Sunday Sermon: Fixing the WWE

Craig Wilson, Brian Damage & Jamie Lithgow

After looking back at 2014 and ahead to 2015 in last week’s Sunday Sermon, the logical next step is a sharing of ideas on how to do things differently. After all, you can’t just make criticisms without making constructive suggestions.

So, in this Sunday Sermon, Craig, Brian and Jamie outline how they would like to see things done differently in the WWE if they had the chance to make changes.

Craig: One thing I absolutely loathe is having champions lose non-title matches. It’s fine having a champion defeated by DQ etc the odd time but seeing them pinned just makes them look weak. The WWE wouldn’t have had Hogan lose when he was the champion during the 80s.

It’s being predicted by some that Roman Reigns will win the Royal Rumble and face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. While I’m not a fan of having a part time champion, if it is Lesnar v Reigns the chances are, because of Lesnar’s limited schedule, we won’t see too much in-ring interaction between the two.

That’s really how it should be. At the moment, going into a PPV, we often see the matches on TV as well as on the PPV taking away much of the meaning. Chances are, first time we see Lesnar v Reigns in a match will be at Wrestlemania. That’s a reason to be cheerful and an extra reason to watch wrestlemania.

I also don’t think the use of enhancement talent would be the worst idea in some instances. I’d certainly use it in the early doors to break The Ascension in. It worked for Ryback in the early stages. So have them mow down local guys in the early stages would really make them look dominant. Also, the WWE tag division is in a bad enough state without Konnor and Viktor making it worse by destroying established teams.

I don’t think anything I’ve said is anything other than quite obvious. Maybe there are just too many writers in the WWE. Maybe too many cooks do spoil the broth…

Brian: I agree with your assment of challengers beating champions in non title matches. It makes the champion look weak and vulnerable. I guess that is what they are striving for…to make fans think a certain contender is weak…but then why have a weak champion to begin with? Contenders should wrestle specific matches like tournaments, battle royals…fatal four ways etc…to earn a #1 contender slot.

As for the tag team division, it may be time to start pairing more singles wrestlers together that have no real storylines and see who gels. They are doing it with Cesaro and Tyson Kidd now. While I’d much prefer to see Kidd and Cesaro in singles competition….it does make sense to have them paired up for the time being.

Craig: you’re right. The booking decisions neither make the champion or the challenger look particularly strong. Therefore, who wins?

Also, a thing I meant to mention. Recently WWE repackaged Fandango with a new dancer and new attire. Then they had him lose a squash match to Roman Reigns. What’s the actual point in that? If Fandango is to be enhancement talent don’t repackage him. If he’s going to be something, don’t have him play role of jobber.

Jamie: Ditto The New Day. Same guys, in the same roles, filling the same spots on the card. Only difference is they now hang out together and wear similar clothes. Why bother rebranding a talent if that is the extent of the change? Big E in blue tights is still Big E who was jobbing to Rusev a couple months ago.

One thing I would love to see change – or more accurately, ended – is the constant social media plugs. Maybe it’s different in the states, but as a UK viewer it’s weird and very annoying. Personally I don’t give a shit what is “trending world wide” when I’m watching the TV. WWE shows are the only TV shows I have seen that actually mention how successful their hashtags are. To me that sounds like something a 12 year old would brag about, not a multi million dollar organisation. Most TV shows mention the methods viewers can get in touch at the top and tail of a broadcast, not repeatedly throughout. It’s like WWE have just heard about Twitter and Facebook and can’t wait to tell their friends that they have signed up. Again, like a 12 year old child…

Brian: The New Day is indeed stale already…but I just have a feeling that there is more than meets the eye with New Day…just a guess. We’ve touched on this before, but the announce team needs some freshening up. Jerry Lawler (Who I have loved) admittedly is passed his expiration date….JBL is okay and Michael Cole is talented, but limited.

Blood needs to come back…I’m not saying have a blood bath every Monday night…but for pay per views…especially supposed “Hellish” matches like Hell in the Cell. Without it…it makes the match look a lot less brutal.

