WWE Doesn’t Need The Wild Card Rule, It Needs Focus

Simply put, last night’s RAW was a joke. And it’s sad that when you have three of the top (heel and face) superstars in company open a show, only to have fans direly disappointed.  I don’t really need to see which of the Red brand superstars show up tonight to SmackDown LIVE to realize this Wild Card Rule is lame; and that’s because it lacks direction.

While reports indicate that the Wild Card Rule has been placed in effect to appease both Fox and USA Network, as both are pressuring the company around its declining ratings, it makes sense to have top stars on both brands; however, there needs to be a little more focus. Last night felt like a rabbit was quickly pulled out of hat in hopes that the “same old, same old” trick would entertain fans.

Vince McMahon seems to be under the impression that all the WWE Universe wants is to be surprised by superstars that get a pop when their music hits. Yes, returning talent or debuting ones do create shock value and entertain to a shallow level; however, what is needed in addition to this is more of a meaty storyline and some strategy around what is being rolled out for said superstar once they get their feet wet.

Back in December of 2018, Vince, Shane, Stephanie and HHH promised to change things up on RAW and SmackDown LIVE. They promised new faces, new challenges, and not the same old same old. We’ve seen a ton of debuting NXT talent, maybe a little too many brought in from January to February, and from that crew, only two have really been used significantly in the form of Lacey Evans and Ricochet. Most have either fallen off the radar, or are used on Monday or Tuesday television, lacking tremendous direction.

I get that Vince McMahon is scrambling amongst low rating; however, those rating will continue to plummet without focus around superstars, their stories, and character evolution. While the Superstar Shake Up is a fun thing that rolls out after Wrestlemania, by adding this Wild Card Rule, the WWE is hurting this brand extension. They are taking away an opportunity from a upper-mid-card talent to shine and move forward (especially on SD LIVE, which is only two hours … for now), because both programs will be bogged down with main event talent from both brands. It just seems like an utter and complete mess.

Want to increase ratings? Look at what has been successful in recent months. Kofimania was successful because of the story around it, it was not forced, compelling, and pulled a the WWE Universe; not to mention the incredible wrestling that was showcase in the ring leading up to Wrestlemania. Same can be said for Becky Lynch versus Ronda Rousey, and Charlotte Flair; however, add in a little Twitter banter to the fuel the fire there.

At the end of the day, you can shock fans for five minutes and bring out new superstar after new superstar; returning talent; debuting talent; or talents from the other brands. But what is really needed is an age-old formula that has always equaled out success across wrestling generations: focus on stories with appeal, feel the audience’s reaction to them, give it some time, allow superstars to do what they do best both inside and outside that squared circle – and that is let their characters develop, evolve, and shine. Take some feedback from your talent and let have some creative input.

And for the love of everything that is good and holy, at the end of the day, stay true to the root of your “sports entertainment” brand and let the talent tell those stories in the ring. It’s what made the WWE successful once, it can do that again.

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