Ever since the kerfuffle that was WrestleMania 32, WWE programming has improved noticeably. The Brand Split has brought new life to what had been a flagging and predictable product, while the elevation of talents like Sasha Banks, Heath Slater, Kevin Owens, and A.J. Styles has renewed faith in the idea that atypical wrestlers (i.e., those not in the usual WWE mold) can become stars. Most importantly, the quality of in-ring action is increasing, especially on RAW and SmackDown, where the quality had previously been lackluster.
Despite all the good news, the WWE is still prone to making silly mistakes. Besides the excruciatingly bad Old Day segment on the September 5th episode of RAW, both the Red Brand and the Blue Brand keep dishing out Triple Threat main events, #1 Contender matches, and multiple tag team matches. While these matches tend to be all well and good, the sheer repetition is tiring. The WWE could do with a little more excitement, a little more creativity. New storylines and angles are a surefire way to get even nominal fans interested again. The following 15 proposed examples would certainly "put butts in seats," but it's unlikely the WWE will go through with them.
15 A.J. Styles Breaks CM Punk's Title Reign
It's no secret that the WWE would like its audience to forget about CM Punk. During Backlash, The Miz quickly shot on Dolph Ziggler, got pummeled, and was put in a rear naked choke. This is exactly what happened to Punk at UFC 203. Even more telling, the WWE was quick to break AJ Lee's Diva's Championship reign of 295 days not long after Lee, Punk's wife, left the company unceremoniously.
With this in mind, the WWE could get some sweet revenge by having A.J. Styles, the current "Face That Runs the Place" on SmackDown, break Punk's 434-day reign. With Styles, the WWE has a great worker who can be both heel and face. Furthermore, a heel Styles could make a show out of counting down the days to 434. Just imagine the merchandise sales!
14 Turn Ambrose Heel; Turn Cena Tweener
The current main event for No Mercy is one of the more compelling storylines in the WWE right now. After Ambrose scored a rare clean victory over Cena on the September 20th edition of SmackDown, he looks like a credible threat to Styles' championship. The best thing for business would be for Ambrose to lose via dirty tricks on September 29th, then have Styles retain at No Mercy. A visibly frustrated Ambrose would then turn violent--not goofy, cartoon violent, but quasi-CZW violent.
Ambrose's new found sense of violence should be directed towards Cena, the veteran who criticized Ambrose for not showing enough heart. In turn, Cena, upset that Ambrose has a clean victory over him, could beat Ambrose on TV using heel or heel-ish tactics. This could set up for a nice popular heel versus divisive tweener rivalry.
13 The Cruiserweight Championship Defended on Both Shows
The likelihood of this happening is less than zero, but given the popularity and critical praise that the Cruiserweight Classic received, SmackDown viewers shouldn't be denied their own Cruiserweight Division. Rather than create a new title, the Cruiserweight Championship should be defended on both shows and include those members of both rosters who weigh under 205 pounds. While this would be a lot of work for the champion, it's important that the WWE make the Cruiserweight Championship and the division look strong after so many years of neglect. Keep in mind that the final Cruiserweight Champion, prior to T.J. Perkins reviving the belt was Hornswoggle. With this new division on the rise, WWE looks to repair past damage that has bene done to the Cruiserweight Championship.
12 Turn the U.S. and/or Intercontinental Titles Into TV Titles
Originally, the entire concept of a TV or Television Championship was for the title to be defended exclusively on that wrestling organization's weekly TV program. The United States Championship and the Intercontinental Championship could and should be treated like TV Titles, with a few alterations. First of all, one or both of the titles should be defended on every single episode of RAW or SmackDown. Constant exposure would elevate the title in question, which in turn would make the champion look strong. Second, like the old NWA U.S. Championship, whomever wears the U.S. Title should be considered the #1 Contender for the WWE Universal Championship on RAW. The same goes for the Intercontinental Champion and the WWE World Championship on SmackDown. By doing this, the WWE could break down some of the rigid boundaries it currently has between the mid-card and the main event.
