We all loved the WWE UK Championship right? Yeah of course we did. There were a lot of fun matches with a clear narrative throughout and then a good pay off. Nothing about the structure or matches were revolutionary, but it was a fun show and those two nights in Blackpool were memorable for the right reasons.
Of course, this wasn’t meant as a nice one-off, WWE want a bit more. With wrestling in the UK getting bigger and bigger, more of it is starting to seep into mainstream media. World of Sport Wrestling made a come back on ITV on News Year Eve and may get a full series, while 5* Wrestling will have an event broadcast on the 28th January with Rey Mysterio set to headline with John Morrison on Channel 5 on the 28th January. And WWE want a slice of that pie, so a weekly WWE show is in the works.
But how can it be a success? Well, here you are.
5. Create a Women’s Division
A pretty simple but easy one to kick off. It makes sense why there were no women in the UK Championship, it could have taken focus away from the tournament and hand and you needed to pay attention to the story it was telling. But if you are to do a regular weekly UK show, you will need to a women’s division. The recent Charlotte-Sasha Banks feud proves the women aren’t a mere side show, and the likes of Bayley and Becky Lynch show they can be properly over on the basis they are good wrestlers. And heck, returning Paige to the UK may help her sort out her personal issues, as well as making sure people are instantly interested in the division. But talking about the talent from Raw and Smackdown…
4. No cameos from the WWE’s current British and Irish talent
There are quite a few wrestlers currently in the WWE that would qualify to be on a weekly UK show. Sheamus, Neville and Finn Balor are all big names, varying in size of course and it would certainly pique interest if they were to be appear on the show. Of course the WWE have plans for them in the future and reports indicate the UK show would be a developmental territory of sorts, so they’d never be moved over. But you can tell the WWE would love to ship them over every so often, just to keep the interest high, much like Neville’s match with Tommy End in the UK Championship.
This is the wrong idea. The new signings like Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne should be the stars and you will simply distract from them should Sheamus just show up to do a promo and then Brogue Kick someone. Trust in the stories you are telling, if they are good enough people will watch regardless of if someone they are a fan of is involved.
3. Make sure the show is a British product
What I feel many people appreciated about the UK Championship was not just the great story told but the different style on offer. It was not the WWE style and that’s a refreshing change if you watch a lot of Raw and Smackdown. So WWE must keep it that way, or elsewhere people will get tired of it and not watch. That’s what happened with 205 Live, which doesn’t give us any extra reason to watch on top of all the other wrestling content despite having the amazing Cruserweight Classic backing it up. And without being overly patronising by chucking a load of black taxis on the set and having the British national anthem as the theme tune, they need to make sure the unique identity of this country’s wrestling.
So that means keeping the style that kept us gripped throughout the two day event in Blackpool pretty much untouched, adding a British play-by-play commentator to replace Michael Cole as he is unlikely to be able to do the show on a regular basis and keeping Nigel McGuiness of course. Heck, upgrade him to General Manager now that William Regal is back at NXT.
2. Stick to one location with limited touring
So one of the key decisions that will be made when the UK show is finally commissioned is where and when they will film it. However instead of touring the show like they may be tempted to, they should pick a set and stick to it. Touring would cost a lot of money and honestly wouldn’t add that much, especially with the logistical issues that would present themselves. I can’t see a UK show filling arenas like Raw and Smackdown does every week, so you’ll end up in clubs and leisure centres, which don’t have the space for professional set ups. Just look at some WCPW matches on YouTube for example, they have terrible lighting which makes it look like a lesser show.
No, WWE need to set up a regular base where most of their shows can be filmed, ideally in Manchester as there’s already a lot studios up there which are cheaper to film at than London plus it’s easy to get to for fans, and cultivate it as the home of UK wrestling. Sure, they should tour and do house shows and the occasional special elsewhere and if the show takes off, I reckon doing their PPVS in arenas would be a great way of making them feel bigger. But for most of the year, they should have a stable home.
1. It should be shown on terrestrial TV in the UK
When the UK show eventually starts, it will most likely be a WWE Network exclusive to give us more reason to keep forking £10 out a month. As it should be, for most of the world.
But in the UK, it shouldn’t be. It should be broadcast on Freeview TV, with it appearing on WWE Network for UK fans later on. Ok, so this will mean adverts, but this is to get mainstream fans into it. Right now in the UK, it is tough to get into wrestling. If you have no passing interest in wrestling, to get into it you must flick past it on Sky Sports 5 and think this is worth sticking with. There are other ways, such as going to an actual live show of wrestling, but most rely on the consumer gambling with their money. And with those consumers being more careful with their money than ever, they simply aren’t going to do that for a product often referred to as a joke.
But put it on prime time on British TV, prefably a Sunday night on Channel 4 which needs a show the family can watch before the kids get chucked to bed after Top Gear went down the pan, you can attract a new legion of fans. They’ll tune in, get gripped by the hopefully good stories and wrestling, and then you can push the WWE Network on them. Then you have a lot of new subscribers paying you, and then you can get them into the US product they won’t have had much contact with before, especially if you promote an over UK wrestler show to Raw or Smackdown
If you don’t do this, it won’t mean the UK show isn’t well watched or well liked. It’ll just be watched by the people who are already subscribers, and you won’t get any extra money or an extra slice of this competitive market.