We are just a few weeks away from World Wrestling Entertainment Survivor Series and once again we are stuck with familiar names in an unfamiliar main-event. John Cena will be defending the WWE championship against Triple H and Shawn Michaels. While this is a unique match, WWE fans are stuck with the same guys in the top slot. How bad has the lack of championship rotation been for the WWE RAW brand? A look inside of the numbers tells you all that you need to know.
I think my biggest frustration as a pro wrestling fan has been the stale main-event picture on WWE RAW. Conversely, WWE SmackDown has done a good job of rotating the main-event title picture over the last few years. For some reason or another, the WWE RAW brand has featured the same three names in rotation for well over a year. The lack of mobility among the wrestlers is very frustrating for WWE fans. I tell callers on my radio show often, “You can turn off WWE RAW for two years, turn it back on today, and you haven’t missed a thing.”
I took a look at the numbers for the WWE 2009 pay per view schedule. I looked at the results and made note of how many times each guy was put into a title match for the WWE RAW brand. Now in all fairness, I did not count the guys in the Elimination Chamber Match because most of those guys were just fillers. Thus far the WWE has had 12 pay per views this year beginning with the annual WWE Royal Rumble. If you weren’t frustrated before, the numbers will frustrate you even more as a WWE or wrestling fan.
Randy Orton led the pack with ten WWE title matches for the RAW brand as either champion or challenger. I understand there are a lot of Randy Orton fans out there, but as a main-event wrestler I don’t know if I would consider him a draw. If you take into account as much as he has been pushed over the last two years, he should be skyrocketing business and he isn’t. The ratings for WWE RAW started dropping and the response was to bring in WWE Guest Hosts to boost the numbers. Maybe it was time to change your main-event star? There really is no reason to keep this guy in 10 title matches in a 12 show period.
John Cena came in right behind the RKO with nine WWE title matches for the RAW brand. In 2008, the WWE did a decent job of mixing Cena up a bit and keeping him on the undercard to support the main-events. John Cena may be a marketing bonanza but he is certainly not a wrestling draw. I think a lot of fans have tuned out of the WWE show because they are just tired of seeing Cena. He has had some great matches lately with Orton, but the damage is done. There is no reason he needs to be in the title picture. He sure as hell isn’t justifying it with the business they have been doing.
Triple H follows the big two with three main-events, a fourth on the horizon. Triple H is an interesting character here. Most people assume that Triple H is booked in every main-event, but he really isn’t. Keep in mind he was technically on the SmackDown brand up until WrestleMania when he just magically started appearing on both shows. Also, keep in mind that Triple H did miss a few shows to sell an angle. I don’t know what it is exactly about him, but there is definitely a fan backlash to Trips these days. Jim Cornette once said that with the way the WWE has pushed Triple H over the last decade, he should be bigger than Steve Austin. I don’t agree with Cornette on a lot of things, but I agree with him on that one.
Batista rounds up the big four with three WWE RAW brand title main-events. This is an interesting number considering the fact that Batista has only wrestled a handful of WWE pay per views this year. It is apparent that he would have remained in the rotation if he stayed healthy earlier this year. It is also ironic that WWE SmackDown fans don’t seem to be as tired of him as much as the WWE RAW viewers were.
So where will be in 2010 when it comes to the WWE RAW title rotation? Is there anyone that will be pushed into the rotation, and who will be removed? Triple H isn’t going anywhere due to his status in the company. Can anyone really see John Cena or Randy Orton moving permanently out of the picture? There is a ton of great potential on WWE RAW, but none of those guys will make it on top for long. The WWE has done so much damage in the meantime to the Jack Swaggers, Kofi Kingstons, and Ted Dibiases that the fans will never take them seriously up top.
There are rumors of a TNA move to Monday nights. Quite honestly, I couldn’t think of a better time to make the move than now. WWE fans are loyal to a point. If you count increases or decreases as a result of WWE Guest Hosts, most of the fans tuning in to bump up the numbers aren’t loyal WWE fans. Granted Hulk Hogan isn’t the answer, but give WWE fans a Samoa Joe vs. Daniels or AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle main-event to watch instead of another Randy Orton-Triple H-John Cena moment, and you may be surprised at how quickly TNA Wrestling starts to catch fire.
So go ahead and tune out for a few years. Believe me, you won’t miss a thing.
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