Just because WWE found a way to get Roman Reigns over as the new WWE World Champion in Philadelphia, no less, it does not mean the problems that existed last week are all but vanished and that one wave of Vince McMahon’s magical wand cured all the ills of professional wrestling in general.
One really good week on Raw just means there is hope for the future.
According to numbers, ratings for Monday night’s show following the TLC pay-per-view were up significantly with McMahon himself appearing on television and a lineup of matches that took us all back to the days of an Attitude Era gone by. It was a nice touch to a show that had to have an impact on what we saw the night before and another fall by Reigns in the main event.
Some 3.88 million viewers watched McMahon challenge Reigns himself in the ring before agreeing to the rematch between Sheamus and the new champion. Last week’s show drew just 3.05 million viewers.
The title switch wasn’t just what Reigns needed – it was something the fans and everyone on WWE’s roster needed. With such a move to make the switch on public cable, McMahon in effect was crying out to the masses to come back and love his company again, challenging the NFL and spitting in the face of the show he helped to create the night before in hopes of getting more exposure.
It worked tenfold, but can he sustain the momentum with the Slammy Awards this coming Monday and the end of the year in sight?
Choosing a champion like Reigns is a tricky proposition in that it took 12 months to get him over with the fans in an attempt to wage a massive change in direction like Hulk Hogan replacing Bob Backlund. Reigns is thought to be the new John Cena, the one who will not change his stripes and damned be anyone who thinks he has to in order to sell tickets at the gate. I for one think that Reigns will be a champion for the foreseeable future, but it may not be as acceptable with the masses as McMahon and the company thinks.
Cena’s shtick works because of the other things he does – which include move and television spots, Make-A-Wish and is a figure even the common partial fan can get behind. Reigns is a rough looking wrestler who is not well-spoken and unless you are a diehard fan, you know nothing about him.
That’s a pretty hard cell, if you ask me.
WWE still has issues with booking, injuries to its top stars, the fact it cannot keep viewers interested on Monday and Thursday nights during football season, and a creative team that drops the ball more than it catches a solid pass. McMahon cannot write the program week after week and at 70, he certainly cannot get in the ring like he did with Steve Austin and make history.
We should leave that to Triple H – stay tuned for a confrontation in the ring at some point, possibly at the Royal Rumble.
Add to the fact NXT appears to be a more popular brand than the big brother promotion and somehow, some way there has to be a connection between the two. I’m pretty sure Bayley and Samoa Joe and others will be appearing on the main stage in a matter of months if means another spike in ratings.
And the idea of Samoa Joe and Reigns or Brock Lesnar or Kevin Owens could be the feud that brings the fans back to the small screen.
Things are getting better with WWE. Don’t get me wrong. There was a need for Monday night and the return of McMahon. Now, let’s see the company capitalize on it, hopefully with a chance at bringing us all back to the promotion we used to live.