WWE changing to TV-14 will not do much to improve its content

WWE, Vince McMahon (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
WWE, Vince McMahon (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Some interesting news broke last week as it seems like WWE is potentially heading back to the land of TV-14. Andrew Zarian first reported the information on Twitter, but it was later walked back a bit as the date for the shift isn’t finalized and there are additional conversations going on as to if the end of the PG-Era is actually here. Fans were excited about the news but the reality of today’s WWE should cause them to pause that excitement as a change to TV-14 wouldn’t immediately help the production and in fact, could do the content further harm.

As the news about a change in rating caused a lot of people to think positively about WWE content, recent trends do not give those thoughts much of a foundation to stand on. Yes, All Elite Wrestling’s content is rated TV-14 which gives them the space for more “colorful” language, blood, and violence on television. But it’s hard to see a wrestling company led by Vince McMahon doing the same thing and adding a level of “seriousness” back into its television.

In fact, TV-14 could be a backward step for WWE, even at a time when the promotion’s content may be at its worse. Take WWE NXT 2.0 for example. Even though that brand boasts a talented women’s division, look at the way women are booked, starting with Toxic Attraction. Slow motion, promos focusing on their looks, and low-angle shots to capture their curves look more like booking from the Attitude Era than that fans of women’s wrestling want to see. Many of the stories involving the women on the roster were wrapped up in sex/relationship angles like they were a frat boy’s fan-fiction greatest hits.

Athena, the former Ember Moon, spoke candidly about women being instructed to wear “sexier” clothing and that’s a precursor to dark times in WWE. If WWE takes a TV-14 stance and applies more racy storylines across all the brands then the content will be dramatically worse than it is today.

A TV-14 rating will not compel WWE to create more well-crafted angles that drive viewers to tune in each week. The company could do that now but instead wants to stick to the practice of rematches, non-finishes, heavily scripted promos, and part-timers. None of which are interesting or contingent upon a television rating.

One area where All Elite Wrestling is “winning” the professional wrestling competition is telling interesting stories that build matches and wrestlers into attractions. WWE has the ability to do so but frequently goes in the opposite direction. Look back at what they did with Roman Reigns’s initial run as champion, where he and Jey Uso told one of the best stories in wrestling. What’s keeping WWE from doing that week after week? The answer is nothing and that’s certainly not wrapped into being within the PG-Era. Changing the rating to TV-14 will maybe get fans some blood, the occasional curse word, and probably racier angles with women, nothing more.

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The excitement of a return to TV-14 for WWE is largely wrapped around the idea of the company telling more “adult-themed” angles like in the past, but this organization has shown an innate inability to develop creative content and this will not change a thing.