If you witnessed the birth of WWE’s Raw when the first episode aired on January 11th, 1993, and are still a fan today, you deserve some recognition. For over two decades, Raw has been the face of Monday night entertainment for many fans. It wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows for the company. The WWE has gone through several phases over the years, including the New Generation, Attitude, and Aggression eras. When WCW’s owner, Ted Turner, decided to acquire the talents from WWE’s roster during the Monday Night Wars saga, Raw was on the brink of being destroyed. Even though the show was being hit hard by their rival because of reality-based stories, fresh characters, and aggressive business moves, they still managed to survive.
After overcoming their challenges and wiping out the competition, Raw has become the longest running, weekly episodic television program in the history of United States television. So what does the future hold for WWE’s Raw? How can they keep their fan base while reaching out to new viewers every week? We wish we could hop into Doc Brown’s DeLorean time machine sports car and tell you but we can’t. Don’t worry though, we came up with a list to satisfy your curiosity. Enjoy.
15 Two Hour Shows
In 2012, WWE decided to have Raw run for three hours instead of two. Since then, critics have been clamoring for a change. On paper, it seems like a great idea to have a three-hour episode. There will be more screen time for the wrestlers, storylines can blossom over the course of the show, and it gives WWE a lot of leeway with time, a crucial component of live television. So what’s the humbug? Some can debate Raw has turned into a commercial fest with watered down material.
14 New Division
It’s safe to say WWE’s experimental Cruiserweight Challenge has become a success for the company. In one fell swoop, Mr. McMahon has not only pleased the indie fans, but also provided great content for their WWE Network. We know a new cruiserweight division will debut on Raw next week, but they shouldn’t stop there. With a three hour show, let’s see one or two more titles become a member of the Raw family. An inter-gender tag team title, a super heavyweight title, or a Raw television title could suffice.
13 Cinematic Content
In 2002, WWE stepped into the Hollywood arena, establishing a cinematic studio. Some thought it was a brass move, others thought it would be a flop, however, 14 years later, the studio is still churning out movies. So why hasn’t WWE tried to use the resources from the studio to help with their own segments?
12 Fan Involvement
When The Rock came out for an episode of Raw recently, he noticed several fans dressed up as past Superstars. The fans were dressed as Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Savage, and The Undertaker. Instead of ignoring them, which WWE often does with fans who enjoy acting like their heroes, The Rock went to them and started a beautiful impromptu conversation.
11 More Title Matches
Who didn’t love watching the Universal Title play out on Raw? Triple H came back and helped Owens win the title and WWE needs more matches like that. It doesn’t have to be the main title every week but an increase in these matches can bring in more ratings and excitement to the show. Remember, during the Monday Night Wars, WCW announced Mick Foley would be winning a major title, hoping to spoil the show. It backfired and many people tuned in.
10 Balor Club
A new era deserves a new dominant stable. Sadly, Finn Balor hurt himself during his match with Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam and is out for at least six months. When he comes back, WWE should put his club on full throttle. We would like to see a push similar to that of D-Generation X or Evolution.
9 Mobile Apps
When the iPhone debuted in 2007, it started the smartphone boom. Before the product hit the market, we doubt anyone could have predicted how insanely awesome our phones would become. Having a smartphone is like having your own hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. As the smartphone thrived, the market for applications on for your phone skyrocketed as well.
8 GoPro View
Some people love the first person perspective, others not so much, but WWE should still experiment with it. With technology getting more sophisticated as well as smaller, it won’t be long before wrestlers can put a GoPro device on their own attire. Some promotions and sports companies use GoPros on their officials, so this could also happen in the WWE.
7 Better Storylines
We don’t need a sophisticated storyline that tries to match a Vince Gilligan screenplay, but we would like to see a bit more substance into what’s going on. Maybe having more hip, relevant, and reality driven stories can do the job. WWE seems to get it right sometimes, such as letting New Day do their own thing during their promos, but other times the stories are far too often bland and repetitive.
6 Add More Gimmick Matches
One of the biggest turn-offs for Raw is the predictability of what the main event will be. Usually, the WWE would have someone come out at the beginning of the show and would bloviate until the commercials start. Fans want to be surprised and announcing a gimmick match such as Hell in the Cell, Elimination Chamber, or Money in Bank Match, when the show starts, would make anyone stick around for the end.
5 On-Demand Screen of Your Choosing
Ever watch the show and they change the camera shot to something you absolutely hate? Prefer the old school way to watch a wrestling match and that’s one camera with a wide angle? Having the ability to pick and choose which angle you want to watch Raw on can be a game changer. We know that WWE may never allow it because a lot of the illusions to enhance kayfabe techniques involve camera angles.
4 Legendary Heel or Face Turns
Anyone that was alive and could speak sentences during the Monday Night Wars, remembers where they were the night when Hulk Hogan turned heel during WCW’s Bash at the Beach in 1996. The same can be said for when Vince McMahon no longer was the announcer and all of a sudden was Stone Cold's number one enemy.
3 Encourage Second Screen Experience
We covered mobile apps but what do you know about the second screen experience for fans? Have you ever visited HBOGO.com and seen added content information on the side while watching a show? How polls that pop up during a newscast that you can participate in? In a nutshell, that’s what a second screen experience is. It’s using a device such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone, and being engaged with the program.
2 Augmented Reality
Now this idea is far out there, but we are talking about the future. Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality, but instead of a simulated experience, you are in real-time and can interact with an environment and digitally manipulate it. You may be familiar with primitive devices that have augmented reality elements, such as Google Glasses or the Oculus Rift, but let’s think bigger.
1 Leave Television
One day, cable television will be obsolete unless the world collapses. Many people don’t have a means to the internet, but that will change as devices become cheaper and life becomes more like the matrix. A big money maker for the WWE is the deal they have with the USA Network and all the advertisement revenue that comes with it. Once you start seeing these advertisements on the WWE Network, you know changes are coming.
If the WWE leaves television and put all their content on their own network, it could rock the foundation of Raw. There are so many possibilities to what they can do if that happens. Maybe they could become commercial free for a larger fee? This will also help the other ideas on the list, such as second screen experience, augmented reality, and social applications.
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