I'm a TNA fan through and through. However I can admit that both WWE and TNA have their positives and negatives. And it is why that I will do both a top ten WWE and TNA list.
I'm not a negative fan, I'm a positive fan. Instead of saying "oh that sucks!" or saying "I could do better!", all I'm going to say is here are a few simple suggestions that WWE should do to help improve their product.
I also know that TNA has had it's issues, but is not as bad as most of the people assume it is, but that's another column for another day.
So onto improving WWE!
The idea of having a show of young unproven guys is brilliant! Justin Gabriel and Daniel Bryan could be stars if used right. Skip Sheffield who used to be known as Ryback (a Batista type monster) also could be something special. Hell a lot of these guys could be.
But whenever you make them look this bad against the pro's when your trying to sell the fans on them as legitimate up and comers, all your going to end up doing is ruin their chances.
I always said, if you put the NXT "rookies" on the show, with their own title and made them a separate entity then the WWE and told the fans "hey these guys are not ready for the big time yet, their not even WWE rookies yet, but enjoy the future talent" then it would be working much better.
These men could be on their own show challenging for their own title. And when they start to impress the brass, you could have them wrestle on the opening match of a ppv to "showcase their talent." And even once in a while you could have him face someone from the main brand on that ppv.
If you keep the two brand ideas, you could even have a cool angle over who gets to draft what wrestler off the NXT brand and onto the Raw/Smackdown brand.
There was a time when Michael Cole and Matt Styker were great announcers. There was a time when Cole and JBL where the main reason to watch Smackdown. There was a time when the WWE commentators used to help tell stories in the ring. There was a time...
Now we have WWE "analysts". Now we have an internet hating Michael Cole and a fan boy's dream Josh Matthews. We have a logical thinking Jerry Lawler and Matt "I know more about you then you do" Stryker. Seriously if you said "I know something", Stryker would challenge you.
WWE need's to really let the choke hold off the WWE and remember that the commentators are at their best when their explaining the action AND telling a story in the ring. It doesn't have to be one or the other anymore.
WWE needs to realize that they can not only make money off of this, but can really go a long way with the casual fans and media folks alike to have a real live Hall Of Fame for people to go visit with busts, with video's, merchandise, old matches and the like.
But to go hand in hand with that, one would need to also put petty differences aside and start thinking about inducting real legends, like Arn Anderson, Macho Man, Dean Malenko and others.
Imagine the money a H.O.F in Connecticut for Pro Wrestling would bring in to the WWE?
There was a day when WWE would sell merchandise based on what their characters were (face or heel) and would change accordingly.
Now however the WWE pushes based on the merchandise itself. For instance, you can't take the mask off of Rey because the mask is a top seller. Or you can't turn Cena heel because that would be a direct hit to your largest merchandise seller.
There was a time when merchandise wouldn't stand in the way of a twist, swerve or storyline. And that to me is exactly why the WWE needs to understand if you have a good opportunity for a good angle, you need to execute it with out letting the variables like merchandise get in your way.
Want to know a dirty little secret about pro wrestling? It always works best when their is a BELIEVABLE group of wrestlers united for a common bond.
The WWE however doesn't want that anymore. Groups like La Familia, Legacy and the Straight Edge Society are ok. It's ok for the WWE to put out groups with only one potential threat to win a match each week.
The last strong group of wrestlers was Evolution. JBL's Cabinet is exactly what I'm referring to. Each match that they wrestled was a guaranteed loss except when JBL wrestled. Same with Edge in La Familia or Punk in SES.
The Straight Edge Society could be strong if you added a few new members and not just members, but strong members at that.
People talk about the success of the Attitude Era in wrestling. But the major, and often most overlooked reason for it was the believability and closeness a fan had to a wrestler.
It's about connecting with the fans if your a wrestler.
Men like The Undertaker, John Cena, Triple H, John Morrison and others have issues because they aren't people the fans can or want to relate to.
Austin vs. Rock was so good because it was so real. You had the Texas Redneck vs. the All American Pure Blood Jock.
Privileged vs the Meek.
It was genuine.
The WWE needs to rethink it's policy for stars.
The Miz may not draw ratings, and he may be EXTREMELY overrated, but alot of people who like him, like him because he's obtainable. He's got a very realistic gimmick. He is in real life as he is in wrestling, a douche bag.
John Morrison is Jim Morrison, only extremely less talented.
It's time to realize why wrestling works, it's always' your real life attitude, turned all the way up.
Jack Swagger, John Morrison, Mark Henry, Big Show, Big Zeke, Kozlov, Knox and Shelton Benjamin all fall into the category of desperately needing a manager to help them. In Show's case he need's a nutritionist as well but that's another issue entirely.
You want to know why someone like John Morrison isn't winning World Titles yet? Why he's not becoming the next Shawn Michaels? Because, he doesn't cut promo's like HBK.
Fans to often today think that there's never an issue with their favorites. I have my own, but I can be objective. And with that I can say that one of my faves, John Morrison, can not cut a promo to show he's a main eventer. Now maybe like Jericho (who at the moment is showing why he's NOT a main evneter) Morrison's tone of voice is taking away from him. But when he was Johnny Nitro he had issues too with making his points stick.
