We are days away from the conclusion of 2011. I’d like us to focus our attention on the coming year rather then dwelling on what we have already witnessed.
Many fans are hopeful that the WWE will continue to make changes away from what the product has become over the last few years.
In this article, I list six changes that that must happen if the WWE intends to stay important in the lives of its fans.
Shall we have it?
2011 may have been the most painful year to watch when it came to storylines involving Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole and Jim Ross. To this day I am still uncertain who these storylines were being targeted at.
The first change that must happen in 2012 is that the WWE should have minimal emphasis on the commentators aside from when they are actually commentating.
If the WWE wants Michael Cole to get heat from the fans, then his role must change. I have grown tired of the play-by-play announcer barely calling a match and instead giving us his opinion constantly and acting like the spokesman for “Twitter.”
It has also become increasingly annoying to listen to Jerry Lawler suck up to his favorite wrestlers and act like he is the ultimate good guy now. Lawler has been a heel commentator for most of his announcing career, and was very good at it.
The reason it worked is because Jim Ross and Vince McMahon were fairly objective announcers and King could interject some sarcasm or wit. It does not work when Lawler and Cole constantly bicker like children.
The fans do not need Michael Cole or Jerry Lawler ever to step into a ring again for the purpose of wresting. With so much young talent on the roster, I have to question why ANY segment involving commentators wrestling could possibly supersede the importance of pushing up-and-coming wrestlers.
Jim Ross should also never return to WWE programming unless it is a special occasion. It is obvious that Ross will never be the lead play-by-play announcer again, so what is the point of having him come out and be humiliated by Michael Cole on a weekly basis?
Ross is one of the best commentators of all time, but his time is over. The WWE only teases the fans when Ross is out there making a fool of himself.
I will be the one to say it: the WWE needs an entirely new announce team. Find someone that can be an objective match caller and then pair him up with a former star, like Jerry Lawler. I do not think this HAS to happen in 2012, but I know I am ready for change.
When I say overhaul I mean blow up 90 percent of the roster and start over. If the Divas are going to get airtime every week then at least make the effort to create exciting storylines and matches.
I cannot recall any match in 2011 involving the Divas that seemed exciting or interesting on any level. In fact the only time I felt emotion was when Beth Phoenix came out to a standing ovation in Buffalo, N.Y., at “Night of Champions.” That was an absolutely touching scene, but unfortunately Phoenix lost to Kelly Kelly on that particular night.
The WWE continues to throw out the same five divas every week and have irrelevant tag team matches that no one cares about. Instead of doing that in 2012, I hope the WWE has No. 1 contender matches to determine who will face the Divas Champion at the following PPV. I would find the Diva’s matches more exciting if there was a point to them.
The other glaring atrocity in the Divas division would be the lack of talent. It is obvious that only a few of the Divas are capable of putting on electrifying matches. It is time to scrap all of the models who cannot perform in the ring. I do not understand the mentality of putting “sexy girls” against “powerful women.”
Trish Stratus, Mickie James and so many others are both beautiful and talented performers. Is the WWE saying they cannot find women who are both beautiful and talented anymore?
Many writers and fans are hopeful that John Cena turns heel in 2012. I care less about Cena turning heel and more about just having him share the spotlight with other main-event guys.
The argument is that nobody draws more fans, or controversy for that matter, to the WWE today than John Cena. I believe that if WWE does not change their focus on Cena, that a lot of fans will find the WWE stale in general and stop watching.
That is not a shot at Cena as much as it’s a warning to the WWE that ‘all good things must come to an end.’
I am not suggesting that Cena leaves the WWE, I just want to see him share the main-event scene more. He does not need to be booked in the WWE title picture every month and it would be nice to see him put over more stars of today.
Unlike most, Cena does not bother me as much as his booking does. I admit that he has become annoying but I still think the WWE could use him to their advantage for the next few years.
It is time for Cena to stop collecting titles in 2012 and start using him to make main events against younger guys more exciting. Cena’s name still has clout and if he puts other guys over, then he will be helping to build the next generation of main event stars.
