August was a busy month. New Japan had a suitably excellent and exhausting G1 Climax tournament, NXT kicked it up a notch, and Summerslam was… well, Summerslam happened too. Anyways, there was a lot of excellent wrestling going on, but the good times can’t last forever.
The next New Japan show is mostly a repeat. Destruction is on September 23rd and September 27th, and the Road to is filled with the same multi-man tag matches we’ve seen all year long. The main event to the two day event is Hirooki Goto defending the IWGP Intercontinental Title against former champ Shinsuke Nakamura, a match we’ve seen three times already this year, and has always felt a little lacking. So there’s not much excitement for me there.
The problems with the Autumn season and the WWE is well documented. Rather then be too negative, let’s see if we can look at the problems they’ve had the last couple years and see if we can fix them. One of the problems is already solved. Last year, Brock Lesnar was champion, and there was no direction for anyone except a stupid John Cena vs. The Authority story. This year, the belt may be around a lame duck champion, but at least he’s a champion who will be here all season. And Rollin’s relative ineffectiveness at least means that his title is always at risk. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sting wins the title, for instance. This is, somehow, an improvement over Lesnar being champ, if only because Lesnar wasn’t even on TV, and WWE didn’t even acknowledge his existence.
A larger problem then a missing champion ails the WWE during the autumn months though. That problem is Survivor Series. Technically, it’s one of The Big Four pay per views. It’s the second oldest PPV still running, after Wrestlemania. It should be a big event, but it’s not. And the reason is that there are no consequences to things that happen at Survivor Series. Look at last year. Dolph Ziggler had a fantastic moment, being the last man standing during the main event. And it meant nothing. The Authority was exiled from the WWE. And they were back a month later. In fact, the landscape a month before Survivor Series and a month after Survivor Series was exactly the same! Major events need to have consequences, long term implications for storylines that can’t just be swept under the rug.
I didn’t like this year’s Summerslam, but at least it advanced the stories and ended a few others. Survivor Series this year needs too have a climatic feel to it. Maybe Rollins will lose the title there. Maybe Cena wins it and ties Ric Flair. I don’t know, it’s still early to fantasy book Survivor Series, but whatever happens, it needs to matter. It’s effects need to be felt until at least the Royal Rumble, and they need to be more important then a 50 year old in facepaint showing up.
The storylines are rebooting after Summerslam, and Survivor Series is where they need to come to a head. Last year’s treatment of Dean Ambrose is a perfect example of what not to do. He fights Rollins a few times with no conclusion, only involved because Roman Reigns was injured. Then he fights Bray Wyatt a few times, again with no conclusion or real reason. Ambrose traveled from one match to another, one feud to another, with no direction or purpose. This year, give wrestlers a story and let it climax at Survivor Series.
Ryback is on the way up right now, entrenched as Intercontinental Title. He needs a rival, someone who really gets under his skin. The Miz has been floating around, maybe him. Let them really go to war for the IC belt, finishing for good at Survivor Series.
The biggest problem with the WWE during the Fall is one that no amount of fantasy booking or pleading can fix though. The WWE simply doesn’t try to make engaging television during the Fall. Ratings drop during Autumn, Monday Night Football is heavy competition, and it really seems like WWE would rather just keep their head above water then give an honest effort.