WRESTLING: The WWE Needs More Of These Incredible Tournaments. Here's 6 Ways The WWE Can Restructure Their Divisions, Championships And Tournaments.
I don't know about you, but I've been thoroughly entertained by the WWE Network exclusive tournaments. From the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, to the Cruserweight Classic, to the UK Championship Tournament, every last one of them has offered some of the best matches the WWE has put on in years and has introduced me to some amazing wrestlers I should have paid more attention to even as an admitted indie smark. Not to mention, the two most recent tourneys the CWC and UKCT, have debuted two of the best looking belts in the entire company. The WWE Cruiserweight Championship and the UK Championship. With the UK Championship doing what the Universal Championship couldn't. Be an improvement over the World Heavyweight Championship's template.
Seemingly every tourney has been built around introducing brand new titles or revised designs of titles except for the Dusty Rhodes classic. But the major two snafus with these are
A: The possibility of there being too many titles to juggle around, and
B: Often negative consequences in WWE Creative's management of divisions.
So with that being said, here's how the WWE should manage their titles and tournaments, so that it doesn't feel like too much of a good thing.
No 1: Start a few more tournaments for other major wrestling countries and continents.
You already started the UKCT for the UK of course. Which has been a stellar tourney by the way. And the UKCT has introduced a brand new title in the UK Championship. So, why not start a few more?
Just to give the US Title a bit more honor, hold a US Title Tournament just like you did for the UK. bringing in both WWE Superstars and a few indie stars from the WWNLive leagues representing major cities across the USA like Chicago and New York and Los Angeles to name a few. And make sure they're competitors that haven't had the title in years instead of people who are constantly in the US title picture. Complete underdogs and indie darlings. Hold this tournament at some place special like Madison Square Garden or, just to get that indie feel of the UKCT or CWC, maybe hold it at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NY or Logan Square in Chicago Illinois. Somewhere small, but easy on the eyes and in front of hardcore indie wrestling fans just like the CWC or UKCT were. Hold this on a Saturday and the following Sunday just like UKCT, and reward the winner with a trophy, and if not the US Title, then at least a shot at the US title.
For Mexico, find some of the best Mexican competitors from major promotions like CMLL and AAA and shows like Lucha Azteca if they're willing to cooperate, to small indie promotions like IWRG. Throw in Mexican or Mexican American WWE Superstars in there as well like for example Kalisto and Sin Cara, and hold a weekend tournament at a well respected arena full of rowdy Lucha Libre fans like Arena Mexico or Arena Coliseo. Again, just like the UKCT. But this time full of luchadores. Prize being a trophy and a WWE Mexican Championship strap.
Fore Japan, hand pick some of the best Japanese competitors across AJPW, Kaientai, Dragongate, DDT, and if they're willing to cooperate, NJPW and NOAH. Plop in some of your own existing competitors too for example Shinsuke Nakamura or (if he'll ever be healthy to compete again,) Hideo Itami. Hold this tournament at a historic place like Korakuen Hall or Sumo Hall, and of course, reward the winner with a trophy and a WWE Japanese Championship title.
As for other places in the world, a WWE Canadian Championship Tournament wouldn't be a bad idea as even if all they have up there is indie leagues, they still have amazing competitors, WWE South Africa Championship Tournament would be nice as they don't get enough love for their quite good wrestlers, WWE China Championship Tournament would be interesting as you'd be surprised how many showed up to be the first ever Chinese WWE Superstar in 2016, WWE Australia would be great because they do have a wrestling scene as good as the UK last time I checked, but among all of them, I would love to see a revival of the WWE European Title.
As crass as it would be to just lump Germany's scene with the Russian and the UK's and so on, and for as kinda pointless the WWF European Championship was in the 90's, it would be excellent to have a WWE Eurpean Championship Tournament as long as it's done anywhere near as well as the UKCT. Germany alone would introduce the WWE Universe to a multitude of great competitors, not to mention Da Mack would have a second chance at WWE Superstardom. But for the sake of giving more markets around the world a chance to eventually taste WWE gold, and because it would spark hype and nostalgia from Attitude Era marks, it would be a nice gesture to those other markets across the EU and even Ocienna if you wanna lump continents together, and would breathe new life into the careers of existing WWE Superstars like Rusev and Cesaro so they have more to do than just hold the Tag Titles in random paring tag teams (not that Cesaro's tag title runs have been negative) or play the dated and groanworthy anti-American heel.
