If I Were In Charge – Episode 1 (Rankings, Divisions, 24/7 Title, TV Title & More)
By James Bones
We’ve all heard and/or read the complaints about the product WWE has been attempting to pass off as good sports entertainment or even wrestling, if you will. It’s been pretty tough as a lifelong fan to try and stay invested in the product lately, and as someone who’s been watching 30+ years, I can promise you I feel like I’m truly being tested by the content that’s being produced. Everything I see on RAW or SDLive makes me either cringe, yawn or judge. There’s so many ideas, tweaks or improvements that would better the product so much, it makes me wonder how the hell someone in the back isn’t doing something about it. Way too many yes men surrounding Vince McMahon, as well as his progressing stubborn ways are diluting the product, constantly making it a shell of its former self.
Just recently, John Moxley AKA Dean Ambrose gave Chris Jericho his highest rated podcast by spilling some tea about his time in WWE and just how painful it was to try and develop his character. It painted Vince as a senile old man who is truly out of touch with what the fan base actually wants. It wasn’t much of a surprise to hear something like this come from such a big star in the business, but the more we hear it from the bigger names, the more traction it gains in the media. No longer does it just seem like it’s only the former “disgruntled employees” that are the ones speaking out about their WWE grievances.
As ratings continue to either decline or remain stagnant, I find myself constantly thinking about improvements I could be making to the product. Trying to figure them out in my brain and actually have them sorted and make sense just wasn’t cutting it and I knew I had to start writing it down. Although not everyone might agree with my ideas on how to fix the product, I honestly believe if these ideas were implemented by WWE, ratings would rise and fans would actually begin to be excited about the product again.
For my first big change, I’d bring in a whole ranking system that would coincide with a division system. First off, RAW will be the subject of discussion. We have a long 3 hour show that many people complain about as being too long. Even some writers and staff themselves have spoken out about just how hard it is to make a full 3 hours of compelling TV. With the changes I’d make if I were in charge, the 3 hours of boredom would hopefully turn into 3 hours of must see TV.
To make the ranking system work, we would now have exhibition matches and ranked matches. Exhibition matches wouldn’t count towards the ranking system and would be just for amusement. These matches would happen at the house shows and non-televised events. Anything on television would be considered ranked and part of the ranking system. The wins and losses would count not only for the talents position, but also what title division they’d be apart of. There would have to be a hard reset and an actual brand split. Say goodbye to the wild card rule! Everyone’s win/loss/tie record would start at 0-0-0 which would allow anyone and everyone to prove exactly where they belong on the roster. Current champions would continue being champs, but they’d be put on notice. Eventually, hungry talent with something to prove would be coming their way. After a period of 3 months or so, these divisions would officially be set in stone. Now, if you wanted to move up a division, you’d have to prove yourself worthy. You made it into the U.S. Title division but want to be in the Universal Title division? Be ready to put in the work and make a name for yourself in your division first.
The Universal Championship division would be a truly special bunch of individuals. Those who have the top 6 spots on the ranking system would be considered Universal Championship contenders. The person with the best stats? They’ve just earned themselves a #1 contenders spot. Good for them, right? Of course! They’ve earned it. The standings would look something like this…
Now did you all notice there’s a #1 contenders spot as well as a number 1 spot in the rankings? In most cases, the person ranked number 1 would of course be the #1 contender. There is however a change I would make that would bring prestige back to the U.S. Title and Intercontinental Title. Seem as the U.S. Title is on RAW, and since we are discussing RAW, we will use the U.S. Title as our example. If you recall back in the days of Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior, the secondary title actually meant that you were at the top of the list to get a shot at the main title. This made the secondary title actually feel important and gave the undercard a reason to chase it. For this change, I would allow the U.S. champion to be able to vacate the secondary title to get the #1 contenders spot for the Universal Title. There would however be a big rule for this situation. The talent would have to hold the U.S. Title for 4 months before being allowed to vacate it and take the #1 contenders spot for the Universal Title.
So far, we have a ranking system to keep track of who deserves what and a #1 contenders rule that allows the U.S. champion to vacate their title after 4 months to take that #1 contenders spot for the Universal Title. The other important parts of this is as follows: if the U.S. Champion has vacated their title and taken the #1 contenders spot for the Universal Title, they will automatically get their shot at the next PPV/special. Another great rule I would bring back and enforce is the 30 day title defense rule. These aren’t just props, WWE! Let’s make sure the champions actually defend these titles. As for the the talent who’s ranked #1 and also in the #1 contenders spot simultaneously? They’ll temporarily lose the #1 contenders spot while the talent who cashed in takes it, but they will continue to be #1 on the ranking system. That is of course as long as they can keep their win/loss/tie record better than everyone else’s in the division. Once the talent who’s cashed in has had their shot and has either won or lost, the #1 ranked talent goes back to being the #1 contender for their divisions title.
In the next episode, I’ll discuss how I would navigate the ranking system depending on the outcome of the cash in. Does the former champion move down a division? If the talent who cashed in failed at their attempt, what division are they in and do they drop in the ranking system? Hopefully I can explain that for you.
The U.S. Championship has felt unimportant for far too long. By actually giving it some importance and having the holder of the title be able to use it as a stepping stone to become Universal champion, it gives it a heck of a lot more prestige than it currently has. The U.S. Championship would have an exact ranking system just like the Universal Championship except for one change…the division would be much larger. It makes sense to have a tighter group of main eventers going for the Universal Title, but when it comes to the secondary title, it makes a bunch more sense that the division would have a larger number of talent in the running, gunning for a shot at the top in an attempt to prove themselves.
Now onto the 24/7 Title. For some fans, this has been an entertaining idea but for some others it has been a complete joke. Sadly, if I were in charge, the 24/7 Title would be promptly retired and in its place instead would be the new RAW Television Title. The 3rd hour of RAW would have a weekly Television Title defense that would have its own division ranking system exactly like the other titles. Much like the U.S. Title, the Television champion would be able to cash in to take the #1 contenders spot for the U.S. Championship if they were able to retain the title for 4 months. Much like the U.S. Championship division, the TV Title division would be much larger than the Universal Title division, and even larger than the U.S. Title division. This is exactly where new talents would start out on their journey to the top, and veterans would once again attempt to prove themselves. Another great thing about the Television Title division? The matches for this title would have a time limit. Remember those? It made the matches urgent and feel much more important. The challenger not only had to pin or submit the champion, but there’s also only a certain amount of time to accomplish it. That concept needs to return in order to bring importance to the TV Title.
Next column will continue my journey into this ranking system and the new Television Title, as well as dive more into what happens when a #1 contender beats a champion, or gets beaten by a champion. What happens to the U.S. Title after it’s been vacated? Who goes where when it comes to the ranking system depending on the possible outcomes? Also, the women and their divisions on each show will have a big change or two. It will also touch on SDLive and what would happen when a proper PPV/special system and talent draft is actually implemented.
Changes so far?
⁃ Ranking system
⁃ Ranked matches for a ranking system
⁃ Exhibition matches
⁃ 24/7 Title – bye bye
⁃ Television (TV) Title – hello!
⁃ Time limits for the TV Title matches
⁃ Proper brand split
⁃ U.S. Champ for 4 months? Cash it in and get the #1 contenders spot for the Universal Title, but U.S. Title is now vacant.
⁃ TV Champ for 4 months? Cash it in and get the #1 contenders spot for the U.S. Title, but TV Title is now vacant.
Thanks for reading and following along to my first column in the series I call “If I Were In Charge.” I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this and hopefully you’ll give your thoughts and opinions as well as your ideas. As so many of these ideas have been on my mind for a long time, I truly apologize if they aren’t coming out clear or if they’re all over the place. I’m doing my best to keep it compartmentalized and organized to the best of my abilities.
James Bones 2019