Fans recently rejoiced over the news that WWE “Raw” would be immediately transitioning from its current TV-PG rating back to TV-14. This television rating served the company through the much-loved Attitude Era and the Ruthless Aggression era. The story, however, was ultimately premature, as it was said that a directive had been issued internally by the USA Network — the network that WWE “Raw” airs on each Monday — for the alteration to take place in the future potentially. If that wasn’t enough of a teaser, WWE briefly listed their upcoming premium live event on Peacock, SummerSlam, as TV-14 before swiftly reverting it to TV-PG.
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, who currently calls the action for All Elite Wrestling on “Dynamite” each Wednesday night, was around during WWE’s initial run under the TV-14 classification and has addressed the potential of the company reverting to its former rating, which he believes could affect his current employer.
“The more people that watch Raw or SmackDown, believe it or not, helps AEW.” Ross said on the “Grilling JR” podcast. “Generating interest in pro wrestling, on any platform — what’s that old saying about high tides, all ships? I think that’s where we are here in this scenario. I hope it does well for them.”
WWE adapted its content to TV-PG in July 2008 across all programming, softening several elements such as blood, immoderate violence, and sexual content – that fans would often see weekly during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The switch allowed the company to attract more family-friendly audiences and lure potential big-time mainstream sponsors. During the transition, John Cena became the face of the company. Still, he regularly received adverse reactions from audiences, partly due to his wholesome and colorful character that was a far cry from someone like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who had a bold, anti-authority gimmick that a large portion of fans was able to connect with during the Attitude Era.
Although the “PG Era” may not be to everyone’s tastes, WWE’s revenue increased 12% to $1.095 billion in 2021, making it the highest in company history, while WrestleMania, the organization’s flagship premium live event, generated $206.5 million for the local economy in the Dallas/Arlington area earlier this year, which was the first time the $200 million mark had been surpassed in the history of the event.
If you use quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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