Off Season

September 24, 2007

Today (Monday the 24th) marks the return of my favourite television show. Tonight (still Monday) is the Season 5 premier of Corner Gas. Corner Gas, for those of you who donít know already, is a half hour comedy on CTV, and is pretty much the funniest show on television, not just currently but of all time. I have been eagerly awaiting the return of Corner Gas, counting down the months, weeks, days, and hours, since the Season 4 finale, this passed spring. Its almost like Christmas is coming and Santa is right around the corner; that is the kind of excitement Iím talking about here.

Youíre likely starting to wonder what all this has to do with wrestling, but please bear with me, I do have a point and it is wrestling related. I was talking to my wife about how excited I was about the return of Corner Gas and it struck me that I am far more excited about the Season Premier of Season 5 than I was each week when I watched a new episode of Season 4 (available now on DVD). I guess the old saying is true; absence make the heart grow founder.

This brings us to the wrestling tie in. Monday Night RAW also airs tonight and Iíve got to tell you, I couldnít care less. Itís not that I donít enjoy RAW, I usually do; itís just that it gets monotonous and tiresome to tune in week after week, for years straight. RAW has been on the air now for, I believe, 14 years, without a break. That makes approximately 730 consecutive episodes of RAW. That is a long time for anyone to stay interested and remain excited.

I still get excited at times, but Iím beginning to wonder if having an off-season in wrestling might not be a bad thing, after all. I know there are a lot of money and business reasons behind remaining year round, but I want to just look at the fan perspective and how an off season might really help keep fans excited and interested in the product over the long haul.

When I first became a big wrestling fan, Saturday Nightís Main Events were the big thing and my friends and I lived for them. SNME, for those of you who were not around during that era, actually ran seasonally. They ran 6 episodes per season starting in September ending in May. I can still remember the excitement we had each fall anticipating the return of SNME. The first 5 episodes of the season would build toward WrestleMania, with the last episode being a bit of a wrap up show tying up the events from Mania and sending us toward the summer break. WWE still toured year round back then, but as wrestling fans and television viewers, we got a break.

I never appreciated the break back then, hating to have to wait till the new season, but now I long for it. I guess another adage is true; you donít know what you have until it is gone. Today I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. I hate missing RAW (in case there is something good on it) yet I find it hard to dedicate 52 weeks a year to catching it. If Raw were seasonal, I would put forth a much stronger effort not to miss any of the shows, knowing that I would only have to put forth that effort for a set period of time, say 30-40 weeks, and have no doubt Iíd be far more eager for itís return each season after a 10-20 week break.

I think a lot of fans would appreciate the break, to recharge and refresh their interest, not to mention how much easier it would be for the creative department having a beginning and end to each year with time off in between to get those creative juices flowing.

If WWE started their season in August they would jump-start other fall programming giving fans an earlier start than other TV programming. This could allow for a couple weeks to hype the Summer Slam PPV, which could kick off a strong PPV season. TV and PPV could continue building through the spring and WrestleMania which could be the culmination of the season, ending the PPV season with a bang in late March early April. TV could continue till the end of April allowing for a WrestleMania wrap up and the planting of a few seeds for next season or a full blown season finally cliff hanger. This would allow for a 3-month hiatus from TV and a fresh start again in the fall.

Now Iím not saying this is what should be done. There are far too many factors to take into account, when making decisions like this. You have to consider TV and PPV revenue, as well as how the hiatus would affect other income streams, but looking strictly from a fan perspective, I canít help but think a seasonal product might be a damn fine thing.

Food for thought,
Lance Storm