WWE has seemingly been on an uphill battle with ratings for years and even though righted the ship a little last year having some fresh names step up during the pandemic, the problems still persisted. Now, reports have arisen that both television networks which carry WWE programming have been pitching various gimmick themed shows to WWE to help with the ratings. However, theme shows will help in the short term, boosting ratings from the week if they are hyped properly in the long term though more changes need to made to fix the underlying issues.
You aren't going to fix the issue by putting a band-aid on it and calling okay, you need to fix the issue by coming up with a plan. Last year, I said more than once that WWE needed to come up with a long term plan and direction for the promotion. I also said that once Wrestlemania they should immediately start coming up with ideas for Summerslam to keep development and momentum flowing. In the past the company would let talent know months or even a year ahead of time what plans will be for the future, but now it seems like they don't know a week ahead of time what is going to happen.
This isn't to blame on Vince or Hunter or Stephanie or Shane, it is to blame on perception how they see the issue. Fix an issue by making a change, but unless you make the right change, you won't fix the issues. I would hope that if they haven't figured that out yet that they will figure that out soon enough, because even though some changes were needed the problems that existed before the changes still exist now. It won't be fixed with a special show or special appearance, it will be fixed by changing perception the wrestling business may have changed, but what was once important in the business is still important today. Everything goes back to making a plan and sticking to it aka long term booking, and now I realize a big problem within WWE is shortsighted decision-making.
A gimmick or themed show will help for one week, but unless you have a plan for where you go next, it will mean nothing in the long term. Eventually if you overuse the concept of a theme show then what once worked will not work anymore, because it will become overdone and stale. Themed shows are a short term fix, if WWE wants to fix the problems that plague the promotion they need a long term fix. Patients will be the only way to get to that long term fix, and I'm not sure that those in power have the ability to stay the course and keep with a long term plan as they might prefer a quicker fix.
Recently, a now former WWE writer has been making news due to their non-existent knowledge of the product for the company they were working for at the time. I hope people understand now why you are supposed to do some research for your future employer to know who you will be working for if you get the position. Working for a wrestling company as a writer isn't something you can learn working for other television programs. The only thing that working for other television programs teaches you how to write weekly television.
The fact that an employee would go on a podcast and make clear a lack of knowledge and that they don't even know the name of the current WWE Champion. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to say that WWE should have one booker running things on a weekly basis, because with the amount of programming they have, not sure if it'd be possible for one person to handle. However, if one person took care of Raw and the other handled Smackdown, that would be different. I don't mean one head writer for each and they both still work on the other brand, I mean where one person only takes care of Raw and vice versa. This would allow writer to fixate on one brand instead of having to work on coming up with ideas for double the amount of talent and programming.
In my opinion, these events making the company look bad like awful. It shows they don't have a vetting process to make sure they're hiring the best possible people for the job they need to fill. Every single person that is tasked with writing for WWE should have prior knowledge of the product, or they shouldn't be employed by the promotion. In the past, someone like Freddie Prinze Jr helped steady the wrestling minds on the team and make sure they took a television approach to their ideas. Basically, Freddie was the member of the team with a background in television to help with that aspect and steady those who knew wrestling to keep a balance on the team.
WWE needs to either train the writers to have a knowledge of the product or clear out the entire division of the company and make it clear unless you have a knowledge of the product, you will not work for the company. Long term booking, presentation, exposition, development are all aspects of wrestling that are missing from the current WWE product and one by one should be things that attempt to reintroduce to the product over a long period of time. Simply put, these aspects belong on a wrestling show, because wrestling is better with a long term plan, and when you allow the fans to see their favorite stars develop. Also, fans prefer having a clear reason why something is happening, and it helps if they can relate to why two people are feuding. Fact is I can talk about this all day, but the main idea is to learn about the company you want to work for before you on the interview it will make you look smarter or at least try and learn about the company after this way you know what the company you work for does.
With the deal that brought Smackdown to Fox two years ago, it was clear that the blue brand had become either a level above the red brand or at least on the same level of the once A-show. Being on Fox, it moved Smackdown right into the limelight and easier for fans to find the program then it had been in the past. Smackdown had always seemed to be the hidden program of WWE on channels that most fans would need to be aware existed otherwise they wouldn't know where to find the channel.
The most recent edition of Smackdown saw Rey Mysterio and Roman Reigns collide in a Hell in a Cell match, the first on free television in nearly thirty years. Perception is massively important in the world of wrestling, and it seems like WWE has forgotten how important this concept has always been in wrestling. They moved this match between Roman and Rey Mysterio up from the PPV on Father's Day, shows that the company is desperate to keep the ratings moving. However, one week of using an un-hyped special match to boost the ratings for a program is extremely shortsighted. Then again, being extremely shortsighted seems to be what WWE has become known for in recent years, look no further than the release of both Tommy End and Samoa Joe.
