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tiger_rick

The WWE traffic jam

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We often complain about the lack of hierarchy in WWE and everyone being on the same level but the flipside of that is that they just have so many talented guys who deserve more than being stuck in midcard mediocrity. A lot of the following is just my opinion of certain guys (some will argue against Balor for instance) but I think the general point is right.

On a week to week basis, I think you've got Rusev, Nakamura, Jeff Hardy, Orton, Styles, Joe, Mysterio and Andrade on Smackdown and Balor, Ambrose and McIntyre on Raw (and Lashley if you're feeling generous) who aren't presented as anything more than talented wrestlers. They've just added Owens and Zayn back into that mix along with Ricochet and Aleistair Black. That's without considering the really talented guys they've currently got working in tag teams. Rollins is currently above that pack, D-Bry has moved out of it in the last six months, Miz is outside it because of the Shane feud, Strowman doesn't seem to work in the same promotion as everyone else and Reigns is the one person they are keen to tell us is a real star. And Lesnar is Lesnar.

How do you change that situation? Currently at any one time they have a champion on each brand and a challenger who they tell us are above the rest. And the rest just exist. If they're not challenging for the US/IC titles, they're doing nothing. Styles/Orton is a great example. What were they fighting at Mania for? Where did that come from? They had a good match. But did anyone care? It wasn't even born out of one of them screwing the other in a title match or out of a title which are the only other things that make a feud seem anything these days. When people say titles don't matter, I have to consider that the most ridiculous statement ever because they're the only things that matter in this "universe". Fucking Batista just came back for a match with HHH, Trips put his career on the line and it didn't matter a bit.

I'd love them to focus on 5/6 guys who don't lose, don't fight the othes directly until it means something and don't wrestle meaningless matches every week but instead show us what their world is and why this all matters so much. But honestly, which guys? There are so many on the same level. On the one hand, they can cycle anyone into main events but on the other, none of it ever feels special. They really need to find a way of presenting these talented guys as stars on a different level. How would you do it?

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7 hours ago, tiger_rick said:

 

 Fucking Batista just came back for a match with HHH, Trips put his career on the line and it didn't matter a bit.

 

Now Wrestlemania is in the rear-view, it's this that was most alarming thing for me. Failing to capitalise on Roman's return and blowing the first and probably only women's main event was bad, but it's par of the course for main roster booking. Making a legitimate box office star and the King of Kings both feel like 'just another guy' was almost unthinkable. I thought the part timers got the kid glove treatment. Two veterans of the game with a storied history and creative/political sway to back them and that's what they come up with? That's the most damning reflection of the current creative team for me. 

On topic, God knows how you sort it out. The toothpaste is out the tube in regards to name vs name matches being a regular thing and you need something to fill TV time. Not pinning Kofi, Seth and Becky on TV to set up new opponents would be a good start. The rosters loaded, you can still feature your champions without them working matches every week. They definitely need to be more careful about hot-shotting stuff. There's guys on TV that are being paid to literally stand about. Roman could be battering semi scrubs like EC3 and Curtis Axel and people would get into it. Don't just back yourself into a corner by throwing him a guy that's about to be pushed like Drew. You could bring random 205 guys to Raw and let Ricochet showcase his stuff against them and it would get over just as well as the 50/50 tag matches. People still love to watch guys kick arse.

They definitely should pick a group and separate them from the pack with the idea of making them future champions. They should be trying to break the habit of making Chris Jericho level champions and keep the belts for the guys they actually push as top guys. That would do well toward sorting the hierarchy. Getting the fanbase to accept these top guys is a whole other ball-ache but that's the bookers job. Drew, Strowman, Joe, even Rusev. It's not like they're short on options.

