WWE announced earlier today that the Mixed Match Challenge will be having a second season, again on Facebook Watch, starting September 18th.
My gut reaction from reading that announcement was annoyance, but I figured it would be worth looking more into the selling points to see if anything would catch my interest.
The Return in General
Naturally, WWE is going to frame this as only a great thing. Why would they call it anything but that, right?
In the announcement, it specifies “an exciting new season”—something I can’t really agree with, as I watched every episode of the previous season and wasn’t entertained by a good majority of it. My favorite part was actually the Mic’d Up videos, rather than the matches and the concept itself.
WWE would have to change the concept around quite a bit for me to be excited to see it return.
Right out of the gate, WWE advertised this as streaming live “for the first time in Germany, Mexico, Australia, France, Indonesia, Philippines, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam.”
I’m not the type of person who cares when WWE is in my own state, let alone in another country, so this means nothing to me, personally.
Some people might love that. After all, being in different countries potentially gives it a different flavor, as the crowds will react to things in a different manner. Spain doesn’t get as many shows as the United States, for instance, and they might be super into anything they can watch.
Overall, this is a positive in that regard, but it’s not something that appeals to me as an individual viewer.
The initial post on WWE.com mentions nothing about this being for a charitable donation.
Perhaps that’s an oversight, or maybe they don’t have any of the charities lined up in order to mention which ones will be represented, but I think that’s a major downgrade.
The one positive out of all of the first season, in my mind, was that it was at least being used as a platform to bring more attention to the different charitable causes, who received at least $10,000 by the end of it.
You can’t dislike that, and if they got rid of that aspect and it’s now just a tournament for the sake of it, with nothing on the line, that hurts the investment, too.
Two Matches for 30 Minute Episodes
This is a step up from the previous installment, which would only see one match per week take place.
However, just like anything else, if the matches are bad, it doesn’t matter how many of them you put on a show, as less would be better, at that point.
The positive with this, though, is obviously the opposite. If the matches are good—and with this crop of people, there’s certainly a chance at that—having two is certainly better than one.
Doubling up might allow this to have more breathing room and not come off as a quick random extra dark match that if you blink, you miss it. Let’s just hope it’s not worth missing.
Monday Night Raw’s Teams
- Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss – I liked them the first time, but now that Strowman is a heel, I don’t know if it will be as fun.
- Bobby Lashley and Sasha Banks – Well, I hope Sasha brings her A-game on the promos, cause Lashley isn’t going to be keeping my interest.
- Finn Balor and Bayley – Well, I hope Bayley brings her A-game on the promos, cause Balor isn’t going to be keeping my interest (yeah, I know, same thing). I’m also not really looking forward to the inevitable match between Bayley’s and Sasha’s teams, and the references to how Balor and Banks used to team up.
- Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox – Wow…why is this one of my favorite teams already? What??
- Kevin Owens and Natalya – Good thing they didn’t announce this while Owens had “quit” like the Super Show-Down, right? This is a first-round elimination, like Natalya and Shinsuke Nakamura, or Nia Jax and Apollo Crews.
- I wonder why they wouldn’t use people like No Way Jose, to try to get him some more exposure? Seems like a missed opportunity in my book.
SmackDown Live’s Teams
- The Miz and Asuka – I enjoyed Asuka being upset about The Miz potentially ending her undefeated streak, but now that that’s over and done with, what’s the angle?
- Jimmy Uso and Naomi – Glad to see the married couples returning. I’m sure that’s fun for them.
- Rusev and Lana – Copy and paste from above.
- AJ Styles and Charlotte Flair – Well, this is the team to beat, essentially, as the two have the best overall track record of success compared to every other combo.
- R-Truth and Carmella – How are these two going to get along when R-Truth so desperately deserves that shot against Carmella? Let them fight! Let them fight! (I seriously love the whole gimmick of Truth wanting to have a match with her for a title shot)
- I would have liked to see The IIconics get involved in this. Also, why aren’t Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega a team?
An Emphasis on the Platform
To round out the announcement, WWE clearly wanted everyone to know how the Mixed Match Challenge proves the company is dedicated to being modern and, as they say it, “progressive.”
In an onslaught of buzzwords like “optimized for mobile consumption” and “short-form videos” and the particularly funny sentence “WWE will also promote and recap the series across its extensive digital and social footprint”, it pretty much read as them patting themselves on the back and telling you that they’re with it and hip.
It’s no surprise that there are incentives to the Faebook Watch and social media market—some of which we’re completely unaware of as viewers—but that kind of company-speak just turns me off.
Last time around, I couldn’t care less about whether the rest of the people watching the show with me threw out a heart emoji, nor did I have the time to invest in watching even more YouTube videos of the teams cutting a quick promo on how they’ll beat their future opponents, but if that’s something you’re into, I’m sure this read more as a positive thing than a negative.
Overall, this is a dud, to me. I’m sure I’ll be checking it out and watching all of the material, as frustrating as it might be, just because it’s my job to be informed and to cover things, but I can’t imagine feeling anything but joy when the 14 episodes are over and I can get back to ending my Tuesday nights 30 minutes earlier.