World Wrestling Entertainment is no different from any other organization that has customers in that the WWE cannot possibly please everybody. Some people are not going to like certain directions taken by the organization, so much so that those individuals may, from time to time, choose to tune out until they are happy with the product. It really isn’t all that different from a lot of sports leagues. The National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and European leagues are all responsible for lengthy seasons, and thus sometimes fans need to take a weekend or two off from paying attention to them. The same goes for WWE programming.
Sometimes, however, the company seemingly goes out of the way to disrespect and even upset diehard fans, almost as if WWE is trying to tell customers that it knows what is best for those who spend money on the product. The most recent occasion that comes to mind stems from an incident that occurred in 2012 on the company’s biggest stage, one that resulted in a fan revolution that the WWE had not expected and one that led to a new superstar being pushed to main event status. As shocking as it is to see, the company may once again be making that same mistake in 2015.
The complete mistreatment of one of the company’s star performers led to that man fleeing for greener pastures, meaning that fans will likely never again see one of the best overall performers in the WWE wrestle for the company. Last but certainly not least is the over-saturation of the product, in general, hours upon hours of needless television that, thanks to the glory of DVR and also videos uploaded onto the Internet, fans can avoid when they wish to do so. It is past time that WWE learn that the old adage is true: Yes, there can, in fact, be too much of a good thing.
10. Mistreatment of CM Punk
One could argue that WWE never fully utilized Punk properly, even during his multiple championship runs. What should have been the company’s version of a stellar “Summer of Punk” storyline was squandered in less than a month, and Punk was then, in his opinion, treated so poorly that he walked away from the WWE in early 2014. After explaining his rationale in what became a famous podcast over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Punk then announced that he was linking up with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he will perform at least once in 2015. Fans still want to see Punk return to WWE and he should never have been pushed out the door the way he was.
9. WWE Network Content
The WWE has done fans a solid by making the price for WWE Network $9.99 per month AND also not forcing fans to make long-term commitments to the streaming service. With that said, WWE Network is still, a year after it was launched, lacking far too much content considering all that is within the WWE’s catalog of videos. Going back and watching every pay-per-view in WWE, World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling is, after all, only worth so much if you do not know any of the storylines that preceded those events.
8. Not Following NXT’s Lead
There is little wrong with the current NXT product. In fact, it is the best thing that WWE has going for it as of early 2015. The problem here is that NXT is so good that it places a massive spotlight on all that is wrong with the WWE programming that airs during Raw and SmackDown events. Writing for pro wrestling is easy, and NXT is proof that the company knows who to push and the right ways to do so. Learn from NXT, WWE writers, and then put that on the company’s main shows. Buyrates for WWE pay-per-views and also for the WWE Network would certainly rise.
7. The Heel Authority Group
It was in the fall of 1997 when the Mr. McMahon character and the gimmick of the heel authority figure first made its way onto World Wrestling Federation television. That was almost two decades ago, and the company has spent well over 10 years trying to rediscover the magic of that classic feud involving McMahon and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Here is a hint for everybody in the WWE: It is not happening, at least it isn’t right now. Give the idea at least a few years off before you bring it back to TV. There are other ways to get babyface characters over to your audience.
6. Super Cena
John Cena is a great ambassador for the WWE who sells a ton of merchandise and who is a much better worker than he is given credit for by his detractors. It would, however, be in the best interests of all involved if Cena were to take some time off – six months, maximum – so that he could recover from lingering knocks and also allow the character to freshen up some and leave the minds of viewers. Cena could, following such a break, come back for a major event, perhaps the Survivor Series or Royal Rumble, and draw a massive pop upon his return.
5. Poor Use of SmackDown
Remember years ago when SmackDown was known as being the wrestling-heavy show that also featured incredible in-ring work? That could, upon thinking about it for only a second, easily happen again. Just turn SmackDown into NXT. The ratings likely wouldn’t be affected because diehard WWE fans are going to watch regardless of what is put on TV (proof is that people still watch SmackDown in 2015 even though the program is meaningless), and the company could use the program to push new stars and new faces to its audiences. Done and done.
4. The Ascension
One can only assume, at this point, that the WWE and The Ascension are all in on the joke that has been this tag-team since it was called up to the main roster. No, they are not the new Legion of Doom or the new Demolition. The team is a blatant rip-off of those greater duos, and The Ascension was exposed the first time they were put on main WWE television. That writers could not see that this gimmick got old and tired in NXT shows that not everything that works in the company’s second-division is going to be a hit. Thankfully, it seems as of the team will be descending off of TV sooner than later.
3. Daniel Bryan…Again?
The hope here is that WWE is teasing fans and that the company will have learned from earlier mistakes and give Bryan the rub and the championship that is rightfully his and which he lost because of a real-life injury. It is almost beyond comprehension that the WWE would once again drop Bryan to midcard level during WrestleMania season, which would lead to crowds taking over the Raw after ‘Mania, and from there likely lead to the company having to correct the matter a year down the road. Come to think of it, maybe WWE actually does know what it is doing. Hmm.
2. The Push of Roman Reigns
There used to be a time when a talent such as Reigns, who has the look and in-ring ability to become a superstar, would be held back in a minor role for years until he was fully ready to accept all that comes with being a big-time player. Look at the career of John Cena as an example. Fans were literally screaming for him to be a main event performer at arenas while he was still in the midcard, and thus he drew money when pushed to the mountaintop. Reigns may one day be the face of the company, but the guy simply is not yet prepared to be in a No. 1 spot. Fans are well aware of this, and it is part of why some have/are revolting against his push.
1. Three-Hour Raws
As George Harrison famously sang all those years ago: It’s all too much for me to take. The consensus opinion among experts is that 90 minutes is the ideal length of time for a television program belonging to a national promotion. While NBC or any other network understandably would not want to give such a timeslot to any property, three hours for one weekly program is simply too much. It is a wonder that anybody can devote that much time from start to finish once every seven days without utilizing DVR or watching the shortened versions of Raw that are uploaded onto the Internet.