 

Edited by Mr Butternut Squash

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Havent seen much leading into Mania, so just checked to see if the "career on the line" stip was official or implied. Then I saw the time of the Batista match (which I havent watched yet) and its 25 fucking minutes! Between a 50 year old who just got rushed back from a torn pec and Batista who should never have long single matches. It was longer than the match they had 14 years ago in the main event. Triple H is a genuine sadist, I believe. Fuck off with that! HHH's more is more philosophy is cruel.

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Good topic. The short answer is they could do with another brand that is portrayed as being on par to Raw and Smackdown which is problematic in itself as Smackdown is not even portrayed as being on par to Raw; fox deal withstanding. 

Never in WWE history has it been harder to pigeonhole certain performers into certain positions on a roster/card. I can imagine I am going to waffle in this reply so please forgive me. 

The upper and mid card divide is hugely problematic these days in large because of senseless 50/50 booking which even the 'top' stars are plagued by. How can anyone be regarded as a 'upper midcarder' when they may have potentially lost a match to a lower-carder the previous week for no other reason than a whim? These days if Almas is wrestling Reigns for the title at Elimination Chamber there is a bloody good chance he is taking it. Did anyone ever believe X-Pac, for as talented as he was, would ever take the title from The Rock. Course not; but we dared to believe. 

Looking at 1998-2000 your main event players consisted of:

Rock, Austin, HHH, Taker, Kane, Foley, Show (hmmm).

That is 7 people to juggle around and portray as main guys. Luckily or unluckily some were injured so there were less people to work around. RR 2000 Foley vs HHH for the belt. Rock/Show/Kane in the rumble. Taker injured, Austin injured. 

Rock was being built up for Mania, HHH was being made by Foley. Kane and Show were still monsters. 

These days the rumble winner often goes 50/50 with every tom dick and harry until Mania. How does that make them look anymore a star?

Looking at the names you picked out Rick let's discuss them further. 

Rusev - failed to pull trigger, got over, failed to pull trigger, got over. Tag team, got over, failed to pull trigger, tag team, no longer over. Rusev could and perhaps should have been a much bigger player for the WWE. But he is not, why? Booking.

Nakamura - wrong side of 40, unmotivated either due to attitude or frustration, worth pushing? Probably not. 

Jeff Hardy - never been portrayed as a main-eventer since his return. Does not need to be, use him to get new talent over. 

Orton - Veteran, able to be a main event player when needed, use to get new talent over. 

Styles - has been a main eventer, wrong side of 40, will always have name value. 

Mysterio - looks better than ever, wrong side of 40, not a main event guy or portrayed as one since his return. Use to get new talent over. 

Joe - doing great as US champ, got fucked over when portrayed as a main event guy. Wasted short term potential. 

Almas - should be protected and slowly built up. Is not. 

Out of that group only Almas, Rusev and potentially Joe are worth investing more into in my opinion. The rest can slip in and out of the main event when needed.

WWE is a victim of it's own roster size and I honestly cannot think of a way to solve that. 

 

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The roster is too big, and they clearly don't see cutting dead weight as an option, so they just need to look more seriously at completely restructuring the way they do TV, or utilising the Network.

We're firmly in "wins and losses don't matter" territory, and to an extent they don't, but only if we're given something else to care about - so give us character. I'm not necessarily saying a move back to the early/mid-90s where every wrestler is a policeman, a soldier, a construction worker, a Native American or a leather daddy, but letting the wrestlers they have show their personality more, rather than just trade meaningless wins. There's no reason some of the more interesting promos and interviews they do for the website can't be on TV, or at the very least recapped on the Network. 

I'd also look at something of an off-season - not for the whole promotion, but varying who gets used when, even if just the part-timers. 

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I feel like they should be bringing more guys in when they're a bit older. Bring them in in their early/mid 30s once they've had a fair bit of experience on the indies and overseas, know how to work a crowd properly and develop/present a character and get themselves over. You get a solid 5 years or so out of most of them then move on. These days everyone is hanging around for 10+ years from their early 20s onwards and doing fuckall for the most part leading to the roster completely stagnating. Baron Corbin is going to still be in WWE in 2029 at this rate. Can you imagine?

