Last September I wrote my annual column for me where I offer World Wrestling Entertainment twenty ideas that I think they should consider to make their company better. I call the column "Twenty Ideas for WWE to Consider" and I have written it in 2008, 2010 and 2011. I guess I just forgot in 2009? Yeah we'll go with that. My list doesn't necessarily include things that will happen, but rather things that I think they should consider doing for the betterment of those of us in the WWE Universe. Look at that, I said "WWE Universe" rather than fans. It's like I'm on their payroll or something! Hmm.
Today the idea is to look back at the twenty ideas from last year to see what ideas were considered while also looking at what ideas were completely off the radar. Then I'll also examine why they did or didn't work. Before we get to that, here are the rules I set out when I wrote this column in the first place. I'll put it in italics for you.
My rules for this column are that I can't pick something that is unrealistic. For example, I can't say that WWE should bring in Kurt Angle or AJ Styles because those guys have contracts with TNA. I can't say they should book Shawn Michaels vs. CM Punk because Michaels is retired. I have to be realistic with my options. I feel like I've come up with twenty ideas that cover different areas of WWE business, but are also things that they can do to make the product better. I'm not saying the product is bad. I'm generally pretty happy when I watch Raw, Smackdown or the PPVs. However, like with anything in the world there are ways to improve as well.
Simple enough right?
Later in August on the 23rd, which is after Summerslam, I will provide WWE with twenty more ideas that I think could improve the company. For now though, it's about last year's ideas to see what I said then and what I feel about those thoughts today.
Live Smackdown on Tuesdays
My idea for this was to put Smackdown live on every Tuesday. Obviously they still do specials where it's live on Tuesdays a few times per year, but it's not permanently live. My thing was that if they aired the show live on Tuesdays they could generate more viewers since Friday is a bad TV night, more attendance at the shows because live is better than taped and more interest in a show that some fans don't even watch because they know Raw is more important in the eyes of WWE.
I think WWE wants to do Smackdown live on Tuesdays and I think the Syfy TV network would support it if there was a significant jump in ratings, but when they did these shows live they actually had less viewers than when they aired it on Fridays. Wrestling fans are creatures of habit. They got used to Smackdown on Thursdays and then they got used to it on Fridays. There's a chance they could get used to it on Tuesdays, but I think with Raw going three hours live on Mondays the chances of Smackdown moving to Tuesdays are very slim due to the burnout factor.
Eliminate one of the two October PPVs
Last year, October had two PPVs: Vengeance and Hell in a Cell. It left the PPV schedule with an odd number of 13 events. This year WWE has eliminated the Vengeance PPV to give them one PPV per month (WrestleMania is considered a March PPV even if it's in April's first week) for an even 12, which is certainly more economical than what they had previously. The Hell in a Cell PPV remains and it will air on October 28th in Atlanta.
I thought the two PPVs in October was a silly idea especially in a competitive TV month like that. The PPV schedule is much better with 12 PPVs per year. I think it's unrealistic to expect WWE to ever have less than 12 PPVs in a year. The format may change as it relates to WWE Network, but until that's official I think 12 PPVs is a fixture that will last in WWE for many years to come.
Bring back King of the Ring as a PPV and put it in October
This didn't happen obviously. I still love my idea, so I'll include it in full for you to read again if you read it last year or for the first time if you weren't reading my work last year.
Here's how you make the King of the Ring matter again. You hold a 32 man tournament on Raw & Smackdown. You have the brackets posted on WWE.com. You create the site wwe.com/kingofthering and you encourage people to vote on who they think is going to win each matchup. What else can you do? Speeches and video packages from previous King of the Ring winners like Bret Hart, Steve Austin & Triple H to name a few, talking about how winning King of the Ring meant so much for their careers. Perhaps Austin can be at the PPV to hand the winner the trophy.
