8 things WWE could do to ensure the "New Era" is a success
A few weeks ago, the entire McMahon family came out to the ring to "take back control of Raw and SmackDown as a united front," acknowledging the problems that had been building up in the company and vowing to make a change.
So, how have they done since then? There have been some encouraging signs, but this week's Raw was a poor showing compared to the hype, returning to some of the same old tropes. There are still growing pains if the company is even committed to growing at all.
It's important for WWE to make this "New Era" a success. This week's Raw averaged a rather average viewership, despite Hulk Hogan, Brock Lesnar, and John Cena being advertised for the event. It came nowhere close to hitting the 3 million mark even during the first hour. That's an alarming sign, especially with the company being so dependent on the new Fox deal for SmackDown, which reportedly wants 3.3 million viewers per episode.
And with the deep-pocketed Khan family backing the nascent All Elite Wrestling, the prospect of formidable competition is now on WWE's horizon.
To get ahead of these trends, WWE will need to do more than trot out the McMahon family and proclaim a "New Era." It will need to do more than go to the well of part-time legends from the past, a strategy which has clearly run its course. WWE will need to make structural changes to its content.
Here are some things it could do to ensure this "New Era" is successful, rather than hyperbolic.
#1 No more rematches means no more rematches
One of the most encouraging signs about this "New Era" was the announcement of the end of the automatic rematch clause. It was long overdue. Automatic rematches had been a big part of the staleness of WWE programming, extending feuds past their natural expiration dates and permitting creative laziness.
Unfortunately, in the weeks since, every champion who lost in December, except for the Authors of Pain, has gotten or will get a rematch.
There has been progress in the sense that WWE has come up with stories for these rematches. Sometimes a storyline calls for a rematch, as in the case of Becky Lynch, but there was no reason for Seth Rollins' rematch with Dean Ambrose this past week. The feud had been a dud, even though the match was thankfully much better than the one at TLC.
Shinsuke Nakamura is in a similar situation. WWE has given the feud more legs, but it's also a rematch that doesn't feel necessary.
Committing to no rematches means just that. If the storyline doesn't call for it, as in the case of a champion losing cleanly, there should be no rematch. This would open the respective division back up and create much-needed variety.
WWE has done better than before, but it's still not good enough.