When you think about anything, there are things that are liked, while other things are hated. The WWE is no different with their on-screen product.
There is no question that the WWE does many great things. Whether it is working with countless foundations, helping the sick or contributing to communities, they have done a world of good for many people. If there is one thing that undoubtedly shouldn’t be changed with the company, it is the countless hours of work that they do off-screen.
However, while that is great and should not be put aside, the thing that wrestling fans care about the most is what is going on inside the ring. While being a fan of what the company does outside of the ring is warranted, the reason why there are eyeballs on the product is for one thing and one thing only: wrestling.
While Vince McMahon and the creative team have done many great things with their wrestling product – most notably pushing stars based on talent not looks, NXT and improved quality of matches – there are still a multitude of things that not only have the fans complaining, but are legitimate gripes that should be addressed. Sure, the product inside of the ring has improved in recent memory, yet there is still a lot more work to bring the WWE to what it once was.
As wrestling fans, we have a right to have our displeasures be heard. With that being said, here are 15 things that are wrong with the current WWE programming, and if they were removed, it would make for a better overall product. This list is all about trimming the fat on the product and giving it more substance.
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16 Tough Enough
The WWE has experimented with many different ventures, most notably the XFL and the Divas Search, among others. However, when both proved not to be effective, Vince McMahon and company put an end to them.
Which is why it is so baffling that Tough Enough continues to exist as a television show. While it originally came off as a new and exciting concept, the show faded quickly and none were worse than the 2015 inception of the show. The mix of having the show both taped and live came off in an odd way, while the excessive fakeness that reality television is known for was very apparent.
On top of that, besides John Morrison and The Miz, there has yet to be a truly successful star to come out of Tough Enough. That should be enough for the show to be cancelled for good.
15 The Big Show
Listen, I’m not someone who likes to see their job be taken away, because that’s just wrong in every way. However, for the love of all that is good, please get the Big Show off of my television screen.
While Big Show has had a long and illustrious career, the future WWE Hall of Famer has worn his welcome out with the audience. Not only are his constant heel and face turns hard to get behind, but when you’re garnering chants that say “please retire,” it is time to take a break.
There’s nothing worse than when the creative team tries to re-establish the Big Show as a credible threat during the Royal Rumble/WrestleMania season. The largest athlete in the world could be a viable threat as a part-timer, but as an everyday act, he just doesn’t work.
14 Repetitive Matches
Not too long ago, after a match on a pay-per-view, the creative team would either have each wrestler move onto another program, or would further the feud with a compelling angle.
Unfortunately, they have strayed from this idea in recent memory, and after almost every pay-per-view, there is a rematch that has the person who lost the night before regain their steam on Monday. This was evident recently on Raw, as after Night of Champions, we saw two rematches from just the night before, while combining the Dolph Ziggler/Rusev and New Day/Dudley Boyz feud for a six-man tag.
It feels lazy. While the WWE has had a recent drop in the ratings, one of the main causes could be because we see the same wrestlers go at it week in and week out.
13 The Death of the Finishing Move
When you hear the words “finishing move,” it’s taken literally; when you hit the move, it finishes your opponent – well, at least that’s what it used to mean.
In the current WWE product, wrestlers hit their finishing maneuver multiple times before securing a victory. While I’m not sure if he is the person to blame, there is no bigger culprit than the company’s top draw, John Cena. Dating back to almost three years ago now, his Attitude Adjustment – which isn’t the most devastating move in the world – has been used more than twice in a majority of his matches.
Because of this, not only do matches become more predictable, as one finisher won't end the contest, but it also devalues the moves themselves. The reason why the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker matches were such classics was because no one had kicked out of a Tombstone in decades and the list of guys who kicked out of Sweet Chin Music was very short. When people kick out of finishers on a weekly basis, how is it a big deal when it happens?
12 Glorifying the Attitude Era
There’s no need to explain; not only was the WWE’s best time – in terms of popularity and money – during the Attitude Era, but many of the loyal fans still watch the product today.
However, as someone who loved and enjoyed that time, the more the WWE promotes it through the WWE Network or their video games, the less special it feels. Sure, it’s nostalgic to watch a series detailing the Monday Night War with WCW or to play a full career mode as Stone Cold Steve Austin, there needs to come a time where they stray away from that time and focus on the future.
Sure, many will say the reason they keep bringing back the Attitude Era is because it generates money. While that is true, how can they make money in the future if they don’t focus on it?
11 Over-reliance on Part-Time Stars
There is definitely value in bringing back big names for special events. There's no doubt that Brock Lesnar is currently WWE's hottest commodity. However in recent years, the WWE has failed to make new box office attractions. While they have definitely had new talent step up, none have proven to sell tickets and/or network subscriptions. Part of that responsibility falls on WWE's shoulders, as they've devalued their own talent by constantly having them play second fiddle to returning veterans. A happy compromise would be mixing part-timers with full-time superstars. Once his feud with The Undertaker is done, Lesnar should feud with younger stars who could use a program with the Beast Incarnate to establish themselves.
10 The Authority
Throughout the history of WWE programming, there has always been an authority (no pun intended) figure in charge. Some have been very visible (Mr. McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, Vickie Guerrero), some not so much (Shawn Michaels, Sergeant Slaughter) while others had no place on the show at all (Mike Adamle).
