Does WWE need blood?
Does WWE need to gear weekly programming to adults, or is the current family-friendly product best for business? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. WWE can’t pull off a revert back to the Attitude Era, nor should it attempt to.
We’re already seeing a gradual increase in the amount of profanity on air. The Undertaker-Shane McMahon promos leading up to WrestleMania 32 were very PG-13, which is probably as far as WWE will push the envelope (If you go back and watch an old episode of Raw on the WWE Network, it’s almost shocking how many lines could get people in trouble today).
Similarly, WWE doesn’t need wrestlers to bleed as much as they used to, because it can quickly get out of hand and lessen the impact. If a guy bleeds every match, it becomes less shocking. Wrestlers should be allowed to bleed, however, when it makes sense.
Take the Brock Lesnar-Dean Ambrose "No Holds Barred" match at Wrestlemania 32 for example. WWE built up the match as a throwback to extreme hardcore matches from the Attitude Era for weeks before it happened, and brought out legends like Terry Funk and Mick Foley to present Ambrose with weapons. It was heavily implied that Ambrose would be using a barbed-wire bat (or perhaps even a chainsaw) against Lesnar, as it was his only real chance to damage the Beast Incarnate.
The actual match featured liberal use of kendo sticks (which are brutal), and Ambrose spraying Lesnar with a fire extinguisher – but neither man bled. The performance didn’t deliver the type of match WWE promised. Had Lesnar busted open Ambrose (or vice versa), it would have undoubtedly heightened the moment. Not every match needs blood, and WWE could go entire episodes of Raw or Smackdown without color, but it’s obvious to a long-time viewer when a match calls for it.