2021 was a good year for WWE. It saw the emergence of first-time world champions, relatively consistent storylines compared to previous years, and most importantly – the return of the live audience.
However, there were mistakes made that shouldn’t be repeated. While making mistakes is inevitable, these are a few that shouldn’t be made in 2022:
#5. WWE shouldn’t keep the brand supremacy theme for Survivor Series
Vince McMahon knows that things need to evolve in order to stay relevant. It seems to have been a while since Survivor Series was a can’t-miss show. While it has been dubbed one of the “Big 4” shows because of its historical importance, the pay-per-view needs a change of direction.
For the last few years, the company has brought back the Interbrand warfare Survivor Series theme, even introducing Champion vs Champion matches from each brand. Don’t get us wrong, this has resulted in some memorable bouts.
The RAW vs SmackDown Men’s Survivor Series match from 2016 is possibly the greatest elimination bout in the pay-per-view’s history. Brock Lesnar vs AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Bryan, and Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre make up some of the instant classics we’ve seen between the Universal and WWE Champion.
However, by 2021, it was clear that the entire brand supremacy concept had run its course. RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch admitted that it was a bit outdated:
“Yeah, I mean, that would be helpful. The whole brand supremacy is a little outdated.”
It’s time for the company to entirely change the concept of Survivor Series and what it stands for. As of now, Money in the Bank is a far better option to take its spot in the “Big 4” shows.
2019 was perhaps the last truly memorable Survivor Series show, but even that looks bleak in hindsight because of the heavy push of NXT and the sudden change over to NXT 2.0.
If they keep going with brand supremacy the way they did, there will no interest in Survivor Series anymore. To add to that, The WWE Draft has been held in October for the last few years, and it makes no sense that a superstar freshly drafted to a new show would suddenly be so loyal.
WWE didn’t emphasize too much on brand supremacy in 2022 or show superstars showing an undying alliance to their show. On the flip side, they delayed the build to Survivor Series and didn’t even have proper qualifying matches until after the teams were announced.
#4. Keeping Big E as a babyface post WWE title reign
Big E’s WWE Championship reign has been met with mixed reviews. It’s safe to say that winning the title was the highlight of his run, and not so much what followed. While he put on a respectable showing against Roman Reigns, the treatment of the 35-year-old as a World Champion didn’t live up to expectations.
For one, the reign was abruptly cut short, but that was the least of the problems. Big E retained his same New Day babyface schtick and ended up losing a lot more than he should have.
Many felt that his carefree babyface character didn’t help him look like a legitimate world champion.
The writing is on the wall right now. If Big E is to be kept apart from Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, then he needs to have a heel run in 2022 to revitalize his career on RAW. Things are going slightly downhill for him and it will only be a matter of time before fans begin to turn on him. While that is happening, a heel turn and change in character would help.
#3. WWE avoiding putting the Intercontinental Championship on the line at pay-per-views
The last time that WWE had booked an Intercontinental Championship match on pay-per-view was WrestleMania 37. That’s right, it’s been close to a year since the Intercontinental title was defended outside of SmackDown, and so much time has passed that even the term “pay-per-view” no longer exists for WWE.
The last Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania 37 was between Big E and Apollo Crews. Since then, Crews went on to have a relatively underwhelming reign before dropping it to Shinsuke Nakamura, who seemingly suffered the same fate.
WWE seems to have made no effort into making the Intercontinental Championship relevant. Over on RAW, the United States Championship was used to elevate Damian Priest, who dethroned Sheamus — who had a good run with the title.
The Intercontinental title should be made relevant again. As of now, the title holds little significance and it should be used to elevate other up-and-coming superstars on the SmackDown roster.
#2. Centering the WWE Women’s divisions around The Four Horsewomen again
When Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks made their WWE main roster debuts back in 2015, it changed the course of the women’s division forever. Bayley joined the fray a year later and found similar success.
The Four Horsewomen have been the centerpieces of the women’s division. While Bayley and Becky Lynch have fewer title reigns than Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair, they have both had long runs with the titles.
With that said, it’s time for a change. While Bianca Belair could get a push, Liv Morgan is a superstar the company must pull the trigger on.
As of this writing, Becky Lynch is the RAW Women’s Champion and Charlotte Flair is the SmackDown Women’s Champion. Sasha Banks and Bayley are both out of action, but there’s no doubt they will be in big spots when they return.
They are the most reliable women the company has and are among the biggest superstars on the roster. However, the women’s divisions on RAW and SmackDown are in need of new faces to lead the way.
#1. Keeping the WWE Universal title on Roman Reigns throughout the year
Roman Reigns dominated WWE in 2021. He became the first superstar in a long time to walk into a year as the world champion, and walk out of it with the title. Even Brock Lesnar, who held the Universal title for 503 days couldn’t hold on to his title from the start of 2018 until the end.
Roman Reigns is the best character in the company right now, so much so that the company seems to be unsure as to who will dethrone him. He is set to break Brock Lesnar’s record in a few days to become the longest-reigning WWE World Champion of the 21st century.
However, the company shouldn’t keep the title on Roman Reigns throughout 2022. Whether it’s at WrestleMania or another time, a superstar like Drew McIntyre needs to be elevated to a position where they can dethrone Roman Reigns.
We get the feeling that after Roman Reigns’ lengthy run ends at presumably 600+ days, we will have a series of transitional reigns between the next few champions. That’s normally how it works, but hopefully, the man to dethrone Roman Reigns gets a big run with the Universal title.