First off, thanks to everybody who read my first column two weeks ago here on Kayfabe Kickout! I received some great comments from people from both outside, and to my shock and surprise, inside the wrestling business.
I wrote about how I would improve the WWE's problem of a thin roster and how, in my opinion, they have too many titles. I streamlined a series of events that the WWE could utilise in order to effectively get more out of what they have. In this column, I will further expand on that, as well as throw in a few more suggestions.
So...first off the booking inconsistencies within the WWE need to cease immediately. It's hard to get behind a character (or even that person completely for that matter) if their pushes or storylines are halted for no apparent reason. Even if the storyline or character isn't working, at least end the storyline in an acceptable way, and NOT use Hornswoggle or some other random thing or person that makes absolutely no sense simply because they have no other ideas (Vince's illegitimate son, Anonymous RAW GM).
The internet is a major factor in this. The WWE tries to keep things as a surprise, but ultimately as is common in this day and age, someone leaks the plans (or at least some of them) onto the internet, which causes the WWE to frantically spray ideas to try and stay one step ahead of the "smarks". I'll give you an example:
In 2009, word spread that Christian was due to return to the WWE as Edge's sidekick and be revealed as the man behind the attacks on Jeff Hardy. When WWE found out that this news had leaked, they frantically changed their minds at the very last minute and placed Matt Hardy in Christian's place. The storyline ended up being extremely bland and boring, and when the WWE realised their decision was perhaps a little bit hasty, they turned Matt face again. Meanwhile Christian was dumped to ECW instead of getting a main event storyline. It was a complete waste of time. They should have just stuck to the original plan. So what if we knew? We were excited to see how it would play out, and the fact that Edge and Christian would be re-united again!
They made the exact same mistake at Extreme Rules this year. Realising that "too many people" knew that Kharma was supposed to return and destroy Nikki Bella, they decided they would put Layla in that position, instead of actually giving the fans what they wanted. Needless to say that storyline was a let-down Layla's title run has done NOTHING for the Divas division, and sadly, Kharma has since been released because "creative had nothing for her". Had they stuck to the original plan, it's my opinion that the Divas division could have been saved. You could have had a great rivalry between Kharma and Beth Phoenix. Bring in Natalya at some point and you could have had a decent WrestleMania-worthy triple threat match. Instead we were stuck with Kelly Kelly again, who thankfully, has now been released. (I predicted that)
While we're on the subject, let's talk about Dean Ambrose. At WrestleMania weekend he had a pre-arranged staredown with Mick Foley that was filmed on a mobile phone and posted on YouTube. The two went back and forth for weeks over twitter, with Ambrose saying that Mick Foley had raised the bar too high and forced a lot of young guys to almost kill themselves trying to raise the bar even higher. This storyline could have been epic. It got everybody talking and generated media publicity and fans genuinely believed that this was a real confrontation, such was the nature of it's filming and release. Sadly, the storyline never got any further than that, and in my opinion all that does is kill any fan confidence that when a storyline begins, it will have a big pay-off. They've abandoned so many things that it's hard to have faith in anything they do. Wade Barrett and Tensai are another two superstars who have been recently "repackaged" but how are we supposed to believe in these characters when essentially they're the same guy!? It's only a matter of time before Tensai is released and goes back to Japan, and what a terrible waste of ours, and Tensai's time. Bottom line - MORE CONSISTENCY!!
WWE has become predictable. Remember the days when Vince McMahon would say "Anything can happen, in the World Wrestling Federation?" The attitude era was the absolute epitome of that. I'm not saying they need another attitude era, because I don't think they do. Those days are gone, but it's hard to believe that all of that crazy wacky stuff from 1998 - 2001 was all booked by WWE. A lot of it had that "unpredictability" to it. The last instance we've had of that lately was CM Punk in 2011, and before that, the Nexus in 2010 (Another storyline canned without explanation). That's the kind of thing we would like more of though... I will add here though that I am finding the Daniel Bryan and Kane stuff very entertaining. I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!!
Speaking of Daniel Bryan and Kane....why don't they give Daniel Bryan his own talk show!? Never mind Miz TV.
The Highlight Reel, Piper's Pit, The Peep Show and The Cutting Edge have all had their day. Just imagine Daniel Bryan bringing out a guest each week to do "Q&A with Daniel Bryan". It writes itself! Daniel asks the questions, the guest gives that famous one word answer, and the crowd shout along with it. It's audience participation at it's best. And for comedic effect, you could have Kane just standing in the ring saying absolutely nothing, just looking mean, for no apparent reason.
STOP THE BIG PUSHES!
In my last column I also talked about WWE's obsession with giving monster pushes to relatively new people. Sheamus debuted and won the WWE title almost immediately. The Miz was hurled into the main event picture. It seems they're doing the same with Ryback, following his face to face confrontation with CM Punk. Why!? They're doing a perfectly good job of building up Ryback slowly...why rush it? What good will that do? Since we know that CM Punk isn't going to lose to Ryback so why waste weeks and weeks building him up as a monster only for him to lose to CM Punk for quite simply no reason other than the fact that John Cena is injured.
May I propose a different idea?
