There has been a lot of talk, especially post-Wrestlemania, on comments sections, forums, on various aspects of online media, about the current state of the WWE roster. ‘Cookie-cutter’, ‘clogged with dead weight’, ‘boring’, ‘fire the lot of them’, ‘start all over again’ and ‘it’s not as good as it was in the 80s/90s/Attitude Era/WCW days/ECW days’ [insert writer’s personal preference here] amongst them.
So what could we do with the roster?
Well, it took a bit of searching, but I found the entire roster of the current WWE. And then someone told me to look on Wikipedia and, with one exception, the lists were the same. D’oh! (I dislike Wikipedia, but damn if it wouldn’t have made my life easier in this case…)
So, the roster. Who to keep? Who to fire? Who to do what with?
But first, changes I’d make to the in-ring product of the company. (Not the rest. They’re making a profit, so they’re clearly doing something right.) To start, I’d put a minimum time limit of 5 minutes on TV matches, 8 on PPV (unless there was a really good storyline reason not to go that long); I’d go max of 12 mins on TV (unless it was a special match) and try to average out at around 7 or 8; on PPV no max, but try to average out at around 15 mins. This means wrestlers will need to be trained to work a 15 minute match without boring the pants off everyone with headlock to chinlock to headlock (and, yes, I am looking at you, Randy). I would allow blood only on PPV, and only if the match warranted it. A sledgehammer to the head – bleed. Rammed into a cage 20 times – bleed. Fall on the floor – don’t bleed. Hit the turnbuckle – don’t bleed. Your name is Ric Flair – don’t bleed. I would also make the titles mean something. I would let the wrestlers use some different techniques, bringing their backgrounds with them, which would then be a job for developmental to make sure those moves were safe and that the transition moves, chain wrestling, etc, matched the persona put forth by those moves. And have guys out back to help plan the matches well according to the personas – Arn Anderson, Rocky Steamboat, Michael Hayes, guys like that.
As to story-lines, keep them going. TV should be the set-up with some wrestling. Raw should be the main soap opera, where the angles are set up, but with a huge main event. Smackdown should be where minor feuds are allowed to foster, new tag teams are allowed to develop, etc. NXT should be the step between developmental and main roster (which it is). Other shows are just there for fun – Saturday Morning Slam is great for kids and things like that. PPVs are where the real wrestling lives. I wouldn’t change much here because, really, what they have seems to be working at the moment and is certainly better than any other alternatives out there.
So, to the main thrust of this – what to do with the roster? Deep breath; there’s a lot of them.
Alberto Del Rio – He’s a keeper. Let him do more of what he did in Mexcio, though. He can’t stay grounded and do basic chain wrestling. He needs to show his technical prowess.
Alex Riley – See ya. Got nothin’ for ya.
Antonio Cesaro – Keep him, but go back to what worked for him in ROH as far as his moveset goes. I know he does some of it, but it seems a little slowed down.
Big E Langston – Keep him, but maybe more in an enforcer/bodyguard/trouble-shooter role. The heel’s hired muscle, sort of like Big Bossman at one point.
Big Show – I’d keep him, put him into that same position Andre the Giant had at the end of his career: helping out where he can. Maybe another tag title run, help establish younger talent.
Bo Dallas – Keep, but as Taylor Rotunda. Maybe tag with Bray Wyatt (as the Rotunda brothers).
Brock Lesnar – Keep, but only if he agrees to a more expansive schedule. He is different enough to warrant inclusion.
Brodus Clay – Sorry, see ya! Just don’t see it.
Camacho – Bye! (Hang on, he was still employed?)
Chris Jericho – Keep, but elevate to higher up the food chain, and not let him be purely upper level enhancement talent. He needs to be the pissed off veteran.
Christian – Send to developmental as a trainer. Sorry, I like the guy, but don’t need him on TV anymore.
CM Punk – Well, duh! Send him back to ROH… Hang on! No! Keep him! Sorry. Keep him. Of course.
Cody Rhodes – Surprisingly enough, keep him, but pair him with Goldust, have Dusty as their manager, and leave them in the tag ranks until Dustin is ready to retire. The Rhodeses. Rhodesians. Rhorhos. Something.
Curt Hawkins – Sorry, no.
Damien Sandow – Keep him, but in the tag ranks. I think a pairing with Ted DiBiase Jr would work well, and have them stay a team for a long time.
Daniel Bryan – Keep, and get him into the world title scene as soon as possible.
Darren Young – Keep him as a tag team specialist. See Titus.
David Otunga – Sorry, but no. Just don’t see it in the ring, and we don’t need more dead weight out of it.