Edited by LaGoosh

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5 hours ago, LaGoosh said:

Baron Corbin is going to still be in WWE in 2029 at this rate. Can you imagine?

This sentence gave me a genuine shudder at the prospect.

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8 hours ago, LaGoosh said:

I feel like they should be bringing more guys in when they're a bit older. Bring them in in their early/mid 30s once they've had a fair bit of experience on the indies and overseas, know how to work a crowd properly and develop/present a character and get themselves over. You get a solid 5 years or so out of most of them then move on. These days everyone is hanging around for 10+ years from their early 20s onwards and doing fuckall for the most part leading to the roster completely stagnating. Baron Corbin is going to still be in WWE in 2029 at this rate. Can you imagine?

Corbin is early/mid 30s but I understand what you mean and agree. I think a fair bunch will do the call up - do fuck all - quit and do the indies - build a name - return with a bigger push compared to last time due to bigger name power/return in the rumble to put over younger talent.

But on a similar note, Finn Balor is pushing 40 unbelievably! I don't think he's aged since he turned 18.

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The other way of changing this is to have a proper fucking clear out.  It's the lack of turnover that is so surprising.  It used to be that there were two directions to go in WWE - up or down-and-out.  Main eventers were established by beating other credible stars, and once your credibility was gone you were off after the next Wrestlemania.   Then, sure, bring them back in a few years when they are fresh again if they genuinely have worth to the company.

You have wrestlers who've been in WWE for decades - decades without ever drawing a dime.  It's always worth keeping veterans like R Truth around, but why the fuck are Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Zack Ryder et al still around?  NXT produces a constant stream of guys who will either become stars or be fodder to help promote other stars, but the system breaks down when nobody ever leaves.

I'm sure the WWE locker room is a much more collegiate, happy atmosphere now than the 90s but it's not as effective.  There are plenty of other places for guys and girls to work now besides WWE so it's not really that cruel as perhaps in 2003.

 

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5 minutes ago, Loki said:

TMain eventers were established by beating other credible stars, and once your credibility was gone you were off after the next Wrestlemania.   Then, sure, bring them back in a few years when they are fresh again if they genuinely have worth to the company.

I'd say this could be one major positive if AEW does take off (big "if" I appreciate), it will give wrestlers a genuine alternative of somewhere else to go, which in turn means more will opt to leave and try their luck elsewhere. WWE's monopoly means they can effectively scoop up all the major talent and use them as they see fit (and why shouldn't they given their stature), and without somewhere else to go many just seem to take their lumps and be glad of the employment. That's as much a part of the problem as the company's unwillingness to sack off talent because they have their "hours consumed" metric as a measure of success for the Network. 

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18 minutes ago, Loki said:

The other way of changing this is to have a proper fucking clear out.  It's the lack of turnover that is so surprising.  It used to be that there were two directions to go in WWE - up or down-and-out. 

This is something that I really noticed when I did the daft "Linear Custody of Dominick" thing on Twitter. It's basically an exercise in plotting wins/losses across a nearly 15 year period, and one thing that surprised me is that it never leaves the orbit of WWE - a few "defences" in FCW and DSW, but that's all. 

And of those wrestlers involved early on who left, many of them came back - the Hardys, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, Shelton Benjamin - and very quickly just became faces in the crowd again. 

Nothing feels dynamic. Part of that is how stale a lot of the roster is - not just in terms of the personnel, but how little character development they get. 

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I don’t think the likes of Ryder, Axel and Bo are particularly relevant to the clear-out thing, because for the most part, they’re not taking up TV time apart from when they get a storyline for a month once every few years. Given WWE’s financial success, they can afford to keep those kind of guys on the roster to just use on live events (helping rotate guys out either in response to, or to avoid, injuries) and be jobbers on TV occasionally.

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