The past couple of years for the WWE have been rough in regards to garnering interest and building up the star power of the current roster. Very few legitimate stars have been made and some of the biggest ones have left with little to no hope of return. And if the star power weren’t a bad enough situation, the overall presentation of the show hinders the product as well. The entrance sets are all the same, the show follows an exact formula that the WWE refuses to deter from, some wrestlers are greatly miscast, along with many other problems that currently exist with the WWE.
Now the WWE is already attempting to revitalize the product by bringing back the brand split and separating the rosters, but there is a possibility that it may end up worse for the WWE overall, especially if the way they do things doesn’t change. The WWE desperately needs to shake things up and simply splitting the roster again sounds like the complete opposite decision that needs to be made for them at this time.
So, to offer up some ideas, this article will look at 15 things that the WWE can do that may make things more interesting and show the fans that they’re gonna be more exciting this time around.
15 Sign the Winner of the Cruiserweight Classic
At the beginning of 2016, the WWE announced that they would be having a Global Cruiserweight Series to showcase talent from all over the world. With it now being called the Cruiserweight Classic,and with Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan as announcers, the WWE has something really interesting on their hands and another incentive for wrestling fans to buy the WWE Network.
However, there doesn’t seem to be any prize announced for the tournament other than a trophy of some kind, but that shouldn’t be the only prize. With this tournament comes an opportunity for the WWE to possibly sign and debut a new star or former WWE Superstar, if they should win the tournament. They would already have a certain amount of buzz from winning the tournament, so taking it to the next step and debuting one of those Superstars on WWE television after weeks of buildup and hype would be great for the roster. Now this may be difficult as some, if not most, of these wrestlers are already signed to certain promotions, but if their contracts are up before the last taping, then the WWE will have a great opportunity on their hands.
14 A European Championship Storyline
The United States Championship has been bland since John Cena lost the title to Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell last year. Today, Rusev is the champion for a second time in what seems to be an exact repeat of the storyline from 2014. And with no real interesting opponents at the moment, the title may revert back to what it used to be.
Therefore, to make it interesting, the WWE should introduce a storyline in which Rusev declares that he is issuing a challenge to all of the WWE Superstars, that if no one defeats him at a PPV by WrestleMania, he will retire the United States Championship and resurrect the European Championship. This would not only provide Rusev more variety in his opponents on a monthly basis, but it will create intrigue in the title. Whether the WWE actually would retire the championship or not, just planting that idea in the fans’ heads and building up to a big match between Rusev and whoever at WrestleMania would be worth it.
So long as Cena doesn’t win it again.
13 Bring Back the Hardcore Championship
Of all the things wrestling fans have been asking for, this may be one of the more difficult to pull off in a PG show, but it could still be done effectively. When the Hardcore Championship was introduced in The Attitude Era, the title led to a lot of funs matches and moments where wrestlers had to watch their backs as they defended the title under the 24/7 rule.
Today, the product could definitely benefit from that kind of spontaneity and unpredictability. The only problem that could occur is the use of weapons that are associated with these types of matches, but that could be worked around with some creative and funny writing. Aside from just using a bunch of weapons during these matches, the Hardcore Championship constantly changing hands by sneak attacks and pinning people while sleeping will definitely be comedy that fans could enjoy today. Either way, it would definitely be a change from the norm by emphasizing that "anything can happen" in the WWE. It can also give some lower card Superstars much more of a purpose.
12 Introduce More Match Concepts/Change Up Matches
At the 2016 edition of Extreme Rules, the WWE held its first ever Asylum match. And while some fans will say they took that concept from the TNA Lethal Lockdown Match, the fact remains that it was a new match that WWE fans were exposed to and that probably should happen every once in a while to change up the types of matches that fans are used to seeing.
All the WWE matches that the fans see on a consistent basis are singles match, tag team match, multi-man tag team match, No Disqualification, and that’s about it. Now for the PPVs it may change, but only when the match revolves around the PPVs theme like a Ladder Match at Money in the Bank, a Hell in a Cell Match at Hell in a Cell, and so on and so forth. No one’s saying every week should have hardcore matches because that would lead to the same problems that exist today, but a change of pace every once in a while helps to keep things from falling into a rut.
11 Have More Tournaments
While the Cruiserweight Classic is providing an excellent opportunity for wrestlers from all over the world, the WWE roster could benefit from tournaments as well. Tournaments for Number One Contender spots and titles help to provide meaning to matches as well as build the credibility of the competitors.
