Word on the street is that we’re only at the beginning of the changes we’ll likely see to weekly TV now that Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff have taken over Raw and Smackdown. We already had a pretty good Raw that started with violence and cursing, followed by a pretty run-of-the-mill Smackdown on which the promos were a bit better than usual. NXT Tag Team Champions the Street Profits also showed up on Raw, although it seemed a little vague whether they were officially called up.
Thanks to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, what we’re hearing now is that WWE specifically wants to win back teen viewers, a demographic they once did much better with, and that part of their strategy for accomplishing that is featuring edgier, more “risqué” content. That apparently explains why Corey Graves said “Holy shit” on Raw, and why Kofi Kingston gave Samoa Joe the finger. It probably also has something to do with Maria Kanellis wanting Becky Lynch to impregnate her.
For the record, it’s been a long time since I was a teenager, but I’m still considerably younger than Heyman, Bischoff, or Vince McMahon. Of those three, only Heyman was still a teen when I was born. I do know some teens though, and they really don’t seem as excited by cursing and “the finger” as we were in the ’90s. I think nowadays teens get all the profanity they could possibly want from YouTube and Netflix, so it’s just not that exciting anymore. Of course, YouTube and Netflix (and maybe TikTok) seem to be where they get all their entertainment anyway, so I don’t really know what would get teens to watch the USA Network. Maybe if you repackage Liv Morgan to be more like Billie Eilish, get Lil Nas X to make an appearance, and have the ring announcers start including preferred pronouns when they introduce wrestlers. But let’s be real, even if you did all that, any teens who were curious would still just watch the clips on YouTube.
The other part of this push, which actually makes a lot more sense, is a plan to use more exciting young NXT talent on the main roster. That appears to be why Raw introduced the Street Profits, who it seems are not joining the roster full-time and will continue to be on NXT (good for them). Meltzer notes that we may be seeing more guests from NXT in the near future, and that the Street Profits will turn up again (hopefully with an actual match). If WWE is trying to get teens to watch, some wrestlers who are younger and fresher than Shane McMahon and the Undertaker are certainly a good idea. Of course, there are already younger people on the Main Roster who just aren’t being given much to do, but hopefully that will also change.