He's not the only one though. Swagger is a World Champion and he sounds like he's 12. Not to mention he had no business winning that title so soon but again, another point.
Managers can also be the focal point of feuds, like if their a women (or a valet) and she gets attacked and she's a love interest, boom. Or a greedy manager making money off of one star, while he manages someone else. There's all types of possible angles that are being cut out due to WWE's desire to rewrite what works.
I'm using a picture of Freddie Prinze Jr because honestly, he was the only one who did a good job as a guest host. He was believable, he enjoyed it and he even sold the bumps well.
Raw's ratings are going down with the guest hosts, and Raw's ratings were at it's height when there was just one strong figure head.
The biggest problem with the guest hosts, is that the subtle things in a feud aren't being carried over week to week. Lets say Prinze puts Orton in a handicapped match....well if Orton's a heel in this scenario, how is he suppose to flex his dominance over authority if the next week's guest host is the deaf tight end from The Replacements?
Sometimes the back stories or the possible add on's to feuds were what sometimes made a fan want to tune in.
Now not only do you loose that, but you also end up getting no consistency of performances out of these guys. You can have a Seth Green, to that one chick from the View, to ZZ Top.
A constant G.M. (may I recommend my pick? ^) adds more to the product then the WWE may realize. But then again if you recombine the rosters there's no need for that anymore.
In 2002 when the brands separated the idea was to always go to separate pay per views. So when that finally happened in early 2003 it made sens. Two brands, two world titles. No reason not to right? You could still accurately gauge who drew you money, who the fans wanted to see and who clearly didn't have what it took.
The only issue to this theory was that feuds lasted way to long sometimes, and lack of depth per show.
But if everyone's hopping shows at will, and now there's only one pay per view for everyone to headline, it might be time to rethink having two world champions.
What people don't understand with having two world titles is that you are burning through the number of viable contenders extremely quick. It's not even been that long for each, but Morrison, Swagger and others are being talked about as guys who need to take the title next. Why are we so quick to jump onto the next new batch of champions?
The WWE doesn't have the talent anymore to keep pushing new guys into the top bracket. This isn't 2002 anymore, where there were at any given moment at least 5 different future or current world champions on each brand at one time.
If you want to talk about real good draws there are only 4, and a case for 5.
Undertaker, HHH, John Cena, Batista. And often times Edge's ppv's don't drop in buy rates, so that's a positive thing. But men like Jericho, Orton, Swagger and sorry to say, even Punk (though it's odd to say a three time heavyweight champion hasn't really had the change to main event a ppv) don't have the character depth to make people want to tune in and drop 40 bucks on a ppv. I'm not saying those guys suck, I'm just point at ppv's that have been headlined by these guys. Yes I know Swagger's yet to main event a ppv, but it's safe to say he's not much of a draw (yet).
If WWE wants two world titles, then they need to make it less of a circus. There are to many FORMER world champions. And since the WWE puts a belt on anyone now a days, come the big ppv's, there's no new world title contenders for that show!
More on this later....
But case in point; If you want two world titles, go to two separate ppv's. If you don't want two separate ppv's then drop the brand split and just unify the world titles and the women's title. But not the U.S. and I.C. Back when WCW and WW'F' were successful, both companies had a third title, the T.V. and European belt. So you can use the U.S. as the 3rd line belt.
This in a nut shell is exactly what's wrong with the WWE.
Want to know why men like Edge, Punk and Swagger don't draw the ratings as a 9 time, 3 time and brand new world champion should since their all on the same brand? (and the ratings are tanking...) Well simply this, they all won their world titles in cheap ways and now no one really has any real faith in them as big time guys.
Do you think if Hogan had just ran in and beaten Sheik the way that Punk or Edge won their first title, that Hulkamania would have been as popular as it was? Do you think if Sting had capitalize on a brutal match between Flair and Steamboat and won his first title that way, that he would have been as big of a draw for WCW?
NO! There is no reason at all for new champions to win those titles, and win them on Raw or Smackdown to boot!
It's ok if it's an RVD or Rock like situation, where Edge and Mankind pin the champion in an actual match on Raw. It's ok then. But for Punk to just run down after Batista beat up Edge and win the match, well...to be honest that really curtailed Punk.
There was a time when the secondary title was all the test a wrestler needed to see if he could main event. Now people claim that everyone's first World Title run is a test for these guys.
Stone Cold Steve Austin didn't need a damn test run with his first run, nor did Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, or others. So why is Vince trying to re-write a successful strategy?
Vince's ego is right now exactly why the WWE is slipping. There is a strategy in place for over a century on how to make new stars. The WWE is not only not caring about that, but are going out of their way to do things their own way.
Edge's potenial in 2002-2004 has been wasted. He is always going to be seen as a weak main eventer and at best, a mid carder who over achieved. All because of how the WWE booked him.
WWE....you are the biggest company in the world, but you can't rewrite what works.
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