OK, forgive me for being a couple weeks late on this, but I figured in the vein of a “State of the Union” address, now is as good a time as any to look at the state of the WWE brand, what works and what doesn’t, and see what we could hope for in the future. Don’t worry guys and gals, it’s a first time for me too. Trust me, it should be fun!
Don’t look now gang, but the boss and his wife are both nowhere close to where they were five years ago. Actually, for Linda, it’s been a lot longer since she was seen or heard from, given her political aspirations. Now, she’s working on President Trump’s cabinet. Her husband? Oh sure, he’s still lingering, but we all know he just dumped a boatload of stock and doubled down on XFL, rebooting the league and seeing how that goes. What does it all mean? I dare say as Vince gets more and more tied up with XFL, his children and son in law will become a lot more important. They are already doing that on screen, with Vince only showing up on rare occasions. But as VKM focuses on football, the long term plan really should come into focus. Will Shane stick around? Signs say yes, but he has ran off once before.
NXT? That brand is in great shape. I don’t see them ever doing a live weekly show, but I suppose that possibility is always there. I would like to see them add another TakeOver or two, as I really like those specials…but I would not want to see the brand watered down too much. After all, aside from the writing, one of the biggest appeals to me for the brand is that it’s quality over quantity. And it also feels like WWF from the 80’s, before we got one (or two) PPV a month. Remember when the build to a PPV match could be months? Relative to the stars? Wow, look at the options. Sanity. Undisputed Era. Almas. McIntyre. So many to choose from.
SmackDown and RAW? They each have their moments. I think the GM/Commish storyline is actually a little tired, and in some ways I think it hinders having stronger heel and face characters. I get it, it’s a great way for guys like Angle and Bryan to be on TV with regularity, but it’s problematic when sometimes, the non-wrestling personalities get the biggest pops (or heat, too). As for the stars? Outside of the Cena free agent tour, and the constant push for Roman Reigns, I’d have to say things are in good shape.
205 Live? Now that’s a train wreck. Enzo did them no favors. Now they have Rockstar Spud turned Drake Maverick coming in to be the show’s GM (even though really they should be governed by Angle, since, you know, 205 Live stars show up on RAW…). The brand has not had anything close to a “leading man” since Neville, and he left in a huff. Rey Mysterio would be a drool worthy championship option, and getting Neville to return could go a long way. There are plenty of NXT and UK options too (Roderick Strong, Pete Dunne, Gargano etc etc), and there really is good talent available. It is not impossible to fix the brand…but it’s a tall task.
The women-no, I know this is not a brand (though I have opined that perhaps they deserve an hour a week on the Network). They finally got their own Rumble. They are getting their own Elimination Chamber. Last year, Money In The Bank (still awaiting the cash in). Absolution and Riott Squad have debuted as well. They have a healthy Asuka and a debuting Ronda Rousey. I would say things are trending in the right direction for them.
The Network: Why can’t I give the Network some love? I can, and I will. The performance is actually getting better and better (nerd speak here). The content too. I would love to see them keep churning out shows like Holy Foley and more episodes of Ride Along. Also, if you have not caught one yet, do yourself a favor and watch an episode of 24.
Overall, I think