Craig: I disagree, JBL isn’t OK. I think he’s the worst of the lot. Puts himself over and comes out with the worst stuff. Sure, much of it will be lines fed to him but still. I just really don’t like him or think he brings anything. I thought he did at first but I wonder, with hindsight, if all he brought was freshness. Either way, it’s stale again and does need a change. I also don’t care about trending. Serves no purpose that I can think of.

Re blood. Yeah, either bring it back or if you can’t ditch those style matches. They need blood to work. Without it they don’t work at all. Those matches don’t need to be regular but if used as a big blow off will have a lot of impact.

Jamie: Total agreement with Craig, although of the three I probably do prefer JBL, which says a lot.

I agree with bringing back blood too. Again, not for every match on every show, but if someone is thrown repeatedly into a cage wouldn’t you expect to see at least a scratch on their head? It’s a ridiculous level of censorship when WWE will show the violence but not the consequences. People get shot in PG rated movies, yet a wrestler can’t bleed after being hit with a chair? A great example of how effective blood can be was Kevin Owens’ debut on NXT. He received an accidental cut on the bridge of his nose, but man did it make him look good, despite being tidied up by the ref. By reintroducing blood WWE could even open the door to new possibilities for match finishes – doctor or referee stoppage. A whole new way for John Cena to not be decisively beaten by a heel!

An obvious thing to mention would be to make Raw shorter. I can honestly say that I have never watched a three hour Raw in it’s entirety. I am convinced all of this week’s show could have been condensed into two hours, or saved for Smackdown at the very least. On that note, I can’t remember the last time I watched Smackdown. There’s enough filler material on Raw to suggest to me that Smackdown is not worth watching.

Craig: Raw is a drag. Clearly is for fans in attendance too. What about bringing back the brand split?

Jamie: Exactly my thoughts. Being at Raw would be quite cool as a spectacle, but as a TV viewer John Cena singing ‘Let It Go’ while Hulk Hogan dresses like Santa Claus just isn’t what I’m looking for.

Is there enough of a roster to split? Raw is already a drag without having to wait until Smackdown to see, for example, Ambrose v Wyatt. That and the Cena/Rollins/Lesnar angle are WWE’s top feuds right now, imagine Raw with just one of those.

Here’s another dead horse to beat – I’m sick of WWE trying to distance themselves from what they are; a professional wrestling organisation. By Vince McMahon’s definition the Superbowl is not a football game, but rather ‘a sports entertainment spectacular’. There’s celebrities, fireworks, flashing lights and a stadium full of people… just like Wrestlemania. WWE’s “superstars” entertain via the medium of wrestling, thus they are wrestlers. Thier “divas” look suspiciously like women, the term “diva” is not a compliment in my book. One simple way for WWE to get back on track is to call a spade a spade… or, rather, call a wrestling hold a wrestling hold.

Craig: That sports entertainment stuff is daft. Who are they trying to kid anyway? We watch it cause we’re wrestling fans but not describing it as wrestling is hardly going to fool anyone, is it? Plus, I don’t think calling it wrestling now would force state commissions etc to seek taxes. It’s all rather pointless.

I think the easiest way to solve WWE’s problem is by answering this question: “If X was gone, would you clamour for its return?” So, if X was the third hour of Raw, Jerry Lawler commentating or heel authority figures, it’s unlikely the answer is yes.

Jamie: The interesting thing is that most of what we are proposing does not require a change or substitution, fat just needs to be trimmed. A two hour Raw with just JBL and Cole and no authority figure sounds miles better than what we’ve had for much of 2014.

While we’re at it, can we bin John Cena too?! I Know, I know. However, Cena is essentially a character on a TV show and as such he is fucking awful. Worst of all, he’s the main character!

Oh, I know, I’d love to see more wrestlers with different styles. These days we have big men and medium sized men, and all use similar moves. What happened to submission wrestlers, technical wrestlers, high flyers, brawlers etc.? The talent pool in NXT could help with this, if they are allowed to work differentiated styles that is.

Craig: agree with the different styles remark. That’s something that NXT is doing very well and we’ll see the benefits of on Raw and Smackdown in five years or so.

You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here

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