Since it's a tournament, they should book upsets too. Why not? It puts over the idea that anything can happen and would be a great tool to elevate somebody even if they don't win. Meanwhile, main eventers can be used to put others over. The key would be to have somebody new win it. What does the winner get? A WWE or World Title shot at Survivor Series depending on what brand that person is on. The winner is put over huge because he would have won five matches to become King of the Ring. All of a sudden, the October PPV matters again and so does the King of the Ring concept that has died a slow death due to lazy booking.
Wouldn't that work well? I love it. Instead, the King of the Ring concept has died off with very few mentions of its existence except when WWE releases a DVD about it, which they did in 2012.
Don't put The Rock in a match before WrestleMania 28
"Never before. Never again." That's the tagline WWE used when The Rock returned to action at Survivor Series 2011 when he teamed with John Cena to defeat The Miz & R-Truth, who essentially served the roles of glorified jobbers. My thinking was that by not putting Rock in a match before April 1st it would have built up the anticipation for his WrestleMania match. Instead, he had a Survivor Series match that served as a nice tune up to show people that he hadn't lost a step in the wrestling ring. It's not like I hated it. I just don't think it was that necessary and in terms of PPV buyrates it barely helped Survivor Series.
Bring Chris Jericho back
The last "break" Jericho took from WWE lasted from September 2010 until the end of 2011. He returned at the start of the year. I'm glad he did. Even though he didn't win a lot of matches this year it's still been good to see him back in the ring. I thought they should have had him win the Royal Rumble or the Elimination Chamber, but obviously neither of those things happened. His feud with CM Punk was pretty good. It wasn't as great as I would have hoped largely because he was booked to lose so often and the "CM Drunk" angle was pretty average. This fall he'll likely be gone from WWE again while he goes on tour with his band Fozzy and promotes their new CD as well. Hopefully he's back full time for the new year. Even in his early 40s, Jericho is still one of the best overall performers in WWE and he's one of my favorite wrestlers ever.
More tag teams
Yes! This one actually happened. I'm very pleased about it too. The tag division is gaining steam by the week in WWE with teams like Kofi Kingston & R-Truth, The Primetime Players, Primo & Epico, The Usos, Hawkins & Reks, The Ascension (in NXT), Kidd & Gabriel (sometimes) and others forming the core of the division.
I've always been a big fan of tag team wrestling ever since the late 80s/early 90s when the WWE tag division was loaded with so many different teams that were full of talent. I'm not sure if we need to thank Triple H for this revival although ever since he's been in charge of Talent Relations in the last year we've seen things change for the better in the tag division. Whoever made the call I say thank you. It's better for WWE to have a tag team division worth caring about. I don't think the division is elite right now by any means, but it's getting there and that's something to get excited about.
Give every performer at least one month off per year
This will likely never happen. I just think it would be nice if some of the talent got a month off it would do a lot to recharge their batteries so to speak. Even if they got house shows off it would mean something. Working just Raw and/or Smackdown for a month would do a lot to keep people fresher and healthy. Obviously injuries happen as we saw with guys like Christian, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara that put them on the shelf for an extended period of time. We also saw a top name like Randy Orton get suspended for 60 days due to failing a Wellness Policy test for the second time. Those two months off will likely help him in terms of recovering from injuries and being fresh. The Miz was gone for about two months while filming The Marine 3 movie. He looks very fresh in his return.
Remember the speech that John Cena did after Extreme Rules? It sounded like he was going to take off a few months to rest up. He missed no time at all. If anybody would be burned out it would be him, but obviously Vince McMahon feels like he's too important to miss any time. Wrestlers are trained to have the mentality that if you're healthy you should be in the ring. There's nothing wrong with that thinking in theory. Sometimes, though, it wouldn't hurt if some people got some time off.
Change the Royal Rumble so that it involves only 30 men again
It happened. Remember, this was written in September so we had no idea at that point about how many people would be in the Royal Rumble. I'm glad it went back to 30 performers because that's the right number. It's early August as I write this yet I barely remember anything about the Rumble except for how entertaining it was when Sheamus was in the final two with Jericho. I remember Kharma's surprise entry (her last appearance in WWE) too, but otherwise it wasn't a very memorable match this year.
