Howdy everyone, I’m back with another fantasy booking scenario that is in no way outlandish or a complete paradigm shift. In this post, I wish to humbly submit to you one way to freshen up the top of the card, better utilize gimmick matches, and overall shake WWE out of its status quo championship booking.
Allow me to preface my argument with a confession of my own ignorance. I have no idea why Vince insists on the Hogan style of booking other than it being easier than making a concerted effort to make a roster of actual superstars and not just a barcode for guys that work for you. I realize I’m just a struggling writer with no real success to my name, yet it feels that I, or any number of level headed guys on-line can look at the roster on hand and go “yeah, you ten guys combined will make significantly more money than 1 guy.” Barring that, I know, I’m personally not above
plagarizing paying homage to my favorite films, television shows, comic books, and literary works and making it work in the context of wrestling. Okay, enough rambling.
The first suggestion is a call for rankings. Rankings are a quick, easy way to keep people informed of who’s moving up in the world and who needs to slum it with Heath Slater for a bit. The usual knocks against them are that audiences would be confused (basically admitting fans of wrestling are dumber than fans of every other sport in the world) or that rankings would be too static.
To allay those fears, I say “stop it” to the first and secondly WWE controls the narrative. My quick fix for the rankings is a simple top 5.
No. 1 Contender – Determined at various intervals throughout the year
IC Champion – Can challenge the no. 1 contender at any time to take his shot or can wait and is automatically the next person in line.
No. 1 Contender to IC Champ – Determined at set pomts throughout the year, can request a match with champ at any time. Champ must accept unlesss alternative match is requested against someone that competed for the no. 1 contendership.
US Champ – Is allowed to by pass the No. 1 Contendr to the IC Champ. Win positions him closer to World Title, a loss unranks him in the US Division until he faces the no. 2 contender and becomes eithe the new number 2 or settles in at 3.
No. 1 Contender to US Champ – Anyone on the roster can challenge him.
The hope is that with five guys gunning for the champ, we don’t go through 3 straight months of the same match up. I’m not saying no rematches, but make guys earn them. Sometimes a guy needs to be booked as just better right now and the other guy needs to go back to the drawing board and use his new skills on a few guys just below the contender’s level. To avoid a rigid adherence to the top 5, all one has to do is replace guys. If the crowd is really digging Ambrose, but he’s no even in contention for the US belt, string together a few wins for him and an upset loss for one of the guys above him. It’s not hard to manipulate these things when you put a little thought into it.
Wrestling is supposed to be the venue with the quickest audience feeback to editing cycle in entertainment. Use it. Show me a graphic of the top five guys in the company (that you picked) at some point in the show. Make every match matter simply because there is a build to something. This gives you time to let your angles and stories breathe while lesser feature guys can say “check this out Renee, I beat this guy and now I’m just outside the top 5.”
I know gimmicky ppvs bug some people, but I think handled differently, they can inject some new life and excitement into the project. Last year, I spoke about rebranding Survivor Series and TLC in ways to affect future stories. I feel if the gimmick(Hell in A Cell being the biggest culprit most years) doesn’t have a feud to merit it, then just toss a couple guys into it and say “kill each other for a title shot.” Make it a Deadly Game/Sacrifice theme.
Between monthly special events and 3 hour Raws, every title should get representation not just for the title match itself but for building contenders.
Here’s a suggested breakdown for contenders per belt.
All Three Belts
Extreme Rules: Declare an extreme rules no. 1 contender match for each belt
Lethal Lottery: Fans Pick 2 representative from each division that they’d love to see wrestle. One from each pair draws a number. The guy that draws 1 only has to beat his opponent once to be the no. 1 contender. the guy that draws a 3, has to win 2 and the last guy has to win 3. Here’s where you get to have multiple encounters between a pair of guys and it mean something instead of just being filler. Test out the crowd’s reaction and book accordingly. You can always have someone get taken out and lose their spot.
4 Way Eliminator: Give four lower card guys something to do
Fourth of July Battle Royal: Give a variety of guys something to do for the Holiday
Scramble Match: Last man to get a pin fall is no. 1 contender. Any interim winners are ranked by duration between falls.
Divisional Fight Off: Pick any eight guys and divide them into two groups. First guy in each group to beat all three of his divisional rivals fights the other winner for no. 1 contendership. Here you can do so much. Have a guy do a clean sweep either once a week on Raw, twice a week with both shows or even use the house shows to drum up a little business. Have a guy go 3-0 but lose his shot in the last week to the underdog who manages to rally from 0-3 to 3-3. Either take the underdog all the way or have someone unload their frustrations at losing to him.
Royal Rumble: Of course.
King of the Ring: Doesn’t have to be a PPV, but make it for guys you seriously want to push and give them a shot a Summer Slam.
With a little planning, you can make every PPV an event because you will only see the Divisional Champions fight at MITB or only see the Four Way Elminator at Night of Champions. Whatever is decided, you can incorporate so much more of the roster. More visibility means potential more people going “hey, that Bo Dallas guy’s not half bad at this wrestling thing, maybe I’ll buy a t-shirt” or “Wow, Luke Harper can move for a big guy, he might be a decent US Champ.” Just a few suggestions from a guy that loves this game. Until next time folks, live long and let the force be with you.