Dean Ambrose – Keep, and maintain the Shield as Freebirds 2013 and beyond. Even if they go and do things on their own, they are always together, always the Freebirds Shield. They should never feud internally if possible.
Derrick Bateman – Sorry, no.
Dolph Ziggler – He’s a keeper. Upper level guy, over with the crowd, but maybe up the moveset a little – add some more moves to separate him from the pack.
Drew McIntyre – A year ago I would have said keep him, but no longer. He’s just become bland. Bye, Drew. Sorry.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – His special attraction status is fine and dandy.
Epico – Keep, but in the tag ranks with Primo. And let them loose with some more insane double team stuff, which I am sure they are capable of. Call them the Colons. Colonoscopy. If they perform as singles, they can be a semi-Colon… Okay, that’s sad.
Evan Bourne – Keep, but in the tag ranks. Partner with Justin Gabriel, and see if they and the Colons can get some high flying tag team action happening.
Ezekiel Jackson – I don’t think so. Sorry. No.
Fandango – At the moment I’d say keep him. At the moment.
The Great Khali – Nope, sorry. Too immobile to keep up with anyone and his selling is on El Gigante’s scale.
Heath Slater – Bye! (Which is a shame because I sort of like him, but just don’t see him as a credible competitor.)
Hornswoggle – Keep him but only on Saturday Morning Slam as a kiddies’ attraction.
Jack Swagger – Keep him, stay with Zeb Coulter, and let him be more of the amateur style wrestler. Kurt Angle v2.0, but without the mic ability.
Jey Uso – Keep him as a tag team wrestler with Jimmy. Play up their background a lot more. Hell, call them the New Samoan SWAT Team.
Jimmy Uso – See Jey Uso.
Jinder Mahal – See ya! Never saw the attraction in the first place.
John Cena – Definitely keep, but I’d say let him spend a year or more in the tag ranks with someone, anyone, and chase those titles for a while. It may stop the slide into mediocrity and boredom. Hell, have a storyline where he is desperate to win the tag titles, and so goes through different partners over the course of a few years chasing them, then the big blowoff can come when he wins them. Six months later (or longer) have his partner turn on him so they lose the titles, instant feud and he’s no longer stale because he hasn’t been chasing the World Title for ever.
JTG – Sorry, bye.
Justin Gabriel – Have him tag with Evan Bourne, and keep them together for a while.
Kane – Grizzled veteran, keep him. His recent outings with Bryan have shown that he still has ‘it’.
Kofi Kingston – I’m not sure, but probably a keeper. Just.
Mark Henry – Sorry, but no longer. He’s just outlived his usefulness. Big Show fits the giant person slot so much better.
Mason Ryan – Bye! (Another one I wasn’t even sure was still employed.)
Michael McGillicutty – Keep, but as Joe Hennig, third generation star. The Rock gives credit to Hennig for helping him get back into wrestling shape, so he can’t be a slouch. Just let him wrestle like he can, not like they want. Don’t make him be Mr Perfect Junior, make him be the second coming of Larry ‘The Axe’ Hennig, and just be pissed off and hurt people.
The Miz – Sorry, but no. Never saw the appeal in the first place, worst champion since David Arquette and Vince Russo and Vince McMahon… fourth worst champion ever, and yet he’s still there.
Primo – See Epico.
R-Truth – Just can’t fit him in, sorry.
Randy Orton – Bye. But maybe a few years somewhere else might snap him out of his apathy and boring moveset.
Rey Mysterio – No longer in the ring. Send him down to developmental and get him to make sure the high spots are done safely. He’s got all the experience in the world. And maybe he can lecture on the care and well-being of knees.
Ricardo Rodriguez – I’d elevate him to wrestler. Sure, he’d be enhancement talent but the guy can bump and sell better than half the roster.
Roman Reigns – See Dean Ambrose.
Ryback – Sorry, Skippy, but best of luck in your future endeavours. To me, he’s just the second coming of Hercules Hernandez, but with half the charisma.
Santino Marella – See Hornswoggle.
Seth Rollins – See Dean Ambrose.
Sheamus – I’m torn here, but, really, I’d send him off with Orton. He needs a break from WWE, to go somewhere else for a while and pick up some new bits and pieces. And stop that insane smiling!
Sin Cara – Don’t think I have to; he’s probably already so injured he won’t be back anyway. But, no.
Ted DiBiase – Add the Junior to his name, and then see Damien Sandow.
Tensai – No. Let him go back to Japan where he was doing really well and his style and look was appreciated.
Titus O’Neil – See Darren Young.
Triple H – See The Rock.