Cena needs to be used correctly, though. When he blatantly won the match for Zack Ryder against Mark Henry, I was turned off. I did not mind Cena showing some support for Ryder but I am not going to get behind a guy who cannot even win his own matches.
It will not happen, but I honestly think Cena needs to take a year off from winning the WWE or World Heavyweight Championships. If he put over other talent and was used in other storylines for a year, I truly believe the fans would get behind him again in 2013 for another title run.
The problem with Cena is we have never been given a long break from his constant winning. Every superstar before Cena from Hulk Hogan to Steve Austin eventually began to get old when they won so many times; Cena is no different.
My take on the Tag Team division is very similar to the Divas: if you are going to have one, make sure it is exciting and relevant.
The WWE tried to put an emphasis on the Tag Team division this year and I found the effort average at best. In 2012, we need to demand a better product and revitalizing the Tag Team division is a must.
The easiest way to make the division more exciting again would simply be to add more legitimate tag teams. Thus far, Air Boom, the Usos and the combination of Epico and Primo are the only legit teams in the WWE to my knowledge.
In terms of popularity, only Air Boom is even known to the casual WWE fan. The WWE needs more teams and needs to do a better job making their current teams important in the title picture.
Again, the division fails because at every PPV, Air Boom defends the titles against random opponents. Where are the matches that determine who the No. 1 contender is? Fans will care more if they have a reason to invest their interest into a particular match.
The WWE has a history of having former superstars make surprise visits on their weekly television programs. I believe the WWE relied too much on past superstars in 2011 instead of pushing the ones they already have on the roster.
Kevin Nash came back to the WWE this year, and most fans were very excited by his surprise return at the Royal Rumble. By the time Nash faced Triple H at TLC, I do not think there were more than a handful of people that cared about Kevin Nash at all.
As fans, we love to feel that jolt of nostalgia when we hear a former star’s music play one more time on TV. The problem is we do not need to see guys like Kevin Nash or Mick Foley at this stage of their careers because we have clearly seen the best of them over a decade ago.
If I want to see Kevin Nash, Mick Foley or Bret Hart, then I will pop in a DVD. I find it insulting to see these guys come out and attempt to put on a match that they are incapable of doing. There is so much talent on the roster that could be pushed, and instead we are watching men who have not been relevant in over ten years.
The Rock's return is the most prominent of all the former superstars who returned this year. I am completely against his match with John Cena in April, because I do not see the ending to that match satisfying most fans.
A victory for either individual will not further their careers because both are so established. Super matches like Hogan vs. the Warrior or Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels were great because the opponents were popular at the same time, not eight years apart.
I enjoy seeing veterans come out and make guest appearances, but I do not need to see them come back on a part-time basis and perform inadequate matches. I would like to see the WWE steer away from some of their veterans and start pushing the younger guys into more prominent positions.
I know some fans want to relive the “attitude era” or the “federation years” but it is impossible to recreate those moments. What would have happened if guys like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Sgt. Slaughter did not leave and make way for guys like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin?
I want to see the new era that we will all be talking about in 10 years from now and I want to see that start in 2012.
I cannot be any clearer than this: get rid of the rematch clause and stop having the same matches three times in a row at pay-per-views. I will not spend $50 to watch the same matches over and over again.
Okay, that is out of my system.
Nothing about the WWE annoys me more than having to watch the same title matches every PPV. How many times did Christian face Randy Orton this year? How about Beth Phoenix and Kelly Kelly?
As a fan, I am insulted at the laziness and lack of creativity on the part of WWE Creative. Repeat matches should be used sparingly so they convey to the fans that this is a heated rivalry and one match cannot determine the outcome.
I want to see more No. 1 contender matches for titles. I know I have brought this up twice in the article already but a title division is only exciting if there are more than two people vying for any one title. It would be exhilarating to see rivalries begin over who will get the CHANCE to face the champion.
There was a time when No. 1 contender matches were just as exciting as the title matches because they meant something.
If someone loses the title they should have to fight to be the No. 1 contender, not get an automatic rematch. That is just pure laziness on the part of the writers.
Let me know what you want to see changed in the WWE in 2012 down below in the comment section. Also remember to follow me on Twitter @ClassicJoeyMac.
Keep it classic, everyone!