7 Hours of Main Roster Programming a Week
Anyone who’s read any of my stuff in the past knows that this is the issue I probably bang on about most in regards to the WWE. There’s too damn much of it. And it doesn’t help that the company has historically viewed RAW as its only “must see” programming. It also doesn’t help that RAW is 3 hours long.
The Current WWE Main Roster Programming:
3 hours RAW
2 hours Smackdown
1 hour Main Event
1 hour Superstars
What It Should Be:
90 minutes RAW
90 minutes Smackdown
1 hour Sunday Night Heat (network exclusive)
See how much nicer it is to have 4 hours of weekly programming as opposed to 7? See how all three shows would suddenly become must watch? Think it’s an improvement? Yeah, me too. And for the record, I know this is a change the WWE would never actively choose to implement since they make so much money on TV contracts. Doesn’t change the fact that less airtime would improve the product.
Static Talent Roster
For decades, wrestling was like the Wild West. One week a guy was the king of one promotion or territory, the next he was gone. The mentality for wrestlers was “you’re not gonna pay me what I want or present me the way I feel you should? Fine, I’ll take my talents elsewhere.” The feeling of roster spontaneity died in the years following the conclusion of the Monday Night Wars. Now there’s only 1 top dog and 90% of the roster (reportedly) do everything they can to not piss off the top brass.
And what are we left with? Guess like Cena, Orton, the Big Show, Kane, Mark Henry getting lengthy contracts and appearing on TV week after week after week for a decade +. And I’ve stated before, I don’t mind Cena or Orton. I think they’re both strong talents in their own ways. But they both desperately need a change of scenery.
Heel Authority Figures Marginalizing Talents
Vince McMahon always hated Steve Austin (kayfabe). But his hatred for Austin was always personal. He wasn’t, let’s say, making professional critiques. He never tried to marginalize Austin by pointing out his flaws. He wouldn’t say things like “you know what, you’re not even that great of a wrestler anymore. You’re pretty much just a brawler. Hey fans, watch an Austin match and set a timer to how long it takes before he brawls to the outside.”
And yet, when I watch WWE these days, that’s all I feel the heel authority figures do. I know the whole Daniel Bryan/B+ player thing was meant as a fan rallying cry, but it did as much harm as it did good. Cause fans can see limitations in a guy on their own. They don’t need you to highlight them. Or HHH telling the Miz (who was also a heel at the time) that his straight to DVD movies suck. Yo, buddy, YOUR COMPANY PRODUCED THOSE MOVIES. What are you doing?
Nearly Every Televised Arena Looks The Same
Ok, I know this one comes down to budget cuts but it sucks all the same. The RAW set looks like the Smackdown set. The Smackdown set looks like the Main Event set. The Main Event set looks like the Payback set. The Payback set (minus a few ladders) looks like the TLC set. Everything looks the fucking same. At this point, it’s just Mania that stands out.
Look back at the Monday Night Wars. Yeah, some of those venues come off as a bit carny, but how nice would it be to see an event take place at a beach or in the back of a hotel? At least it’s something different. And as a fan, it adds a layer of unpredictability. Like, “I wonder what kind of venue they’ll show up in next.” It helps to create a fun, party like, atmosphere.
The Brand Split Needs to Come Back
This kind of ties into issue #1; if the WWE are going to insist on having 7 hours of weekly programming, they should bring back the brand split. Now I know at least one of the major factors behind the brand split going away. It has to do with the company’s overall lack of star power. Basically, they don’t have enough stars at the moment to support two brands. But I believe the brand split would prove beneficial to guys like Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. Let them be the big fish in the slightly smaller pond. Let them develop their characters outside of the lead brand. Also, bring back the Heavyweight championship and use it like it was being used before, as the modern day IC title (noting that the actual IC title means nothing at the moment).