If you're a regular reader of my work then you know that one of my annual columns is something called: "Twenty Ideas for WWE to Consider." It's not a column that I write as if to say I have all the answers for WWE and if they don't listen they are failures. I'm not like that. What the column is about is presenting realistic ideas that I think WWE should do to help improve the product.
I wrote last year's column on August 24, 2012, which was right after SummerSlam. You can read the column right here if you need to see it again or if you missed it a year ago. I'm not sure if I'll do this year's version before or after SummerSlam, but I will just say that it's coming within the next couple of weeks. I've jotted down some ideas already, so it's in the works.
Before we get to this year's 20 WWE Ideas, I figured I should revisit last year's column. I'll start out by saying that WWE definitely did not use a lot of my ideas. Again, I'm not writing this to make 20 predictions of things that I think will happen because if I was doing that my column would be very different. Plus, we do a predictions column at the start of the year (check out what I put about Bray Wyatt!) where I try to put in things that I think WWE will do.
What my 20 WWE Ideas columns are about are things that I think would work. Sometimes I think outside the box a bit and there's no chance of them happening, but most of the time I go for realistic things that I think are possible.
For this column what I'm here to do is go over the twenty ideas from last year and offer up my thoughts about what I may have been thinking then, why it didn't happen or on the off chance that it did actually happen I may pat myself on the back Barry Horowitz style.
1. Book the heels to be stronger than the they currently are
This is sad because right now the top heels in WWE are worse than they were last year. This is what I wrote last year: "Fans like to boo jerks. It's what we do. Fans like to boo jerks even more when they win because after they win they are even bigger jerks. If they are bigger jerks that means fans will be more interested to see these guys lose. You can't have the good guy without the bad guy. They need each other."
If anything, faces in WWE are stronger than ever. If you look at the roster right now the babyface side has John Cena, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler to name a few. You can make a valid point that the six names I listed are the biggest stars in WWE right now.
What heels are there that are really strong? Brock Lesnar. That's about it. Even when I think about Lesnar he lost to Triple H at WrestleMania. Sure, he beat Triple at Extreme Rules, but what win is more important? WrestleMania of course. He's also a part-timer that works three matches in the year. Guys like Alberto Del Rio and Ryback may be presented as top heels. Do fans really perceive them as top guys? I don't think so. Hopefully guys like Antonio Cesaro and Damien Sandow are booked stronger, but I have my doubts about that.
I like the WWE product a lot right now. However, the lack of strong heels is a problem that needs to be resolved. It's likely that Orton goes heel soon. After that, what is there? A void. Let's hope that's something that is corrected soon.
2. Add William Regal to the Raw announce team
I have wanted this to happen for a couple of years now. Obviously it didn't happen. They added a third man to the Raw announce team and it ended up being John Bradshaw Layfield. I have no problem with that. I think he's the best commentator in WWE. I just think William Regal should be on Raw or Smackdown. This may count as a spoiler, but they used Alex Riley as an announcer on Smackdown that airs next Friday August 2nd. I'm surprised by that choice. Maybe my wishes of Regal announcing on Raw or Smackdown will never happen, but I really hope it does.
3. Have Seth Rollins defeat The Miz for the Intercontinental Title on his Raw debut
Nope. Rollins debuted late in 2012 as part of the heel group known as The Shield. I'm glad he did. I wouldn't change anything about it. The reason I wanted him to debut against Miz is because Rollins works so well as a babyface and in going up against Miz he could have a feud right off the bat over a credible heel. Obviously WWE went in a different direction with Rollins. I don't mind. Things have worked out well for Rollins. I still think long term he'll be better off as a babyface. There's plenty of time for that to happen.
4. Bring Money in the Bank back to WrestleMania 29
It didn't happen. I get why they don't do it because they have a Money in the Bank pay-per-view now. However, don't you think WrestleMania has been hurt the last few years because of a dynamic, exciting match like this? WrestleMania hasn't been the best WWE PPV for at least the last three years and it's because of a lack of fresh ideas.
