The WWE is a public company and even if they want to live in a kayfabe world of record profits, it’s not what is really happening. The brand split increased the ratings for Smackdown Live, but Smackdown house show attendance is almost at record lows. The roster is so thin right now that it is really hard to keep booking interesting matches.
Here are ten ways the WWE could improve their product right now.
I know keeping the product PG is important for the WWE, so all of my suggestions will not mess with their television rating. I would like there to be a few more blade jobs a year to increase a feud, but I understand their sponsors aren’t too keen on having guys cut themselves on television.
Stop with the weird corporate doublespeak. In the WWE, you can’t use the term ‘title match’, but instead they use ‘championship opportunity’. You can’t for any reason call a championship title a ‘belt’ or ‘strap.’ You can’t even say ‘hospital’, they have to say ‘medical center.’ Instead of saying ‘crowd’, they say ‘the WWE Universe’. And last but not least, they need to start saying ‘wrestling’ again instead of ‘sports entertainment.’ Making your announcers use non-stop WWE corporate branding speak, makes them sounds like robots. Their announcers need to appear more human and likable. I’m a big fan of Corey Graves and feel like his addition to the RAW team improved Michael Cole. Unfortunately for Smackdown, JBL and David Otunga have weighed down the talented Mauro Ranallo.
Use harder music on programming, especially on PPVs. I don’t have anything against Flo Rida or Kevin Rudolf personally, but the WWE needs to find some harder acts to profile on their shows. If you watch old RAWs and PPVs during the Attitude Era, they had harder music that would make the feud more intense during their pre-match vignettes. NXT currently does a good job with their music in the video below. It makes the Asuka/Nia Jax much more intense. Also, this is a way to make your product appear more like the Attitude Era while staying PG.
Bring up Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka right now. These talents are in their mid-to-late 30s and are in their prime. They need to be making the most money possible for the WWE and that would be on either RAW or Smackdown. All three talents would bring new, fresh matchups like Seth Rollins vs Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar and Asuka vs. Charlotte. All three of those matches are Wrestlemania-level and need to happen. I know NXT may suffer, but the main product needs those guys now. As long as they keep signing guys like Roderick Strong to fill in the gaps, they should be just fine. Also, on a slight tangent, if the WWE were to call-up Asuka, have Paul Heyman be her advocate and speak for her. He would put her over as a true beast like he does with Brock Lesnar.
Allow Piledrivers Again. Yes, I know the WWE hasn’t allowed piledrivers since Owen Hart nearly killed Stone Cold Steve Austin in ’97. Hart didn’t use a traditional piledriver, he used a reverse sit-down piledriver…which shold never, ever be used. A traditional piledriver is extremely safe and I could argue is much safer than Kevin Owens’s powerbomb on the apron and A.J. Style’s Styles Clash. It’s a move that looks a lot worse than it really is, unlike many of the moves being done in WWE that are actually more painful than they appear like Seth Rollins’ turnbuckle bomb.
Hire a backstage interviewer with more personality. I missed the days of Mean Gene Okerlund. He would have a conversation with a wrestler and both pry information out of him or direct it where it needed to go. There isn’t anyone back there that could do that right now. They keep hiring cookie cutter robots that just ask open-ended questions like, “What are your thoughts on [fill in the blank]”. I like Renee Young, but I blame the overly-written dialogue for turning the interviewer position into a robot used to get a wrestler’s promo started. That position could be so much more if they are given more freedom.
Stop with the themed months. The WWE does a great job at helping charities and I’m a fan of Connor’s Cure, which helps pediatric cancer. I know they love promoting their good deeds, but the themed months kind of get out of control in the Fall. I also think heels shouldn’t come out with ribbons or pins of the charity. You want the crowd to dislike them, so seeing that they support a good cause, isn’t helping what you’re attempting to achieve. It’s kind of an old school mentality, but I doubt WWE will ever stop.
Keep your champions strong. I’m writing this as A.J. Styles is caught in a weird underdog storyline with ultimate jobber James Ellsworth on Smackdown Live. Styles has lost three of his matches against Ellsworth with some sort of interference by Dean Ambrose. I know Ellsworth is used as a tool to push the Ambrose/Styles rivalry, but I don’t need to see the WWE Champion lose to a chin-less jobber. Do you think Hogan would have lost in ANY way to someone like Barry Horowitz? You couldn’t have pitched him an idea in which he was losing a match to anyone below Earthquake or Tugboat-level.
Less comedy in your tag team division. What ever happened to the days of having tag teams of ass kickers like the Legion of Doom, Demolition, the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs? There was room for acts like The Bushwhackers, but the RAW roster is full of comedy acts. There isn’t a single tag team on RAW that isn’t a full-blown comedy act. They could have save The Club from being one, but they dressed them up as doctors and talked about ‘ringpostitis.’ They have since tried to make them more ass kickers, especially after that horrible Old Day segment failed. The Smackdown roster isn’t any better with Heath Slater and Rhyno as the tag champions. At least they have American Alpha waiting in the wings to take over.
Stephanie McMahon must stop emasculating top stars. Stephanie McMahon treats all the wrestlers on RAW like they are children. She’s the teacher and she likes to scold the top stars. Why should I give a crap about your WWE Universal champion when he is being belittled by McMahon on a weekly basis? In the old days, it would be Vince doing the ‘talking down’, but a star could push back with aggression. That doesn’t work if a woman is talking down to you, so there needs to be someone like Ronda Rousey or Paige VanZant to come in and make Stephanie finally eat crow.
Turn John Cena Heel. Yes, this has been on just about everyone’s list of ‘how to improve WWE’ for almost a decade now. He is now considered to be a part-timer with Hollywood calling more and more. It is the perfect time to turn him. He can do what Hogan did when he turned heel and announce that he was going away and be paid millions of dollars to star in a movie. It’s time for WWE and Cena to finally do it.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.