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Why a Four Hour WWE SummerSlam is a Bad Idea

Somewhere between the latest gossip from the Hulk Hogan racism scandal, the buzz of Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar and the simmering debate over whether WWE have already mishandled Kevin Owens, there’s been one piece of news that hasn’t been discussed half as much as it possibly should.

That news? This year’s WWE Summerslam is all set to be a four-hour show.

Let’s just think about that shall we? Four hours of pro wrestling in celebration of what Vince McMahon et al still tout as their second biggest show of the year, despite all evidence pointing to January’s annual Royal Rumble as the event fans most look forward to.

Four hours. That’s 240 solid minutes of Michael Cole. 240 minutes interspersed with countless ads for a WWE Network many of us will already be using to watch the show. 240 minutes of matches that will probably be repeated on upcoming episodes of Raw and Smackdown.

Am I the only one among us who feels that a four-hour Summerslam is just too much? I mean look, I love wrestling as much as the next fan -I wouldn’t be taking the time to pen this article if I didn’t- but I can’t help but wonder who exactly a four-hour show is supposed to benefit.

Off the top of my head, the only folks I can think of who might be glad of a four-hour show are those mid carders and B-list players for whom a spot on a major card like Summerslam would be otherwise off-limits.

With 240 minutes to fill in, there’s no reason why the majority of the roster can’t look forward to a payday come August 23. With the show centered around marquee matches like Lesnar/Taker and the seemingly inevitable Cena/Rollins clash, the rest of the undercard is just prime for giving talent like Cesaro -infrequently seen on big-time shows- a chance to shine.

Then again, this is WWE we’re talking about. If experience is anything to go by, a four hour Summerslam won’t be an opportunity for mid carders to get their proverbial day in the sun, but rather for the WWE Braintrust to throw more oh-so-hilarious backstage skits our way, not to mention providing them with ample opportunity to bombard us with advertisements for both their own products and those of their third-party sponsors.

Personally, it wouldn’t surprise your increasingly-cynical writer if we didn’t get news of one of those dreaded ‘mini-concerts’ taking up time that could be better spent on an actual wrestling match between two talented performers. I’ve never quite understood the reasoning behind having rock bands and rappers play a song or two on a WWE PPV. Besides the brief fling of extra publicity (the return on investment of which can’t be much to rave about). it always seems like an odd move. The wrestling fans themselves don’t really want it, whilst you can’t imagine even the most die-hard fans of a musician shelling out money and sitting through a four hour wrestling event just to hear one or two songs.

But anyway, I digress. Even if we do get to see the majority of the WWE roster do their thing in the ring at Brooklyn’s Barclays Centre, is there any possible way the company can make it compelling enough that we’re happy to sit through several hours of what will ultimately be little more than time-filler?

It’s possible, sure, but it’s certainly unlikely. What’s much more likely however, is that Summerslam 2015 is going to feel much more like a test of endurance than a slice of entertainment, and I doubt that’s what anybody really wants from the WWE right now. What do you think? Drop me a note in the comments below and let’s discuss it.

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Chris Skoyles

Chris Skoyles is a writer and wrestling fan from Wigan, England. Currently on a mission to watch and review every WWE ppv from Wrestlemania 1-30, you can read those reviews on the Retro Pro Wrestling blog, tweet him @Retropwrestling, or visit his personal site at www.chrisskoyles.com

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