It's no secret that WWE has a tendency to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. While the company has done many great things for the business all things considered, there are also some decisions that have been questionable at best. Once a mistake has been made once in WWE, it's liable to keep reappearing year after year, in different incarnations. There are plenty of examples of this, and at times they've really had a large hand in crippling the company, at least for the moment.
Alternatively, in recent years WWE has actually been able to make some strides in rectifying their bad decisions. This has been apparent in many aspects of the company over the past several years, and finally, we're seeing some much needed improvements come down the pike. It's clear that WWE has entered a new era of the company, and there's certainly been some due-time change in the setup and functioning of the promotion as a whole. Let's take a look at some evidence on both sides of this spectrum.
Ranked below are 8 mistakes WWE is making repeatedly, and 7 things they've actually corrected.
15 Continued Mistake: Pushing Brock Lesnar
In a shocking result to the Universal Title match at WrestleMania, Lesnar did NOT end up dropping the title, and seemingly will remain in the company, even if it's for the short term. However much longer Lesnar is in the company, it's no secret that he's been pushed to the moon, even when he hasn't deserved it. It's been especially bad in recent years, with Lesnar being milked by WWE for every single one of his now-part-time appearances.
It wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't holding important titles, but they're asking Lesnar to hold a significant role in the company, on a limited schedule. Even when he was a full-time star, WWE's infatuation with Lesnar has never ceased, and they've always thought he was a couple notches better than he really was.
14 Corrected Mistake: Having A Legitimate Developmental Promotion
A far cry from the days of OVW and FCW, the fact that NXT has been able to form its own brand, with its own distinctive programming is quite the feat. As what is essentially a developmental promotion to the main WWE brand, some people actually prefer it to the main roster. Aided by WWE Network broadcasting every event free to subscribers, it's been able to gain traction in just the few years it's been in existence.
For years, this wouldn't have even been possible. While previous versions of WWE developmental territories served their purpose, they weren't popular as an individual entity. NXT has changed all of that, and decidedly so. They've grown to be one of the more popular promotions in the world, featuring innovative and young talent that will hopefully materialize on the main roster.
13 Continued Mistake: Overbooking The Card
It's natural for WWE to desire each card to be bigger and better than the last. It's an arms race that can turn ridiculous however, and we've seen this at various points in the company's history. When there are too many gimmicks matches, too many plot twists, and too much commotion surrounding a show where the wrestling and base storylines should speak for themselves, it doesn't do the product any favors.
Since WWE is indeed the single biggest promotion in the world, it's easy for them to fall into this trap from time to time. It will likely never stop, and always resurface on at least an occasional basis. It's not every show to be sure, but the grandiosity of WWE can sometimes show itself in negative ways, and overbooking is one that shows up once in a while, unfortunately.
12 Corrected Mistake: Putting Vince Off-Screen
Without question, the Mr. McMahon character was an outright success during the Attitude Era, and there are even some that consider it the best heel character in the history of the business. McMahon's feud with Steve Austin was something that had lasting impact, and was the biggest draw in the company for a while. However, in the wake of the late-'90s and early-'00s, it's fair to say that they may have left him on regular programing for longer than was warranted.
Without another mega-face to feud with, the character simply lost some of its luster. McMahon was getting older, and clearly suited for a backstage role, instead of being a key player on television every week. In recent years, they've finally moved him off regular broadcasts of Raw and SmackDown Live thankfully, with Shane and Stephanie carrying on the family name within the context of the storylines.
11 Continued Mistake: The Broadcast Team
Suffice to say, the WWE broadcast team for any of the programming, has been on the decline for quite a while. Built on legendary tandems such as Jim Ross & Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan, the announcing in the modern day is a far cry from the greatness that preceded it. Outside of Michael Cole, there really isn't anyone that should be calling the A-list shows for WWE.
Obviously, times change and nobody can stay with a promotion forever, but the disparity in the quality of the broadcast teams is really, really noticeable. It actually decreases the quality of the overall show. Not a ton, but enough to make you want to occasionally hit the mute button on your remote.
10 Corrected Mistake: Misusing International Talent
While there hasn't been a complete 180 turn on this, there have been steps to improve it in recent years. WWE has been notorious over the past 20 years or so, for burying tons of International talent that have come through their ranks. Or at least, not giving them opportunity to achieve what their talent dictates of them. It's been a thorn in the company's side for a long time, but not so much anymore.
The primetime slots given to Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka at WrestleMania this year were clear indicators of a change of philosophy regarding this. Previously, WWE would have never had Japanese talent on a top-5 match in the biggest show of the year. Combined with the influx of other International stars on the roster, and the climate is better than it ever has been in WWE.
9 Continued Mistake: Devaluing The Tag Division
At one time, the tag division was one of the highlights of the company, and it hasn't been that way for the better part of 20 years now. Sure, there have been some good teams along the way, and there are still some on the roster now. The talent is there to build up the legitimacy of tag team wrestling again, but ill-timed decisions have always gotten in the way.
Decisions such as giving Braun Strowman a 10-year-old tag partner at WrestleMania, for example, and having them win the belts. On the surface, it seems like a harmless gesture, but in reality, it doesn't do the tag division any favors. A strong tag roster would give WWE more ammo for great feuds and matches, and instead, they choose to have it play second-fiddle to almost everything else in the company.
8 Corrected Mistake: Embracing Different Wrestling Styles
WWE-style wrestling can pretty much be its own genre at this point. For years, the company pretty much had one or two distinct kinds of matches that would lead the way, pushing everything else on the backburner, if they ever featured it at all. Thankfully, this has been altered in recent years, with lucha, technical and strong-style genres being featured at times on prominent cards.
