2019 Mistakes WWE Can't Afford to Repeat in 2020
2019 started driven by potential. No one knew what to expect, but the talent and storytelling opportunities were endless. It was a shame to see much of that was wasted.
This last year of the decade had great moments but far too much bad writing. The weeks included good wrestling especially from NXT, but few feuds or moments stood out beyond brief and largely wasted surprises.
As WWE steps into the new year, it is only right to look back on where this year succeeded and fell short. No one wants to see the same mistakes repeated in 2020 that plagued 2019.
Some of the central problems were bigger than just one year. Others became central stars in this year's signature failings for the first time. On both accounts, WWE disappointed as the top professional wrestling company in the world.
If WWE wishes to continue entertaining fans for years to come and fight off new threats, the most important thing to do is learn from the mistakes of the past.
Rely on Everyone from Goldberg to Tyson Fury Over the Talent on the Roster
WWE has never had a more talented roster than in 2019. There's so much depth that stars as diverse as Drew McIntyre, Robert Roode and Kushida struggled for TV time when they could have been main eventing in any other wrestling promotion.
Despite this, WWE put on some of its worst matches of the decade this year. One of the biggest reasons for that was a lack of trust in the star power on this roster. While Andrade and Mustafa Ali can wrestle circles around most of the roster, how many people know who they are outside of the main WWE Universe?
Rather than trying to build that talent up into stars, WWE has returned to bad habits by relying on older stars. While the end results varied, The Undertaker, Triple H, Kane, Goldberg and Batista all returned to in-ring action.
Perhaps more egregious was WWE's insistence on bringing in names without much wrestling experience to immediately outshine current talent. Tyson Fury was the most egregious example, but the arrival of Cain Velasquez felt more like a stunt than a legitimate signing as well.
Much of this is fueled by WWE's relationship with Saudi Arabia, bringing back names for WWE Super Showdown and WWE Crown Jewel 2019. Few of these returning acts truly earned their keep while making sure many others could not get on the card.
In 2020, WWE needs to start focusing entirely on the talent on the roster. This unreal depth is wasted by a lack of use and spotlight. Many are forced to make themselves stars on 10 minutes of screen time every other week.
If that talent is not given a chance, many will ask for their releases as there are plenty of other opportunities for those looking.
Embarrass Talent Like Dean Ambrose Until They Leave for Greener Pastures
One of the biggest names in wrestling has been Jon Moxley, who was still wrestling under the name Dean Ambrose at the start of the year. The former WWE champion was a major star for years, but he was burned out for various reasons by WWE.
The final straw was the way that the company embarrassed him even in the midst of a major feud with Seth Rollins. He was made into a joke until he walked out. He did not just leave though. Ambrose went to New Japan Pro-Wrestling and competed in the G1 Climax.
He then arrived in All Elite Wrestling where he is arguably the biggest star in the company going into 2020, set to likely dethrone current AEW world champion Chris Jericho. He has spoken his piece on the disaster that was his final years in WWE, and he showed that the grass is greener on the other side.
WWE absolutely remains the top wrestling promotion in the world. It will stand at that pinnacle potentially forever. However, burning out and embarrassing talent that will go on to define the business is a terrible look.
Even top stars in WWE had to look at Moxley's exit as an embarrassment and a warning sign. If one of the biggest stars in the company and a guy good enough to main event anywhere could be so mistreated, who is to say what anyone signing a long term deal with WWE will deal with going forward?
It is time for WWE to take a hard look at the way officials are treating talent and decide how much change is needed. There is absolutely a need for some evolution.
Overpush Heels Like Shane McMahon and King Corbin Who Cannot Win on Their Own
What was the most embarrassing moment in WWE? Moments that come to mind often include Shane McMahon. The Best Wrestler in the World dominated television time to the point of absurdity, getting a chance to outshine The Miz and Roman Reigns.
He was a major reason the Wild Card Rule was such a disaster as he was feuding with multiple stars on multiple brands at the same time. The peak of his run was a match with The Miz at WrestleMania 35, and it all should have ended shortly after that time.
Eventually, Kevin Owens stepped in to end the madness. However, WWE did not learn the lesson. Instead of letting individual heels rise up, King Corbin took up Shane's mantle. While he has earned the opportunity to be featured, The King has also been badly overpushed.
His alliance with Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley early in the year was a prelude to his reliance on Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, The Revival and a host of hired cronies at the end. His feud with The Big Dog has been a mess of interference leading to a lack of credibility.
If anyone is going to take Corbin seriously, he needs to be able to handle his own business at times. He may be a better performer than Shane, but it is the same story told again and again. If Corbin can win the King of the Ring on his own, why can't he take care of Reigns or Daniel Bryan or The Miz?
These storylines need to stop in 2020. A heel with an ally is not a problem, but heels with their own entourage become unstoppable and boring quickly.
Miss the Moment with Fresh Stars Including Drew McIntyre and Andrade
No year has been more defined by missed opportunities than 2019. This loaded roster was meant to make sure there were no dull moments. Instead, the product has often been worse in spite of the talent.
This is fueled by a complete lack of respect for the wrestlers. So many stars got close to a spotlight and fell short. At least 20 names could be included on the list, but two in particular stand out most clearly.
Drew McIntyre may be the perfect WWE Superstar. He has the look, the talent and the charisma to work with anyone and succeed. Despite this, he still has not won a singles championship since he returned to Monday Night Raw.
Every time he is on screen, he is portrayed as a dangerous force, who can match up to the best. However, he has always fallen short. An alliance with Shane McMahon forced him to lose steam until he was back at square one.
Andrade was on his way to the top at several moments in 2019. While he was not in a WrestleMania match with Roman Reigns like McIntyre, he had several showstopping performances with Rey Mysterio. Many expected he would be at least United States champion before June.
It took until December for him to win that title off Mysterio, and it is still unclear how much he is valued. He is on the wrong side of a feud with Humberto Carrillo at the moment.
Both should be among Raw's top stars given they share the distinction as first-round draft picks for Raw. It is time to stop wasting valued talent. Everyone needs to get a real chance rather than more start-and-stop pushes.
Push Talent Like Kofi Kingston Then Cut That Push Short Without Reason
No one had a more impressive 2019 than Kofi Kingston in a variety of ways. Before 2019, if Kofi had retired, he would have likely gone into the WWE Hall of Fame. His championship resume speaks for itself, but he would have been a supporting act in his class.
Kofi may have been reliable, but he was never the guy. In 2019, he proved he should be the guy. In a fluke situation, he won the hearts of the WWE Universe, and he put on a match like no other against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania.
He went on to exercise many of his past demons including Dolph Ziggler and Randy Orton. He was riding high with an unbelievable wave of moment. It seemed he had made it.
Brock Lesnar stopped it all in a few seconds. With an emphatic F5, he became the WWE champion, and The Dreadlocked Dynamo disappeared into the background again. Not too long after, he and Big E became SmackDown tag team champions.
Obviously, Kofi is a highly valued star now proved to be more than just a supporting star, but all signs pointed to him standing as one of WWE's top babyfaces. There was no reason to think otherwise.
2020 cannot make a mistake like this again. Once a star has made it, they need to be fully established going forward. The reason star power is such a problem in 2019 is moments like this. Kofi did everything right then disappeared.
Whether it's Kofi getting another shot or a new underdog such as Mustafa Ali or Ricochet getting a run, the moment WWE decides a new star has been born, there cannot be any looking back.