It’s only been a handful of times that I have ever missed an episode of WWE Raw or Smackdown. Maybe more, but I have consistently kept up with the product since I was pinching pimples on my face. Doing my best Macho Man Randy Savage impression at a lunch table adorned with band geeks and social rejects that had an affinity for Stone Cold and Degeneration X t-shirts. I love wrestling then, now, and forever.
It feels great to be part of a fan base that spans the globe by the millions, and for 20 years, the WWE has been the flagship general of the business.
The big leagues if you will, the place that at one time not so far behind, was the pinnacle of a wrestler’s success. That is until other promotions like New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Impact/Global Force/TNA/ (oh God, how many times has their name changed, thanks to Dixie, Hulk, Vince Russo, Bischoff….ok I’m rambling) made their own footprints in the sand.
The independent scene has sparked a revolution, that has changed the very trajectory of wrestling. Suddenly, WWE released, overlooked, and undervalued talent and Legends have decided to “go their own way”, and cement their legacies without a push from the big office in Stanford, Connecticut.
Talents like Cody (don’t say Rhodes), Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, and the almighty Chris Jericho have set the canvas ablaze with a three-letter acronym that hasn’t made Vince McMahon shake in his boots since WCW during the early stages of the Monday Night Wars.
AEW is here! It put on one of the greatest pay-per-views, “Double or Nothing” that in my opinion, rivaled and dare I say bested WrestleMania this year in a fraction of the time it took wrestling’s Superbowl to keep it slowly dwindling fanbase’s attention. With the surprise addition and debut of Jon Moxley, formerly known as Dean Ambrose of WWE’s Main Event card and 1/3 of the highly acclaimed faction “The Shield”, the chaos has only amplified for WWE as many of it’s top and low card talent have made their dismay and intentions to leave the company known.
Moxley, further added nails in the coffin after his explosive shoot interview on Chris Jericho’s “Talk is Jericho” podcast. Bringing to light Vince’s out of touch handling of booking and storyline debacles, that have alienated many of his in-house talents. Many who are vocal about it, to the point of asking to be released from their contracts like Sasha Banks, and Luke Harper. And many that suffer in silence, weighing their potential options outside of WWE.
The product has severely suffered in recent months, starting well before WrestleMania. From the international controversy of the multi-year Saudi Arabia deal, to Vince’s fingerprints staining the badly written and booked weekly episodes, and massive Brock Lesnar checks.
As the Fall debut date of AEW’s weekly offering on TNT looms, it is essential that the McMahons and silent savior Triple H make drastic changes to their infrastructure.
In my opinion, here are the first steps to winning back their threatened top spot in wrestling, and most importantly in the hearts of its many fans that make up the WWE Universe, and those that have and still are jumping on the next life spaceships leaving the galactic Titanic for the other attractive galaxies:
This is a commonly shared solution which has made its popular run through social media and wrestling commentators. Let Paul “Triple H” Leveque, Stephanie and Shane McMahon have full control over the WWE! Vince should be more focused on his more promising venture in the revival of the XFL, which many are anticipating. Trip’s NXT has in many ways exemplify how awesome wrestling is and should be, with the brand putting on better and better “NXT: Takeover” shows since he has been at the helm. Imagine what he can do with the company.
Give the talent more incentives and insurance! John Oliver was not too far off with what I feel is a basic need that WWE can pay for ten times over for its contracted talent. More off days for their talent to rest and rejuvenate for better morale, better matches, and performances.
If the term “Superstars” is what you are preaching, then encompass them into the creative process. Don’t just write for how you think they should sound and look. Learn the person and cater to their personality strengths, and even weaknesses. Find the compromise in building their character around what makes them tick and the direction of a great storyline. HIRE BETTER WRITERS.
Seriously, make amends with CM Punk! Fix it, resolve it! You screwed Bret, you screwed The Ultimate Warrior, and fixed things with them, way too late before they could have given us more classic moments. CM Punk still loves wrestling despite what he is letting on, and Tony Khan’s AEW is primed to scoop him up!
Don’t just listen to the fans when it is overwhelmingly detrimental to not do so. Create a rotating focus group of top wrestling social media influencers and regular fans to keep up with how the product is being received. This will allow you to know more than what analytics can ever tell you. In the words of John Cena, “LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE!”
Cut down Raw by one hour! You can accomplish so much in just two without losing ratings. For the first time in history, I turned off RAW after that lie of a Fatal-Four Way match last week!! This nearly sent my wife into shock! I never turn off RAW ever, always watched it in its entirety.
I love wrestling. I love the WWE. Vince has surpassed every moniker that you can give him, it’s my hope that he will salvage his legacy before he leaves this planet, which will never happen in my eyes. Long live the McMahons! But please do what is necessary for regaining the faith in the last word of your opening signature…..FOREVER.