The end of one year and the start of the next always lead to a certain level of retrospection. Next to getting extremely drunk with your friends, probably the most popular New Year’s tradition is making a resolution—a promise to improve part of your life that you made mistakes in last year. The CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, Vince McMahon, has made plenty of mistakes throughout 2016, although to be fair, it isn’t like the problems are particularly new.
Regardless of how long ago Vince started slipping, the switch to 2017 could well be the spark that finally inspires him to turn things back around. WWE definitely has the resources to be as good as it’s ever been and they wouldn’t even need to change much for things to at least start going in the right direction. All Vince needs to do is make the right promises to himself and actually follow through with them as the year goes on.
As per usual, we have no way of ensuring any of these changes actually will take place. Knowing Vince, its possible his only resolution has to do with some insane workout goal no septuagenarian should attempt. If, however, he should decide to focus on improving his company, we have a few suggestions about where he might want to start. Keep reading to remember 15 New Year’s Resolutions we hope Vince McMahon makes about WWE.
15 "I Will Improve The WWE Network"
Launched in February 2014, the WWE Network has been one of the most groundbreaking and game changing creations Vince McMahon has made in a long time. Instant access to thousands of hours of wrestling footage from WWE, WCW, ECW, AWA, NWA, and a handful of smaller promotions sounds like any fans dream and for the most part, it has been. That said, there are still plenty of ways the WWE Network could improve. First and foremost, there’s the issue that the company is still sitting on even more thousands of hours worth of footage that has yet to be uploaded. These things take time, but Vince making a statement that the Network remains a priority could at least ensure fans he hasn’t forgotten now that everyone’s already subscribed. Beyond that, Vince could also considering tiering the Network at different prices for different levels of service, something that would definitely both increase his audience and the amount of money he makes from them.
14 "I Will Relax On Corporate Branding"
While it would be impossible to revert entirely to the raucous atmosphere of the Attitude Era, wrestling fans have nonetheless been longing for the days WWE didn’t feel pointedly sterile, as though they were intentionally draining any personality from the show in order to present a perfectly corporate affair. The announcers shilling catchphrases and bylines undercut what could be serious moments, taking fans out of the moment and constantly reminding them there’s no reason to invest in what they’re watching because it’s just a TV show and everyone can be replaced. Unfortunately, Vince is highly unlikely to make this particular resolution because he’s crafted this atmosphere entirely by design. Wrestlers feel replaceable because they are, as Vince rebrands them to prove how easy it is and reaffirm he’s in charge of the industry. It would be nice, though, if at 71 years old, he started to realize that was no longer necessary and WWE fans are aware who owns the product they’re watching.
13 "I Will Pay More Attention To NXT"
Florida Championship Wrestling morphed into NXT late 2012 and the brand has been one of the hottest properties in WWE ever since. Especially thanks to a weekly program on the WWE Network, fans are able to watch upcoming and developing wrestlers turn into bonafide superstars, often giving Vince instant new main eventers when their ready to jump to the main WWE roster. Despite this, most rumors claim Vince doesn’t pay a great deal of attention to NXT, only catching the Network specials and occasional big shows. It’s perfectly understandable that Vince is too busy running WWE to attend minor NXT events or even watch every single episode of the weekly Network show, but he should at least have a decent understanding of most of the talent on the roster. If nothing else, the guy signs their paychecks, not to mention the best amongst them will be working directly for him before long and the sooner he understands their strengths, the faster he’ll come up with ideas to utilize them.
12 "I Will Not Hot Shot Any More Championships"
For all the praise the matches have received, the feud between Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks has been highly criticized for constantly switching the WWE Raw Women’s Championship back and forth between the two. The belt has existed just under nine months and has already changed hands six times, though only Charlotte or Banks have been champion. The WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships has recently joined the trend by changing hands twice in December of 2017 alone. Extremely short title reigns like this only serve to make everyone look weak, like they can only occasionally win a match by luck. The championships themselves don’t look important at the end, either, because no one to hold them did so with a particularly impressive reign. Vince has been in the game long enough to know these tropes, so one can only hope he’ll stop falling into it and 2017 gives us some impressive champions.
