WWE's three hour Monday Night Raw format to continue through SummerSlam

Maybe WWE wrestlers have to thank The Rock too for the continuation of Raw's third hour? - Photo by Simon Q of Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.

With the WWE returns of The Rock and Brock Lesnar leading to Monday Night Raw's highest ratings in many months, it should come as no surprise that the third hour is here to stay long past WrestleMania 29.

Still finding the three hour marathon length Monday Night Raw's a chore to get through, Cagesiders? Well I have bad news for you then, as the finishing line is not in sight.

According to Bryan Alvarez of f4wonline.com, "at this point the working plans are for Raw to be three hours at least through SummerSlam."

During the football season the third hour of Raw seemed to be in danger of being axed when the show fell to its lowest non-holiday rating in over 15 years against a huge Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys game.

But Vince McMahon wasn't about to let that happen without a fight. He removed the complacent Brian Gewirtz from his longstanding position as the head writer of Raw and apparently told those left standing that he wanted results or he wanted resignations. By the way, for those that were wondering, Gewirtz is still with the company and is now working as The Rock's personal script writer, someone he's always had a close working relationship with.

However, the key to weathering the storm wasn't the backstage shakeup, as the product remained largely unchanged, but bringing back the Mr. McMahon character and having Vince work a surprisingly physical match with CM Punk at age 67.

This ensured that the audience didn't drop any lower whilst the football season was still ongoing. Since then, the ratings have bounced back in a big way, but that was to be expected with the WWE returns of The Rock and Brock Lesnar.

Which is probably why the plan is to stick with the three hour format for the next six months at least. Whether it lasts indefinitely will depend upon how the ratings stand up in the annual post WrestleMania lull period when the part timers go back to making movies (Rock), hunting in the outdoors (Lesnar), watching basketball (The Undertaker), playing rock star (Chris Jericho) or working as a full time executive at WWE HQ (Triple H).

Given that those guys are mainly working with established acts and not putting anyone new over to help carry the company in their absence it may turn out to be an uphill battle to keep Raw viewership at a healthy level. So it's not out of the question that this decision to keep the third hour going after WrestleMania will be second guessed in the summer months.

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