Here we are another year begin and leads to another “Road to Wrestlemania”. With the new year comes so many resolutions of change. A promise to change in health, wealth, and to get rid of bad company and even worse habits yet by three weeks in…we’ve reverted by to our lackluster previous state of being. This however can not continue to be the case with the WWE’s booking in 2018 and moving forward. The WWE has suffered in popularity since the late 90’s or as it it more affectionately known the “Attitude Era”. The “Attitude Era” was a time of innovation and sense of wonder. Characters became more authentic and believable, they became characters we could all associate with and envisioned ourselves being under the right circumstances. But the real driving force was the fans, and in the world of professional wrestling the fans have to be at the focus and forefront for the product to work. A model that the World Wrestling Federation had that hasn’t really transitioned over to World Wrestling Entertainment. This however doesn’t have to remain the case. As with some simple changes to WWE’s booking, we as fans can have WWE’s best prevail in 2018
NO MORE PART TIMERS LET’S FOCUS ON THE FULL TIMERS
The WWE has become too reliant of the stars of the past and this can not continue. It’s good to remind fans of your formers stars, the Superstars that the older fans in the audience remember from the days of their own youth. But bringing back these stars for that “One Last Glory Run” has become an old and tired shtick and needs to be left in 2017. Last year at February’s Pay Per View “WWE FastLane” the man simply known as “Goldberg” came back to win the WWE Universal Championship from Kevin Owens. An obvious nostalgia move setting up the “Big Wrestlemania Showdown” between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. We saw that match 12 years before and it didn’t go well then and it didn’t get much better in 2017. Yet the booking was obvious and favored the aged veterans because they have “Name Recognition”. The main reason these guys have that name recognition is because they were given the chance to succeed, they were given the opportunity to shine. One off episodes like Monday Night Raw’s 25th Anniversary show is a perfect time to bring them back but under no circumstances should they get the best of the talent that will still be around the weeks and months after that episode has pasted us by. WWE has such a talented roster right now, arguably more talented than that of the beloved “Attitude Era”. But they are being under utilized and honestly forsaken. It is time to let the old guard fade into the distance and to build new stars that can carry you into the future. Having talented performers waste away does no one any good. Look at what has happened when you take off the shackles that WWE places on most of it’s talent. Recent example Cody Rhodes the son of the late great legendary Dusty Rhodes. Cody has traveled all around the world perfecting his craft and truly shining brighter than any time in his run in WWE. Give your full time performers the opportunity because they are there for you 300 plus days a year. Give them the time to grow to morph and mature in their characters. Don’t saddle them with gimmicks that aren’t believable. For instance Jason Jordan has been announced as the “Kayfabe” (or for the purposes of the storyline) son of Kurt Angle. This isn’t a believable gimmick because Jason Jordan has no charisma and Angle in his heyday was full of it. The only thing these two guys have in common is that they both have an amateur background in freestyle wrestling. Jordan wasn’t the right “American Alpha” member to make Angle’s Kayfabe illegitimate son it should have been Chad Gable. Gable could have blossomed under this gimmick where Jordan will undoubtedly struggle if not fail altogether under the weight of Angle’s shadow. WWE needs to give the full timers a heavier focus and more believable storylines and gimmicks if they want the product to succeed moving forward.
