To say that the WWE is having some problems right now would be quite the understatement. From Vince McMahon losing a reported $350 million to various top stars getting injured, it has been an uphill battle for the top wrestling promotion in the world. There have been some major attempts to move forward by the promotion, with things like the WWE Network coming out and the creation of the WWE Performance Center, but with each step forward the promotion seems to be taking two steps back. These instances make fans wonder what those leading the WWE are thinking when it comes to making these decisions and more importantly, what are they going to do to get themselves out of the bad situation that they put themselves in.
So with that in mind, this list is designed to look at the biggest issues that the WWE is dealing with at the moment and, in some cases, a reasonable and thrifty solution to the problem. Some of the issues may seem bigger than others, but nonetheless they need to be addressed sooner rather than later, otherwise the WWE runs the risk of falling into the problems WCW faced a little more than a decade ago before its eventual downfall and closure. This is not to say that this is an imminent threat for the WWE, but rather the start of a little snowball that could eventually grow into something big enough to cause Indiana Jones to run. Only time will tell if the WWE will right the ship and change course out of the slump they are in, though if history is any reference, they should be able to stay afloat.
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12 Former Stars Speaking Out
There are always disgruntled workers in a workplace, and some are just more outspoken than others. Recently, the WWE has had some notable opposition from former stars, most notably Hall of Famer Mick Foley. Some of Foley's points of contention include the handling of Daniel Bryan's character, to the point where he smashed his TV in anger after watching this year's Royal Rumble, and then stating that he would not be renewing his Legend's contract after feeling that he was not getting paid the money he felt he should be making. This may seem small to some, but when you have one of your most respected wrestlers talking ill of the company, it can cause other wrestlers or fans to question the quality of the product.
11 Fan Reaction
The WWE has a very vocal fan base and unfortunately they tend to not give the audience what they want. Now you cannot make everyone happy all the time, but you should at least shoot for making as many people happy as possible. Take for instance the case of Daniel Bryan, who was slowly become the most 'over' star on the WWE's main roster. Yet time and time again he was screwed out of title wins or put down at the expense of the increasingly stale Randy Orton or Triple H. It was not until after the Royal Rumble that the WWE finally had to pull the trigger with Bryan and put him in the WWE Title picture after there was such a negative reaction both in-person and online to the returning Batista winning the Rumble. In a business built around fan acceptance, the one thing you cannot do is tick off the consumer on a regular basis.
10 The WWE Network
When most businesses open a new outlet to give their product to consumers, many will undersell the product as a way to keep expectations low so when it is successful, it seems like an even bigger success than what it actually is. Unfortunately, Vince McMahon decided the best way to sell the WWE Network was to go full-on Mr. McMahon and oversell the hell out of his product, saying it would reach a million subscribers soon after it launched. Unluckily for him though, it was under expectations with over six hundred thousand subscribers, a fine number for a new application, but because Vince oversold it so much, it came off as a slight failure, causing the stock value to drop.
9 Massive Cuts
Due to the initial faltering of the WWE Network and a few other issues involving the corporate side of the WWE with its TV deals, it was reported that in one day Vince McMahon lost $350 MILLION. To put that in perspective, according to numbers listed in The Death of WCW, Vince lost more money in ONE DAY than WCW lost in its ENTIRE RUN. This unfortunately has led to numerous cuts being made to the WWE product. With everyone from wrestlers to commentators being released, along with production being scaled back, it is apparent that the WWE is in a state of trying to rebuild and save money.
8 Valueless Titles
For the longest time, the WWE has treated its titles, outside of the World Title, as minuscule belts. With champions defending belts on pre-show matches or titles flipping between champions constantly, the WWE has done a similar thing that WCW did, by making fans not really care about its titles or champions. The Tag Titles in particular were poorly treated, where the division was made up of really one established team at a time and other teams made up of randomly paired wrestlers. Thankfully, the WWE seems to be trying to mend this issue by having longer reigning champions, as well as building more storylines for the champions to be involved in, to create stronger champions that fans can get behind.
7 Outdated Mindset
I do not think that it would be an understatement to say that Vince McMahon likes big wrestlers. It does not matter if they are tall, fat, muscular, or a combination of those, as long as they are big in some way, Vince will try to push them onto the fans. How else do you explain The Great Khali still having a job? Unfortunately being big does not always equate to quality in the ring, but that does not bother Vince and WWE creative as they push guys like Kane and Big Show in main event angles when they are past their marketable prime, while smaller, more technically sound wrestlers like Tyson Kidd or Dolph Ziggler are trying to find their place in the card. Even when someone like CM Punk was WWE Champion for over a year, a bigger guy like John Cena was still in the main event instead of him for the majority of PPVs for that year.
