World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has a problem; a good problem, but a problem nonetheless.
They have too much talent.
After the purchase of WCW, there was truly only one game in town. Other promotions tried to fill the void left by the top competitor, but the WWE had too much market share to compete against. In winning, the WWE consolidated most of the notable talent.
Over the decade-plus since WCW’s demise the WWE has done even more to add to their ranks. The addition of NXT and the WWE Performance Center will ensure that they have first pick of the next great talents joining the world of professional wrestling.
We have already seen this come to fruition. The WWE’s roster today is the most talent-rich in company history, and could be – top to bottom – the most talent rich for any one promotion in wrestling history.
Why is this a problem? Shouldn’t having this much talent be a good thing? It is a problem because phenomenal workers who have the potential to draw money are not getting the chance. It is evident to the fans that tune in every week that watch Monday Night Raw.
If you were to trust the fickle world of social media and message boards you would notice the undying love for wrestlers such as Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, and many others. The shouts for those talents to move up the card are prominent each week, but they are not realistic.
The top of the card is only able to handle a select few workers. Those roles are filled for the foreseeable future. Sure, we may grow tired of John Cena and Brock Lesnar, but their value is undeniable and their spot at the top of the card has been earned. It is not justifiable to push them out while they continue to draw.
The WWE has been in the process of adding to the top billing over the past year. The story of Daniel Bryan’s rise has been well documented, and now the grooming of Roman Reigns adds another name to the list. It isnow even more difficult for these fringe stars to breakthrough.
As we sit in the summer heat, the WWE has signed two more stellar names in KENTA and Prince Devitt. There isalso the rumor of Kevin Steen coming over to NXT in short order.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to envision how these wrestlers can be utilized in a quality manner. While we become disheartened at Damien Sandow’s booking, and even most recently on Monday with Bo Dallas’ inexplicable loss to R-Truth there is little way to see how the WWE can justifiably use everyone properly.
How can the WWE rectify this situation? Another brand split.
OK. Don’t shoot the messenger just yet.
I think we can all agree that the Raw vs. Smackdown brand split was a failure. It was not good for talent or fans. It just never worked. However, that is not what I am proposing.
The WWE needs a new brand, one that is run almost entirely separate from the famed “WWE Universe”.
One of the biggest flaws with the Raw vs. Smackdown brand split was that they were never truly separate, and Smackdown was seen as the B-show. Smackdown played second billing to Raw throughout the time of the brand split, and fans awaited for the day talent would shift over to Monday to take the next step in their career. It was seen as a demotion to be drafted to Smackdown.
The secondary world championship was never as highly regarded as the title placed on the Raw champion.
This new brand for the WWE would be a great way to appease a separate fan base, and to offer value to other properties – most importantly the WWE Network.
Currently, the WWE has a mountain of content they are delivering to fans. They can use one of those spots – Main Event or Superstars – to plug in the this new one-hour, weekly show to be aired exclusively on the Network.
It adds true value. Value that is needed after the WWE released their Network numbers to investors this week. It would not be the C-show that the two current Network properties currently are. Are fans disappointed they miss a Main Event? No. Everyone knows nothing significant will happen on it or Superstars. Add a flagship show and that changes.
The easiest path to invigorate fans would to be utilize a brand they already own – World Championship Wrestling.
WCW returning may be as perfunctory as ECW’s WWE run, but the mere mention of the initials WCW would spark interest across the world of wrestling. Adding a new, fresh brand would not generate the instant interest that WCW would have. Even the skeptics would tune in early on just to see how WCW would be utilized.
It draws in eyes more so than anything else they would be able to create.
Making WCW an exclusive WWE Network brand would add value to the struggling service, and it might be enough to spark the shareholders.
The WWE could run WCW in a less-produced environment that so many fans crave for. Even WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has discussed the want for a more intimate and gritty product on his podcast. This would be a prime opportunity to do just that.
The new-WCW could run in a small venues utilizing the star talent suffering in the mid-card of today’s jam-packed WWE.
Imagine placing Ziggler atop the ranks of the new WCW alongside Cesaro. Two talents the WWE know they have something special in, but are not able to currently make the move up to the main event spot.
Now, add in the use of existing WCW trademarks that could be used for six PPV-style special events:
|June/July||The Great American Bash|
This new, WWE Network exclusive brand is what the WWE needs. It will give the talent more opportunity to shine and move up the roster instead of fighting to be in mid-card angles just to remain even slightly relevant.
For the WWE, it is another way to generate revenue. If over workers like Ziggler and Zack Ryder can generate this much interest in their current roles, just imagine the possibilities if they are given the chance to carry a new brand. It also provides more original content to be promoted and sold on the WWE Network. It is a property not bound by current TV rights deals and could be a fantastic way to boost the digital platform.
For fans, it is a way to not be disenfranchised when they watch talented workers they know could carry the torch if given the chance when they flounder while being stuck in the overcrowded Raw roster. Instead, they will be showcased on a different product. This new brand will be able to reach the hardcore wrestling fans, and the fans who want an alternative.
There are still numerous problems that come with creating this new WWE Network exclusive brand. What workers would embrace the opportunity to jump on board to build something new? Is it more beneficial to them to stay as a middling WWE talent, or to embrace a larger role on a smaller platform?
In light of recent cutbacks, how would the WWE justify spending the capital on a separate crew to put on these events regardless of how much lower budget it would be ran on. The WWE is a large enough entity to manage those difficulties if they see value in this brand. The money saved from dropping Main Event or Superstars may be enough to run the new brand’s show.
Regardless of the challenges, the WWE’s problem should have them seeking new solutions. They are ahead of the curve with the all-digital platform, but 2014 has seen the company take large financial hits thanks in part to their new efforts.
There are too many workers for far too few holes to fill. The WWE simply has too much talent, and while that is a great problem to have it also gives them a perfect window to launch something new that can help their business for years to come.