WWE: Too Many People, Not Enough Time….Or Is There?

Justin LaBar

WWE programming as a whole, is the best its been in quite some time in my opinion. Recent ratings for RAW and Smackdown would say that the majority of the WWE universe concurs.

Although there is still some interesting things about the rosters and booking that makes me want to examine the WWE closer and break down the x’s and o’s of the roster.

The following is based off of WWE.com and the show rosters as of June 29, 2010.

47 characters on RAW
37 characters on Smackdown

SMACKDOWN:
6 Divas, 1 self-proclaimed cougar and 1 straight edge bald girl
24 Superstars, 1 of whom is in a vegetative state, and 1 who needs a new visa
4 announcers/GM’s
1 little person

RAW:
9 divas and 1 Tamina
1 former interpreter of Khali’s
1 chairman of the board
3 announcers
32 Superstars- 7 are part of Nexus and 1 of those 7 not allowed in the country, Triple H is out, Ezekiel Jackson is out.

Monday, June 28th edition of RAW featured a match (and I use that term lightly) between Santino and Kozlov. Followed by Sheamus vs Mark Henry, divas tag match and finally the 8 man tag main event.

Now having your 8 biggest stars in one match is going to naturally limit the amount of matches on television. The time otherwise used in RAW to further the storylines, such as the attack on the WWE legends was not terrible, in fact some of it was logical.

THE VICTIMS

That being said, every week there are a lot of guys who go unseen to the cameras and only those in the arena are privileged to see for WWE Superstars tapings or dark matches.

Guys like Yoshi Tatsu, Goldust and Primo. For Smackdown with an even smaller roster, those such as Chavo, Chris Masters, Tyler Reks, Finlay, are all guys that are on the main roster but have no place on television week to week.

Now Goldust has had his run and is like a fun attraction of nostalgia, the same can be said for Chavo and Finlay. While neither Chavo or Finlay ever reached quite the controversial or mainstream run that Goldust had in the mid 90′s, they both have had long established careers in the business. Tyler Reks, Primo and Yoshi are all still young, so its not too late to see them eventually elevated to television.

But what about a Chris Masters? He stands out as the guy who once had that promising push of “Master lock challenge” along with being undefeated and a great entrance. Wellness violations hurt him. There is no excuses for it and it hurt him. I mean the guy served his time and took his abuse from inside jokes courtesy of Triple H, but I don’t see that as I reason to be pushed to the back of the line and never allowed to step forward. We have seen others do worse and get pulled back to the front.

Hell, at least Kozlov had his run and when he fell flat in matches with The Undertaker, it gave a legitimate reason to why he needed more work and less television time. Even after all of that, Kozlov is getting television time to dance and do a poor version of the worm. I have nothing against Kozlov, he’s just one case that stands out to me.

RAW and Smackdown are two hours. In todays product, between in-ring promos, the necessary recaps to further major storylines, plus 2 and 3 segment matches, time is precious. You have WWE superstars and need some content for it, so I see why guys get stuck in the circulation of being on that program versus the two main ones.

This the issue now after season 1 of NXT. The WWE got away with it by sticking them all in a group and making them appear together. What about after season 2? Besides whoever wins, I am sure at least a few guys are going to be at the point of being ready to stay on the main roster. Then we will have even more guys to try and keep relevant.

HOW DO WE FIX THE PROBLEM OF WASTING TALENT?

What about PPV’s? Put a few guys that have no feud or serious back story with each other, stick them in a match. Have one or two of those to fill the first half hour of the PPV. Instead of the being dark matches for the audience, put them on for the paying customer. People are paying 45 bucks, I don’t think many will complain about seeing as many matches and guys as possible.

Put guys like Masters in an opening contest and see how they crowd reacts to some of their moves or quick microphone work before a match. Now I know, time time time. Make the PPV’s 4 hours. Fatal 4Way ended with a half hour still left in the 3 hour block. WWE has to time the PPV to end early. If they run 1 minute over of 3 hours in the live broadcast than those watching the Encore will miss the end of the PPV.

So move PPV’s to be on from 7-11 eastern time. This way you can time the PPV to finish early but still give the customer 3 hours and 45 minutes of content. And yes, if the regular PPV’s are 4, make WrestleMania 5. Mania is always packed with stuff they don’t get to fit into the show so its not like you will be searching for content.

I never have been nor do I plan to be one of those guys who compares the WWE to the UFC, because its two different ball games, but I will say this, the UFC does a good job giving you as much as they can on the PPV. They have matches from earlier in the night that if time permits they squeeze into the PPV, and their matches time duration is unknown because its a real fight that isn’t scripted. The WWE has the luxury of with a few minutes, give or take, to have the night down to a perfect timing.

So I say that while we are getting intriguing stories with The Undertaker, Nexus, General Manager, let’s keep the momentum going by giving more matches for our dollar…..after all according to Vince McMahon when he speaks to the shareholders, "we like to think of ourselves as the best bargain and entertainment."
 

justin.labar@yahoo.com is where you rant or praise to me

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