Every fan has their own favorite era in WWE history. Maybe you enjoyed the ruthless aggression of the early 2000s, or perhaps you would pick the attitude infested storylines on the late 90s, and if you are old school you might favor the golden age of the late 80s. No matter which time period is your favorite, chances are that it doesn’t even resemble what we have on WWE programming right now. For better or worse (mostly worse), WWE is statistically at its lowest point in decades according to ratings.
Now I don’t want to turn this into a WWE bashing session, as the company has made some great strides in making the product better. In fact the company may be operating at a higher level now than it has in nearly a decade, which has been an uphill battle. With that being said, fans know that there are still tons of things that can be improved in the company in the near future.
With the recent release of the new WWE 2K16 cover, it is painfully obvious that the company is still having problems establishing new stars. In fact the past three covers of the video game franchise all featured WWE Superstars who made their debut prior to 2002; The Rock, John Cena, and Stone Cold Steve Austin respectively.
It’s not just the lack of new Superstars that is plaguing the WWE, but also the lack of general direction and follow through too. Many times WWE’s creative team will try something for two weeks then just drop it, having the talent adjust on the fly in front of fans. Fast and inconsistent changes only alienate fans, and furthers the theory that WWE isn’t what it used to be.
So the question arises, how can we fix the once great company, and restore it to its former glory? Well we have some ideas, and here are the top 25 of them. Let us know what you would do to restore WWE to it’s glory days in the comments below.
24 Nameless Jobbers
The WWE is known for having dark matches with local guys before their weekly shows start filming. Why not feature these guys in actual televised segments to get the established talent over? It has been proven to work in the past and present, look at Ryback for proof. His entire “feed me more” gimmick is based on destroying jobbers every week, sometimes two at a time.
23 Reduce Show Lengths
If you think that Raw is long while watching it on television, you obviously have never been to a WWE television taping. While everything is exciting at first, the way that it drags on is enough to suck the life out of the arena. So the reason that the crowd is so dead at some shows, is because it’s hard to keep a high level of energy when you have such a long show. And for those of you who don’t know, WWE tapes Main Event before Smackdown on Tuesdays, so it is also a three hour show.
22 Understanding the Audience
WWE used to understand entertainment; the audience was made up of a mostly young male demographic, and while they did cater to them, they didn't exclusively create content for them. Fast forward to today, and they completely play to kids, when half of the people buying tickets to see shows are adult males.
21 Establish More Relevant Commentators
Every announce team should have a color commentator who fans respect and recognize as a good wrestler; it gives the announce team credibility. WWE is currently grooming a few new color commentators like Corey Graves and Byron Saxton, but they are fairly unknown among the mainstream fans.
While we do have experienced color commentators, many times they seem outdated and out of touch with the current product. If they do seem like they are invested, they are either always babbling (JBL), or not making sense (Booker T).
20 Allow Wrestlers to Conquer Other Arenas
Increasing brand awareness is one of the most effective ways to grow a business, so why won’t the WWE allow their stars to do anything unless they approve it first?
On his infamous Art of Wrestling Podcast episode, CM Punk stated that he had opportunities to market WWE to broader audiences, but was denied appearances by the company. WWE even went as far as vetoing a deal that he brokered with Slim Jim, because he didn't ask for permission first. More recently Dolph Ziggler has been punished for booking stand up comedy dates without reporting it to management first, back in January of 2015.
No one in the WWE sells anymore. Someone like Ziggler might be able to sell a move, but the selling doesn’t carry over out of that spot. When Kurt Angle slapped an Ankle Lock on Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 21, HBK limped the entire match and after; that is selling.
18 Less Talking
17 More Storylines
During the Attitude Era everyone had a storyline. Sure they weren’t all great, but they were present. WWE needs to create storylines for all superstars, even if it is something as simple as a friendly rivalry.
16 Get rid of Gimmick Pay Per Views
Starting in 2009 WWE decided to take some of its most popular matches, and create entire PPVs themed around them. In 2014 alone, WWE put on Elimination Chamber, Hell in a Cell, TLC, Money in the Bank, and Extreme Rules. If you want to get technical, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, and Night of Champions could also be called gimmicks, but they actually contain matches that forward company storylines.
15 Reintroduce King of the Ring
Bravo to the WWE for actually having a King of the Ring event this year. Too bad only a few people actually caught it. Now while I do agree with the idea of having WWE Network exclusive content to reward the subscription holders, why would they release it on a Tuesday with little to no press?
14 MITB Match at WrestleMania
Since we already got rid of the gimmick pay per views, we might as well put the Money in the Bank match where it belongs; WrestleMania. The reason that the match started out so special, is barbecue it was on the grandest stage of them all. It didn’t have the problem of finding 14 guys to split between two matches, it was the best of the best performers in a high stakes ladder match.
13 Championship Title Redesigns
The worst looking title in the history of the WWE was the spinner WWE Championship Title, and thank God it's gone. While the current WWE World Heavyweight Championship is an improvement, it’s not by much. The belt is very bland, and could easily be made by anyone on the street; it lacks the prestige that it deserves.