PUSH AND TURN DOLPH ZIGGLER IMMEDIATELY!!
This wouldn't be one of those "monster pushes", since Dolph is a former World Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion and has been on the brink for a year! The scenario goes that Dolph Ziggler comes out and cuts a promo on CM Punk about how he's sick and tired of hearing him come out each and every week and demand respect. Dolph Ziggler says he hears the cheers from the crowd, he earns the fans' respect each and every single night when he steals the show and whether the people like him or not, he earns their respect every single week without saying a damn word! It's put up or shut up time Punk. Your WWE Championship at Survivor Series. I am cashing in, and I will steal the show, I will steal your respect and I will steal your WWE Championship!
We know The Rock and Cena are due to have a rematch, so Dolph holds the WWE Title for 2 months. Loses to Cena and at the Royal Rumble The Rock beats John Cena for the title. CM Punk wins the Royal Rumble and faces The Rock at WrestleMania, where he wins the championship back only to be confronted again by Dolph Ziggler who by this time should be a mega babyface if the WWE capitalise on the fans cheering him and because of the fact that he toppled CM Punk's impressive 1 year reign. I'd even go as far as to say at the end of the match, CM Punk shakes Dolph's hand. It's not an ideal scenario, but it's better than feeding us more!! They can't win in that situation. They can't have Ryback squash CM Punk for the title, but they can't make Ryback look weak because it defeats the object of his character.
RAW's rating this week came in at a 2.5! Now there's mass hysteria on the interweb, saying that the WWE are doomed and that they'll be gone within 2 years and that they HAVE to move quickly to halt this downward trend. Dare I say this 2.5 record-low rating is not as bad as it looks. In fact the breaking news from today is that Vince McMahon will give a "state of WWE" address this monday on RAW. The USA Network has been reported as being "unhappy" with the rating as-well, but let's not hammer the nails in just yet...Vince McMahon isn't stupid. He's going to do something about the ratings - bet on it. In fact, the last time Vince made one of his famous "state of WWE addresses" was with the epic RUTHLESS AGRESSION promo. The time before that? THE ATTITUDE ERA. I would expect big things from Vinnie Mac on Monday. Don't be surprised if we have a brand new general manager and maybe even a completely new RAW entirely.
While we're on the subject of ratings, people need to get off that bandwagon. The US ratings system compiled by Nielsen media is GROSSLY out-dated. Somebody posted that they remember when RAW used to pull in a 5.0 and a 6.0 rating. They did, but that was in an era before DVR's. In an era where your TV and VCR had to be tuned or programmed to that channel when RAW was broadcasting (as if you were watching it live) and then you taped it. Nowadays your DVR doesn't have to be tuned to anything. It only has to be in standby mode and it'll record. There's YouTube, WWE.com and countless other places where you can watch TV. The US ratings system only takes into account how many viewers watch the show LIVE. I live in the UK so I don't watch it live since it airs at 1am. I DVR it, and thus if I lived in the US, my rating would not count even though I watched the show.
If the Nielsen ratings system took into account YouTube views, WWE.com hits and DVR recordings, you'd probably find that the ratings would be at or around the 4.5 or 5.0 mark, meaning that just as much people watch the WWE today as they ever have. People forget that, they just see a number and all of a sudden it's big news.
MORE SHOWS WITH LESS SHOWS
@JoeyWWEFan on twitter commented to me that he didn't understand why WWE would tape 4 shows on Tuesday. Those being Saturday Morning Slam, Main Event, the rest of Superstars and SmackDown. He suggested taping the whole of Superstars on Monday and the rest on Tuesday. Here's how I would do it:
RAW is 3 hours, so any longer than the 2 matches they film for Superstars and the crowd would get restless. Especially when you take into account the waiting and the breaks as well. Instead, I propose that they instead just film RAW on Mondays (with a couple of added dark matches for the live crowd). On Tuesdays they could film NXT and SmackDown (since SmackDown is 2 hours).
I would then have them turn one of their "live events", or house shows as we know them into a smaller TV tapings. They could film Saturday Morning Slam, Superstars and Main Event all in one sitting. Yes, they do only have just one or two (maximum of 3) matches for each show, but since they're classed as "C" shows, why not film 2 weeks worth of TV for each show at a single house show? They will probably eliminate a lot of time constraint problems that they have aswell. Plus, it'd be a lot easier on the talent who would have a match on Superstars, and then RAW for example, so they wouldn't need to wrestle more than twice in one night. It would be a throwback to the days where they used to film 2 weeks of WWF Superstars and Wrestling Challenge at a single TV taping. Something to consider perhaps? Kind of like having MORE SHOWS, but with LESS SHOWS!!
Somebody said to me today that Pro-Wrestling is dying...it's not dying at all. It just needs to move with the times and change. It's always been my opinion that it goes in patterns. The 80s was a massive wrestling boom. The mid-90s was almost the end. The late 90s was another boom. The late 00s and early 10s are seen as a low. We are due a boom again, and I believe it will come.
Lastly, I mentioned two weeks ago that the Tag Team Division was something that the WWE MUST invest in. Kudos to WWE for making that happen.
I've been Dean Puckering, and this has been my column.
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