WWE is in trouble. It’s been building for a while to be sure but the injury to Seth Rollins has led to massive ratings downturns for RAW and SmackDown, record lows in some cases. Fan apathy is high online and the loss of Rollins and Cena is being felt. It’s showing how WWE has been making the mistake of not building guys better to keep the main event as fresh as they could or should. Combine that with the usual pushes of bigger guys over more talented ones and cutting the legs off of acts that are promising and it’s no surprise word is growing of morale being low.
The issue is that WWE has grown far too complacent with its success and lack of competition (and to put it bluntly, TNA has never been competition). It’s also clear Vince McMahon’s vision is complicating things more with his “my way or the highway” road and while Triple H has done good work like NXT, his own issues are clear in running things. WWE needs to change, wrestling has always needed to evolve but right now, they need to make some big steps to do that. Here are 15 ways WWE can revitalize themselves, make the company and the product more enjoyable and relevant and help themselves as well as the business.
15 15. Let go of the past
14 14. More tag teams
13 13. Build the undercard
Say what you will about Vince Russo but he was smart in building the undercard of WWE in his time, helping to turn the likes of Triple H, The Rock and others into major stars that they were able to take to the next level. Russo's successors continued with Kurt Angle, the Hardyz and even Cena was an undercard guy before building up. Today, of course, we have too many cases of guys (Swagger, Sheamus, Del Rio) given huge main event runs before they’re truly ready for them.
12 12. Use real wrestling terms
11 11. Bring back managers
10 10. Organic pushes
To be fair, WWE is hardly alone as throughout the history of wrestling, promoters and owners have been reluctant to go along with stuff that wasn’t created by them. But the recent mess with Daniel Bryan is a clear sign of how WWE is ignoring a great organic push. It made perfect sense, Bryan returning from injury to face Lesnar for the title, and what the fans wanted. But because it wasn’t in WWE’s plans, they ignored it for Reigns and it’s happened time and again.
9 9. Make titles matter
An obvious but still important move. Hot-shotting the belts has been a major mistake for WWE over the years as it weakens the titles, making them props. They have done better with the long run of Punk and Rollins might still be champ if not for his injury. But it still needs work and that counts for the secondary titles. The IC belt was once a truly revered championship that went to great workers but in the last decade has just been bounced around and ditto for the U.S. title. Unifying them would be a good start but more importantly is to have them defended regularly and by real workers.
8 8. Better Network Content
The WWE Network has been a big deal for fans of old-school wrestling with its fantastic mix of classic programming that reminds folks what wrestling can be. However, the original content can use a big boost. We’ve had some nice stuff like the “Monday Night War” series but there is a ton of potential for shows that WWE is ignoring. Bring back that “Are You Serious” series as a regular show focusing on the worst of wrestling. Or more looks at the backstage life of wrestlers and maybe focus on more key moments in history while also showing the real lives of various workers.
7 7. Turn Cena Heel
6 6. Lose the Hollywood writers
Yes, we get Vince wants an “entertainment” feel for WWE, he’s always been like that. With that said, it’s time to let these guys go as it’s quite obvious that they know nothing about how wrestling works. The “skits” are worse than ever, the promos are terrible (Reigns’ pretty much killed his Mania push) and it’s hurting what good pushes there are. It also has added to the issues regarding builds and storylines rushed too fast as these guys just want to get to their next thing. Wrestling and Hollywood don’t mix as well as some hope and the obvious problems are all too clear.
5 5. Let wrestlers be themselves
The fans hated Rocky Maivia. They were so-so on Mankind. They were lukewarm to The Ringmaster. It was only when they used their inner talent to become The Rock, Mick Foley and Steve Austin that they took off. The old mantra is that the best wrestling personas are simply the real guy taken to the tenth level and that’s been proven true lots of times. Today, too many WWE guys are forced into roles and not allowed to blossom. It actually has done wonders in NXT and even the old OVW but they’re held back by bad characters in WWE itself and that has to stop.
There are so many guys who can be fantastic if let loose a bit more and help get the company turned around. Just look at how the New Day have taken off with their goofy antics and gotten over with the crowds.
4 4. Less PPVs
3 3. Slow builds
Look at the Nexus. Their debut was absolutely brilliant and made them an immediate force to be reckoned with. However, WWE blew though this in just a matter of weeks, not giving it the time it needed. This has happened numerous times since and shows WWE is making the same mistake as a lot of TV networks: They want instant results and no patience for the slow build that such acts need.
2 2. LISTEN to the fans
It’s true it can be a danger listening to fans too much. As the old joke goes “If WWE did only what folks on the Internet wanted, they’d be out of business.” Too many forget that an IWC darling may be a great worker but not able to carry a company on his back (see Zack Ryder). However, the Daniel Bryan mess earlier this year was a huge sign of WWE ignoring what fans wanted, Bryan facing Lesnar at Mania rather than Reigns.
1 1. Vince Steps Down
Vince McMahon has been the reason WWE has gone so far and truly is a genius in many ways. Sadly, it’s become apparent that Vince has turned into the very “old-timer” promoters he put out of business, clinging to the same old formula and thinking it’ll work. As proof, see the constant push for Roman Reigns despite fans not wanting it and then yet another title run for Sheamus. See how the Sting debut ended in him beaten down just because Vince refused to acknowledge that WCW’s biggest star could be at WWE’s level. He pushes commentators to say only certain things and his refusal to acknowledge he’s wrong is just doing the company more harm than good.
The common mantra is the reason WCW fell apart was they never had a boss like Vince. While Vince has been that guy for a long time, that time has passed. It’s now obvious that Vince is just too out of touch, not able to grasp that what worked 30 or even 10 years ago won’t now. We need a fresher eye and while Triple H has issues, the way he’s helped build NXT into a fantastic product shows he does have some insight and ability to take WWE into a new age. It’s true that Vince will probably be six months in the grave before he gives up control but if he wants his creation to outlive him by a long time, he has to let go sooner because his “vision” of what WWE needs to do is clouded by his ego and clinging to the past. If he doesn’t do the right thing soon, he’s going to join those same old guys he crushed in the first place as being unable to flex with the times.
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