Some decisions are easy. For example, putting the WWE Title on Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania after the WWE Universe demanded as much, was an easy decision. Some decisions are not so easy. The creation of the WWE Network or the first-ever WrestleMania were not simple decisions, but they turned out to be the right one. Perhaps the WWE isn't currently facing a crossroads in the way they were at the times those choices were made, but they are doing things that could use some major adjustments.
So too, just because you see yourself headed in the wrong direction, doesn't mean it's easy to right the ship. How do you bring the audience back on your side when you cancel their favorite show? How do you demote someone you thought might be a star but turned out to be a dud and it's not necessarily their fault?
These decisions become increasingly difficult when it comes to trying to save a brand, a show or a career.
Below are 15 decisions the WWE should make today that could save their shows. You might not think moving a wrestler from point A to point B would be enough to make that large a dent, but you might be surprised. Maybe the WWE is on the verge of losing a talent that is instrumental to the success of the show. Maybe they're keeping a talent around who is strangling it. These 15 decisions are completely within the control of the company, they simply need to choose to make the right call.
Who and what did we miss? How out to lunch are we in these suggestions? Do you agree or do you think we're way off base? Leave your comments, share your thoughts and spread the list around to your friends to see what they think.
We made some tough decisions about who and what to include on this list. But that was kind of the point now wasn't it?
15 Get Rid of Daniel Bryan or Let Him Wrestle
It's clear Daniel Bryan is phoning in his appearances with the WWE. Too proud to completely not care at all, he's clearly ready to leave for Ring of Honor (ROH) or wrestle in Japan, or anywhere that will clear him medically, which the WWE won't. In short, there are plenty of opportunities for him to find employment the minute his non-compete ends when his time in the WWE is over.
As such, it's almost like the WWE Universe is watching a bitter battle between divorced parents trying to get along for the sake the kids but neither side is really seeing eye to eye. Either the WWE should remove him from television and eventually let him fade from programming or let him wrestle. The latter isn't probably an option, so it's time to let him walk. They keep canceling everything he's a part of anyway. SmackDown Live needs a general manager that cares about the show.
14 Move 205 Live Or Cancel It
Corey Graves made reference to it on the show Bring it to the Table when he thought part of the reason Talking Smack got canceled was due to the timing of 205 Live. Having it air right after the blue brand on Tuesdays is asking fans to stick with the show, watch something completely unrelated, then get their heads wrapped around talking SmackDown Live again.
So too, what they do at live shows is worse. They tape the episodes of 205 Live after SmackDown Live airs which leaves fans tired or physically ready to leave the building. It's just a silly thing to do and that could be why there are rumors of moving the show to Full Sail University. That might be the best course of action and if it doesn't work, it could be time to get rid of it to save costs.
13 Say Goodbye To Big Show
At first, Big Show becoming enhancement talent was troubling but a bit understandable. After all, the whole "giant" gimmick is a stale one and he's lost too many times to be taken seriously as someone that is feared around the WWE. Now that he's being manhandled in a lot of his feuds, he's really not serving a purpose.
The WWE is looking to make rumored budget cuts and while they owe a debt of gratitude to the Big Show for his many years of good service, he'd probably save the company on their bottom line and he really wouldn't be missed. Giving complete credit where it's due, he looks great and got back in shape, but it's too little too late. If they at least announce his final matches, they can get some decent ratings out of it and say goodbye properly.
12 Move Kalisto to the Cruiserweight Division
JBL alluded to this on Bring it to the Table and it makes a lot of sense. Kalisto is one of the WWE's highest flyers. There's no reason not to include him in the Cruiserweight Division. He's spinning his wheels on Raw and he's clearly not the answer the WWE is looking for to finding their face for the Latino/Mexican audience. Put him where he makes the most sense and add him to 205 Live.
Some people would consider this a demotion but look what it did for the career of Neville who is more relevant now than he ever was before. The WWE might be best served to send someone like Enzo Amore there too. While he's not a high flyer, he and Kalisto would give a real shot of personality to that show. They might make it entertaining.
11 Bring in Bullet Club
Yes, I'm aware there may be some intellectual property issues here as New Japan Pro Wrestling owns the name. But, if and when New Japan develops working relationships with a company, the Bullet Club seems to show up everywhere. The WWE could benefit on this front in two ways.
First, Karl Anderson and Finn Balor were founding members. This needs to be exploited and it gives them starting the faction in the WWE complete credibility. Even if the WWE wanted to call it something other than Bullet Club, both could make reference to finishing something he started with another group. A similar but better name and make that part of the rebellion against his old crew. Second, the WWE could benefit from a relationship with New Japan. It isn't likely because Vince McMahon is a stickler, but it would open up the company to some very cool and new ideas. Just don't make it a joke and commit to it.
10 Do Everything To Stop Cena From Winning 17th Title
He can try and try, but always come up short (like he just did with Shinsuke Nakamura) and in subtle ways, he'll start to believe the WWE is out to get him because he left to pursue other interests. When he returns, let him cheat to win it. He can have the record, he can shoot on Flair and it's a creative change that might work, even with Cena off tv for a while.
9 Stop All Shinsuke Nakamura Promos
Shinsuke Nakamura has a huge future in the WWE. But, outside of a few words here or there during matches, don't let Nakamura talk... ever. This is especially the case if WWE insists on scripting his promos and feeding him terrible attempts at humor. That is not what Nakamura is and it's certainly not what fans fell in love with in NXT.
Nakamura showed up and wrestled Sami Zayn in a match-of-the-year caliber fight. He needs to steal the show every week or pay per view by simply being The King of Strong Style and demonstrating what he's good at. Have him talk less and wrestle more. That way, when he talks, it will have a greater impact. That there's a bit of a language barrier too will come off better if he selective chooses when to speak.
