Change can be a necessity for success. With time, change is inevitable, including in the WWE. A new year brings new solutions, resolutions and hope. It can also leave wrestling fans scratching their heads, wondering what went wrong the year before and if things will ever change. This piece will hopefully come up with a number of ways to solve some of the dilemmas that the WWE is currently facing, while acting preventively regarding other issues so that they don't become problems. Keep in mind, with any potential solution, another problem may arise in its place, so it is important to view any solution as a simple means to make wrestling fans happier, though perhaps temporarily. Will each of the ways listed be a quick fix or a work in progress? They will be a combination of both. While some solutions may need adjustments down the road, others will be as easy as trusting what resonates with fans.
You can't wave a magic wand over the problem and make it better; there is real effort needed from all parties involved. Some issues may be tied to superstars, others are decisions by management, and others are booking decisions for the talent. We live in a society of the here and now, and it is important to remember that, both as a corporation like WWE and as fans. What exactly does the future have in store for the WWE in 2016? The largest promotion in the world always says they strive to be better, but are they doing enough to please the viewing audience? These are 15 things the WWE needs to do in 2016 in order to succeed.
15 Create a Tag Team with The Miz and Tyler Breeze
“The Red Carpet Runway” tag team just seems to make sense because both characters reference the entertainment industry. Miz TV could also include Breeze, as both have that special arrogant, brash quality that fans hate. While many may just hate The Miz, Breeze could reach that level if they promote him as being a vain, world class model. The WWE is starving for quality tag teams and may have one in these two. While the name chosen for them may be premature, it seems to work.
14 Bring Back the King of the Ring Properly
During its time, the King of the Ring pay per view was one of the most notable shows put on by the WWE. It would lead to several coronations, including those of Bret and Owen Hart. The most memorable moment in King of the Ring history was the birth of “Austin 3:16.” In 2015, the King of the Ring was only a WWE Network exclusive, with little made of its winner, King Barrett, since then. The idea of a tournament with the potential for a WWE World Heavyweight championship match for the winner, is an easy selling point for this event.
13 Have an Important Role for Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 32
It's often asked: will Steve Austin have one more match? Will he have his last ever match in his home state of Texas? The answer is not yet known. There is no doubt that Steve Austin is among the greatest performers of his generation, if not the greatest of all. Commemorating his contribution to wrestling by either serving as a guest referee for a big match, or in a match, would only add to the event's success. The Rock is already confirmed and to have Austin as part of the event in some sort of in-ring segment would only add to the show's prestige.
12 Turn Roman Reigns Heel
Fans have jeered him as a face and have been less than enthused about his position in the company's main event. So to have him completely turn his back on everyone, including his family, would certainly make a statement. An attitude of ‘if you're going to boo me, I'll give you a reason' would serve him well. Perhaps having him eventually aligned with Vince McMahon, with the promise of getting rid of Triple H, could work? Could you imagine the reaction he would get if, at WrestleMania, he beat down The Rock? Instant heat.
11 Elevate Certain NXT Talents to the Main Roster
With any sports team, the key to their success is a strong developmental system. The same could be said about WWE and its developmental brand, NXT. And, right now, major independent wrestlers who have successfully competed in NXT are primed and ready to be moved up to the main roster. The most notable names include Samoa Joe and Finn Balor. These two faced each other in England, in the main event of the recent NXT Takeover event, to a huge response. It is only a matter of time before these two tremendous talents show the main roster just what they can do.
10 Change the Divas Title Back to the Women's Title
This decision is an easy one. The Divas title doesn't have the prestige tied to it that the WWE Women's title had. Hall of Fame wrestlers such as Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Trish Stratus, Rockin Robin, Alundra Blayze and Mickie James all held the Women's title. If the men's title wasn't renamed the Alpha-Male He-Man Title, why label the women's belt as ‘Divas' when they would prefer to be booked as strong, smart and talented women. They can be sexy, but still show their competitiveness, and having a title that identifies that is an easy decision to make.
