There’s a guy who gets paid to do this who brings up that wrestlers should get about three months of mandatory time off per year every couple months. What he doesn’t realize is that it’s not really adequate to just want something to happen. I want to impregnate Scarlett Johansson, but I realize that might not ever happen. What I’m saying is, you have to actually present an idea, instead of just saying something to say it. So while I’m working on the Scarlett thing, here’s a modest proposal for wrestlers getting three months off every year.
Treat wrestling like a real sport. Let’s use basketball as the example for these purposes, since those knuckleheads have been in the news recently. A typical NBA season (when they’re not following up the best year in the history of their league with an extended, fan repelling lockout) runs until April, and then the playoffs culminate in June with the championship series. And then they have off until late October or November, so we’re talking about four months off for NBA players to get high and play video games.
So if we’re talking three months off (admittedly as arbitrary as any number would be, but we’ll use it as the launching point for this column), how do we structure WWE’s “season”? The first thing I can think of is that WrestleMania is still considered the biggest WWE event of the year, even in this age of de-focus on pay-per-views and more focus on television (and Twitter). So let’s say WrestleMania is where the championship is decided every year. Now let’s work backwards to get there.
This system would allow for every match to mean something, which is something a lot of people on the internet have been clamoring for for years now. I propose a point system of something like three points for every pinfall or submission victory, two points for every countout or disqualification victory, one point for a draw (time limit draw or no decision type situation), and zero points for any loss. Tiebreakers can be amount of wins first and fewest amount of losses second. Or something like that. I’m just spitballing here. The important part is that I get my ideas out.
And keep track of every win and loss, and constantly update the point totals. Show the leaderboard on the television shows. Have a page on the website that tracks everybody on the roster. Make it interactive. At some random point, the “season” ends, and it’s time for the tournament. The seedings for the tournament will be based on the points system. The finals of the tournament will be held at WrestleMania. After WrestleMania, the “season” is over, and the wrestlers get April, May and June off, and start up the next season in July.
I think this format would serve several purposes. For one, it gives everyone on the roster time to rest up, heal injuries, what have you. For another, it would make every match important, since logically you would want to win every match so you get as many points as possible so you get the best seed in the tournament you possibly can. You’d rather be facing Primo in the first round of the tournament than, say, Dolph Ziggler. Make it easy on yourself, why don’t you?
You can still make the TV shows storyline driven, to an extent. But the storylines would now be centered around gaining in the standings, gaining points, improving your status, as opposed to storylines centered around comedy that isn’t funny and belts changing hands every week.
And what about those belts? Gone. You’re wrestling for the purpose of winning the “championship” at the end of the “season.” Belts have so little meaning anymore anyway, it’s a necessary evil to get rid of them. Besides, belts don’t sell tickets anymore either. Wrestlers don’t even really sell tickets anymore, aside from maybe like John Cena and Undertaker and special appearance guys like the Rock. The WWE brand sells tickets. People go to TV tapings and live events to see “WWE,” and whatever that means to them. I would argue it would be an easy transition to a belt-less company. The people wouldn’t mind nearly as much as the purists would want you to believe.
And what about tag teams? Gone. As much of a tag team wrestling fan as I am, as much as I grew up loving Demolition and the Midnight Express and the Beverly Brothers and the Fabulous Rougeaus and Arn Anderson and whoever Arn was teaming with that week, this is another necessary evil. The past ten years have done nothing but teach fans that tag teams don’t mean anything. Every pairing these days is an afterthought, and every team is bound to break up, with the only question being when, not if.
So with everyone fighting for the goal of winning the individual championship at WrestleMania, the next logical step is getting rid of tag teams altogether. There is no reason to team with anybody anymore. Wrestling logic dictates you can’t trust that person, no matter how good of a friend they may seem to be. So let’s skip the middle man altogether here. And again, the tag belts don’t mean anything. No belt does.
So while these may seem like radical steps, I view them as totally necessary to get towards the end goal. You want a more realistic product, this is the way to do it. Everyone fighting towards a common goal, you may be “friendly” with some of your competitors but not so much that you wouldn’t try to beat them in a match if it meant gaining ground in the standings. This is how you can move wrestling towards emulating real sports, like basketball, and real competitions, like UFC events.
Again, the main purpose here was to get this idea out in the open. I welcome any feedback, improvements, adjustments, whatever, you want to suggest. This is the rough idea I dreamed up, and I’m kind of excited about it and wanted to share it. Hopefully I can find enough time to make this a weekly thing, every Sunday night so people can have something to read on Monday mornings when they’re online doing whatever instead of working. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to find a job that allows online surfing during work time. I’ll have to work on that, right after I find Scarlett…