Thursday, June 13, 2024
EditorialWWE 2022 New Year Resolutions: Title Reigns, NXT Call-Ups & More

WWE 2022 New Year Resolutions: Title Reigns, NXT Call-Ups & More

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It’s a New Year, yes it is!

Today is the day everyone tries to set new goals for themselves in the hopes they can change their life around just because the calendar changed. It’s entirely symbolic, but it’s as good a time as any to start making adjustments.

It’s also going to be WWE Day 1. For the first time ever, a pay-per-view will kick off the year on the very first day of the year, meaning this is WWE’s opportunity to turn things around with this show in particular. They won’t, but it’s wishful thinking.

In 2018, The McMahon Family promised things would change for the better. 2019 was supposed to start all that, but it didn’t work out that way. 2020 was a mess with the pandemic and 2021 was supposed to be the year everything went “back to normal” but was arguably even more of a mess with all these budget cuts and a total lack of creative cohesion. These days, WWE is in a state of perpetual chaos and it’s hard to believe 2022 will be any better, since it seems WWE has little to no remorse over what’s going on right now and doesn’t appear to actually want to change anything for the better.

However, for the sake of putting it out there, let’s get into the sixth annual New Year’s resolutions that I have for what I’d like to see in WWE. This includes general ideas, specifics about Superstars and more.

Keep in mind that while some of these are serious and legitimate, many are just humorous or on the kayfabe side of things. It’s all in the name of fun and retrospection.

Something to Explain

I said this last year and I’m going to repeat it again.

Something to Wrestle With doesn’t address the current product, which I totally understand. It’s not good for WWE if he were to reveal all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes and were the spoil future storylines and such.

However, with how awful so much creative has been in the past few years, I really do think WWE could use this avenue to mend some fences with the audience while Prichard benefits in the process.

If he were to be allowed to talk about some of the product, he’d get more viewers who would be listening for insight on just what the hell is going on. Prichard could clarify some of the nonsense that we’re not privy to and maybe we could understand it better.

Every so often, he hints at WWE being annoying as hell and that there are problems that get in the way. Let’s hear about it! Maybe we sympathize and we can write off some bad storytelling if we know what happened that caused what they thought would be great to turn out so shitty.

For instance, from my perspective, I think WWE completely ruined Rhea Ripley when they had her tap out to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 36. I want to know why they thought it was a good idea to set her up so well just to have her FORCE Flair into a match, lose, and spend the rest of 2020 with no direction to make up for it. Then, they took this weird avenue in 2021 to only half-ass give her the Raw Women’s Championship over Asuka in what felt like their C-plan, and they still had her unable to beat Flair.

I want to know what’s going on. Maybe they did have ideas in mind for that to go differently and it got all messed up and I could cut them some slack for it. But right now, with no info, I just assume they had shitty ideas, the wrong perspective, and that they’ll screw up other people just the same. That’s another resolution, by the way: get Rhea Ripley back on track.

I would love to see more transparency between WWE and its fans. For a public company, they do more to hide what’s going on than AEW and it shows.

Enough With the “Budget Cuts” B.S.

Speaking of transparency, enough with the catch-all “budget cuts” excuse being why you’re firing over 1/3 of your staff. You make record profits each quarter. How are there still budget cuts necessary?

Tell us more information on why certain people were deemed unworthy of staying on the roster than others. If you fired Bray Wyatt because you think he’s being “difficult to work with” because he’s telling you that your creative sucks, don’t just say he’s another budget cut. Call him out on it and let others judge the reality, instead of making up their own fantasies about why they’re fired.

That’s why you have fans thinking Keith Lee was canned because of the color of his skin or his weight. A lack of transparency means you’ve opened yourself up for people thinking you didn’t do enough to re-sign Adam Cole because you think he’s too short to be worth a damn.

If those types of things are true, those are problems to be addressed within WWE and the company’s mindset. But if they’re not true, why take on the burden of that negativity?

I would much rather a restaurant say to me “we raised our prices because the costs of our food products has gone up. We apologize and hope we can lower prices in the future when things get better” than to try to play games. Cable companies flat out make up shit and charge more money. They’re disgusting. Don’t be like them and just lie, or tell yourself that the lack of telling the truth by way of saying nothing at all is different than a lie.

And tell us what the budget cuts are all about. Not only do you owe it to your investors to talk about your future goals in a more outright manner without being coy, but you owe it to the fans who are your lifeblood. Fewer and fewer are willing to stick around and watch garbage television and events in the hopes of finding answers.

