WWE has a few problems these days. They’re numerous, but then again, what company doesn’t have a lot of problems, whether little or small? The key is minimizing the big problems, and right now, there are at least two to me that the promotion isn’t doing well at all. One is a problem that really plagues any wrestling company in different degrees.
Easily enough, there is a solution for both problems contained in one idea. I’m not the first guy to suggest it, and I won’t be the last for good reason. It’s one that should have been implemented in lieu of brand separation back when the roster was at its fattest post-purchase of WCW. That idea would be creating a mandatory offseason. Obviously, for a company that is expected to provide content year round (a ridiculous demand since no other entity is ever expected to provide new content every week of the year for any TV network, cable or otherwise outside of the news), they really can’t take off completely for any amount of time. So the best solution available would be a mandatory offseason for a couple guys at a time. They would be best served to have them staggered, starting in April and the last ones concluding in December, with a full staff ready for WrestleMania season.
The obvious criticism of this would be that taking guys off the road, especially stars like John Cena or CM Punk, would hurt the product for the time they were gone. That would, of course, provide the rider that the company would have to do a better job creating new viable main event wrestlers that could carry the load when Cena is out resting his bones or Punk gets a chance to recuperate from his road schedule. In the short term, results may be disastrous, but in the long term, the fans who stick around (and I imagine people will stick around for the month-to-three months it would take for Cena/Punk/etc. to return) will grow to take the guys put in positions to succeed more seriously if they have the talent to connect with them.
The benefits of not working a strenuous schedule including house shows and television towards preventing injury, both sudden and chronic, are highly visible. Creating the fresh matchups seems like it should be obvious as well. If CM Punk is on vacation, then WWE will be forced to try a different opponent for Cena for that PPV cycle.
Prolonged feuds won’t seem so oppressive because there’s always that light at the end of the tunnel that one of them would have to leave. The best thing about that would be the return. There’s no bigger pop that a guy gets than returning from injury, especially in a surprise capacity. Why not have that tool available by design rather than waiting for a guy to get hurt? Obviously, overuse would not be advisable.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.