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Five Things WWE Needs To Do In 2012 To Improve
With Pay-Per-View payrates falling, a delayed Network debut, shallow rosters, and stale gimmicks in abundance WWE has to treat 2012 as a fresh start to not only stay relevant to their audience but to keep their industry alive. Wrestling continues to live thanks to WWE’s popularity and brand awareness. I wouldn’t necessary say that the industry will die if WWE goes under but a bulk of the audience will be gone. You probably won’t find the same amount of people attending indie shows. Also, unless TNA grows and their reach extends their audience wouldn’t find much to pick up from WWE’s demise, either. Either way, with how big WWE is they need to step up and see the issues that face them. I’ve talked about the PPV issue in previous articles and if the number of programs and/or the costs are key to their failing. Besides the monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) paid programs, there are several other parts of WWE that need reevaluating or a clean slate to work on.
1) Bring relevancy back to the mid-card titles.
You’d have to go back to the early 2000’s to see WWE giving more than two craps about the Intercontinental and United States titles. Back then, the near entirety of the roster was relevant to the audience. Most superstars had catch phrases that people would chant. The Tag Team division was still buzzing. Crash Holly brought the Hardcore Title into some of the most entertaining bits during shows. Back then, the roster had depth to it and mid-carders could find their way to the top thanks to the tiered title reigns. You’d most likely start out as Hardcore or a Tag Team champ and work yourself into an IC, US, or European run. Depending on your success, you may find yourself sitting in line for a main event push. Sure, things work similarly now but it doesn’t work as well due to the Intercontinental and United States titles having virtually no meaning anymore. I applaud Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, and The Miz for having great reigns using the mid-card titles and doing their best to bring back prestige to them. Cody, especially, has done a lot for the Intercontinental title. Not only has he brought back the old school title design but he has brought in veterans who have held the title in the past and has successfully held the title for over five months. I hope he holds it for many more as the Intercontinental title has had previous champs with reigns as long as an entire year. These title have helped moved talent from rookie status to fan favorites/hated heels. They need to be more important.
2) A third show to help up and comers to get used to the company.
I had talked about this with my NXT article a few days ago. Having a third show on TV that acts like a rookie/mid-card/post-prime veteran show kind of like what the new ECW was at the tail end of the show would do wonders for talent. Graduating from FCW or straight from the indies, new superstars will emerge on this new show to introduce themselves to the audience, build up character, and maybe even grab a title run using a new, low tier title like a TV title or some thing to that approach. Right now new talent is being pushed too fast and this has been the norm since Johnny Ace took over JR’s position in 2005. It isn’t the ratings that are so important with this show. Letting the talent develop in front of the crowd without the pressure of the RAW and Smackdown atmosphere would help people like Seth Rollins and Dean Abrose much more than an extended stay in FCW or Titus O’Neill and Derrick Bateman in another season of NXT.
3) Make the Main Event not stale.
This goes without saying but the main event desperately needs new faces. It is nice to see Dolph Ziggler in the main event at the Rumble but guys like Cody Rhodes and Sheamus are sitting in line. Mark Henry’s recent reign could have been much better if it wasnt bogged down by Randy Orton and Big Show rematches. We are constantly getting slammed with John Cena and Randy Orton. Obviously they sell merch and tickets but that goes to show you how shallow the roster is. If WWE spruces up the mid-card titles and adds a new show to make new talent much more versatile, the ability to open up the main event to new faces will happen. I have a feeling we will see some fresh faces this year but I’ll go into that more later.
4) Make the WWE Network widely available and wanted.
I’m sorry but even with my “Dream” Legends House cast, that show alone doesn’t want me to watch the new and upcoming Network channel. New, current shows and a mix of classic and old school content with a SportsCetner-type news show is exactly what I want. Dump SuperStars and NXT and bring back Heat and Velocity that air before RAW and Smackdown. Introduce the third main show that I talked about earlier as a Network exclusive show with new talent, mid-carders, and veterans that fight over a new title that can only be defended on that show and possibly some PPV’s. Having a SportsCenter talk/news show to go over all the results, rumors, house shows, etc. would be fun to watch and keep up with. It seems like the best way to utilize people like Scott Stanford. Besides the content, I’m worried that the channel won’t be readily available for most viewers. That will severely hurt the concept of the Network. Also, keeping relations with current tv network providers like Sci-Fi and USA is important. Don’t make your company’s programs 100% Network-only.
5) If you’re going to keep the RAW and Smackdown rosters split, bring back the fight for supremacy.
Bragging Rights, the 2005 Royal Rumble, and the first couple Draft nights were awesome due to the fact that the brands were fighting to be the best. The GM’s on both shows kept trying to do whatever they could to make their show the best that week and be a nightmare for the opposing GM. The old exchanges between Bischoff and Teddy/Steph were fantastic and the idea behind the Bragging Rights PPV was fun. It the roster split is to continue, there needs to be a reason for it. With the SuperShow concept, the split between shows is nearly nonexistent and makes for watching Smackdown almost needless.