However, The Authority has been visible for almost two years – and it is about one and a half years too long. While they were a credible heel group to start, both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have worn out their welcome over the past months.
While there was a great chance to remove them off of television for a while after Survivor Series 2014, they were right back on television less than two months later.
Both Triple H and McMahon have had enough television time in their respective careers. It’s time to give it a rest.
9 The Faux Divas 'Revolution'
When Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch made their debuts on Raw over the summer, all that was said was “Divas Revolution,” and for good measure. After all, the three women were three of the most impressive wrestlers on the entire NXT roster.
However, the way that the creative team has broken the women up into three teams of three really stunted the growth of the said revolution. Sure, the women get more time in their matches and more exposure, but a lack of real storylines makes the entire program feel stagnant.
There was an improvement, as Charlotte captured the Divas Championship; however, only time will tell if how the women are portrayed will change.
Don’t worry; we’re not done with this Divas Revolution…
8 The 'Divas' Championship
Sure, there have been some pretty bad designs for championship belts over the years of professional wrestler. However, the case could be made that the Divas Championship is by far the worst looking title ever.
Maybe they were trying to attract to the younger female audience, or maybe they were trying to kill any respect for women’s wrestling (I’ll stick with the latter), but either way, the massive butterfly plastered on leather is a terrible look.
With the so called Divas Revolution taking place, now would be the perfect time for Charlotte to bring back a new design of the Women’s Championship, while dropping all ties to the word diva.
7 Uniform Stage Setups
If this list were based on personal preference, this would probably be number one. The way the stages for every show and pay-per-view (sans WrestleMania) are set up, it makes everything look the same.
Only a few years ago, each pay-per-view had their own unique set, while Raw and SmackDown generally looked the same. Going back even further, there was nothing better than the giant square screen, ramp and red ropes to represent Raw, while the oval screen or the first through the glass with blue ropes showcased SmackDown.
Nowadays, every single show the WWE produces has the same stages with the same white ropes. With no variety, nothing feels unique or special about each show. Even something as little as the presentation of the shows can hurt the product. That must change.
6 Three Person Commentator Squads
In any sport, a two person commentating team flows very well. Each person has the space to talk and get their point across, while having a one-on-one, naturally sounding conversation.
However, the WWE's decision to go with three people to commentate their shows has hurt their on-screen product. Not only does the WWE have commentators who aren’t that good, but half of the time JBL, Booker T or Jerry Lawler ramble too much about something other than what is going on inside of the ring.
The WWE was at its best when they had groups like Jim Ross and Lawler, Michael Cole and Tazz and so on. If Raw had Michael Cole and JBL and Smackdown had Rich Brennan and Jerry Lawler, it would give the product a better feel to it.
5 Gimmick Themed Pay Per Views
When the WWE was experiencing one of its peaks, there was nothing better than when a match type like Hell in a Cell, Tables, Ladders and Chairs or Elimination Chamber was announced, as they were both rare and exciting. Unfortunately, when the WWE decided to go with gimmick themed pay-per-views, they lost the mystique on said stipulations.
Instead of having a huge feud culminate in a Hell in a Cell match at any time of the year, it is now known that whatever feud is going on at the time will be settled in October. The same can be said for both the Elimination Chamber and TLC.
While they have begun to slightly distance themselves from gimmick themed events, the WWE would be best off by eliminating them altogether.
4 Scripted Promos
How many promos do you hear nowadays that sound completely force-fed, disingenuous and instantly have you changing the channel? Very few wrestlers seem to get the freedom of picking up a mic and just speaking their mind. Paige's recent promo felt authentic, as you could buy into it. It felt like there was some truth behind what she was saying. The Kevin Owens/John Cena feud earlier this year felt real because both men came off as genuine. The WWE has to go back to the tried and true method of handing bullet points to performers and letting them figure it out from there. It would allow them to get their creative juices flowing and that way, the cream rises to the top.
2 The End of the Brand Split
When the brand split first occurred back in 2002, it didn’t only freshen up the entire WWE product, but also helped generate new stars for the company to build around for years to come. If it wasn’t for the split, it’s unlikely stars like John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton and Edge would have had the same levels of success.
As it stands today, the WWE has a good amount of depth on their roster. Unfortunately, there is no room to grow, as both Raw and Smackdown have the same rosters.
If the WWE were to bring back the brand split, wrestlers like Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens, among others, could be the main eventers on Smackdown, while Cena, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt could man Raw.
It would be a surefire positive on both sides, as there would be more room for younger talents to get a taste of the main event spotlight. Brand exclusive PPVs would also help keep feuds and programs fresh.
1 Three Hour Raw
If you were to poll the entire fan base of the WWE, I guarantee that most would say that the three-hour Raw format would be the number one thing that must go.
When Raw was one of the best shows on all of television, it was because there was both loads of action and entertaining backstage segments that filled the two hour timeslot.
However, money talks; and with a third hour, the WWE was able to generate more ad revenue.
Unfortunately, with that decision, the company's product quality has suffered. More weeks than not, Raw tends to drag on, while filling the show with pointless or irrelevant angles.
Triple H stated on the Stone Cold Podcast that what he would change about Raw is its three-hour format. So would we, Hunter. Please change it. That would benefit the product in ways unimaginable.
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