How WWE Can Fix Raw, Plans For WrestleMania 37, Baron Corbin Heat, Vince McMahon’s Handling Of COVID-19

What is going to happen with WrestleMania 37? Any chance things are back to normal by then?

There is no way to predict what things will be like for WrestleMania 37 next year. WWE had hoped things would be back to normal by SummerSlam but that obviously is not going to happen. The COVID-19 pandemic is unpredictable and has resulted in an unprecedented shutdown of the world. Right now, WWE plans to hold WrestleMania 37 on March 28, 2021 from the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The pandemic has delayed construction on the venue so there are multiple complexities at play. Vince McMahon is determined to run in front of fans as soon as possible. He is going to push hard for it and as soon as he can get compliance from health officials and politicians, he is going to do it. WWE has proved they can run without fans but the impact of what has occurred this year is going to be felt for many years to come.

What do you make of Vince’s decision to keep running during the COVID-19 pandemic? What’s morale like?

In the beginning I thought Vince was being selfish and irresponsible by continuing to run during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at the time, I was under the impression there was going to be a brief pause to slow down the spread of the virus and things would be back to normal rather quickly. Four months later, Vince made the right decision. Had he shut things down, it would have been more difficult to open things back up and it would have had a devastating effect on the company. WWE has already had to make deep cuts and are obviously not anywhere near being normal. WWE created a bubble to keep their shows going, like AEW and Impact have done, before the major sports leagues were able to sort it out. I will credit Vince for being innovative in that regard. It has not been handled perfectly, WWE has had cases, but the only way to have zero cases is to send everyone home indefinitely. WWE has not forced anyone to work through the pandemic and even though cases numbers are higher than people realize, the company has done the best they can in a bad situation.

It is unfathomable to me that this week’s go-home to Extreme Rules episode of Monday Night Raw average 1.5 million viewers. What is Vince going to do?

This week’s WWE Raw viewership was awful and I guarantee it got Vince’s attention. WWE has no momentum with the brand and continue to battle a steady decline of their audience. There are multiple factors working against WWE. Viewership is traditionally lower in the summer months and many viewers have grown exhausted by a weekly three-hour program. We can also point to the lack of a live audience, which is certainly a deterrent. If Vince scaled Raw back to a two-hour show, I believe viewership would improve. I have been “beating this drum” for nearly a decade though and never thought three hours of Raw would last. However, the USA Network wants three hours of Raw and pay for three hours of Raw. The increased revenue has fueled Vince’s desire to keep it going. It has never been popular with the writers, producers and even some of the wrestlers. But it is what it is and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

Should we replace “X-Pac Heat” with “Baron Corbin Heat” to you know, let the kids in on it?

Ha! For those that do not know, X-Pac heat is a phrase used in the wrestling business when the audience boos and insults a performer, not because they are over as a heel, but because they truly hate the performer. Baron Corbin fits that mold well, especially when it comes to the IWC (the loudest voice of them all). The debate on Baron Corbin is one that will not be settled today. Most internet fans feel like his work is subpar, both in the ring and on the mic. Some blame his gimmick change and haircut, while others have not liked him from the beginning. Some of it has to do with fans feeling like Corbin has been “force fed” to them, a strategy that backfires a lot in WWE.

The next installment of Ask WNC is scheduled to run on Monday, July 20, 2020.

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