An Expanded Thought On Why Raw Sucked Last Night

If you haven’t seen/read about Raw from last night and don’t want to be surprised, go check it out before you read this because there are heavy spoilers inside this.

 

This is one of those posts that isn’t going to make a ton of sense in a few months (hopefully), but for now it’s what’s on my mind. In short, Raw has been especially bad for weeks now and last night’s (this is October 30, 2012) was one of the worst episodes I can remember in years. Not that it was actively bad, but that it was so dull and counterproductive that it might as well not have existed. There were two major areas that are causing all these problems though, and today I’m going to use last night’s Raw as to illustrate this. Let’s get to it.

 

We’re going to go step by step through Raw (it won’t take long) and then I’ll get to my conclusion. My first major problem with Raw though is that NO FUN IS ALLOWED. The opening segment is about Ryback, a guy who at least got the crowd excited, getting the rug cut out from under him at the PPV. Want to cheer this guy who is unstoppable? WELL SCREW YOU! HE LOSES! Ryback gets to squash a jobber and the fans get to do his cheer.

 

Then we have Wade Barrett vs. Orton. This is going to be covered in the second major issue.

 

We go to Vickie and AJ in the back. Here we have Vickie laughing at AJ and making her beg for her job because of some affair and a romantic dinner. In other words, we have a person losing her job doing the thing she loves. This is a stretch, but in an economy like the United States is in today, talking about losing your job isn’t exactly going to thrill fans. Ignoring that though, this is another segment about stuff that isn’t fun (or interesting but that’s another discussion) and looks grim.

 

Next up is HELL NO vs. the Prime Time Players. This can be classified as laid back, but the most popular part of the champions, as in the comedy sketches they did, are long gone and they’re just arguing. This segment is a lot better than most of the stuff on the show but it’s not great.

 

Now we get a recap of the Punk/Ryback/referee stuff to further hammer it in.


Vickie calls Cena to the ring and we get the WWE version of the AJ/Claire Lynch story from TNA a few months back. This involves Cena being accused of having an affair with AJ (are either of them even married right now? Does it even qualify as an affair?) and having to explain away photos, videos, and jokes he makes. Ziggler comes out and gets shoved down as well. How is this supposed to be entertaining or something I want to see?

 

The next match is champion vs. champion with Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston. This will also be covered in the second point.

 

And now we get to the exception that proves the rule: the 3MB, a goofy, WAY over the top band gimmick played by Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre. This is presented in a Behind The Music segment where they refuse to play any music and act as stupid as possible. Remember this segment because it’s going to be referenced later. 3MB also wins a match over Ryder/Santino.

 

AJ beats Beth on a fluke after the cute and tiny AJ gets crushed by Beth for about two minutes. This is IMMEDIATELY changed because Vickie wants to torture AJ some more and Beth beats her in ten seconds.

 

Now we have Sheamus and Big Show talking about going to WAR with each other. Not a fight, not a battle, but war. SERIOUS don’t you know.

 

Then Cena tells AJ it’s ok. Vickie comes up and fires Beth for winning a match. Not only is it more serious and mean stuff, but it doesn’t make sense.

 

A long tag match follows with the fan favorites Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio losing to Rhodes and Sandow. Quick sidebar: the Rhodes Scholars is a cool name for a team. Team Rhodes Scholars sounds ridiculous.

 

After all that other stuff, let’s talk about CANCER! This goes on for about eight minutes with Cena presenting a check to a cancer charity. That’s a cool thing to do, but again it’s depressing, especially with the video reminding us that most people know someone who has suffered from breast cancer.

 

Then Justin Gabriel gets squashed by Alberto Del Rio. Remember last week when Gabriel had a good match and looked like he was being moved up the card? WELL SCREW YOU FOR GETTING EXCITED! HE HAS TO LOSE TO DEL RIO BECAUSE……WELL SOMEONE HAS TO! More on this later.

 

We close out the show with the announcements of the teams for the Survivor Series matches. Again, a serious subject for a main event which has nothing on the line but pride. Also, Punk gets to look like an idiot because he thinks Ryback isn’t in the match. Nice touch there guys.

