Stamford, we have a problem.
The WWE's biggest star of the last ten years has walked out. Business overall is down, television ratings are down, and the criticisms are snowballing.
Folks, this is not gonna be fixed overnight. You know that and I know that. But there are a few things that the Fed can do now to stop the bleeding, if nothing else.
1. The roster split. Don't scrap it. For all that's gone wrong, one of the reasons that Edge, Rob Van Dam, and Eddie Guerrero have gotten over as bigger players over the last couple of months is because they don't have to scrap for prime time with 40 other guys each week. Being on one show and only one show allows them to work with wrestlers at and above their level and for longer periods of time (the Edge/Angle feud doesn't go on for 2? months if they're on both Raw and SmackDown! every week.)
2. Trade Chris Benoit. Especially now that Austin's gone, Raw needs top-card guys. What I'd do is trade Benoit to Raw for Bradshaw, D'Lo, Crash, and the European title. Your mileage may vary.
3. Tag team renaissance. They only HAVE three - Billy & Chuck, the Hardyz, and whichever nWo members feel like wrestling this week. I picked the three guys I did for the trade to SmackDown! for this reason, since you can reunite the APA, the Hollys, and the D'Lo/Mark Henry team with one move. The tag titles themselves I would put on both shows with the U.U. (undisputed, unified) and women's titles.
4. Championship pinball. The U.U. title has changed hands at the last three (and probably four after Sunday) pay-per-views. I'm not usually one of those "too many title changes cheapens the belt" guys; in fact, what I think has happened is that with the belt changing hands so much, it makes the wrestlers look weaker. They can win the title, but they can never seem to keep it for an extended length of time. It's not as bad as the Jeff Jarrett era in WCW where he was losing it every other week, but it's something to be concerned about.
5. Second and Last. Back in 2000, during the last boom period in the WWE, the focus for most of the year and the reason for the company's success was the second W - wrestling. After Mick Foley retired, the storylines in 2000 really weren't all that memorable if you think about it. Yet each month, fans could count on at least one (and usually two) very good-to-great pay-per-view matches and even some memorable free TV matches.
6. Happened Monday night.
PREDICTIONS FOR KING OF THE RING
I was 3 for 7 for Judgment Day. And for the first time since Invasion, the Intercontinental title isn't being defended on pay-per-view.
Women's Title Match: Twitch Stratus vs. Mighty Molly Madness
For months, Molly's been complaining about how the other women of the WWE - particularly Trish - don't deserve the attention they get because they're not pure and wholesome like she is. Trish thinks that Molly's just jealous because she's self-conscious about her big, round butt. Yeah. Molly earned this shot last week after beating Trish in a non-title match.
TNM Says: Molly Holly (11:57 Molly-Go-Round --> pin) Trish Stratus
What I'd Do: Molly wins and the chase is on.
What They'll Do: For once, we all agree… Molly's gonna win.
King Of The Ring Semifinals: Winner Faces The World Champion at Summerslam
Not Goldberg vs. Test
The Whole Show vs. Chump Jericho
Brock Lesnar is still undefeated, but last week he got some help from the nWo to get past Booker T and reach the semifinals. The now helped Lesnar reach the semifinals because Booker T cost X-Pac his quarterfinal match against Van Dam earlier on Raw.
Test beat Hurricane and Hardcore Holly to get here, then promised that he'd become the next big thing after taking out Lesnar. Chris Jericho promised an all-Canadian SmackDown! tournament final, and got juiced at the opportunity to regain the U.U. title.
Oh, right: Vince added the Summerslam title shot carrot on Raw during his Goodbye Austin speech.
TNM Says: Chris Jericho (3:30 Lionsault --> pin) Rob Van Dam; Test (10:45 Big Boot --> pin) Lesnar; Jericho (10:22 Walls of Jericho --> submission) Test
What I'd Do: Lesnar over Test, Jericho over RVD, Jericho over Lesnar
What They'll Do: Jericho will beat RVD since no sitting champion has ever won King of the Ring. Lesnar will beat Test because of the possibility of a world title shot. In the final, Jericho will cheat to beat Lesnar and add one more notch to his belt.
Cruiserweight Title Match: Big Green Wave vs. Gene White (w/Nidia)
Cruiserweight champion Hurricane had been getting notes from a stalker. The stalker turned out to be ex-girlfriend Nidia. Nidia turned out to be setting him up for an attack by new boyfriend Jamie Noble (who's dropped the K from his WCW days). They would later ambush and unmask him, but Hurricane got the mask back on SmackDown! after Noble beat Kidman in a #1 contender's match.
TNM Says: Jamie Noble (11:15 sunset flip --> pin) Hurricane
What I'd Do: Noble just got here. Hurricane retains.
What They'll Do: Nidia will get involved, no doubt, but Hurricane's going to pull this one out.
Slic Ric vs. Eddie Guer-rudo (w/Da Crip)
Flair assured Eddie last week that he wouldn't lose Raw to Vince. He did. Bad things followed… bad things.
Like you need to know why this feud was developed so fast.
TNM Says: Eddie Guerrero (DQ 11:57) Ric Flair
What I'd Do: Turn Benoit against Guerrero (Raw is Heeldom's Domain) and have him help Flair win.
What They'll Do: It wouldn't shock me if they did the above, but I suspect it won't happen. Guerrero wins the match, though.
Olympic Villain Kurt Angle vs. Petrified Wood Hogan
After Vince McMahon cut off Hogan's retirement at the knees, Hogan vowed revenge. Vince got in his face about that so Angle could ambush him. Hogan would later cost Angle the win in a cage match against Edge, then he followed that up with the ultimate humiliation - he took Angle's wig off to expose his bald head. Through all of this, Angle challenged the "old man" to a match at this show, which Hogan accepted.
TNM Says: Kurt Angle (8:06 Olympic Slam --> pin) Hogan
What I'd Do: In the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure how the winner of this match is helped, but Angle has more to lose, so I'd put him over. Plus he deserves it.
What They'll Do: Angle wins and goes on to a title feud.
Undisputed, Unified Title Match: Hell On Wheels vs. Game Boy
And thus the circle is completed. Undertaker had been promised a UU title shot at Backlash only to have it taken from him. So after beating Austin in a #1 Contender's match earlier at the show, he caused Triple H to lose the title to Hogan. He then went on to beat Hogan for the same title at Judgment Day, and was about to kill Randy Orton when Triple H ran in after him, then demanded a title shot. Three weeks of UT beating Triple H within an inch of his life followed.
You know, if that damn X8 crowd had booed Hogan like they were supposed to, none of this would have happened. You DO know that, right?
TNM Says: Triple H (13:18 lariat --> pin) Undertaker
What I'd Do: I almost want to put UT over here, but Triple H has more ready-made challengers, so I'd have to give him the nod.
What They'll Do: Truly close the circle and have Triple H regain the title.