Take the Time and Put in the Effort

As simple as it is, work harder. This should be self-explanatory, but it doesn’t seem WWE wants to acknowledge this as a reality anymore.

You can’t tell me WWE employees really think the current product is great. If so, they’re delusional and should be fired. Everyone should know how repetitive all these rematches are and how the storylines go nowhere, the feuds are lackluster and it’s all chaos.

The fix starts with acknowledging the problem. And by that, I don’t mean Big E making a joke about the “can they coexist” trope and then still doing the same thing. I mean being honest with yourself, saying “this all sucks and we need to do better” and then actually doing it.

Sit down and think. Sometimes, 5 minutes can make the difference of months of a feud. For that matter, take the time to write out some general outlines of where storylines will go. Right now, we’re heading into Royal Rumble, which means WWE should have an idea and a backup idea in mind for all the big matches for WrestleMania so they can start to build toward that and work backward to who wins the two Royal Rumble matches.

I don’t want to hear any excuses. Plans change? Well, that’s when you adapt, AFTER that happens; not as a reason to not do any work to begin with. You get an injury, you pivot. Someone catches COVID and can’t wrestle, that’s where Plan B comes in. And if you’re transparent with your fans, like mentioned, we’ll cut you some slack. We did that for WrestleMania 36, which was awful.

Communicate between your departments. Don’t fire people who are in the midst of a push because one team doesn’t know the other team doesn’t value them. I don’t see any reason why 2K should be making entire sections of their games about Bronson Reed and you’ve got the North American title on him and you fire him right when he’s being looked at for a call up to the main roster.

Just put in the work.

Stop copying and pasting things. Don’t do a title match on television just before you do the same match on pay-per-view because it’s a cheap way to get a slightly better rating, or do a rematch the night after the event because you have nothing else in mind but to run that back. Don’t make a feud go on for 7 months with promos that cover the same ground because you really just want that match to take place at WrestleMania, but you don’t know how to get there and you aren’t willing to wait to start it until closer.

Don’t Phone in WrestleMania with Just Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns

For that matter, don’t think WrestleMania can succeed with Brock against Roman and nothing more.

I’m of the camp that thinks that match shouldn’t happen, either. As much as I’ve been over the Lesnar/Reigns stuff for years, I’ve been enjoying the most recent stuff, but I don’t want to see it past Day 1. That should be the end of it.

Even less so do I feel like watching 4 more months of “we’re going to do that again” with the idea in mind that that’s the only thing WWE cares about, that they think that’s selling the pay-per-view along with “the WrestleMania brand itself” and that “nobody cares about the actual matches; they just want to go to the biggest show of the year no matter what we give them.”

Plan it out. Look at your roster and settle on the best possible matches you can do. I don’t want to hear that Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair are champions and their challengers are “we’ll figure it out; they’re coming to see Becky and Charlotte, not their opponents.”

None of this crap where it’s the week before WrestleMania and you’re announcing matches because you don’t want to bother to do a build for it and you think it’s more important to have something for Twitter to announce. No more random tag team matches of “whoever we’ve got” because you don’t care about tag teams.

Just make WrestleMania the show it’s supposed to be.

Fix the Cruiserweight Division / 205 Live

Carmelo Hayes vs. Roderick Strong at New Year’s Evil is a title unification match. This, the way they had Strong drop the weight limit, the stuff Joe Gacy’s talked about, the sheer lack of attention being put on 205 Live (which is no longer live, nor 205, and has 2 released stars on the graphic on the WWE shows page) means you need to just do what we know you want to do, which is to get rid of it.

At this point, the Cruiserweight Division is dead, right? There’s probably no fixing it by keeping it there. So let’s just merge the titles, change the name of 205 Live and be done with it.

NXT Evolve is the right way to go. Evolve was a purple company and this can stay the purple brand, in a sense. It works with the idea of developmental, as these stars are evolving to become better performers. You can treat it like AEW Dark and call attention to the fact that these are the even less seasoned athletes that you wouldn’t see as much on NXT.

It’s that simple. RIP cruiserweight division, but it’s a necessity. Tape it ahead of NXT like you already do, treat it like an alternative to house shows, keep it on Hulu or Peacock or whatever and you’re good to go. Just try to put in the effort to at least acknowledge its existence, try to promote it for a moment here and there, update the shows page and change the damn branding. The last thing we need is for the cruiserweight title to go away, but for 205 Live to still exist as-is.

New Tag Team Championship Title Belt Designs

Those Raw and SmackDown tag team title belts are hideous. They’ve always been, back when they looked like pennies and now while they’re nickels.