If the US and UK can have their own titles and if the UK can have their own awesome tourney that I hope is gonna be a yearly thing, then all the other major wrestling countries and continents like Mexico and Japan and Europe should have that same love and attention. Especially if it means getting some new blood in there and pushing your underrated or stagnant WWE Superstars from those regions.
Now I know what you're thinking. "Isn't that gonna be too many championships? What brands would they belong to?" Lemme answer those questions with this solution.
No.2: Unify a few titles, and make every championship inter-promotional.(Outside of NXT.)
One of the biggest issues with the current brand split as well as half of the last brand split, is that they have their own separate titles. This generation, it's just copycat titles with different strap colors representing Raw and Smackdown. This only creates confusion and speculation as to which title is more honorable, often with the names and tenure of older or more known titles sucking away the honor out of the newer championships. (not to mention the aesthetics playing a major role in how the fans respect the title.) So to remedy this, much like I said in two other blogs, just merge the titles and redesign them just like you did at the beginning of the post-PG Reality Era.
Unify the WWE Universal Championship with the WWE World heavyweight Championship, as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Unify the WWE Women's Championship and WWE Smackdown Women's Championship, as the WWE Women's Championship.
Unify the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships with the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
After you unify them at a major PPV say Wrestlemania or Summer Slam, maybe better yet Survivor Series, make every title inter-promotional. Meaning that much like in 2003, Raw and Smackdown competitors can have inter-brand feuds giving fans more of a reason to watch both brands, thus creating more ratings to both products, solidifying more honor to the belts, creating great rivalries, and creating more tension among some fans who may prefer one brand over the other. And even adding more tension in the McMahon family feud angle.
As for divisions, I got another idea.
No 3: Completely restructure 205Live, and integrate all divisions on all brands.
I had so many high hopes for 205Live, but while it does offer some great matches here and there, I can't lie 205Live just sucks as of late. It's on after Smackdown meaning everyone in the crowd is too worn out to care, it focuses too much on cartooney character development that doesn't get over at all rather than the action that gets these guys' characters over, the storylines for the most part just suck, the writing is awful half the time, it just feels like Season 1 NXT without the awful challenges. And while I like the idea of a division having it's own show, I don't think it should be a weekly thing. So, here's what you can do with it and the other divisions.
Restructure 205Live as a monthly special event, not a weekly TV product. Like a mini pay per view but for free and only on the WWE Network. This is great for a lot of the guys' health because most of the division as some of them can go home to their famailies more often, train more, and heal minor injuries while the guys you wanna book can work Raw and Smackdown. Hold these monthly 205Live shows on a Thursday as a pre-taped WWE Network exclusive, and while you can let them show character or build a sports entertainment style character, for the love of god stop booking awful unentertaining skits like that duel between Jack Gallagher and Ariya Daivari or the love triangle between whole Cedrick Alexander Alicia Foxx and Noam Dar! Those are painful to watch they're so unentertaining.
205Live should be just like the CWC. Pure high energy exciting matches, with documentary style video packages. That's what got Rich Swan and Cedrick Alexander and Kota Ibushi among others over with the WWE Universe. Not by calling people "royal sourpuss" and making fun of their ears or doing that groanworthy anti-American foreigner bullshit. 205Live should be an escape from that PG Era style booking.
As for the Tag Team and Women's divisions give them their own shows as well, but again, don't make them weekly. make them monthly WWE Network specials on Thursdays. Three Thursdays within in the middle of the month back to back. Say, one week you can have 205Live for the Cruiserweights, next week you can have Women's Revolution for the Women's division, and then next week you can have Tag Team Turmoil for the Tag Team division. And only hold these Network specials once a month for the divisions. hell maybe even hold a Heavyweight special if you wanna be that equal.
Every other day of the week though, fully incorporate every division. Don't change the ropes and mat every division, just hold crusierweight matches, women's matches, tag matches, and even mix it up with mixed tag matches or cruiserweight vs regular guy or even some inter-gender matches as long as you don't book anybody involved to be sexist or pervy and as long as inter-gender matches are extremely rare. Just like you used to and sometimes still do. Don't segregate these divisions to their own island, honor them with year annual tourneys and once a month specials, but fully integrate them with the usuals and with as much honor as you give male heavyweights. Like you're trying to with the women's revolution. Which might I add, has been much better than the Diva's revolution.
