There has been a lot of talk this week about people becoming disenchanted with the WWE of late. Whether it is Damien Sandow losing after cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase (in rather moronic fashion if you ask me), or Daniel Bryan coming up short again because of The Authority, people are simply annoyed with the direction of the WWE. While I certainly understand their position, and sympathize with them, I just can’t say I’m a member of that camp.
Are things in the WWE right now perfect? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t even say they’re ideal. But they’re not awful. I really like where they’re headed with The Wyatts targeting CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. They made Bray look especially deranged and dangerous on this week’s Monday Night Raw. I like what they’re doing with Cody and Goldust (I don’t love it, but I like it), I love that the Usos are getting TV time, I really like the idea of the impending Bella split, and I might be in the minority, but I liked Shawn screwing Bryan, if only because the promo he cut the next night where he got pissed because Daniel wouldn’t accept his apology was awesome.
That said there are a bunch of small changes that could be made to enhance my viewing experience. The small things matter, and when you nail those minute details, you build a more immersive narrative and universe for the viewer to enjoy. This week I’m going to talk about 9 small changes I’d make to the WWE’s narrative to make it more detailed and immersive. That’s right, I’m taking on the role of the Adjustment Bureau this week, so let’s get started!
1. For Name’s Sake
A name is a very important thing in any storytelling medium. It’s usually one of the first things that influences a viewer or reader’s impression of a character. Some names are strong, some names are dorky, some names are cool, and some names sound simply high class. The point is a name says a lot about who a superstar is in the WWE, and the WWE is very hit or miss on these names. Montel Vontavious Porter was and probably still is a huge hit in the name department, while Adrian Neville leaves a lot to be desired. I wish the WWE put more work into these names so that half of them don’t sound as stupid as they do. Hire a writer whose sole job is to create better names that represent what the character is supposed to be.
While I’m on the subject of names, what you choose to be called also says a lot about the mindset of a character. With that said I feel that there are a couple of characters on TV that could change what they’re called to better represent the current incarnation of their character. First there’s Antonio Cesaro, who as a member of The Real Americans I feel should start going by Tony Cesaro in an attempt to make his name sound more American. It lends better to his story right now and it’s funny because it’s kind of ridiculous. Second and maybe more importantly there’s Triple H. He’s now the COO of the company, playing the role of evil boss that doesn’t give everyone a fair shake, and constantly bringing up what is best for business. Someone like this simply wouldn’t choose to still be referred to as Triple H. Maybe close friends like Shawn Michaels could, but to everyone else he should be Mr. Helmsley. Neither of these changes are necessities, but they are minor adjustments that make the narrative more immersive. Small things like these can go a long way.
2. Don’t break up The Shield… I beg you!
Don’t get me wrong; if the WWE is playing the long game with the recent teases of dissension within the ranks of The Shield, I’m actually okay with that (although their teases are very heavy handed… it’s called subtlety WWE Creative). That said the WWE has a tendency to blow their load early, especially when it comes to the breaking up of faction and tag teams. The Shield still have legs and I would be very opposed to their break up happening any time within this calendar year (and most of next as well).
Their end should also be as electrifying as their introduction. I don’t want it to simply be that one of them gets a big head and the others turn on them. I want it to be special, something more interesting than Roman Reigns feeling marginalized within the group so he leaves and becomes a babyface. I have a few scenarios in mind, but I feel like I should save those for a special “This Is The End of The Shield” Column. For now, the group is still working and I’m hoping that the WWE is just heavy handed in their foreshadowing, because the degree of dissension they are showing makes The Shield’s demise feel fairly immanent.
3. Acknowledge that everyone hates The Miz.
Quite frankly this Miz stuff needs to be addressed on TV. He was beat to a pulp by Randy Orton on Raw in his hometown, in front of his parents no less, and later on the same show when Randy tried to do the same to Bryan, the locker room is tripping over themselves to make the save. Then at Hell In A Cell he calls out the Wyatt Family and Kane returns to fend them off, but follows it by chokeslamming the already hurt Miz, and squashing him the next night on Raw. The Miz can’t catch a break, and it’s becoming more and more obvious that he has no friends in the locker room, or in the WWE Universe. His character needs to acknowledge this.
I want to be a supporter of The Miz (dating back to the days that he was on MTV’s Real World and subsequently an early iteration of The Challenge) but the WWE books him so oddly that I just can’t bring myself to actually be a fan of his. Have him go nuts soon on Raw because nobody cares about him. Have him become an anarchist who vows to make sure that everyone’s dreams are never realized, because his dream of being a WWE Superstar turned into a nightmare. You don’t even need to go that big, but please just have him recognize everybody seemingly hates him.