5. Make King of the Ring the annual July PPV with the winner getting a WWE Title shot at Summerslam
That obviously didn't happen either. I love King of the Ring. The idea of it really works and it can put over a guy huge if booked the right way. For whatever reason, WWE has soured on the King of the Ring concept. I think it's a mistake on their part.
In years past I also wrote that they should put King of the Ring in October. The winner of the crown gets a WWE Title shot at Survivor Series. You think anybody cares about generic PPV names like Over The Limit or the new name of Battleground? No. At least the King of the Ring name has some history and could increase the interest in an event. It's not happening this year, but perhaps in the future.
6. Give Drew McIntyre another chance
I thought he had a chance to be "Paul Heyman Guy" when they debuted somebody new with him, but obviously they went a different direction. McIntyre has the size and talent to be a major player, I think. Clearly WWE doesn't agree with me these days since he's in a comedy group like 3MB that has no role except to get beat up by babyfaces. He just turned 28, so there's still time. Am I optimistic that WWE will use him the right way? Not really.
7. Don't do another Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H match
This was after the original SummerSlam match. Not only did they do another match, but they did two (WrestleMania 29 and Extreme Rules). Lesnar won at SummerSlam, Hunter won at WrestleMania 29 and then Lesnar won at Extreme Rules. It would have been nice if Lesnar got to wrestle different opponents. At least he will do so at this year's SummerSlam since he's going up against CM Punk.
8. Debut Dean Ambrose as an ally of CM Punk
It would have been fun. In a sense it did happen since The Shield helped CM Punk keep the WWE Title when he was up against Ryback, but it wasn't like I had envisioned. I was talking more of a mentor with an understudy type of deal. Two great villains working together. Didn't happen that way. Perhaps it will happen in the future. Obviously Ambrose has had a lot of success as part of The Shield so I'm fine with WWE going another way with him.
9. Find a way to use Derrick Bateman, Michael McGillicutty & Johnny Curtis
I enjoyed all three guys on NXT in the old format, so I made it a point to include them. I had the right idea for two of them.
Michael McGillicutty - He got a much needed name change to Curtis Axel, which is for the best. Having Paul Heyman as his manager certainly helps too. I'm excited about his future.
Johnny Curtis - He became Fandango. It's definitely a different kind of character. He started with so much momentum and had that very memorable night on the Raw after WrestleMania with the arena humming along to his song. Then he got a concussion. His push, which likely included the Intercontinental Title, was halted. Now? He's just another guy.
Derrick Bateman - He was my favorite of the three and I loved the potential of his USA Guy gimmick, but it never came to fruition. A knee injury sidetracked him a bit too. A few months ago he was released. If you don't know what USA Guy was, here's a video:
I'm Canadian and I was so inspired by it. It could have been fun!
10. Turn Kofi Kingston heel
It didn't happen. There were really no signs of it happening. I just think it would freshen up his act a bit. Instead, he had runs with the IC and US Titles in the last year. No change. Same Kofi Kingston. Like I mentioned earlier, the babyface side of the roster is stacked. It's not like he's going to move up the ranks. Why not try something new with him? If it fails he can easily go back to being the smiling "boom boom boom" guy again.
11. Have Sin Cara defeat Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania 29
I really wrote a lot about this last year. I thought it had great potential. Neither guy appeared at WrestleMania either due to injury or because WWE just didn't care. It would be nice to see them in a match one day. I doubt it would be at a WrestleMania now.
12. Build the tag division around Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel
Wishful thinking on my part, huh? Kidd suffered a knee injury to start the year and hasn't been back yet although he should be returning soon. Gabriel hasn't done much this year except have good matches on shows like Main Event and Superstars. I still think they have a lot of potential as an exciting babyface tag team. Perhaps we could see them team up again when Kidd returns.
13. Sign Angelina Love (Angel Williams) & Velvet Sky
At the time of the article, both of them were not in TNA. Soon after this was written, Sky ended up back in TNA. Love is not in WWE or TNA and is working independent wrestling shows while also doing fitness modeling competitions. Love was actually in WWE's developmental system although she never made it on television. Then she headed to TNA from there. Sky has never really been on WWE's radar. She's not very good in the ring, but she's gorgeous and popular, so I figured maybe WWE would give her a try.
