It does not take a pro wrestling pessimist to question the entertainment value that World Wrestling Entertainment is providing these days.
Especially on Raw, WWE's "flagship" brand, fans are being fatigued by stale storylines and the misuse of several key superstars. The topic of "what can the WWE do to fix this" is one that is discussed daily here on Bleacher Report and solutions stretch from John Cena heel turns to Hart Dynasty man crushes.
My solution is slightly more peculiar but a rather simple concept: WWE needs World Championship Wrestling.
No, I do not mean this literally. Disaster would be the primary expectation if Eric Bischoff and Ted Turner got back together and decided to rekindle their love for "wrastlin'" on Monday nights at the Georgia Dome.
By WCW, I mean the WWE simply needs some form of worthy competition or else we are going to continue to see bland shows and an unsatisfying company.
Fans of mainstream wrestling are cornered right now and being force-fed the options of watching an indifferent program or not watching wrestling at all. This is in sharp contrast to the glory days of the Monday Night Wars.
Yes, the Monday Night Wars are well-documented and, therefore, do not require much background information here. For nearly six years, wrestling fans were treated to a weekly battle between two mega-companies.
The WCW nearly put the then-WWF out of business, the WWE succeeded in putting the WCW out of business, and in between, fans were provided with two innovative shows full of gripping material.
There were stables such as the New World Order and Degeneration-X that changed the face of pro wrestling and wildly entertaining personalities such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Kevin Nash, that kept fans switching frantically between TNN and TNT.
There were consistently fresh storylines, the "Attitude Era," and—gasp—major title matches on weekly television.
Today, turning on a WWE telecast reveals little more than mildly entertaining promos, stagnant storylines, and boring, repetitive matches. Legacy, a stable with great potential, is forced to collaborate with boring faces and has had its more memorable moments when slated against a 60-year-old retired wrestler.
They seemingly run the same segment every week, opening the show with a Randy Orton "you people" promo and ending it with a handicap match and a punt to the head.
The truth is that the personalities who are destined to shine are being weighted down by "fat" that would never be on the roster if there was company competition involved. Could you imagine how fast channels would have changed to WCW if the WWE tried to air a Santino-Vickie Guererro segment ten years ago?
With all of the young talent waiting in the ECW and on Smackdown, why is Goldust given a contract to waste Raw's precious time?
The answer is that WWE is distributing an inferior product now simply because they can. They have gotten generations of followers to take their bait and now have the luxury of being the only dealer on the block.
I do not think that it comes as a surprise that TNA is no where close to being any form of competition to the WWE yet and also needs major renovations if it ever plans to be.
What Vince McMahon and the WWE have achieved is a sports entertainment monopoly. Unlike traditional sports leagues, pro wrestling is an industry that thrives off of competition between companies.
Without the presence of the WWF, Hulk Hogan would have never made the most famous heel turn in history and without the presence of the WCW, there would have never been an Attitude Era.
For the fans sitting around watching Raw and waiting for something monumental to happen, there is no real guarantee that that marquee moment will come. Unlike before, the decisions will be made out of preference instead of necessity, making every move less vital.
The pleasant news is that, if handled correctly, the future of the WWE can be absolutely tremendous.
In names like John Morrison, Jeff Hardy, and Evan Bourne, the company has a surplus of young talent that must be utilized efficiently. I read an article on here earlier today discussing the possibilities of future matches and it was difficult to not be excited by it.
However, we are still forced to question the storylines and runs that these stars will be given and that can make a promising future seem nerve-racking. If there was still a "WCW" around to lock the WWE into an arduous competition, this would not be a concern.