 

This ends point one, so let’s look at the second point that is holding WWE back: nothing goes anywhere. Let’s again look through Raw for examples.

 

We’ll begin with Ryback. Ryback dominates for six months and then loses in his first major match because of a crooked referee. Why is he crooked? Why did he do it? That’s not important enough to address in the first show after it happened. Ryback appears to still be a factor in the main event, but the initial spark is gone and they can never get it back.

 

Now here we get to the main extreme of this issue: Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton. Orton lost to Barrett on Smackdown, then tonight Orton beat Barrett. What does this accomplish? That’s not a rhetorical question. I honestly don’t know what the point of it is. Orton doesn’t look better than Barrett and Barrett doesn’t look better than Orton as they both come out 1-1. They’re both at the same place they were before this exchange of wins started and now Orton is back to facing Del Rio this Wednesday on Main Event. We’ve wasted a match that might make people want to pay money to see (don’t believe me? WWE ran it as a PPV main event before) twice in four days on free TV and no one gained anything from it.

 

Let’s talk about Barrett a little more while we’re on the subject because he’s an example of the crux of this whole problem. The following statement was written before HIAC and doesn’t involve Barrett, but it fits perfectly.

 

WWE wants to push let’s say Kofi. Kofi pins Miz and gets pushed. Well now Miz needs to get his heat back so let’s have him beat Brodus. Brodus looks weak now so have him get a fluke win over Del Rio. Del Rio is angry so he destroys Kofi.

Now we’re say two weeks later, everyone is 1-1 and no one is any stronger than they were when the whole cycle started. Then the cycle starts all over again and there’s no one to get behind because they’re all the same and no one of the four looks ready to move up because they’re the same as everyone else. Then Cena gets hurt and you get lucky that there’s one guy you haven’t jobbed out yet and the fans are getting behind. If Ryback wasn’t there, who in the world were they going to throw at Punk? Orton? Maybe? They need to fix this FAST so there are people to get behind. Stop worrying that these people are going to get hot and leave and enjoy them while you’ve got them there.

 

How many people does this apply to in WWE? Someone comes in hot, dominates for a few weeks, and then loses to someone else or is just not pushed anymore (think Brodus in the last month). This doesn’t do anyone any good and it’s a big part of why no one can ever seem to get any elevation on the roster anymore.

 

After that match we had the tag champions facing the Prime Time Players. Why? The Players lost clean at the PPV, so why should they get a chance to face the tag team champions? The titles weren’t on the line, but a win would have launched the Players up in the rankings, likely ahead of a team they lost to a single day ago. Bascially what is being said here is the match at the PPV meant nothing and Sin Cara and Mysterio’s win was worthless.

 

Cesaro vs. Kingston. This is another great example of the booking being worthless. The Miz was on commentary for this match and Cole constantly talked about how Kofi had beaten Miz three times in a row. The problem here can be summed up in a pair of simple questions: if Miz has lost to Kofi three times in a row, 1) why should I think he has a chance in the fourth match and 2) if Miz wins the fourth match, so what? It puts him at 1-3 in this series, yet by wrestling logic he’ll be declared the winner because he wins last. That’s never made sense to me but it’s how wrestling works.

 

The 3MB beats Marella/Ryder. Again this is fine as Marella/Ryder are jobbers and the 3MB are a new team (who lost their first match).

 

AJ vs. Beth Phoenix happened twice with AJ getting destroyed but winning the first match, then getting slammed and pinned in the second about 45 seconds later. Not only does AJ’s win mean nothing at all, but she looked bad in getting the win. This begs the question: why have the second match? “To have a reason to fire Beth.” Here’s another way to fire Beth: DON’T PUT HER ON TV AND RELEASE HER! As usual, WWE makes problems they don’t need to have.

 

Now it’s Sin Cara/Mysterio vs. the Scholars. Based on the match last night, it appears that the masked guys are getting a push, but now they lose to the Scholars? Easy solution: don’t have them fight. Put the Usos in there instead of the masked guys and have the masked guys beat the Players earlier. The masked guys still win, the Players lose, the Scholars win, and you have a potential big match saved for later. Also this puts the Scholars up 2-0 over the masked guys in two weeks, making any future matches look less interesting ala Miz vs. Kofi.

