It can sometimes be quite hard to feel any form of sympathy for billion dollar corporations. Especially, if like the WWE, they have an immoral treatment of their employees and very questionable storyline decisions. But sometimes the WWE’s fans give the company, albeit sometimes fairly, a difficult time. Many fans could argue that this criticism comes from a place of intense love for the company’s product. Their passionate dislike for certain aspects of said product just showcases their desire for a more creatively brave show, as opposed to the company just choosing to play their cards safely. It is sometimes easy to forget, however, that Vince McMahon and co. have to create over 5 hours of content every week for every week of the year whilst also having to deal with the concerns of performers, sponsors and investors almost constantly. It’s a thankless job with a relentless schedule, due to this; mistakes and creative lapses are inevitable. With that being said here are some of the things that WWE is getting right, and because I personally contain a hereditary negative disposition, some things that WWE can improve:
A ray of sunshine: giving undervalued talent a sustained push
Now, this might be a cause for contention among wrestling fans given their reputation for stop-start pushes with stars like Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk but sometimes you have to give the devil it’s due when it is done right. Pushes can be rare to come by and the recipients of these pushes maybe someone you might not expect. Who in 2016 would’ve thought pushing Braun Strowman to the moon would be a good idea? He was the literal black sheep of the Wyatt family with seemingly no redeeming qualities. After two years into the push, he is unexpectedly the most over wrestler in the company and looks set to be a face of the company for many years to come. Pushes in WWE don’t always work, of course, one only has to look at the likes of Finn Balor or Jinder Mahal to see that. For better or worse, especially in the case of the two wrestlers mentioned previously, they always give their talent a chance to prove their worth.
Something to improve: Help talent find their voice
One of the more recent criticisms of the WWE product is the extreme micromanaging of the wrestlers’ promos. Talents like Roman Reigns or Bobby Lashley might not be blessed with the charisma of a star like The Rock so a simple personalised promo that gets the point across is more beneficial than giving either of those stars free reign. The problem that inherently comes with this over-scripting however, is that after a while no character feels unique enough, especially if they are a babyface. Stars like Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt have stood out as stars these past years just because when they talk, they feel unique.
No superstar in WWE besides those two and a few others feel unique, it is the Quentin Tarantino problem: No-one in his films sounds like an individual, instead they all sound like Tarantino. It’s an easy problem to fix, just hand the wrestlers an outline of what they have to say and let them do the rest. Talents like Bobby Roode and Finn Balor have built a reputation outside of WWE for being great talkers, it be might good to see that someday, it’s a shame that the only way they might be able to achieve that is via a heel turn.
A Ray of Sunshine: Great Story Builds to big 4 PPVs
We had mentioned before that WWE gets a lot of stick from fans but even the most hardened fans would have to admit that when WWE gets it right, they get it very right. One only has to look at the builds in recent years for events like the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania as evidence. WWE knows when they need step up their game and when it comes to the big four events they almost always deliver in terms of buildup. WWE can sometimes be a slog to get through but it is for events like Survivor Series and Wrestlemania that helps us remember why we love wrestling in the first place. Whilst this year’s SummerSlam wasn’y as exciting as last year’s, there certainly were highlights like AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe that made it exciting. You always know you are going to get a show. It’s a tried and tested system of working however, with this idea comes risks.
Something to Improve: Fewer Creative Lulls in WWE Programming
As expected, the annual post-WrestleMania slump returned again this year, with storyline creativity appearing as much as Brock Lesnar does. Storylines have been given very little reason to exist like Daniel Bryan, one of the most talented wrestlers in the company bear in mind, fighting Big Cass because he keeps being called small. That’s not to mention the endless swell of rematches we have seen recently with very little story development. Since Wrestlemania AJ Styles has fought a heel Shinsuke Nakamura in 3 pay-per-view events, 2 of which resulted indecisively, to say their feud never really left the first gear is to put it kindly. Unfortunately, this problem isn’t just limited to Nakamura and Styles, every feud feels like it is holding back like they are waiting for something but the moment of escalation has never come for any feud. WWE has been spinning its wheels from mid-April to August, whilst they know they can pull viewers back in for SummerSlam, as mentioned before, it seems counterproductive. Although it might be difficult, there is no reason why WWE can’t immediately set up a 4-month build from Wrestlemania that leads to SummerSlam. They have the talent, why not use them and look to their ideas for stories? Creative lulls are counterintuitive to the good work WWE did prior to Wrestlemania, hopefully, McMahon & co. can find a way around that.
Do you agree? Do you have your own ways you’d improve WWE? Let us know at @SteelChairMag.