WWE’s product is PG because they have to answer to advertisers. Paul Heyman has been trying to get some edgy content on Monday Night Raw but the fact is that he is handcuffed by the PG restrictions so there is a fine line to walk.
However, they are not bound by the same restrictions for their pay-per-view events. At the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, Baron Corbin hit the End of Days on Becky Lynch. Man on woman moves were commonplace during the Attitude Era and it looks like we’ll see more things like that now with Heyman handling the creative end.
The cable companies that still carry WWE pay-per-view events are listing SummerSlam as a TV-14 show. WWE lets the cable companies know if there is material that might not be suitable for younger kids so this is an indication that they have something non-PG planned for SummerSlam.
It’s interesting because on the recent conference call, Vince McMahon was negative on AEW and called them a “blood and guts” promotion and he also said that WWE has graduated from being a low rent product. McMahon also said that WWE programming would remain PG. However, just a few days later, Brock Lesnar viciously attacked Seth Rollins on Raw and there was blood in the segment.
Perhaps, the plan is to do the edgier stuff on pay-per-views. This appears to be another reaction to the declining ratings, attendance and network subscription numbers. WWE has pressure to get those numbers up as they head into the fall with SmackDown Live moving to FOX. If they can get a buzz back on the product then they should, in theory, see their ratings go up and that will make the folks at FOX happy.
It will be interesting to see what they have planned for SummerSlam.