The WWE did a lot of great things in 2012.
Although there were some angles that are better left forgotten, there were also several terrific main-event feuds and programs that made it a good year to be a fan.
But as usual, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Although the internet loves to hate him, it seems that as Triple H’s backstage power grows, several aspects of the product improve (tag team division, longer title reigns, etc.).
We can hope that as Triple H’s power grows in 2013 so too will the quality of the product.
Here are some of the potholes the WWE need to avoid in 2013 to help keep the product improving.
The WWE did a lot of great things in 2012.
One of the best, if not the best part of 2012 has been CM Punk’s astonishing WWE championship reign.
Sheamus also had a solid 210-day reign as World Heavyweight Champion, and while it wasn’t handled as well as Punk’s reign (Sheamus and Del Rio should never share same ring again, ever), it was nice to not see a world title change every month.
Surely, Punk’s run as WWE champion will come to an end at some point this year, but WWE shouldn’t use this as license to regress back to monthly championship changes.
This is especially important if Cena is to be in the title picture—for the sake of the rest of the locker room and the WWE title itself, Cena shouldn’t have more than one reign as champion in 2013.
Longer world championship reigns make winning the title a bigger deal. The long reigns of 2012 did both belts a lot of good.
Let’s hope WWE continue this trend in 2013.
Although the longer world championship reigns of 2012 brought some prestige back to the titles, that prestige was stripped away because champion or not, John Cena is the main event.
Three PPVs in 2012 were main evented by a world championship match.
Of those three matches, John Cena was in two of them and only missed the other due to injury.
The World Heavyweight Championship ended no PPVs – in fact, it opened three of them.
There are some instances where this makes sense - Cena's matches with Rock and Lesnar legitimately overshadowed the WWE Championship at that time.
But then there are matches like John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis, which don't deserve to be anywhere near the main event.
By having the main event be whichever match Cena happens to be in massively devalues the titles and creates a massive, unhealthy divide between Cena and the rest of the locker room.
WWE needs to have more faith in their talent not named “John Cena”. Having him close every PPV does much more bad than good.
But the problem isn't about John Cena. It's that it's not about the world championships.
Throughout the last few years, with the exception of one or two noteworthy programs, the tag team division has been a tremendous waste of talent and time.
Before 2012, being a tag team champion meant you may get some time on Superstars, or a few minutes on Raw if you’re lucky. It was very rare for a Tag Team Championship match to be promoted for a PPV.
However, 2012 saw WWE’s biggest, most sustained effort to revitalize the tag team division in years, apparently at the behest of Triple H.
Team Rhodes Scholars, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara and the Prime Time Players are all credible tag teams (though PTP’s momentum has wavered as of late) to challenge for the gold.
At the heart of the division is Team Hell No, who (along with CM Punk) basically carried Raw and Smackdown for a few weeks in the summer.
Three of these teams are singles competitors paired together. Still it doesn’t seem as arbitrary as former tag team champions like Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne or Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre.
Hopefully the tag team division will continue to grow (rather than wither away again), as it’s provided several memorable moments in 2012, and offers valuable opportunities to younger talent.
Although the new year has yet to begin, it seems that much of 2013’s WrestleMania season will be comprised of things we’ve already seen.
According to various online reports, two WrestleMania matches that have a strong possibility of happening are Rock vs. Cena and Triple H vs. Lesnar.
The Rock works a very limited schedule, so his valuable time should be invested in rivalries we didn't see last year. We don’t need Rock vs. Cena II.
Similarly, there really is no reason for Lesnar to face Triple H. Lesnar got a good rub from beating HHH, which in turn can be used to put over a younger, full-time talent by having them beat Lesnar.
There has also apparently been talk of Sheamus winning the Royal Rumble for the second year in a row.
While Orton vs. Sheamus wouldn’t be a bad main event for the blue brand, we've already seen Sheamus head into WrestleMania as the Rumble winner, and it wasn't nearly interesting enough for us to see it again.
Maybe the writers are just getting worn out from Raw going three hours, but it seems like WrestleMania 29 will end up being WrestleMania: Best of 2012.
This is a problem that has plagued WWE for many years. However, WWE really can't afford to have this problem continue.
In WWE’s current roster are wrestlers who are ready to become stars, and stars who are ready to become superstars.
Talent like Zack Ryder, Jack Swagger, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel could all be bigger parts of the show in 2013.
There are also guys like Wade Barrett and Antonio Cesaro who will likely have their breakout moments in 2013, and it's important that WWE capitalize on them.
Most importantly though, WWE have several stars who are absolutely ready to get the torch passed to them. It’s time for Cena to pass down a torch or two – he’d still have about 6 torches left.
It’s time WWE gave up on shoving talent like Alberto Del Rio down our throat and invest time in stars who can get over with fans.
Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan in particular are two stars who are ready to become permanent top stars in 2013.
Luckily, with recent victories over Randy Orton and John Cena, it seems WWE are finally getting behind Ziggler.
As has been noted many times on this site, Daniel Bryan is arguably the most over wrestler on the roster. Everything he’s touched in 2012 turned to gold. Let’s hope 2013 is the year of the Dragon.
WWE desperately need some more stars to reach the heights of Orton, Punk and Cena, and 2013 needs to be the year that happens.