My Two Centsss - Five Things I'm Hoping For Post-Wrestlemania 29
By Super Chrisss
Mar 29, 2013 - 11:38:59 AM
(Credit: Tom Jenner @ImageBlownOut)
Hello there, friends. Long time no see. I hope you're having a Good Friday (awesome pun intended), whether you're busy stuffing your face with chocolate, hunting rabbits, or simply enjoying the day off work and/or school. Yours truly will be spending the day at home playing some Gears of War: Judgment and catching up on How I Met Your Mother, and of course, writing this column for you to (hopefully) enjoy.
As many of you know, I'm well into my WWE hiatus and I have to say it's been quite refreshing to not watch RAW or SmackDown for nearly a month. Do I miss it? Sure, but I don't regret my choice. Sometimes it's a good idea to take a break from something you love in order for you to realize how much it means to you. With that being said, I can't wait to tune into the first post-Wrestlemania RAW on April 8th. For those of you who do plan on watching Wrestlemania next Sunday, enjoy it, and I hope WWE proves me wrong by putting on a hell of a show.
Speaking of the April 8th edition of RAW, there's a reason I'm excited for it. Quite often, that is the show where a new superstar debuts or returns. Last year, we got Brock Lesnar. In 2009, it was Batista. Sometimes we get FCW/NXT graduates, or midcarders making their first TV appearance in months, due to the gap left by the Wrestlemania-season-only stars (i.e. The Undertaker, The Rock, celebrities, etc.). The post-Wrestlemania RAW is usually a fun show which many people call the company's 'final hurrah' before going into hibernation/cruise mode. Well, I don't see it that way. With all the big stars gone or on their way out, spring should be the time when WWE starts pushing newcomers up the card, like they did last year with Ryback, Damien Sandow, and others. Therefore, here's five things I'm hoping to see either on the April 8th RAW or the weeks that follow:
1. Bring back the brand extension immediately.
In my honest opinion, the official/unofficial end of the brand split some time ago has really hurt the WWE product. You can blame the writers, Vince, Triple H, The Rock, whoever - but I truly believe the source of WWE's problems stems from merging the two rosters. Everything from half the midcard disappearing or becoming irrelevant, the world heavyweight title no longer being on par with the WWE Championship, the midcard champions being treated like complete shit, the repetitive, predictable matches - it's all because there's too many guys in the same place at the same time. I could dedicate an entire column on this (and maybe I will eventually) but I believe the WWE product was much better and well-balanced when wrestlers stayed on their show.
RAW 'Supershow' was introduced to boost RAW's ratings and help fill up a three-hour RAW. Well, the SmackDown stars didn't give the RAW any long-term boost, and with all of the blue brand's stars showing up and wrestling in random RAW matches for over a year now, it doesn't give people a lot of incentive to tune into SmackDown on Friday. I do admit that SmackDown's ratings have been up lately, but maybe that's thanks to The Rock's semi-regular appearances and not having Sheamus or Big Show as your world champion. In any case, the brand split needs to be re-established as soon as possible because it's made the shows dull and boring, and every title besides the WWE and sometimes the world title is booked like an after-thought.
2. No more booking your midcard champions like crap.
Do you remember the days when champion vs. champion matches were treated like a big deal? When the United States Champion was booked to face the World Heavyweight Champion and there was legitimate suspense over who would walk away with the victory? Hell, I remember back during Gregory Helms' historic Cruiserweight title reign, he faced off against both the world champion AND the United States Champion in consecutive weeks and those matches weren't one-sided, and you wondered if Helms could squeak out a win (he didn't, but that's besides the point).
Nowadays, we've seen Alberto del Rio vs. Antonio Cesaro more times than we count, and I can't tell you who's jobbed more to Randy Orton the last twelve months - Cesaro or Wade Barrett. Midcard title holders are supposed to be future world champions, but that perception has vanished over the years. I again attribute that to the fall of the brand extension. When all four champions - WWE, World, IC, and U.S. - appear on the same show every week, how are the fans supposed to know which belt means more? Either start booking your current champions as legit threats, or put the titles on other people. Simple as that.
3. RAW's commentary team - enough is enough.
Let me start by saying that I don' think Michael Cole is a bad announcer. He has improved so much in the past decade, it's quite impressive. He will never be a replacement for Jim Ross, but at least he doesn't try to be. Jerry Lawler, however, should have been removed from the commentary table long before his heart attack last September. He does not add anything to the product, and that's the problems - commentators are supposed to add to the story being told by the wrestlers. They're the narrators for the viewers watching at home, and like a hot crowd, can make any match better than it really is. Lawler does none of that and needs to be removed.
Removed and replaced by whom you ask? The common answer is JBL. Unfortunately, if there is to be a brand split, JBL and Josh Mathews would work SmackDown every week, leaving Cole and William Regal to call RAW. I think Regal has been wasted far too long in NXT. He's had more than enough time to get used to the job, and he's already leaps and bounds more entertaining (and knowledgeable) to listen to than The King. I think Cole and Regal would make a fantastic team, no doubt about it. Hey, it's worth a shot, right?
4. Re-vamp the divas' division - seriously this time.
I know a lot of people are happier when the divas don't take up time on RAW or SmackDown, but you have to understand there's an audience for that. The average male viewer - maybe not even a wrestling fan, just a horny dude surfing cable television on a Monday or Friday evening - loves nothing more than seeing two or more hot women wrestling around for a few minutes. That's why WWE needs to seriously consider whether they're going to have a women's division or not. They can't half-ass it by not having a divas match on RAW for nearly a month and then suddenly book a match at Elimination Chamber between Kaitlyn and Tamina. It doesn't work that way. You want to make people care about the divas? Give them a reason to care.
TNA has been putting on a really entertaining product for the past few months, and their Knockouts are constantly featured. They're rarely not featured in a match, but if they don't compete, there is storyline progress being made on Impact. Every time. WWE has none of that, and that has to change. You're telling me on a three-hour episode of RAW there's no time for a five-minute divas match or even an in-ring segment letting the fans know why they hate each other? Yeah, right. Bring back (worthy) former divas like Kharma or Beth Phoenix, call up promising young women like Paige or Summer Rae from NXT, or hire a writer specifically for the division. Just do something!
5. A real spring cleaning is over-due.
Last but not least, it's time to clean up the roster. WWE has a huge roster, but most of them are not doing anything. The amount of jobbers/lowcarders/low midcards greatly outnumbers those higher up the card, and that's because WWE has done little to mix up their undercard. Back when The Shield debuted at Survivor Series, there were reports about a number of midcarders fearing for their jobs. Well, no main roster wrestler has been released since, and the last time WWE performed a mass exodus was the spring of 2010.
Don't get me wrong - I don't take pleasure in seeing people lose their jobs and source of income. But wrestling is a revolving door - in with the new, out with the old. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail, as many columnists tend to share their thoughts on future endeavoured candidates around this time of year, but I think it's time for the likes of JTG, Yoshi Tatsu, and Mason Ryan to hit the books and make room for new blood like Bray Wyatt, Kassus Ohno, and Conor O'Brien. More often than not, change is good, and like Barney Stinson says, "new is always better."
Thoughts on my wishes/predictions? I know there's less than a 1% chance of any of them coming true, but it's nice to be an optimist every now and then. Once again, if I don't get to post anything before next Sunday, enjoy Wrestlemania on my behalf.
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