“WWE Raw” potentially moving to a TV-14 rating is reportedly a USA Network decision, not a WWE call.
According to Dave Meltzer in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE has yet to acknowledge the change in direction of the programming, but a source within the company confirmed that it is a USA Network decision. Furthermore, the fact that the memo for the change from TV-PG to TV-14 came from USA Network executives would also indicate the same.
Meltzer noted that it’s highly unlikely “WWE Raw” reverts to bloody matches and bra & panties-like content, but could incorporate more swearing and profanities when the change to TV-14 happens.
In particular, USA Network was said to be “accepting” of Brock Lesnar using the word “shitkicking” during the first hour of the 7/11 episode when they received the script. However, when Lesnar actually uttered the word, because they were aware in advance, USA Network producers did a sound edit of the cuss word. “We don’t know if this had to do with that or not but the timing is notable and a sound edit of something that was in the script and approved is also notable,” Meltzer wrote.
Earlier on Thursday, Fightful Select also reported that there have been conflicting messages internally at USA Network about the change to TV-14. The WWE sources Fightful reached out to “hadn’t heard of the change yet but were looking into the move.”
The report added that those expecting significant changes could be in for a disappointment. While “NXT 2.0” has racier content than “Raw” on a regular basis, it’s still rated TV-PG, and the content that airs is up to WWE, not USA Network. It was noted that unlike MPAA for movies or ESRB for video games, cable TV shows are not required to meet certain criteria to retain TV-PG status or move to a TV-14 rating. As an example, WWE could have self-rated as a TV-PG show during the Attitude Era without oversight ramifications. Although input from the network and sponsors is always taken into effect, the content that airs is still up to the creator, in this case, WWE.
Andrew Zarian retracted his earlier report that the internal memo sent by USA Network called for “WWE Raw” to shift to a TV-14 rating starting from the 7/18 episode. According to Zarian, the memo was sent out prematurely, and the day for the shift from TV-PG to TV-14 has yet to be finalized. The change “is still in consideration for a later date,” he added.
Source: Wrestling Inc.