Tyson Kidd – Sure, why not? Need some flippy floppy guy to bounce around a bit. And I like Kidd.
Undertaker – He’s already a special attraction for a few months a year. Certainly no hassle to keep.
Wade Barrett – Keep, but let him wrestle like he did in England, a new version of the Belfast Bruiser, a brawler who does not care. And give him a manager.
William Regal – Make this man a manager (of Wade Barrett) now!
Yoshi Tatsu – Bye. Another one I was sure had already been let go.
Zack Ryder – Bye. Maybe you can become an internet sensation in another field.
So, I started with 64 wrestlers. 3 I’ve made special attractions, one I’ve made a manager, 2 I’ve made into trainers. That’s 58 left. Then I dumped 23, leaving me with 35. And two I sent to Saturday Morning Slam. So my main roster is now 33. And with the tag teams I’ve established to reinvigorate the tag division, that doesn’t leave a huge roster left. So who do I add, considering Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are to never ever wrestle again?
First, Goldust, for the Rhodes family tag team.
Bring Bray Wyatt (as Windham Rotunda) (maybe tag with Bo Dallas), Kassius Ohno, Richie Steamboat and Xavier Woods up from NXT. I think they’re ready.
Raid TNA. Grab Austin Aries, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, James Storm and Samoa Joe. Take Daniels and Kazarian, but keep them as a tag team. Maybe, just maybe, take Kurt Angle, but under very strict caveats – testing, no access to Twitter, that sort of thing. Offer Sting anything he wants to be a special attraction, like Undertaker et al.
Hit the indies. Adam Pearce (or is he with TNA now?), Matt Silva (from Australia, now in WWE developmental) and ‘Jag’ Hartley Jackson (Australia’s best wrestler) are three I would fast-track to the main roster. That makes the main roster 50-strong. And for 5 hours of original TV programming plus PPV paydays, that’s enough. To pad out the Royal Rumble, bring in old guys (Foley, Slaughter, et al) and trainers down in developmental who can still go (e.g. Christian), maybe even managers (Regal, Coulter, Heyman, et al) and Hornswoggle and Marella. But apart from that, 50 should be plenty. Of those 50, I’ve pretty much put 14 plus Cena in the tag ranks as well, so the roster won’t be clogged with everyone gunning for singles glory.
Of the current crop of female wrestlers I would keep: Kaitlyn, AJ Lee, Aksana, and Natalya (as Nattie Neidhart, a kick ass heel). That’s it. I want wrestlers who look good, sure, but first and foremost who can wrestle. At a pinch I might include Tamina Snuka as well. But 5 isn’t going to get us anywhere. From NXT bring up Charlotte, but as Liz Flair. Then raid TNA again and grab Tara (Victoria) and Gail Kim. Hit Shimmer and steal Cheerleader Melissa (Alissa Flash), Kellie Skater, Shazza McKenzie, Serena Deeb and MsChif. Then come to Australia because, seriously, the best women’s wrestling I’ve seen is down here. Grab KC Kassidy, Savannah Summers, Miami (turn her heel), Eliza Sway, Harley Wonderland and Tenille Tayla. That’s 19, so I need one more to make an even 20 – Daffney’s still around. That veteran wrestler will do well. (Yes, some Australian wrestling fans – and wrestlers – will say I’ve missed the best Australian female wrestler from this list. They’re wrong. She’s not the best.) And then rehire Fit Finlay to work with them again.
Okay, that’s in-ring. Commentators. Bring back JR, keep JBL, and if you can get Tony Schiavone as motivated as he was in the early 1990s, then grab him. I also like Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash. Use Matt Stryker as a backstage interviewer. Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole can commentate on Saturday Morning Slam where their inanities will not be noticed by the target audience. Referees are doing a fine job, and Charles Robinson is probably the best of the lot. Keep them all. Don’t change a thing.
Do we really need authority figures? We do? For story-line sake? Well, okay then – Booker T’s doing a passable job, keep him with Vickie Guerrero as his foil, and I don’t mind Brad Maddox doing the bumbling lackey thing. Vince (or HHH) can come in when important things need to be decided. But that is all! No-one else!
So, what do you think? Will my new roster work? Will my changes work with regards to matches? Why or why not? Sound off!
And that’s the view.
Tags: aj lee, AJ Styles, aksana, alberto del rio, Austin Aries, big show, Bobby Roode, Booker T, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, HHH, James Storm, jbl, Jerry Lawler, john cena, JR, Kurt Angle, Mark Henry, Miami, Michael Cole, mike tenay, randy orton, Rock, ryback, Savannah Summers, sheamus, Sting, Tag teams, Tara, undertaker, WWE