 

Remember earlier when I said WWE makes problems they don’t need to have? Gabriel vs. Del Rio is a great example of that. As I said earlier, Gabriel’s win last week looks to mean nothing now. Want to keep the idea of him getting pushed alive? Don’t have him fight here. With the roster WWE has, they don’t have ANYBODY else to put in there? Not Derrick Bateman or, I don’t know, A JOBBER? Yoshi Tatsu anyone?

 

Finally we get to the Survivor Series announcement. The teams are the usual idea of matching up feuds in an elimination match, but at the end of the day, this match means nothing. The team is called Team Foley, which AGAIN takes the focus off Ryback and puts it on someone else. This is what happened with Cena last week and it’s happening again here. Put SOMETHING on the match so that it means something. Ryback gets a rematch maybe?

 

So after looking at Raw last night, it’s clear that we have at least two problems: things are too serious, and the matches/booking go nowhere. Why would I want to watch this show? It’s not targeted to me, because stuff like affairs and managing supervisors and fake pictures don’t interest me whatsoever. They don’t interest children either, so who is this show marketed to?

 

In the review of the show, I mentioned the idea of comic relief. By that, I mean WWE needs to have something on their show where we can breathe for five minutes. Even the Divas have a big serious story going now with someone attacking Kaitlyn and blonde wigs and whatever else is going on. I know I criticized them a lot but sometimes you need good looking women in tiny outfits having bad matches for the sake of bad matches.

 

For an example of how this can be a problem, look at Wrestlemania 19 with me for a second. The last probably two hours or so are spent on the following in order (matches only):

 

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho

HHH vs. Booker T (Raw World Title)

Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon

The Rock vs. Steve Austin

Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (Smackdown World Title)

 

That’s A LOT to sit through in a row. While the matches are all at least pretty good, they’re all big and sitting through four straight matches that could be called the main event of the show with no break is a lot to ask. For a comparison, let’s look at Wrestlemania X7’s final five matches.

 

Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon

TLC 2

Gimmick Battle Royal

Undertaker vs. HHH

The Rock vs. Steve Austin

 

By simply throwing in an easy match, you give the fans a chance to breathe (as well as go to a restroom and buy nachos and soda for the two big matches. No joke, that’s a good thing to do). If that portion of the Mania 19 card looked like this instead:

 

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho

Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon

Chris Benoit/Rhyno vs. Los Guerreros vs. Team Angle (Smackdown Tag Titles)

The Rock vs. Steve Austin

Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (Smackdown World Title)

 

By having the Raw World Title moved earlier, that last stretch is MUCH easier to sit through. My point is exactly the same for Raw: give us something where we can turn our brains off and not have to be all focused. It doesn’t have to be comedy even. Just give us something simple that doesn’t mean much. Put out a simple Divas match or a Tyson Kidd match or whatever you like that can go nice and easy with zero thought from us. You have 8.5 hours of TV a week. I’m sure you can come up with five minutes to spare for something like this.

 

In short, Raw’s main problems are that it’s WAY too serious with no relief and the booking goes nowhere for various reasons. Why would I as a fan want to sit through three hours a week of wrestling that isn’t very entertaining, has no idea what its target audience is, and gives me zero reason to get behind almost anyone on its show? That’s not entertaining television, which is why Raw has been so awful the last few weeks, among other reasons of course.

4 comments

  1. Jay says:

    KB got a question for you in regards to this Column. How about do one about what you like about whats going on in WWE right now?

  2. klunderbunker says:

    Uh…..hang on…….Oh Sheamus vs. Big Show is pretty good. That’s seriously about all I can think of. Eve’s legs are nice too, as is NXT. There’s nothing else I can think of, and that’s actually serious.

    Oh and 3MB is funny when they’re being campy.

  3. Jay says:

    How bout the Tag Division’s rebirth? Ryback’s Push? CM Punk’s almost year long Title Reign? Main Event on Wednesdays? JR & JBL back on Commentary?

  4. CCTV says:

    My dear friend KB.. you can never win against somebody from wwe universe..