So how is everyone liking WWE in 2018 so far? Personally, I've seen better, but I’ve seen worse too so I can't really complain. With WrestleMania behind us, we are still in the early stages of a new season in the WWE and already we have been introduced to returning stars, debuting rookies, new storylines, new rivalries, and roster movement. With all that coming about and us moving closer towards SummerSlam, we already have a few things we can nitpick and analyze about what WWE has done thus far and what they should do moving forward.
This brings us to this article. As we are sure all of you know, the WWE likes to do certain things with the talent they have that most of us wouldn't think of doing...ever. Some things work out in their favor, while most others don't meet the same fate. Already there are a few things that we see in the woodwork that would be grave mistakes on their part, and we are just trying to help them avoid making those mistakes. Consider it as our way of contributing to the creative process of the in-ring product.
We would hate for something to be put out there that the fans would straight up reject. In this list we are looking at 15 things WWE should stay away from doing at all costs to ensure the best outcome for what comes for the rest of the year and into 2019. Here are 15 mistakes WWE has to avoid making the rest of the year.
15 Keeping The Universal Championship On Brock Lesnar
It's nothing personal against Brock Lesnar. This has just been a bias for a long time now: part-time performers should never hold any of the main titles. It's not that we don't get why they do it, it just isn't something most are not fans of. Why? Look at Brock Lesnar’s reign in its entirety. He has defended the Universal Championship about six-times in which he has fought Kane, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, and of course, Roman Reigns. With a list of challengers that short you would think his reign stretched to half a year at best.
He's held the title for well over 400 days and with him being set to not defend his championship again until August, he will become the longest reigning champion in the modern era, surpassing previous record holder CM Punk off of six title defenses.
Seth Rollins has defended the Intercontinental Championship more times than that and he just won that thing last month. Again it's nothing against Brock, most just don't think part-timer champions work, especially him because this is what I get with him: one title defense every 2-3 months.
14 Not Pushing Rusev
To be completely honest this one is so obvious I almost didn't bother putting it on the list. For the past several months Rusev has been a babyface masquerading as a heel for reasons I really could not explain. When you're as over as Rusev is while on the same brand as some of the most beloved characters in pro wrestling like Daniel Bryan, A.J. Styles, and Jeff Hardy, there's clearly something you can do with that. Yet for some reason WWE seems adamant on keeping him as a heel.
Whatever the reason, despite the poor booking they've put him through, he has still been cheered to no end and it is time for WWE to do something about it.
And I don't mean just throwing him in a few US Title matches like they did at WrestleMania. I'm talking about a few opportunities at the WWE Championship. I'm not talking about winning the whole thing, that would be wishful thinking on my part seeing how the company seems completely disinterested in even pushing him to main event status. All I'm saying is that the man has earned at the very least a world title shot. What's the harm in that?
13 Having Finn Balor Remain Babyface
I don’t want to be misunderstood here, because Finn Balor is a good, pure babyface character. However, on a brand that is lacking in its share of bad guys, Finn should be perfect in a new role. For the longest time now he's just been floating around not doing much aside from the Intercontinental Championship matches with Seth Rollins and The Miz. Now is as good a time as any other to turn Balor heel. If for nothing else just to balance things out on the Raw roster.
Ask yourselves, who are the main heels on Raw right now? Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Jinder Mahal (although since he's currently feuding with Roman Reigns even he's getting cheered), Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, Elias Authors of Pain, Brock Lesnar (when he's there) Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, the Riot Squad… did I miss anyone? That's a pretty week core of villains if you ask me. Especially when you consider all of Raw's babyfaces.
If you were to place Finn Balor onto the other side though, it would strengthen that group all the more.
Not only would it give him somewhat of a new lease on life in WWE, he would be in position to quickly become a top flight heel in the company.
12 Having Both Money In The Bank Winners On The Same Brand
They are probably not going to do this but we feel that it is necessary to say. The Money in the Bank PPV will include two ladder matches with championship implications. One for the men's division and one for the women's division. The winner of these matches win earn the Money in the Bank briefcase which withholds a guaranteed championship match at a time of their own choosing. The right way to go about it would be to to have a briefcase on both brands.
If the men's match is won by a Raw superstar, then the women’s match should be won by a SmackDown Live superstar and vice versa.
Having both Money in the Bank ladder match winners on one brand would feel too redundant for that show. That is how most felt last year with Baron Corbin and Carmella. Now to be fair, both were poorly booked up until their respective cash-ins, but still it is something WWE should avoid this year. With each briefcase on separate brands, it would create a better opportunity to properly push each holder in their division without making it seem too repetitive overall. At least that's how I feel about it.
11 Continuing The Brock Lesnar/Roman Reigns Feud
I'll be frank. This feud needs to die. It needs to be put away never to be brought up again. If we have to watch one more match comprised of nothing but suplexes, F5s, Superman Punches, and spears one more time, we don't know what we will do. It has reached to a point of boredom for most that we would have never thought of reaching with a Brock Lesnar match or feud. The fans have spoken (on like a thousand occasions now), and they don't want Roman Reigns to win the Universal Championship, and certainly not off of Brock Lesnar. That being the case, it's time for both men to move on from each other.