14. Create a feud between Beth Phoenix and Natalya
Here's another miss. I'm not sure why WWE avoided doing a feud between their two best women's wrestlers, but they did. They did have one match, though. It was on Smackdown in September of 2012.
That's their only match. Five minutes. It was in Buffalo where Beth is from, but that's all they could get? They had that whole Divas of Destruction team a couple years ago and then it just ended randomly. I think they could have had a great feud with some of the best divas matches in WWE history. It's a shame they were never given that opportunity.
15. Mick Foley should headline the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2013
He was in it, but he was not the headline name. It was Bruno Sammartino. How was I supposed to know that would happen? Bruno had distanced himself from WWE for over 25 years and then in early 2013 he was talked into going into the Hall of Fame after all these years. I enjoyed Foley's speech the most. He's always been a favorite of mine. It's okay if he wasn't the top name because he can say he was a part of the best Hall of Fame class in WWE history.
16. Make David Otunga a manager
Oh right. That guy. I think I wrote this because I was tired of seeing Otunga wrestling in awful matches week after week and figured he was still worthy of a role as a manager. These days he's not even on WWE TV. I don't miss him. People don't even ask me when he's going to be back on television. And that's okay. After all, he has that career as a lawyer to fall back on.
17. Turn The Miz into a babyface
I got one right! Yes! It's just a shame that one of my ideas would have to be considered a failure because the babyface run of The Miz hasn't been handled very well. They haven't done a whole lot to change his character aside from using Ric Flair to put him over by teaching him how to use the Figure Four Leg Lock, which Miz botched for a few weeks. The fans just haven't gotten behind him like I would have thought.
I think Miz will continue to have issues in terms of his spot on the roster because as I mentioned earlier the babyface side of the roster is stacked with great performers. Miz is a level below them. It would be better for him to turn heel because the face act isn't working. Just like I said with Kofi Kingston, there's nothing wrong with trying something new. If it doesn't work, go back to what worked before. Miz is more natural as a heel. It's easy to see that.
18. The World Title Match at WrestleMania 29? Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. challenger Daniel Bryan
I would have loved that so much. It's certainly a better match than the very average Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger match we got for the World Title. Technically, they did get to wrestle at WrestleMania 29 since Bryan teamed with Kane while Ziggler teamed with Langston, but it was not a very memorable matchup.
It would have been better for Ziggler to win the World Title before WrestleMania and walk in as the World Champion. Bryan's singles push could have started earlier. This feud could have been money. Now? They're both babyfaces. No chance of a feud in the near future. I know they feuded in late 2010, but I'm talking about a major feud. We'll have to wait for that one.
19. The Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker WrestleMania 29 match should be set up at Survivor Series
This is what I wrote last year: "I think the likelihood of a Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker match at WrestleMania is very high." Incorrect. I would have loved to see this match, which would be about ten years after their last series of matches. Instead, Lesnar wrestled Triple H for the second of their three matches and Undertaker had a classic matchup against CM Punk that was clearly the match of the night at WrestleMania 29.
There's a chance this match could happen next year, but I think Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock is more likely. It's obviously too early to predict something like that. I'm just saying if I had to pick a match for Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 it would be against The Rock. For all we know, Rock may not want to wrestle again due to injuries he suffered earlier this year. If that happens then Lesnar vs. Undertaker is more likely.
20. Have John Cena defeat The Rock for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 29
Okay fine, so I ended it with a predictable one. When I wrote the column, CM Punk was the WWE Champion. The Rock said he was getting a WWE Title shot at the Royal Rumble. It all fell into place rather easily. It's just a shame that Cena vs. Rock wasn't a better match at WrestleMania 29. There was nothing wrong with it, but it was just average. For a WrestleMania main event we expect more.
That wraps it up. There were only a couple of things that I wrote that actually happened, which again shows that I'm not here to write predictions. I'm here to offer ideas for WWE to consider - just as the title of this column says.
As I said in the open, I'm not sure when I'll do the 2013 version of this column. It will likely be during the week after SummerSlam because I want to see what happens there. Until then, I'll keep on writing the Raw Deal and everything else that I do. Thank you for all your support.
John Canton - [email protected]