An underrated aspect of what made the “Attitude Era” thrive was the amount of factions or stables that WWE gave to us each and every week. Factions like D-Generation X and the NWO in WCW revolutionized the world of professional wrestling. These groups created armies of fans and made it “COOL” to be a wrestling fan. Still to the day the “Two Sweet” hand gesture gets used by many people, some of whom have no idea what it truly means. But it wasn’t just fun renegade groups like DX or NWO, we also hand groups like the Nation of Domination, the Ministry of Darkness and The Hart Foundation just to name a few. Having factions gave the product stability and gave the fans a group to identify with. The only male faction in the WWE right now is the New Day, and as great as the New Day is their product can sometimes become stale because of the lack of other groups for them to feud against. Just think back to before this past Survivor Series in November of 2017, when even a semi-rushed build for the New Day versus the Shield played out on our televisions it was pure magic and arguably the best match on the card that night. The WWE is starting to experiment with this in the Women’s division with the additions of Absolution, the Riot Squad and even the Welcoming Committee, as well as in NXT with groups like The Undisputed Era and Sanity. These groups can give WWE another added dimension to the product. They can even take a page out of Lucha Underground’s book with their “Trios” (Spanish for group of 3) Championship and create this in the WWE. WWE teased something on the first Monday Night Raw of 2018 and they NEED to see it through to completion. What was teased you ask ? It was teased formation of the “BALOR CLUB”. The Balor Club needs to happen to preserve the careers of all three men involved, Finn Balor, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows desperately need the Balor Club and so too the WWE needs the Balor Club. Give me more “STABILITY” WWE we both need it.
EMPHASIZE THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Can you remember Brock Lesnar’s last title defense ? No don’t worry I’ll wait for you to think about it………maybe look online for help….it’s been a while. The last time Brock Lesnar defended his WWE Universal Championship was at the NO MERCY PPV all the way back in September 2017. Part timers as Champions hurt the product and don’t allow the talented Superstars that are working every day and every week the opportunities that they deserve. Do you remember the fake rule that was put in place against Daniel Bryan? You know the “Rule” where a champion must defend his title every 30 days, yes “EVERY 30 DAYS” or forfeit the title. It’s been 100 days since Brock’s last title defense, yet Brock is still Champion. The Championship are something that once meant a great deal and now have lost that appeal. When John Cena started the WWE United States Open Challenge it was the first time in many years that the US Title wasn’t merely an added accessory to the build up towards the main event picture. It’s time to give the Championship their just due. They are meant to be built up along with the Champion that possesses them. The Championships need to be valued. Going back into the vault of yester-year when Rob Van Dam was the ECW Television Champion the stock of that Championship rose along with the fact that it’s Champion defended the title proudly and often. And even whilst having the title Van Dam coveted it’s value, and understood that the more the Championship was in the spotlight, the more the Championship was the focus the greater return it would mean for the Champion and for the overall product.
SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE
The WWE with Raw on Monday’s and Smackdown Live on Tuesdays and NXT on Wednesday’s bring you 6 hours a week of programming, and thats not evening including if there’s a normal PPV which adds about another 4 hours to that total. Or maybe one of the “Big Four” Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam or Survivor Series those will tack on about 7 hours to your regular 6 hour programming week. As well as about 3 extra hours for the NXT shows on the same weekends as the Big Four. So all in all this will bring your total WWE tv time to nearly 400 hours of programming not including all the content on the WWE Network. This is just too much, WWE needs to pull it back a bit. What made wrestling so amazing in the late 90’s was you had time to digest what you saw. Only having a two hour episode of Monday Night Raw/ WWF WarZone each week with a smaller one hour show like Sunday Night Heat made the product feel special, it felt important and unpredictable. Having to fill 3 hours every Monday Night is hard, and while the WWE has enough talented performers to accomplish this task it’s not really the wisest strategy. Pulling back the amount of time that you “FILL” each week and replace it with two solid hours on Monday Nights dedicated to the furtherance of real storylines with believable characters and you won’t have fans clamoring for the “Attitude Era” because they will enjoy what they are witnessing before them. With each day throughout the week producing better content Monday Night Raw needs to follow in the footsteps of NXT and give us more quality over the much less desirable quantity.
The WWE is the most known and therefore the epitome of the professional wrestling world and so as their product goes so to the industry goes. WWE can with subtle changes like what’s been suggested can increase the popularity of their product. Pro wrestling may not be for everyone but the those whom it does appeal it is a important part of our weeks. The WWE doesn’t need to go back to the Wild West days of the Attitude Era to pull from the successful parts of that time. It’s just about giving us real content that we can get invested in.