5 Reasons WWE Content Has Been So Much Better Of Late

Ronda Rousey’s heel turn is a big reason the WWE programming has been better. Credit: George Napolitano/MediaPunch /IPX photo credit: George Napolitano/MediaPunch/IPx

I’m going to go out on a limb and say, over the past month or so, WWE programming has been as good, if not better than it has been in recent years. For the first time in a while, I’ve found myself looking forward to new episodes of Raw and Smackdown as opposed to watching partially out of obligation because I cover the industry.

I’m not the only person recognizing the improvements. Ratings have been up across the board, and the WWE Universe has largely been speaking highly of the programming on social media. The WWE has made a number of hires to their creative team including Bruce Prichard, Sonjay Dutt, and Abyss. It’s hard to pinpoint who has most impacted the product, but it’s safe to say, someone is doing something better than it was being done before.

I’ve tried to break down what has led to the exponential improvement. Here are the five reasons WWE content has been much better of late.

Fewer Stereotypes

Wrestlers Kofi Kingston (L), Big E (C) and Xavier Woods (R) of ‘The New Day’ arrive at the first-ever WWE Emmy For Your Consideration event at the TV Academy Saban Media Center, in North Hollywood (near Los Angeles), on June 6, 2018 (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)Getty

We haven’t been completely liberated from all of the WWE’s tone-deaf takes on character building, but we have seen a major decrease in the number of dancing African-American caricatures, and wildly insane stereotypes that have been placed on Hispanic and Asian performers in the past. The New Day, specifically Kofi Kingston is getting an opportunity to be a person rather than an African-American performer pressured into over representations of his rhythmic gifts at the expense of showing an actual character.

Kingston has long been one of the most talented and balanced WWE Superstars, but he’d been reduced to a Royal Rumble stunt act and one of the members of the fun, but sometimes embarrassingly clownish New Day. There is a place for the New Day, but who Kofi is evolving into is even more entertaining.

The same can be said for Andrade, Rey Mysterio and other minorities in the WWE. Suddenly, we’re seeing a break from the formulaic approaches that WWE was founded on, but have now become part of its biggest problem.

Less Scripted, Backstage and or Pre-Recorded Promos

When you’re a YouTuber, there are two kinds of content: live streams or pre-recorded. The latter can be effective, but there is something to be said for standing before your audience live and communicating. The pro wrestling equivalent to this dynamic is the scripted/pre-recorded or backstage promo as opposed to the in-ring live delivery. The WWE had gotten away from in-ring live promos unless John Cena or another one of the top mic workers were in the mix.

It was creating a disconnect. We’re now seeing meaningful promos cut in the ring regularly, and the fans in the arena are more engaged. It’s working.

New Blood

Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black, and Ricochet have made their big show debuts. Ciampa suffered an injury while Black and Ricochet have been entertaining, but both are still yet to establish themselves in something meaningful. However, I’m confident something good is on the way.

Beyond the debut of those NXT stalwarts, we’ve also seen bigger roles for performers like Dana Brooke, a return of Shelton Benjamin and more. It’s been refreshing to see some new faces, and it’s also great to see the mic placed in their hands.

Brooke delivered a solid promo just before she was smashed by Ronda Rousey on Raw. Brooke got an opportunity to make a statement, and that’s all you can ask. However, hopefully, she’ll get another chance to show she’s more than a valet.

New Feuds

How good was the AJ Styles-Randy Orton back-and-forth on Smackdown?

What about the Kofi-Kevin Owens-Daniel Bryan angle? Ronda Rousey’s heel turn has made the program with Charlotte and Becky Lynch even more compelling. The Tag-Team title picture on both shows is looking strong, and that’s not to mention what’s happening with The Shield. Whatever feud stems from that angle has great potential. I’m hoping for a Drew McIntyre-Roman Reigns angle.

In any case, the feuds are fresher and don’t feel like rehashed concepts.

More Storytelling

There are almost no wasted angles on recent WWE shows. It’s not to say I like every story taking place (the Raw Women’s Tag-Team story needs help and the Lacey Evans tease is lasting a bit too long), but it at least seems that everything is headed somewhere.

Even at Fastlane, this emphasis on storytelling was apparent. Instead of the show being an unrelenting parade of matches, each segment was layered in a way that felt more organic. I’m hoping this is the way the creative and writing team continues to craft content, and that we don’t see a significant falloff after WrestleMania.