butt was exposed completely by Layla by “accident.” In seeing the video, you will find that this is as accidental as walking into the Ladies Locker Room at your local gym. WWE did cut to black fast, so they didn’t show it too long, however.
WWE has also seen slips with words and other divas have also had “malfunctions.” The Inquisitr recently reported that WWE is planning to add an interesting angle to the AJ Lee/Paige rivalry by having the two begin showing sexual tension. This is a big departure from PG, but if done right, WWE can get away with it. If they were to engage in some sort of sexual activity, be it even a peck on the cheek, it would light the world of WWE on fire for the male crowd.
I think WWE has realized that if ratings are going to drop, they have to do something to bring them up. Another Attitude Era? Oh, there is no need at all. A simple rating change would do enough. The Attitude Era for the most part was shock value material that often times made no sense to have, but WWE put it there because the world wanted that sort of thing at the time. WWE knows they cannot do that sort of thing anymore, but they can be edgier, regardless of how they do it.
WrestlingInc reports WWE has shown that they are willing to go further, but there are some reasons why they cannot go too far, saying…
“With the AJ vs. Paige storyline and a few other incidents like more adult language being used and Rosa Mendes being exposed on Main Event, it would appear that WWE may want to do more risqué angles because they need buzz to push the product. However, WWE is still working with Mattel and have promised sponsors they won’t ever go back to how they were.”
Meanwhile, The Wrestling Observer claims…
“We’ll likely see more slip-ups and minor adult language on WWE TV, but not enough that it will attract attention past the wrestling audience.”
Basically, WWE’s hands are tied somewhat as they cannot go too far due to their deal with toy company Mattel. Some may ask why it means so much to please a toy company. The reason is that the deal is for millions of dollars and possibly one of WWE’s biggest deals to date. Mattel’s revenue for toys rivals every toy company in the world and that is a massive deal for WWE. WWE realizes that the partnership with Mattel is lucrative enough to not only help them with money, but in popularity with children.
So, it means a great deal for WWE to have this contract. However, it does expire eventually. There are conflicted reports on when, however, as it has been said to be a year from now, all the way up to five years away. Until it expires completely, WWE cannot go against what they originally told them. There is also no telling if WWE will agree to another deal with them that will bring them more time to wait for TV-14. I am sure that if WWE planned to get edgier by then, they would restructure their deal with Mattel. Currently, Mattel makes a lot of money with WWE action figures. That being said, I am sure they will still want them as a partner.
At the end of the day though, WWE realizes that in order to compete with other shows on Monday and Friday Nights, they may have to get edgy. They also want to entice people to watch the WWE Network, and a good way to do this is by building your audience. That being said, do not be surprised if WWE starts to do some interesting things in the coming weeks.
[IMG Credits: WWE.com, ProWrestlingWiki.com, Uproxx.com]