Professional wrestling is a form of entertainment unlike any other. Is it a sport? Is it a soap opera? To be honest what makes it so different from everything else is that it's a blend of both those things plus a whole lot more. As former wrestler and announcer Taz puts it, being a WWE Superstar is a blend of wrestling, acting, and working as a stunt man or woman. Another key factor that makes it unlike any other form of entertainment is its fan base. There is no fandom quite as vocal and outspoken as hardcore wrestling fans. If they love something they'll let you know about it, and trust me if they don't like something they will definitely let you know about it.
WWE in particular embraces social media. They even seem to be giving that branch of their business more attention than the TV side of things, and it's understandable considering how much of a presence pro wrestling fans have online. How WWE fans would get their grievances off their chest before the age of social media I have no idea, because nowadays whether it's a message board, a dirt sheet, or a podcast, someone is tearing WWE's product to shreds. There are countless things that WWE is currently doing wrong in the eyes of the fans and here are the fifteen that continue to pop up time and time again.
15 Absent Champions
There was a time when WWE simply had one World Champion, and that champion would be the crown jewel of the company. On and off for almost sixteen years now it has been a little more complicated than that. In the present day the company has two unique rosters, and with that two unique World Championships. Raw's top prize is the Universal Championship, and here's where the complaining comes in. The current champ is Brock Lesnar and thanks to his contract The Beast Incarnate isn't around all that often. Many fans believe that the brand's champion should be someone who is on the show pretty much every week, that Monday nights should revolve around them. Lesnar may be an impressive specimen and a star attraction but he will never be a man who is present for WWE every week and hitting the road like the rest of the roster.
14 Multiple Main Events
What is it exactly that defines a main event? Not even in pro wrestling per se, but just live entertainment in general. Most would say that it's the biggest thing booked for that night, and that it will come at the very end of the event. Well apparently that's not how WWE defines it. At WrestleMania in particular Vince McMahon would have you believe that there are three or four main events, as the definition of the word 'main' seems lost on him. Sometimes that thought process will even mean that the real main event, in the eyes of the fans at least, is on the back burner some what. It's one of the reasons CM Punk walked out on WWE. He believed that he deserved to main event WrestleMania and to him that meant going on last, which he never did.
13 Three Hour Raws
Okay let's get this one out of the way early. Three hour Raws. Even for the most hardened fan it's tough to deny more often than not they can be a bit of a struggle to sit through in their entirety. Trouble is with this one I'm afraid to inform you that it isn't likely to change any time soon. There are more reasons for WWE to keep that third hour than to scrap it simply because fans complain about it. The amount of revenue it generates, regardless of viewing figures to an extent, thanks to advertising and their deal with the USA Network simply means that WWE can't just sacrifice it. Plus there are an awful lot of Superstars on Raw and WWE needs three hours to showcase all of that talent.
12 Seven Hour WrestleManias
Monday Night Raws are not the only thing that fans find to be a little long and hard going when it comes to WWE shows. Have you sat through an entire WrestleMania recently? From the start of the kick off show to the end of the main card, which will inevitably run long, the show can last upwards of seven hours. Even for someone like myself who most would believe would watch wrestling 24 hours a day if I could, it can be tough. If you're going to stage a show that long you need to make sure it doesn't lull, and if it does you better make sure it doesn't lull for long. WrestleMania 32 is a recent example of a show that truly dragged. It may be the highlight of every wrestling fan's calendar but it really doesn't need to be seven hours long.
11 What's The Referee's Name?
Aside from Royal Rumbles and cage matches and such every bout you watch in WWE has an extra man in there that the company would seemingly prefer you didn't notice, the referee. Some of WWE's referees have worked for the company for decades, yet you will very rarely hear their name uttered on television. Even the most ardent wresting fan that has been watching the product for years and years will likely only be able to name a handful of officials. Earl Hebner, Charles Robinson, the few that have been used to further angles on television. Outside of that referees are just nameless men who are supposed to fade into the background and it's not entirely clear why WWE are so adamant about that.
10 Alerting The Crowd That It's Cruiserweight Time
Few would argue that 205 Live has been a bit of a flop so far. The success of its beginnings in the form of the Cruiserweight Classic were unquestionable, but transferring that into it's own roster and a weekly show has simply not translated. There are a few reasons why fans think WWE's purple brand is failing, and one that is so easily fixed is how the 205 guys are booked on Raw. The ropes are changed, the lighting dipped, it effectively tells fans in the arena and at home that wrestlers they probably don't know all that well are about to compete and they can go to the bathroom or change channel for ten minutes. If WWE want to keep cruiserweights on Raw every week, then they need to treat them as equals to the rest of the red roster.
9 Three Man Booths
There are many names that resonate with fans when it comes to great commentators. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are maybe the most synonymous with the business when it comes to a whole announce team. They provided lyrics to WWE's product during its most popular era, the Attitude Era, but as well as that it was just the two of them, for the most part anyway. For some reason in the present day Vince McMahon is adamant on having three man announce booths. While sometimes that can work at the moment it feels a little like talent is being forced into that third man's role. Raw doesn't need Booker T, SmackDown Live doesn't need Byron Saxton, and NXT doesn't need Percy Watson.
