Back before Axl Rose and Slash hated each other’s guts, they were pretty successful in this little band called Guns N’ Roses. When they were recording Sweet Child O’ Mine, which would go on to be a big hit, the producer threw the band a curveball. He wanted a breakdown toward the end of the song. The only problem is the band had no idea what direction to go. So they decided to wing it, leading to the otherwise meaningless repetitions of a simple question: Where do we go now?
Just one week ago, WWE gave its fans something they’ve spent years begging for. The WWE championship and the World Heavyweight championship are unified once again, and there is but one WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Granted, WWE hot-shotted the angle in spectacular fashion, but we got exactly what we wanted, right?
Well, for the most part, yes. But there’s a big problem that WWE creative has yet to deal with. It’s a good problem, but a problem nonetheless. There are an awful lot of main event players (not including your buddy and mine, Brodus Clay) who will have nothing to do.
Right now, John Cena and Randy Orton are clearly at the top of the show, battling for the #1 prize in professional wrestling. The Big Show, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are on the outskirts of the title picture.
But what about Alberto del Rio? Rey Mysterio? Cody, after the Goldust split? Ryback, if he ever gets his heat back? How about Sheamus, who has pretty much been in the World title picture since he hit the main roster? WHAT ABOUT ME? WHAT ABOUT RAVEN? …Sorry.
For those of you not picking up what I’m putting down, WWE has a lot of top-tier talent, and not everyone can be at the top of the show. Some folks, like del Rio, are destined for the Intercontinental title hunt, and that’s fine. Some will end up in the tag title scene, for better or worse, and probably to the detriment of actual tag teams. But some guys, like Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler and The Miz are going to find themselves…just there.
WWE needs to give these guys incentive to make their matches matter, even when they’re not fighting for the title, or even a title shot. Now of course, solid storylines and angles will get matches over, and give guys reason to fight. But eventually, they’re going to need to work toward the title. But how?
In situations like this one, fans will often propose a rankings system. In a perfect world, it works perfectly, but this world is far from perfect. Guys get hurt. Guys don’t get over. Maybe your rankings don’t work out to the matches you need to present. Maybe your rankings system turns into the Bound for Glory series which always starts so well, but ends with everyone asking “so what was the point?”
So where do we go now? I don’t know, and I won’t pretend that I do. For now, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic that there’s a plan in place, a strategy to use moving forward.
If not, I imagine GNR getting a lot of regular play in the writers’ room.