RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN: An independent solution to WWE's stagnant mid-card; Thoughts on WWE PPV finishes, Final Battle, WWNLive in China
Oct 30, 2014 - 1:53:57 PM
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By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist
A bell went off in my head when I was talking to someone about WWE’s mid-card this past week. It is time for WWE to clear the mid-card and bring new talent, as the wrestlers on the mid-card that have been in more or less the same position for around five years are toxic to the product.
For a wrestling company to be successful, it is important that mid-card talents either prove themselves and move to the top of the card or be put out to pasture. Several wrestlers on WWE’s mid-card have turned face or heel multiple times, have traded wins and losses with other members of the mid-card, and they have been pigeon-holed to the point where WWE fans don’t care about them anymore.
WWE fans have been conditioned to know that wrestlers like Dolph Zigger, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, R-Truth, Big Show, Mark Henry, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Heath Slater, and others visible at the end of Raw in the show-closing brawl simply have no chance to move up the card. And, WWE isn’t going to try to move those wrestlers up the card because they know fans won’t buy it after years of these talents going nowhere.
One solution to this problem would be to let the talent work the independents and overseas and come back refreshed with a renewed confidence. With three hours of Raw and two hours of Smackdown to fill each week in addition to other programming, the audience is subjected to a non-stop turnstile of the same recycled faces on the mid-card. Some win and some lose. Some turn face and some turn heel. If a wrestler cannot prove that they have a chance for upward mobility, WWE should let them go. Plus, talent lose confidence and focus in the year-round grind of making the next town doing the same thing every week.
If WWE did it slowly, the transition would be seamless. Drop one or two guys from the roster and bring up a couple of wrestlers from NXT every few months. Then WWE would be able to start fresh with talent that isn’t toxic the product.
If done properly, the undercard would be energized and perhaps WWE would see a renewed interest in the product. It’s worth a shot because presenting the same recycled feuds and talents on the mid-card for years on end is bad for WWE’s product.
Watch Drew Galloway (formerly Drew McIntyre) perform on the independent scene. Since WWE let him go, he’s wrestling with a renewed confidence and carries himself like the main event talent Vince McMahon envisioned him to be years ago. Watch the fans react to Galloway’s passionate promos and you can see that being let go by WWE was the best thing for Galloway’s career. He has harnessed his talent since leaving WWE and gone overseas as well as become the EVOLVE champion.
There’s no guarantee that Galloway will be signed by WWE again, but if they let some of the mid-card talent go and let them go out and work the independents and wrestle overseas, perhaps those talents would grow as performers with the proper motivation to get better knowing that the door is truly open for them to come back to WWE at some point. It’s not likely WWE will do this because usually when a mid-card talent is released, they don’t come back.
Wrestling companies work best when talent is given a shot to get over for around four or five years and if they don’t get over, they should be let go given the way WWE operates. WWE’s current mid-card is filled with talent that has no hope of ever reaching the top of the card and other talent is on their way to be pigeon-holed into that slot as well. This is a glaring issue with WWE’s product that sorely needs to be addressed.
I wasn’t thrilled to see the Dean Ambrose-Seth Rollins PPV main event end with interference. With WWE trying to push subscriptions to the WWE Network, it’s important that they give fans that don’t have it a reason to subscribe given that the PPVs are the main attraction. It was the second straight PPV that ended with interference in the main event… ROH needs to have an ace up their sleeve to get people excited for the “Final Battle 2014” PPV in December. Their last PPV did good numbers, but imagine what the company could do if they loaded up their PPV offerings more. “Best in the World 2014” did not feature A.J. Styles or the top New Japan talent. A.J. Styles isn’t advertised for “Final Battle 2014” yet nor is any NJPW talent, so it would be nice to see the company end the year with a bang with some big announcements heading into the PPV, which is right around the corner… I’m looking forward to seeing the WWNLive shows from China next month. They are holding their first three shows in venues that hold between 2,000-4,000 people and the final show of the tour will be held in a stadium that seats 20,000 people. With all the WWN brands represented, these should be good shows given the loaded lineups…
(Sean Radican has watched wrestling for 28 years and has attended hundreds of live wrestling events from WWE and WCW to ROH and many indy events. He has reviewed hundreds of independent wrestling DVDs and major WWE DVD releases on the PWTorch website and for the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter. He has interviewed many wrestlers over the years for his columns and podcasts including Bully Ray, Rikishi, Samoa Joe, Davey Richards, The Road Dogg, Austin Aries, Antonio Cesaro, Christopher Daniels, Seth Rollins, Zach Gowen, Rhino, and Kevin Steen. He has reported on Ring of Honor for Pro Wrestling Torch since its early years along with the DGUSA/EVOLVE brands since their launch in 2009. He shares his expertise and knowledge of the top indy promotions with his VIP exclusive VIP Audio Show, the Radican Wrestling Community, on a regular basis. Follow Sean on Twitter at Twitter.com/SeanRadican or email Sean at email@example.com. Visit and like the RWC fan page on Facebook at Facebook.com/SeanRadicanRWC.)
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