8 The Booking Of Bray Wyatt
What has WWE done to Bray Wyatt? It feels like less than a year ago the WWE Universe was behind the Eater Of Worlds and would hang on his every word. Just one year later and it's almost as if fans switch off once Bray starts speaking. The in house fans take part in his entrance and that's that. It's because time after time Wyatt has talked his gibberish and recited his riddles and for a while that was fine, but he repeatedly didn't back it up in the ring. Weirdly his short reign as WWE Champion earlier this year only seems to have damaged him more. What's most frustrating for fans is that they believe WWE has a potential second Undertaker in Bray Wyatt, and the window to cash in on that is getting smaller each week.
7 The Royal Rumble Rules
Perhaps the most anticipated match of any calendar year in WWE is the Royal Rumble. 30 men in one ring competing for a shot at the WWE Championship in (one of) WrestleMania's main events. The one thing that continues to let down the Royal Rumble match each year however are some of its rules, or rather lack of them. Firstly there is no time limit as to when a Superstar has to be in the ring by. Some heels choose to simply not enter the match for as long as possible, which makes others who do dive straight in seem stupid. Then there's the even more annoying loop hole that allows eliminated wrestlers to re-enter the ring and get revenge on who wronged them. WWE really needs to take a look at these rules to further improve what is already a highlight in their year.
6 Being Treated Like We're Idiots
When it comes to being a fan of anything at all one thing we don't like is being treated as if we're idiots, and it happens a lot more often as a WWE fan than you may realize. How often have you been left wondering why a story line just trailed off inexplicably, or a Superstar just disappears from TV all of a sudden? A lot of the time it's because Vince McMahon simply believes we've forgotten about certain things. It's also why certain angles are repeated almost identically when a few years have passed. Simply put a lot of the time WWE doesn't book Raw and SmackDown Live like weekly episodic shows. They should seamlessly follow on from each other and also the last thing that happens one week should hook you in to watching the next week.
5 Foreign Heels Versus US Heroes
If you're not American and you've competed in WWE, at some point you've likely had to portray the constantly revisited foreign heel character that WWE loves to utilize oh so much. 30 years ago when Hulk Hogan was waving the Stars and Stripes it may have been effective, but the angle really has been over played like no other. Nevertheless as I type this it's being put into place once again with Jinder Mahal complaining of xenophobia and John Cena defeating Rusev in a flag match. WWE boast so often that they are a world wide brand, yet they keep portraying the rest of the world as lesser than their home country. Fans in the United States may still love the America vs All story lines, but it's eye rolling for everyone else.
4 50/50 Booking
It recently came to light that John Cena has a pretty impressive record over the past decade. The sixteen time World Champion has only lost clean to opponents fourteen times in ten years. It's that kind of booking that has made him into the mega star that he is today. WWE are currently trying to discover their next John Cena, but the way they currently book their talent means that isn't likely to happen. Most of the time WWE currently utilize what is known as 50/50 booking. That means whenever a Superstar picks up a win over another, they feel the need to give that win back not so far down the line. It basically means that everyone more or less remains on a level playing field, and with that way of thinking no one Superstar will ever be able to pull away from the rest.
3 Claiming Heels And Faces Don't Exist Anymore
Another aspect of the past that WWE is really beginning to lose touch with is one of the corner stones of the wrestling business. Something that should be one of the key components in almost every single wrestling match. Having a good guy and a bad guy, or a face and a heel as they're known in the business. Apparently many back stage at WWE are of the belief that heels and faces are a thing of the past, and the business doesn't necessarily need them any more. That really isn't the case. Fans love an underdog babyface who defies the odds, and they love to hate and boo a heel who is good at what he or she does. The Miz is a prime example of the latter and proof that WWE hasn't completely forgotten that heels and faces are important. Superstars that blur the lines can exist within the realms of WWE, but right now there are far too many that fall within that grey area.
2 Too Many Pay-Per-Views
In July of 2016 WWE decided to push forward with having another crack at splitting their roster in two. Half of their Superstars became exclusive to Raw while the other half would appear only on SmackDown Live. For the most part one year on it has been a success, there are a few issues though. One major one that keeps rearing its ugly head is the sheer amount of pay-per-views that have come along with there now being two brands. There are of course the big ones, such as WrestleMania and SummerSlam, that feature Superstars from both Monday and Tuesday nights. In between those landmark shows however WWE are very much of the opinion that more is better, as opposed to less is more. Most of the time there's a PPV every two weeks, and it really does feel like over kill.
1 Superstars Breaking Kayfabe
Professional wrestling is a very odd and unique blend of sports and entertainment. The Superstars are unquestionable athletes who are sort of performing live theatre every week while also kind of being a part of a soap opera. In the days before social media it was much easier to believe that many elements of that theater and soap opera were real. Yes the matches themselves are staged, but the best feuds come when fans genuinely believe that the wrestlers in the ring dislike each other. When they post photos of themselves hanging out together backstage on Instagram and Twitter it kind of takes away from all of that. Yes we understand that the Superstars of WWE have separate lives outside of the ring, but try a little harder to keep them hidden from the fans.