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?

@itsmaxedison Twitter

Last Friday, Gifford Louis "Max" Edison passed away. He was a long time staple of the Houston sports media scene. I've met Max a few times. Mainly in the pressbox at Texans games. He was always friendly. Max was a true pro's pro. He dressed to impress and had stories for days. I never got to know him the way some others have. Perhaps the most fitting tribute I've seen was written by Jerome Solomon. Jerome was one of the many guys that Max mentored.

After learning of his passing, and a conversation the week prior with someone who's helped me immensely, it made me think of those have helped and/or mentored me along the way. Paying it forward is something that takes selfless action, a humble spirit, and being in a position to help and inspire others to achieve. This business is like swimming in the deep waters. It's full of sharks. Great White alpha predator sharks. If you want to survive and thrive, you'll need a few Killer Whales to help you swim past those Great Whites. Here's a few of the people that have helped me along the way:

David Nuño

David Nuño

@DavidNunoABC13 Twitter

I used to listen to 1560 The Game a lot. I showed up to a live remote and talked to a few of the hosts. The one who genuinely took an interest in me and what I could potentially do was David Nuño. A few months later, I was shooting and editing a video after every Texans home game with him. He showed me how to hustle and get sound pre and post game. I remember him having goals and working always towards them. But he took time to help me get my foot in the door and I'll always be grateful for that.

Raheel Ramzanali

Raheel Ramzanali

@The_Raheel Twitter

When Nuño entrusted me to upload video content to the 1560 website, I sucked at it. The person who helped me get better and somewhat quicker was Raheel Ramzanali. Most people who are older than someone in a work environment have a hard time taking instruction or direction from someone younger than them. I threw that ridiculous idea out the window because Raheel was ( and still is) damn good at the whole digital/social media thing. He and Nuño are the reason I started my social media accounts. They are squarely to blame for anything I've posted since 2009.

Craig Shelton

Craig Shelton

@OGRebelino Twitter

I was doing some good stuff for 1560 with Nuño, Raheel, and the gang at 1560. But life happened, and I had to step away from things (another story for another day). I started listening to and following what Craig was doing on another radio station, as well as his blog site Houston Media Watch (HMW). I can't remember how we linked up, but I started blogging for HMW. Next thing you know, he invited me on his weekend show at another station. After doing that show for a while (where I learned to work a board), he asked me to be apart of his Tuesday night show named Hustletown on ESPN 97.5. While we always put on an entertaining show, the car rides and conversations to and from shows and events were filled with knowledge. Professional wrestlers often cite car rides with older wrestlers as their best learning tools in the business. I can attest to this after the many car rides and conversations with Craig.

Fred Faour

Fred Faour

While I was doing Hustletown, Fred heard the work Craig and I were putting in. He was one of the people that believed in the content Craig Shelton was producing on that show. After having us fill in on The Blitz with him, Fred asked about other opportunities, such as writing for this site. I jumped at the chance of working with him knowing he could help me hone my skills and here I am now. This developed into more fill in gigs on 97.5, as well as SB Nation.

These are just a few of the key people who've helped me along the way. Others, like Kim Davis ( the epitome of grace and class in this business), have offered their help and advice on my journey to get me where I am now. This journey isn't finished and there will be a ton more people to add to this growing list. I would be here all day trying name every single person who's helped me along the way. I've even tried to start doing the same thing these awesome people have done for me to others. One of the interns at 97.5 is like a nephew to me. It brings me great joy to see him working hard and trying to succeed in this business. A good friend of mine named Calvin has always wanted to start his own podcast. After two years of convincing him to do so, he finally started last week. I look forward to helping him on his journey as well. My point in writing this was not to suck up to the ones I've named here. It's to inspire those who are in positions to help others. Not just in this field, but in life in general. One thing I got from reading Jerome's article was that Max did this for countless others. Not only in this business, but in life itself. Let's continue to pay it forward to those we can help along the way on this crazy journey through life. You never know who you could be helping or inspiring to achieve greatness.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome