It’s been quite the frantic year for the WWE so far. If someone who stopped watching WWE programming in January was to tune in right now, they would be surprised by all the changes. While some things (including the main-event scene) have remained similar to what it was at the start of the year, the company has really changed up their programming and characters over the course of 2018. They have booked certain characters to look strong as the year progressed while diminished the star-power of some other superstars. In other areas, the company has softened its stance on independent promotions and made deals nobody would’ve ever believed.
However, the biggest thing for WWE so far this year must be the shows which have taken place all over the world. The Saudi Arabia show earned them more revenue than WrestleMania, while the grand event down under at Australia was a success as well. With the need for unique matches and storylines, the WWE has changed up their programming throughout the course of the year. This has resulted in some mixed results. WWE has made some really good and bad decisions over the course of this year, with some benefitting certain wrestlers and some putting others down.
WWE has done quite a few things in 2018 when it comes to keeping their programming as entertaining as possible. Let’s look at 15 things the company has gotten right so far this year and 15 they’ve gotten completely wrong.
30 Right: Making Seth Rollins A Grand Slam Champion
The way WWE has raised Seth Rollins’ stock as a top babyface this year is fantastic, as they’ve enabled him to use his charisma to win over fans. Rollins started to get big pops towards WrestleMania, where he “burned it down’ and won the Intercontinental Championship. WWE did the right thing to make Rollins a Grand Slam Champion. He’s doing a fantastic job in putting up superb matches as IC Champion. Rollins has also transitioned into a huge fan-favorite this year and proved why banking on him was the right thing to do.
29 Wrong: Not Doing Anything With Sanity
Sanity’s journey on the main roster has been full of turmoil. After a delayed call-up to Smackdown, the stable hasn’t been able to do anything relevant. They feuded against the New Day initially, but lost out on that and have barely appeared on Smackdown since. Sanity appears very occasionally on WWE TV and have seemingly been sidelined already. WWE might be aiming to repackage them, which will be a mistake. They’ve completely ruined the terrorizing nature of the group and made them look tame with poor booking.
28 Right: Buddy Murphy Winning The Cruiserweight Championship In Australia
Since his surprise debut on 205 Live as wrestling's best-kept secret, Buddy Murphy has been highly impressive with his performances. Not only does he have a fantastic move-set, but his determination and intensity made him an intimidating addition to the Cruiserweight Division. Murphy challenged Cedric Alexander many times for the Cruiserweight Championship, but WWE chose the golden moment to make him win it. Murphy won it recently at Super Showdown to a huge pop and some impressive booking from WWE created a special moment for Buddy.
27 Wrong: Shinsuke Nakamura Weak US Championship Reign
After turning heel at WrestleMania 34, Shinsuke Nakamura failed to assert himself as much of a “serious” bad guy on Smackdown. The King of Strong Style lost to AJ Styles, but redeemed himself by winning the United States Championship in a dirty way. Nakamura is being made to look really weak with his cheap victories which mostly see him cheat to win. It’s well known his capability wrestling-wise and as a top star, but the way WWE is treating him as their US Champion right now is just plain wrong.
26 Right: Firing Big Cass
Big Cass looked like a really arrogant figure on WWE television after returning post-WrestleMania 34 and trying to pick on Daniel Bryan. Cass eventually got humiliated by Bryan in their feud and would be sent packing out of WWE after his loss to the “Yes!” man. In reality, Cass was acting horribly behind the scenes for WWE. He was disobeying orders, ended up intoxicated in public events and had attained a horrible attitude. Despite Vince’s liking for him, Cass’s terrible behavior forced him to abruptly fire Cass and send a message to all his other employees.
25 Wrong: Letting Neville Leave The Company
It looked like Neville and WWE could work together again earlier this year, when their relationship had allegedly improved. WWE was apparently looking for Neville to be the main guy of their NXT UK Brand and make him transition into that division. However, WWE sidetracked their plans and just let him leave after freezing his contract for a long time. Neville recently joined Pro Wrestling Noah and seems to be doing really well, proving just how wrong WWE was in letting him go so easily.
