WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Free Fall: Different Storyline, Potentially Same Results

Now that Roman Reigns knows what it is like to hold the WWE World Heavyweight Title, even for a brief moment, he has become the newest version of a Charlie Brown, with Triple H and Sheamus playing the part of Lucy Van Pelt.

It’s also the same kind of pattern we all followed in watching Daniel Bryan climb the mountain, turn around and get pushed off the other side time and time again by The Authority. Fans might be sick of the same program rearing its ugly head one year later, but right now, it really is what is best for business.

WWE needs another strong program to weather the storm of poor ratings once again, the lowest the company has seen on Raw in years.

Can Reigns, who Vince McMahon is forcing us to like over the ill-fated victory by Sheamus, finally get over this time, taking down Triple H, Sheamus and whoever else he adds to his cast of goons? Will the fans be satisfied with what they have right now, or will they revolt to the point that McMahon has to break down the walls of WWE headquarters and start from scratch.

The latter sounds like a much better plan right now.

As Ryan Droste of What Culture, wrote…

This week’s edition of WWE RAW drew the lowest viewership for the show since 1997, drawing an average of just 2.96 million viewers. This is also the first time that the overall viewership of Raw has dipped below 3 million viewers since 1997. Last week’s show drew an average of 3.29 million viewers.

What makes this number worse is the fact that it comes on the heels of the Survivor Series, one of the four biggest PPV shows of the year for WWE. Not only that, but the fact that WWE crowned a brand new World Heavyweight Champion on Sunday night and record low levels of viewers tuned in to see the new champion on Monday shows just how badly positioned the company is moving into WrestleMania season.

Unless McMahon can pull a magic rabbit or John Cena or The Rock out of his hat, those ratings are going to continue drop. And it isn’t just writers like myself who think this way. Former WWE superstar Mick Foley isn’t too keen on what he sees on television right now, either.

Foley, who is one of the more popular wrestlers to work for McMahon, said there are reasons for the drop in ratings and why people are flocking away from the brand. He is almost at his wits end – much like we all are and here is why.

I am one of those people on the verge of becoming a former WWE fan. I’m tired of being told through Raw, Smackdown and PPV’s that WWE superstars I have rooted for – from Ziggler to Cesaro to Kevin Owens aren’t top stars – no matter how strongly crowd reaction seems to disagree. I’m tired of NXT stars getting their big “break” in WWE, just to be treated like jokes.

Six months ago, my son and I traveled 12 hours – from Eastern Tennessee to Orlando, Florida to watch Sasha Banks wrestle Becky Lynch at ‪NXT Takeover- One of the greatest women’s matches of all time. Last night, in what I believe was their first singles match on ‪#‎RAW Sasha and Becky were given four minutes. At a time when WWE desperately needs to make new stars – when they need to give wrestlers with talent the opportunity to break through – they gave Sasha and Becky four minutes. I turned the channel, and watched a pretty good football game instead. I think I can get used to watching football games on Monday night again.

The rant is even longer, but you get the point. If former wrestlers are fed up with the product, it stands to reason the common fan is as well. I will defend WWE on one point – it cannot defend itself from injuries that have affected the roster. Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Sheamus before he returned, Seth Rollins, Cesaro – they all take a toll on creating new opportunity for storylines.

But there are other wrestlers on the roster the company should be pushing harder to make the main event. Alberto Del Rio looked solid at Survivor Series, but the connection with Zeb Colter does not work. Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens are about to go to war for the Intercontinental Title when in fact they deserve the World Title more than Reigns. Cesaro was the hardest worker on the roster, sans Rollins, but wasn’t getting the push he deserved. And all the while, McMahon has been fixated on Reigns to lead a new generation of superstars.

It’s almost too much to bear and too thick and elixir to swallow. This is not a case of giving the title back to Ric Flair over and over again because the NWA or WCW knows he can draw money and yes, John Cena is the best option to do just that – but 15 times we have seen him climb the ladder. Give someone else a chance to steal his thunder – just don’t make it Reigns and only Reigns.

The ratings for Raw and WWE in general are going to continue to fall over the holidays. There is one more pay-per-view event where Reigns will challenge Sheamus for his title again. I suspect he wins this time and closes out the year with title in hand, leaving an indelible image of him in the middle of the ring with the strap raised above his head and then the new year will allow WWE to regroup and figure this out.

Fellow wrestling writer Justin Henry wrote on his Twitter page that if Daniel Bryan is healthy, have him dump Reigns to win the Rumble, and then topple Sheamus at WrestleMania. Have Reigns win Money in the Bank and see him promise to cash in honorably. I assume the next part of that would be for Reigns to turn heel, claim the title and then face Cena for the belt, and Cena’s 16th title reign. That kind of scenario, my friends, works.

But it has to be planned out and planned out well. No more slap everything on a wall and hope it sticks. There is too much for this company to lose now.

It’s quite a conundrum and Vince and his cronies cannot afford lackluster pay-per-view events and falling ratings anymore.

The time is now to make change for the future. Listen to what the experts are saying, Vince. Listen to reason. Make moves for progression, not regression. The company must move forward. It cannot afford another month of free fall. That won’t help anyone – the current champion, the future champion, or the company trying to keep fans happy with a champion they have and don’t want right now, and a champion they will have in the future – and don’t want him either.

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