Happy Easter from the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. To quote my favorite comedian Bill Hicks, make sure you celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by celebrating a bunny rabbit who delivers chocolate eggs during the night! Hope you have a great one.
I have to say... I'm not that offended by the WWE's Superstar Shake-up... If you watched RAW alone, you were like "OHHHHH NOOOOOOOOO" because you saw Miz, Bray Wyatt, and Dean Ambrose moving... But then you watch Smackdown and see AJ Styles/Shinsuke Nakamura remain while New Day and Kevin Owens moved from RAW. How I assessed RAW and Smackdown was that RAW was weak on the Main Event Scene while Smackdown was weak on their midcard. The trades did help matters on both rosters...
Although, we didn't see a "shake-up" on Creative Teams or Upper Management. Please call me when that happens...
Let's not get negative... If you're willing to remain a wrestling fan in 2017, you've got to accept that Kevin Dunn and Stephanie McMahon have Vince McMahon's ear on how to run HIS wrestling company. They aren't going anywhere and Triple H won't challenge Vince McMahon. Why would he? Vince let him become a wrestling superstar, gave him his daughter, and gave him a developmental territory to play with. As bad as we may rip the Creative Team, it's good when they surprise us...
But I don't want to be negative today and contrary to what trolls want you to believe about this column, I'm not negative... Sure, I criticize, but I advise... I actually present ideas on how to make things better. Just as I did during the initial RAW/Smackdown Brand Split, I'm going ot present ideas on how to improve BOTH brands in the post Shake-Up world.
SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS for WWE RAW & SMACKDOWN
Note that many of these may seem repetitive from other columns, but there is nothing wrong with reiterating good ideas.
#1 - Reunite the Shield. Let's get this out of the way first... Folks, I've been preaching this idea for over a year now. Many of you have ripped me, suggesting that it's "too early" to reunite this group. Too early? It was 3 years ago. As I've argued repeatedly, all 3 wrestlers have lost their purpose over the last 6 months. Roman Reigns is the overpushed and manufactured babyface that everybody knows is forced. His push as a babyface is not natural or organic, thus everybody completely rejects it. Dean Ambrose is good but just wasn't drawing on his own as top babyface on Smackdown. Seth Rollins is like a lost puppy dog on RAW with his confusing feud with Triple H. Reunite them and push them as a brand, but this time around, everybody is equal and they all chase after the World Title. Think of them like a NASCAR team... They work together as needed but chase the top prize individually.
#2 - Braun Strowman is the one who beats Brock Lesnar, not Roman. Roman Reigns has headlined 3 straight Wrestlemanias and already had his cracks at Brock Lesnar. Meanwhile, WWE just witnessed the Undertaker retire. They need their HOSS wrestler and in my opinion, Strowman is damn good. The guy has the look and he's decent in the ring... Fans are warming up to him and he seems credible in the tough guy role. If they wrestle soon, the WWE could really shock the world by having Strowman slay Lesnar to become WWE Universal Champion.
#3 - Mickie James, the Wrestling Mother. It might not be known to newer wrestling fans, but Mickie is actually a mother to a 2 year old son. That's a unique quality (I believe) that none of the other Women's wrestlers have. WWE has been trying to push Mickie as her old devious character, but why not embrace that she's a Mom? The "Wrestling Mother", as she could actually have her son and husband at ringside cheering her on. If she overcomes a big feud while winning the Women's Title, she could celebrate the belt with her son. It's a character trait that is unique and should be embraced... Many mothers are wrestling fans and could appreciate it.
#4 - Fix the THIRD HOUR of Monday Night RAW. I have two specific recommendations for the 3rd hour which is usually the worst rated hour of the show. In the past, the latter hour was the strongest rated part of RAW. Here's what I recommend... (A) Changing the hour's TV rating to "TV-MA" to allow cursing, adult storylines, and storylines with actual balls to them AND/OR (B) Main Eventers should only appear during the 3rd hour. WWE always starts the show with their Main Eventers cutting promos to set up the rest of the show and then the ratings go down from there. Why? If you look at a Boxing or UFC event, the main event fighters don't appear until the very end. Let the show start off with the undertard and keep building upward until the end.
#5 - Continue to build the US/IC midcard titles. WWE is THICK with upper midcarders who just aren't clicking as main eventers but can present a need to fill matches on the undercard. If WWE could just simply create contender lists for both of their World Titles and for US/IC titles, things would work out by themselves. There's too much fuzziness between the titles such as Dean Ambrose being WWE champion and then soon winning the Intercontinental Title. How about how AJ Styles just wrestled in a #1 contender's match for the US Title? Too messy and disorganized... If the WWE had defined contender's lists for their titles, a little organization could help the IC/US Titles get over better.