6 Too Many Shows
During the territory days of pro wrestling, promotions would have varied schedules for shows, which could include shows that would be shown on local television or quarterly shows for big events like Starrcade or Clash of Champions. Yet with changing times, the WWE has apparently gone into overdrive with TV shows for Raw, SmackDown, NXT, Superstars, and Main Event airing all around the world. These shows, along with twelve annual PPVs, house shows, and Total Divas, have created an environment where there is some form of WWE product being performed every day of the week. This kind of overexposure is burning fans out and worse, causing the wrestlers to become overexposed and stale at a faster rate, causing ratings to plateau.
Injuries are a common factor in any athletic forum, but unfortunately it seems to be more common within pro wrestling, where wrestlers are working three hundred days out of the year. The product can be affected by injuries as they can derail a big storyline or a certain wrestler’s push in the organization. This was clearly apparent when the WWE had one of its biggest Cinderella stories fall into their lap with Daniel Bryan. He would finally win the title in an epic Triple Threat Match with Randy Orton and Batista at WrestleMania XXX. Unfortunately, he would have a serious injury shortly after and have to relinquish the belt, and even now there is question of whether he will return in the near future. Then you have other wrestlers like Rey Mysterio, who has been experiencing more injuries over the past couple years, and Dolph Ziggler, who lost his World Title after suffering a serious concussion during a match.
4 No Direction for Most of Roster
With sixty-nine wrestlers on the main roster, it is understandable that only a small few will be in the biggest storylines. Yet that should not prohibit the rest of the roster from having something to do in an attempt to build them up as a credible wrestler. It seems unfortunate that guys in the lower midcard can try as they might to move up the ladder within the WWE hierarchy, but be relegated to shows like Superstars and Main Event, which are barely watched shows. Even guys who do find a way to break through with the audience, like Zach Ryder, eventually get knocked back down by creative after a few months because they have no angles for him to be a part of.
3 Constant Changing of Faces and Heels
One of the big reasons that WCW failed in their later years was that the fans could not get behind wrestlers as they did not know if they were supposed to cheer or boo a wrestler. This was because they were either a tweener character, that was a bit heel and face at the same time, or the wrestler switched between being a heel or face too often. The WWE is going through a similar issue right now, where a wrestler seems to be getting over as a face and then is ultimately switched to being a heel for no reason. A recent example of this is with Cesaro, who was getting hot leading up to WrestleMania and even won the Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal. Yet, almost immediately, he was placed with Paul Heyman and turned heel less than a day after getting over as a babyface, killing that momentum he worked so hard to get. This constant changing with wrestlers disrupts any chance that they have of getting over, causing the overall product to suffer.
2 No Real Competition and Complacency
Competition brings out the best in everyone. This was evident during the Monday Night War as the WWE and WCW gave fans some of the best pro wrestling they had ever seen. Yet when WCW was purchased by the WWE, the company would fall into complacency and coast on the fact that it was the only giant wrestling promotion in the United States. There was the Brand Extension that added some excitement to wrestling for a while but eventually it went back to the status quo. TNA seemed like a viable competitor to the WWE for a while, even going as far as moving Impact to Monday nights to compete directly with Raw, but that experiment failed and TNA moved back to Thursday nights. So with no viable competition, the WWE has become its own worst enemy.
1 No New Established Stars
Wrestling promoters never want to fix what they feel isn't broken, especially when it comes to their top stars. Hulk Hogan ruled the 80s and early 90s in the WWE, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels in the mid-90s, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock in the late 90s and early 2000s, and now it's been John Cena for the past eight years. The problem here is that since a promoter only builds up a few top stars, they neglect other members of the roster that they could be building up for when the time comes to replace a top star who is on the way out. People like to say that wrestling is cyclical, in that it has periods where it is red hot followed by periods where things become stagnant and boring. What they do not seem to realize is that this is because they don't build up stars to replace current stars who are becoming stale with the fans. The WWE made slight attempts to combat this by using CM Punk and more recently Daniel Bryan, but both of those were derailed for various reasons. This left John Cena as the face of the company, much to the chagrin of numerous fans. If promoters ever want to break the so-called “hot/cold cycle,” they need to continually build stars that can be pulled up at a moment’s notice to take the place of another performer.
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