Having firmly established themselves as the top wrestling promotion on the planet, WWE has little in the way of necessary improvement, at least as it relates to the bottom line. They have a formula that’s worked for many years, and while it’s allowed them to be successful much of the time, it can also be a detriment, or at least unnecessary. Change tends to come along slowly for WWE these days, but there are some aspects of the company that should be altered in order to operate more efficiently and produce a better overall product.
Ultimately, competition forces these kinds of changes at a much more rapid pace. Since nobody can go toe-to-toe with WWE in the modern day, hopefully they’ll be able to realize these alterations on their own. The product is still a good one, but if Team McMahon and company can clean these things up, then it could have a chance to go back to being great. Let’s take a look at some ways WWE can clean up the company, to once again make it run at its peak capabilities.
Ranked below are 15 terrible things that WWE needs to stop doing immediately.
15. Unnecessarily Expanding The Roster
There’s been a concerted effort on WWE’s part to really expand the personnel in the entire company. They’ve been signing many wrestlers who have made their names on the indie scene, as well as some on the international circuit, with far more regularity than they have in years. It’s a good step to making the company more diverse, but there also comes a point where it gets to be too much.
There’s simply too many wrestlers not getting proper air-time to accomplish anything at all. While it’s true that every promotion’s roster needs to have some kind of filler, there’s no point in having large portions of the roster remain essentially unused. WWE should pick their future signings more wisely, to ensure they aren’t wasting talent on the payroll.
14. Pushing Monster-Type Wrestlers
We’ve seen this movie a thousand times before. It’s essentially the model for how WWE became the biggest promotion in the world, and it’s probably never going to stop anytime soon. But really, how many more times do we need to see wrestlers who draw with sheer muscle (and little else) be pushed to oblivion instead of wrestlers who are better in the ring?
Sure, you always need these types of wrestlers on the roster, but does Braun Strowman really need to be the focal point of the biggest push in the company right now? Some do enjoy his work, but the other side of the coin says that this is just a Lesnar/Goldberg rehash done for a new audience. It gets stale after a while, seeing the same angle played out time and time again.
13. Scripting Interviews And Promos
One of the things that allowed for The Attitude Era to happen, and for new stars to develop was the leeway WWE gave many of its wrestlers to be themselves on camera. In other words, not strictly following a script when it came time to develop their character through interviews and promos. It was a novel idea at the time, and it paid dividends when the company was able to take control of the ratings war.
In recent years, WWE has gone back to the method of generally having their interviews scripted to the last word. While it provides assurance that big mistakes are less likely to happen, it also hinders certain wrestlers from breaking out of their shell. All-time great characters such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock were created because of their creative leeway, and now it’s much less likely to happen.
12. Derivative Booking
In the wrestling landscape of 2017, it’s not a surprise that booking decisions tend to get reused at least several times over. There’s simply been so much precedent at this point, that it’s difficult to come up with storylines and ideas that are completely original. But there’s a big difference between borrowing an idea from the past, and outright ripping it off with a new spin put on it.
Way too many angles in the past few years have been retreads of past ideas, from the foreign-villain gimmick we saw during Jinder Mahal’s WWE Title run, to Braun Strowman being an unstoppable monster of a wrestler who is unbeatable in the middle of the ring. New ideas are needed on a more consistent basis, or at least a better job needs to be done of covering up the lack of creativity.
11. Letting Good Young Talent Walk
Not that WWE hasn’t developed new stars over the years, but the fact that they’ve let some people go who have gone on to great heights elsewhere is more than a little frustrating. Cody Rhodes is a prime example of someone who is now thriving on the indie scene, with prospects to go just about wherever he wants. Yet, his character was left for dead in WWE, just because they didn’t have the foresight to book him in the right situations.
Is it the end of the world? No, but it’s still something that hurts the company, and affects the quality of the output. WWE should be more cognizant of the fact that they’ll need new stars to be developed for years down the line, and for some wrestlers, to not give up on them so easily.
10. Mishandling The Tag Division
It’s no secret that tag team wrestling has been on the downturn in WWE for a long time, and that the company has made a distinct lack of effort in developing new teams. While it’s not at its absolute worst at the moment, there’s still room for improvement and a greater emphasis on important matches.
WWE has constructed some really effective tag teams in recent years, such as The Usos and The New Day, but the depth just isn’t there. So while it’s great that the top of the tag division is strong once again, but there just isn’t much for these top teams to feud with. Bolstering the tag division would go a long way to giving more options for pay-per-views, and better utilize the personnel on the roster, much of which is remaining stagnant in the singles ranks.
9. One-Off Returns From Past Wrestlers
When it’s done right, a return to WWE can be highlight-reel moment that can add another layer to an already-good show. But far too often in the past year or two, we’ve seen wrestlers leaving and returning haphazardly, and it really effects the flow of angles and storylines from wrestlers already present on the roster.
Basically, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg shouldn’t be returning seemingly every 6-12 months, and then taking spotlight on a consistent basis from other wrestlers are have established continuity on the roster. Any possible chance for a momentarily better draw is erased when we’ve seen the same thing play out time and time again. Leave the return appearances to a minimum, and begin to develop new stars instead of relying on old ones.
