Make no mistake about it, WWE is in the worst place it has been since the mid-90s. Luckily for the company there is no genuine competition for the audience to jump over to, otherwise WWE could be in serious danger.
But alas, WWE is the sole wrestling powerhouse in the world and the only option for disgruntled fans of the product is to turn off their televisions and do something else with their time - which they are doing.
WWE did nothing to help stem the flow, putting on a personalized 'how to' guide on how to effectively get your TV ratings to drop after the horrible episode of RAW disguised as a pay-per-view that was Survivor Series.
To cap off the predictable, dull and underwhelming event, WWE's response to John Cena taking a break and Seth Rollins suffering a long-term knee injury was having Sheamus capture the WWE Championship after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract, effectively making the face of the company a midcarder who has hardly been involved on TV in recent months.
RAW's ratings will continue to go down until at least the end of the year. However, the ship can be salvaged before it goes completely under.
Luckily for WWE, the ratings drop comes at a time when both Royal Rumble and WrestleMania are on the horizon, allowing for two excellent opportunities to bring the fans back to the product.
These are the top 15 ways WWE can sort out the utter car crash its product has become before WrestleMania 32.
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15 Allow Dolph Ziggler Some Success
12 months ago, Dolph Ziggler played the vital role in the 2014 Survivor Series match that saw The Authority be overthrown. In the 2015 edition, Ziggler was jobbing to Tyler Breeze. Is it any wonder the dedicated fans are turning off their televisions? If you consistently take the most popular guys and remove them from championship pictures to become jobbers, clearly you are going to lose some support. However, simply having Ziggler challenge for a championship, even if unsuccessful, will give the fans what they want. At least one of the 'internet darlings' needs to have some on-screen success or WWE is completely alienating a large portion of its audience.
14 Heated Undercard Rivalries
Although there are always mini-feuds going on throughout shows, there haven't been any genuinely spiteful and intriguing rivalries in WWE for a while. The Roman Reigns-Bray Wyatt feud became stale quickly and the Dolph Ziggler-Rusev feud died out; other than Kevin Owens-John Cena, the lack of interesting rivalries on the undercard has made both RAW and SmackDown very easy to miss. The shows can't be all about the main eventers - there has to be a consistent spread of feuds throughout the roster, and ones that are given genuine heat rather than being a matter of 'this guy doesn't like this guy, so they will have a match'.
13 Roman Reigns Feud With Sheamus/The Authority
Making Sheamus the WWE Champion while basically being an unpopular fill-in was a major mistake, and although most fans aren't excited that Sheamus is carrying the title, those same fans are happier that Roman Reigns isn't the champion. Having Reigns and Sheamus feud basically guarantees that one of them will be over with the fans by the time it comes to an end, which is exactly what WWE will be wanting in its quest to make Roman Reigns the top face in the company. While boosting Reigns' popularity, Sheamus will also get a significant career boost and actually appear as though he is worthy of being the company's champion.
12 Commit To Making Sheamus 'The Man'
Making Sheamus the WWE Champion at a time when ratings are crashing down was a major mistake, let's make that clear. However, this is the reality and now that Sheamus is holding the title, WWE must make him the highlight of every program. Coming into his championship reign, Sheamus isn't exactly the company's top heel, but some smart booking could easily make Sheamus the most despised character on the roster. Sheamus can't hide behind his new Authority stable mates as Seth Rollins did; that was perfect for Rollins as it matched his personality, whereas Sheamus needs to be destroying his opponents. WWE must book Sheamus as an unbeatable powerhouse and only use The Authority to assist him when things truly start to get difficult for him. Give the impression that he is not going to be defeated easily, rather than half-commit to his championship reign.
11 Have Bray Wyatt Win Something
Something. Anything. WWE has committed to allowing Bray the time to deliver excellent promos, but have made him look incredibly weak given he has not come out on top in just about every feud he has been a part of. You can't tell the world 'this is our new creepy guy' and have him lose all the time; there has to be action to back up the words and the booking is severely hampering Wyatt's progress. If he's not in a championship picture, Bray needs to be coming out on top in feuds consistently rather than being used as fodder. A few more months of losing and it will be impossible to take Wyatt seriously, no matter how strong of a character he is.
10 Push The 'Right' Divas
It's magnificent that the Divas are getting more in-ring time, but extra time means nothing unless the right women are in the squared circle; Charlotte and Paige are not the right women. After a controversial build-up to their Survivor Series match, Charlotte and Paige put on a thoroughly underwhelming match that was compiled of rest holds, botched moves and a predictable finish. WWE's efforts to push the Divas has been terribly mismanaged and as a result the progress in the last few months has been all for nothing. Sure Charlotte and Paige are good poster children for the Divas division, but they are not the best female wrestlers in the company. That has to be focus, not who is the most marketable; WWE will discover that allowing the performers in the ring to put on a great show is a more effective way of creating marketable characters than forcing who they think looks good on a poster into the spotlight. Bayley, Sasha Banks and Naomi need to be the faces of the Divas division, not Charlotte, Paige and Nikki Bella.
9 More Unpredictability
Simply put, fans aren't going to stick around when they can guess exactly what will happen and that has been the case in recent months. Survivor Series further highlighted this issues with every match on the card being dull and unpredictable, culminating in the most dull and predictable Money in the Bank cash-in ever. While Seth Rollins' injury two weeks out from a major pay-per-view makes life hard on the writers, so many doors were opened as a result and the opportunity to create something exciting and unique presented itself. Instead, WWE chose the laziest option and the result was a lackluster pay-per-view that featured no debuts, no surprises, no minor championship matches and two of the worst traditional Survivor Series five-on-five elimination matches imaginable. We're not talking about going full Vince Russo here, but this is the time when WWE needs to be looking towards the Road to WrestleMania and making its product captivating.