Have Roman slowly move down to smaller feuds and let some other people get shots at the title. That's all you really can do at this point. Fans are going to boo regardless but you could help him out a little by getting into it with some other stars on the roster. Jinder Mahal is… a start. If I come back a few months later and he's got another shot, we're going to have some words. Not that I can do much about it, I just feel pretty bad for Roman. The man is just doing what he's told to do.
10 Taking The Intercontinental Championship Off Seth Rollins
It had been a slow start to Seth Rollins’ run as a babyface. He was over and everything but there was just something missing from it all. Then came WrestleMania. After beating both the Miz and Finn Balor in what was one of the better matches that night, Seth Rollins won his very first Intercontinental Championship, and everything he's done since that night has been nothing short of pure gold. It is already the best run he's had since his run as the Authority's Golden Boy from 2014 to 2016. What should WWE do about it? Don't change a thing.
Hot as he's been, the company would be foolish to change anything up for The Kingslayer.
He's been doing so well that people are starting to vie for him to be the one to dethrone Brock Lesnar as the Universal Champion. As long as he's going like this, this could potentially be a great year for Seth Rollins, especially if he continues to be put in well booked programs and put on great matches with some other Raw superstars. Here's to hoping things don't go sideways in the nearby future.
9 Ending The Kevin & Sami Show
The way Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were booked towards the end of their run on SmackDown Live was okay I guess. It definitely could have ended better but it wasn't anything that bad you know? Since then, they have transitioned back onto the red brand on Monday Night Raw and things have been... moving… it could be better, could be worse kind of situation for me. Maybe that'll change, maybe it won't.
Ultimately, we all know this will probably lead to Sami turning back face and restarting one of the best rivalries that WWE has to offer with him and Kevin Owens.
Now while that is the ultimate endgame here, it is something they should really take their time with. For some, moving things too fast could make the payoff not as satisfying as it could have been for viewers. Similarly to what they did with Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens, they need to space this run out as long as they possibly can before pulling the trigger. I don't mean do it at WrestleMania season, I mean next year at SummerSlam. I think that is just about enough time for this whole thing to be done right. Given my luck with predicting WWE booking, none of this will probably come to pass, but I just that would be best.
8 Not Bringing Back Neville
We know this won't happen but considering how talented Neville is, it is still a mistake which qualifies this entry for our list. When making his return to the ring at the tail end of 2016, fans were excited to see the man that gravity forgot once again. His heel persona as the "King of the Cruiserweights" made what was a poorly established division watchable. That is just my thoughts though, others despite Neville’s work were not very keen on watching the Cruiserweights on a weekly basis. This among other things keyed into Neville's desire to depart from the WWE.
Now I would imagine that Neville would want to be a mainstay on the Raw or SmackDown Live roster, if he were to return, but it appears that the company would rather not take that route for whatever reason. I don't really get it.
He's clearly one of the most talented wrestlers in the company. Why not bring him back?
Before 205 Live was a thing and the Cruiserweight division was brought back, Neville admittedly was extremely underutilized, had some great moments and really good matches with the likes of Seth Rollins, John Cena, and others. Now I don't know all the ins and outs of this damaged relationship, but if you can bring him back, do it.
7 Turning Bayley (And Not Sasha Banks) Heel
It was so simple. You had the opportunity to turn one of these two women heel and restart one of the great rivalries in the company in the past decade, yet here they are - both still babyfaces, wandering around on Raw doing practically nothing. It really confuses most fans. No one would have complained about you bringing this rivalry back to life. Just look at all the social media outlets. They've been waiting for months. Bayley was supposed to be the near equivalent to John Cena in the women's division. A mega babyface who overcomes adversity in the long run. Instead, it reached a point to where she gets booed on occasion and has to go all the way to the UK to get the same cheers she got in NXT. Then we have Sasha Banks and the story is nearly the same just on a bit of a lower scale. There was no reason at all not to turn one of these two post Wrestlemania at least. If and when you do though, please don't have Bayley turn.
While it would be something we haven't seen before, it is also something I don't really see working out. As many of us already know, some people are just better off staying as the villain rather than the hero and vice versa. Moreover, good as she is as a face, Sasha Banks makes for a much better heel. So when you eventually decide to do something with those two, please don't make the mistake of turning the wrong one.
6 Nia Jax Drop The Women's Title Quickly
You guys ever notice how basically since Andre the Giant, WWE has given every extra sized superstar a poorly booked career? The ones that I have grown up with are the Big Show, Mark Henry, and technically The Great Khali even though he didn't last all that long. All three of these men were booked terribly throughout their careers (they get a small pass for Khali but you get it). What I'm getting at here is that super heavyweight WWE talent are booked like jokes and are rarely booked for a dominant run, especially with a championship. This brings me to Nia Jax.
The Raw Women's Champion had a shining moment at WrestleMania, dethroning Alexa Bliss and spreading a nice, powerful message for those who needed to hear it. A solid genesis to a respectable title reign. You know what would really put a damper on that whole thing? Having her immediately drop the title two months later in her second defense. It may come off as reaching on my part to make this point, but if you were to have her drop the title that quickly then the message sent at WrestleMania (and Backlash) of overcoming bullies and self doubt would be diminished, at least in my eyes.
