On This Day: July 20, 2008 – The End of the TV-14 Era

WWE’s Great American Bash from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. This was the final WWE PPV to have a TV-14 rating. The company would transition to a PG rating the next month. 12,454 were in attendance, with 273,000 homes watching on PPV.

WWE says that the move to PG was to cut the excess of the Attitude Era. They were trying to break out of the shadows of Steve Austin and The Rock and usher in a new era of storytelling. WWE needed a new start for the company and John Cena was the chosen one. His clean-cut, babyface is one that parents could feel good about their children idolizing and there was no one more “over” than Cena.

WWE programming decided to drop previous staples and become more family-friendly. This included using steel chairs to strike the head. It also included Introducing blood into the match on purpose. WWE completely banned the practice in 2010.

WWE slowly moved towards a more family-friendly format before 2008. But insiders from various outlets, believe that it was accelerated after the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide in 2007. Others believe it was to appeal to sponsors. At the time, WWE CEO Linda McMahon described the transition away from TV-14 as a “cradle to the grave” approach to appeal to younger viewers and encourage brand loyalty.

The exact reasoning for the brand switch is unknown. I have a feeling it was a little of all the above. WWE changed forever On This Day July 20, 2008, after The Great American Bash.

Here are the card and results below for anyone interested:

  • In a pre-show dark match, Umaga defeated Mr. Kennedy.
  • Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder defeated John Morrison and The Miz, Jesse and Festus, and Finlay and Hornswoggle in a Fatal Four-Way match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Shelton Benjamin defeated Matt Hardy to win the WWE United States Championship.
  • Mark Henry defeated Tommy Dreamer to retain the ECW Championship.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Shawn Michaels.
  • Michelle McCool defeated Natalya to become the first WWE Divas Champion.
  • CM Punk and Batista went to a double disqualification for the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • John “Bradshaw” Layfield defeated John Cena in a New York City Parking Lot Brawl.
  • Triple H defeated Edge to retain the WWE Championship.

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