11 "I Will Not Pigeonhole Female Wrestlers"
Worse than having Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks play hot potato with the Raw Women’s Championship, Vince and his top writers still seem unable to get over their theory that all females are petty bitches who hate one another. The fact he finally stopped calling them Divas was a start and accepting the fact there’s a women’s revolution is another step in the right direction. Unfortunately, most feuds between females in WWE still ultimately degenerate to scratch fights and name calling, without nuanced issues like respect or the strong character work of the WWE men’s division ever coming into play. Fans do get to see shades of this with the women of NXT, but getting called up is often a death knell to a creative woman’s career. Luckily, it seems like this is one resolution that might actually get made, as women have been treated exponentially better in 2016 than in the past, and that trend only looks to continue.
10 "I Will Take Take Teams More Seriously"
Obviously, if hot shotting the Raw Women’s Championship meant there were deeper problems within the women’s division Vince needed to address, the fact he’s doing the same thing with the SmackDown Tag Team Championships would imply there are general issues Vince has with tag teams that he should also deal with in the next year. Vince’s interest in tag team wrestling has always faded in and out over the years, rarely peaking when he saw serious money to be made. This could explain why the only team to truly get pushed recently has been The New Day. We love The New Day as much as anyone else, but they turned most of their challengers into jokes and it took a hodgepodge of solo wrestlers to beat them. On the SmackDown side, Vince is sticking random wrestlers together and made the belts secondary to a Wyatt Family angle. The fact America Alpha recently won them could be a sign of good things to come, though, so we’ll call this one another resolution that could actually come true.
9 "I Will Update The Wellness Policy"
After the sudden and surprising death of Eddie Guerrero, WWE created the Talent Wellness Program, better known as the Wellness Policy. There are pros and cons to what basically amounts to WWE’s healthcare system, with one of the biggest flaws being that it doesn’t actually include healthcare at all. The Wellness Policy also doesn’t offer much in the way of sick days and, if CM Punk is to be believed, can actually force wrestlers to keep working when they should be given time off. Punk isn’t the only one who’s made comments to that effect, either, with plenty of wrestlers complaining over the years about how the WWE work schedule contributed to or even caused their injuries. For the sake of his own workers health, Vince needs to look into the Wellness Policy and resolve to make it better with higher priority than almost anything else on the list.
8 "I Will Treat My Employees Better"
Fixing the Wellness Policy would be a very good start to increasing most WWE superstars’ quality of life, but in reality, that’s only the tip of the iceberg for how Vince could start treating his employees better. More important than sick days or time off is compensation in general, and certain WWE superstars get paid far better than others, often to a bizarre and indefensible degree. Obviously, the WWE main event superstars are going to get paid more than the NXT curtain-jerkers who’ve never won a match. There’s a ridiculous amount of variance in between, though, and Vince needs to double-check and make sure all of his superstars are in the correct pay grade. Especially now that women’s wrestling is earning the respect it always deserved, his female talent in particular has a strong argument that they’re being undercompensated for their work, and Vince needs to address that problem before it becomes a PR disaster.
7 "I Will Listen To My Fans"
This one should go without saying and yet given the way Vince has been booking his company lately, here we are. The success of WWE relies on giving the fans what they want, but Vince has practically been defiant in his desire to do the opposite since at least late 2013. Fans constantly chanted for Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, and he gave them anything but, letting Punk walk out of the company and waiting until it was too late to give Bryan the spotlight he deserved. Three years later, Vince is still pushing Roman Reigns down an unreceptive crowd’s throat, ignoring pleas to push wrestlers like Sami Zayn or Dolph Ziggler as true stars instead. He doesn’t need to focus on those wrestlers in particular, but with WrestleMania rumors pointing towards Reigns having unwanted guests in the main event, it would be nice if Vince at least promised to give wrestlers fans actually liked a chance. On that note…
6 "I Will Stop Pushing Roman Reigns"
Dance around it all you want, just like Vince McMahon should have resolved in 2014, 2015, and 2016, in 2017, he needs to stop pushing Roman Reigns as a hero to a crowd that doesn’t want to see him at all. The further up the card Reigns goes, the more fans reject him and now that he’s already a three time WWE Champion and the current United States Champion, the question has to be asked, how harshly will fans reject him when WWE only continues to push him beyond this already considerable level of success? Rumors are indicating the answer is another main event at WrestleMania or at least an ascent back into the WWE Championship scene when he drops the US belt. This is again the exact opposite of what fans want and the only way to fix it is Vince promising to give up on Roman Reigns once and for all.
