Growing up I watched a lot of wrestling. Over the past ten years or so I'd drift in and out of it, watching for several weeks in a row and then not, mostly because the product was not consistent. Clearly, different people watch wrestling for different reasons. Some watch for a certain wrestler, others love the amazing high-risk moves, and people like me enjoy a good story mixed with good performances.
When there is nothing else on TV, I have recently found myself watching the WWE again, and to be blunt, it is abysmal. Yes, they have tremendous athletes with all of the physical skill and acting potential in the world, and the high points are truly amazing, but the other [1:56] of the show is borderline unwatchable. What they need are better writers, or at least a more structured format that the fans can identify with. Maybe Vince is jumping in on the writers meeting and saying “this is my show, and this is what we are going to do,” (which would explain the whole Batista ending which Rich discussed in his last show). But let’s move forward and keep the Vince run-ins to a minimum.
While the WWE has amped up the “Entertainment” it has somehow lost sight of the Sport. Yes wrestling is scripted, but that doesn’t mean that what got you to the dance, one man fighting another for victory and the crowds adoration, shouldn’t still be a major focus.
I propose setting up a simple ranking system, similar to boxing where all wrestlers in the WWE would be given a ranking based on where they stand in title contention. For example, if Batista is the WWE Champion, Cena would be #1, Orton would be #2, Triple H #3, etc. The same would be done for all of the belts.
Rules would need to be established to maintain order. Title holder must fight number one contender within a certain period of time, or forfeit the belt. Only the champion can sanction a match with a contender that is not #1. “Unbiased” computer system determines rankings, not Vince or anyone else (This is on air, not behind the scenes of course). This means, use the jumbotron and act surprised when the rankings don’t come out the way you want them to. So I think you see where I am going with this.
The benefits of a ranked system are that the fans will constantly know where each wrestler stands in the picture. Number 9 fighting number 8 doesn’t sound that exciting, but if 9 wins, that moves him up a spot and now 7 is involved and so on. Make the storyline better by constantly having guys choose between fighting to move up in the rankings, and settling personal feuds. It also gives importance back to the belts, which has been sorely missed. It makes being a champion mean something. So Batista is champion. What does that mean? I don’t know. Do you? I bet you knew what it meant when Hogan beat the Iron Sheik.
The ranking system offers so many additional story options and streamlines the shows so that the fans can keep track of what is going on week to week. You can still have your crazy over the top soap-opera style gimmicks, but now people will be taking a look at the guys that are not top stars because you are giving them a clear path to get to the top. Fight your way up to number 1 and you’ll get the title shot you always dreamed of. This is a simple and effective way of building the next Superstars.