Of course, I could also go on a long winded rant about how winning the Rumble doesn't mean what it used to because the winner of the match rarely gets to perform last at WrestleMania. That's a whole other column. Perhaps one of my new 20 ideas will be something to help rectify that situation.
Christian vs. Daniel Bryan in a Best of 7 Series
This was more of a wish, I think. Bryan was a babyface that won the Money in the Bank briefcase while Christian was fresh off a main event run that saw him have an entertaining feud with Randy Orton for the World Title. I thought it would have been a great idea to have Bryan in a long term feud with Christian as way to elevate him to near main event level. Instead, Bryan had no feuds and he lost a lot of matches before he cashed in the briefcase on Big Show to win the World Title. From there he turned heel and skyrocketed to where he's at now as a top guy in WWE. Who would have thought that would happen so quickly? I'm not complaining. It's been a fun ride.
Turn Jack Swagger babyface
Jack Swagger. Remember him? He was a World Champion two years ago. He's one of the biggest jobbers in the company right now. His gimmick has remained the same during his entire WWE run. Swagger's been an egotistical jock from the very beginning. It's boring. Nobody cares about it. I certainly don't. How hard would it be to have him turn face, see if he can take off a bit as "The All-American American" that the fans actually like? I think he has talent in the ring. He's obviously a bigger guy that WWE usually likes to use, so why not try something different with him?
In 2011 he should have turned babyface against Michael Cole, who he trained for his feud with Jerry Lawler. Didn't happen. This year, after Vickie Guerrero dumped him as a client, he should have turned face from it. Ziggler vs. Swagger could have been a marketable feud if the company got behind it. I'm not saying Swagger should have went over Ziggler in the feud. I'm just saying they could have at least tried something like that to help revive the career of Swagger. Instead he's toiling in the midcard. Again. For shame.
Change the rules of all cage matches to "escape the cage" only
I'll just paste in what I wrote last year because I stand by what I said.
I'm tired of hearing the rules of cage matches where they say you can win by pinfall, submission, climbing out of the cage or walking out the door. I strongly believe cage matches should be escaping the cage only with no other way to win. The purpose of the cage is to keep others from getting in, but it should also be used as a method of victory. Seeing a guy win via pinfall in a cage match is boring. That should only be the case for a Hell in a Cell match. For a regular cage, climbing out should be the way to end it. The idea is that you beat down your opponent so bad that he can't get up to pull you back in there. It's similar to winning a ladder match by incapacitating your opponent to the point where they can't stop you. It's the old school way of booking it. I'd love to see it brought back.
Nothing has changed in terms of how WWE does their cage matches. I guess they're set in their ways.
Make the Intercontinental Title & US Title matter again
I think the IC Title matters again. A long title run by Cody Rhodes last year and into this year helped bring back some prestige to the IC Title. I also thought it was a good idea for them to bring back the old IC Title look with the white strap in the background. It makes it stand out more. Rhodes dropped the title to Christian, who proved to be a transitional champion that dropped it to The Miz. I think The Miz will have a lengthy run as IC Champion as WWE's way of building him back up to a point where fans could believe in him as a viable main eventer again.
As for the US Title, it doesn't matter. When Zack Ryder won the US Title it was a big deal. The problem is he lost it so quickly to Jack Swagger that it took away all of the momentum he built up. I thought it was foolish to take the title off of Ryder back then. I still think it was foolish. He should have held that title for most of the year. Instead, we've seen Santino hold the title and become a comedy champion who loses more non-title matches than he wins matches for the actual title. The title should have value. In its current state it doesn't. It's a prop more than anything. What a shame.
Sign top independent female wrestlers
It looks like this is finally happening. With the apparent signing of one of the women I wrote about last year, Sara Del Rey, it appears as though WWE is looking to the indies to sign women wrestlers. Del Rey hasn't started in WWE developmental as of this writing, but she's expected to be there in the very near future. There have been some other indy wrestlers they've hired like Britani Knight, who is in WWE developmental as Paige right now although she's 19 years old and obviously isn't a veteran like Del Rey at this point.
