Fan interaction is a big part of the WWE product and, without a live audience in attendance, the overall presentation of the shows has definitely suffered.
However, WWE have also lost several of its top stars during the same period. Roman Reigns has been absent since before WrestleMania due to health concerns, whilst top women’s star Becky Lynch announced her pregnancy in May. Brock Lesnar has not appeared since April and names such as Charlotte Flair, Daniel Bryan and Sami Zayn are also not a part of WWE programming at present.
Although there are undoubtedly reasons behind the slump in ratings, WWE chairman Vince McMahon still finds himself under pressure to increase viewership, particularly from company shareholders.
Per wrestlingnews.co, recent WWE television tapings have been described as chaotic by those backstage. Constant script changes have resulted in the cancellation of certain tapings on several occasions.
Prior to a recent investor call, a booking meeting was labeled “brutal” by sources, with McMahon repeatedly refusing to approve anything that was pitched. A separate meeting following the call, though, was far more productive – with McMahon raving about three women’s Superstars that he feels have a big future, per Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer.
Bayley has been one of the company’s most entertaining performers during the last few months and McMahon is seemingly a big fan of the current SmackDown Women’s champion, who also co-holds the WWE Women’s Tag Team championship with Sasha Banks.
Given the quality of Bayley’s work as a heel over the last few months, this perhaps should not come as the biggest surprise.
McMahon, though, also sees great potential in both Peyton Royce and Bianca Belair as singles stars. Royce has already held WWE gold as a part of The IIconics with Billie Kay, but McMahon has told his inner circle that he believes the Australian could excel as a solo act. Belair debuted on the main roster at WrestleMania, but has only recently begun to be featured prominently on Raw in recent weeks.
Having lost the likes of Lynch, Flair and Kairi Sane in recent times, WWE needs to refresh its women’s roster and, judging by these reports, Vince McMahon has already hand-picked his next female projects.