Wrestling With Ideas

Can the WWE right the ship for 2019?

Brock Lesnar (right) has been hit and miss. Photo by WWE.com

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and the sister show Ball Control. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows at www.nerdthugradio.com or www.facebook.com/nerdthugradio!"

So 2018 is over and 2019 is rolling in and for the WWE the new year came with a promise from the McMahon power structure of new year and new theme.

How's it shaping up? Not good so far. The problems they have were created by the guys who right now are promising new ideas and opportunities. To be fair, let's highlight the efforts before we address the problems: getting rid of mandatory rematches, doing an extra round of "call ups" from NXT, and the McMahons are back onscreen after taking the bulk of the year off from that particular role.

How are these working out? Well, the mandatory rematches were a mixed bag, in the middle of a good rivalry it was a great tool, but when something had come to its conclusion or was starting to drag on, then yeah, it was a bad idea. The call-ups haven't hit yet so there's not a lot to judge them on but honestly the NXT guys haven't had a lot of luck coming up to the big times as of yet, and I have a theory why. It goes like this: NXT fans are the guys actively seeking wrestling, so the gimmicks matter less because these fans have seen it all and are watching for the wrestling, but the gimmick is what sells in the big leagues and honestly most of the gimmicks have been awful. As far as the McMahons coming back, I don't really remember anyone asking for that, so this isn't the solution to the problem.

What is the problem? Too many great wrestlers, too few matches, dumb programs that go on way too long and the writing has gotten stale. Between the young guys they have grown into young superstars, the NXT roster they want to give screen time and the amazing women's division that deserves all the screen time they can get, they won't stop bringing in old guys and guys who aren't committed to the show full time. Between the recent return of Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, Kane, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy - who all fought in matches in 2018 PPV events - guys like Bray Wyatt, Miz, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Rusev, Elias, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Cien Almas and The New Day and others are forced to mid-card and worse. Add in the fact that recent big acquisitions have fallen flat (guys like Gallows and Anderson are terrible personas). Samoa Joe, Shinske Nakamura just aren't entertaining as heels and Randy Orton has NO PURPOSE and you start to wonder about how screen time is being assigned.

When the women's division does get it's B-plots focused on, it's clear they Are being written by the same guys who wrote the 90's pillow fight matches. They just ran a bit where the beautiful Mandy Rose is texting illicit photos to Naomi's husband, because they can't think of another reason two great athletes would want to compete. How is it that the men's division can have five matches a show without ever mentioning each other's personal lives but Naomi (former champion trying to get another title shot) needs to defend her territory, because women are petty? Got it.

So where's the fix? Well stop booking the old guys, that's step one, if they need to be in the Saudi Arabia PPV to finance that deal, fine then book those matches, but don't give it screen time in the States. Make those dark matches and let your two hour advertisement sell the new guys.

The mixed tag team matches are working. They are a great idea and I think there's a future there for that just like it's pretty obvious that the women's division is ready for tag team titles. Also, work on the tag titles on both brands. Right now they are worthless, the divisions are a mess and none of the contenders other than the Usos and New Day move the needle with any consistency. Finally, get rid of Brock Lesnar. It's time when everyone on screen and off screen comments and jokes ON AIR how the universal champ doesn't come to the flagship show. That's a problem.

The times are changing and WWE better stay on the right side of this. If not the young upstarts are circling the water. The Elite, led by spurned former WWE talent, just announced a new wrestling promotion working with a rebel billionaire intent on creating an entertainment brand of its own. Does no one remember the 90's and a little something called WCW?

Masters.com

The big question for 2019: Will Tiger win a major this year? Showing no issues with his back, Tiger got stronger as the year went along in 2018. In fact, he closed out with a bang, winning the Tour Championship Tournament, proving he can compete with the young guns. What follows is my bold predictions for the Majors and other things to watch for in 2019.

The Masters-April 11-14: Rory McIlroy

Last year the golfing world cried when Sergio Garcia put the green jacket on Patrick Reed's shoulders. The fans will be happy to see anyone but Reed win this year at Augusta National, and no one will be happier to take the green jacket from Captain America than Rory McIlroy. Rory told the press that he will focus on playing more golf in the states this year, as well as playing the week before every major, something that he has never done before. And since he has changed to a spider putter, his putting, long a weak part of his game, has made tremendous strides. With just a decent week with the flat-stick, Rory will complete his career grand slam at the Masters.

PGA Championship-May 16-19: Matt Kuchar

A different look for the PGA Championship this year, as it changes from the last major of the year to the second. The tournament is headed to the big apple, where Bethpage Black hosts the tournament for the first time. Bethpage Black was the host of 2 US Opens (2002, 2009) as well as the Barclays (2012, 2016).

With massive crowds likely on hand, the prediction here is that they will be chanting KOOOOOCH on Sunday. Mr. calm, cool and collected will finally break through to win his first major.

Kuchar's great ball-striking and tremendous putting are a good fit at Bethpage, where the fairways and greens are relatively small. Kuchar has already won twice this season, with a win in Mexico at the Mayakoba Classic and the Sony Open in Hawaii, so he looks to be in good form already. If that form keeps up, it will be Matt Kuchar hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy on May 19th.

US Open-June 13-16: Tiger Woods

Pebble Beach hosts the US Open this year, and the scoring should be much lower than last year's debacle at Shinnecock Hills. Pebble Beach plays into the games of two of the most prominent golfers in the world: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Tiger looks to get his first major win since 2008. In the 2010 US Open Tiger finished T-4 here and won in 2000 by 15 strokes. Pebble sets up for Tiger's game, and there is no better time for Tiger to show he is back than at a course which he eats up. Tiger's "frenemy", Phil Mickelson, also loves the coast of Cali and is looking to breakthrough for his career grand slam on his birthday. It would not be a shock to see Tiger and Phil battling it out on Sunday just like old times. No one is better at closing tournaments than Tiger Woods, and if he has the lead going into the back nine on Sunday, Tiger looks to add another major win to his milestone.

The Open Championship-July 18-21: Xander Schauffele

This is going to be the year of Xander Schauffele. He already won the first tournament of the year at Kapalua and really has no flaws in his game. He hits it long and low along with a phenomenal short game. Last year at The Open, Xander finished 2nd to Molinari and in 2017 had a top-25 finish. Granted, Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale are different from Royal Portrush, but Xander enjoys taking the trip across the pond and playing links style golf. The Irish will be all over the home favorite Rory McIlroy, so Xander will be under the radar going into The Open. Do not be shocked to see Schauffele taking a sip out of the Claret Jug by the end of the weekend.

Other:

A new year brings along new rules for the 2019 PGA Tour season. One major rule change includes keeping the flagstick in while putting. Bryson DeChambeau is one of the few golfers who is using the new rule change to his advantage. We'll see whether the science in DeChambeau's head has gone too far, as the former SMU golfer looks to add on his 6th career win.

Another question mark going into the new year is what will happen to Jordan Spieth? Jordan had his first "human" year on the PGA Tour in his short but phenomenal career. Will he bounce back or will the yips haunt him for another year? 2019 is in store for some wild finishes and controversy, but with so much talent brewing, it could be the best year in golf history.

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