WWE needs more than Santa hats to improve its slow holiday season.
The company must to find a way to pack more traditions into the end of the year, to increase what's at stake and take the opportunity to concentrate on its lesser players. The time between TLC and Royal Rumble is often filled with filler. It can be used far more effectively.
For the Dec. 23 edition of Raw, WWE is promoting a Good Santa vs. Bad Santa battle.
Is that going to elevate ratings? Will either Mark Henry or Damien Sandow benefit at all from that show?
History says no. David Otunga vs. Randy Orton in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight is not one of SmackDown's greatest hits. The same goes for John Cena dumping feces on Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee on New Year's Eve.
Rather than relying on incorporating a Christmas-theme into matches or holiday-related silliness, the slow period could be used to catapult struggling Superstars and begin the new year with fans pumped for what's next.
Fight for Survival
Ted DiBiase Jr.'s exit from WWE was a quiet one. The Superstar posted a video on YouTube explaining that he was not renewing his contract with the company.
Imagine instead if Brad Maddox had rounded up the eight wrestlers he believed to be the least successful of the year and had them compete for their jobs.
Book Yoshi Tatsu, The Great Khali, Santino Marella, DiBiase and four others in a sort of reverse tournament that airs over the course of three episodes of Raw. In each match of the three-round event, the winner remains a part of the company and the loser moves onto the next round.
The finals would then decide who must leave WWE and gets to stick around.
Normally a DiBiase vs. Khali match would be yawn-worthy, but in this format, a victory is extremely significant. DiBiase's departure goes from being a side note to a dramatic climax that gives the undercard some added electricity.
This tournament of desperation is a simple addition that maximizes the drama of a wrestler leaving the company.
General Manager Annual Review
Raw's General Manager's job should be on the line as well. With the new year must come change.
WWE can make it a holiday tradition to have the person in charge of the premiere show have Vince McMahon or Triple H evaluate them on the air.
There is inherent drama with the possibility of someone being fired. McMahon's appraisal of John Laurinaitis' work was one of the more interesting nights during the reign of "Mr. Excitement."
Maddox has mostly been forced to the periphery as of late. With a critical look at his job performance coming, he could start sliding to the forefront, making a number of decisions he hopes will keep him employed.
This is a great chance for WWE to recap the year. Maddox's highs and lows would be shown on the big screen.
That moment wouldn't affect the ratings the way Cena returning would, but it's more appealing to a larger number of fans than a Santa's Helper tag team match.
Either the show benefits from the drama of Maddox keeping his position or the excitement of someone new being named as head of Raw.
Royal Rumble Tournament
Before Royal Rumble 2013, WWE created a tournament where the prize was for one NXT prospect to make it to the Rumble match.
The trouble is the company didn't air this on TV. The tourney happened during the Royal Rumble Fan Fest. When Bo Dallas made his entrance in the Rumble, few knew who he was.
A better way to handle this would be to stretch the tournament over a few weeks on Raw and SmackDown, allowing fans to get acquainted with these wrestlers.
Fans are more invested in the winner this way.
In addition, it exposes all the prospects competing to fans who don't watch NXT. The promise of NXT stars being added to WWE's weekly schedule won't boost ratings, but it is a means to build for the future.
The company can see what guys like Sami Zayn and Tyler Breeze can do in the spotlight and how fans react to them. The audience is sure to enjoy the change of pace as well. Rather than seeing Alberto Del Rio and Kofi Kingston fight for the umpteenth time, fans would experience something unfamiliar and exciting.
Should WWE implement some or all of these into the calendar, the end of the year will become more appealing.
Adding suspense and stakes is a recipe for great TV. Having Del Rio run over Santa Claus only reaps momentary rewards. Little is gained going forward.
Introducing NXT stars and forcing Superstars to compete for their livelihoods utilizes more of the roster, entertaining along the way.