WWE Needs to Be More Aggressive with Their Main Event Stars
WWE has relied on its "big names" to main event their pay-per-views for far too long. While Roman Reigns has potential down the line to be one of their biggest stars, WWE often decides to choose the safe route when closing out their pay-per-views.
This has been a problem since Brock Lesnar captured the WWE Championship from John Cena at Summerslam in 2014. This is not to say that Lesnar isn't capable of putting on good main events. His clashes with The Undertaker at Summerslam and Hell in a Cell in 2015 were brutal fights that rightly featured two of WWE's biggest stars. Yet recently, WWE might have overexposed Lesnar too much since his return in 2012.
Far too often do we see the same Lesnar matches being put on, with few stars other than Roman Reigns being elevated in the process. Clashes with Samoa Joe and AJ Styles in 2017 were brief yet solid contests where the challengers were showcased, but lackluster matches against Braun Strowman at Great Balls of Fire and Kane and the aforementioned Strowman at this past year's Royal Rumble have been forgotten.
Lesnar isn't the only part of the problem. With Roman Reigns and Triple H being featured in high profile bouts when arguably other feuds or title bouts could have been spotlighted instead.
Wrestlemania 32 was a forgettable event, with Triple H vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Championship being one of the most rejected main events in recent memory. Reigns vs. Samoa Joe at Backlash this year saw fans leaving the event early to the chants of "beat the traffic."
Yet, Reigns has had stellar main events against AJ Styles and Seth Rollins in 2016, so it's hard to pinpoint him as a factor in the problem WWE has with closing out shows.
This isn't a case of sour grapes against the superstars above either. It's an observation of WWE's main event scene, regardless of what the company decides to book as a "main event."
The brand split in 2016 allowed for new stars on Raw and Smackdown Live to break out and prove themselves in the spotlight, but now that has been compromised for four-hour shows and a combined supercard once again.
The last big four pay-per-view to not have been main evented by Lesnar or Reigns (excluding the Royal Rumble) was Survivor Series 2014, in a 5 on 5 match between Team Cena and Team Authority, where Triple H and longtime poster-boy John Cena were featured.
Dolph Ziggler had a breakout performance here, being the sole survivor for Team Cena and picking up the win (with some assistance from a debuting Sting).
Sure, we've seen rivalries in 2014 such as Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose close out shows like Hell in a Cell and their 2015 Money in the Bank ladder match, but WWE has been hesitant to make new stars come out on top in their biggest shows of the year.
With Extreme Rules being a week away, the biggest match on the card looks to be AJ Styles vs. Rusev for the WWE Championship. Who will know what WWE will put on to close the show though?
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler in their 30-minute Iron Man match could be another choice, allowing for two of the best in-ring competitors to duke it out for Raw's biggest full-time championship: the Intercontinental Championship.
WWE could always go and play the aforementioned safe route with Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley just to give Reigns another main event, but why would they do that if we can predict that the fans will just turn on the match from the getgo?
Which superstars would you like to see at the top of the WWE landscape? How do you think WWE can book their main event scene better, or do you think they're making the right call? Let me know in the comments below.
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