WWE is finally beginning to get the details right when it comes to diversifying the skill sets of their talent. In this day and age of the worldwide wrestling market easily being available to anyone, the demand for varied styles is at an all-time high. It's been a savvy move to feature the likes of Shinsuke Nakamura and Zack Sabre Jr. on WWE-based cards (even if Sabre chose not to sign with WWE), and hopefully this will only continue to expand in the proceeding years.
7 Continued Mistake: Main Event Booking
While the undercard for WWE shows has been extremely solid over the past several years, we've seen some pretty underwhelming main event-level booking over that time. It's the opposite of what should logically occur, since your best talent should in theory be on the final matches of the show. Instead, not only has the talent been questionable at times (looking at you, Roman Reigns), the booking around it hasn't been up to par.
Of course, this isn't every main event we've seen, but for many, the storylines have been only so-so, and just about every Lesnar match in the last two years has been marred by some kind of booking deficiency that tries to compensate for him just not being very good in the ring. When the undercard is often exceeding what should be your biggest draws, that's a problem.
6 Corrected Mistake: Recycling Mid-Carders
For a variety of reasons, not everyone that is a prospective upper-tier player in WWE is always going to come to fruition. Sometimes, if they do, it's only for a limited amount of time. While they may have fallen short of the main event-level dominance, they're still usually under contract, and are therefore still useful on TV, and also on Pay-Per-Views. Often times, they need a shift in their character in order to remain productive.
This is something that WWE seems to be improving at, in comparison to years past. They've managed to salvage Wyatt Family alumni Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper from sheer irrelevance. Elsewhere, they've slotted Bo Dallas into The Miztourage, Apollo Crews into Titus Worldwide, and Rusev into his "Rusev Day" character. Overall, they've been making better use of wrestlers destined for the mid-card, without giving them gimmicks that are outright embarrassing.
5 Continued Mistake: Burying The Cruiserweight Division
This is a hallmark of WWE, and the creation of 205 Live has done nothing to redirect the trajectory of this division. Ever since the inception of some kind of a light-heavyweight division in the company (during the Attitude Era), it's clear that WWE has always considered this group of wrestlers on a lesser tier. Still, they keep signing cruiserweights, and attempt to integrate them into the rest of the roster. Usually, this has failed.
WWE can't seem to find a workaround for the fact that unless you give this talent legitimate air time, and incorporate them into worthy feuds. They're never willing to take the next step--unless it was Rey Mysterio--and as a result, the cruiserweights are usually destined for anonymity, in comparison to everyone else. There's only so many minutes in a show, but some more time should be allocated to this division.
4 Corrected Mistake: Allowing Triple H To Take Command
Whatever your opinion is of Triple H, what he's done in the past, and his relationship with Stephanie, you'd be hard-pressed to come to the conclusion that he doesn't know how the wrestling business works. After all, he's one of the top-flight main event players in WWE's history. What he's done with NXT over the past several years has been a major asset to the company, and has produced new stars that will help lead the new generation.
It's helped push Vince out of focus in terms of running the show. In a few years, it's inevitable that Triple H will be able to officially be instated as the head honcho of the entire operation. There's been improvement in the overall product over the past couple of years, and that's occurred for a reason. Helmsley is wresting more of the control from the old guard.
3 Continued Mistake: Too Many Title Belts
It's understandable why WWE would have a larger roster in comparison to many of the eras throughout their history. There's more talent to go around and less competition. The way to support a large roster, however, is not just creating a slew of titles to parcel out in relation to the number of wrestlers. Titles only matter if they are built up as something important. Not only have recent creations such as The Universal Title been failures thus far, but pre-existing titles have also begun to lose credibility.
Pare down the amount of titles, and give the remaining ones better feuds surrounding them. It would go a long way to establishing legitimacy around WWE title matches once again, which is what everybody wants in the end. Perhaps it isn't as bad as the Invasion era, when belts were shifted in and out on seemingly a monthly basis, but it's not doing the product any favors with the current way of doing things.
2 Corrected Mistake: The Women's Division
By far, this is the single largest improvement WWE has made in the past three years. The Women's Revolution has been something that has revitalized the company, giving them new territory to explore, and new stars to develop. It's been on par with the rest of the company, and for the first time in the history of WWE, has been something that can definitively stand beside the men's division as an equal, instead of a novelty.
Truly, some of the best young talent in the business is coming up through the women's ranks right now. Asuka, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and the recently debuting Ember Moon are all going to be primetime players for the foreseeable future, with more coming down the pike. The matches are great, the feuds are at least worthwhile, and this emergence has given WWE some much-needed variety that can pick things up when the chips are down. The Women's Revolution has been their biggest and best development in many, many years.
1 Continued Mistake: It's Vince McMahon's World And You're Living In It
Whether it be the Rusev Day chants or the hate spewed towards Roman Reigns, chances are the fans' very vocal opinions fall on deaf ears. At the end of the day, there's only one man whose opinion matters and has the final say, and that's Vinny Mac. While the man has created truly legendary characters and storylines, sometimes it's good to listen to what the fans actually want.
Sure, we got great Royal Rumble wins for both Nakamura and Asuka, but ultimately neither won at Mania, making us feel that maybe Vince does things out of spite after "giving in" to what fans want to see. Ultimately, we can't complain too much cause WWE still delivers a great product, but NXT and now 205 Live provide an even better wrestling fix, and those two are run by Triple H, who seems to have a better grasp of what fans want from their wrestling in 2018.