About a year ago I posted some ideas that I thought would improve WWE. Looking back, all my ideas were pretty tried and trusted; nothing too ground breaking to be honest. This time it’s different, I’ve gone big and thought outside the box. The following are not just little tweaks; some of my ideas would require WWE to completely restructure their product. Obviously I am suggesting these ideas hypothetically. Say what you want about WWE, it is an extremely profitable organisation. I mean if I owned WWE I wouldn’t implement many, or even any, of these ideas because as the old saying goes – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. However, I don’t own WWE and can quite happily entertain the thought of these drastic changes…
League Table/Ranking Structure
WWE is sports entertainment. They pander to the entertainment industry, but what about sport? Professional wrestling (or whatever Vince prefers to call it) is presented as a competitive endeavour. So, can anyone name me a competitive professional sport that does not have a ranking system or league structure? You could argue UFC, but even they have clear number one contenders and separate weight classes. I can’t see how a ranking system could possibly be a bad thing for WWE because tangible evidence of who is the best and who is the worst at any given time is all around us. From the NFL and Premier League football to music charts and best sellers lists, we are surrounded by a context for almost anything we are interested in, so why not WWE? They’ve dipped their toe in the water with the King of Ring Tournament and the Power 25 Rankings on WWE.com while the best part of TNA (in my opinion) is the Bound for Glory series. I can’t envision WWE implementing a fixture list due to the inconsistency of when talent is used, but a ranking system like in tennis or golf might work. This wouldn’t expose WWE in any way either; John Cena would still top the table, and if anything it would allow WWE more options. They could book Cena to lose cleanly on television, yet still have him top of the rankings. I mean it’s not like Novak Djokovic wins every tennis match he plays, but he’s still rightly considered the best in the world due his position at the top of the rankings. A ranking system would add a legitimacy to WWE and create interesting little sub plots in matches we might otherwise not care about, just like in other sports.
This is linked to the above idea, and the fact that Americans love a ‘post-season’. Playoffs are when the NFL, MLB and NBA come to life, so why don’t WWE have a version? With playoffs comes some kind of grand finale, a Superbowl if you will. Well, WWE have one of those, it’s called Wrestlemania. My idea would be to have a ‘regular season’ lasting from the Raw after ‘Mania to around Royal Rumble time. WWE already liken the road to Wrestlemania to playoffs, so why not actually have some? Finally we head to ‘Mania and a match between the two best guys from the last year. But what are they fighting for? Well, that leads me to my next idea…
A True World Champion
For my rankings and playoffs idea to work the title picture would need to change drastically. I would unify the US and IC Titles, purely for simplicity and less clutter in the mid-card. The Divas and Tag Titles would stay as is, in their respective divisions. However I would do away with the World Heavyweight Championship in its current form. My version of the World Title would be the prize for the winner of the final playoff match at Wrestlemania. The man who performs the best over the course of a WWE year could call himself World Champion for the next full year, just like in the NFL or any other seasonal sport. The WWE Title would remain as is, the top prize defended on monthly PPVs. The WWE Champion would sit out-with the rankings, with the number one contender typically determined by who is atop the rankings. Upon losing the title the former champion would drop back into the ranking system. The Champion coming out of The Royal Rumble would go on to defend the WWE Title at Wrestlemania against the Royal Rumble winner. With this match set the playoffs to determine the participants in the World Heavyweight Championship match could begin. This would create two guys with a genuine claim to being the best. We could even see a World Champion vs. WWE Champion match down the line, and even see one man hold both titles.
By this I mean John Cena should lose, convincingly and cleanly to a new heel character, Bray Wyatt or Curtis Axel would be nice. WWE has never done this with its top babyface before, even though that’s what happens in so many movies. Hogan, Austin, Hart, none of them received a hyding while they were the top guy. The closest thing we’ve had was Brock Lesnar’s defeat of The Rock at Summerslam 2002, and that didn’t do either man much harm did it? Story telling logic says that the bad guy dominates the good guy, but the good guy regroups and seeks revenge after we’ve seen a montage of him training really hard. Bane kicked Batman’s ass, Clubber Lang put the smackdown on Rocky and the dinosaurs ate a bunch of people in Jurassic Park. However, in WWE the bad guy is usually presented as an empty threat. Brock Lesnar should have beaten Cena last year, allowing him to seek revenge down the line. Instead the good guy won, the monster was defeated and we moved on to the next story. If Olympus were to fall and Cena were to lose then the bad guy would benefit from the win while Cena would attract more sympathy as an underdog, with his eventual victory eclipsing memories of defeat.
This idea isn’t exactly ground breaking, but it’s fairly clear that WWE could use some new matches. Introducing new matches is something that the competition has always done better. WCW, for better or worse, always tried new match types and stipulations. TNA are also very good in this respect. What was the last new concept introduced by WWE, Money in the Bank? Before that it was Elimination Chamber and before that it was probably Hell in a Cell. WWE have used versions of the ladder, table, cage and battle royal match for years, it’s about time they spiced it up. WarGames may not be Vince’s idea, but he currently employs the man who did dream it up. The release of ‘The Best of WarGames’ DVD later this year is also a positive indication that McMahon might be softening his stance on introducing ‘The Match Beyond’. When people think WarGames they tend to think double cage and two teams, but for a double cage there does have to be two rings. I’d like to see WWE tackle some match concepts that use two or more rings. World War 3 wasn’t a fantastic concept, but it wasn’t awful either. Surely WWE could add to this WCW idea and create something truly memorable?