Last week, the big news out of the wrestling world was the announcement that Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff would be taking over Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live respectively going forward. This was quite the announcement as Bischoff has not had any authority in a promotion in years and Heyman’s time away from power has been even longer. This feels like desperation from WWE and there is a very good reason for that: it pretty much is.
WWE is in panic mode at the moment with their television audiences in free fall and the ratings not far behind. It’s clear that something needs to be done so they decided to bring in two of the bigger promoters of the last thirty years to see what they could do to help the show. While this might seem to be a shaky idea, I ask one simple question: could it get much worse?
Something has to change in WWE and maybe these two old guys are the change that it needs. They both had success (albeit on a sliding scale in some cases) but above all else they might be able to present a fresh idea for a change. That’s what WWE needs more than anything else right now and that’s what we’re going to look at today: what can Heyman and Bischoff realistically do to help things out on their respective shows?
One note before we start: keep in mind that I said realistically. At the end of the day, Vince McMahon is still ultimately in charge and will have the final say. There are going to be some things that he simply will not bend on and Heyman and Bischoff aren’t going to be able to change them. It’s annoying but as was said in Remember The Titans: “This is no democracy. It is a dictatorship.” Nothing is changing that about WWE anytime soon.
We’re Out Of Time, We’ve Gotta Go!
This is something that I have been wanting to see come back for a LONG time. How many times can you remember when either Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live ended with something going on? It seems like it has been years since one of the shows went off the air without being wrapped up in a nice little bow. Either the main event ends with someone standing tall, the angle that takes place comes to a conclusion or something definitive happens to close the show?
Why not end the show with a match in progress? Or with someone running to the ring for a brawl? Or with ANYTHING that would make you want to tune in next week and see what happened? It makes the shows feel like they are all individually wrapped with a big space in between rather than shows flowing from one into another.
I know it’s not exactly 1997 anymore and there are 5,000 cameras in the arena on a slow day, but at least try to give us something intriguing. Even if the story isn’t great or if some of the talent doesn’t have the best chemistry, you can at least give the fans a bit more of a reason to care. Wrestling is supposed to be entertaining and almost every form of entertainment can end on a cliffhanger. Why can’t wrestling do the same?
Yeah, something like this:
The Designated Fun Match
Now WWE already has this to a certain degree but they don’t use them often enough. This is some mixture of the cruiserweights from WCW and the combination of Super Crazy/Tajiri/Little Guido in ECW. The matches don’t really advance anywhere, but the people involved have such great chemistry and can wrestler an entertaining match that it doesn’t really matter.
You don’t need every match to be some big deal every single week. Occasionally you need the popcorn match that is designed to get people in the ring, wake the crowd up, and let them have a good time. How many wrestlers does WWE have on their roster who can work a fast paced style? You could throw the cruiserweights in there if you wanted and see what they can do. It’s not like you need to go out of your way and hire a bunch of new people to make this work.
And hey, maybe you find someone ready to move up to the next level. In ECW, these feuds eventually became about the TV Title. If you can find some talent on the roster and give them something else to do, why not see what you can get out of them? Maybe there isn’t that high of a ceiling for them, but maybe you can get the fans to have some fun instead of sitting on their hands and coming up with whatever wacky chants they have that week.
Like this one (Check this out as it’s a hidden gem and one of the true forgotten classics from Nitro):
The Paul Heyman People
Sidebar: normally this would be Paul Heyman Guys but things have changed so much that you can’t do that anymore. How cool is that?
Anyway, this is a bit more of an overall idea than just having Heyman manage people. As so many people (myself included) have mentioned, WWE has so many wrestlers running around on their roster is with nothing to do. WWE clearly saw enough in them to sign these people in the first place, so why not see what you can get out of them? You never know what future mega stars you might have just sitting around doing nothing. Look back at all the future World Champions in WCW who never got a break.
Maybe a fresh set of eyes can let WWE see what they’ve been missing. Heyman was famously high on CM Punk before WWE gave him any real kind of chance. Bischoff had a big hand in making Diamond Dallas Page a star. Jim Ross was the one who saw the star in Mick Foley and convinced WWE to sign him. WWE has already gotten the first step out of the way by getting these people under contract. Now they can see what their already talented people can do.
There are so many ways to present them too. Maybe it’s a stable, maybe it’s a rehash of an angle that hasn’t been seen in twenty years (I’ve always wanted to see Chris Jericho’s Trophy Case done again) or maybe it’s just throwing someone out there and seeing if they can swim. Heyman has a history of finding hidden gems and Bischoff ran a company that got a lot of future legends noticed for the first time on the big stage. If they’ve seen something WWE hasn’t figured out yet, it could be a very big break for a bunch of the members of the roster.
He could do this again, but make it work this time: