What does WWE, NJPW, Dragon Gate, Beyond, and AEW have in common this year? Is it the excitement? Hardcore fans that see no wrong in them and will defend them no matter what? Over analyzation? Besides those aspects, it’s that their big shows are too long, weekly shows have started to get long and too much, and I think that this kills an opportunity to create new fans and tires the loyal fanbase.
Let’s check out the hours of the big shows this year, and I’m adding the pre-shows to their length:
- WWE WrestleMania 35: 7.5 hours
- AEW ALL OUT: 5 hours
- AEW Double or Nothing: 4.5 hours
- AAA TripleMania: 4 hours
- Dragon Gate Kobe World: 5 hours
- Beyond Wrestling Americanrana ’19: 5 hours
- NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13: 5 hours
- NJPW Dominion: 4 hours
These shows are the most important ones and the ones that are booked to bring new fans along and satisfy loyal/hardcore fans. They may bring old stars back, or book important or impressive matches for these audiences. They work as both a bridge to new people and have the job of making the old ones happy. But are they doing any of these audiences a favor?
The last few WrestleManias have felt like a chore. This year, I was really happy until the Kofi match, then the show went to hell. I had to stop Wrestle Kingdom and Dominion to take a short break. I was really enjoying AEW’s ALL OUT but by the Young Bucks match I found myself losing interest. This is not speaking ill of the content of the shows as many of these are great overall shows. As a hardcore fan, though, over four hours is a bit too much. The length of the shows is felt now more than ever because it’s not just one company like WWE doing it but everyone seemingly has increased show length recently. Even NXT has begun to creep over two and half hours with the most recent TakeOver clocking in at nearly three hours.
It’s clear these long shows are tiring out both the home and live audience.
There were shows this year that I did not watch simply because of the length: Beyond Wrestling’s Americanrana ’19 and Dragon Gate Kobe World. I have so many hours a day and keeping up to date with the promotions that I watch is hard enough as it is.
For new fans, the barrier of entry is immense. People aren’t willing to invest such a huge amount of their time on something that they don’t know if they will enjoy.
Weekly shows aren’t off the hook either. NXT is going from a perfect and/or passable hour to two hours. AEW is beginning at two hours. We already know about RAW and SmackDown. There are two-hour episodes of Impact. And that’s only the beginning. If fans can barely keep up with the big shows, how about the weekly content? And this is not even bringing into equation NJPW or other non-American promotions with multiple three-hour shows per month.
We may be at a breaking point. Would you join something new that expects that much of your time to catch up and it’s never-ending?
I miss three-hour pay per views. I miss the once or twice a year four-hour show. They used to feel special. They don’t anymore. It feels today’s wrestling companies are more concerned about getting as much of the roster on the card as opposed to delivering the best or most special show possible.
I implore promotors and companies across the world: please stop with the five-hour epics. Please keep your shows special and please let us wrestling fans see the best you have to offer us.