What's wrong with WWE?

Rather than a weekly round-up, Silas and The Baron talk through WWE's issues, and what it can do (if anything) to make their product more compelling for fans.

Rather than do a weekly round-up, this week we're going to have a few thoughts about where WWE is, and how it got there, and where it could go (and how) in the future:

1) Talent release. The big surprise this week was the release of Brawn Strowman - apparently he hadn't got a "no cut" clause in his contract, and given his vocal support and loyalty to WWE in the past, cutting him here looks like a real kick in the teeth.

Let's be frank - if WWE were going to stick a belt on him for any length of time they would have done it long ago, when his stock was really high, and the fact that they didn't speaks volumes.

I wonder how he feels about WWE now? He had a good ride while it lasted - he was never the greatest in-ring or on-mic performer (Running powerslam, "GET THESE HANDS!"), so perhaps he just enjoyed it while he could?

2) Other cuts - Aleister Black and Ruby Riott stand out for me as wrestlers that WWE signed but then genuinely didn't know what to do with (take a bow Iiconics!), and in the end they were just... window dressing.

3) The WWE business model. This MUST have changed - and if it hasn't yet, it has to soon - as AEW has shown that shrewd signings and use of what you have means you can still make a profit without trying to sign every wrestler and their dog just to stop someone else signing them.

WWE was - and is - simply bloated, and takes the view, it seems, that if they buy up all the talent then everyone else will just fold... but it doesn't work like that in the 21st Century. There are numerous streaming platforms (even the WWE has one :-) ) that mean that just cornering the big networks for TV doesn't mean you won't have competition, for both signings and fan dollars.

4) Lesnar returns. Which means Paul H will be his representative, because Brock ain't great on the mic (unless he has secretly been practising while he was away?) and then Reigns will have to turn babyface to make the inevitable "Clash" even half-way interesting.

Although of course we have seen it all before.

5) Repeat, repeat, repeat. Despite having a HUGE roster, the WWE still insists on playing safe whenever they have the chance to do something really off the wall.

How many times does Charlotte Flair need to be put into a title match? How many beatings does Sami Zayn have to take to build up Owens (only for KO not to take the title), how many dull walkarounds does Orton have to phone in a performance for?

We have seen all the WWE headline matches before - even if you don't know if Reigns or Goldberg is going to win, the fact it is Reigns Vs Goldberg is enough for you to know that you've seen it all before, and will see it all again.

So what can WWE do?

1) Focus on a smaller roster, and don't be afraid of booking surprise wins. Why hasn't Nakamura got a title, for example, when he was a MASSIVE signing, and so over with the crowd? Or Cesaro? (Answers on a postcard)

2) Throw a curveball. Face vs Face, Heel vs Heel. Even triple threats with all heels, then at least you can get people to want the winner to lose next time! (think Sami C in Impact - heel through and through, but massively interesting matches).

3) Some wrestlers work as tag teams, stop breaking up the good ones, and stop messing with a good formula. Iiconics, take a bow (again)!

4) If you are going to give a push, stop getting cold feet at the last minute. Let's go back to Strowman - where did he go after the (godawful) "Symphony of Destruction" match against Elias?

Nowhere. So what was the point of the SoD match?

Again, answers on a postcard.

And finally:

5) Put Vince out to pasture. His fickleness is hurting your product, and will end up hurting your brand. Deciding to rewrite everything and trying to have - as an individual final arbiter - final creative control over everything is (because of the size of WWE), IMHO, losing the "big picture".

Build for the long-term, and not the short. Have faith in your talent, rather than seeing them as "independent contractors" who you can treat like machines.