Its has been almost 8 years since World Wrestling Entertainment took the move from TV-14 to a more family friendly TV-PG rating. The move saw plenty of critics, especially with the decline in ratings and quality the TV-PG rating has taken some stick. It was heavily rumoured that Linda Mahon was a major factor in the move to TV-PG. For two terms in a row, Linda stood in the Connecticut office elections. This coincidence timing saw many fans take direct the blame at Linda.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated recently Linda McMahon was asked about the move to PG and whether she played a role in that move.
“That wasn’t me, so much, moving to a PG-rating. The development of WWE programming, over time, has mirrored the market place. During the time that WWE was in the ‘Attitude Era,’ which was TV-14–if you looked at television programming and movies that were produced, they were edgier during that same time frame. Then, as that opinion shifted, WWE’s opinion shifted, as well, and sponsors had different demands. It was more of a family-friendlier audience to come back to PG-TV.”
WWE generally was TV-14 from 1998 to 2008, during the decline in ratings following the hugely successful Attitude Era; WWE opted for a more aggressive Ruthless Aggression Era. The use of blood and excessive violence became the norm. Of course given that seasoned fans were used to this, WWE using TV-14 gimmicks in a PG event took the mick.
Perhaps Lindas election campaign had some influence in the decision, however times changed. The rise of concussion research and more of a corporate protection of its athletes were a major driving force. With the more family friendly approach saw a massive increase in family friendly sponsors; Burger King, Mattel and spin offs with the likes of Scooby Doo wouldn’t have been possible.
Of course personally it would be great to see Dean Ambrose let loose of that inner rage that saw him launch onto the scene in CZW. That won’t happen anytime soon thats for sure. WWE have relaxed that envelope somewhat over the past couple of years. When needed violence, blood and swear language have been used. As always less is very much more in the wrestling business.