The more I think about the feud between Apollo Crews and MVP over the United States Championship, the more disappointed I become with WWE for how its been handled.
I don’t blame them for Crews not being able to compete at Extreme Rules. We don’t know exactly what went down, but it seems like that was a COVID issue and in many ways, that’s out of WWE’s control.
What I do blame them for, though, is everything that has happened since it was determined Crews wasn’t going to be on that show.
First things first, why wasn’t an alternative match offered for Extreme Rules? Someone else should have come out and fought MVP and/or Bobby Lashley just to give the fans tuning in something as a consolation prize. Doesn’t WWE try to pride itself on this philosophy that if you can’t deliver what you promised, you should give fans something better to compensate? They don’t seem to ever follow that idea, do they?
Fine. Whatever. Moving on, we get a few weeks of MVP saying he’s the champion out of forfeit and the commentary team saying that’s not true. Why is it not true? Crews didn’t show up and couldn’t compete. He should have lost the title, by that rationality, right?
WWE had an opportunity to give MVP some actual heat by having him be declared the legitimate champion by forfeit. Then, if they wanted Crews to be champion when he returned, Apollo could have been booked in a title match and won the belt back.
For that matter, that would have explained the belt switch rather well. MVP uses the new title he created, Apollo wins it, and that’s the belt going forward.
Instead, WWE wanted to have its cake and eat it, too, by saying MVP was kind of the champion, but not really. Just like Sasha Banks kind of won the women’s title from Asuka, only to actually win it two weeks later.
This methodology of late that WWE has adopted where matches are multi-match things by default, whether or not a situation causes for it to happen 100 times, is absolutely terrible. No feuds these days are ever one match or even have a reason to set up the second or third, most of the time. They just keep happening for the sake of eating up time and I don’t understand how WWE doesn’t realize how frustrating that is for viewers to see repetitive material like that.
That’s where my big problem with this week comes in and why this article even exists.
WWE decided to do the Crews vs. MVP match that we should’ve gotten at Extreme Rules, but on Raw. That’s perfectly fine and I have no complaints about that.
But what I do find problematic is that MVP lost, only to challenge for another match and Crews to accept it.
Now, they’re doing the match again at SummerSlam. And why the hell am I supposed to care?!
There’s no stipulation to it. Nothing interesting has been added to spice things up. It’s exactly the same match that we got this week and that we saw a few times earlier this year and we should’ve gotten at the last pay-per-view.
And the most frustrating thing about how pointless all that is is that if WWE would bother to think things through, there could have been some more fun ways to go about doing it that would have avoided the repetition problem AND been more interesting to possibly pop a rating.
In my mind, WWE missed an opportunity to have a ladder match ala WrestleMania X as a means to sort out this problem.
MVP’s carrying around a belt, claiming he’s the rightful champion. Crews is still somehow the real champion, but hasn’t been appearing. He has his own belt. The two of them have to clash at some point to determine the undisputed champion.
What do you do? You hang both belts above the ring, tell them they have to grab both to become the champion and you settle the score that way.
Then, you’ve 1) upped the ante for their encounter so that it’s not just “the match we should’ve gotten weeks ago, but later in the year” and 2) introduced a gimmick that people will find interesting, and 3) opened up speculation that anything could happen because The Hurt Business could interfere and screw Crews.
Best case scenario, that happens on Raw. You try to pop a rating by having that match announced in advance.
Then, how do you follow it up?
Well, I’m not opposed to the explanation they gave this week with Crews hanging up the old United States title as inspiration for his kids while keeping MVP’s belt as a slap to his face. You can keep that as the reasoning for the new title being the one they hold going forward.
But MVP shouldn’t be okay with that—just as he isn’t okay with it now. However, instead of just having another MVP match, you need to do something different.
MVP would need to try to get Bobby Lashley to win the title to bring it back to The Hurt Business. After all, Lashley’s the guy that put Crews on the shelf, right? That would seem like a big threat and a step forward, rather than staying in place.
You want to give people new challenges to overcome. Not just the same challenges again and again. You think people will care as much if the Avengers are fighting Thanos again in the next team-up film after they already beat him, compared to a brand new villain that seems unstoppable?
Lashley’s proven he is better than Crews. If you want Crews to seem in danger, you put him against an obstacle he hasn’t overcome. You don’t just make him go through the same test again and act like that’s something worth getting excited about.
Take your pick. What would be more interesting?
Option A) A ladder match for the belts that leads to Crews wrestling a fresh opponent who is a bigger threat he might lose to.
Option B) A regular match, just delayed. Then, the same match again. But this time, a graphic will say SummerSlam before the match.
It’s got to be difficult to write for WWE when plans change at the last minute and there’s no coherent structure for your creative process. But for goodness’ sake, it can’t possibly be that hard to understand that doing the same thing over and over again gets less and less exciting each time you see it. That applies to every aspect of entertainment and joy in the world and not just pro wrestling.