11 Make Enzo Amore Big Cass' Manager
Everyone loves Enzo Amore and Big Cass. When their music hits, they get some of the biggest pops on RAW. For the most part, the crowds cheer for the antics and the verbal acrobatics of Amore. Unfortunately, as reported by The Sportster on June 16th of this year, Vince McMahon loves the idea of Big Cass as a singles monster. While most fans would hate the idea of splitting apart one of their favorite babyface teams, Amore would be better utilized as Cass' entertaining manager. After all, Cass is better in the ring, while Amore is much better on the microphone. A Lesnar/Heyman-type of situation would benefit both. With Amore playing the role of Cass' mouthpiece, fans would not lose interest in Cass during his main event push.
10 Have Cesaro Win, Then Defect to SmackDown
Pity poor Cesaro. Even though "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and others have repeatedly sung his praises, the "Swiss Superman" just can't get a sustained push. Currently, Cesaro is locked in a Best-of-Seven Series with Sheamus that has drawn little attention, even though the winner is guaranteed a championship opportunity. Most observers believe that Cesaro is scheduled to win the series. However, Cesaro's future as a champion is far from guaranteed, especially since word has leaked that Cesaro might not re-sign when his contract expires at the end of 2016.
A better way to book Cesaro would be to have him defeat Sheamus, then wrestle Rusev or Reigns for the United States Championship. After failing to capture the belt, Cesaro, using the (kayfabe) excuse that his contract with RAW is coming to close, defects to SmackDown and begins cutting blistering anti-RAW promos. Within the first three or four months of his defection, Cesaro should win a SmackDown championship.
9 Rhyno Double Crosses Slater
The rise of Heath Slater has been a thing of beauty to behold. The redhead from West Virginia perfectly played his free agent role, garnering grassroots support from the fans in the process. Once considered a lame comedy act, Slater is now one of the most over babyfaces in the whole company. As such, his tag team with Rhyno, which captured the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Backlash, is one of the main reasons to watch the Blue Brand.
The team cannot last forever, however. Rhyno's current political ambitions could lead to scheduling conflicts in the very near future. In order to keep Slater hot but without a championship, Rhyno should be booked to double cross his partner, thereby giving the titles to a heel team like The Usos. This maintains Slater's status as a lovable babyface, while at the same time it leaves the door open for a heel Rhyno with a corrupt politician gimmick.
8 Rebranding Ziggler
Because of a string of high profile losses to Dean Ambrose and The Miz, Dolph Ziggler's position as one of the premiere contenders on SmackDown is in question. Recently, JBL has been using his commentary platform to call out Ziggler for having a weak mental game. The fans too have lost a lot of their interest in Ziggler, thereby opening up a hole in the mid-card for a popular babyface.
In order to rehabilitate Ziggler, WWE should take him off of TV for several months. Give Ziggler time to heal and do stand-up comedy. When he returns, Ziggler will automatically be over with the fans. A new look and a new finisher will be added to Ziggler's game, which in turn will lead to a winning streak that culminates in him capturing the Intercontinental Championship from either The Miz or Cesaro.
7 Break Up The New Day
The dissolution of The New Day will be incredibly unpopular, but it is necessary. While they still get some of the biggest pops on RAW, The New Day have grown a little stale. A genuinely great trio, The New Day have long dominated a tepid tag team scene. Now, with the arrival of Gallows and Anderson, The New Day have serious contenders with an international pedigree. Tragically, the WWE have booked Gallows and Anderson to be a stupid, unfunny comedy act, thus weakening their potential. In order to rectify this, Gallows and Anderson should win clean at Clash of Champions.
Following the loss of their titles, The New Day then hit a long losing streak. In each one of these losses, Kofi Kingston takes the pinfall or submission. Eventually, Xavier Woods and Big E begin to question Kingston's heart and his stamina (he's the oldest member of the group, after all). An incensed Kingston turns on his teammates by intentionally losing a rematch against Gallows and Anderson, then attacks both Woods and Big E following the match. This sets up Kingston for a singles run as a heel.
6 Give Owens a Year-Long Reign
First and foremost, Kevin Owens should remain the WWE Universal Champion until Finn Balor is able to return to competition. During this time, Triple H's involvement should be kept to a minimum and most, if not all, of Owens' wins should be clean. Finally, when Owens and Balor meet for the title, Triple H interferes and helps Owens to victory. During their rematch, Triple H is barred from ringside. In this second match, Balor wrestles as the "Demon King," but loses clean to Owens after a grueling match. The following night on RAW, Balor is booked in a singles match with an upper mid-card talent and again wrestles as the "Demon King." He again loses clean. Meanwhile, Owens continues to reign as the WWE Universal Champion with the support of Triple H.