Having a Gold Rush Tournament or something like Deadly Games would do wonders for making wrestlers look better. Even wrestlers who don’t necessarily win can look good by being booked to be at least close to a wrestler’s level. Think of how much greater it would’ve been for Daniel Bryan to win a tournament to make him the number one contender for the WWE Championship heading into SummerSlam against just being named the number one contender by the champion. As stated earlier, the little details go a long way in making the overall show interesting and tournaments do that for the fans.
10 Change The Sets For The Shows
Whether it’s Raw, SmackDown, or a PPV, all the sets for any type of WWE live event look exactly the same. The only thing that’s distinguishable about the current sets for the shows are the lighting they use, which pretty much means nothing of importance distinguishes them. Now it’s one thing to not have different looking shows during the days of the unified roster, but since the brand split is coming back, the WWE will benefit greatly from having different entrance sets for the shows, especially for their PPVs.
Many people are hoping that the brand split will inject some life into the product in a time period where they are losing more fans than they are gaining and a great way to send that message would be for the WWE to put some time and energy into how they present their entrance sets. It’s a relatively small part of the overall show, but even the little things help to enhance the overall show quality.
9 Have Neither Shane Nor Stephanie Run The Shows
Over the past few months, the WWE has been building to the idea of Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon feuding over who gets control of the company. With the news of the brand split, the rivalry has a major incentive now as the brands will be returning to their sense of competition. However, with it being highly probable that the WWE will have them run one show each in a highly predictable fashion, they might just do better to have neither McMahon run the show.
It’s the obvious decision and since it hasn’t really been that entertaining anyway, it would be best to have them oversee the show, but ultimately give control to someone else. If Shane gets control of SmackDown, maybe he could have the General Manager be Daniel Bryan or Kurt Angle and the same goes for Stephanie running Raw if that were to happen. The McMahon's feud doesn’t mean as much so long as Triple H and Shane McMahon aren’t interacting, so until that time comes, they should give someone else the TV time.
8 Make Chris Jericho The Intercontinental Champion
The Intercontinental Championship has had its ups and downs so far this year. It had a nice feud between Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose that led to a really good Last Man Standing Match, but then it fell into chaos as Zack Ryder, a wrestler who hadn’t been on TV in months, won the title at WrestleMania only to lose it the next night to The Miz.
Since The Miz has been the Intercontinental Champion, the belt doesn’t really garner the same attention it did during the Owens-Ambrose feud. While the fans highly praised the Fatal-4 Way match for the title at Extreme Rules, the title lost any modicum of momentum when The Miz left to film a WWE Movie.
So, to help make the title interesting, the WWE should put the championship on Chris Jericho. Y2J is a record nine time Intercontinental Champion, so making him a 10-time champion would increase his Hall of Fame Resume as well as give the person who beats him for the title a huge moment push. Jericho has put over many talents since returning in 2012, so putting the belt on him for a while during this extended run would make the next wrestler he puts over look great.
7 Make AJ Styles The World Heavyweight Champion
When the Brand Split was announced, many wrestling fans assumed that a second World Title would return with it. And as of right now, that seems to be the case as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been referred to simply as the WWE Championship over the past few weeks. If this is to be an indicator of the Big Gold Belt being revived for a particular brand, then the WWE would probably benefit from making AJ Styles their first World Heavyweight Champion since the titles were unified.
Styles has been creating quite a buzz for himself in the WWE since debuting at the Royal Rumble and capitalizing on his momentum now would make for great television. He’s a great wrestler, his heel work is light years ahead of his face character, and being with The Club will help give all three men some attention. On top of that, the majority of fans believe that John Cena is going to SmackDown anyway, so making their match at SummerSlam for the World Heavyweight Championship would be huge. If Styles wins, he would claim his first title in WWE and if Cena wins he ties the record of "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. A rematch between the two will be a big match, but a rematch between them for the World Title would be even bigger.
6 War Games For Survivor Series
It goes without saying that Survivor Series has been on a downward trend for years now. However, this year, the WWE has a chance to change that as they have booked the show in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, which is the first time in years that Canada have hosted a major PPV. The crowds in other countries are always hot to see WWE Superstars, so if the WWE were to capitalize on that by booking a huge match, then they could possibly get more eyes on the product heading into the holiday season. But to do this would mean that it shouldn’t be just a traditional Survivor Series match, as those haven’t really mattered in years aside from 2014.
