Thursday, June 20, 2024
Editorial20 Ways WWE Should Change, Reader's Choice

20 Ways WWE Should Change, Reader’s Choice



Hi folks! Today, we’re looking through a list of answers to a question I recently put to our devoted Facebook followers:

If You Could Make Two Changes To WWE’s Product, What Would They Be?

Surprising how many jumped at the opportunity to share their answers. Some claimed sharing only two examples was not enough to adequately describe what they’d like to see. And yeah .. with these answers, I’m not saying they all make good business sense, nor that we have to agree blindly. It’s up to you to decide if they make sense or not.

To clarify, none of these were of my own choosing. I’ll do my best to provide an unbiased explanation for each entry, as well as my thoughts on if they should be implemented. It’s not the first time (or the last ) we’ve done this, so again, thanks to everyone for your answers! It would not be possible without you.

#20 – Vacation

The idea of an off season has been suggested several times by fans and former wrestlers. Much like sports, an off season would give wrestlers (& fans) time to catch their breaths before going all out for the rest of the year. The benefits would be great, as wrestlers would be able to heal injuries and spend time with their families without missing out; giving a major boost to morale.

It would also create great anticipation, and the feeling of missing something in your life. There’s no time to miss WWE to appreciate its value, because you know it’s always there no matter how good or bad the product is. Two weeks of downtime would be enough I’d say, preferably over a holiday period like Christmas? A month would be excessive. But while it would be a dream scenario for many .. the biggest roadblock lies within the industry.

Wrestling never stops, so when you’re not out there selling .. guess who is? The competition. If we’re gonna have an off season, all major promotions would have to agree to cease doing business til it’s over. Why should WWE get an off season and no one else? We can’t say WWE should do it, then completely disregard other companies who will capitalize on everything while they’re on hiatus. It would have to be made illegal to run wrestling shows during a designated off season negotiated by the majority of promotions. Back in March, Roman Reigns shared his thoughts on the possibility of an off season.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have an off-season like most sports or other kinds of forms of entertainment or competition but, you know, I think if we could make it work, it would give a great benefit to our performers and our fans as well. It would definitely give our performers another couple of months if not a full quarter to rest and recover, not only just from a physical standpoint, but creatively.
When you go year-round, we’re always trying to evolve, trying to grow as far as our stories and our character goes and when you’re doing it over and over and over it can be tough. I think that’s what makes WWE and its superstars so tough and it’s an accomplishment to get to where we are. Only we can handle this and we’ve proved it, so it’s just a part of the gig. I don’t think it’s something that shouldn’t be looked into, but if the schedule stays the same I’m gonna be the guy that’ll run it.”

#19 – Interrupting Matches With Ads & Recaps

I know many don’t like Vince Russo, but I remember a podcast years ago with Stone Cold Steve Austin where he criticized the practice of allowing matches to be interrupted by commercials. Or even worse, during a match, WWE sticks on a movie trailer, recaps an unrelated story line, or have other talents steal the spotlight on commentary.

It really hurts the product when the wrestlers in the ring are working their butts off, only for management to say “Screw you, we need time for this, you’re getting paid so don’t worry about it!” How is anyone new to wrestling supposed to take it seriously when the company can’t take its own talent seriously? I know Raw has a ton of commercials, but surely they could work around it better?

#18 – NXT Formula

Won’t go into this too much, because other points touch on it. You’re only gonna get what I mean if you’ve watched NXT. Most of the current main roster went through there, so it’s doing what it’s supposed to do .. even if the promoted talents don’t always end up better off; here’s looking at you Tyler Breeze.

To put it simply, NXT keeps it basic and does not insult anyone’s intelligence. They have 1 hour of TV a week, a PPV every 3-4 months, and they blow everything WWE produces out of the water. Logical storylines. Feuds which make sense and grow organically. Authority figures who take up very little time. It’s more of a wrestling product aimed at the mature wrestling fan, which is why it’s held in such high regard in comparison to the main roster. There’s no reason why Raw & Smackdown can’t be more like NXT.

#17 – Certified Fresh

When The McMahons gathered on the infamous Raw claiming “The WWE Universe is in charge”, they also said there would be fresh matchups and no automatic title rematches. Yet, what they failed to do is apply the same thing to PPV rematches as well. Like, how many times do we need to see Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre? And how can Ziggler vs. Kingston be fresh when they’ve battled each other in the mid-card for over a decade?