And speaking of division based tournaments,
No 4: Hold four division based tournaments yearly.
The CWC was amazing top to bottom, an the Dusty Rhodes Tag team Classics are breeding grounds for compelling tag team feuds and potential great teams down in NXT. So why not kick it up a notch with more division based tournaments? One for every season of the year?
Just for the sake of hype, make them 3 or 4 week tourneys held at Fullsail University just like how CWC lasted several weeksand was filmed at Fullsail. This gets people invested in watching the tourney every week after NXT. But this time, hold them on Thursdays or Fridays so you don't have that post Smackdown or post NXT burnout.
In the spring, you can hold a Women's Classic. Where women from raw, Smackdown and maybe a few from NXT, as well as indie darlings from top women's leagues around the world like Shimmer, Shine, WSU, Oz Academy, StArDoM, Ice Ribbon, and even other women's divisions from other companies like AAA and Chikara, can compete in a 3 to 4 week tournament with the prize being a trophy, and a shot at the WWE Women's Championship.
In the summer, hold the Dusty Rhodes Tag team Classic, but maybe bump it up to main roster so that NXT, Raw and Smackdown teams can compete week after week for the chance to win that trophy and not on the same card as NXT. Again, with the prize being a trophy and a Tag Title shot
In the fall, hold the CWC. With returning faces already signed as WWE Superstars in the Cruiserweight division, returning faces that weren't signed from the previous CWC, and a few new faces from WWNLive promotions and other leagues. with of course a trophy and a Cruiserweight Title shot being the prize.
And maybe in the winter, if you wanna go an extra step further in wrestler's equality, maaaybe make a Heavyweight Classic. And that's a strong maybe. Where some of the strongest and toughest WWE and NXT Superstars compete in a tourney for a trophy and a World Heavyweight Title shot. Perhaps no indie competitors in this, because you don't wanna pull a TNA and just give the flagship title to someone who has no company experience.
Now back to No 1 on this list, some of you may be wondering "if they make a Mexican, Japanese or European title etc to accommodate the US and UK titles, what use would the Intercontinental title be?" Well, I kinda feel the same about there being a US title currently or a European title back in the day when there's already the IC title. Especially considering that there's the world Heavyweight title covering the world as is. But to clear up the redundancy of there being titles representing singular countries and collective continents when you have a minor and major title covering the world, here's my remedy for that.
No 5: Restructure the US, UK and any other country or continent representative title as a trophy belt.
Even though they'll be basically wearable Money In The Bank briefcases, let anybody from any country compete for the US, UK or any other country or continent representative belt similar to the Hardcore Championship but without the 24/7 rule. This puts a target on the back of that champion, opens new possibilities for championship matches, and can even build rivalries between bitter runner ups and tourney winners. Similar to the Money in The Bank briefcase, give any of these champions the ability to trade in their championships for a shot at the Intercontinental Championship until any of the four PPVs. Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Money In The Bank, Summer Slam or Survivor Series. This gives the IC belt more prestige even if it's still the secondary championship.
And as for the IC title,
No 6: Introduce a trade in policy for the Intercontinental Championship as well.
This idea of mine is complicated, so I hope i don't lose you here.
Just like my idea for the US and UK belts etc, give the IC Champion the ability to trade in their belt for a World Title shot until any of the major PPVs. But unlike those other titles, if you skipped out on a major PPV, you lose your cash in policy, but still get to be IC Champ until you lose it. And of course, any new champion can trade in the IC title for a World Title shot until the next major PPV. But, if the World Champion challenges you to a title VS title match, they can be both World Heavyweight and IC champion until someone challenges for either belt and takes it off of them. But if you're both World and IC Champion, and you lose the World title, you can't trade in your IC title for another World Title shot. You just get a rematch clause that lasts until the next regular PPV like anybody else.
Seems a bit complicated, but it gives people even more of a reason to become IC champ.
So in conclusion, the WWE should hold more of these tourneys, restructure the Cruiserweight division, and give everybody an equal shot. Sounds good doesn't it?