The best way to make Survivor Series must-see would be to bring back the WCW concept of War Games. They could do a Team Raw and Team SmackDown match captained by the two World Champions so that fans have a legitimate reason to tune in. If anything else, some of the old fans of WCW would probably tune in to see how the WWE executes this highly popular match type. They may lose some seats in the process, but the potential viewers gained could very well supplement that. It’s their lowest viewed season anyway, so what would they have to lose?
5 Change The Commentators
In previous articles, the thoughts on the state of WWE commentary have been used over and over again, so this entry will be brief. JBL, Michael Cole, and Byron Saxton sound as if they are merely going through the motions in regards to their comments during the show. If that alone weren’t bad enough, the flaws in each of their commentary styles tends to make a bad situation even worse with JBL often adding unnecessary information, Cole blatantly calling wrong moves and failing to correct himself, and Saxton being as generic as ever.
With good commentators like Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves in the company, it seems odd that the WWE are choosing to use people that the fans audibly dislike. And with the brand split looming, this is the best chance for the WWE to change the commentary up to make the shows more interesting for the fans at home. Hopefully, they take heed.
4 Bring In More Managers
There is a quiet, but noticeable promo problem within the WWE. Wrestlers are way too scripted in their delivery and some sound so bad that they appear like children reading from cue cards. So, to help with this, the WWE should bring in a few more managers to help the wrestlers play to their strengths while the managers take care of the talking aspect.
A perfect example of managers being a success was Zeb Colter managing Jack Swagger. Swagger, by himself, was a pretty good wrestler but the sound of his voice and his delivery made him kinda boring. However, when Zeb Colter began managing him in 2013, Swagger became a lot more credible and even looked like he could possibly win the title. That’s the benefit of having a manager and many wrestlers like Roman Reigns and Cesaro would greatly benefit from having one. Now Paul Heyman can’t be used for everyone, despite being as great as he is, but perhaps using Paul Ellering or former wrestlers in this role would help the main roster greatly.
3 Turn Reigns Heel/Turn Rollins Face
The WWE has been refusing to do this since Rollins made his return to the WWE at Extreme Rules, but the time has come. The fans wanted to cheer Rollins for his in-ring ability and because he had been gone so long, while the fans wanted to boo Reigns for his Cena-esque characterization and push, so the WWE might as well go with the flow.
Anyone who has seen some of Reigns’ work as a heel can see that he’s clearly more comfortable in that role. In fact, the match he had against Rollins at Money in the Bank saw Reigns clearly working a heel style.
Rollins, on the other hand, has a variety of high-flying moves and technical ability to get the cheers of both casuals and hardcore fans. The two biggest and relatively newest stars could be that much bigger if their characters were changed. With the ratings on the decline with both of them in their perspective roles, the WWE might as well take a chance and see what happens.
2 Have Interwoven Storylines Throughout The Show
As stated by Steve Austin in a recent podcast of his, the WWE don't have enough interwoven storylines that carry out through the entire show. Most of Raw and SmackDown goes in a sequence of segment, match, segment, match, segment, match, without any of it having to do with the other. The closest thing they came to that in recent weeks was the episode where if John Cena or AJ Styles won their respective matches, they would be added to the World Championship match, but the outcomes were so predictable and safe that it served as nothing more than a plot point for the show to enhance the Cena-Styles feud.
Having more stories that involve multiple segments and tell a story for the show that night while simultaneously building to a big PPV was one of the things that made the WWE great. They do these things to some degree, but doing them more and making them exciting would help the WWE overall.
1 Have Brock Lesnar Show Up More (Pay Him More)
While some fans resent Brock Lesnar for relying on only a few moves, the fact remains that he is the biggest draw on the roster and one of the WWE's greatest success stories. He has the look of a world class athlete, the legitimacy that comes with venturing into different sports, a strength that rivals very little, a devastating moveset, and a great manager to sell how great Lesnar truly is.
However, for as big of a star that Lesnar is, the fact remains that the WWE can’t really tap into his potential because of his limited schedule. The past four years have shown that Lesnar is only good for a few PPVs a year and very little physicality on Raw or SmackDown due to his contract. So, in order to fix that, the WWE should update his contract and pay him more so he can be there for the company. Some think that the WWE pays him enough money already, but his star power and relevancy is matched by few wrestlers. And in an era where the ratings and interest in the product is declining, they should capitalize on his star power now while he’s still with the company.