World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has come under the radar given some of their recent questionable decisions. With All Elite Wrestling (AEW) coming into the picture and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) gaining more credibility, WWE now finds itself in a tight spot, at least in the eyes of the more hardcore fans.
Now, in all fairness, WWE has made some top-notch decisions in recent times as well, ones that saw the brand's loyal supporters defend them against critics who’ve likened recent episodes of Raw to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) during their final days.
In this article, we take a look at five decisions WWE has made in 2019 that reeks of WCW and five decisions that reiterate they’re the global leaders in sports entertainment.
10 Reminds Us Of WCW: Relying on aging talents
While WWE focussed on creating new stars in Steve Austin, Triple H, and The Rock; WCW only put the spotlight on their aging talents like Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan. As a result, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Rey Mysterio left WCW.
We’ve lately been seeing a similar trend in WWE, with the company bringing back Shane McMahon, The Undertaker, and Goldberg to sell PPV tickets. Ethan Carter III, Aleister Black, Cedric Alexander, and Buddy Murphy may end up moving to AEW down the line, just like The Radicalz moved from WCW to WWF back in the day.
9 Awesome Decision: 24/7 Championship
The Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) ridiculed the introduction of the 24/7 Championship and its belt design. The WWE made the naysayers eat humble pie by making the 24/7 Championship segments must-see TV. It helps that R-Truth, Drake Maverick, and Jinder Mahal have been putting their 100 percent into both getting themselves and the title over.
The belt has helped the company put the spotlight on Heath Slater, EC3, Robert Roode, and Titus O’Neil - who otherwise would not have received much screen time. One needs to look no further than wrestling message boards and YouTube comments section to realize that the 24/7 Championship has been a success.
8 Reminds Us Of WCW: Super Showdown
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows have been nothing short of trainwrecks. Given the KSA’s reputation, it’s surprising how the company hasn’t decided to break ties with the country. These shows are pretty much the ‘10s equivalent of the ‘90s steroids scandal. Besides, it’s only had the fans question their stance on women’s rights.
It’s not like these shows are good, either. The matches are botchy, dependent on stupid stipulations – like the 50-man battle royal – and mean absolutely nothing. It does give them a few more millions to play with, but it’s bound to have long-term ramifications.
7 Awesome Decision: Firefly Fun House segments
Although the Internet fans have a tendency to label every episode of Raw the worst they’ve ever watched, in recent times, they’ve claimed one thing redeems the show: The Firefly Fun House segments. Not many expected Bray Wyatt to bounce back after it became evident his spooky cult-leader character had run its course.
However, the former WWE Champion has proved the doubters wrong, reinventing himself to not just become relevant again but also prove WWE is capable of producing high-quality content despite the common consensus. Hopefully, Wyatt's first feud delivers on the hype.
6 Reminds Us Of WCW: Inconsistent storytelling
The harshest WWE critics have always maintained the company insults the audience's intelligence. It has never been truer than in recent times. WWE haphazardly announces rules and stipulations before breaking them without a care in the world.
For instance, they had Vince McMahon announce only three SmackDown wrestlers can appear on Raw or vice versa, only to revise the rule on the same day. Not long after, they had a fatal four-way elimination match end after one pinfall after Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman “left the arena.”
5 Awesome Decision: Booking champions strongly
In the past, WWE had WWE and Universal Champions trade losses in meaningless matches on TV. Kevin Owens, Jinder Mahal, and Bray Wyatt all lost as often as they won when they were champions. It stopped the fans from investing in them as legitimate threats. However, in 2019, they’ve had their world champions, Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston, look strong.
The WWE Champion is undefeated in 21 matches and has registered wins against five former world champions. Seth Rollins has looked more threatening than any other face champion in recent memory. The champions need to look strong for the product to look legitimate and WWE has nailed that aspect of their programming in 2019.
4 Reminds Us Of WCW: Handling younger talents poorly
Make no doubt about it, WCW had a talented mid-card despite the underwhelming booking and main-event scene. The same can be said about today’s WWE. The Internet fans are tired of Baron Corbin, Brock Lesnar, and Shane McMahon dominating their weekly shows; however, there's a multitude of talents who are being overlooked or underutilized.
Chad Gable, Buddy Murphy, Cedric Alexander, Ali, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Rusev can all put on classics but find themselves hanging around in catering doing little to nothing on TV. Should these talents decide to jump ship, WWE will find themselves becoming WCW in the future.
3 Awesome Decision: Brock Lesnar’s boombox
To claim fans were disappointed with WWE making Brock Lesnar win the Money in the Bank briefcase is putting it lightly. Just as it looked like Ali, Andrade, Drew McIntyre, or Finn Balor would win it, WWE had The Beast Incarnate walk down the aisle to win it without breaking a sweat.
In the following weeks, however, WWE turned him into a more charismatic version of himself, modifying the briefcase into a boombox to add to the transformation. The fans finally saw Lesnar undergo some character development and the promos were top-tier as well.
2 Reminds Us Of WCW: The Wildcard Rule
We alluded to the Wildcard rule briefly in a previous entry, but the rule itself deserves its own entry considering the effect it has had on the product. It could have been used effectively, like having The Usos show up on SmackDown to save Roman Reigns from a beatdown or The Big Dog coming to Seth Rollins’ aid.
However, it’s only put more emphasis on select stars like The New Day, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Shane McMahon, Alexa Bliss, Drew McIntyre, and Elias. It has essentially killed the brand split, as we’ve had Raw superstars challenging for SmackDown titles and vice versa. As usual, a lot of deserving wrestlers have found themselves stuck in catering.
1 Awesome Decision: Allowing Becky Lynch to Shine
Say what you want about Vince McMahon and WWE, but the company has lately been quick to respond to the fans’ demands. For instance, it didn’t take long for the company to capitalize on Becky Lynch’s growing popularity to make her the focal point of their programming.
Along with headlining WrestleMania 35, Lynch also ended the show lifting two Women’s Championship titles over her shoulders. Despite capitalizing on Seth Rollins and Lynch's real-life romance, WWE has not permitted the former to overshadow the latter. This move will only help WWE gain good rep, and they need it aplenty considering that the second-biggest American promotion, AEW, is looking to promote equality and inclusivity.