In addition to signing top female indy wrestlers, they need to use the women better. I think the divas division is at its absolute worst these days in terms of getting TV time. I'll expand on that more when I write my twenty ideas for this year.
Use women as managers
This is something I've been pushing for years now. I'm glad we've seen some change. Here are some of my comments from last year.
This idea that every woman in the company should wrestle is flawed. Not all of them can do it at a high level. There's nothing wrong with that. Obviously Vickie Guerrero is a manager who has wrestled only a few times. They need to consider that for some of the other women like Rosa Mendes for example, who doesn't seem to have a great grasp on performing in the ring.
As we've seen this year, Rosa got paired with Primo & Epico. At first they were a heel team that won the tag titles, but they've since turned face. Rosa doesn't do much except dance and shake her assets at ringside. So what? She's a pretty woman. It's a better role than having bad matches. In addition to Vickie's ongoing role with Dolph Ziggler we also saw AJ Lee used as the girlfriend of Daniel Bryan. She did such a good job during that storyline that she has since become the GM of Raw. We also saw Eve working as an assistant to John Laurinaitis although that was a role that didn't last long enough for my looking. She's a fine looking woman who was particularly easy on the eyes in those business suits with the short skirts.
I think female performers have a lot of value in a non-wrestling role. It's encouraging to see at least four of them used in those situations in the last year and I hope it's something that continues in the years ahead as well.
Move Michael Cole into a managerial role
Last year it looked like a possibility. This year it looks like there's no chance of it happening. Cole is firmly entrenched as the "Voice of WWE" since he's a fixture on both Raw and Smackdown. Frankly I'm sick of the guy and would love to have a break from him on one of the shows, but as a 15 year employee that's in his mid 40s the likelihood of him leaving the announce desk is very slim. Hopefully he's not in any matches ever again. Those are never…and The John means never…good.
Use William Regal as a heel announcer on Raw
I'm a big supporter of William Regal as an announcer. I think it's the role best suited for him going forward in WWE. He's a very knowledgeable wrestler in the tail end of his in ring career, he's very funny when allowed to be and when he calls a match on NXT he does a tremendous job of putting over the talent in the ring. I think the three hour Raw shows would benefit from a third voice because I'm sick of hearing Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler together.
If they don't put him on Raw they should at least give him a chance on Smackdown to replace Booker T, who has been named the new GM of that show. I would love a three man announce team on both Raw and Smackdown. Why? Because then we don't have to hear Cole as often.
Put Daniel Bryan in a feud with Tyson Kidd while also utilizing Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart
This was another of those dream scenarios for me. It didn't happen obviously. They did have a few television matches in late 2011, but none of them were given a lot of time and it certainly couldn't be considered a feud. Hopefully it happens in the near future. Nobody would enjoy it more than me.
Find a way to involve Shaquille O'Neal at WrestleMania 28
It didn't happen. This was a big rumor from the moment of his NBA retirement in the summer of 2011 right until the months leading up to WrestleMania. He's such a good fit for WWE that I, as well as many others, thought that it would make a lot of sense for him to be there. Maybe next year? Shaq spent part of his life in the New Jersey area and I'm sure that if there was a story in place it's something we could see.
The Undertaker's WrestleMania 28 opponent should be CM Punk
Here's what I wrote last year.
I realize that a lot of people think that it will be The Undertaker vs. Triple H in a rematch from last year. I'd rather not see it again. They already did the rematch idea with Shawn Michaels at 25 & 26, so why do it again? I'd rather see CM Punk be the challenger. I assume that Punk will still be a babyface by then, so you'd have another babyface match against Undertaker. It's the biggest possible match you could give Punk because the WWE Title might be a part of the Cena/Rock match and if it's not it will take a backseat to that. Who wins? The Undertaker, of course. Let the streak leave on.
