This may come as a shock, but WWE has some incredibly dumb philosophies. Some are just quirky while others very much negatively affect the entire product. I could go on about their outdated backstage segments, dull announcing teams or the methodic formatting of their three hour shows, but, for right now, I’m just here to focus on the treatment of their wrestlers.
You’d think the WWE would be thriving without any real competition, but it turns out WWE is its own worst enemy. WWE has some of the most mind-numbing modes of thought I’ve ever seen, and it’s hurting their own superstars. Now, before anyone says, "But, Vince has his own wrestling company and you don’t." Just stop. I don’t run my own wrestling company, but with slipping ratings and attendance, maybe it wouldn’t hurt Vince to hear me out. Vince doesn’t have to change his company, just fix a few of the things that keep his own wrestlers from reaching their full potential in the company.
It’s no coincidence that many stars become popular outside of WWE before joining the company. Heck, the most popular the Hardy Boyz ever were was outside of WWE. So, maybe WWE doesn’t know everything after all. This article is giving WWE free advice. Here, I point out and elaborate on the stupid things WWE does that hurt their own wrestlers, from terrible booking plans, stupid match formats and ignoring any outside input, to horrible scripted lines, failing to protect their own champions and encouraging dangerous working conditions.
15 50/50 Booking
There’s nothing more annoying than 50/50 booking in WWE. How can a contender, or a champion for that matter, look credible when his record is .500? Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens were terrible champions, not because of the amount of days they were champion but because of their win/lose record during those reigns. Do you think Goldberg would have been as popular had he gone, 173-173? I think 173-0 sounds a tad more credible.
I’m not saying superstars need ridiculous winning records to be a contender or a credible champion. Yes, it is professional wrestling, but the 50/50 booking pushes the suspension of belief beyond its breaking point. In the wrestling universe where there are champions and contenders, it's impossible to believe that any sport would have a champion that has won only half of their matches/games etc.
14 Random Battle Royals
So, how does WWE pick their number one contenders? Win/loss record? Winning streaks? Huge credible victories over a top contender or superstar? Nope. Random battle royal matches. So, a superstar, these days, can outlast an entire group of random superstars and knock over one superstar over the top rope or pin one guy to become the number one contender for the most coveted prize in all of professional wrestling. See Jinder Mahal.
Mahal was a jobber for most of his career, but he wins a fluke "Six-Pack Challenge" to become number one contender. What does that say about the WWE Title that he was even in the battle royal at all, to say nothing about him winning it. How about a number one contender match between two top stars? How about a small tournament? These battle royals or six-pack challenges, whatever they want to call them, is just lazy booking and hurts the credibility of the champion and contender all in one match.
13 Ignoring the fans
Vince McMahon, John Cena, even The Rock have alluded that superstars are made, not on their own merit, but from the will of the fans. Maybe that used to be true, but it's clearly not anymore. Let’s be honest, booking wrestlers shouldn’t be too hard. You push the guys that get a reaction and fix the ones that don't. Why in JBL’s name would you continue to shove down the throats of wrestling fans superstars they don’t want? Doing so hurts everyone on the roster.
Reigns is getting killed by the fans that feel he’s being way too over-pushed, while other guys get the Daniel Bryan treatment, i.e. guys who are insanely over, but WWE officials don’t like. Ignoring the fans hurts everyone on the roster, including the superstars WWE officials want to push. Stop ignoring the great reactions of Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles in favor of Reigns, Jason Jordan and Jinder Mahal.
12 Terrible Scripts
Scripts are absolutely killing the industry. In theory, scripts shouldn't be a bad thing, but it's clearly hindering many on the roster. Not everyone can be The Rock and cut an amazing promo for 30 minutes straight. Certain superstars that struggle with promos could probably benefit from a script of some sort. Roman Reigns has abysmal promo skills, so I get that the idea of a script seemed like a great idea for him. The problem is that superstars, instead of naturally cutting a promo, are forgetting their lines, or even worse, given lines that are absolutely cringeworthy.
It's hard enough on Reigns that he can't remember his lines, but here’s some free advice. If Roman Reigns is struggling with promos and you want to give him a script to help him out, don’t include lines referencing Jack and The Beanstalk. Some of the best promos, lines and catchphrases were unscripted moments that turned a superstar to a legend. Would that be so horrible or do we need more promos with "sufferin' succotash" in our lives?