Let me elaborate. She got made fun of because she big right? She then wins the title, saying that even though she's much bigger she’s just as capable of being a success as anyone else. Having her reign with the championship for a while (like half a year) would strengthen that message as opposed to taking it off her shortly after winning the title, which would weaken the message. You get what I'm saying right?
5 Shinsuke Nakamura Beating AJ Styles
Since arriving from NXT last year Shinsuke Nakamura has been… meh. It isn't entirely his fault, but despite being one of the more capable performers on the SmackDown Live roster things could have gone better for him. Things appeared to be looking up though. After winning the Royal Rumble match in January and having his sights set on A.J. Styles’ WWE Championship, many of us thought things would pick up for Nakamura, mostly on the quality of his matches. This didn't happen at all. In fact his championship match at WrestleMania was one of the worst matches that night. He did turn heel that night though. And despite the matches getting better I still wouldn't have him take the championship off Styles.
It has less to do with Nakamura and more with Styles. Simply put, the man is the best wrestler in the company,and he's about as over as the champion as you can get.
In addition to that there are a bevy of potential contenders who I'm sure most people would prefer Styles to take on rather than Nakamura. It's not that heel Nakamura isn't any good. We'd just much rather see Styles move forward as the champion for a little while longer.
4 Having Paige Follow Past Female GM Footsteps
It was a heartbreaking moment when Paige announced her retirement from in-ring competition. One of the women who were at the forefront of WWE’s women's revolution, because of repetitive neck issues Paige is stripped of her opportunity to compete with some of the many talented women on the Raw and SmackDown Live rosters who she helped pave the way for to get to the big stage. Fortunately, with Daniel Bryan returning to the ring after he was forced to retire due to neck injuries, Paige was given the opportunity to slide into that GM position on SmackDown Live. Now WWE has had its fair share of women hold a position of power and it has gone well. However, what they should avoid doing is having Paige go about it similarly to her predecessors.
Here's what I mean: you guys know how Vickie Guerrero had that kayfabe romance with Edge back in the day and there was this whole heelish empire running SmackDown? Or what about when AJ Lee ran Raw and had that whole fling thing with John Cena? You see where I’m getting at here right? Yea, Paige needs to steer clear of that. It's supposed to be a new WWE where stuff like that doesn't happen and it's about the wrestling. Having Paige do something like that as GM would say otherwise. Besides, those storylines are outdated to most.
3 Pushing Ronda Rousey Too Soon
If you're having Natalya turn on Ronda at Money In The Bank and costing her the championship then that's okay I guess, but giving her a Women's Championship match that quickly was still a little too much too soon. I get it, she's “the baddest woman on the planet” and all, but seriously now, let's not rush into this. Everyone and their mother already knows she's going to eventually win the Women's Championship. I was just hoping that she would be given more time to integrate herself into the division before she was pushed straight to the top. Like maybe a couple of feuds with Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, Natalya, Bayley, Mickie James, you know, working your way up.
Apparently none of that is necessary. All you have to do is beat up your boss and you're a shoe in.
In all seriousness, we doubt Ronda will actually win the title at Money in the Bank, but they really need to put on the brakes with that. Take your time; what's the hurry? At least if she wins the title she'll be around more often than some other former UFC fighter in the company...
2 Giving Bobby Lashley A Universal Championship Match
I'll admit, when Bobby Lashley first made his return to the WWE a matchup with Brock Lesnar was the first thing that came to mind. An opportunity for WWE to rehash the Brock Lesnar/ Goldberg rivalry but with longer and more competitive matches. With that, the expectation was for Lashley to be established as a near unstoppable force from the get-go. Unfortunately, the WWE had different things in mind. They went about re-establishing Lashley in a different way, and I can't say it's been working out too well. For this reason above anything else, Bobby Lashley should not get a Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar anytime soon.
What I would have done is have Lashley immediately go after Brock Lesnar as soon as he came back. I know it's something most would rather save until say SummerSlam, but who cares? Have those two stand face to face and he would have already been established. Just look at the guy. He clearly looks like someone who could take out Lesnar. Why they went ahead with tagging him up with Braun Strowman and then doing this thing with Sami Zayn is really beyond us and it really put a damper on his momentum.
1 Keeping Roman Reigns Babyface
Okay. we've said this a lot already but seeing as how the company continues to ignore us and things get worse, we're going to keep saying it until they do something about it. Roman Reigns gets booed like he is the top heel in the company and he's supposed to be the top face. That is not good. You could have found a way to have him get over as a face in a different way, but refused to do so and kept pushing him and so here we are, with things getting worse and worse by the day.
Now maybe you've heard this before, but the right way to go about this situation is to turn him heel.
It's a crazy idea I know, but what more can you do to get him over as a babyface? He's feuded with the Miz and still got booed. He's currently feuding with Jinder Mahal and STILL getting booed. At some point, you know you're going to have to do this. Why not now? Or you could keep doing what you've been doing so far and see how that works out for you. Something tells me things won't go as you want them to if you do.