Every writer has their crutches, but WWE Creative has some habits they really need to kick as soon as possible. These tropes have long overstayed their welcome and have lost nearly all their value.
Thankfully, we’ve already seen some changes to the formula with Triple H coming on board as the head of WWE Creative. SummerSlam was great and Raw was a step up from normal. Things are going in the right direction. I don’t know about you, but I’m FAR more excited about watching Raw, SmackDown and the rest of the shows lately than I’ve been in quite some time.
I want to keep the ball rolling. That means now, more than ever, the powers that be need to take a look at the problems and start fixing them.
Without further ado, here are 10 writing tropes I hope to see change with the WWE product going forward.
1. The 24/7 Championship Change Cycle
Dana Brooke suddenly pops up in a segment. Maybe it is mid-match, or something backstage. Typically, it happens out in the ring. She’s taken by surprise when someone rolls her up. New 24/7 champion!
But then, what’s this? That person who is celebrating with the belt gets pinned, too!? New 24/7 champion! And then, Champ #3 gets pinned by Superstar 4, who gets pinned by Superstar 5, etc. Then, wouldn’t you know it…Dana Brooke catches that person off guard, wins her title back, and runs away! Everyone chases after her. The belt is back where it was at the start of this whole ordeal. Isn’t that such an exciting whirlwind?!
No. It isn’t. We’ve seen this happen dozens of times by now. It always goes the same way.
The most recent one of these was as follows: Brooke lost to Akira Tozawa, who dropped it to Nikki A.S.H, who dropped it to Alexa Bliss, who lost it to Doudrop, who lost it to Tamina, only for Brooke to pin Tamina and run off.
NOTHING of value is accomplished. Yes, those people get more title wins to their names on a technicality, but the 24/7 Championship means zilch. The reigns last only mere seconds. In fact, this whole sequence is only maybe 2 minutes long, so it isn’t even as though you’re killing time.
It isn’t fresh, since it has happened so often. There’s no excitement as fans don’t care about this belt and we know that it is just going back to the original champion by the end of this sequence. It isn’t even funny. Is this joke really supposed to make us all laugh uproariously, or think WWE is zany, cooky, crazy, blah blah synonyms of “a chaotic mess”?
I’d imagine Triple H realizes how dumb this title has always been and will either get rid of it entirely, or at least book something different. I’ve said for years that I’d love to see someone like a Braun Strowman type hold the belt and NOT be able to just get rolled up. Maybe that’s what we can do with Omos, Commander Azeez, Veer Mahaan or another monster?
2. Interference Finishes
Almost no matches on Raw or SmackDown end without some sort of interference. Someone either causes a disqualification, attacks someone behind the referee’s back, or distracts the person they’re feuding with long enough for that wrestler to get taken advantage of by their opponent, who catches them off-guard with their finisher or a roll-up for the win. Then, that Superstar mean-mugs the camera, going “grrrr” to the smiley Superstar who caused the interference and cost them the win.
For years, WWE has abused this trope to the point that analysts like myself don’t even watch the matches most of the time. We know where it is leading. The end of the match isn’t in sight until the commentary team starts to indicate that the distraction is about to happen.
Hell, when there’s a third party that can interfere, I’ll even write up the results in advance for my TV coverage, as I know “X defeated Y by pinfall due to interference/distraction by Z.”
It’s okay for people to lose matches. Just look at how AEW does it. That promotion isn’t perfect, but they’ve managed to allow people to lose matches without completely destroying their credibility like WWE is afraid of. There are other ways to build feuds than to have constant interference, too.
3. Contract Signing, Face-to-Face and Other Promos By Another Name
It doesn’t matter what you call it. If your segment revolves around one or more people talking with, at most, a short physical altercation at the end of the bit, you’ve got yourself a promo and nothing more.
Contract signings are completely worthless. Every time one of those is scheduled, I wonder why WWE thinks this is a marketing tactic. “Hey, fans, do you want to see people sign papers and say they’ll beat each other at the scheduled match?!” Oh wow. One of them put the other one through the table. I didn’t see that one coming, did you?
“Face-to-face” is even worse. That is quite literally just saying those two people will stand next to each other. RIVETING. Guess what they do in all of these segments. You got it. They grab microphones, talk about how they’re going to beat the other person, and look angry at one another. Then, maybe, one of them takes a cheap shot, so they can brawl for a split second, someone can stand tall over the other, and the commentary team can talk about how that might signify that that person will win. Yawwwwwwwwwwwwn.
MizTV. The KO Show. Whatever you call it, a promo is a promo. And I love a good promo from someone who is able to talk, but don’t try to b.s. the viewer by acting like it is something epic when it is just another talking segment.
This isn’t something I think will be going away, sadly. Promos are too built into the structure of the program to eat up time. But maybe they’ll at least be more upfront and honest about it.
4. Can They Coexist?!
Strange Bedfellows matches used to be interesting when they were rare instances. They still can be fun, if they pair up people who would be legitimately interesting to see work together.
But just slapping two people in a tag team match and screeching “Can they coexist?!” doesn’t make that an automatic win.
For that matter, an extension of this is giving the tag team titles to two oddballs who are forced to work together. WWE has gotten way too reliant on that as the only way they were willing to invest in the tag team division, as it was effectively telling a story about two singles stars, rather than a team.