Have you stopped watching the WWE on a regular basis? Do you just keep tabs of Pay-Per-View events? Maybe you have just resorted to watching the major Pay-Per-Views because that is when you realize that a belt will change hands? Maybe you just watch NXT now? Wrestling fans are coming to a crossroads with the product that is being delivered to them from the WWE. Ratings decreases have shown that less and less people care about what is happening during the WWE’s major show, RAW. These are not slight decreases, either. The ratings have plummeted to record lows that are akin to the pre-Attitude Era times. Fans have stuck around long enough looking for a change, and that change has not happened yet.
The product has become very predictable at this point. Many fans know improvement is not coming, but few still cling to the television screen hoping and praying for someone or something to save the product. In 2016, will change happen? The WWE Network is where the focus lies for the WWE now. Vince McMahon has admitted that the ratings fall is not a huge problem, but actions prove to tell a different story. One would think change would be in the air, but the occasional quick hitter on RAW that has no lasting appeal is no long term resolution.
This list looks at the top 15 reasons why the WWE will still suck in 2016. I am sure there are a few that are more than content with the product, but the numbers do not lie. The WWE is not going in a good direction, and there is a good chance that trend continues. This list will break down some predictions, and sadly, some expectation as to what to expect throughout the new year. Maybe the sails on the ship will shift in the right direction?
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13 The Shows On The WWE Network
The WWE Network has been a grand addition to wrestling fans. However, even the shows are dictating what goes on during RAW and the direction of the company. Thanks to shows like Total Divas, ladies will get pushes based on the program. Superstars like Eva Marie, who are not great in the ring, get a push because of the show's populariy. The WWE Network started out great, but has diminished. While it is awesome to go back and watch any PPV event you want, I find it useful for only the current PPVs. The new shows that have been advertised lately do not seem very inviting.
12 The Focus On The WWE Network
While the shows on the WWE Network will be a reason the WWE sucks in 2016, the overall focus on it sits above just the shows. The WWE Network is where the money is. Last year, the insistent plugs that turned comical and eventually sold t-shirts felt so forced. It was a poor way of advertising. Let’s look at logic. The Network has been around for a while. It is force-fed down fan’s throats during RAW and SmackDown. Yet, there is no advertising for it outside of those shows. Does Vince not realize that most everyone who would have the WWE Network by now already has it? Why not branch out and start advertising on other networks? There is a demographic that does not follow modern wrestling, but would go back and watch old matches. The focus on the WWE Network is annoying, and its hurting the current product.
11 The Divas
Yet another thing that is forced down our throats. The Divas’ Revolution did not last long, even though creative believes it’s still happening. The in-ring product from most of the Divas is lacking. Yes, it seemed better in NXT, but once certain Superstar Divas are called up, they end up taking a back seat to Superstars that a lot of fans do not care for (Bella Twins). What was once a smaller segment on RAW has now began to take up more time. RAW is on for three hours now and that is too long. Creative tried something new with that Revolution, but it did not pan out. The in-ring competition just is not that good.
10 The Wrestlers Lacking In-Ring Ability
It is not just the Divas who are hurting with in-ring ability. There are plenty of guys who have limited move sets (Roman Reigns, John Cena). This amounts to boring matches. Punches and Irish Whips get old. Why do people love Suplex City? What ever happened to the power bomb? Why is Sheamus beating Roman Reigns on the chest when Roman is wearing a chest protector? How is that believable or even sellable? NXT offers better in-ring performances thanks to wrestling ability. For a while, the commentators were not even allowed to call matches and had to focus on storylines. While they will name moves off now, they are wrong half the time. It is time to get back to wrestling, but this will always be sports entertainment.
9 The Injuries
It seems injuries continue to pile on. Daniel Bryan is done, Sting got hurt, Cena is rehabbing, and Seth Rollins is out for the count. While there is less wrestling in the ring, it seems injuries are occurring more and more. This can relate to the NFL. Rather than just taking some pain meds and going through pain, it seems Vince and WWE Doctors are more cautious than ever when it comes to treating injuries. Daniel Bryan has been given the okay by other doctors outside the company, but keeps getting denied by internal ones to return to action. You would think this would create an opportunity to push a lower card competitor, but rather it is patchwork that is done until that person returns.
8 The Lack Of Competition
This has been a problem for years. TNA and Ring of Honor are the closest competition, but it is about as close as the Lakers making the NBA Finals again. One can argue that the current state of the WWE is equivalent to where WCW stood late in its tenure. The lack of competition has allowed a simplistic and stagnant product with no real progression in years. Remember boiler room matches? Competition could allow for one big change. It would allow the competitors to mimic each other, all while adding their own take on things. Either way, it would be progression, and the WWE does not know how to progress judging by ratings drops. Competition is, literally, what is best for business.
