WWE Mixed Match Challenge Finals Reaction: Tournament Recap & Post-Show Review

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Shinsuke Nakamura and Natalya were just awful. Finn Balor and Sasha Banks were as boring as could be and just mind-numbingly serious. Elias and Bayley had nothing going on that struck me as interesting. Apollo and Nia Jax was just a thing for a week and didn’t have much substance behind it.

This could have been worse with the teams, but it could have been better, too, as really only half of them worked in my mind and the other half were duds.

The Execution

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WWE is so oversaturated with content that I find myself ignoring almost all of the online material and since this was heavily marketed as being a web-based experience, some of that fell by the wayside.

I just don’t have the time to watch 7+ hours of WWE’s primary shows (8 technically, but who watches Main Event?) along with checking out the specials on the WWE Network after Raw and then checking the YouTube for little snippets of the Mixed Match Challenge teams interacting with each other, especially if the first few videos aren’t good enough to convince me that the rest aren’t going to be as superfluous.

It’s good that they tried to tie social media into this, because you never know what will work unless you try something different, but I don’t think this will create too many benefits outside of maybe some lessons learned about how just because kids these days are glued to their phones doesn’t mean they want to be looking at everything YOU do unless it’s good enough to get eyes on it.

I also got so sick and tired of that song they used. It was just obnoxiously loud. NOT GIVING IT UP! THIS IS MY ZONE……..ugh. Every single advertisement that jumped into that drove me crazy, because this was the only thing I would hear associated with MMC for over a dozen weeks, multiple times per episode.

The matches themselves were fine, but nothing that I ever caught myself telling other people to check out if they missed it. Frankly, I don’t remember half of the pairings that took place during the bracket, even.

Speaking of the bracket, the second chance vote for a team to re-enter the tournament was a good enough concept to boost the social media coverage, but I don’t think it did much of anything in the long run. It’s better to have that option than to not and just have an extra few weeks of a tournament with more teams to have a more stable bracket, but I imagine the thrill of voting a team back in wasn’t so immense in the grand scheme of things.

Final Verdict

This was a bust. It’s great that charities received donations and some attention, and if you were fond of the tournament, then you had more WWE material to watch every week, but this definitely didn’t resonate with a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons.

It’s worth experimenting with different ideas and different programming avenues, so I commend WWE for trying something out and would never say a failure is devoid of any positives, as you can always take away lessons you’ve learned from your mistakes and apply them to the future, but this isn’t something I’d like to see return in any capacity whatsoever. There shouldn’t be a Mixed Match Challenge II tournament in a few months or next year, or God forbid picked back up to continue following this.

I also feel like this hindered the revamp of 205 Live by pushing it further back during the night, as I’m sure there were some people who didn’t want to stay awake to watch it at 10:30 at night. It might not have made an enormous difference, but it couldn’t have helped at all.

If they were to ever do this again, I think they would need to change quite a bit of how it was done. It should air BEFORE SmackDown or Raw, not after, it should have something other than charity donations on the line, the presentation should be as top notch as possible and there should be some kind of incentive to participate in the online chat other than seeing your name pop up in a feed. Maybe there could be a contest where one person every week would be chosen to win a prize (even if it’s as simple as a WWE Shop gift card). Maybe this could be a King and/or Queen of the Ring tournament instead of a mixed tag team match affair.

There’s room to explore some different options, but I’d be perfectly fine with WWE not revisiting this at all in the future and just letting this fade away as one of those random things that happened and was quickly forgotten about.

For more opinions on the tournament as a whole and the finals, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews Mixed Match Challenge with my immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.

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