If history is any indication, the wrestling industry experiences boom periods when it takes the common cultural perception of it, and then go the opposite direction. The world thinks wrestling is stupid...well, make it intelligent.
It doesn't have to be the most intellectual show in the world (that would severely limit it's audience)...just move in that direction. Make it as smart as an episode of Homeland, for instance. Take socially provocative concepts and make characters (or stables) represent those concepts. For example, we live in a world where same-sex marriage is a divisive subject in the U.S...well...sounds like the time for a gay character. And not the kind of gay character from the 90s who'll grind on his opponent to play 'mind games'; make him being homosexual one single (and completely secondary) part of his character, and then give him a general, more important character, like him being a badass muscle for hire. At the forefront you have the wrestling character (hired muscle) and at the back end you have numerous human characteristics which, because of the natural irrational nature of the human mind, will result in the audience reacting a certain way whether they want to or not. There's people reading this post right now who are uncomfortable with my idea because the concept socially or creatively offends them. Good. That's the kind of provocativeness I want and those are the kind of natural reactions I want. I'm not trying to write shows about gay people, that's just an example.
And even if the 'social provocativeness' isn't an option for some cowardly reason, wrestling could at least start with some story continuity. If you're gonna have an angle where the board of directors fire AJ for fraternizing with talent, maybe they shouldn't hire Vickie Guerrero. And maybe (because of AJ's documented history with Bryan, Kane or Punk), the board of directors shouldn't have hired AJ in the first place. These are massive plotholes and should never make television. Even a small step like that could help wrestling become smarter, boost the industry's credibility and help it compete with other television. Write storylines and stick to them. Get the fans used to these characters and their traits. Don't change them every 12 months and then wonder why the fans don't care when these characters are put in so called 'challenging situations'. They can evolve, but they can't change. If that doesn't boost the industry on a major level, I'm not sure what would work. They would need sheer luck.
That's just an idea. An idea I'm sure people are gonna feel uncomfortable reading. But it's my (very unimportant) two cents.
too bad that wrestling is hesitant to shy away from cliches, i mean its gut wrenchingly horrible enough when a book tv show movie song says the same things over and over again
as far as gays go, why not challenge how people claim wrestling is gay by outright banning gays from attenting shows or working within the industry and once the buthurt free rights activists, most of which dont really have any stake in wrestling anyway, flair up just say "we're trying to protect our sport from the publics common opressions, don't blame us blame the people that still think being gay is bad"
the irony in that alone should turn plenty of heads, if not just for the sake of being pro active