I have to say that I'm getting a little tired of hearing people complain about Raw's PG rating and how it is presented as the bane of all of the WWE's problems.
I'd like to start by asking the anti-PG troupe a few questions. Are you really that myopic? Do you actually believe that because the TV rating says PG that means that the show cannot possibly be any good? Or barring that, do you actually believe that the show is hampered by the rating?
If you've answered yes to any of those questions you have, to quote Jim Morrison, taken a shortcut to thinking.
The truth of the matter is that lazy writing and complacency are the current downfalls of the wrestling industry, not the rating. Actually, in terms of what a PG rating is, the WWE already drastically pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable. Let's look at an excerpt from the definition of what a PG movie can be:
These films are generally inappropriate for young children and may contain milder swear words, crude or suggestive humor, short and infrequent horror moments and/or mild violence.
As we can see, in terms of violence the WWE already far and away exceeds the boundaries of the PG rating simply by virtue of what they are as a product. If they were truly handicapped by a PG rating then wrestling as we know it would cease to exist. In short, what goes on in a WWE ring well and truly surpasses what would be considered mild violence.
I contend that by simply exceeding the acceptable limits on violence contained within a PG rating I have established that quite simply, the WWE and their story telling capabilities are no more hampered by their PG rating than their in ring violence is.
Having now shown that the "WWE sucks because it's PG" argument is rubbish we can move on to the meat of the issue at hand as opposed to hunting down Snipe.
What, aside from the content rating is the difference between the WWE today and the WWE from 1996 through till circa 2001?
The answers are surprisingly simple to find when you consider the large quantity of people who squawk about how badly the show sucks and consistently miss the mark as to what the issue really is.
If we are to compare and contrast Raw today with Raw from 15 years ago the biggest difference you'll see is not in the contrast in language and content but the sheer amount of attention to detail that was paid during that time. This clearly illustrates the laziness and complacency of our current era.
During the Attitude Era it didn't matter who your favourite wrestler was. Regardless of whether you were a fan of lower card guys like The Blue Meanie and Crash Holly or a fan of the main event guys like Steve Austin and The Undertaker you had something to be invested in because everyone was doing something. They each had something that you could follow along with whether they were in the main event or opening the show.
Compare that to today when typically only the main event players are given story lines and even then they are largely skin and bones stories that the wrestlers themselves aren't even permitted to flesh out and give further depth because everything possible in the WWE is controlled and scripted to such a degree that it takes a remarkable event to be able to break the mold. Even then there is no guarantee that that depth will continue because there is no reason to. What does the WWE have to fear in the current moment from their complacency? Fans turning over in droves to TNA? Not likely. Despite TNA's recent spate of quality shows they have built up so much ill will towards their brand that it will take a truly remarkable event of their own to draw eyes back to their show and truly begin building back up any good will that they've squandered.
This laziness will certainly have longer reaching consequences in the future as well. The under card wrestlers, who suffer the worst from these failings, are generally the guys who are considered to be on their way up in the world of the pro wrestling. They are the people that the future will be built around. Without any sort of hook to get the fans to cheer for them or boo them they are left to languish in the under card, most of them indistinguishable from one another, while people wonder why none of them are stepping up to the plate to increase their value within the hierarchy of the company. Moreover, even those that do take the initiative (see: Zack Ryder) and manage to separate themselves from the pack are hampered by the fact that they dared take their futures into their own hands.
As it stands today the future of the WWE is bleak. I'm not going to Chicken Little this article by claiming that the WWE is in a do or die situation where the company is at stake but creatively, the skies are dark and stormy and it shows no sign of letting up any time soon.
None of this though is because of the rating of a television show. It's because of good old fashioned laziness and nothing more. So let us put this tired old meme to bed and let's place the blame squarely where it belongs, not on a couple of letters.