8 Let Brock Fight UFC
When Brock Lesnar went and fought Mark Hunt in UFC, it was a gamble that paid off and it was a great cross promotion for the WWE. If Brock is doing more than using the UFC as leverage for a new deal in WWE, call his bluff and let him go there and fight again. Again, it will be a risk if he loses, but it is a gamble that could pay off big. He's still a bad@SS in the WWE, but not as much as he once was. He's the Universal Champion and that's just not a good choice if he's not going to be on your show.
If UFC is what Brock wants, let him have it. Work it into his contract so he can double-dip and it will save the WWE money. If he wins against Jon Jones (or whoever he fights), it could be great marketing for the company. He can't then suggest the WWE wouldn't let him have the freedom he wanted and he could stay in a lighter capacity role.
7 Put Lana Back as a Manager
Lana is not a great wrestler and that's ok. There have been lots of worse wrestlers before and there will be worse wrestlers after. But, the WWE took Lana and Rusev out of promising roles and into positions that are hurting their ability to prolong their careers. If the WWE is insisting on Lana becoming a wrestler (or she is insisting on it) let her wrestle at live events only until she's completely ready.
This is a suggestion with the understanding that it may be too late. It's more than extremely likely that the WWE has already ruined Lana and Rusev and that they couldn't go back to their original characters and make them effective, even if they wanted to. So, let Lana start her own stable. Make Rusev one of a few wrestlers in it.
This is also a suggestion that alone wouldn't save or kill a show. It more represents the fact that the WWE is willing to put square pegs into round holes and that's just bad for business.
6 Demote the Right People
It's never an easy decision to demote someone. And, amidst all the upcoming budget cuts the WWE will be making, perhaps it might be far fetched to expect the company will send a lot of people down to NXT — but they should. There are a number of wrestlers on the main roster that don't deserve to be there or are being underutilized. It's time to make things right and give them a fair shot to shine.
NXT could use the boost in star power too. This is one of the first times the NXT roster has felt depleted and will even more if the WWE calls up talent for the next Superstar Shakeup. There is very little star power on the roster and sending a few people back could change that in a hurry. Guys like Finn Balor didn't want to leave because they were building something there. Maybe other wrestlers would feel the same.
5 Don't Let Paul Heyman Leave
One of the things to come out of Raw heading into SummerSlam was that if Lesnar loses, he'll leave the WWE and Paul Heyman will go with him. Hopefully, this is not a story line to introduce the exit of both men and just something to add intrigue to the main event, but the WWE should view Heyman as a bigger loss than Lesnar if this comes to pass.
Heyman could be versatile in that he can rep anyone that he deems worthy. Introduce someone new to the company or let him start his own stable. He's more available to the WWE, he costs a fraction of what Lesnar does and he's arguably a main reason Lesnar is still a draw in the WWE. The company would be best suited not to throw the baby out with the bathwater if Lesnar chooses to leave.
4 Put Heyman With Samoa Joe
If Lesnar does go and Heyman does stay, what should the WWE do with him? Here's a crazy idea. Have him turn his back on Lesnar and side with Samoa Joe. Heyman has talked nothing but garbage about Joe and his Samoan heritage. What if this was all an elaborate setup? What if SummerSlam ends with Joe winning the title and Heyman jumps on board because he feels Joe is actually more dangerous?
Maybe Heyman feels Lesnar can't beat Jon Jones and doesn't want to be attached to a sinking ship? There are endless possibilities here and the WWE would never see it coming. It's not an easy decision because Heyman and Lesnar are connected at the hip, but it makes the idea that much more effective when it happens. The WWE has a babyface in Lesnar that would draw huge ratings and a new top heel that is actually around to wrestle.
3 Bring Back Talking Smack
Vince had his reasons for canceling the show Talking Smack. You won't find many people inside or outside the company who agree with his decision, but he did it nonetheless. He left Daniel Bryan without his second-most prominent role and he left Renee Young hanging in the wind. He took away an outlet for WWE Superstars to get themselves over in an unscripted fashion and he removed a significant part of what had the audience tuning in each week.
Rumors are he did it all because he didn't like giving up so much control over what came out of the show, but he allows shows like Bring it to the Table to stay on the network and they're just as guilty about discussing potential backstage issues as any other show. McMahon needs to reverse his decision which won't be easy since he hates admitting he was wrong.
2 Give Renee Young A Bigger Role
The minute Renee Young found out that Talking Smack was canceled via Twitter, she was rightfully upset. Then to find out that Unfiltered was being canceled as well probably sent her over the edge. She seems to be a trooper, but you have to think if the WWE is going to use her as backstage interview talent only, she's eventually going to take one of the bigger networks like ESPN or Fox up on their offer (and they have offered).
Renee Young is the best interviewer and host the WWE has right now. She's a natural, she knows her stuff and she's likable and watchable. While anyone is replaceable, she would be a huge loss if the company lost her talent due to under usage. They need to show her she's appreciated.
1 Take Creative Control From Vince McMahon
This is the top of our list but likely the most difficult task to accomplish. Vince McMahon will not relinquish control over his company until he's good and damn well ready and even at 71 years old he's not ready. This despite the fact that he's losing his touch creatively.
I don't believe that McMahon has lost his business acumen like some. After all, the WWE just announced record earnings and when everyone said the WWE Network was innovated yet totally risky — Dana White even called Vince an idiot for doing it, Vince has proven he's still got the sense to take smart gambles and make them profitable. He is out of touch with his audience though and it's time he steps back and makes decisions that are more reflective of what the WWE Universe is craving.