8 Promote Asuka
It would be best to not bring up anymore female competitors to the main roster given the horrible logjam in the division, but Asuka is a special exception. She has a unique look, an incredible entrance, just the right amount of raunchiness to keep Vince McMahon happy and, most of all, she brings something to the Divas division just about no other female competitor on the roster does: technical wrestling. WWE doesn't have the best track record with its Asian imports, but Asuka is something else. Already a highlight, Asuka is wasted in NXT given she is a ready-made WWE level competitor. Throwing her into a vital role as a stand-alone character in the Divas division is printing money.
7 Bring Back Batista
Before you scoff, facepalm and close the page, hear me out. Now that Batista's acting role in Spectre has come to an end, he revealed in November that he would gladly return to WWE even in a smaller capacity, even stating: "If they would allow me to go back and just do house shows I’d be all over it." This opens the door for Batista to be used not in a main event role, but to buff up The Authority and a somewhat hollow champion in Sheamus. While Seth Rollins was the main man in The Authority, he had Big Show, Kane and Randy Orton all looking out for him. If Sheamus has Batista working as his lackey, along with Rusev and King Barrett, it would bring some legitimacy to his reign.
6 Go All Out At Royal Rumble
The 2015 edition of the Royal Rumble was underwhelming to say the least and WWE can't afford for another one of the company's major events to be a bust, especially so close to WrestleMania. WWE has roughly two months before the Royal Rumble pay-per-view and that time should be used to create a supercard that would be good enough for WrestleMania. Load the Royal Rumble match with guest appearances, feature an unexpected winner, have all five WWE titles on the line – everything possible. Remind people why they enjoy WWE's product, because at the moment it's getting pretty hard to remember.
5 Build Up To Triple H vs The Rock At WrestleMania
WWE teased this potential flashback to the Attitude Era in 2014, but nothing seemed to come from a friendly-cum-serious on-screen conversation between the two. The Rock has made sporadic WWE appearances throughout 2015 and, while not having a sanctioned match, has remained somewhat close to the company despite his flourishing acting career. Rather than using The Rock as a saving grace when things become incredibly terrible, using him in a long build-up to WrestleMania against Triple H would give the WrestleMania card some more clout, much like the Triple H-Sting match at WrestleMania 31. Most importantly, the match would bring extra eyes onto next year's 'Mania without hampering any championship picture, making for the perfect filler-match that will keep fans on the edge of their seats.
4 The Undertaker vs Kane At WrestleMania
It appears the dream of having The Undertaker vs Sting at WrestleMania is dead and buried, and with 'Taker clearly coming towards the end of his career, one more match against his kayfabe brother would be an incredible send-off. While the match doesn't necessarily need to involve any particular storylines, given it could be promoted as both The Undertaker and Kane's final WWE matches, celebrating their careers and allowing fans to witness idols from their childhood for one last time. On the other hand, given the pair have just reunited at Survivor Series, it would be easy to turn Kane heel once again and build up to one final epic confrontation, allowing Kane to carry the ball on TV in regards to hyping up the feud. No matter how many times we have seen it before, one last epic confrontation between the two is guaranteed to bring fans back.
3 Bring Finn Balor To The Main Roster To Fight KO
He's ready, he's established, and, most importantly, Finn Balor is one of the most popular guys in the WWE, despite only ever appearing on NXT. It's no secret Balor is destined for the main roster and a surprise debut on RAW would have those fans who missed the show kicking themselves. The timing couldn't be more perfect, with Kevin Owens tearing it up as the Intercontinental Champion on the main roster. Promoting Balor and placing him directly in a feud with Kevin Owens is a magnificent way to boost both Finn and Owens, and, more importantly, if the feud is booked correctly, would build up to a can't-miss match at WrestleMania. As an added bonus, it makes the Intercontinental Championship appear much more illustrious, something WWE has keenly attempted to do in 2015 with only limited success.
2 Have Brock Lesnar Win The Royal Rumble
Although Brock Lesnar is only a part-time competitor, his appearance on TV provides an instant ratings boost. Looking at the current roster, just about anyone who goes up against The Authority will be thrown into 'underdog' status, especially given it looks as though the writing team are looking at creating another super group with the inclusions of Sheamus, Rusev and King Barrett. The whole underdog angle has already been done to death in the last two years, but something that's new and fresh is a beast in Brock Lesnar gunning for The Authority's main man: the WWE Champion, Sheamus. By turning the tables and having Brock Lesnar win the Royal Rumble, it creates the illusion that there is no way The Authority can stop Lesnar from winning the WWE Championship and ruining their efforts to rebuild. Heading into WrestleMania, a genuine confusion around what will happen in the championship match is exactly what's required.
1 Sign Kurt Angle Immediately
Kurt Angle's TNA contract is up in January and Angle has previously stated he is interested in taking a break from professional wrestling. However, during a Q&A in late November, Angle said he would love to work with Daniel Bryan if he could manage to get healthy. Regardless of whether Bryan is able to make a return or not, Angle needs to be signed up and placed in the main event scene immediately. The fans who are switching off from the product are bored with what has been presented and an instant way to get at least a portion of those back in front of the TV is by bringing back one of professional wrestling's biggest names. If not feuding with Sheamus, Kurt Angle vs John Cena at WrestleMania would be terrific as well.
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