5 "I Will Call Up Shinsuke Nakamura"
The only thing more exciting that A.J. Styles making his long awaited WWE debut in January of 2016 would have been if his NJPW rival Shinsuke Nakamura had come with him. All signs pointed towards that being a possibility, considering Nakamura signed a WWE contract the same day as A.J., and soon made his debut for NXT in April. Styles and Nakamura have yet to cross paths again in WWE, though, because Nakamura continues to wallow in NXT more than nine months later, despite arguably being the most talented, charismatic, and popular superstar on the roster today. This isn’t entirely Vince’s fault, as rumors indicate Triple H wants to keep Nakamura in NXT as his champion while the brand continues to expand. Logical as that is, it’s a disservice to WWE fans and the wrestling world in general to force Nakamura into being a big fish in a small pond. Calling him up to the main WWE roster would instantly fix that problem and let him to shine like the giant he is.
4 "I Will Hire New Announcers"
Michael Cole made his WWE debut in 1997, making his way to the announce desk later that year, remaining one of the main voices of WWE in one capacity or another 19 years thus far. Beaten only by Vince McMahon himself and perhaps Gorilla Monsoon, this makes Cole one of the longest tenured announcers in WWE history and fans have rejected his style almost since day one. The more he becomes McMahon’s drone, spouting catchphrases and removing any emotion from the product, the less fans want him off the desk. His co-hosts aren’t better, nor are the overexcited cries of Mauro Ranallo and his team on SmackDown. Commentary is also an area that lacks in NXT, so the solution would be for Vince to start from scratch and look into some entirely new announcers to introduce to the team. Fresh blood could reinvigorate old talents that lost their way and even an old timer like Cole could save his job by adapting to a new environment. Unfortunately, this is another area Vince definitely doesn’t want changed, so it’s more of a pipedream of ours than anything else.
3 "I Will Hire New Producers"
Take everything we just said about Michael Cole and the announce team and multiply it to an impossible level with Kevin Dunn, Executive Producer of WWE live events since 1993, and a member of the WWE family since his father had the same job for Vince, Sr. as early as 1972. Possibly even more so than the McMahon’s, the Dunn family has been responsible for the look of WWE television, from the sets, to the camera angles, and sometimes even in regards to who gets pushed. Kevin Dunn in particular is thus also to be held responsible when WWE television feels sterile, repetitive, and generally uninteresting, because he’s the one who claims the rules of TV production force it to do so. The diversity seen in wrestling shows produced by people other than Dunn, from old classics like WCW Monday Nitro to newer concepts like Lucha Underground, easily prove that variety is a great thing in the look and feel of a wrestling TV show. Vince needs to get rid of Dunn for his product to have that feeling today, but once again, he’ll never do it and so it’s all a moot point for us to dream about.
2 "I Will Take My Children Off Television"
Shane McMahon made his WWE debut as a referee sometime in 1989. He appeared as an on-screen personality in 1998 and his sister Stephanie was a major character as well by the summer of 1999. The McMahon siblings have both taken breaks from WWE television, Shane especially, but whenever they happen to be around, they absolutely dominate the storylines regardless of their roles in them. This is a problem in modern day WWE especially, where neither particularly adds much to the show in their roles as the respective General Managers of Raw and SmackDown. Even Shane’s big return felt wasted when all it led to was an unnecessary, dangerous, and yet somehow also disappointing Hell In A Cell match against The Undertaker. In 2017, Vince needs to make the firm decision to take his children off television for good, because they just don’t have anything left to offer anymore. And on that note…
1 "I Will Stay Off Television"
In 2016, Vince McMahon turned 71 years old. He also dramatically reduced his role on WWE television and, if rumors are to be believed, he might have done less than ever before behind the scenes, as well. In 2017, when he approaches 72, a natural and acceptable resolution for him to make would be to continue this trend. WWE TV doesn’t need Vince McMahon constantly raising hell anymore and the truth is, he can’t, at least not to the same degree he used to. Watching a 70-year-old man get punched by an athlete in his or her 20s or 30s isn’t a boss getting his comeuppance, it’s borderline senior citizen abuse. As for Vince’s moments of public pandering, he never seems genuine in the role and crowds will just chant at him until he gets mad and ruins it anyway. He might not take his kids off TV and we might be stuck with the bad announcers and Kevin Dunn, but hopefully Vince will at least recognize his age means he needs to give up the spotlight and stay off camera in 2017.
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