The entertainment world has been heavily impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and there's not likely a better reflection of this than WWE's programming. Having to make numerous changes to the standard formula such as cutting a ton of notable names from the roster, moving to the WWE Performance Center, losing crowds, and pre-recording its Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown episodes, WWE has been having a rough go at it. There have been noticeable shake ups to stories on the fly, and while many of them are good as many lesser seen talents are shining, the loss of viewership just cements that lack of vigor.
It's an apathy that cannot be entirely blamed on the WWE (it is one of the major entertainment giants still providing new content, for better or worse), but one that will be easily lifted when the COVID-19 pandemic passes and restrictions are lifted. When the crowds return and notable names show up on WWE TV once more, the energy will return overall. It's going to need a little push in the beginning weeks, however.
So how do you do it? Which matches do you program to get the most out of the first post-pandemic live shows? Read on for a few match ideas that would get the WWE jump started after COVID-19 restrictions lift, and let us know what you would want to see in the comments!
Baron Corbin vs. Legend
This choice is admittedly a throw away one as it's the kind of easy and instant plays to the crowd WWE is known for, but it will be exactly the thing needed for the first live crowd show. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, The Undertaker, or even Hulk Hogan comes in and quickly takes down or cuts a promo on King Baron Corbin after he spends a few minutes saying how he liked it better without the crowd to distract him or something like that. You can even end it by breaking the crown (something that would be fun from Ric Flair and Randy Orton)! It's the sort of icebreaker that a super hyped crowd would be ultra receptive to.prevnext
In a perfect world, the COVID-19 pandemic will be mostly settled by January 2021 and it would be just in time for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. The last thing anyone could imagine right now is a ring full of that many performers at a time. Getting to see a proper pay-per-view (especially if it's the first live one), with the literal biggest match type full of cameos, callbacks, returns, and more would be a great way to usher in the post-pandemic WWE slate.prevnext
Roman Reigns vs. The Fiend
As much as many WWE fans want to bash on Roman Reigns for, Friday Night SmackDown had seen a noticeable dip in star power at the start of the pandemic restrictions. Once Roman Reigns appropriately stepped away for health concerns, and all mention of him was scrubbed from WWE programming and promotions, the Universal Championship title did not really pick up steam again until its current run with Braun Strowman. He most likely would have won it from Goldberg, so it's technically his title to lose anyway. If we somehow get a title match in which Reigns is the only one who could defeat the Fiend, it would lead to a fun post-COVID run not reliant on cinematic matches.prevnext
Roman Reigns vs. Keith Lee
You might have noticed how much bigger physically Roman Reigns has gotten during his quarantine too. Now imagine Universal Champion Roman Reigns takes on a challenge from NXT Champion Keith Lee. Reigns recently mentioned how he would want to work a one on one with Lee in the ring, and it would capitalize on Lee's current trajectory. The greatest thing about this potential match up too is that you wouldn't need for the both of them to have a title for it to still feel like a big deal. It could just be one of the fun opening matches WWE fans could look forward to that week and still hit hard.prevnext
Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar
One of the matches that was reportedly scrapped from the SummerSlam line up this year was a rematch between Drew McIntyre and Brock Lesnar, and honestly it's that final piece McIntyre is missing. Having to win the title during the pandemic, it's unfortunately made McIntyre feel smaller than he should be. A second, definitive win against Brock Lesnar would also get him that proper crowd adoration he has frankly earned. It would help solidify him as less of a transitional feeling champion until the next big story comes along because he's supposed to be the story in the first place. Think of it like a soft reboot to McIntyre's run.prevnext
Edge vs. Randy Orton
Unfortunately for these two, no matter how great their Backlash bout was there was no real chance it could be the "greatest match ever" without a crowd present. If the COVID-19 pandemic persists until Edge is at a point where he can return to the ring safely following his injury, it would be great for Edge to get his due with a crowd as well. Although he was able to enjoy the crowd upon his return, his solo matches have yet to get that final stamp of adoration. One final match between the two would be a great main event to usher in the post-pandemic era.prevnext
AJ Styles vs. The Undertaker
Wrestlemania's Boneyard Match might have been the best send off possible for The Undertaker as a character, but it's not quite enough of a send off for Mark Calaway. Following the release of Undertaker: The Last Ride, Calaway announced his retirement citing how the Boneyard Match brought a sense of finality he was content with. But Calaway deserves the crowd's send off too. If anything, you can have a short AJ Styles confrontation during an Undertaker appreciation night. AJ Styles noted how he would be willing to do a proper match for The Undertaker, and surely everyone would love it to see it happen should Calaway want it.prev
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