9 Allow for a Sting/Undertaker Confrontation
It is believed Sting wrestled his last match when he faced Seth Rollins at this past year's Night of Champions. So a match at this year's WrestleMania may not be likely, considering the age and health of both Sting and The Undertaker. But a confrontation between them, while they soak in the adulation of the fans, doesn't seem all that unrealistic. They may exchange punches, they may shake hands, but to have two iconic figures in the ring at the same time is something that fans of all ages would be glad to see happen.
8 Have Daniel Bryan Return as a Heel
Many say this could be an almost impossible feat, as he would have to do something completely nasty and unconscionable to be jeered by the audience. As Yes chants ring out and he initially comes out and acknowledges them, perhaps he could say that he had little to no acknowledgement during his time away and that fans didn't reach out to him. Will it work? If anyone can make it work, it's Bryan. He has been one of the wormiest characters on the roster in the past, so making fans ‘hate' him isn't an impossible feat.
7 Have an NXT Championship Match at WrestleMania 32
One of the hottest brands in WWE is NXT. Fans have bought into the talent that is down there, talents who have the opportunity to showcase themselves weekly. When you add to the fact that there is a heavily promoted NXT event quarterly, it is clear to see that a lot of time is invested in the product. Why not take it to the next level? Why not feature an NXT championship match at this year's WrestleMania? While you run the risk of fans not being familiar with those involved, though NXT events ran all over the United States with great success, it is worth the risk.
6 Better Establish the Tag Team Division
The inspiration for this comes from the success of the Dusty Rhodes Memorial Tag Team tournament in NXT. Indeed, the teams that have come out of NXT have been tremendous. Their division has been prominent because time has been invested in making it succeed. The same could be easily done on the main roster, but other than The New Day, the tag team division is quite weak. Tag team wrestling doesn't have to be dead and in fact it could easily stand out by taking talents that aren't booked very much and making them part of a team.
5 Split up Divas 'Factions'
It has to bug fans to see all the women in the division lumped together without any real rhyme or reason. It's lazy booking because it doesn't allow for the individuality of each character to shine through, as they are stuck factions. With Nikki Bella currently injured, there needs to be more use of everyone in the division, by having them contend with no allegiances to anyone else. It would be ideal to see each of the women at one time or another contend for the title over the course of 2016. This would be the ideal situation for all involved.
4 Better Storylines for Mid and Lower Card Talent
One of the most notable times in the WWE was during 2002/2003 when SmackDown provided some really entertaining television. It also featured storylines for the midcard talent. So much is invested in promoting the main event that when we see guys like Damien Sandow, or others that are used sparingly, we dismiss it as a throwaway match. Why? Give your guys that are on the fringe more to sink their teeth into. They offer something and, after seeing how Sandow was able to connect with fans as part of the Miz/Mizdow gimmick, you know that success for the midcard and lower is actually possible.
3 Put the Divas Title on Sasha Banks
Is there anyone in the Divas Division that fans gravitate to more? Sasha Banks works her butt off at being disliked, so much so that it becomes difficult to dislike her. When it comes to in-ring talent, she is among the best on the roster, if not the best. While some may question her small frame, AJ Lee was no different and she was one of the longest running Divas champions ever. Banks walks in and calls herself ‘The Boss,' and steals the show every time she's out there. Banks as a Divas champion makes the most sense for the division.
2 Make SmackDown a Viable Program
Lots of time and energy seems to be put into Raw, but little has been done with Smackdown over the past few years. Fans have seen that it does not advance storylines to the degree that Raw does. With Smackdown's recent move to the USA network, the time is right to highlight both programs. USA is also more widely available to fans, and allows for story continuity to be maintained week by week. It makes the most sense to use the program again, not as the watered down version of Raw, but rather as good as an option as Raw.
1 Start Listening to the Fans
When fans boo, it often isn't because they are booing the heels. It's sometimes because the paying customers get irritated by bad writing, or stagnation and little change. They boo Roman Reigns because they don't like scripted, silly sayings like ‘tater tots' or ‘suffering succotash'. They are tired of, year after year, seeing The Authority control the major storylines for a long period of time, with a face prevailing in the end. Having a face deal with an uphill battle against an overbearing boss has been done. What about a dominant face champion that overcomes any challenge put in front of him or her? Try it.
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