Mick Foley on why WWE Raw suffers from from three-hour format and PG rating

It’s been a common complaint among WWE fans for years that weekly episodes of Monday Night Raw are simply too long since the show switched from a two-hour format to three hours in 2012 – especially in comparison to two-hour episodes of SmackDown, a show that has been revitalized since going live and is arguably the best program WWE produces.

In a long and wide-ranging interview with Lilian Garcia on her podcast, Making Their Way To The Ring, WWE Raw GM Mick Foley spoke about the problems Raw faces as a three-hour show, and also noted that the family-friendly direction WWE has taken since the Attitude Era can put Raw a disadvantage late at night.

“Even though SmackDown has been kind of like the Internet darling, I believe that if they had three hours instead of two, they would find out that it’s tough to be a darling when you’ve got that massive three-hour anchor around your neck.

… It’s really difficult, and it makes it tough for people to watch an entire show, especially when you realize that a good portion of the audience is going to bed before the end of the show.

Sometimes we try to look into the reasons why the third hour doesn’t perform as well as the first two, and I’m like ‘well that’s because people go to bed!’ There are a lot of kids. A lot of our audience… especially, other people have brought up the difficulty in trying to compete in other shows that are not restricted by the PG format. No one else at 10:30 p.m. is a PG show. I won’t say that across the board, but most other programs aren’t trying to compete within those confines.

I love, for example, Full Frontal with Sam Bee. I just love her show. And they’re allowed to curse on that show! And that’s basic cable.

We don’t curse. We can’t even say a-s-s anymore unless you’re The Rock or Steve [Austin] returning.”

SmackDown Live commentator John Bradshaw Layfield addressed the pros and cons of a three-hour Raw on a recent WWE Network special, and explained why WWE is not going to shift back to shorter shows.

Foley also opened up on his current medical situation. Foley had revealed in December that he needs a hip replacement and is in constant pain, but he’s putting off the operation until his run as the Raw GM eventually comes to an end.

“I think everyone correctly assumed that once Stephanie [McMahon] hired me, that at a certain point we were going to stop getting along so well. And I think that makes for good TV. She’s a great, really strong personality, and I’ve got views of my own. And let’s face, if we have a show called ‘people getting along, making reasonable arguments,’ we don’t have a show.

The last couple weeks things have been getting contentious. She has the power to fire me, and I believe it’s a power she will exercise at a certain point, and then once that point hits, boom, I’m in the operating room.

And you feel OK traveling before then?

No. I’m in a lot of pain, actually. It’s really difficult… just getting around is really difficult. Just doing these loops. Four consecutive West Coast runs. Even without getting physically involved, even without being out there doing the matches, it’s just really difficult.”