4. Don’t forget about Damien Sandow and make him the next Wade Barrett
This is important to me. It’s a small request, but a very serious one. If the WWE proceeds in it’s narrative and chooses to forget about Sandow and not keep him hovering around the World Title picture, I’ll be pretty bummed. I’m not one of the people pissed that he lost on Monday, but I am concerned that he will become Wade Barrett (who has become pretty much inconsequential). If the loss motivates him, or even better was a ploy in a grander scheme he has built to demonstrate his intellectual superiority, then I am all for it. That said I fear he’ll simply say he lost on purpose to teach the children that cheaters never win, and fall into a feud with Kofi Kingston or worse, The Miz.
5. Turn R-Truth heel.
Truth is floundering which is disappointing because I’m a huge fan of his work. He’s a strong worker and when given something a little substantive with his last heel run, he was actually pretty damn good. I want to go that route again, but this time, just have him change into the character he played in the Hell In A Cell advertisements. Have R-Truth find God, and become The Lord’s Truth, a sanctimonious preacher. I know this is probably my biggest Adjustment/request, but it truly would be a welcomed departure from R-Truth’s current path.
6. For the love of god, let Big E be funny.
This is a very small adjustment to make as well, because Big E Langston is naturally a pretty funny guy. If you don’t follow the guy on twitter, please do. He’s quite possibly the most entertaining person I follow on twitter (just behind Anna Kendrick) and sometimes I wonder if he has a team of comedy writers writing his tweets for him. If I’m the WWE, I’m trying to bring that kind of personality out of him and onto Monday Night Raw, rather than him being deadly serious all the time (unless you’re using it for deadpan comedic delivery).
There are three ways to go about bringing this entertaining side of Big E out on TV. One would be to revisit his “friendship” with AJ (think of all the comedy that could come from a babyface Big E being stuck in a manic heel AJ’s friendzone), which had legs as their chemistry was very good and the nature of their relationship had yet to be fully explored. Bringing back the 5 count gimmick he had on NXT could also help him bring out his funnier more entertaining side (it sure did on NXT). Another way to break him out of his shell would be to pair him up with Mark Henry upon his return. Have Mark return and get jumped by 3MB, when Big E comes to make the save and hits a double Big Ending on two members of 3MB. The next week Mark Henry returns the favor and hits a double World’s Strongest Slam. They go on trying to prove which one is stronger in fun in-ring and out of ring competitions, along the way becoming a tag team (The World’s Strongest Tag Team). Their competitive nature with one another could be very fun and could help Big E break out of his shell on TV. Regardless of the direction they go in, they need to encourage Big E to show his personality.
7. Have a tournament to decide the new Intercontinental Champion.
I don’t know Curtis Axel’s injury situation or how long he’ll be sidelined, but if it is going to be for an extended period of time, I want to see a serious tournament to crown a new Intercontinental Champion. I’m talking a 16-man tournament that takes place over several weeks and culminates at a PPV. I don’t care who wins, I don’t care how the tournament is booked, simply because by virtue of having a large tournament to crown a new champion, the Title will seem more legitimate once the new champion is crowned. Of course this all depends on Axel’s status, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
8. Chill out with the Spears
Seriously, Kaitlyn, Roman Reigns, Big Show, and down in NXT Bo Dallas all use the spear as either a finisher or a set up move. Even Big E busted out a big spear at Hell In A Cell. Is there some unwritten rule that spears are up for grabs but every other finisher is off limits? Cool it with the spears WWE.
9. Establish What is Actually WWE Canon
I can’t tell you how confused I get watching WWE on a weekly basis because in this “Reality Era” of WWE, where blurring the lines between fiction and reality is of the utmost importance, I simply don’t understand what is actually part of WWE’s main roster canon. Sometimes they reference NXT, like when they briefly mentioned Xavier Woods as an NXT Superstar who started a petition to bring back Big Show, and sometimes they ignore it like when Summer Rae wrestled “for the first time” at Hell In A Cell. So does NXT exist in the universe of the Main Roster, or is NXT supposed to be ignored in reference to the Main Roster?
Also where does Total Divas stand when it comes to WWE canon? They make reference to that show when discussing Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella so in that sense it is part of canon, but are we still supposed to believe Natalya is dating Khali? Because on Total Divas she married her long time boyfriend Tyson Kidd. Navigating WWE canon is incredibly tricky and I want them to pay more attention to what they introduce into their Universe because you simply can’t incorporate some things and completely ignore others, because it’s f***ing confusing.
There you have it but as always I want to know what you think. Would these small adjustments help or hinder the WWE? Do the small things even matter? Am I asking for too much? Does anybody else find the blurred reality slightly confusing/at times insulting to our intelligence?
Until next time folks I’m Matty J. Douglas wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween! Have a great weekend everybody!