The WWE brand split solved one problem but caused another.
Remember when interference in matches had real consequences? Me neither and apparently for the WWE it’s always their go-to solution for how a match should end. Should Sami Zayn lose clean to Miz? Of course not, that’s why Maryse exists. Miz has a match, she interferes to give him the win. Wash, rinse, repeat. Oh look, Seth Rollins has a match against Kevin Owens. I’m sure Owens’ best friend Chris Jericho won’t interfere. Should Mick Foley or Stephanie McMahon set some rules in place to ensure this doesn’t happen? No need, Jericho made a pinky promise.
Why is there a lack of common sense when it comes to match booking? For example, why aren’t all title matches inherently wrestled under a “no disqualification” rule? What motivation does the champion have for competing, especially if they are a heel? Why not simply get counted out and “lose” the match but retain your championship since belts can’t change hands via DQ? I know it’s a small detail but it continues to keep me awake at night.
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Now that WWE has separate brands, they have created a situation where the shows must work with who they drafted. Or do they? In an effort to provide some wiggle room within their storylines, both RAW and Smackdown could designate certain wrestlers as “free agents” and use this stipulation as both a reward or punishment. Want to try your hand on another show? Win/lose this match against (INSERT NAME HERE) and you can or will go. These men and women would literally be fighting to keep their place on their respective show.
In that same vein, in an effort to counter the constant interference that seems to be a WWE crutch, each brand could have an “interfere and you get traded” stipulation. This way we could rest easy knowing the next time Miz wrestles for his IC belt, Maryse is less likely to affect the outcome. And what if she were “tricked” into doing so? Scandal! Intrigue! Controversy! A free agency clause would also allow certain wrestlers to switch shows in order to accommodate specific storylines.
I understand that not every match can be a title match but each one should have some meaning or consequence. Why are these two superstars fighting? Is there a contender status up for grabs? What are they trying to achieve? This basic story dyadic seems to be missing from a great majority of WWE matches as the impression seems to be “who cares?” For my part, I care deeply about why two people are about to engage in mortal combat. I want to be emotionally invested in even the most pedestrian of matches otherwise they seem pointless.
A free agency clause would give us a respite from the boring “win or you’re fired matches” or even serve as motivation. If Wrestler X and Wrestler Y get into a scuffle during one of the big four PPVs, the beef will remain unsolved since they are on different shows. But if one of these superstars was able to jump ship to the other program, the battle could rage on over several brand-specific events, provided the story was compelling enough to warrant such a long interaction.
Granted, this idea who require more work and coordination between the two shows. Who can switch and why? Does it make sense? So many choices in WWE seem to occur in a vacuum but I still hold out hope that we can one day enjoy a product where each interaction carries some consequence or at the very least induces some emotional response from us as fans.