Vince McMahon said last night that this edition of RAW is something we’d never forget. In a sense, he was right. But for the wrong reasons.
Usually, I do not review individual episodes of Monday Night RAW, but I felt like this one deserved special attention? Why? Because it was, quite frankly, one of the worst episodes of RAW I’ve ever seen. I NEEDED to write an article on it.
Now, I know what some of you may be thinking in that WWE is routinely bad, and sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between when RAW is just bad and when it is inexplicably horrible.
Last night’s edition fell into a special category of bad for me because never before had it appeared to be blatantly evident that WWE is committing self-suicide. I also thought it would be interesting to point out the core issues that have attributed to WWE’s rapidly declining ratings. Let’s take it from the top.
More of the Same S%@#
The first indication that RAW is struggling mightily is that Vince McMahon opens the show. At this point, Vince is an old man who rambles incoherently and has his head shoved too far down his rear end to see what is wrong with his creation. However, he still sees himself as a big presence that can give RAW a jolt in viewership. When the situation is right, that can be the case. However, his presence does not fix the core problem.
Basically, Roman comes to RAW because he says he can and he is above what management has to say. Vince McMahon gets mad at him for a little while, and Roman just kind of mocks him. Then Daniel Bryan comes out to demand a rematch for the WWE Championship. Then Kofi says, “come at me bro!” Then Drew McIntyre says “WWE is too soft and Roman sucks.” From all of this, Vince deems himself to be a genius and declares a new “Wild Card” rule that will allow three superstars from one brand to crossover on the other brand each week. While they would quickly break this rule later in the night, I personally didn’t mind this.
One must understand that whenever WWE does the brand split, they entire into a cycle in which eventually superstars start appearing on opposing brands to the point where they just decide to re-unify the brands once again. I mean think about it. On Smackdown, a RAW tag team challenged for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles, and AJ Styles, who is competing for RAW’s top world title, gets a shot at Smackdown’s world title, and he didn’t even ask for it. The brands are already unified in a sense, but it is not official.
That is not the problem. The problem is that there were approximately 20 minutes wasted with nothing said. It is just a never-ending promo-palooza where superstars speak for the sake of speaking. No plot advancement, no character development and no endgame to all of this. This is merely filler in the form of promos. This is one of WWE’s major problems. They add too much content that serves no purpose.
So what does Vince do out of all of this? Well, Vince and WWE said not too long ago there will be no more automatic rematches for the sake of giving us fresh matchups. But that is quickly disregarded as we got not one, but two WrestleMania rematches for free on the same night.
Now as if enough people did not already come out to say nothing, AJ Styles comes out to a commercial break. He comes out, tells Vince he doesn’t know what he’s doing, Seth interrupts him to recap last week’s closing segment, and what does Vince do? Well, first he does the predictable next step in the typical face vs. face storyline trope. They put two competitors in a tag team match so we can wonder if two people who are supposed to be fighting each other for RAW’s top title can get along.
We have seen this story so many times that one could probably predict the next sequence of events, being that one of them will end up accidentally hitting the other, walking out, and costing them the match. Surprisingly, that is what happens. The biggest problem with these face/face storylines is because not only are the sequence of events often predictable, but the tag matches they are placed in holds no consequence. There are no stakes.
If Seth and AJ lose, so what? Do they lose that imaginary sense of “momentum”? This would have been more interesting if there was a stipulation that if either man betrayed the other, they forfeit the match. But no, it’s just a tag match. Who cares? Technically, AJ or Seth could have just blindsided the other to get an advantage. And worst of all, that match is a 20-minute snoozefest against the team of Bobby Lashley and……UGH…Baron Corbin.
So if you were keeping track, we spent 25 minutes with an old man getting interrupted to build up to a 20-minute tag team match that ended with the Universal Champion getting pinned by a man who dresses like an Olive Garden host. If you can look past all that, RAW was terrific to start!
Sami Zayn Is Literal Garbage
Sami Zayn is out once again to tell us all how terrible we are for daring to have an opinion on the content we watch each week. These promos from Sami are fine because he’s doing it well, but my concern was whether or not there was going to be a payoff for all of this. Otherwise, it makes no sense as to why Sami couldn’t have been doing this while he was injured, because he doesn’t seem to be wrestling much these days. Then, Braun Strowman comes out for seemingly no real reason, stares Sami down, and dumps him into a garbage truck. Amusing, right?
Who looks better out of all of this? Strowman has not been relevant for seemingly a year, and Sami is in a no better place than he was before he got hurt. Again, more pointless fodder that doesn’t make either guy look good coming out of it.
The Meandering Middle
These days, RAW wouldn’t be itself without a meandering middle portion, and it is there in spades. First, we have the Lucha House Party going up against three jobbers not important enough to have their names displayed. LHP has been here for Vince knows how long, and it’s looking like they’d be better served on WWE Main Event. There’s nothing to them, and they’re not exciting. If you’re going to be on RAW, you should have a purpose. So what was the purpose of this? Is LHP being built up for a tag title shot? It doesn’t seem likely. So why this?