The WWE’s midcard gets a ton of criticism these days, and rightfully so.
What was once the grooming ground for the WWE’s main-event superstars has become one of the most forgotten, overlooked and poorly booked aspects of the entire company.
Obviously, something is wrong with the midcard. But it’s not all bad—there are some positives there, too.
So, just what is the WWE doing right with its midcard? And better yet, what is it doing wrong?
Let’s take a look with an analysis of three strengths and three weaknesses of the WWE’s midcard division.
Weakness: Not Enough Babyfaces
The WWE’s midcard has no problem on the heel side, but when it comes to babyfaces? Yeah, it needs a lot of work.
Especially over the last few years, the creative team simply hasn’t been able to build enough quality midcard faces. There’s no doubt we’ve seen some superstars transform into great babyfaces recently, but far too often those stars go straight to the main-event scene or at least the borderline of it.
The bottom line is that the WWE can have all the heels it wants, but that is going to mean diddly squat if it’s not going to have enough faces (quality ones who are actually over) for those heels to feud with.
The only babyface midcard mainstay that even comes to mind is Kofi Kingston, and he’s been in that spot so long that nothing he does there ever really seems fresh anymore.
That’s a big problem because as long as Kingston lacks enough fellow babyfaces by his side, it’s going to be very hard for the midcard to matter again anytime soon.
Strength: Plenty of Heels
As touched on before, the WWE’s midcard division is absolutely loaded with heels.
From Damien Sandow to Cody Rhodes to Wade Barrett to Antonio Cesaro, there are so many quality heels on the WWE roster, and that’s why it’s so frustrating to see the midcard go to waste so often.
When you have as many talented midcard heels as the WWE does, there’s no excuse for not being able to book virtually any of them in meaningful storylines or to give at least a few of them substantial pushes.
The midcard is where the WWE’s future is set in motion, and with so many talented heels in the division, you would think that the company would be able to use at least some of them properly.
Really, there’s no reason why that shouldn’t happen, either. The WWE has a boatload of midcard heels, and that’s a very good “problem” to have.
Weakness: Weak Champions
The midcard features two championships, the United States and Intercontinental titles, and no matter who is holding those belts, they seem to be booked atrociously.
As we all know, midcard champions lose way too much, specifically in non-title TV matches. Guys like Antonio Cesaro, Wade Barrett and even The Miz lost so many non-title bouts during their recent midcard title reigns that no one cared about them or viewed them as credible champions.
Of course, when no one cares about the midcard’s champions, then it’s going to be extremely hard for anyone to care about anyone else in the midcard.
That’s what has really plagued the WWE over the last couple of years. Its champions have been booked so poorly and made to look so weak that we’ve been given absolutely no incentive to invest ourselves into anything that they do.
After all, if Barrett and Cesaro can’t be booked well when actually holding a title, why should anyone give a crap about other midcarders who are deemed to be less important simply be their place on the card?
The struggles of the WWE’s midcard might be a little more understandable if the roster was weak and thin.
But it’s not. In fact, it’s—from top to bottom—a pretty stellar one.
The list of great WWE midcarders goes on and on and on: Sandow, Rhodes, Barrett, Kingston, The Miz, Cesaro, Fandango, Justin Gabriel and plenty of other guys who we hardly ever even see on TV.
Talent is no issue whatsoever for the midcard. A number of guys working there are potential main-eventers or guys who have already worked in the main-event scene at times in the past.
I don’t think very many fans would not accept Barrett or Sandow as a main-event caliber worker, and yet, these guys can’t do much of note in the midcard?
That‘s just dumb.
Weakness: No Effort Put into Storylines
Over the last few years, most of the WWE’s storylines—whether midcard ones or not—haven’t been all that good, but the midcard angles have been particularly abysmal.
Realistically speaking, you could probably count the number of great midcard storylines we’ve seen in the last three or four years on one hand. Yeah, it’s been that bad.
For whatever reason, the WWE’s creative team has made next to no effort to make the midcard matter. The vast majority of the feuds we see there get hardly any TV time, involve little to no mic time and suffer from the weak booking of the heels.
Creative just doesn’t care about the midcard, and as a result, neither do we do.
If the effort was there, there’s no doubt that the midcard could shine in a big way on both Raw and SmackDown. But as long as the effort level remains low, the interest level in the midcard will, too.
Strength: Great Wrestling
Not every wrestling feud is going to result in epic matches—that’s just the way it is.
But if there’s one thing you can say about the midcard, it’s that—when given time—it often features some fantastic wrestling. Just think about how many excellent Kingston/Ziggler matches we’ve seen in the midcard or how many showstealing bouts we’ve seen from Cesaro.
The wrestling in the midcard is nothing short of great, and in fact, can often be just as good or even better than the main-event scene. That’s something that the WWE must capitalize on.
The main-event scene is where most of the major drama happens, but also where we see superb matches too. The midcard isn’t always going to have both, but it certainly could always result in great matches.
Set aside 15 minutes on Raw for a great midcard match and 12 minutes on SmackDown for the same (like both shows sometimes do), and that’s going to be a way to help make the midcard matter again.
Those midcarders sure can wrestle. They just need to be given the opportunity to prove it more often.
Could the WWE’s midcard be better? Yes. Could it be worse? Absolutely.
The company certainly has the ability to improve the division, mainly because of a deep talent pool. But that is never going to happen if there isn’t some serious effort put forth into booking the division.
It’s the booking that truly makes the midcard division either succeed or fail. It’s up to the WWE to decide which path it takes.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!
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