For years, wrestling matches have traditionally lasted for one fall — meaning, a match is instantly over once a wrestler gets pinned or submitted by their opponent, or if one or both wrestlers are counted out or disqualified. With Vince McMahon making changes to Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live by demanding that no commercial breaks take place while a match is in progress, as The Inquisitr recently reported, it appears that the WWE chairman is thinking of taking things to the next level — by using the rounds system for matches on both main roster programs.
As recapped by Heel by Nature, McMahon’s decision to make sure no wrestling takes place during commercial breaks was first reported last week by Bryan Alvarez on Wrestling Observer Radio, with Post Wrestling’s John Pollock adding that the WWE boss wanted to closely mirror traditional sports, where commercials do not interfere with the in-game action. However, PWInsider’s Mike Johnson recently added in a subscriber-only report that WWE’s creative team has suggested to McMahon that matches be booked with multiple rounds.
“Trying matches with multiple rounds has also been pitched at some point in the last few weeks,” Johnson wrote, as quoted by Heel by Nature. “Similar to the old European rounds system, but there is no word yet that idea will be executed.”
Further explaining the idea, WrestlingNews.co wrote that the rounds would ideally have a time limit, allowing WWE to cut to a commercial break after a round is completed. The publication’s Angel Rodriguez cited sources familiar with the situation, adding that Raw and SmackDown matches could be declared a draw if there is a 1-all tie at the end of the third round, or if neither side is able to pin the other in any of the rounds. Matches, meanwhile, could end early if a wrestler is able to pin their opponent twice in a row in the first and second rounds. They also could end in the third round if a wrestler gets the first — and only — pin of the match at that time.
“McMahon liked this idea because it gives them another way to draw out feuds to lead up to pay-per-views,” Rodriguez added.
“Every scenario presented to McMahon would allow them to take breaks and not interrupt matches.”
In addition, it was noted that some matches won’t be using the round system as part of the proposed changes, including “squash matches” — those where a wrestler quickly and decisively defeats their opponent.
While it’s far from clear whether WWE would start booking matches with rounds on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, the proposed changes appear to be part of the company’s ongoing attempts to boost sagging ratings. Per Forbes, Raw viewership this year is about 30 percent lower than it was compared to last year’s figures, while former WWE superstars such as Jon Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose) and Cody Rhodes have openly criticized their former employer for its perceived inability to deal with poor ratings and other internal issues.