11 Burying their own talent
The thing that made Vince McMahon an effective authority figure and villain is the fact that Vince would allow the good guys to get the better of him every now and then. Vince took Stunners, got hit with a bed pan, hosed with beer, peed himself and had his face shoved into Rikishi’s buttcrack. Take a moment to let all that sink in.
Stephanie McMahon never lets anyone get the better of her and that makes a very ineffective and detrimental authority figure. Now, I’m not saying Stephanie needs to be thrown off the top of a Hell in a Cell (though that'd be awesome), but Stephanie slapping every male character, and getting the last word against every superstar doesn’t help anyone. If superstars were ever allowed to get revenge on Stephanie, superstars could actually get over.
Stephanie has a force field around her preventing any superstar from getting payback and that gives the fans zero payoff. Steph needs to put people over or go away, plain and simple.
10 Pushing wrestlers based on size
It’s no secret that Vince loves pushing the bodybuilder type. There’s nothing really wrong with that except that superstars that are smaller get overlooked even if they’re over with the fans. Finn Balor isn’t getting a push over Braun Strowman. Shinsuke Nakamura isn’t getting a push over Baron Corbin or Jinder Mahal. The smaller superstars might get a token title win here or there, but they’re really just placement holders for the “hosses” who are always getting the real push.
Honestly, for someone like Braun Strowman, who’s actually over, it’s not essentially a problem, but when someone like The Great Khali holds the title just because he's huge, it’s a cure for insomnia. WWE is the most exciting when the superstars that are pushed are the ones the fans are cheering the hardest for. Superstars shouldn’t have to take a backseat to someone who isn’t over just because of their size.
9 Similar wrestling styles for all
I’m not saying larger superstars are jumping off the top ropes and doing hurricanranas (unless you’re John Cena, I guess), but it seems everyone on the roster wrestles at the same pace, and same style. We’ve seen superstars that have wrestled from the independent circuit struggle to adapt to the WWE's slower “tell a story” type of matches. WWE brought in the Cruiserweights to wow the fans with a different wrestling style so why handcuff them with a WWE style that is used for everyone else?
The awesome thing about the Cruiserweight Division in WCW was that their style was vastly different than Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair. For many wrestling fans, the Cruiserweights of WCW introduced them to the lucha libre style. The WWE Cruiserweight Division bring nothing new to the table. Would it be so wrong to show current WWE fans the Japanese style of wrestling? Having everyone wrestle the same hinders the Cruiserweights and denies the WWE fans from seeing something unique.
8 Making Their Champions Look Weak
This was hinted at earlier, but WWE needs to quit sandbagging their champions. Champions losing non-title matches, which is the most ludicrous thing in wrestling, doesn’t help the champions or their title. On what planet does a champion boxer or fighter have a match when the title isn’t on the line. You can’t play beer pong without putting a faux title on the line. Wrestling shouldn’t be any different.
Especially for heels, champions losing is a problem but if they do get a rare win it’s often not clean. I get the bad guys shouldn’t win but at some point your champions, even the heels, need some credibility. How about some convincing wins for your champion and some convincing contenders so your champions don’t look like complete jokes.
7 Too much PG Era
I’m not one of these fans that is going to cry about the “PG Era.” Sure, I miss the Attitude Era, but the PG Era can succeed if WWE gets out of their own way. WCW Monday Nitro during the Monday Night Wars was PG and crushing WWE Monday Night Raw. The problem with the PG Era is that it goes too far and hurts the promos, matches and characters of their wrestlers.
Could you imagine Stone Cold Steve Austin trying to get over cutting PG Era promo? “Austin 3:16 says, I just whipped your butt!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. How about the lack of blading? How about the lack of strong villains in wrestling? Could you imagine an ECW villain in WWE today? I understand kids are watching, but WWE is playing it too safe. PG Era can work, but right now it's really handcuffs the wrestlers.
6 Holding people down from grabbing the brass ring
Vince McMahon has talked about superstars lacking motivation to grab the “brass ring” and break through the glass ceiling, like John Cena and superstars of the Attitude Era. What on earth is he talking about? Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn and Zack Ryder have all pushed themselves farther than they anyone ever expected from them. They’ve gotten insanely over, and yet Vince doesn’t think any of them have “it.”
Apparently Jinder Mahal has “it” even though his title run is completely manufactured by WWE management. Meanwhile, Kevin Owens and AJ Styles are in the mid-card despite carrying SmackDown. Even the “hoss” Braun Strowman, who I have criticized in the past, but remains super over, can’t grab the brass ring, having lost to Lesnar. It’s time Vince forgets about his stupid B.S. of the brass ring and pushes the guys that have stepped up and gotten themselves over.
