Last month, Brad Maddox gave a low blow to Ryback, allowing CM Punk to retain the WWE Championship. On RAW shortly thereafter, Punk mocked a life threatening heart attack. On Sunday past at Survivor Series, he retained by employing brute force to eliminate Ryback from contention. His title reign has lasted for over a year now.
Far be it from me to make criticisms over HOW Punk retained his title for so long. It seems that WWE has a vested interest in the him. Good for him. His tactics outside of the PPV arena leave me shaking my head, however. In statements made at RAW, it was said that he gave fans a little bit of the Attitude Era and they hated him for it. I'll admit, the statement gave me pause. Is that true? Could WWE actually be caring about their product? You'd never know it by the presentation of their women's division or the lack of showcase for stars of smaller stature, but in the main event tier? There may be a case to suggest that.
Have they released the PG format as their guideline? Nope. This isn't saying that they can't work within those confines and still be successful on some note. But they can't shift AWAY from it. Why? The same reason it was a bad idea to shift TO the PG format. You risk alienating a portion of your viewing audience. Sure, it MIGHT bring back a few fans from that time span, but you lose the kids you just brought into your viewing sphere.
I was against the move for a great number of reasons, not the least of which being the creative freedom a higher rating allows. If you choose to tame the product down for a week or two, fine. You can do that and it'll make some more conservative fans happy. If the following week, you decide to ramp up the intensity and have a bloody segment to make those fans happy, you can do that as well. My point is, you are better able to have a happy balance when you aren't held back by restrictions on your product.
Right now, TNA is in a good place. They have a higher rating because they are reaching out to an older audience. Can they still reach a younger audience? I think so. WWE did during the era before the current product. Batista, Cena, Mysterio, Punk, Hardy, HBK, Triple H, and others lined the shelves with products and kids ate it up. I see WWE as a company losing steam, while TNA is picking up business. With the U.K. tour on the horizon, bringing a HUGE breath of fresh air with an energized fanbase, a truly organic feel, and a dynamic set of arenas to house the product during their stay, I think of TNA as better suited for moving ahead with success.