I was reading an article earlier today about the WWE not being high on some of their "heels". The article states that the biggest issue is that the WWE does not have the faith in them to be the long- term solution to the lack of "bad guys" going into the future.
(It is a great article, you should check it out here.)
The article even stated, "The WWE roster arguably has less depth now than it has at any point in history." I don't believe that this is true.
For starters, those of us old enough to remember wrestling in the 80's and 90's can see that there is a LOT more talent today than there was then.
Back then, guys like Roddy Piper, Cowboy Bob Orton, Mr. Perfect, King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd and Jake "The Snake" Roberts were all classic heels. Even though most are legends, and most are in the WWE Hall of Fame, you would not even need a single hand to count how many World Championship reigns they have had together. NONE.
It was not that there was an abundance of talent at the time, but that Vince McMahon was so high on Hulk Hogan that he believed no one could do what Hogan did: was sell out the stadiums and allow The Hulkster to be "immortal".
The problem is, the WWE has made all of the titles almost pointless.
Back when WWE and WCW were two different companies, the WWE had the World Heavyweight Title and the Intercontinental Championship.
Both titles were prestigeous, with a rich history of champions such as Bob Backlund (not the goof that they tried to bring back in the early 90's), Bruno Sammartino and the IC title had Pedro Morales and Tito Santana.
In WCW, they had the same thing, and the World Championship and US Title meant something. Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Sting among others. To be the champion, you had to earn it.
Yes, I understand that wrestling was different then. But ANY championship that a man won was a title that they simply didn't just show up for, have their name pulled from a hat and became Champ.
This was true even in the 90's. Look at some of the legends from the Attitude Era. Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H. NONE of them walked into the WWE and became champ. NONE.
All of them had to pay their dues from the beginning. They had to fight and claw their way to becoming Heavyweight Champ. If you look back to a lot of the feuds between Stone Cold and the Rock, they were for the Intercontinental Championship. Triple H was second to Shawn Michaels for how long?
Back then, if a wrestler wanted to be successful, he had to start off usually in a tag team (people wonder why the tag team division sucks anymore? Here is the answer) or as part of a stable. If the wrestler was successful and outshone his partner, he would move into the singles division.
If the wrestler had success in the singles division (NOT wins and losses mind you, but the ability to work the crowd either as a heel or a face), he would earn the right to have a NON-TITLE matchup with the Champ. Depending on how he carried himself in that match, he would get the chance to hold the IC or United States championship.
Once he held the title for a while, defeating others at his level, he would lose the belt to one of the other up-and-comers and move into the World Title picture. Yes, some would go on to be multi-time IC or US Champs, but that was to build the person's character and get him the mid-card ring time and time on the mic learning how to work the crowd.
In today's wrestling, all four of the titles have lost their flair.
Which title is the better title? The spinner belt or the World Heavyweight Championship? If any of you say the spinner belt, quit reading this.
The World Heavyweight Title is the same belt that was held by Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker (not the one today who wrestles 10 times per year. The REAL dead man from 15 years ago). Who is the "Greatest" champion of the spinner belt? John Cena.
Look at the TNA Heavyweight Championship. Every time I see that blue writing on it, it makes me laugh. It looks like something that you would see in back yard wrestling.
Returning The Titles To Glory
I don't think you will find ANYONE who would say the shows that are on WWE right now are ANYTHING like they used to be. If the WWE wants to return to the "Glory Days", then here are the few steps they MUST follow to get there.
Separate the two shows again, AND DO NOT have any wrestlers on both shows. Keep the World Heavyweight Title on RAW (I know it's on SD, but RAW is the flagship of the WWE, and should have the World Heavyweight Title on it.) Put the IC Title on RAW as well, to show that you no longer consider WCW as a little sister, and that they did deserve respect.
Should the two shows be considered two different companies?
Take the four or five best wrestlers on each show, and THEY are who will be in the title picture for the Heavyweight titles for the next year to two.
Take the CURRENT biggest stars in the WWE and split them between the two shows. Cena, Punk, Orton, Sheamus,Henry, Big Show, Kane and Wade Barrett (even though he didn't work his way up like he should have to).
Forget people like Triple H, Kevin Nash and the Undertaker. All of them should be done with being Champ forever. The torch has passed, and keeping ANY of them in the title picture only hurts the product.
If you take those eight, and split them into the two shows, I think it would look something like this:
After Wrestle Mania you can switch two of them out, but these need to be the ONLY people in the title picture until AT LEAST WM XXX.
In each group, you would have a "heel" stable such as Barrett and his Barrage. He could have people like Christian, Cody Rhodes and maybe The Miz who are with him. They are NOT in the title picture, but they are using the draw of Barrett to increase their face time. This will also set up their chance at the title picture, down the road.
On Smackdown, you would have a stable with Randy Orton along with Ziggler, Heath Slater and Tyson Kidd. When Orton led Legacy, it grew Rhodes and DiBiasi, but once the faction was over, the writers didn't know how to extend them.
This way, all of these younger men would have the ability to learn how to be heels without having the burden of carrying the show. It would give them the chance to learn the craft of being a heel, and eventually becoming a top heel.
This would also give both shows a true heel tag team, that would improve that entire division.
The two lower titles in the WWE would then be fought over by these younger stars, so when they got to the World Title scene, they would be seasoned, instead of misused, so that it is not believable that they won.
The various matches you could use between the other talent, on both the tag team and secondary titles would be great to watch.
Del Rio, Brodus Clay, Dolph Ziggler, McIntyre, Bourne, Kingston, Mason Ryan, R-Truth, Zack Ryder
Christian, Daniel Bryan,Uso Brothers, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, Justin Gabriel, Ted DiBiasi and Tyson Kidd
All of these guys need to be either teamed up with another and re-build the tag team division, or be feuding with each other. Have all of them fighting for the IC title on RAW and the US title on Smack Down.
This would give between four to five quality matches on each of the two shows. The story lines would carry them into the future, like what happened with Stone Cold, The Rock and Triple H. They would grow together as a group, and get better as a whole.
Figure out what you want to do with them, and DO IT. If you want the Divas to be nothing more than eye candy, bring back the Lingerie competition, Kelly Kelly's Expose, or put the girls on the arm of the mid-card wrestlers, and let them be eye candy.
If you want them to be wrestlers, TEACH THEM TO WRESTLE!!!!
Sorry, but it is NOT believable that Kelly Kelly is going to beat Beth Phoenix on a regular basis. Putting these girls in matches right now with the limited wrestling skills does nothing more than give people the reason to go get a drink from the fridge.
Either that, or bring in beautiful women who actually know how to wrestle. TNA has a BUNCH of them, and we all know WWE can pay them better.
A lot of the people in the IWC are so big on giving the younger guys pushes, it is like they don't see the forest through the trees. It is not that these young men need to be pushed. They need to earn their stripes. They need to learn that it is a LONG process to become champ.
Guys like Ziggler, Rhodes, Ryder and others I mentioned as mid carders are going to be the future of the business. If the WWE is to be successful, instead of forcing these young men to TRY to be the best, they MUST learn how to become the best.
Ric Flair used to always say, "To be the man, you must BEAT the man". To this, I say to the WWE: to build success, you MUST teach success. As painful as that may be for the next couple years, it will make the future of the business brighter than it ever was.