I’m sorry Kevin Owens wears gym shorts and a t-shirt and isn’t the perfect image of an ideal WWE superstar, but the man is over, has loads of charisma and can wrestle circles around half of the roster. Owens and plenty of others have already grabbed the "brass ring," stop holding them down.
5 Pushing Part-Timers
When The Rock returned, we all marked out. When Batista returned, we all marked out again. When Goldberg returned, yep, we marked out. Who didn't get goosebumps whenever Undertaker’s gong would go off? So, how could these part-timers possibly hurt the wrestlers? It’s not the part-timers per se, it’s their booking.
Having The Rock back in WWE was great for fans, but not so great for CM Punk, who dropped his WWE title to the “Great One.” Batista’s return was great, but almost came at the cost of Daniel Bryan’s rise. Goldberg’s return was great, but came at the expense of Kevin Owen’s Universal Title run. Part-timers are fine, but pushing the part-timers at the expense of the everyday roster hurts the entire roster and the product as a whole.
4 Random face/heel turns
We were all shocked at Sami Zayn’s heel turn at the Hell in a Cell pay per view, but at least it gives Sami’s character something to do. Why in the world did they turn TJ Perkins, (excuse me, TJP) heel just when he started to get over? Same with Gentleman Jack Gallagher, who turned for no reason when he was starting to get over. What about Enzo? He was, hell still is, the most over Cruiserweight and one of the most over superstars on Raw. Let’s turn him heel for no reason. Has he even officially turned?
It’s bad enough superstars turn heel for no reason, but they don’t even execute the turn effectively. No wonder the Cruiserweight Division is dead. As soon as the fans get behind someone they turn heel quicker than Big Show.
3 No Wrestler Input
Ask almost any of the former WWE superstars and they’ll tell you about how they pitched idea after idea to WWE Creative Team only to have all of their ideas ignored. It happened to Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Maxine, even former World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger. Wrestlers in today’s WWE have no creative control whatsoever with the characters that they themselves portray. At some point Vince McMahon and the Creative Team have to accept some input from the wrestlers. Often times they have good ideas or ways to improve their characters. It’s foolish and demoralizing to ignore those ideas.
WWE Superstars have only their characters to worry about, so why not take a chance and accept some input from these wrestlers so they can better develop their character. The entire roster wants to move up the ladder, but when their characters are handcuffed where are they supposed to go? How are they supposed to stay fresh with an audience?
2 Inconsistent and/or dull finishers
It’s bad enough when you see a match end with a roll up of doom, it’s even worse to see a match end on a weak, inconsistent finishing maneuver. There are many on the roster right now that have incredibly dull finishers that stun fans by the sheer anticlimactic nature of them. A dropkick is a finisher now? A plain ole DDT is a finisher now? How about a little imagination?
I know you’re thinking, “But wait! The Leg Drop or People’s Elbow weren’t great finishers either.” And I agree. Those are weak finishers too, but they were used by legendary wrestlers and used consistently. Wrestlers today can’t even use a consistent finisher which confuses fans further. How can fans pop for a finisher if A) it sucks and B) they don’t even know it’s a finisher? Elias just changed his finisher from a reverse neckbreaker to a swinging fisherman's neckbreaker just out of the blue like no one would notice. I know this is nitpicking, but this is negatively affecting the wrestlers' matches. How about a little consistency?
1 Giving up on “injury prone” superstars
This one is unfair and seriously dangerous to the actual well-being of WWE Superstars. If a superstar suffers an injury and has to take time off, that superstar shouldn’t be penalized when he or she returns from the injury. That promotes the message, “Work hurt or lose your position in the company.” It also ensures that wrestlers fight through nagging injuries instead of taking care of them in fear of losing their spot in the company. This often leads to more serious injuries down the road and sets a terrible precedent for the entire roster.
I get it. If a champion gets hurt and can’t compete, he or she should relinquish the belt. I can also understand the reluctance to put a title onto someone who as a tendency to become injured all the time, but it’s still an illogical mindset to have. Most injuries are freak occurrences anyway and many superstars who have been injured in the past return to form without any further injuries. These “injury prone” labels need to stop. It’s causing more harm than good and ultimately puts the health of every WWE superstar at risk.