Pro wrestling on TV is about to be like how it used to be, as WWE seems to be looking back upon the '90s for creative inspiration. During that time period around two decades ago, WWE was battling rival company WCW for ratings every single week. Headed by Eric Bischoff, WCW had managed to become the biggest threat to WWE yet, defeating their competitor in the ratings for 83 straight weeks in what has become known as the Monday Night Wars. Meanwhile, a third competitor served as another place for wrestlers to go in the form of ECW, a Pennsylvania-based league known for its adult themes and horrific violence. Eventually, however, WWE would win the war of the wrestling leagues, ultimately buying out both WCW and ECW.
Let's fast forward to the present day. WWE has since toned down the content of their TV programming for a TV-PG rating, in the interest of keeping the shows family-friendly. However, a new rival for the company is now on the block, as new league AEW: All Elite Wrestling will soon be making its TV debut on TNT. Coincidentally or not, the network set to air AEW shows is none other than TNT - the very same network to host WCW before it went out of business. With former WWE stars like Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and Jon Moxley, the new company looks to be the biggest threat to WWE's position on top since WCW was regularly beating them in the ratings in the '90s.
Perhaps fearing the incoming competition, WWE just recently signed on both Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman. Bischoff is now serving as "executive director" for Monday Night Raw while Heyman is doing the same for Smackdown, with each reporting directly to WWE chairman Vince McMahon. Reportedly, they will oversee the creative development of these shows based on their past experience. Of course, it could easily be suggested WWE is only hiring these two as a way to prevent them from winding up at AEW to offer their wisdom as former competitors to the world's most successful wrestling company.
Also in this week's news are reports of WWE gearing up to lift the PG rating of the product. While not as extreme as ECW in the '90s, AEW offers a decidedly much more mature program than WWE's Raw or Smackdown. Wrestling fans unhappy with the current creative direction of WWE may be more drawn to another show offering something a bit more serious. It's worth pointing out that wrestling ratings were at their highest when the programming was aimed more toward adults, and overall viewership has dropped off significantly in the years following WWE's conversion to PG content. Is WWE looking to bring ratings back up my making things more risqué again?
So, let's recap. WWE is going to be competing with another major wrestling organization which will be aired on TNT. They're also gearing up for a more mature product akin to the "Attitude Era" of pro wrestling. Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman are also involved. Is it 2019, or is it 1997? In any case, the world of televised pro wrestling is about to get much more interesting. This news comes to us from TheSportster.