24 Right: Keeping The Spotlight On Ricochet
Ricochet has really taken WWE and NXT with a storm ever since debuting earlier this year and has wowed fans with his incredible athleticism. “The One and Only” has been booked really strongly by WWE, who even handed him the NXT North-American Championship recently. But the strong push has paid dividends for Ricochet, who’s become highly popular on NXT. Everyone seems to be loving his sensational wrestling moves on NXT and WWE seems to have done a great thing in pushing him strongly as an entertaining baby-face.
23 Wrong: Having Jinder Mahal Win The US Championship At WrestleMania 34
It looked certain that either Rusev or Bobby Roode would be winning the United States Championship at WrestleMania earlier this year. Rusev, who was hugely over at the time, seemed the favorite but WWE pulled a swerve on the fans by having Jinder Mahal win it. Jinder incidentally pinned Rusev to win the championship, seemingly pouring more insult to injury for the fans. This was a really foolish decision from WWE, who missed out on what could’ve been a special WrestleMania had the Bulgarian Brute managed to win the US Championship for the third time.
22 Right: Introducing The Evolution PPV
WWE took a further step into strengthening their Women’s Revolution when it was revealed that an all-female PPV, Evolution, would take place. With much of their female competitors being extremely talented and capable in the squared circle, this was a really well-appreciated move from the company. There comes a lot of excitement and intrigue to watch the best female stars right now, along with a few legends put on a great show for the fans. The timing was quite perfect to introduce the Evolution PPV, and the move will likely see a popularity rise for Women’s Wrestling.
21 Wrong: Giving Up On Bobby Roode
To think of it, Bobby Roode actually started the year as United States Champion at WWE. “The Glorious One” has since been drafted to Raw and been reverted into the role of a lower mid-carder. Roode has been rolling with Chad Gable recently and mostly acting as his inspiration. However, the fact that Roode lost to Konnor of the Ascension proves how WWE have given up on him. Vince just isn’t interested in pushing Roode, which is a very wrong thing to do knowing his fantastic ability as a terrific heel.
20 Right: Bobby Lashley’s Heel Turn
Bobby Lashley’s baby-face character was getting really stale, as fans didn’t really accept him as a “good guy” after he returned earlier this year. While Lashley was booked to look like a hero on various occasions, he just snapped recently and turned heel. With the pesky Lio Rush by his side, this heel turn seems to be the best for him right now. It’s well known how great of a heel Lashley can be knowing his Impact days and WWE have saved his career by turning him into this dominating, ruthless bad guy.
19 Wrong: Nicolas Winning The Tag Team Championship
WWE always loves to pull off a surprise during WrestleMania to entice the fans and this year, the surprise was something nobody could’ve predicted. So heading into his match against the Bar for the Raw Tag Team Championship, Braun Strowman needed a partner. He went to find a partner in the stands and found a kid named Nicholas. What followed next was a hard pill to swallow, as Nicholas stood in the ring while Braun cleaned house and won the match. This made the kid WWE’s “youngest” champion ever, but the way they buried The Bar and disrespected many felt very wrong.
18 Right: The Undisputed Era Booked Strongly
The Undisputed Era has been one of the best things about NXT this year, with their dominance being taken kindly by the fans. They recruited Roderick Strong earlier this year and have always been kept in a good light by WWE, who’ve relied on them to hold their NXT Tag Team Championships for a long time. Knowing the talent among the four guys and potential to get even better, it’s best for business to keep booking them strongly and introduce themselves on the main-roster as the powerful, cunning stable they are right now.
17 Wrong: Finn Balor Stuck In The Mid-Card
It’s not really been the best of years for Finn Balor, who has seen himself delve deeper into the WWE mid-card as the year has passed on. Balor has mostly been putting over top stars throughout the year and has lost his reputation as a main eventer. He’s feuding with other lower-mid carders these days and seems to have lost WWE’s interest. Demon Balor also appears once in a blue moon, and WWE is doing a horrible thing in holding back Balor by booking him in irrelevant feuds.
