It’s a New Year, yes it is! This is the prime time for everybody to shake off the dust from 2015 and to start thinking about how they want to better themselves for the next 12 months. Normally, people ditch their resolutions by February, but let’s not focus on the negative; let’s talk about some potential positives about how WWE will find a way to turn those situations around.
There’s plenty of problems going on in the company right now, and we could go on for far too long if we dissected every single person on the roster one by one, but these are just a few examples of what I think are some of the biggest goals WWE should have for 2016—within reason.
Compensate for Injuries
This year proved that if a few people are forced out of action, WWE needs to be in a good enough position to not have to panic. The only way to do that is to make sure there are multiple top stars who can share the weight of the main event rather than have it all focused on one person and then if that guy gets injured, everyone is scrambling to fill a massive void.
As much as I like Roman Reigns, don’t make this “the Roman Reigns year” like what happened with Seth Rollins. Distribute the popularity with Reigns, Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, John Cena, Brock Lesnar and all of your other major players, and set up your midcarders and upper midcarders to potentially be able to step up as well. WWE needs to look at the large number of injuries from 2015 that all happened concurrently and take that as a lesson learned, rather than ignore it and just hope it won’t happen again.
Don’t Sleep After WrestleMania
Since so much time and effort is spent building up to WrestleMania, when that push is over and done with, the company seems to enter a slumber for a while. The creative team is no doubt tired, as are the performers, but that lull can undo all of the hard work from the prior months.
WrestleMania is the time to reward fans for sitting through all of the bad from the previous year and to create new ones that will stick around until the next WrestleMania, but you can’t do that if you start phoning it in right afterward. Some effort goes into Extreme Rules, but Payback can be a waste of time when WWE is only focused on Money in the Bank, and then they can typically not care about Battleground after that as well because they want to focus their efforts on SummerSlam. While Payback and Battleground aren’t nearly as important as the other three events, that doesn’t mean the build can be on cruise control.
Lack of Foresight
Continuing on from the example above, one of the major issues WWE needs to correct is their inability to plan ahead. Sometimes, those events like Payback and Battleground can be a drag primarily not just because a lack of effort was put forth, but because WWE needs to stall for a future event.
For instance, in 2015, the Intercontinental Championship was in a state of chaos after WrestleMania when Daniel Bryan was forced to relinquish the title. It took far too long to crown a new champion while WWE figured out what direction they wanted to go in, but since it was in the Elimination Chamber, that helped justify it some more. Afterward, however, things got messy. Ryback was set to feud with Big Show and The Miz in a triple threat match that went on for months. At first, a singles match took place that ended in a DQ on a pay-per-view (which should never happen, as that just translates to “nevermind, wait until the next pay-per-view for the real thing”). Then, Ryback was injured, causing the match to be put on hold until 2 months later at SummerSlam. By then, nobody cared, but if the original match would have taken place at the first event, things could have been different.
Just the same, the feud between Lana, Rusev, Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae dragged on forever with seemingly no end in sight until it was forcibly castrated by TMZ. Either WWE loved this so much and were oblivious to how the audience couldn’t care less, so they kept it going for that reason, or they were unable to think about the next step and kept just stalling while coming up with no solutions.
When WrestleMania is being finalized, there should be rough drafts of potential cards leading up to SummerSlam as well as an extremely rough draft of a card for the next WrestleMania (so as to plan out who wins Money in the Bank). On a month-by-month basis, there should be plenty of backup options so if someone is injured or a feud isn’t working as well as WWE had hoped, things can transition to something more entertaining. Don’t get caught with your pants down hoping that you can sit on your thumbs for a month just because you didn’t want to take an extra hour at a conference table to brainstorm alternate ideas.
Keep the Content Fresh and Worth Watching
One of the best things to come out of 2015 was the advancement in programming on the WWE Network. There’s been less of a focus on old footage than ever before, which makes it considerably more entertaining. Old stuff can be great, but there was a time where nearly all of the content on the network was just previous pay-per-views and a slew of “look back on: insert old event” recaps. There wasn’t much separating Monday Night War from Rivalries or WrestleMania Rewind or Countdown.
This year, though, we’ve seen Tough Enough (which I think would be better off going on the network instead of USA), Breaking Ground, Table for 3, Swerved, and other shows widen the variety. Camp WWE is coming soon as well as Edge and Christian’s show and possibly another Divas Search. These are all different, which is a good thing. If something doesn’t work, it can be ignored and never come back. If something does work, it can be renewed for another season.
I would also love to see a drastic improvement in things like SmackDown, Main Event and Superstars, but I sadly don’t have any faith whatsoever that WWE will put in the work to turn those shows around. For a few weeks, SmackDown might be better with the move to USA, as WWE will make it a priority, but I guarantee we’ll be in the same slump in no time. Those three shows are essentially dead in the water when Raw has even struggled, so while that would be a great resolution, I feel it’s just too ambitious to hope for.