John Cena has announced that RAW will now be a weekly 3 hour show starting 7/23.
RAW has had 3 hour editions in the past to little effect. A good portion of the audience(including myself) usually tend to forget that each show will be three hours and end up missing the first hour anyway. However, with RAW switching to three hours every week, I think that this trend will change. Sooner or later, people will remember when the show starts. It may take a while and I'm sure some people will still miss the first hour from time to time, but it can be done.
Once WWE gets the viewers to remember the time, the next question becomes, what do you do for three hours?
WCW seemed to have a pretty good handle on it back in the day. Get lots of cruiserweights, gets wrestlers from every country on the planet and get everyone who has ever been worth a penny in wrestling. Add in some hot storylines and you are good to go. The problem is, WWE has none of this right now.
WWE has alot of similar guys, working similar matches and playing similar roles. That won't cut it. For someone like myself, three hours feels like an eternity. I love wrestling, but even if every match is great, I will need a break about 70 minutes into it. I find the two hour shows tough to sit through, so trying to sit through three hours every week will be a tough task to accomplish. I think WWE is going to have a tough time keeping their fanbase for three hours each week when their roster and full-time star talent are at an all time low(notice, I said full-time).
Sure, Brock and Rock will be around from time to time and maybe they can even swing HBK a few times a year, but the rest of the time? It's going to be rough. The general population just does not want to see Dolph Ziggler having 20-minute matches every Monday. Sure, us internet fans do, but it won't be enough. WWE will have to do the one thing they've been having the most problems with and that's to book more long-term and to slow things down. The problem is, when you need more product and more ratings, how do you make it happen?
WWE has a tough task on their hands. Even Vince will tell you that the perfect time for a wrestling show is about 90 minutes, so doubling that is going to be a little rough.
Can WWE succeed with three hours? I think they can make a little more money advertisement wise and can give more wrestlers chances to shine which should be good. However, it's going to be tough to fill three hours from week to week. WWE is already having trouble filling two, so three should be more challenging. We will see, but even WCW thought three hours was hurting them more than it was helping them when they weren't so hot anymore. I can see WWE saying similar things once Brock and Rock are no longer available.