It is easy to pick apart a company that puts out so much original programming every week. But the truth is there were plenty of things that WWE did very well in 2016.
Looking back on the year that was 2016, it’s clear to see that the year was a game changer for the company. The WWE brand split returned, the cruiserweights returned, the Universal Championship and the United Kingdom Championship were unveiled, and the Divas Championship was finally cast aside in favor of the Women’s Championship.
Although 2016 had its ups and downs, WWE made some big moves that could potentially set the company up and interesting year in 2017. Let’s look at some of the things that WWE did very well in 2016.
1) Roster Expansion
A lot of people can complain about the WWE roster seeming thin, but show me another wrestling company with as many full-time workers as WWE. There are more than 100 in-ring workers for WWE when you factor in NXT. In 2016, WWE brought in members of The Bullet Club from Japan. The company presented the Cruiserweight Classic, which led to a lot of signings from around the world. Some top TNA talent joined NXT, including Eric Young and Bobby Roode. Plus WWE brought back some talent like Mickie James, Rhyno, Jinder Mahal and Curt Hawkins. On top of that, some older talent like The Spirit Squad and The Headbangers also came back for some appearances.
2) WWE Network Content
When the WWE Network launched, the main attractions were the pay-per-views and the old archives. Now, in addition to that, subscribers also have access to a lot of original content. That programming has included documentaries, interview shows, a “ride alone” series, a hidden camera pranks, recaps, and even a cartoon. An excellent mix of behind-the-scenes and story-pushing content, meeting the needs of both casual and diehard fans. Not only is there plenty to watch, but at $9.99 per month, the WWE Network is such a great value that few entertainment companies can come close in terms of being to offer so much for so little.
3) Online Content
Beyond what is featured on the WWE Network and on weekly television, the company offers lots of content for the Internet. Reactions and promos constantly pop up on YouTube, as do the programs hosted by specific superstars. Storylines initiate on social media from time to time. The bad news can be that there is so much content that it may be hard to follow everything happening within the WWE Universe. The good news is that there is always more to look at and take in if you are seeking such from the WWE.
4) Global Expansion
The aforementioned Cruiserweight Classic included competitors from all over. The U.K. tournament coming to the WWE Network will showcase a lot of British talent that WWE fans may not know much about. NXT currently includes talent from Asia and European countries that WWE has not often had much of a presence in. The WWE Network is now available practically everywhere the company tours. In turn, WWE is doing a great job in keeping its product at being so U.S.-centric like it was at points in the 1980s and 1990s.
The WWE is a publicly traded company. In turn, it has a lot of responsibilities in not only keeping legitimate finances but maintaining a positive image. The WWE has come a long way from the Attitude Era and now features major sponsors and causes in its programming. All of that may drive the company further away from the in-ring action that many long-time fans seek, yet with the archives featured on the WWE Network and a lot of the aforementioned recent expansion going on, I don’t think we the fans have to worry about the company currently offering a PG product. The company’s fiscal success can only lead to better things for the talent, the fans and the overall legacy of WWE.