It’s no secret that WWE and it’s weekly products have progressively been getting worse for a while now. Recently they released a documentary focussing on how the WWE was going to change forever after The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin left, and the Attitude Era came to a close.
Well, its almost 20 years later and I think that most everyone can agree that WWE has never fully “recovered.” Instead of having iconic moments like Austin’s “Beer Bath” to the McMahons and “The Montreal Screwjob,” WWE’s idea of entertainment has become “Loser Eats Dog Food” and 6-man tag team matches. There are many reasons why the WWE has been floundering as of late and this article will address 10 easy ways that they can *begin* to right the ship.
10. Re-invest in the Tag Team Division
Whether you like it or not, the past few years of tag team wrestling in WWE have essentially been run by The Usos and The New Day. There are two major reasons for this. #1 because so often today, tag teams are formed at random and there is little storyline planning put into them. #2 being that there really aren’t that many good tag teams that possess the ability to get over with the audience. WWE spends so much of it’s TV time airing tag team matches, they would be wise to invest in more legitimate tag teams or start developing actual storylines for the ones they don’t use. As opposed to the current system of randomly pairing unused superstars and throwing them into title matches.
#9- Work in more gimmick matches
This may sound hypocritical given my comments about the “Loser Eats Dog Food” match earlier. However, WWE really should work in more gimmick matches. We’ve seen this some on Raw recently with a ladder match and the inaugural “Fist Fight,” but otherwise gimmick matches are pretty much reserved for pay-per-views. WWE airs roughly 7 hours of in-ring content every week, with a solid 90% being different variations of traditional singles/tag team matches. Even for the most loyal wrestling fans, it can be a tad exhausting to watch the same stuff every week. One easy way WWE can bring some excitement to the product is to work in more of the Extreme Rules, Ladder, Table, and Falls Count Anywhere matches back to weekly TV.
8- Bring Back the General Managers
Whether it be Erik Bischoff, Teddy Long, John Laurinaitis, or Michael Cole reading “E-mails” off of a computer, General Managers used to be a stable of WWE shows. GM’s would often be invaluable pieces of the story, often being used as a pawn to help indirectly build the top face or push for “People Power” (whatever the hell that was). GM’s helped advanced storyline with more legitimacy, seeing as decisions came from an authoritative figure who, for better or worse, had to “answer” to the fans.
7- Stop Forcing The Women’s Evolution
Before everyone gets their underwear in a bunch, take a chill pill and calm down. In no way am I saying get rid of women’s wrestling. I’m simply saying do away with the corporate agenda of pushing women’s wrestling down our throats. The best way to let the female superstars succeed is to stop pushing the things that they do as historic just because they are women. When we talk about the first all first time things women have done recently, whether it be the first all women’s pay-per-view, main event, or tag team championships. It becomes beaten like a dead horse very quickly. Treat the Women’s Division the same as the men’s and let the fans judge them accordingly.
6- Return More Prestige to the Championships
STOP! Before you read anything else, count the number of titles in the picture above. 18. There are 18 active championships in the WWE today. In my opinion, this is absolutely ridiculous, especially when you consider that nothing compelling is done with the majority of them. I understand that WWE has several “Brands” and wants to have several championships on each “Brand.” But one thing I think they fail to understand is that more is not always more. The more championships you have on your shows, the less prestigious it becomes to hold one.
5- Develop a stronger mid-card
One thing that seems to be missing from the WWE Product these days is the sense of a strong mid-card. Guys that are strictly bound to the United States/Intercontinental/North American Championship Scene. Back in the day, we saw faces like Owen Hart, X-Pac, Matt Hardy, Kofi Kingston, etc… come out and put on barn burner matches w/ intriguing stories for the secondary titles on their respective shows. Mid-card wrestlers used to be guys who weren’t receiving the top billing, but came out and put on outstanding matches to slowly work up the ladder to superstardom. Now WWE simply showcases newer stars athleticism and throws them into the main event scene, only to inevitably feed them to Vince’s handpicked golden boys.
4- Offer more “Edgy” content
It seems that WWE wants to avoid controversy and stay politically correct in the on-screen product as much as possible. Someone should inform them that controversy equals ratings, especially in today’s society with unlimited access to social media. Some of my earliest memories of watching WWE were back when Triple H married Stephanie while she was unconscious, DX dumped actual Dog Crap on the Spirit Squad, Edge and Lita had their “Live Sex Celebration.” Take a second and imagine how social media would blow up if any of these segments happened today. Wild segments like these made you want to tune in every week because anything was possible. Now, all we get is to hear Paul Heyman call the crowd “Bitches” during his promos.
3- Work to create long term storylines
This is one that I think everyone can agree on, in WWE today there is virtually no long term storytelling anymore. It seems that too much now, WWE focuses on pushing superstar athletes who are most likely to sell merchandise and draw ratings in the short term. Instead, they should focus on creating lasting stories that inspire people to tune in week in and week out, Ex: Austin/McMahon Rivalry. It appeared as though WWE may have had long term plans with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt, building him up to be an unbeatable character, leading someone to dig up his past in order to discover a weakness. However, WWE effectively killed any long term plans with Wyatt’s loss to Goldberg at Super Showdown.
2- Pass the Baton
One thing that WWE is definitely guilty of in the recent past is leaning way too much on the “Nostalgia” act. Prime Example, 53-year old Goldberg becoming Universal Champion just last week. We are barreling toward the point in which lots of the legends are getting to the age in which they have no business in the ring anymore. I understand bringing out guys like Goldberg, Stone Cold, and Hulk Hogan sells tickets, but its time to pass the baton off to the next generation. If WWE doesn’t begin to begin to develop more future legends there won’t be any nostalgia left to sell. Unless they decide to drag Goldberg out on a walker at Wrestlemania 60.
1-Invest in character development
The biggest thing that is slowly killing WWE’s product is, in my mind at least, the lack of actual superstardom in the company. For years, WWE was known for it’s gusto in creating these larger than life characters that could reach into our lives and command our attention. The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Stone Cold, and even John Cena are multigenerational talents that have had an impact far beyond the squared circle and garnered the respect of millions (AND MILLIONS!) Especially since John Cena’s hay day, WWE hasn’t really developed any talents that command attention and that my generation will look back on as “Legends.” As WWE continues to produce superstar athletes instead of undeniable characters, they will continue to drive away their business.
Thank you for taking the time to read, Follow me on Twitter @BordsBus for takes on other things in going on in WWE, as well as my opinions on many other pro sports.