WWE's Overcrowded Roster Issues on Raw and SmackDown Continue to Get Worse

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2018

The Raw roster on the stage.
The Raw roster on the stage.Credit: WWE.com

WWE produces almost eight hours of weekly programming for its main roster and three for its developmental system, but somehow the company still has a problem with overcrowding.

Counting 205 Live, Raw has over 50 male Superstars and 16 female Superstars. SmackDown has another 32 men and 11 women. The numbers climb even higher if you count names like Shane and Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, Maryse and The Singh Brothers.

This means WWE employes over 100 Superstars, with the vast majority working full-time schedules. It's no wonder the company can't find a way to give attention to everyone who deserves it. 

Then you have to factor in the developmental system. NXT has 33 men and 11 women, NXT UK has 25 men and 10 women and the Performance Center has another couple dozen recruits training for a career in WWE. 

WWE has created too many stars to properly use all of them, and while this might sound like a good problem to have, it means people may eventually become impatient and leave because someone else will give them the spotlight.

Let's look at how each division on the main roster has been affected.


The Cruiserweights

205 Live is only an hour long, and the cruiserweight division is lucky if it gets a spot on a pay-per-view pre-show, let alone an actual match on Raw.

Drake Maverick and Lio Rush have taken managerial roles on Monday nights, but the only Superstars who have competed on Raw in the last several months are Kalisto, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik.

Then there's the actual 205 Live show. Stars like Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander get a lot of screen time, but others like Ariya Daivari and Akira Tozawa have to fight for every segment they get.

It's hard to feature everyone with only 60 minutes each week, but WWE still finds a way to regularly feature enhancement talents on the show instead of its contracted Superstars. 


The Women's Division

The Raw women's division is a great example of having too many Superstars who deserve a run with the title without having enough belts to go around.

It has been more than a year since Sasha Banks and Bayley were in the hunt for the Raw women's title, and it has been even longer for Mickie James, Natalya and Tamina.

Then there's the new crop of talent. Ember Moon, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan and Dana Brooke have yet to be considered for a run with the championship.

It's understandable why WWE would want Ronda Rousey to be its champion right now, but it has several other women who work just as hard and deserve it just as much.

Over on SmackDown, things aren't much better. Asuka should have been champion months ago, but she has been poorly booked ever since losing to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34.

The blue brand has found a way to feature just about every woman on its roster on a regular basis, but it still has a problem finding meaningful storylines for anyone but Becky Lynch, Flair and Carmella, and even The Princess of Staten Island has been taking a back seat recently.


The Tag Team Division

SmackDown's tag team division has produced some of the best matches of 2018 with the likes of The New Day, The Usos and The Bar, but there are more than three teams on the roster.

The Bludgeon Brothers have been off television due to Rowan's arm injury, but Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, Sanity and The Colons never seem to be in the running for a title shot.

Primo and Epico are great technical high-flyers, The Good Brothers are skilled veterans and Sanity has a unique gimmick WWE has yet to fully explore. How is it WWE creative can't find a way to use any of them?

Raw's tag team division is just as bad. The Authors of Pain have only recently begun to get screen time thanks to defeating Seth Rollins in a handicap match for the tag titles, but it took WWE months to pull the trigger on their push after calling them up from NXT.

Titus Worldwide was quietly broken up so Apollo Crews could pursue a singles feud with Jinder Mahal, The B-Team was completely swept under the rug after the Cinderella story of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel stepping out of The Miz's shadow and The Revival can't seem to catch a break.

Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre are still a team, but they seem to be more focused on helping each other achieve individual goals than regaining the Tag Team Championships.

Konnor and Viktor are little more than jobbers at this point, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable have done nothing of note since joining forces and Fandango's shoulder injury has led to Tyler Breeze being jobbed out until The Fashion Police can return. 

Even with two sets of tag titles, WWE can't find a way to give all of its teams the attention they deserve. 


The Men's Division

It's an accepted fact that not everyone will become a WWE champion during their career, but you would still expect the largest wrestling promotion on the planet to push those who deserve it.

One problem is the company's obsession with having Brock Lesar as one of its top champions. His part-time schedule means the most important championship on Raw will only ever be seen a few times in the months between each of his pay-per-view matches.

Not only did Lesnar's reign lead to Braun Strowman not winning the title when his popularity was at its peak, but it has also led to several other top talents working midcard programs instead of being in the hunt for the Universal Championship.

Another issue is having too many world-title-worthy Superstars on the same roster. WWE has picked up a lot of big indy names in recent years, but most of them have yet to achieve their ultimate goal of holding the WWE Championship.

Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, Hideo Itami and Finn Balor were all brought in with a lot of hype, and the only major accolade among them is Balor's one-day Universal Championship reign.

Then you have the veterans who should be in the hunt for the belt like Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio, just to name a few.

Even former champions like Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Sheamus, Big Show and Bray Wyatt have been stuck in midcard feuds for a long time.

With Superstars like AJ Styles having long title reigns, part-time champions like Lesnar and a large number of main event talents on the roster, a lot of people who deserve a World Championship push will have to wait a long time to get one.


Possible Solutions

Having too many talented performers to properly feature all of them is the best kind of problem, but it's still something WWE needs to worry about. Stars like Cody Rhodes have been able to find a lot of success outside of WWE, so it's not as if its the only place a wrestler can make a good living anymore.

The first thing WWE needs to do is get over the idea that Lesnar needs to have a title to be a draw. Just being on the show is enough for his fans to tune in.

The next way WWE can address the overcrowding problem would be to have shorter title reigns. Seeing someone like Styles hold the WWE Championship for over a year is great, but it's also unnecessary. Everyone knows he is one of the best in the world, so ending his reign after five or six months would not have hurt his legacy in any way.

The third option might not be as well-received. WWE could always create a third brand to be equal to Raw and SmackDown. Adding another set of world, tag team and women's titles to the mix would make it much easier to give everyone a bit of the spotlight. 

This is the least likely solution since it would require management to create a third program and find a channel to play it every week. 

Unfortunately, WWE cannot please everyone. There is always going to be someone who thinks their favorite Superstar is getting the short end of the stick, but WWE can help make sure it doesn't happen as often by addressing the overcrowding issue. 

What do you think? Is there a way for WWE to give everyone a push who deserves one?