8. Pushing The Wrong Wrestlers
Now, it’s not as if WWE pushes the wrong talent in every single instance. For example, they’ve handled the signing of A.J. Styles very well, keeping him relevant and giving him the time to work great matches. However, in other cases, they’ve missed the mark big time.
The most egregious recent example has been the Jinder Mahal title reign which threw everyone for a loop, but there have been other head-scratchers as well. When did Baron Corbin become worthy of main event status? Looks like that’s going to be the case moving forward. Yet other, more talented wrestlers such as Shinsuke Nakamura get left in the dust. WWE needs to prioritize their roster better, giving worthy talent an opportunity to elevate themselves.
7. Burying The Cruiserweights
This has been a constant with WWE going back to the formation of the division itself, and while recent developments have seen them place some kind of stock in the cruiser-division, it’s still not enough to be considered legitimate. Despite efforts to improve, all management has done is further demote the division into a niche realm that it still can’t get out of.
The only solution for WWE is to feature the cruiserweights more prominently on the main shows. We’ve been saying this forever of course, but every time they have an opportunity to do so, they continue to marginalize them through B-shows and the like. These are some of the best wrestlers on the main roster, and sneaking at least a few into major storylines would diversify WWE further, and provide a nice contrast to the typical “WWE style” of wrestling commonly featured. The first step to this would be getting rid of…
6. 205 Live
The show was a bad idea from the beginning, despite it being a clear attempt to bolster the cruiserweight division into something legitimate. Instead, it’s having the opposite effect of that, and it’s slotting the wrestlers who comprise the division into a B-show atmosphere that seems like a tune-up for the main shows. Needless to say, 205 Live has been a critical error on the part of WWE.
Again, elevating cruiserweights has been a problem forever in the company, and a year into the launch of 205 Live, we can confirm that it isn’t the solution. Putting these talented wrestlers on the main shows would force management to formulate quality storylines around them, and then let the in-ring excellence steal the show on pay-per-view. It doesn’t like it’s in the cards, but it’s really something that WWE needs to consider.
5. Oversaturating The Market
It’s great that WWE is willing to put out so much product for wrestling fans in the modern day. Things like the WWE Network and having access to all the archives of past promotions is a great thing, and definitely shouldn’t be taken for granted. But still, certain WWE ventures just aren’t necessary, and serve no purpose.
It’s overkill when WWE is making a foray into animated shows, and other ventures that don’t do anything to facilitate awareness for the in-ring product. As the most popular wrestling promotion in the world, they don’t need to try and make a splash in every possible outlet. The best thing WWE can do is keep all of their content related to the in-ring product of some kind, and this has been case for years, as they were exposed in other cross-promotional failures such as the XFL.
4. Burying International Talent
Unfortunately, while WWE has the capability to acquire some truly great international talent, they often don’t utilize them in the best possible ways. There are countless examples of this going back decades, but the most recent example is the failure to adequately push Shinsuke Nakamura, who is on the shortlist for best wrestlers in the company right now.
It’s looking less and less likely that WWE is going to push the former New Japan star at all to the point of getting a true run with any title, and that’s another loss for every fans of actual wrestling that they have. Again, it’s not anything new, but it would be nice to see WWE correct this failure to hardly ever give their due to talent overseas.
3. Not Reaching Out To NJPW
If WWE truly wants to make a splash in the wrestling world today, they’ll ditch the peripheral business ventures and focus on establishing a working relationship with New Japan. Such a move could be considered risky, but a supershow-type bill with these two promotions could benefit both companies, and the move would have the entire wrestling world buzzing with anticipation.
It’s a long-shot for sure, but there’s a precedent for these types of things happening. We already know that Chris Jericho is going to be on Wrestle Kingdom facing off against Kenny Omega, and an entire card of these matchups would be stellar. To shake things up, WWE needs to think outside the box and book a cross-promotional show of some kind.
2. Inflating The Number Of Pay-Per-Views
The number of pay-per-views that WWE has run on an annual basis has fluctuated over recent years, but generally it’s still far too many to keep track of. Even at the apex of The Attitude Era, they were only producing one per month, but in the modern day where they have no legitimate competition, that number has jumped to over 12, with a total of 14 scheduled for 2018. And that’s significantly less than their PPV count this year.
While more pay-per-views equates to more money in the eyes of WWE, they may be doing more harm to themselves than good here. A handful of these shows always turn out to extremely sub-par, and others don’t have the replay value that a pay-per-view should. They should focus on cutting the number down to seven or eight per year, and making every show a hit with developed feuds and classic matches. As it is now, too many of these shows fall flat for justify the number.
1. The Brand Split
Essentially, the brand split was the maneuver that signified the modern WWE era. Splitting the company into different sections based on programming was an unprecedented move at the time for any wrestling company. It was something that made WWE feel like a giant corporation more than just a wrestling promotion, and while it has worked well at times, there are intrinsic aspects to it that hinder the shows and pay-per-views.
Besides inflating the size of the roster to unnecessary levels, the brand split delegitimizes titles, makes storylines loss their impact, and stifles big-match potential. There’s just more of everything, so the impact of any decision or match is lessened than it would be otherwise. Initially it was a novel idea, but at this point it’s run its course, and cluttered the roster and storyline landscape beyond repair.
It’s time to end the brand split, and for WWE to once again emphasize quality over quantity. Younger fans may have to adjust to it, but it would make everything about the product so much better, as well as making the promotion much easier to follow.
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