WWE wrestlers perform all year long without an official offseason. The grueling 300-day schedule sees wrestlers competing week after week with no prolonged breaks. Doing so leads to accumulated injuries and risks of burnout for WWE talent.
Some argue WWE should adopt an offseason like other sports leagues to give the wrestlers time to recover. However, WWE has managed to thrive with a year-round schedule, so is an offseason really necessary for their business model? Professional wrestling occupies a unique space in the sports entertainment television landscape. Leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB all have significant breaks between seasons. Time to weigh the pros and cons of offseasons in wrestling.
1 They Should – It Would Keep Wrestlers Healthy
The most significant benefit of an offseason for WWE would be giving the wrestlers time to heal and recover from injuries. WWE’s nonstop schedule sees wrestlers developing nagging injuries that never have enough time to heal correctly. These minor injuries build up and have long-term consequences, potentially shortening careers. With an offseason, wrestlers could take a few months off to let their bodies fully recover and prevent further damage. Right now, there is no extended period for them to do this.
2 They Should – It Would Improve Mental Health
The demanding WWE road schedule risks burnout for the performers, both mentally and physically. Being on the road over 300 days a year without extended breaks could drain anyone. The travel and performance schedule is grueling enough, never mind having to find a gym in every city and stay in shape year-round. Wrestlers need a renewed passion for what they do. A recharge could improve their well-being and motivation. Burnout often leads to lackluster performances inside the squared circle.
3 They Should – It Would Freshen Up Characters
After not being on TV for several months, an offseason would also build excitement and anticipation for the wrestlers’ return. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Fans would be eager to cheer for wrestlers fresh off a break. It gives wrestlers returning a renewed energy and pop from crowds. Therefore, returns would feel like big deals again. A hot return can fuel a character and allows them to come up with long-term ideas during their hiatus for how to get over with the fans.
4 They Should – It Would Lead to Better Booking
An offseason would benefit WWE creatively, as the writers could hit the reset button and develop new storylines and feuds. Doing so allows them to come up with fresh matchups and directions for talent once they return renewed and rejuvenated. Wrestling storylines often feel played out, lasting longer than necessary to fill time. Creative could also end each season with a cliffhanger, keeping fans anxious about what will happen next.
5 They Shouldn’t – TV Deals
There are also good reasons why WWE has managed to thrive without an official offseason written into their schedule. The year-round format fits nicely into their business model as a TV product that relies on constant new content. Live episodes of Raw and SmackDown provide regular new material 52 weeks a year, which a prolonged break might disrupt. Viewership and ratings could dip with an offseason. Plus, the networks want to keep millions of wrestling fans glued to their networks, as WWE provides consistently strong ratings.
6 They Shouldn’t – It Kills Any Chance For Improvisation
WWE has the benefit of being able to turn real injuries into storyline angles. When a wrestler gets hurt and needs time off, the creative team can write it into a feud and have another wrestler injure them on screen. This allows them to take time off while furthering storylines and not disrupting the schedule. It’s an effective creative workaround. Plus, some of the best WWE storylines develop organically. A live audience can be unpredictable, and they may get behind characters creative does not expect. They must have the ability to pivot on the fly.
7 They Shouldn’t – It Risks Breaking Fans’ Habits
WWE has conditioned fans to expect new wrestling content virtually every week. A week rarely goes by without live matches and further story progression. An entire offseason would disrupt those viewer expectations and risk losing their attention. Viewers might lose interest without their “WWE fix”.
8 They Shouldn’t – It Could Lose Its Uniqueness
Operating year-round helps WWE stand out from season-long mainstream sports that take breaks. As a 52-week product, WWE doesn’t have to compete with the NBA, NHL, or NFL calendar, which helps distinguish wrestling as special programming. WWE cements itself as a year-round entertainment option.
While the benefits of an offseason for talent are clear, from a business perspective, WWE’s model sets them up nicely to sustain a year-round schedule. They’ve adapted creatively to injuries and crafted engaging stories to keep fans invested 365 days a year. The formula works for now, and WWE is thriving, even without prolonged talent breaks.
Adopting an offseason provides positives for WWE talent to recover but is not essential to WWE’s successful business model and scheduling. Perhaps a rotating roster, where each wrestler gets three months off annually. But it’s hard to see anything changing soon.