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WWE’s major problem is that neither route is healthy. Sitting on a large bunch of established stars constantly puts the same people into title matches – so nothing changes and things stagnate, as happened between 2004-2008. And rushing through a whole bunch of new stars solves that problem, but creates a new one in the sense that they all follow the same path. The vulnerable heel wins championship in fortunate fashion (see both Sheamus’ title victories, and Swagger and The Miz cashing in their Money in the Bank contracts) – then spending the following few months clinging to the title with dear life thanks to a diet of scrappy DQ victories (see Sheamus in either reign against John Cena and Randy Orton, and Jack Swagger vs The Big Show).
The only strange thing about the last year has been that both Sheamus and Swagger lost their titles in multi-way matches that are traditionally utilised to protect vulnerable heels (Sheamus’ two title losses were at Elimination chamber and in a 6-pack challenge at Night of Champions, Swagger lost his title to Rey Mysterio at Fatal-4-Way). The same heel champions creative didn’t want to see win clean, they didn’t want to see lose clean either. It’s an odd catch 22 in what has been an otherwise very formulaic year that is vindictive of the company’s current state. The champions they want to look vulnerable, they also don’t want to look too weak.
It won’t be like this forever, which is why it’s important that WWE fans keep the faith even when at the moment things really seem to be at a low point. Once WWE can strike a happy medium between the two extremes of the last ten years, where establish stars around the age of John Cena and Randy Orton rumble with rising talent, without the risk of exposing gaps in the roster, the WWE could really kick on in a way they haven’t in years. People complain that the likes of John Morrison and Kofi Kingston are being held back. In truth they’re just taking the natural path that baby faces have always taken, but look held back in the wake of rushed heel pushes.
It may take another 18 months to two years, but once the likes of Morrison and Kingston are established in the main event alongside the likes of The Miz, Sheamus, Barrett and Swagger, the WWE may be in a position of main event parity that they have been in since the late nineties. The lesson they must heed from recent years, is not to rest on the present, however hard it may seem to be.