16 Right: The Daniel Bryan vs The Miz Feud
Ever since Daniel Bryan was cleared to compete in WWE, everyone was waiting for him to feud against The Miz. The two had exchanged heated words when Bryan was Smackdown GM and Miz kept on mocking his inability to wrestle. WWE decided to fire the feud in the summer and it is still going on at the blue brand. Bryan and Miz have been a highlight point of Smackdown Live! and had some terrific moments together so far. It proves why it was the correct decision to have a long-stretched feud between the two.
15 Wrong: Breaking Up Rusev Day
Rusev Day was definitely one of the most entertaining aspects of WWE throughout the year, with Aiden English going on really well with Rusev. The Bulgarian Brute’s own popularity went sky-high after getting English as his partner, but WWE apparently didn’t like their surprising popularity. Not only did Rusev or English win any championship, but they always fell in the last hurdle. In the end, English turned on Rusev to break apart the team which felt wrong because many fans wanted to see them win the Smackdown Tag Team Championship this year.
14 Right: Elevating Drew McIntyre Into A Top Heel
Drew McIntyre has been on a rampage after he re-debuted on Raw, with his alliance with Dolph Ziggler proving to be great for both. McIntyre has been booked very strongly since returning as this hard-hitting big-guy and even won the Raw Tag Team Championships. McIntyre has picked up key wins against the top stars of Raw recently and seems to be in line for a Universal Championship shot. WWE has done very well in elevating McIntyre as their top heel on Raw, with his fantastic work proving them right to put their faith in him.
13 Wrong: The Whole Bobby Lashley Vs Sami Zayn Feud
In an attempt to put Bobby Lashley over with the fans, WWE decided to have him feud with Sami Zayn. They wanted Zayn to get some “heat” on himself and get people talking about the feud, but the antics they pulled off were ridiculous. WWE decided to go with a bad storyline in which Zayn brought out Bobby’s fake sisters, as well as disrespecting his military background. The whole feud was one of the worst things about WWE in 2018 and turned fans off both superstars even more.
12 Right: Turning Becky Lynch Heel
Becky Lynch has turned a new leaf ever since embracing her dark side and betraying her “best friend” Charlotte Flair. So Lynch was being booked as this underdog babyface throughout the year, but after losing out on the Smackdown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam, she snapped and turned heel. Lynch has attained a new attitude as a heel and become a bad-ass, ruthless Smackdown Women’s champion. Lynch’s amazing heel turn has made her even more popular than before, as WWE timed the heel turn perfectly to reassert Lynch as one of their top female superstars.
11 Wrong: Braun Strowman’s Cash-In
It seemed destined that Braun Strowman was winning the Universal Championship after he won the Money in the Bank briefcase this year.=. However, WWE had other plans and despite being so high on him, they chose to put their bets on Roman Reigns. Strowman faced off against Reigns for the Universal Championship at Hell in a Cell. It was a brutal match but ended in no contest when Brock Lesnar beat both men up, in what was another case of terrible booking by WWE. They completely wasted their chance to put the belt on the highly-over Strowman and ruined his momentum.
10 Right: Giving Randy Orton Freedom To Run With His Hell Gimmick
Randy Orton has transitioned into this really jerk of character over the past few months, in which he’s vowed to take out the WWE fans' favorite superstars. Orton recently had a great feud with Jeff Hardy which included some uncomfortable spots. He also tried to injure Tye Dillinger last week and has become absolutely deranged. This change in gimmick has worked really well for Orton, as fans urged for him to turn heel and WWE did the right thing in transitioning himself into this character.
9 Wrong: Poor Treatment Of Asuka After Ending Her Undefeated Streak
After her undefeated streak was ended by Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania, Asuka’s WWE career has gone downwards. Once regarded as a top star at Smackdown live! has now been transitioned into a tag team with Naomi. Even though WWE hasn’t allowed her to be defeated in singles competition after WrestleMania, their treatment of Asuka has been awful. She should be in the Smackdown Women’s Championship scene but is made to be a filler for the blue brand. They’ve done a wrong thing treating her as this “entertaining” mid-carder, as she deserves to be in the main event scene.
