WWE | Pro Wrestling

Could A Pro Sport Playoff System Work For The WWE?

triple H WrestleMania X8Figuring out postseason playoffs in any sport is part of the fun of being a sports fan. As I started gearing up for the NFL playoffs it quickly occurred to me that a playoff system where wins and losses mean everything is exactly what the WWE needs.

It all came to me as I was sitting back a couple of weeks ago preparing for the NFL playoffs. I sat home and watched the games all week with an eye on certain teams winning and losing, knowing that playoff implications were on the line. This is all part of the fun of being an NFL or any sports fan. I believe that kind of intrigue and suspense is something that could really turn around a stale WWE product.

It would take a complete overhaul of the system, a ton of preparation, and a lot of commitment to get this right. Of course those all things lacking in today’s WWE booking environment. But if the change in course was made, I believe that the WWE could turn into one of the most exciting products on the planet.

Hear me out on this before you tell me I am crazy, and I am sure plenty of you will. Every sport needs a championship or Super Bowl and the beauty of this plan is that the WWE already has one. WrestleMania is that Super Bowl. As a matter of a fact the WWE use a very similar concept now in that they put more weight on the championship match earned with a Royal Rumble win at WrestleMania than any other title match all year. But why limit the company to one playoff game, let’s open it up for an entire season!

Start the day after WrestleMania with the beginning of the WrestleMania season. Everyone starts with a clean slate with no wins and no losses on the record books. The season will only be opened up to a limited number of WWE superstars, let’s say 32 as a random number. The matches start that night on RAW and from here on out, every result counts!

WWE.com would do tremendous traffic all week long with fans following the wins and losses of their favorite superstars and the Race to WrestleMania. I would even suggest adding wins from house shows to the log. The biggest problem facing house shows in today’s pro wrestling environment is that fans know that nothing ever happens on a house show. Now, every match from the opener to the finale will have implications on the Race to WrestleMania.

Over the course of a year every match except championship matches count. It would be silly to count a number of house show matches featuring the same guy getting pinned around the horn, thus taking him out of the running (hey that is the cost of challenging for a title, another consequence that could be weighed). If one of the two major championships changes hands the former champion is now eligible to participate while the new champion is out of the running. Of course having a champion makes this a little more difficult which is why at some point I would even consider proposing that the champion is one done. After the championship is decided at WrestleMania, that winner is recognized for a year as the champion with no title on the line, ala: defending Super Bowl champions. Crazy? Maybe, but the titles don’t mean much these days anyway.

Now this isn’t entirely revolutionary. Similar tournaments based on points have been done for years, even as recently as a few months back by TNA Wrestling. But, this season is going on all year. That is what makes this concept completely different.

Speaking of points, I am not a big believer in points. I know the NHL does a point system but the Phillies don’t get a triple win because they won by 10 runs as opposed to one. One point per win, ½ for a tie, and that is it whether it the match ends by pin, submission, count out, etc. Now on special occasions like a Triple Threat Match I may give the winner two wins for beating two guys or five wins for a Money in the Bank match. I would even look into giving someone the ultimate prize, 10 wins for a Royal Rumble win. That would give fans the intrigue of seeing some guys that were considered out of the running get back in with their second biggest win of the year (WrestleMania being their first of course).

Yes I know there are a ton of things that can go wrong here. What if someone gets hot right before WrestleMania? What if someone gets hurt? What if the WWE signs a new star in July? These are all things that could be worked out. A guy gets hurt, well then he’s out. A new star signs or someone gets hot, well they can compete next year and act as a spoiler. Speaking of spoilers, how great would it be to see hot feuds turn into rivalries built on keeping his enemy out of WrestleMania? There are answers for everything.

I am also aware that there would be a learning curve. This may not be well received in April, May, or June. But come August when some stories start shaping out about guys needing wins, guys on losing streaks, or guys getting red hot, I think the fans would start to embrace this. It is just like any other sport where the early portion of a long season is a lot less interesting to casual fans than the point where contenders and pretenders start to play out. As enthusiastic as fans get now for the Royal Rumble, imagine if CM Punk was down by 20 and won the Rumble putting himself back in the game and had a couple of months to get those 10 other wins back?

I am fully aware that there are some flaws in this plan that would need to be addressed. But I think those are flaws that could be fine tuned along the way to turn this baby into something gigantic. Pro wrestling fans already love win streaks, imagine if you gave them streaks that matter? Bring back the competitive aspect of pro wrestling? The beauty of all of this is that the WWE could pencil this in however they want, giving them the advantage over any other sporting playoff in the world.

Would this ever happen? I wouldn’t hold your breath, but imagine if it did? Imagine getting online Monday morning after a weekend’s worth of house shows to look at the record books. Imagine tuning in to RAW in March to see a match between two guys tied for first with a year’s worth of hard work on the line. Imagine the thought of seeing a championship match at WrestleMania that gave you the same kinds of thrills a World Series or Super Bowl does. Imagine paying for a house show ticket to watch a match that matters.

Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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