12 Make the Royal Rumble have 40 Entrants
The Royal Rumble match needs to be extended to have 40 entrants per year like in 2011. If booked with 40 people it leaves room for about 20 serious contenders, 10 quick eliminations (to make serious guys look good), five surprise entrants, and five NXT guys to make the jump up to the main show. To combat the extra time that the match would take, WWE could make the timer in between entrants 15-30 seconds shorter.
11 Use Social Media to Forward Storylines
WWE likes to shove social media down our throats, constantly talking about trending stories and superstars' tweets. Oddly enough WWE has yet to use Twitter to its advantage in creating storylines and rivalries. In this Reality Era it gets harder each day to trick smart fans, but it still is possible if done correctly.
WWE should approach two Superstars and have them take personal shots at each other on Twitter, and then tell them both to take the tweets down soon after. This would convince dirt sheets that there is real heat between the two wrestlers, which would intensify the rumors.
10 Introduce Halloween Havoc
WWE loves to get corny and have their talent dress up and act goofy frequently on their shows. Why not get all of this goofy behavior out on one night, and have your Superstars compete in costumes that one time.
Halloween Havoc wouldn't have to be all campy comedy; it could progressively become more adult oriented as the show continued. WWE could transition into a darker, more sinister show as the night went on, dropping the lights, and changing the stage between each match; this could keep older fans interested too.
9 Offseason Contracts
A controversial subject that has been brought up by a few is establishing an offseason for pro wrestling. The general idea of the plan is that having a three month off season will extend the lifespan of many wrestlers, giving them a well needed break. This time could also be used to re-energize the writing team, giving them time to develop new storylines.
8 Make Smackdown Matter
Smackdown hasn’t been relevant in years; basically since the brand split, and Paul Heyman left as head writer of the show. Since then, you can miss literally months of Smackdown, and still be caught up on storylines if you watch Raw. This is a problem.
Orginally Smackdown was essentially Raw part two, with every major star appearing on both shows every week. After the Attitude Era guys left, Smackdown became the show with the great matches, and heated rivalries that reigned over the stagnant Raw show.
7 Cut back on False Finishes
Silly WWE, do you honestly believe that we will fall for a match being over after a single finisher? A finisher by its very name should be used to finish a match, and the rare time that someone actually kicks out of it should be truly special. The finishers leading to false finishes are actually just a symptom of a bigger problem, which is that wrestlers don’t know how to tell stories and/or sell moves.
6 Unify the United States and Intercontinental Titles
WWE has two titles of the same prestige level on two different people right now. Due to the history of both titles in separate promotions I would never suggest demoting one over the other, and in fact I wouldn’t even know which title to retire.
5 Bring Back the Television Title
After we retire which ever mid card title that you feel is necessary, then we resurrect the Television Title from the WCW days (with a face lift). This reestablished Television Title would be designated for the lower mid card guys, and more importantly would be required to be defened on television either weekly or biweekly.
4 Activate the Internet Title
This is a replacement for the Hardcore 24/7 title of the 90s, except less hardcore. Think of all of the dynamic personalities in the WWE bottom card, like Heath Slater, and Zack Ryder. All of these personality driven guys have fan support, but get no time on television to develop their charterer, so why not let them create their own viral division?
3 Tag Team Events
Everyone always says that WWE should revitalize the tag team division, but never give any solutions as to how they can do it. To be honest as of late, the tag team division is doing better than it has in previous years. Here is a three prong approach on how to keep the tag team division strong, so that it doesn't regress.
First off WWE needs to sign a veteran tag team like the Dudleyz for one last run as a tag team. I don’t like the idea of bringing in a ton of older guys, but I think a team like them could/would push younger talent to step up their game every night. Secondly I would dedicate an entire pay per view to a tag team tournament for the titles. The WWE currently has nine active tag teams, ten if you add in the Dudleyz, which is more than enough to throw a great pay per view.
2 Establish Clear Division of Talent
Now that we have four updated divisions, WWE should establish a clear division of talent. The division lines would be so clear that when a guy jumped between them (from Television to Intercontinental for example) it would be noticeable, and exciting.
To figure out who goes where, WWE could divide their talent up in the war room, and assign an agent to each division based on their specialties. For example, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg are perfect for the tag team division, Ricky Steamboat for the Intercontinental, etc.
1 Power Rankings/Bound for Glory Style
Now that we have the divisions laid out and organized, WWE should steal the best idea TNA ever had, and introduce a point system into each division. By using a power ranking, with Superstars gaining different point amounts for different match outcomes, WWE could use the summer to set up the WrestleMania card and potential rivalries.
Using this point system gives Superstars an actual reason to be in matches with opponents who they aren’t necessarily feuding with. It also gives the company a way to show fans who is in what division, without the traditional bracket system. Each title would have its own power ranking, which would be updated weekly and online for fans.
If WWE decided they wanted to actually keep a MITB PPV (which I disagree with), they could have the Superstars in 2nd-7th place participate in a ladder match. WWE could have each of the divisons actually have a match at the pay per view for added depth and stakes.
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