5 Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor
Following his numerous loses, Finn Balor begins to question whether or not his alter ego is as powerful as he believes. This doubt is heightened by Bray Wyatt, who is now on RAW. Wyatt's cryptic promos are aimed at Balor, demanding that he become the "Demon King" forever. Initially Balor resists, but Wyatt's pressure (to say nothing of the fact that he keeps interfering in Balor's matches) eventually forces him to become the "Demon King" in either an Extreme Rules match or a Cage Match against Wyatt. Wyatt stipulates that if he wins, Balor must either join him or relinquish the "Demon King" persona. Wyatt wins the match, which leads Balor to give up the "Demon King" for a prolonged period of time, setting an interesting stage for Balor.
4 Creation of a Women's Tag Team Division
Following in the footsteps of TNA circa 2009, the WWE should create a Women's Tag Team Division. Currently, neither RAW nor SmackDown has a large enough roster for a Women's Tag Team Division, therefore the WWE should start poaching talent from Shimmer, ROH, or Stardom in Japan. Once large enough, one or both brands should incorporate Women's tag team wrestling. For RAW, the inaugural champions should either be Charlotte and Dana Brooke or Charlotte and Nia Jax (following a feud between Charlotte and Dana Brooke), while SmackDown's champions could be Alexa Bliss and Natalya or Naomi and Nikki Bella. With a lot more focus being placed on Women's wrestling these days, there is no reason to believe that the Women's division in WWE cannot expand much more.
3 NXT vs. WWE Pay-Per-View
In 2010, the arrival of The Nexus was the hottest storyline in pro wrestling. Unfortunately, horrible booking killed the angle not too long after its inception. These days, NXT is a hot commodity that consistently delivers quality in-ring action. Because of this, WWE should have several NXT talents bad mouth both RAW and SmackDown on Twitter, Facebook, and in interviews. The gist of these comments should be along the lines of: "We're better wrestlers than they are."
These comments obviously irk those wrestlers on the main rosters. WWE wrestlers begin showing up at NXT events and vice versa. Eventually, a Pay-Per-View is put together that centers around NXT vs. WWE. No titles are on the line, nor are any RAW or SmackDown storylines in play. The whole point of the Pay-Per-View is to have great storytelling in the ring, with each match counting towards a final total that will decide which side wins.
2 WarGames Returns
Rather than become Hell in a Cell 2.0, the WWE should utilize WCW's WarGames concept just once. The most obvious storyline could be RAW vs. SmackDown, but the aforementioned NXT vs. WWE angle could work just as well. Whatever the case, a single Pay-Per-View, preferably sometime in either the fall or winter, should feature the classic WarGames formula. A RAW-centric storyline could see Stephanie McMahon choosing several wrestlers as a team to compete against a squad assembled by Mick Foley. Conversely, instead of McMahon vs. Foley, a WarGames match could feature a team lead by both Foley and McMahon against a team led by Paul Heyman, who, along with Brock Lesnar, wants to make life a living hell for Stephanie. With the accessibility of the WWE Network, an experimental Pay-Per-View is not out of the question.
1 A Partnership or an Invasion
According to an Inquisitr article written by Joe Burgett, the WWE at one point offered to buy TNA. This information presents many storyline possibilities. Once purchased, a TNA invasion of both WWE brands would be incredibly entertaining. Just imagine "Broken" Matt Hardy and Brother Nero feuding with the remnants of The Wyatt Family.
If TNA continues to remain independent of Stamford, Connecticut, then the WWE might look to ROH. Instead of buying out ROH (which remains a possibility), the WWE should emulate that company's working relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling. Just like ROH, the WWE could feature Evolve, PWG, or Revolution Pro Wrestling talent on their programming, even going so far as to hold non-WWE title matches during their Pay-Per-Views. Such an action would expose a whole new audience to independent wrestling and independent wrestlers, thereby making much needed new stars in the process.
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