I stand by what I wrote. I enjoyed the Undertaker/Triple H Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania very much. I thought it was the match of the year so far. However, I still think it would have been nice to see the WWE Champion CM Punk in a bigger match at WrestleMania. His match with Chris Jericho was considered the third biggest match at WrestleMania at best, so to me he was firmly in that "backseat" position I mentioned.
Maybe Undertaker vs. CM Punk at WrestleMania 29? Don't think so. My prediction for Undertaker's opponent will be in my "Twenty Ideas" column for this year. I'm such a shill aren't I? You damn right.
Don't end the brand extension
The Raw and Smackdown brands remain separate on house shows, but in terms of television you could say that the brand extension has been ended. Right? It's certainly not a clear cut thing anymore because anybody can be on any show at this point.
I prefer the days when talent was exclusive to one show, when they hated the people on the other show and there was a competition between the shows. Those days are long gone now. It's a shame. It was more fun.
* * *
That's all for this look back on last year's Twenty WWE Ideas column. I'll do the 2012 version of this column (hopefully) on Thursday August 23rd, so look for it then. If you have any ideas that you feel like I absolutely must consider tweet me @johnreport or email me at email@example.com with your ideas. If I use one of your ideas I'll put your name into the column as well.
I didn't see that. TELL ME I DID NOT JUST SEE THAT? Booker T is your new Smackdown GM? It's not like it's even a spoiler if you haven't watched Smackdown yet this week because WWE sent out a text alert basically telling people before the show even aired. They even posted it on their website. I don't get it. I mean I know the show isn't live and is taped but don't you still want me to tune is to the surprise of it all? I thought for sure Vince would select Eve for the job and we would have two female GM's bickering at each other on a weekly basis. I was really hoping for that because let's be honest, most of us would probably just mute those segments and proceed to make our own HLA dialogue instead. No? Just me? Ok. Moving on then sucka!
I like the fact that CM Punk seems to be somewhat of a tweener heel going forward. As predicted, the WWE is going to try selling him off to us as one. But I really like the fact that he is basically acting the same and that he believes his actions are justified. I kind of have to agree with him. Last week I looked at the whole heel turn from his point of view and I think going forward that I will continue to just put myself in his shoes. I would do the same. If I was the WWE Champion and felt that I wasn't getting the respect I deserved then I would damn sure beat it out of people. Just beat it. No one wants to be defeated. You have to show them that you're really not scared. You're playin' with your life, this ain't no truth or dare. Whoa, sorry about that. I was just thinking of the whole Booker T being the Smackdown GM thing again. Could you imagine if he were on RAW and Punk offended him somehow? He would be all like "CM Punk... (cue the whole roster coming out) ... We coming for you nigga!"
Lastly (and while I am still the topic of awesome music), I was recently asked to create a promotional flyer for Madison Jay's newest track called "Goin Psycho". Madison Jay is a Hip-Hop Artist who has built a buzz by releasing wrestling themed CD's since 2009. People can checkout Madison's 'Rap's Like Wrestling' firsthand at rapslikewrestling.tumblr.com and listen to exclusive wrestling inspired content at themadisonjay.bandcamp.com. "Goin Psycho" is from the released album 'Rap's Like Wrestling 2' Available via rapslikewrestling.tumblr.com . Additionally, you can also check out the music video teaser by clicking here. I would also highly recommend checking out the documentary entitled "Raps like wrestling" if you get a chance. Great stuff! If you too have any requests for any of your Graphic Design related needs, drop me an email as I could use all the extra money I can these days with a newborn son. Plus it's what I do for a living and I have been doing it for over 10 years now so you will get your money's worth. Yeah yeah. That money money. Yeah yeah. There I go again. Have you noticed I'm in a singing mood today? That's all the time I have this week. Until next time, sit back, relax and melo out, because that is what wrestling is all about.
Steve “The Melo Man” Melo
Thanks Steve. That's all for this week.
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John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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