WWE: How the WWE Can Finally Create Its Future
"In the long term the most important question for a company is not what you are but what you are becoming." Gary Hamel
Over the years, the WWE Universe has watched the WWE slowly but surely die.
They may not have realized it at first as they watched Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels retire from the WWE. Maybe not even after they watched Batista and Edge leave, but soon the roster thinned. All the WWE had left to rely on was the still young John Cena and Randy Orton.
Everyone seemed to pass away without anyone stepping up to replace them. In order to get any sort of publicity, the WWE had to drag older wrestlers back into the business–who had no way of fully competing. They would make a deal out of special appearances from men such as The Rock, Bret Hart, and Kevin Nash that would outweigh all of their current talent.
The WWE has tried to create new stars by having them fight Cena or Orton or giving them the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Yet even with these efforts, many men such as John Morrison, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and Kofi Kingston still wallow away as midcard wrestlers without direction.
What can change all of this? Well, the answer is quite simple...
The art of feuding is a simple idea that is understood by the entire professional wrestling circuit almost since its initial creation.
In professional wrestling, at least two people are needed in order for the sport to work. At the same time, professional wrestling attempts to tell a story both directly and through the wrestling of the competitors.
To have these competitors wrestle and tell a story, these individuals need some motivation that is understood by the crowd. There needs to be a reason why these wrestlers are, in fact, wrestling.
A feud between stars allows each man involved to have a focus in how they tell their story and how they shape the matches they compete in. At the same time, a feud gives the audience a reason to be invested in a wrestling match since professional wrestling is predetermined action.
WWE lack feuds today that can make every match matter.
Why WWE Needs More Feuds
Look at where the WWE stands today.
How many superstars are on the WWE roster? About 55 active wrestlers both male and female.
How many are currently in a feud?
Well, there are the title feuds of John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry. CM Punk is in a feud with the WWE though mostly just HHH and Kevin Nash. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger are fighting over Vicki Guerrero, and Kelly Kelly and Eve are feuding with Beth Phoenix and Natalya.
If you really want to stretch, there are a few building feuds and, for the few who watch NXT, Tyson Kidd and Yoshi Tatsu have a surprisingly good feud going on.
This means that about 11 (or 13 if you count NXT) active wrestlers actually have feuds going.
What about the other 40 wrestlers?
Well, they are given titles (Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, and Evan Bourne), individual story lines (The Miz, R-Truth, etc.) or hung out to dry.
For stars such as Alex Riley, Zach Ryder, and John Morrison to truly become great, they need interesting and unique feuds.
How does a company create interesting feuds that carry weight and make stars?
How to Create Stars Through Feuds
Every wrestler has had to take a path to stardom. From Hulk Hogan to Shawn Michaels to John Cena, each of these men needed a feud that finally pushed them to the top.
The best way to create an enticing feud is to make it mean something more than the conventional.
Most feuds we see today are arbitrary or simply exist to win a title belt. To create tension and turmoil, there needs to be deep seated drama. The best feuds leave the audience mesmerized and need no title belt attached to them.
Stone Cold Steve Austin carried a monstrous feud against Mr. McMahon that made him one of the greatest stars in WWE history. Brothers and partners have feuded over respect, talent, and even admiration of their counterpart. Shawn Michaels has seen many great feuds that have been filled with controversy and career-ending physicality.
Today, most stars either wrestle because they want to be WWE champ or just because they can wrestle. While the top stars are given stories that resonate; the younger talents wallow away without purpose.
Where are the midcard feuds that shape the future? The Rock and HHH, Cena and Jericho, Angle and Lesnar–all feuds that created stars in the WWE.
Nowadays, we get Christian vs. Orton, and most criticize for lasting too long.
Instead, we should hope for battles this big to be given to younger stars. The midcard and the future main event need them.
Feuds That Could Make WWE's Next Big Star
While I do not want to get into fantasy booking by explaining how these feuds should go, each of these feuds would need several months of animosity and pay-per-view match ups. These feuds cannot be throw away contests.
These men must be made to hate one other due to outside circumstances and attitudes. Here are some possible feuds that the WWE could use to create new stars and make the mid card interesting once again:
John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler: All it would take is several months of legitimate feuding and a few wins for Ziggler, and Dolph could launch himself into stardom.
Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett: With WWE's confidence and a clean win over Randy Orton, Barrett could become a huge Smackdown main event star.
The Miz vs. John Morrison: Teased for so long, The Miz could easily catapult Morrison to the main event, by giving him the momentum that Riley gained out of his time against Miz. This is the feud that could finally make Morrison.
CM Punk vs. Drew McIntyre: In his current state, McIntyre needs a massive boost to become credible once again. Punk could make a star out of McIntyre while still coming out strong.
Christian vs. Daniel Bryan: Possibly the best pure wrestler in the WWE, Daniel Bryan simply needs any feud to give him time to develop his skills and charisma on the mic. Christian could give Bryan that along with amazing technical contests that should allow Bryan some high profile wins.
Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes: Sheamus could give Cody Rhodes a final push while they both give some quality matches.
So Many Possibilities
Given proper build up and time, there are infinite possibilities for WWE to match up stars.
Too many times lately, they have thrown away some great possibilities. Daniel Bryan could have had some great personal bouts with Barrett or Rhodes. John Morrison has missed a major feud with The Miz many times over.
With so many possibilities, why do we fans still watch random encounters between Sin Cara and an opponent of choice or pointless massive elimination main events?
WWE has too many stars to waste and is missing out on creating amazing pay-per-views by only promoting their top three or four matches.
It is time to bring back the art of the personal feud.
Here is an ensemble of past great feuds that could be used as inspiration.
What do you think?
Am I missing something?
Has WWE truly regressed in telling great stories especially in the midcard?
What other feuds could the WWE make that could create stars and add interest both to the mid card and the WWE as a whole?
Alternative perspectives are always appreciated and encouraged.