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“Start of a New Era”
By: Matt R-W
Era’s are defined as a “span of time, defined for the purposes of chronology or historiography”. In WWE we have had multiple Era’s – the Golden Era of the 1980’s, the Attitude Era of the late 1990’s, the Ruthless Aggression Era of the 2000’s. Each Era has evolved the WWE product to a different manifestation of what has occurred previously. Evolution is a slow process, but every now and then there is a shunt which speeds the process along. Some fans see the start of this Era as a way to kick things off a fresh and put a different spin and feel on the product. One the announcements about the newly announced (and cunningly named) New Era was to debut talent on the main roster from NXT. Another was a change in the ruling that stops automatic title rematches, as well as the removal of General Managers. Finally, the promise of the long awaited WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles was given to fans. Is this the start of a New Era? Let’s delve into these changes a little deeper and see if they are defining moments of a New Era.
NXT Talent to the Main Roster
Let’s be honest, this isn’t anything new. The addition to the roster of NXT talent happens regularly. Having them appear on Raw or SmackDown is expected to happen at the end of their life cycle on NXT. Splitting them between the two rosters is usual and expected. To shake things up a little, why not have the entire group debut on Raw and take it over, then go to SmackDown and do the same? The group itself has got everything needed for a faction – a strong singles wrestler, a tag team, a female representative. This would give the entire group a massive push and allow the non-NXT viewing viewers some idea of who they are and why they are important. This can then ensure that the NXT talent doesn’t get forgotten about within weeks of their debut.
No Automatic Title Rematches
This is different in the fact that we don’t get the rematch from a PPV the following night on Raw or SmackDown, which means we get fresh matches. This can only be a good thing. However, how long do we think that this will actually last for? I can easily see this to be forgotten about in the not too distant future. It’s like communism – its a great idea in theory, can work really well but they need to be able to back it up. The Intercontinental Title Battle Royal to determine the next contender was nice (and could be used to build up talent), but I’m cautious to see how this will play out in the long term.
Removal of General Managers
If there is one thing that will boost ratings, it’s an appearance from Vince McMahon. No disrespect to Shane, Steph or Triple H, but Vince is ratings gold. The General Managers (in the previous Era) never had any true power. They always had their superior McMahon above them, who could overrule anything they decide. Paige had a run of luck with Shane not on SmackDown, and she was able to become an authority figure. However, knowing a McMahon can oversee everything meant that the GMs didn’t have the same level of believability as previous incarnations of GMs from say the Attitude Era. Having the McMahons run the shows (literally and figuratively) will be different, but will it be ground breaking? I think not. Too many cooks spoil the broth, and having Steph, Triple H and Shane on the shows could harm the product. The only sensible way of using each of them is if we are having a very long term build to a WrestleMania 2000 type match with a McMahon in every corner for “control” of WWE. Who knows though.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles
This for me is the signal of a new Era. The establishment of a new Championship can easily be the definition of a new Era as it helps launch a dynasty of champions. Champions that will represent and be defined as Tag Team wrestlers. The Women’s Tag Titles are something that has been wanted by fans for a long, long time. There is now the talent in place, on both Raw, SmackDown and NXT for a Tag Team division to prosper and work. Previously, there has been a gulf in the quality of talent in the Women’s division, but this is much, much smaller now. How they use the Tag Titles will be interesting; will they be defended only on the Main Roster? Will the Champions move between different shows? How will NXT recording TV weeks in advance help them, if they are to appear on NXT? I for one am very excited about the possibilities that they can afford the women’s talent who aren’t in the immediate Raw / SmackDown Women’s title scene.
WWE likes to use different terms to help define their company, one of them being Eras. The changes that WWE need to make are becoming all the more apparent with the launch of AEW and their eventual TV deal which will come. To ensure that WWE evolves and improves, they need to make sure they are listening to the fans. They have done that with the Women’s Title Belts, but they need to be doing it more. Otherwise, in the not too distant future, we could see fans (and talent) switching from WWE to somewhere else.
Matt R-W (@maruwe22)