Thinking about your comment about how USA is calling a lot of the shots w/ regards to Raw and Smackdown (they were also the reason Raw went three hours too, I believe), it makes me think of an old Bobby Heenan line about WCW. He basically said the difference between the two was that WCW was run by a TV company that happened to wrestle, whereas WWF was a wrestling company that used TV to survive.
Despite the longstanding hatred of the W word by the WWE, I think this was true back when he said it. The company made decisions based on wrestling, not based on making USA happy.
Nowadays though it feels more and more like NBCU is calling the shots and Vince is catering to them. As a result, people are burning out on the product and Raw’s ratings have gone downhill. I mean there is no way he thinks featuring HALF of the roster will revive the show’s sagging ratings. If anything, this will increase burn out. That’s a TV company running the show and making decisions that will get it more advertisers.
I mean at what point does Vince just say, fuck it and sell to NBCU? I mean if your inclination on his preferences is correct, and he keeps getting his legs cut from under him, why even bother?
Because that model makes him more money than the old one ever did, with the exception of the year 2000. So as long as USA is paying for his gold-plated yacht and billion-dollar trust fund for Rose Levesque, he’ll keep doing whatever they demand.