Within any given calendar year in the WWE, there are a lot of ups and downs. I recently covered the 10 Things The WWE Did Wrong In 2015, and with this article I will cover 10 things that they did right.
A lot of the WWE Universe is still baffled at the decisions of creative on the main roster because of the brilliant way that NXT has been booked over the past couple of years. A lot of people point the finger to Vince being out of touch with the current product. Even though there are some baffling decisions made by the Chairman Of The Board, he still has a great vision for the product, and there are several instances that it shows.
Whether or not the bright spots in the company are more of Vince actually listening to the WWE Universe, and more importantly Triple H, or if there is still some revolutionary ideas in the mind of Vincent Kennedy McMahon, the point is you could say that 2015 was overall disappointing with a a good amount of bright spots. While the future is bright with Triple and NXT, there still has to be a focus on the present.
The 10 items in this article cover a range of topics from returns to the company, a huge re-signing, building up two divisions of the company, and the simplest reason to have something go right in the world of professional wrestling – good creative decisions. Which of these 10 things that the WWE did right in 2015 are your favorite?
10. Putting More Of An Effort In The Divas
For the past few years, the Diva’s division of the WWE has been pretty much an afterthought. At best on any given Monday Night Raw, they would be given one match that would last about three minutes, and there would be no real intriguing story development.
On July 13th this year, things would finally change for the Divas when Nikki Bella would claim there is no more competition left; which prompted Stephanie McMahon to introduce Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte.
Thanks to the amazing growth of the women in NXT, the Divas on the main roster now have more of a footing with longer matches and sometimes more than one match on Raw. It isn’t quite a revolution yet, as creative still hasn’t captivated us with any great story lines, but it is a step in the right direction.
9. Bringing Back The Dudley’s
One of the biggest surprises of the year was the return of the Dudley’s after a 10-year absence from the WWE as a team. They returned this August to attack the New Day and the WWE Universe went completely nuts as there were no rumors or anything suggesting a return. Keeping something this big a secret is rare in the days of social media, and we’re glad it didn’t get out.
The Dudley’s are arguably the best tag team in professional wrestling history with a total of 20 world tag team titles between WWE, TNA, and ECW. But the biggest thing with the return of the Dudley’s is the fact that Vince is open to signing great talent from TNA, and hopefully the Hardy’s could follow in a return.
8. Setting The Stage For Rousey’s Post-MMA Career
There is no denying that Ronda Rousey is the biggest thing in the UFC today by far (though Conor McGregor is gaining steam). She is also a huge fan of the WWE, and her nickname “Rowdy” comes from Roddy Piper. One of the surprise moments of WrestleMania 31 came when the Rock got into it with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. While the Rock wouldn’t lay a hand on Steph, Ronda most definitely could.
While it seems Rousey won’t be at WrestleMania 32 due to other obligations, it definitely sounds like the WWE could be a future and permanent destination for her after hanging it up in the Octagon. Many suspect that time will be within the next couple of years before she turns 30. It appears the seeds have been sown for a huge addition to the Diva’s roster in the future.
7. Moving The Elimination Chamber Event
The Elimination Chamber is basically the steel cage on steroids and has been a great attraction for the WWE since it debuted in 2002. When it became its own pay per view in 2010, it was placed right in between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. While the Royal Rumble winner goes to WrestleMania, the current champion would have to take on five different superstars in the Chamber.
In 2015, the WWE moved the Chamber pay per view to May. This makes the most sense because it allows for a better build up of the feud between the Royal Rumble winner and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion entering WrestleMania. Have a gimmick match in-between these pay per views , and it gives the Chamber pay per view a chance to stand out on its own.
6. Re-signing Brock Lesnar
The view and value of a part-time wrestler definitely changed with the return of Brock Lesnar to the WWE in 2012. He was billed as a must-see attraction and his performance the past couple years has earned the praise of the WWE Universe. He doesn’t have to be on TV every week to make an impact, and the WWE realized that.
While there were rumors that Brock wanted to go back to the UFC to take care of some unfinished business, he made the better decision for his health (and maybe his bank account) by re-signing with the WWE shortly after WrestleMania this year. With several feuds that have never been done with Brock in the WWE, expect more history to be made in the coming years.
5. Resurrecting The Tag Team Division
Much like the Diva’s, the tag team division in the WWE had become a huge afterthought for several years. While a couple years ago it seemed like it was prime for a comeback, it went back into hibernation. Thanks to the success of The New Day in 2015, and the ever growing popularity of teams in NXT, the tag team division was given more of a focus this year.
With The New Day, reforming the Prime Time Players, The Usos returning from injury, calling up the Lucha Dragons, and the Ascension, the WWE has a nice base to build on going into 2016 where you could probably see more teams debut like Jordan & Gable and Enzo & Cass.
4. Giving Seth Rollins A Lengthy Title Run
When the Money In The Bank concept was introduced to the WWE in 2005, the one thing that had never happened was cashing in the contract at WrestleMania. That changed in 2015 when Seth Rollins inserted himself into the main event of Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to make it a triple threat. He would win and become WWE World Heavyweight Champion for the first time in his career.
Normally, the person who cashes in the contract and wins doesn’t have a lengthy title run, but Seth Rollins did and it was the right decision made by the WWE. Rollins’ transition to a heel after turning on The Shield was great. The only gripe on the title run is that he wasn’t booked to be a strong champion, but it was great to see the WWE trust him with a 220-day title reign.
3. Actually Acknowledging NXT on Monday Night Raw
When the WWE Network debuted in 2014, the WWE Universe was treated to a special gem that only a few people knew about at the time in NXT. When they shifted the format to make it a brand, NXT was only shown online and on Hulu. The eyes on the product exponentially grew, but for some reason on Monday Night Raw or pay per views, the mere mention of NXT didn’t exist.
To ignore such a great product was baffling, but thankfully in 2015 the directive of mentioning NXT on their big shows couldn’t be ignored with the debut of Kevin Owens, Neville, and an appearance by Sami Zayn. NXT had a gigantic 2015, and looks to even further expand in 2016, so you can expect more mentions, and of course, more call-ups soon.
2. John Cena’s U.S. Open Challenge Provided Great Matches
Once the dust settled at WrestleMania 31, the two secondary titles were held by two of the WWE’s biggest stars in Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Championship and John Cena for the United States Championship. John Cena took this reign and turned it into something fresh that delivered great matches in 2015 with the U.S. Open Challenge.
Anyone in the back could step up and become the number 1 contender right away on any given Monday night and take on Cena right then and there. This challenge gave us so many great matches; it became its own Slammy category this year. From Stardust to Cesaro to Sami Zayn to Dean Ambrose, there were many great moments that the U.S. Open Challenge provided in 2015.
1. Finally Booking Roman Reigns Correctly
When someone says “what a difference a year makes”, you can now add Roman Reigns as an example. When he won the Royal Rumble in January, the Philly crowd loudly booed him, and even The Rock couldn’t save him from those boos. Reigns would continue to work to get better to prove he can be a top man in the company, and on a great episode of Monday Night Raw on December 14th, he would regain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The crazy thing about that night? It was also in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The difference here was that Philly crowd gave Reigns a gigantic ovation. Reigns won them over by defying Vince McMahon and even giving him a Superman Punch, then overcoming the odds to win the title. Philly is always a very smart crowd, and they realized that finally, Roman Reigns was booked in the right way.