In order to be invested in anything fictional, we must first feel it. We should feel the emotions, whether it be happy, sad, angry, or anything the author wishes. The best fiction builds up the characters, makes us care, makes us feel like we know them personally. We lose characters, and it hits us hard, making it difficult to move on. We hate those who hurt our favourites, and in doing so .. we give power to the villains. They keep hurting those we love, filling our minds with sadness, rage, and a longing for revenge.
It’s not what I aimed for, but it feels like I’ve criticized WWE a lot lately. I’m a fan of the incredible talents WWE has under contract, but not of what I saw on Raw. It wasn’t just the ending, there’s other details which I’m sure frustrates many. One thing WWE has done right in the past year, is the way they handled the feud of Johnny Gargano & Tomasso Ciampa in NXT. I’m not getting in that in gory detail, as I’m sure many of you have seen it.
I’d like to go through some of the segments which happened on Raw, despite some happening for a second or third time in as many weeks. I’m not worried about the repetition (although you could argue it reeks of laziness), but rather, I’m perplexed by the so-called “feuds”. I’d like to talk about Sasha Banks & Bayley, Roman Reigns & Bobby Lashley, and of course, Kevin Owens & Braun Strowman. Let’s figure them out as we go.
Sasha/Bayley — After months of “are they feuding or what??”, we finally got a breakthrough last week when Bayley beat the living crap out of Sasha. How did Angle respond? He felt it necessary to send them to counselling. I get it .. they wanted to use Dr. Shelby again, as he’s apparently good at what he does. The segments with Team Hell No were pretty hilarious, and it made sense for a team to go through counselling like an old married couple. However, Dr. Shelby’s techniques didn’t work, and how did he stop them arguing? He shouted over them. Brilliant example there .. if no one’s listening, just shout over everyone. Funny right?
But it wasn’t the most annoying part. What I especially disliked was the whole “you pretend to be Bayley, you pretend to be Sasha” thing. What did they sound like when they role reversed? 9-year-olds. So we got Sasha saying Bayley was a big fan, loves hugs and all that .. like, it’s an insult? Really? She’s just saying how Bayley is, which is fine as that’s who she is and there’s no reason to change. When it was Bayley’s turn, all she could do was say “I’m the legit BOOSSS” over and over. Again, that’s who Sasha is, it’s not really an insult other than doing it in a way which could be considered mocking. But that’s all it is .. one week after Bayley beat the hell out of Sasha, all they could do was mock and argue like a bunch of kids. It pains me .. I’ve had bigger feuds on the toilet. Speaking of which.
Bobby/Roman — I like that Roman’s been demoted somewhat, but his character is totally confusing. Lashley’s kinda like an internet mark with muscles, as he parrots what most keyboard warriors who don’t like Roman would say. The problem is the audience isn’t invested in either of them, and no one knows who to cheer for. Do we cheer Lashley for telling Roman no one likes him? Or do we cheer Roman for pointing out Lashley ain’t been around for ten years? Are we supposed to commend Roman for not tagging Lashley in their match? Even though he comes across like a baby spitting his dummy out? His ego is so big he’ll take on a team like The Revival by himself to prove a point? And when Lashley left him .. how are we supposed to feel? Roman deserved it right? He should be professional. Should Lashley have attacked The Revival to save Roman from himself? Why would he do that when Roman did it to himself to show he didn’t need help?
It’s like they’re tweeners and WWE wants us to decide who the good guy is. I like Lashley, I enjoyed his time in Impact and thought he made a good heel champion .. but now? I don’t know what he is. Do I cheer him? Boo him? Do I believe they hate each other? Not really. The insults have been tame, and the repeated tag matches bore me. The only ones to have gained anything from this was The Revival, who at least got to do something. I don’t believe in this feud, and it sucks because Lashley deserves better. Hell .. I think even Roman deserves better. Remember when Roman tried to kill Strowman with a big rig truck? That’s a feud! Give us more of that.
Strowman/Owens — Don’t get me wrong, I can see the comedic value of this. Is it a feud though? Or is it Strowman bullying him because KO is scared and can’t stop Monster In The Bank doing what he wants? Is having your car tipped a sign of friendship? Or does Strowman not like him? I’m all for comedy though, and I didn’t mind the portaloo thing .. even if it resembles the state of Raw at the moment.
What I’m most worried about .. is it was the focal point of Raw. We tune in to see rivalries, feuds, guys & girls looking to beat each other to prove they are the best. Should this story have taken up the main event? If we can even call it that? I was looking forward to a match .. and we didn’t get one.
After Strowman turned face, he lost the underlying hatred a monster needs. He’s not really a monster if he sees comedic value in the destruction he makes (unless you’re an evil clown?). Kevin Owens lost something too, he doubts his own ability. I think the only way it can be saved is if Owens plucks up the courage to destroy Strowman .. somehow. It would take a lot, but I’d love to see KO get the upper hand. But something tells me it’s not going to happen, Strowman is too powerful and is being built up to take the title off Lesnar. He’s untouchable, and no one can make him look bad. But I want him to look bad .. I want KO to cause him trouble. There’s only so many times we can see Braun embarrass KO before it gets boring. I’m hoping it doesn’t stay one-sided.
Please Sir. — I provided three examples when there could’ve been more. When you look at NXT, we’ve seen Ciampa taking off Gargano’s wedding ring and spitting on it, before throwing it away. In Impact, we’ve seen Eddie Edwards wanting to “kill” Sami Callihan, and there’s also a new guy called Killer Kross wanting to stomp people’s heads in. There’s plenty of room for heated feuds on WWE’s main brands, but it seems they don’t want them. The only characters allowed to use explicit language are Vince McMahon, The Rock, and sometimes Brock Lesnar. Have you ever noticed how Lesnar can call someone a bitch but no one else can?
So for a while the main rosters have lacked meaningful feuds. Reigns vs. Strowman was probably the last good one, as it made a star out of Braun. The insults are so lame, if a kid used them in a playground they’d be laughed at. If I could award someone for the worst insult of the week, I’d likely give it to Finn Balor. You probably didn’t catch this because it was so dumb, but did you hear when Finn Balor, dare I say .. called Baron Corbin a “stooge”? My goodness. And Corbin stood there smiling, he was so offended on the inside .. I can tell. Seriously though .. of course he’s a F’n stooge! That’s how he got the job in the first place Finn! Could no one come up with a better insult than that? It made him look like an idiot.
So the next time you get in to an argument .. remember not to curse, look angry, lash out, or use any other bad words. Please sir .. would you mind terribly if you stopped hurting me? I feel like you should stop, but I’m too polite to be angry with you. Ok, so you’re still doing it .. maybe I should impersonate? Or tell a joke? I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I apologise for my head looking like such a good target for you to stomp on. I’ll just be quiet and wait for you to stop then? Ok. Can someone call an ambulance?
Just a short one today. I feel strongly that WWE needs to show the hate between their talents better. What do you think? Does WWE need to change how its talent cuts promos on each other? Should they have more freedom to express? Has Raw & Smackdown become too soft? Please leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks everyone! See you soon.