Aleister Black returned after months on hiatus and started feuding with Big E, then two weeks later he's gone from the promotion. The former New Day member broke apart from his long time teammates to help start a much deserved push, but again a shortsighted decision derailed his push. Shortsighted decision-making can be a poisonous way of thinking in the wrestling business, as eventually you will run out of ways to give the gate a shot in the arm and keep things fresh. Basically, the issue that arose from the "Attitude Era" a lot of good came from the era, but at the same time so did a lot of bad.
Nearly twenty years ago, Vince McMahon appeared on a February edition of Smackdown to announce that he will inject a lethal dose of poison into his creation. Vince would go onto to say that if anyone will kill what he created it'll be him, and he will inject his creation with a lethal dose of poison, this was the introduction of the New World Order in WWE. Nowadays, the poison is plaguing the company again, but the poison this time is in the booking and decision-making. I don't know everything, but what I do know is that long term booking is important, perception and exposition can never disappear, and most important shortsighted decision-making is a poison that always ends in disaster.
I'm not saying a disaster will behold WWE, all I'm saying is that until they change how they make decisions things will not change. In wrestling, you don't forget ultimately this business is cyclical or ever-changing, and sometimes you go to change something that didn't need to be changed. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!! Shortsighted decision-making was part of what slowly poisoned World Championship Wrestling, not the only thing that killed WCW though. The main idea is the poison is slowly spreading in WWE, they need to find the antidote. Part of that antidote is ridding themselves of shortsighted decision-making.
The feud between Roman Reigns and his cousins has been raging for almost a year at this point, starting with a feud last summer between the Tribal Chief and Jey Uso. The feud has evolved to now include the returning Jimmy Uso who had been on the shelf since the spring of 2020. Since starting to associate with his cousin, Jey has seen his stock in WWE rise to no end. WWE is now trying to work the same magic with Jimmy and establish the family as its own brand. This feud proves why exposition in wrestling still matters, because when the company gives a reason for you to care and shows they care it is easier to invest in anything they are doing.
Exposition in wrestling matters, because all it takes is one reason to be invested in a feud and there you go. WWE has done amazing with Roman since he returned last summer, and this year hasn't slowed things down. Think about it, a rivalry between cousins or brothers is something that anyone can relate to and the main reason why this feud is so hot is its relatable. Another positive has been WWE's ability to move people in and out of the feud like they did with Seth Rollins, Cesaro and now seemingly like they will do with Rey Mysterio.
Long term planning hasn't been a strong suit for WWE in many years, but in my opinion it seems like they have planned out Roman's arch for a long time, which is a pleasant sight to see. One thing that would be even nicer is if we saw WWE start to use the long term planning concept in other aspects of booking the programming. Exposition gives a reason why two wrestlers are feuding and a reason why you the fan should care. Long term planning allows you to maintain investment in certain people that the company themselves keep on television and always have something for them to do. The Uso's have needed a shot in the arm for years, and this is that shot in the arm. Roman Reigns is another level right now and could be hitting the status of "superstar" they've wanted him to for a long time, all he needed was to turn heel.
One of the biggest problems that have troubled WWE recently is their lack of interest in putting together matches that fans haven't seen six times in two weeks. They've always had a problem with overdoing the match concept and not using a segment to push a feud every week, saving the big matches for PPVs or occasional weekly programming. WWE is its own biggest enemy every week we shouldn't see the same matches with the same two people every week. It isn't difficult, it gets tough when WWE overcomplicates everything instead of keeping things simple.
Long term booking use to be the most important thing for WWE where they would actually tell wrestlers six months to a year in advance when they would be winning a championship. For this reason there should always be a plan in place to keep your champions at the forefront of programming. Champions often miss weeks at a time as they have a lack of a clear direction. However, there is a need to also have plans for other wrestlers who could contend for the title at a later date.
The underused stipulation or story is the #1 contender match which adds a bit of intrigue and could give someone an unexpected opportunity. One match that could be perfect is Kevin Owens against Shinsuke Nakamura as it would be a fresh match that has never happened between two of the best around. I do think it'd be best for these two to compete for the Intercontinental Title instead of the Universal Title. My pick for Roman's next opponent is continuing with Cesaro after the Seth Rollins issue is settled or jump to Big E to test the waters if the former Tag Team Champion will go over well in the main event. A test run would be for the best as it used to work back in the day and something that should've stuck around as it's another idea that worked fine and made wrestling better. Anticipation is key sometimes in wrestling and teasing isn't anticipating, because teasing has to do with striking eventually. Anticipation means there is a plan and the moment will come eventually teasing means it might never happen.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present