We are one week removed from the Superstar Shake-up, and Superstars and tag teams alike find themselves on new brands. We have a series of new champions coming out of WrestleMania, and change seems to be on the way. However, something underlying seems to have been constant. That would be displeasure. What seems to be a normal standard of affairs on television has contributed to a lot of ill-will backstage. What do I mean by this exactly?
Well, if you have been following the news, you will see that there are Superstars coming out of the woodwork to express how unhappy they are. Sasha Banks has currently gone rogue from the WWE and is reportedly considering sitting out the rest of her contract. Luke Harper has formally requested his release. Tye Dillinger has requested his release. Dean Ambrose has quit the company without any clear sign of a return. Tyler Breeze has expressed blatant unhappiness with how he’s been used. Andrade has expressed unhappiness. The Club are probably leaving once their contracts expire this year. SAnitY hasn’t been shy of expressing how worthless they’ve become on the main roster. Those are just some of the stories that we have heard this year alone.
Who is to say there isn’t more of this that we do not know about? After all, we haven’t seen Dolph Ziggler since the Royal Rumble, and he appears to be on creative hiatus because the company doesn’t have anything for him.
What I have been interested in is finding what the possible common denominator behind all of these unpleasant feelings has been. It’s easy to attribute it to many things. We obviously know that Vince McMahon pulls all the strings, and sometimes he just does things because he can. I mean, he changed the name of the War Raiders, a tag team who spent considerable time in NXT making that name mean something, into The Viking Experience. Why? Not because it would make it better, but because he can. Vince doesn’t have to give an answer because he doesn’t have to answer to anybody himself. He owns all of this and what he says go. However, aside from the lapses that the creative team will have, there is another issue that WWE seems to have. Roster overload.
I could be wrong on this, but I do not think WWE’s active roster has ever been more full than it is now. When you combine the young talent, enhancement talent, veterans, and the occasional returns, there seem to be too many superstars and not nearly enough time to make each of them feel like someone we should care about. There is only so much time WWE can afford to give to someone. We all know there is going to be the cast of characters who will never get any meaningful time and will only be used to put someone else over in two minutes. However, when you think about the mid-card, the women, and perhaps even the tag teams, they will not have enough time devoted to them because there always seems to be a set group of people who will get TV time.
This can even get into the point where champions themselves may not be seen on TV for weeks on end. When Shinsuke Nakamura was United States Champion and when Asuka was SmackDown Women’s Champion, they would frequently go weeks on end without any matches or any sign that they were alive. Why? Because the feuds of other stars took precedence.
I am not one to judge and I dare not question the intensity and passion that many Superstars have for this business. However, an unfortunate truth has to be expressed and it is this. There is not enough room for everyone at the top. That is why unique characters and standing out have never been more important. You can be the best wrestler on the roster, but if the audience cannot connect with your character, you will not have time on television to stink it up for them. So how can these problems be solved? Well, can they even be solved?
I have tinkered around with the idea that perhaps WWE should have an offseason for a certain part of the roster so that others get time to develop. However, the structure behind all of that may likely be sloppy, and it can cause issues with the continuity of existing storylines. In an ideal world, there will be something for everyone in some capacity. However, you can only do so much across five hours of programming and a roster stacked to the top of the mountain. WWE tried circumventing this issue by creating a third brand, but we all know what a flop WWE’s version of ECW was.
Another idea that I had, and hear me out, is sending some of the talents on the main roster to NXT. Think about it. If the Superstar Shake-up involves Raw, SmackDown LIVE AND NXT, shouldn’t Superstars from the main roster be eligible to go over to NXT? The priority should still be on the future of the business, of course, but I can assure you that with the way NXT is booked, a lot of talent that would be constantly overlooked on the main roster would be treated like royalty in NXT. Look at the reaction Tyler Breeze got in NXT when he challenged Ricochet for the North American Championship and then how he was received on Raw when he challenged for the Intercontinental Title. It’s night and day. The main roster clientele has a refined taste, and sports entertainment reigns supreme.
The problems span beyond just drafting a few solutions. It would have to be a systemic process which takes time, and there seems to be no feasible solution in sight. The only remaining option is for the talent that gets left in the dust to make a vow to stay ready and take advantage of any opportunity, no matter how little it is. If Jinder Mahal can become WWE Champion for six months, I’m convinced anything could happen. I am just not entirely sure how.