In a given year, there are many things that WWE does right. The promotion sometimes books strong champions like Roman Reigns and organizes good matches.
In other instances, it can do just the opposite. Shinsuke Nakamura had two lackluster reigns as Intercontinental Champion. Gunther, on the other hand, has been firmly booked.
It’s just the nature of booking a wrestling program 365 days a year. Mistakes will be made from time to time. After Triple H took over creative duties from Vince McMahon, many fans thought he would erase all errors made by the former Chairman.
While he has rectified some silly changes, like renaming or taking away a few stars’ first names, some mistakes have been made recently. Here are five examples of such missteps.
#5 Solo Sikoa wins NXT North American Championship
After losing several other matches challenging for the North American Title, Sikoa shockingly won the belt last week. It was the show’s first anniversary since rebranding to NXT 2.0. Some would argue that his win would give the belt a bigger audience on SmackDown.
That didn’t happen because, during this week’s show, Shawn Michaels had Sikoa relinquish the title since it was not an official title match. Was the win just a shock factor in the main event?
Since the rebrand, Carmelo Hayes has been synonymous with the championship and was rarely defeated. With just one match, Sikoa squashed some of Hayes’s hard work to elevate that belt. It also felt like overkill to give the Bloodline another title.
#4 Drew McIntyre loses at Clash at the Castle after a great build-up
McIntyre won the WWE title from Brock Lesnar during the pandemic era. Understandably, he did not get a huge ovation from the crowd for his big championship win in 2020. Since losing the belt, he hasn’t tasted gold.
During his second stint with WWE, McIntyre has put Roman Reigns over at every turn. He lost to The Tribal Chief at WrestleMania 35 and Survivor Series 2020. In the build-up to the match at Clash at the Castle, WWE did a great job of recounting McIntyre’s road to redemption.
The Scottish Warrior walked into Clash at the Castle with a solid chance to finally defeat Reigns. Instead, Reigns again retained his title thanks to outside interference from Solo Sikoa. If there was a time to have Roman lose, it was on McIntyre’s home turf. Having the latter sing a post-match serenade was also not a good consolation prize.
#3 Turmoil around the finish of WWE Women’s Tag Team Tournament
"Get in champs, we're going to #WWERaw!"
— WWE (@WWE) September 20, 2022
Sasha Banks and Naomi vacated the tag titles and were suspended in May. With Bayley and Damage CTRL showing up at SummerSlam, WWE finally addressed the vacant WWE Women’s Tag Team titles.
Having Bayley return was a big deal. She came with two of the most polished stars from NXT by her side, which made her even more formidable. IYO SKY and Dakota Kai made it to the tournament finals, but some confusion led to Aliyah and Raquel Rodriguez winning.
Two weeks after the finals, SKY and Kai captured those titles. If that was initially the end game, why did Aliyah and Raquel Rodriguez win in the first place? The first duo to hold the vacated titles needed to be a strong pairing, and that’s what Damage CTRL is. Not having them win the tournament was a strange call.
#2 Money in the Bank loses luster due to limited appearances from champion
One of the best things about Money in the Bank is the unpredictability it can create. The holder of the case can cash in at any time, whether the targeted champion is vulnerable or not. It made WWE somewhat exciting instead of simply announcing a match beforehand.
With a Unified titleholder, there is only one person to target. With that person now only appearing on limited dates, it takes some of the ‘wow factor’ away from the briefcase.
If there were two champions, then Theory could continually pursue the other champ. But with Reigns holding both titles and showing up a few times a month, the unpredictability factor has been damaged.
#1 Not separating the WWE and Universal Titles
,WWE tries to outdo itself each year. One year it was a “Once in a Lifetime” match between John Cena and The Rock. The two faced each other again the following year. This year, it was a ‘Winner Takes All’ match between Brock Lesnar and Reigns.
Reigns walked out of WrestleMania 38 as the Undisputed WWE World Champion. He has defended the belts three times since April. The Tribal Chief then started to work a limited schedule, making his appearances even less on Monday Nights.
RAW is full of main event-level stars who can carry the brand – Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Lashley, and others. Having one person hold both titles and work a lighter schedule has only hurt the chances of those stars holding major titles.
When Lesnar worked limited dates, he only held one title. Reigns holds both titles. He should have lost one of them so the rest of WWE can move on when he isn’t present.