Look at the Stomping Grounds card. Notice how almost every match announced is a rematch? It’s not always easy making fresh matches, but with a massive roster and so many hours of programming it could be better. Some matches are worth repeating, but WWE has a habit of doing it too often with pairings people don’t care for. There’s no excuse for making Stomping Grounds a glorified repeat, other than sheer laziness.

#16 – Vile Heels

Do you know why The IIconics are so successful? Because they are true heels. Everyone hates them .. and for good reason! You’re not supposed to like them, they’re doing their jobs. And it’s been a problem in wrestling for years, where some heels like to be “cool” and get cheered for doing sweet things. It’s confusing sometimes (not just in WWE, but other promotions too), because we get matches with no faces or heels defined.

How do we pick a side? The lines of good and evil are more blurred than ever before. It’s not always essential to define the good and the bad, but it sure does more sense at least 95% of the time. Easier to tell a story when everyone wants to see the bad guy/girl get what’s coming to them. Let heels be slimy, wicked, dastardly, and downright ugly.

#15 – Building Work

Back in the WWF days, they promoted a PPV every month. They made tons of money from box office sales, turning over huge profits. But nowadays .. with online streaming and pirating? It’s no longer feasible. With the WWE Network, they’ve added even more events to entice fans in to subscribing for ONLY $9.99!! But yet, it’s a classic case of quality over quantity, where having too many big shows means they have no time to align the bricks properly in the mortar.

Compare a WWE PPV to an AEW, or NXT PPV. WWE has an event every 2-4 weeks max, to put together a compelling card you need to see. That hasn’t happened in a long time though, and I don’t care how short anyone’s attention spans get, there’s no way a human being can be emotionally invested in so little time. Impact cut back years ago. AEW has already shown they are spreading theirs out.

No other promotion produces as many PPVs as WWE does, and why is that? I don’t understand why, but clearly they have a reason or they would’ve cut back as well. It’s probably because everything is done on the fly .. so there’s no point building anything for 2-3 months, because the writers can’t physically do it when Mr. McMahon changes the script all the time? So it’s easier to end things after a few weeks and simply start over.

#14 – Shoot The Wildcard

A few people said this, so it seems clear they are not fans of the rule. And I don’t blame them .. what’s the point in a brand extension? Or the shuffle? When any Tom, Dick and Harry can jump between Raw & Smackdown like they own the place? What’s the criteria to be a wildcard? Do you have to regularly kiss Vince’s backside? What gives them the right to be booked over someone who would’ve been on the show had there been no such rule?

Honestly guys, I’d do away with the brand split altogether. Never been a fan of it, and I think it’s an excuse to get more undeserving talent on-air (when WWE feels like it). Raw & Smackdown should be reserved for the best of the best, and there’s plenty of other shows (Main Event, 205 Live, NXT) if someone needs to prove themselves.

There’s nothing original about false competition .. we know Raw & Smackdown are never truly competing with each other. So why do it? Why go through all the effort to split the product in two .. when all it does is show us half of what it’s capable of? You don’t see any other company creating their own false competition. The Wildcard rule is just an excuse to bypass the brand split without ending it entirely, but yeah .. I don’t get it. Just end it already.

#13 – Tag Team Wrestling

Remember The Road Warriors? The Steiners? The Fabulous Freebirds? The Rock n’ Roll Express? Edge & Christian? The Dudleys? The Hardys? No present teams can hold a candle to these legendary names.

There were times when a tag team championship could be considered on a par with a World Championship. So many teams are going to waste for no good reason, like, how often do Women’s titles get defended? Are there any real teams other than The IIconics? And why do they keep putting titles on jobber teams? It’s difficult to understand, when the demand for quality tag team wrestling is at an all-time high. Look through WWE’s rosters for all the teams rotting away like a basket of old fruit.

#12 – Cutting In Thirds

Remember when Raw was 2 hours? What a great time to be a fan. When WWE announced it would be extended to 3 hours? I was skeptical. Part of the issue was that PPVs were 3-4 hours, so longer episodes made them feel less special. How many times have we seen comments saying the latest PPV was just another “glorified Raw”? That’s because PPVs other than WrestleMania/Royal Rumble are not given anything to make them any different to watching Raw on a different day. It also has an adverse effect of making grand stages like WrestleMania too long for most.

