Monday’s RAW proved something to me that I’ve written about here in the past. When WWE wants to, they are fully capable of pulling of an excellent wrestling TV show. They’ve done it time and time again, however will much less frequently in the post-Monday Night Wars era than they did during the “Attitude Era,” where being shocked and awed and fully entertained was a given each and every single Monday night.
Such recent examples as the first RAW in Chicago since the departure of CM Punk come to mind. The post-WrestleMania XXX edition of RAW, much like any post-WrestleMania edition of RAW, was another example of a quality show.
My question is this: If they are capable of doing this, why don’t they do it more often?
What is the purpose of “saving” a good idea or match? I can see the argument for certain WrestleMania angles or matches that you want to save for the big stage, but not in terms of actually doing something with your crazy-long three-hour television show each week, instead of filling it with extra long matches with no meaning, half-assed attempts at comedy segments, or an insane amount of promotional mentions.
A great example from this past Monday’s show was the beginning of the build for what appears to be a high-profile SummerSlam match featuring Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella.
How awesome were those segments?!
The first segment with Brie in the audience was the highlight of the show, in my opinion. Stephanie is great in her role as a heel authority figure. Really great, actually. But equally as great was the performance of Brie Bella. She pulled off her portion of the segment in excellent fashion, while Stephanie delivered like she always does in these types of situations.
Later on in the show, when Stephanie was being arrested — again, brilliant. We’ve seen people get “arrested” on RAW a million times, but I can never recall it being done in the fashion that it was this past Monday. It was almost like a slow-build where the viewer had to realize what was going on by themselves, without it being blatantly shoved down their throats. I thought that small detail made all of the difference in the world.
Stephanie going from an arrogant, “you’re going to regret this!” to a “holy crap, is this really happening?!” all the way to a “oh no, I can’t make it in jail, Hunter!” range of emotions, all of which were off-mic and sold strictly on her facials and the few audible comments we could hear, was simply awesome.
I really don’t think Stephanie gets the credit she deserves for how good she is in her current role.
An immediate comparison comes to mind on not only Stephanie McMahon’s character, but the entire McMahon-Bella saga in general — Austin vs. McMahon.
In the 2014 version, Brie Bella is playing the role of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The person who is defying authority. Stephanie McMahon is playing the role of, well, McMahon. And while she’s no “Mr. McMahon” by any means, her role as “one of the principal owners of WWE” is underrated.
If they keep the McMahon-Bella segments interesting and unique, as their segments on Monday’s RAW were, then by the time SummerSlam rolls around, we might actually be looking at a women’s match on a high-profile show like SummerSlam that is more interesting and anticipated than many of the top matches featuring guys.
How many big shows can you say that about?
While I don’t expect much from the actual match itself, I am very much enjoying the build up. I can’t, however, sit back and wonder why WWE doesn’t do these type of angles more often. If you have 20,000 writers on staff and 5-6 key hours of television every week (RAW, SmackDown, Main Event) how is it possible that there aren’t more instances where an angle of this quality comes up more often?
We need more Bray Wyatt’s. We need more CM Punk’s, or, well, we need CM Punk back. We need more Paul Heyman segments. We need more creative writing and ideas for people like Stephanie and Brie. It can’t be that hard to come up with stuff that’s going to stick. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I don’t see why they don’t take more chances like this and see what happens.
Just another reminder, one of many in fact, that makes me miss the old Monday Night Wars days. In those days, you expected to be shocked and entertained on a week-to-week basis. These days, you’re shocked when you actually are entertained.