#6 - Capitalize on the JBL Heat. Here's a controversial opinion that I've been forming lately... I don't believe that JBL has been bullying Mauro... Many are speculating that he did, but aside from smack talk associated with the Wrestling Observer awards for "Best/Worst Announcer", where is the bullying? I believe that Vince McMahon is upset with Mauro's announcing not being up to expectations and that's why Tom Phillips joined the Smackdown crew as the 4th man. Why have 4 people on freakin' 2 hour Smackdown?!? Adding Phillips was training to take Mauro's spot when his contract expires during August 2017 and I believe that Vince/WWE put JBL up to responding to Mauro's price in winning the Observer Award for "best announcer". In this corporate WWE world, talent does not have the ability freely shoot especially on WWE cameras. However, the internet assumes something happened because of JBL's reported history.
If we're hearing "Fire JBL" chants and signs going away, why not embrace it? Have JBL bully a babyface talent in need of some heat and that wrestler then challenges JBL, possibly prompting JBL back to the ring to wrestle said talent. Maybe JBL could heavily taunt Sami Zayn for always losing big matches and Zayn is the guy who just snaps one night to overcome a bully. Why not? It's pretty obvious that WWE isn't going to terminate JBL and rightfully so because WWE instructed JBL to respond to Mauro's pride in winning the Observer Award. The internet is handing you a gift, WWE and JBL, so why not use it?
#7 - Split up American Alpha, let them be singles wrestlers. It's just not working under the bigger spotlight. Again, American Alpha was just promoted to the WWE rosters and it was assumed that everybody watched NXT. Fact remains that RAW gets around 3 million domestic viewers while the Network subscribers is less than half of that. And not every WWE Network subscriber watches NXT... Jason Jordan is ready to try out as a singles wrestler while Chad Gable would be a perfect addition to the Cruiserweight Division and 205 shows.
#8 - Slow down the Finn Balor push. Again, see what I just said about NXT... Not everyone watches it, even if they have the WWE Network. Pushing Finn Balor so hard last year to become the 1st WWE Universal Champion was a mistake as RAW quickly lost viewership heading into that Pay Per View where Balor was crowned. The recent RAW after Wrestlemania 33 lost viewership during the 3rd hour with the hype of Finn returning. Not all WWE fans know or like the guy... Start him out in the midcard and let him earn that top spot. I don't care where he came from and this goes for ANY NXT wrestler. You cannot overpush them from the start. How about this, Comments section? The infamous Ohio Valley Wrestling "Class of 2002" all started out as midcarders with one exception: Brock Lesnar. Aside from Lesnar, it took years to develop Orton, Cena, and Batista into the major superstars they'd become. However, don't forget what happened to Randy Orton during 2004 when the WWE pushed him to the World Title too early. Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it! (George Santayana)
#9 - Miz continues his anti-authority character with Kurt Angle. What else can the Miz do on RAW? He has Ambrose, Reigns, Rollins, Lesnar, Samoa Joe, Wyatt, and Strowman in his path... Well, he can continue his angle from Smackdown where he was taunting Daniel Bryan but can now taunt Angle. However, this time, Miz will "bite off more than he can chew" when Angle snaps and attacks back. Miz could even do something crazy like convince Brock Lesnar to mess with Kurt Angle.
On a side note, continue to let Maryse shine as a personality...
#10 - Keep Stephanie OFF of television. Goes without saying... I believe she was a big part of why RAW has been stagnant in the ratings since the split. If she does come back, Kurt Angle should not back down and isn't afraid to stand up to Triple H as well.
#11 - Add Jim Ross, Mick Foley, Paul Heyman, and/or Jim Cornette as Creative Team members or Creative Consultants. WWE has access to some of the most creative minds ever in modern pro wrestling. Reach out to them and add them to the creative teams. If not, just hire them to write reports on RAW or Smackdown to be sent to WWE for consideration. Their opinion should matter at a time when the WWE needs help on the creative teams.
#12 - Give Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins better finishers. Needs to be said... Nobody should win with a DDT, provided how overused that move has become with time. The Pedigree for Seth Rollins is LAME.
#13 - Reduce what's available on YouTube. Many of you have tried to respond to my "TV ratings are down" by suggesting that YouTube clips of RAW/Smackdown take away from the show's viewership. I've disagreed because if you look at the viewership numbers on YouTube, their usual segments at 100,000 views while something much larger could pop to 1 million. However, as I've been watching them lately (especially since WWE posts those clips as RAW/Smackdown are happening!), I'm amazed at how much the WWE gives away for FREE. I don't essentially need Hulu for 1.5 hours if the biggest clips are there for me to enjoy in under 20 minutes. They are just giving it away! WWE should use their Pay Per View approach and have very limited clips and then show stills of action about to happen... Then, the clips could encourage you to tune in more often.
#14 - Announce matches before the show, at least 1 week in advance. I've beat this dead horse into the ground. RAW is awful at this because they rarely announce anything before the day of the show.
#15 - Turn John Cena HEEL. Since he's a part-timer now, the timing is right. His hypocrisy of criticizing the Rock for going to Hollywood should exploited and Cena's real life uptight persona should be pushed as well. I believe there is real money to be made with a HEEL John Cena versus a newly turned babyface named AJ Styles. Complete role reversal and we get more amazing matches out of those two wrestlers. Unless Cena is full-time, turn him heel. I'd withdraw this recommendation if he returned to a full-time WWE schedule.
I hope that you have a GREAT Easter!
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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