8 Right: Pitting Seth Rollins And Dolph Ziggler In Series Of Matches
The Intercontinental Championship scene has attained a lot of prestige in 2018 and that’s mostly because of Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler’s excellent work. Rollins and Ziggler have been feuding over the title for many months now and have wrestled each other quite a few times. But, the unreal chemistry and ability of both superstars have made each and every match of their extremely entertaining. Rollins and Ziggler have produced some of the best WWE matches of the year so far and WWE’s decision to pit them against each other numerous times has turned to be a brilliant decision.
7 Wrong: Putting Too Much Emphasis On Part-Timers
Despite having one of the most talented rosters in their history, WWE still seems to be clinging onto the attracting power of their part-time wrestlers. With events like Saudi Arabia and Australia wanting more part-timers to perform, WWE has been encouraged to give them more time over their hard-working full-time wrestlers. Be it placing part-timers in main-events or promoting their matches more than their own championship bouts, WWE is overdoing it in pushing their bygone stars ahead of their current superstars. They’re disrespecting their current stars by putting much of the spotlight on the part-timers and diminishing their own future.
6 Right: Keeping AJ Styles As The WWE Champion For A Long Time
AJ Styles has been WWE Champion for almost a year now and has been representing Smackdown phenomenally over the course of the year. Styles has been pit against some great opponents in 2018 but has come out on top every time to thwart whoever tried to take the title away from him. Styles has helped create some amazing storylines and make Smackdown the "A Show” of WWE. Styles’ excellent work as WWE Champion has proved why WWE made the right decision in giving him a long reign with the title which is deservedly his.
5 Wrong: Signing On Brock Lesnar For More Matches
Many were convinced that after Brock Lesnar lost to Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, his time at WWE was up. Lesnar has been advocating for a match against Daniel Cornier in the UFC and is training for that, which made many fans think that we won’t be seeing him anytime soon. However, Lesnar made a surprise appearance at Hell in a Cell to prove he’s still employed with WWE. He’s signed on with WWE for a few more matches, which is a foolish thing to do by the company, who need to realize that they don’t need him anymore.
4 Right: Making Ronda Rousey The Raw Women’s Champion
Ronda Rousey has been extremely impressive ever since making her WWE debut at WrestleMania and has since gone onto dominate Monday Night Raw. Rousey went for the Raw Women’s Championship quite soon and defeated Alexa Bliss in emphatic fashion to win her first championship in WWE. This was a great move from WWE on all fronts, as their Women’s Division got a lot of mainstream attention because of Rousey’s power. It also helped “legitimize” the division, as Rousey is doing a great job as champion and proving WWE right to bank on her.
3 Wrong: Persisting With Roman Reigns As The Main Event
WWE seems to be still intent on putting Roman Reigns over as a “popular” babyface, as they finally handed the Big Dog the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. However, things have not at all improved for Reigns and despite a Shield reunion, he’s still getting booed out of the building. At this point, the fans are just sick and tired of Reigns and could do well with someone other than him main-event every show. WWE should really put more importance on the WWE Championship and let it main-event more PPVs, as they’re making a mistake in putting all the spotlight on Reigns.
2 Right: Johnny Gargano Vs Tommaso Ciampa
One of the best feuds in the WWE has ironically not even been on the main roster, but in their “development brand” of NXT. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa’s rivalry started brewing ever since Ciampa turned on Gargano last year and after he returned earlier this year, all hell broke loose. The intense, hard-hitting matches these two have had are among WWE’s best in the past few years and their insane feud has been amazing to watch. Triple H and co deserve a lot of credits for doing the right thing and slowly stitching together this classic feud.
1 Wrong: Bringing Shawn Michaels Back From Retirement
Shawn Michaels retirement was one of the rare sacred things in WWE, as he seemed to have made a promise he’d never break. However, he had a sudden change of mind in recent months and agreed to come back to wrestle a few matches. WWE’s hunger for that insane payout from Saudi Arabia shows probably made them force him to come back and Michaels couldn’t say no. This was a really wrong thing from WWE, who made HBK break his vow for their financial benefit and to boost their falling ratings.