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2020 may just go down as the strangest year in pro wrestling history. Not only has the coronavirus pandemic changed a lot, but both WWE and All Elite Wrestling have had several ups and downs in other ways.
The last year has seen WWE make some cuts to save money while it is unable to tour, while AEW has hired several new people, some of whom were among those released by WWE, such as Matt Cardona and Miro.
To fill some of the gaps on Raw and SmackDown, WWE has brought up several stars from NXT since the beginning of the year, including everyone in the Retribution group.
Unfortunately, both companies have also suffered in the storytelling department this year. Repetitive feuds and uninspired storylines have caused some fans to grow restless.
Let’s look at some ways AEW and WWE can shake things up during the rest of the year.
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The 24/7 Championship may as well be turned into the R-Truth appreciation title.
He has held the title 39 times for a combined reign of well over 200 days, but the problem is the belt is only ever used for comedic segments.
At first, these quick matches and backstage segments delivered a lot of entertaining moments. Not only were struggling stars being given a chance to shine, but it was keeping R-Truth on our TVs on a weekly basis.
Now, WWE needs to reward all of Truth’s hard work by making the title mean something. Giving it a little prestige will make Truth’s record even more impressive and allow whoever else holds the belt to get a bigger push out of winning.
Imagine if somebody like Braun Strowman or Brock Lesnar held the 24/7 title for a couple of months. They would instantly raise the profile of the championship, especially if they held open challenges in the ring instead of just waiting for someone to attack them from behind.
This would give WWE the chance to pair up Truth and Lesnar again. After their last interaction was met with praise, many fans have wanted to see them interact again. WWE can easily make that happen with the 24/7 Championship as the focal point of the feud.
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When Cody held the TNT Championship, he would defend the title almost every week. This allowed AEW to give a lot of opportunities to indie talents and members of its own roster who were not ready to challenge for the AEW World Championship.
Brodie Lee won the title August 13 and has not been in any rush to defend it ever since. This needs to change immediately.
Having those weekly title matches made Dynamite a lot more intriguing because we always had the possibility of a title change. Even if some challengers like Warhorse were never going to win, there were also real contenders such as Scorpio Sky.
AEW should make defending the title every week part of the rules. It would almost act as the equivalent to the WCW TV title from back in the day, which was a belt that helped catapult many great wrestlers to bigger and better things. The TNT Championship can do the same thing for today’s generation.
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The WWE tag team division was thriving in 2019. Both brands had several talented duos that were all fighting over the two sets of tag team championships. Nowadays, the division is a shell of its former self.
The Authors of Pain were released, Jimmy Uso, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Ivar are out with injuries, and a few other teams have broken up for storyline reasons.
This has led to WWE repeating the same feuds over and over. How many times have we seen The Street Profits face Andrade and Angel Garza? Too many to count.
With the brand split being incredibly loose these days, WWE should just combine the two sets of titles into one championship, at least until Raw and SmackDown are back to touring separately again at some point.
Since all WWE shows are being filmed at the Thunderdome now, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pretend the brands are separate anymore. Combining the divisions would allow for a lot of fresh matchups we have needed for several months.
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AEW has done a lot in a short amount of time, but one thing it has been criticized for is failing to give the women’s division the time it deserves.
Most of the women’s matches take place on AEW Dark on YouTube instead of Dynamite on TNT. It allows AEW to groom new talents, but it also makes it look like the division is less important than it should be.
Unfortunately, travel restrictions have kept some members of the roster from being present for most of 2020, so AEW has been working with limited resources. However, some new hires in recent months are going to help fill those gaps.
The recent program with Hikaru Shida and Thunder Rosa was great and proved AEW has the ability to put on a feud that rivals anything WWE’s women’s division can produce.
With Rosa continuing to make appearances, new hires like Serena Deeb and standout stars like Penelope Ford, All Elite Wrestling has more than enough at its disposal to make the entire division more important. It all starts with more consistent booking and allowing stars like Britt Baker and Big Swole to capitalize on the popularity they have developed in recent months.
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We are going to keep saying this until we will it into existence. WWE needs to give us Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley before one of them decides to leave the company again.
This is the kind of matchup WWE can build an entire pay-per-view around. They are both crossover success stories and among the best athletes in the company. How this hasn’t happened yet is a mystery.
With The Hurt Business gaining more momentum every week, Lashley has looked better than ever. Aligning with MVP, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander has reinvigorated him as a character and made him look like a top star again.
The Beast is the only person who can truly put The All Mighty over in a big way. Even a win over Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman wouldn’t do as much for him as facing Lesnar.
This match could headline any show and wouldn’t even need to be for a title. Just put them in the ring to let them do what they do best, and WWE will have a guaranteed hit on its hands.
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When Taz aligned with Brian Cage in AEW, he also brought the FTW Championship with him. For those who are too young to remember or just didn’t watch wrestling back then, the FTW title was first introduced in ECW in 1998.
The only person to ever hold it other than Taz was Sabu, and his reign lasted less than four months. After regaining it at Living Dangerously, Taz unified it with the ECW World Championship.
Over 20 years later, the belt is back on television around the waist of one of AEW’s most dangerous competitors. This time, the title needs to mean something.
It is still unofficial, but it would be easy for Tony Khan to sanction it as long as it was defended on a regular basis. AEW doesn’t necessarily need another belt, but adding one more wouldn’t hurt at all.
The FTW title could act as one of the midcard championships alongside the TNT title, just like WCW did with the U.S. and TV Championships.
Having Cage hold open challenges and crush his opponents would be a step in the right direction after he came up short in his first big feud against Jon Moxley. The more gold there is floating around, the more people AEW can push with it.