While RAW and SmackDown may have been their own brands years ago, it was really two separate shows with different Superstars. NXT is ran by Triple H. This is his company and his genius. In the end, you are still supporting the same company. NXT is huge to hardcore wrestling fans, and its action is better. It seems more local. NXT could also be a product of the lack of competition. It is simply something else that is not WWE, therefore it is automatically better. Do not get me wrong, I do enjoy NXT, but its schedule lacks structure. However, the fact that more people are starting to watch this and stop watching RAW does not speak well for the company.
6 Too Many Shows Spreading The Talent Thin
The WWE has already spread itself too thin, even before the recent drop in ratings in 2015. SmackDown is utterly useless at this point, and we won’t even bring up Main Event. Add to this NXT, and it is too much. People have even brought up the brand split again, especially since SmackDown is moving back to the USA Network on Thursdays in January. It would definitely shake things up. One main, three hour show is not going to keep fans intrigued, especially when it is the same matches every week. It is too many shows if it is not used properly.
7. The Part Timers
Sure, people love seeing Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, and The Undertaker, but they are not around long. It does not allow for progression. Not to mention, when one of these guys compete, they tend to not let their opposition get over. Bray Wyatt has been held back thanks to part timers, and there have been others in the past. Sure, it will peak interest for a minute, but it hurts long term in dealing with developing full time people on the roster. The only positive thing that has come from using a part timer was Brock Lesnar holding the World Title for so long. This allowed WWE Creative to push another belt (United States Championship) and make it relevant again.
5 The Lack Of Creative Direction
A lot has been discussed already about a lack of creativity and progression in WWE. Really, this section could just be a summary of the other listings prior. The inability to push the right people, the inability to listen to its fans, and really it boils down to being stubborn. In 2016, WWE will continue being stubborn. Roman Reigns, John Cena, yes they sell t-shirts, but you complain about losing ratings, and then rest your laurels on the WWE Network doing well. Since the Attitude Era, it is obvious that the direction has not been there. No, the Creative Department does not have the final word on things, and that comes later in this list.
4 Roman Reigns
It looks to be that Roman Reigns is the new golden boy of the WWE. This was hinted at during his time with The Shield. Vince McMahon feels as if he has the look, but does not realize the man literally lacks in everything else. Now, he is at the forefront of the WWE thanks to a Seth Rollins injury. While the injury to Rollins might have just sped up the process for Roman, here we sit going into 2016 with Roman as champion. Roman is most likely a nice guy, but it literally hurts to hear the man talk. While his match with Sheamus at TLC might have been his most entertaining match ever, the man still lacks moves and in-ring ability. It feels too forced, especially when there’s other talent (Ambrose, Owens, Ziggler) who should be at the forefront of the title picture.
3 John Cena
When in doubt, call on John Cena. Cena will be returning soon to try and bail out Vince McMahon. Expect a full dosage of Cena for 2016, as Vince believes it will “right the ship” and fans will return. We all know the story with Cena. The crowd either loves or hates Cena. His matches are never great, and a heel turn would certainly spark interest. The man has been the face of the company for ten years, and when phasing that out does not work, the WWE reverts right back to its comfort zone with having Cena as its main figure and champion.
2 The PG Content
We all miss the Attitude Era. One thing that came with that was competition. Now, for advertising purposes and making the show available to everyone, we still embark on the PG Era. There is no blood, no blading, no chair shots to the head, limited cursing, and this leads to the lack of OMG moments. When Taker took on Brock and they both bled, that was their decision, and Vince was not happy. In another argument, what child is going to stay up until 11:00pm to watch the end of RAW? They could put the less PG content on later, or let them bleed during PPV’s since there is a subscription fee. It would make it feel premium. Still, the PG era goes back to keeping things linear and simplistic.
2. The Announce Team
The worst thing about watching a broadcast is the announce team. I find myself cringing most of the time when Michael Cole speaks. It is always some sort of promotion. The only thing good that comes from the commentating are the mistakes brought up on Botchamania. JBL is good at times, and I hope to hear something classic every time I watch. It is nice that they moved on from Jerry Lawler, but it took a step backwards with an emotionless commentator who honestly adds nothing in Byron Saxton. On top of that, we are still stuck hearing Lawler during PPV’s. This will get worse before it gets better. #NeedNewAnnouncers
1 Vince McMahon
All of these items highlighted in this list stem out from one huge tree. That tree is Vince McMahon. Ultimately, all of these decisions and the direction of the company, are a product of Vince’s decision making. The PG Era, the announcing, Roman Reigns, John Cena, almost everything above. The developmental NXT has been around for some time (remember the Nexus?). The only reason NXT is strong now is because of Triple H. And honestly, the only reason the WWE is where it is now is because of Vince McMahon. Until Triple H is given control, Vince still has final say on every decision. This will continue in 2016.
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