It’s the busiest time of year for WWE and I can’t say I’m not excited. Last year I skipped WrestleMania weekend due to not being thrilled with the idea of having to deal with New York City so I stayed at home and went a little nuts on indy wrestling over the weekend instead. This time though it’s in a bit friendlier space in Tampa, Florida and I’ll be right there in the thick of things all over again. It’s a little bit different this year though and that’s a theme that WWE seems to be going with as well.
Let’s talk about Main Event for a second. Not the main event of WrestleMania, but the weekly television show that you probably don’t watch. The show is mainly there to fulfill international commitments and there is no hiding the fact that WWE doesn’t care about it. Last year, Sarah Logan and Dana Brooke fought so many times on the show that the commentary team was making fun of it.
Over the last few weeks though, a few new names have been popping up. Since the start of the year, this has included Riddick Moss, Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green. Those are wrestlers you’ve probably seen elsewhere, but they aren’t exactly household names. That’s the point though: these people are getting in a ring in front of a bigger crowd and the fans have a chance to get to know them. I know it’s just Main Event, but it could be the start of something new.
This guy is going places:
One of the biggest criticisms of WWE over the last few years has been the main event feeling stagnant. Whether it has been the fairly ridiculous reliance on the Shield, Brock Lesnar seemingly being the perennial World Champion or the Four Horsewomen dominating the women’s title picture, it has been clear that WWE needs to try something different. That’s what makes their lack of willingness to try something new all the more baffling, as it’s not like they don’t have the resources.
If there is one thing that WWE has to its credit, it is an abundance of talent. At the moment, WWE has rosters for six different shows/tours: Monday Night Raw, SmackDown, NXT, NXT UK, 205 Live and the NXT Florida circuit (plus a small army of legends/previous performers who would show up at the drop of a hat). WWE even adds more wrestlers on a near monthly basis, with the signings of Killer Kross and Timothy Thatcher being announced just last night on Backstage.
If you look around WWE today, you can see similar changes taking place. The big one is Drew McIntyre, who not only eliminated Brock Lesnar from the Royal Rumble, but wound up winning the whole thing to earn a WWE Championship match against Lesnar. That alone should tell you that WWE is trying something new and that’s a great sign, but there are a lot more instances of the same thing besides just in the main event scene.
Look at some of the names who are either getting a major push or even their first chance at the moment. Off the top of my head, you have Jordan Devlin becoming Cruiserweight Champion (and therefore moving over to some other shows in the process), Ricochet getting a World Title shot at a major show (even if he has much chance of winning as I have at being Ms. Nevada 1974) and Angel Garza popping up on Monday Night Raw for a long match against Rey Mysterio (he’s not even the only member of his family getting a push). There are even more than that, and that is where things are starting to get good.
I wouldn’t bet against him:
That’s what makes this time of the year so exciting. There is no guarantee that any of these names will get anywhere beyond potential (though I’d almost be stunned if McIntyre didn’t take the title from Lesnar) but there is something to get excited about for a change. A lot of fans, including myself, have spent months if not years drooling over this talent and it’s great to see them FINALLY getting a chance. It makes things that much better because for once, WWE could be actually capitalizing on all of the resources that they have at their fingertips.
What matters is the fact that this is happening on the big and weekly stage. Maybe it came from all of the success that came from the NXT invasion back in November but it seems that some people have gotten some promotions. I know I probably shouldn’t say this but is almost impossible to imagine WWE managing to shut down all of these possibilities at once. I know not all of them are going to become big stars but there are a lot of people getting a chance that they didn’t have just a few weeks back.
If nothing else, how much better do you think this makes the roster feel? You always hear the statements and lines about how wrestlers can have a chance to move up the card and get all the way to WrestleMania if they work hard enough. That’s a great thing to say, but it doesn’t matter if it’s the same people year in and year out. Roman Reigns headlined how many WrestleManias in a row? It took the Women’s Revolution to get in someone new, but now that might be about to change again.
While it isn’t certain, there is a real chance that we could be seeing McIntyre headline the biggest show of the year and possibly even leave as WWE Champion. That’s a pretty ringing endorsement of a new top star and possible THE next top star. What matters here is the fact that someone is getting a chance. That is going to give the wrestlers a reason to believe that they could be in the running for the same spot and that might give them a little more motivation.
Above all else though, a good chunk of the fans are going to be a lot happier. The recent audience numbers would suggest that WWE has not been hitting the sweet spot when it comes to its viewers. While there are a lot of factors that add up to the bad numbers, there comes a point where the only way to bring in someone new is to have someone fresh on the shows.
He’s got a chance:
You can only run with the same people for so many weeks (if not months and/or years) before the fans give up on them. Even the biggest star of the modern era, Steve Austin, had a shelf life of a few years. At some point every wrestler is going to overstay their welcome and with three hours of Monday Night Raw every single week, that point is going to come a lot sooner rather than later.
WWE has so many wrestlers on its several rosters and it would make a lot of sense to give someone a fresh try. You never know how far someone can go but at some point, WWE has to throw something at the wall and see if it can draw an audience (or stick, either one). They sign all of these people for a reason and it doesn’t make sense to have them all sit around doing the same things for months without getting anywhere.
It really is a situation that helps everyone all at once. Not only does it make sense, but it is also the kind of thing that just needs to be done. How many promotions over the years have fallen apart from a complete unwillingness to change their lineups? WCW was legendary for it and the WWF stuck with some of the same names for far too long. Occasionally you just need to change and while it can be rocky, it has to be done.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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