The WWE just presented WrestleMania 33, which was seen as a success by the vast majority, and now that WrestleMania week is over, the company is going to begin its stories for the next year before we gear up for the next Road to ‘Mania, and so far, so good.
It’s going to be hard to top ‘Mania 33, and the company needs to do some things over the next 12 months in the buildup to WrestleMania 34 to make it even better, and in this article we will outline 15 of those things that the company should look to do to help that effort.
15 Give The Cruiserweights More Time And Freedom
The cruiserweights have struggled to find themselves on the stacked three-hour weekly RAW show, as they struggle to stand out among the unique characters on the rest of the roster, and the WWE needs to start addressing this problem within the next few months. We have Jack Gallagher, Austin Aries and Neville, but after that, there are no unique and defined characters, other than guys who can go out there and wrestle well. The company needs to begin giving these guys freedom and time, as they could come up with some very fun things, both from an in-ring perspective and character-wise, as this could set them apart from the rest of the show and get fans heavily invested.
14 Continue Booking The Tag Team Division As Vital Programming
The tag team divisions on RAW and SmackDown have struggled over the past year, with the championships often being an afterthought, but after the return of the Hardy Boyz at 'Mania and the debut of the Revival following WrestleMania weekend, it looks like the division could be a key part of the programming for the near future. The divisions will no doubt be shaken up next week, so the WWE will have to work hard to continue this importance they have built up over the last few days. Still, NXT has proven that it can be a major draw if treated that well. With at least eight to nine top teams who all wrestle with distinct, unique styles, this could be easily done, and with the Authors of Pain and #DIY sitting in NXT, this should be no problem. But when it comes to Vince McMahon and his booking habits, you can never be sure.
13 Restock NXT With Several Credible Indie Stars
With Shinsuke Nakamura, The Revival and Tye Dillinger all leaving NXT and going to the main roster, NXT looks a bit short on star power, and with some of the rumors surrounding certain independent stars, the WWE need to pull the trigger and bring some of those performers to the developmental brand. Names like Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly have been speculated on by Dave Meltzer, and they would be perfect names for the top of the main event card, but there are other names like Matt Riddle, Jay Lethal and Ricochet who would also suit the NXT promotion. The developmental brand always manages to put together great feuds and great matches, and they’ve overcome bigger wrestler exoduses’ before, but unless they can restock the brand with big names, they may be in trouble in the near future.
12 Push The Miz To The Main Event
The Miz has always been a very solid heel, but in 2016 after the brand split, he stepped it up to a whole new level, and he has been one of the best acts in the entire WWE Universe, to the point where many fans believe he should have gone over John Cena at WrestleMania 33. He brought new amounts of prestige to the Intercontinental Championship, and even though Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin have been booked horridly around that title since, The Miz needs to move on to bigger and better things in 2017. Whether it’s on RAW or SmackDown, The Miz is doing unbelievable work on the mic and in the ring, and he should be battling for the top championship, and whether that happens or not, he needs to be a featured performer on his brand.
11 Let Kurt Angle Be Kurt Angle (And Keep Stephanie McMahon Far, Far Away)
When Kurt Angle was announced for the 2017 Hall of Fame, fans were incredibly eager to see him back in the ring, and that may happen within the next year depending on his health. For now, the fans have to settle for Kurt as the General Manager of Monday Night RAW. He is obviously a huge babyface after so much time away from the company, and he has to show off his whole range of emotional abilities, and with guys like Enzo and Cass to play off, we need to see Kurt at his comedic best. Along with that announcement, Vince told the fans that Steph would be out for a while, and that needs to extend for a long, long time, as the product is much better without her interacting with performers.
10 Promote #DIY And push Them As A Top Team
Many fans may have expected this one to happen on RAW or SmackDown following WrestleMania 33, but that honor went to their fiercest rivals, the Revival, but the way they have built themselves as fan favorites over the last year, it definitely has to happen. The team of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa came together in NXT a few years back, and it took them time to gel, but with their matches with the Revival, they have established themselves as one of the top baby face teams on the planet. Whether it’s RAW or SmackDown (we don’t know how the divisions will look after the shake-up), the duo would be a fantastic addition who can work with any style of opponent, and once their run as a team is over, they could have a phenomenal rivalry.
9 Introduce A Women's Tag Team Division With The Help Of The Women's Tournament
The women’s revolution has become a huge success in the WWE, with all three divisions playing huge parts within their own brands, and that has led to the announcement of a 32-woman tournament that will be running similar to the Cruiserweight Classic from the past summer. With this influx of talent, the WWE should consider introducing one women’s tag team division, which could put the women completely on the same level as the men. This may be a bit too early, as it would put even further restrictions on time (which WWE doen’t use too well currently), but with the new influx of talent, it would make sense and add a different flavor to the shows.
8 Sign Kenny Omega
This one may be a bit controversial, as Kenny Omega is one of the most divisive stars in the wrestling business, and the company reportedly came very close to signing him prior to the 2017 Royal Rumble, only for him to return to New Japan for another year. He has stated his goals for wrestling AJ Styles on the biggest stage possible, and that should happen at WrestleMania 34. His love of Japan may stop this from happening, but the WWE has to go after him hard and bring him into the fold. Like others on this list, he would need to be given the creative freedom to be himself, as he is one of the most unique performers in the world, but if done correctly, he could be one of the biggest stars in the company.
7 Turn The Boss Heel
Sasha Banks may be one of the most loved performers in the world, but she truly thrives as a heel, and with her growing relationship with Bayley, it will make it even more heartbreaking and must-see. Many expected it to happen at WrestleMania, but with another year to fill before the next big show, this could be a major storyline, and after the matches she had with Bayley in NXT working as a heel, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they stole several shows. If she is allowed to be at her NXT best (like stealing a headband from Bayley’s biggest fan, a young eight-year-old girl), she could get some true heel heat, and it would be an opportunity to prove that she truly is one of the top wrestlers in the world, regardless of gender.
6 Build Up Evolution 2.0
Since he came up and took out Seth Rollins after the Royal Rumble, Samoa Joe has maintained strong ties to Triple H, and he has added Kevin Owens to his on screen friendship group, and the idea of an Evolution 2.0 with Triple H’s hand picked boys has been put out online, and it would be a great opportunity for everyone involved. It may be a tired thing to have a heel group at the top of Monday night RAW, but with Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, Triple H and another star, this could be a dominant force in a different, fresh way. There are a number of potential names to become the 4th member, names including Finn Balor, current NXT Champion Bobby Roode or even someone like the Revival as a tag team element, but if they went all in on the new group, that could fill a major part of the RAW story for the next year.
5 Get Behind Shinsuke Nakamura As SmackDown’s Top Babyface
It’s obvious that the electric, charismatic Nakamura is one of the top stars in the world, and after an impressive run in NXT, he debuted on the first SmackDown after WrestleMania 33. Now fans are eager to see how he is treated on the main roster under the rule of Vince McMahon. If his extravagant entrance and treatment is anything to go by, he will be a main event star, but he needs to be more than that, and the company needs to push him as the number one guy on SmackDown. Only time will tell, but with AJ Styles, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and more waiting for him, Nakamura could become a transcendent star, and if the company does get behind him as the top babyface, he could be in the top spot come WrestleMania 34.
4 Bring Star Power To The Cruiserweight division
The Cruiserweight division struggled for the most part of 2016, but in 2017 we have seen the emergence of Austin Aries and Jack Gallagher, but for a division that aims to stand out from the point of in ring ability, they need much more star power. With guys like Jack Evans, Ricochet, Will Ospreay and Fenix rising on the independent scene, there is so much star power out there that could up the division’s game, and the WWE needs to capitalize in 2017. If they could get one or two big names and give them freedom, the Cruiserweight division could truly begin to stand out, and if we see names like Johnny Gargano or Will Ospreay on 205 Live, fans would need to tune in each and every week.
3 Let Matt Hardy Introduce The WWE Universe To His Broken Brilliance
This one is as complicated as anything on the list, as the rights to the "Broken" gimmick are being disputed in a legal battle with Anthem Sports, but if and when Matt can win that battle, he needs to introduce the WWE crowd to his Broken Brilliance, or maybe something better. We may not see Reby and Maxel, Vanguard 1 or Senor Benjamin, but once the Hardys' Attitude Era nostalgia wears off, this would be the best use of Matt. The fans are begging for this to happen, as the "Delete" chants were one of the biggest from the fans over WrestleMania weekend, and it would be in the best interest of Hardy, the fans and the company, as there are many intriguing stories to be made from this. Furthermore, the WWE could make millions with merchandising. Impact Wrestling let Matt do anything he wanted, and the WWE may put limitations on him, but if he can be anywhere near himself, he will have a phenomenal run.
2 Build Roman Reigns As The Company's Top Heel
We know the Raw after WrestleMania crowd is a unique one, but Roman Reigns now has true heel heat after retiring the Undertaker, and after his brilliant promo in the face of all that hatred, the WWE can no longer deny Reigns’ status as the company's potential top heel. The long term plan is still to make him WWE's top good guy, but there is more than one way to skin a cat, and if they keep up this pace, not even a Shield reunion could save his good guy status. The cocky asskicker that we have seen this year is the guy that he needs to be, and if the company continue this booking, he could go down in the history books as one of the best bad guys ever. There is a plethora of good guys to have him battle from AJ Styles again, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura and plenty more, and this is definitely the best use for him in the next year or so.
1 Make The "Demon King" Deeper And More Interesting
On the independent scene, Prince Devitt used to cosplay many characters, from Hannibal Lecter to Bane and even The Joker, but when he came to WWE, the rebranded Finn Balor stuck to one “Demon” persona, which only came out at NXT Takeovers or WWE PPVs. The Demon gave Finn a new lease on life when it came to these big matches, but other than making him look cool, and apparently more confident, what is the Demon other than paint all over Balor’s body? That’s a question we need answering, and although the fans are truly behind him, it would give him the character depth and intrigue that is missing in today’s professional wrestling. Could it be demons from Finn’s past that he has to hold back until it finally takes over him, or could it be nothing like that? It may sound wacky, but if the WWE can find a creative way to explain the other side of Finn Balor, it could make him a much more enjoyable and marketable character.