The third hour rating plummets because there’s only so much an average viewer can take. Diehards will always see it through, but WWE rarely gives us anything worthy of sticking around for. Ratings would be healthier if they promised a cracking main event every week. Even Seth Rollins & Daniel Bryan couldn’t do it on this week’s Raw .. because they had no time and it got interrupted by half the locker room. There’s also an issue of starting the show with a high rating, which I attest to fans anticipating a big announcement.

#11 – Finish Them!

Last month, I talked about the perceived effectiveness of finishing moves (selling), storytelling and ring psychology in an article. If you missed it, you can read up on it here: What Is Wrestling? – Storytelling & Ring Psychology

#10 – Give Me What I Want!?

Micro-management is contributing to the amount of fake, over-produced promos in WWE. You can tell when a talent is free to express, as they sound genuinely passionate in what they’re saying. But not many get this luxury, so they have to attend drama class rehearsals. Most talents did not grow up with the dream of becoming actors, so it’s not something which feels natural to many.

A recent example of a failed rehearsal was Batista’s “give me what I want” promo. He forgot a line, so he got stuck in a loop repeating himself because Triple H was waiting for his cue to continue. When a Hollywood movie star struggles to remember his lines .. what hope is there for the rest? Can WWE not allow freedom for those who do not need to be managed? And for those who do? See the next point.

#9 – Talk The Talk

Long gone are the days of managers like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Jimmy Hart and Paul Bearer. I’d say one reason why managers fail in this era, is because WWE only lets them work with one or two talents at a time. How can they be perceived as valuable assets if others do not show interest in their services? Did everyone forget The Heenan Family?

Another reason is not being packaged as essential to a character. It’s hard to imagine (in the early years) The Undertaker without Paul Bearer, or Brock Lesnar without Paul Heyman. What matters most, is that no matter how business is done, the ability to speak for clients in an appealing way without overshadowing them, is paramount to their prolonged success. But real managers don’t exist anymore .. as WWE tends to use young wrestlers like Lio Rush and Zelina Vega who have futures to consider. Managers should be retired veterans teaching the next generation how it’s done .. or seek guys like James Mitchell (Sinister Minister) who has made a living from managing.

#8 – Pyro!

A simple request, so there’s not much I can say about it. Honestly, watching back in the day when pyro was everywhere? There were times I found it unnecessary. Like the opening of Raw & Smackdown? We don’t need flashy bangs to start a show well.

Use it on PPVs and special entrances, but there’s not much point anywhere else. WWE cut it back for money reasons, so I can’t blame them .. although they are pretty to watch. I guess pyro is missed mostly in some wrestler’s entrances? Still, it’s not a deal breaker for me. In fact, I’m surprised no one mentioned custom titantrons like the classic Smackdown “fist”.

#7 – Cable

Alright, so I’m not much of a US TV expert .. but here we go. One comment suggested WWE gets off cable TV as there’s more ratings to be found elsewhere. With Smackdown already moving to FOX in October, I assume they didn’t know this? Or were only talking about Raw? Either way, at least WWE is heading in the right direction with Smackdown. Maybe someone else can fill me in on this? How would ratings rise if they got away from cable TV?

#6 – Death To “PG”

This old chestnut. I know someone on the site who would reply to this by saying something like: “NXT is PG and doesn’t need to be mature to succeed. WWF was PG back in the Hogan era, so it’s more about compelling characters and story lines than mature content”. And he’s 100% right, there is little point making WWE TV-14 or higher because the world isn’t there right now. We have to remember it was ECW and WCW who pushed the envelope, forcing WWF to get some “Attitude”; not the other way around.

While it may be appealing to some adults, pulling away from PG is like telling families to go suck it. You have a four, five-year-old kid who loves Kofi Kingston? Sorry, he can’t watch because WWE wants to be edgy. It’s not a solution, it’s more like regression for nostalgia’s sake. I loved The Attitude Era, and it was sad watching WWE slowly lose its edge, but as a parent I understand why. They make fans for life, and the parents aren’t sitting there wondering if WWE is suitable for their kid. The only way it might change, is if AEW forces WWE to get its attitude back.

