In July of 2008, WWE decided to go PG in order to make the product more family friendly and accessible for everyone. While many have debated whether this was the right decision, commercially this has been a success, as well as many of the biggest stars in WWE history emerging from the PG Era. Superstars such as John Cena, CM Punk, and Randy Orton really came into their own during this time, as well as Daniel Bryan and Jeff Hardy getting their well deserved time in the limelight.
Despite this, many fans are clamouring for an edgier side to current WWE television and a return to the TV-14 rating, which many believe would give the product a much needed boost. Some PG decisions were certainly done for the best, such as chair shots to the head, due to the knowledge we have on concussions today. While a return to TV-14 would indeed help WWE, it wouldn’t solve all of the WWE’s problems, however, as problems such as stubborn booking and mismanagement of certain stars would still exist. The people that would benefit most from this change to TV-14 would certainly be the Superstars on the roster. A change to TV-14 would allow the Superstars to add a bit more spice to their promos, giving them a personal touch and give them an opportunity to have more creativity in the matches and beatings that they give other Superstars. An example of the violence currently being restricted is Daniel Bryan being temporarily fired for choking an announcer with his tie. This isn’t saying violence for the sake of violence, but even the act of using blood more often when it was appropriate would be a welcome change.
Some of these stars are doing well anyway within the PG guidelines and some of them are downright struggling. So here are the 15 top Superstars who would be benefit most from TV-14.
The Bulgarian Brute seems to be getting back on track in terms of momentum recently, after floundering after his feud with John Cena, then being put into the God awful League of Nations. However, he recently won a Battle Royal to become the #1 Contender for the United States Championship. A change to TV-14 would benefit Rusev in the way that he would be able to deliver more vicious beat-downs to his opponents and his opponents would be able to sell better for him, perhaps drawing blood when he locks in The Accolade, to sell it as a much more impacting move. This could help re-establish him as one of the most dominant heels on the roster.
Like his former stable member Rusev, Sheamus has been in a little bit of a rut recently. It’s odd to think that just in November, Sheamus won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. Since then, things have gone downhill, especially with the aforementioned League of Nations and he hasn’t featured much on television since the group broke up. Sheamus could establish himself as a no nonsense ass kicker if he showed a very aggressive side, again similarly to Rusev. A change to TV-14 would be a chance to spotlight his dominance.
13. The New Day
The New Day are a team that are doing very well at the moment and they must be given a lot of credit for their achievements. Imagine though, if The New Day decide to revert back to being heels (which could happen when Enzo and Cass become the top face team), and while they can still be extremely entertaining on the mic, once they get into the ring, they could show an aggressive side, not just using traditional heel tag team tactics, but hitting stars with chairs and such in tag team matches when the ref isn’t looking. This would demonstrate a true heel side that no one would have seen before, solidifying them as a top heel group.
12. Brock Lesnar
I know what you’re thinking, Brock Lesnar doesn’t need to be improved, but there has always been one aspect to him that hasn’t been as good as his other traits; his mic skills. Back in The Ruthless Aggression Era, he actually managed to cope sometimes without Paul Heyman, but when he returned in 2012, his mic skills were noticeably worse and this could be credited to the restrictions of the PG Era. If he was allowed to express himself more and swear a little, it could help his heel image. If TV-14 was used to help Brock Lesnar talk by himself, this would leave Paul Heyman to manage another Superstar with limited mic skills (such a Roman Reigns), which would certainly be another bonus. Plus think of the absolute carnage that Lesnar could foresee in the ring without PG restrictions.
11. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is similar to Brock Lesnar in the sense that he is doing extremely well for himself in the current climate. However, TV-14 would improve him in a few little ways. His former finisher, The Curb Stomp, is a famous casualty of the PG Era due to concerns that it’s too violent. While those concerns were valid for kids watching at home, in a TV-14 environment, this would be less of an issue, due to the more mature viewers. As well as this, when Seth Rollins returns, his promos would be given a much more personal feel, as he could properly discuss his struggle to return if he was given less restrictions with his words, instead of the rather generic promo that a Superstar makes when they return. Also, if Rollins and Dean Ambrose were to continue their feud when he returns, their matches could be made all that more special if they could use more extreme stipulations.
10. The Dudley Boyz
The Dudley Boyz have struggled a little since their return in August of last year and while some of this is obviously due to the fact that they’ve aged since their last run in the WWE, some of this is because of WWE going PG. With extreme matches being a less common experience, The Dudley Boyz have had to rely on their pure wrestling skills, which are still very good, but that is not why people come to watch The Dudley Boyz. A return to TV-14 would not only freshen their act up in terms of promos and violence, but also give them a chance to teach some of the younger Superstars some of the tricks of the trade and how to stay safe in extreme matches.
9. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is clearly not meant for the generic babyface role that the WWE would like him to have. However, there have been some improvements recently as he has taken more of a ‘tweener’ role with his new confidence. When he does turn full heel though, he would be allowed to show a very violent and aggressive side that wouldn’t work quite as well in the PG Era. This would make sense for the former enforcer of The Shield. Less PG restrictions would help to improve the generic and quite dull promos that he cuts (which isn’t his fault), as it would go a long way to show more of his personality.
8. The Announce Team
Don’t get me wrong, I think the announce team does a very good job, all things considered, especially when you read the announcers script that was leaked, showing all the instructions that the team gets. If WWE was to revert back to TV-14, one of the bonuses would be that with the older audience, the ‘topical references’ that the announcers make could be less cringeworthy and more adult related. Also, the announcers would be able to use a wider range of the phrases to describe the action going on and without Vince talking into their headsets making sure that everything they say is PG, they would be able to concentrate on actually calling the match.
7. Randy Orton
While Randy Orton did became a true star in the PG Era, it was in 2004 that he started making serious waves in WWE, with his incredible Hardcore match with Mick Foley at WWE Backlash showing that he could hang with the Hardcore Legend. He also teamed with Edge in 2005 and they attacked a lot of Superstars with chairs, causing a lot of damage. A more violent and hardcore side of Randy Orton does make sense, due to his documented anger problems. Having a Randy Orton that could switch at any time and demolish you with a variety of weapons would certainly freshen up his character.
Paige is one of the most unique women on the roster today. She’s a proficient wrestler, is exceptional on the mic, and, despite creative’s lack of direction for her at the moment, she will be a leader of the Women’s division for years to come. If PG restrictions were lifted, Paige’s mic skills would become even better than they already are, giving her a unique edge that would allow her to rise to the top of the division in her anti- hero role. She could also become the first woman since Lita to embrace a hardcore style and use it in the Women’s division.
5. John Cena
You know him, you love him, it’s John Cena. Regardless of your opinion on John Cena, there is no denying that he is the number one guy of the PG Era. There was a time when John Cena was loved by all, around WrestleMania 21 where the crowd really rallied behind him as he won his first WWE Championship. However, nowadays he gets a very mixed reaction.Many fans believe that he’s responsible for the end of hardcore wrestling as we knew it, since John Cena is the poster boy for the PG Era. He certainly did well in The Ruthless Aggression Era, especially at the beginning where his Vanilla Ice white rapper gimmick got him incredibly over. A return to TV-14 would help freshen up the ‘SuperCena’ gimmick, and even if he wasn’t to finally turn heel, an edgier John Cena would definitely be a fascinating watch. A John Cena that was testing the limits on the microphone, as well as a more violent Cena than we haven’t seen before would attract a huge amount of attention, and be a new highlight on WWE television.
4. The Wyatt Family
We can expect huge things from The Wyatt Family when Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper return. It looks like creative are ready to pull the trigger on a babyface push that could truly establish The Wyatt’s. A change to TV-14 would benefit The Wyatt Family, as the attacks that they deliver to Superstars out of the blue could be made to look all that more devastating with the use of weapons. It would also give Bray a chance to inject some freshness into his promos. This isn’t to say that Bray should just constantly swear, but if he was allowed to add a bit of colour into his promos, it would make it more interesting, adding to a greater leader and making the whole Wyatt Family look stronger.
3. The Club
The Club, or the former members of The Bullet Club, made their debut with high expectations, and while they haven’t been terrible, they haven’t set the world on fire as many thought they would. If they are going to be the most dominant heel group in recent times, they need to step up their violent acts. If WWE was to revert back to TV-14, The Club would be able to absolutely dominate any opposition that stood in their way and then destroy them afterwards with a variety of weapons, truly leaving their mark on the WWE landscape.
2. Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is probably the most over Superstar on the WWE roster at the moment and one of the reasons is his amazing trash talk during matches. Now imagine if he was given even more freedom when doing this and was even allowed to drop in the occasional swear word. It would make him even more popular than he currently is. As well as this, if he was allowed to use weapons in his post match beatings of Superstars more frequently, this would give an extra sense of the destruction that KO can cause.
1. Dean Ambrose
If you haven’t seen the videos of Dean Ambrose from his days at CZW, you need to see them. He has competed in some of the most hardcore matches we’ve ever seen. Dean Ambrose is the man that started trying hardcore matches because he was ‘bored.’ A change to TV-14 would benefit Dean Ambrose more than any Superstar on the roster because it would give him a chance to show the Dean Ambrose that got noticed by WWE, and he would be able t0 do a lot of hardcore stunts that have not been seen before in WWE. It would also give him a chance to freshen up his promos, as he wouldn’t constantly be saying how crazy he is; he’d be showing his hardcore and edgy side.
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