That never should have been the chosen design to begin with, but it certainly shouldn’t have stuck around all these years. This company is far too long overdue to replace them with something better.

These don’t even have proper side plates to them. We know you hate tag teams, Vince, but that doesn’t mean you should actively have your division suffer when you can make it so much better with the slightest changes.

Don’t Lose Track of Austin Theory

Don’t mess this up. This kid’s got so much potential and you’ve ruined so many people in the past few years who could have been big things. Please don’t let this be another example of someone who is back to doing nothing and then fired in the next few months.

I’m maintaining the idea that I think this all leads to Theory taking a stunner from Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania in some fashion. The whole Austin/Austin thing with Vince McMahon being involved just feels like a natural fit.

I want to see Theory win at least the United States or Intercontinental Championship this year. Maybe even a tag team title, too. Ideally, let’s get him to the point where he’s a big deal in the 2023 Royal Rumble and a possible contender to even win that.

Nix the Hell in a Cell Pay-Per-View

Hell in a Cell never should have been its own pay-per-view, as it doesn’t make sense for it to happen that often. Feuds should only take place in that structure if they’ve built up enough steam to justify it, not just because it’s that time of the year and you have to insert one of the random storylines right then into the cage.

Not having TLC this year as a good start in addressing that sort of problem. Here’s hoping TLC doesn’t return ever again, too. You can still have ladder matches (as TLC matches are just ladder matches where people make a point to use a table and a chair at some point) but you don’t need it to be some annual December tradition. The same applies to Hell in a Cell.

Bring it out when necessary. Keep it on the sidelines when it isn’t justified. Replace that on the calendar with one of the more generic all-purpose names like Breaking Point, Fully Loaded, No Mercy or Over the Limit. Then, you can book anything you want on that show.

More Special TV Episodes

AEW has a good thing going with these special episodes of Dynamite and Rampage. WWE should be looking to copy that success.

NXT does it. There’s Halloween Havoc, Great American Bash, New Year’s Evil and so on. Once in a while, Raw and SmackDown have it, too, but those are usually pretty bad.

I think if WWE wants to try to boost ratings, these special themed episodes are a way to do it.

Obviously, you have to make sure the product is good or it won’t matter as people won’t return, but a branded episode of television stands out more.

Tell me, would you rather see just another week of the same television shows, or would you be more interested in something called “Clash of Champions Week” where every title on Raw, NXT, NXT UK and SmackDown is defended? Are you more excited about “the next episode of Monday Night Raw with a contract signing announced” or would you be more inclined to tune in to “Monday Night Raw: Battle Bowl”?

Dominik Dijakovic > T-Bar

Simple. Dijakovic was better. Enough with the T-Bar gimmick. The name’s beyond stupid, the face paint isn’t working, and he’s so much more deserving of an actual push than being someone who jobs out on Main Event.

This guy has the tools to be a major player if you don’t waste him. Let’s see him booked as one to watch and not one to fast-forward because you know he’ll lose.

Edge Feuds

I want to see Edge against Kevin Owens at WrestleMania. Then, I’m hoping we’ll see a feud with Sami Zayn after that. A program with AJ Styles is another I want them to do.

There are some people I think he could have better matches with than feuds that he’s talked about. I’m not particularly invested in a big storyline with Finn Balor or Drew McIntyre, but I want to see them fight once. The same goes for how I’m down for a one-off on Raw or SmackDown against Dolph Ziggler or Ricochet or something, but I don’t think everything has to be a feud.

Owens, Zayn and Styles are the priorities. Those are the 3 that should sustain Edge this year. The rest should be one-off matches.

Worlds Collide

Pandemic-permitting, of course, I’d like to see a return of Worlds Collide. Pitting the NXT and NXT UK rosters against each other is a fun idea that can make for a great special. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Ilja Dragunov? How would that not be good?

Theoretically speaking, you don’t need to limit it to the NXT sides fighting. Worlds Collide could be WWE vs. an outside company, if you want to try to look like the cool kids AEW to show you can open the forbidden door and play with others, too. I highly, highly doubt that will ever happen, but it’s a thought, at least.

Or maybe you do this for Raw and SmackDown against NXT. That’s simple enough and you can keep it away from Survivor Series.

Even if this is just a mode in the 2K game with that name, it’s too good of a title to not be used.

Those are my suggestions, but what ideas do you have in mind, particularly for the wrestlers who didn’t make my list? Do you have any resolutions for yourself this year? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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