#5 – Off With Their Heads

A few comments suggested WWE should axe the entire creative team and make it a small team of bookers with wrestling experience. It can’t be easy for the current team, when Vince changes the script without warning. I bet there’s so many ideas left on the cutting room floor; I like to imagine dusty boxes in a warehouse filled with angles, storylines, gimmicks, and other creative things which will never see the light of day.

Everything has to be to his vision, so even if WWE hired wrestling bookers they would struggle with the same issues. I guess it makes sense if WWE wants to give Raw & Smackdown more of a NXT feel? Otherwise, I don’t think Vince hires writers, he hires idea pitchers who have no choice but to watch him twist things to his liking.

#4 – Oh My Brother .. Unify!

One bold comment stood out .. how about if we unify everything? One World Champ, Tag Champ, Women’s Champ. Keep the IC and US titles for historical purposes. Also, have a full-time World Champ who remains undefeated for 2-3 years, to bring back some credibility. It fits in well to what I’d like to see, as the unification of titles would coincide with the end of the brand split, or at least, champions getting the advantage of working both shows.

There are 18 championships in WWE if you include 205 Live and NXT brands. Four of those are tag titles, which means a maximum of 22 superstars can be champions. How do you define who is number one? Who is the best? We’ll never know unless some are unified. Looking at it another way, having more titles means there’s more to fight over. Look at what the 24/7 title’s done for R-Truth and other mid-carders who are rarely seen. Sometimes more titles can be beneficial, but too many of ’em decreases the value of each other.

#3 – My Generation

Many suggested focusing on this generation of talent. Not naming anyone, I’m sure you can guess who they are talking about. We don’t mind legends coming back every so often, but there’s clearly too many part-timers getting away with huge paydays. Full-timers need those spots if the company is going to rely on them in the years to come.

WWE officials must not have much faith in this generation if they’re finding it necessary to bring in semi-retired guys on the brink of retirement. There will come a point though, when WWE is forced to change it up because they have no other choice. But by that point, will it be too late? Would it not make more sense to build them up now? Many fans agree WWE must think about its future, instead of clinging on so tightly to the past.

#2 – A Few Moves Ahead

WWE has never been good at planning ahead. Hell, in the Attitude Era when we (sometimes) got prolonged storylines? They didn’t make sense. It wasn’t Shakespeare by any stretch, so by changing the creative approach? It might improve some .. but I don’t believe they can do it for an extended period. How can they plan ahead when the business is so random?

You never know what’s around the corner. You could have a blockbuster movie script planned out for two guys .. but if one gets injured what happens then? Things change, and it’s all lost. So is there a method to Vince’s madness? Does he choose to react rather than anticipate? Is he understanding how little control anyone has over life? Wrestling isn’t like other shows where they can script 6-12 months ahead and tape perfectly edited episodes months before airing. The live aspect makes it tricky, because you can’t predict how a talent will deliver a promo. You don’t know how an audience is going to feel two weeks from now, never mind six months down the line.

AEW is planning storylines months ahead, but that’s only because they have the time. Will they be capable of doing it for the next few years? And how are they going to handle situations which hinder their long term plans? I’m interested to see how it goes, because it will answer the question as to whether WWE can plan ahead, or if they’re incapable of doing so.

#1 – Passing The Torch

It’s unanimous, the #1 thing our FB fans want to see is Vince McMahon passing the torch on to someone else. And I can’t blame anyone for feeling that way, as we could go on all day about everyone’s favourite chairman. I don’t want to be hypercritical of him though, because I understand this is his life. It’s almost impossible to imagine WWE without him.

I think most people want something fresh, and know he’s not the one to lead the way. If he’s to be remembered for anything, it’s being a ruthless hands-on business man, and he’s never asked anyone to do anything he wouldn’t. Given his years of dedication, I don’t think it’s fair to force him out. It would be amazing to see a different kind of WWE .. but I don’t think he wants to be alive to see it. Can we respect his wish to work as long as he wants? Or has the situation become so dire, you think it’s time for the family to rip it away from him?

All we want is a better WWE. The business is booming again, and if WWE is to remain atop of the mountain? It needs to adapt to any and every threat. There is no room for complacency, as we head in to an age where talents are no longer cornered in to “take it or leave it” deals. With that said, if you could make any changes .. what would you like to see? And how many of the above points did you agree with? Cheers to everyone who shared their answers, and thanks for reading! Always a pleasure.

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