Slipping ratings and growing rumblings in the IWC lead to a certain narrative. What has caused Raw’s poor perception?
Wrestling fans love to disagree on things. It’s almost our birthright; if someone has something to say, then you’d best believe that I am going to use my voice to tell you just how and why I think you’re wrong. I’m not saying this is great behavior, and in fact I really wish wrestling fans got along more even in disagreement, but it is what it is.
But at the moment, there is one irrefutable truth in wrestling. A fact, not an opinion but a cold hard FACT that even the most polar opposite of wrestling fans agree on. Whether you’re an 8-year old Roman Reigns die hard, or an NJPW superfan, there’s one thing we could all agree on:
I mean, this is what they want us to consider the A-Show? Tune into Monday Night RAW on a weekly basis and recently, all you’ll be in store for is three hours of mediocrity, with repetitive, boring segments and matches that aren’t anything special. It often feels like you’re watching a rerun.
So let’s think here. RAW hasn’t always been so bad. How do we shake off the doldrums, cut the crap and restore the flagship show to its former glory? It won’t be easy, and it may not be immediate, but I believe that there are plenty of ways to make RAW a good show again, or at least a watchable one.
Without further ado:
1. No more authority figures (or less of them) – I hate authority figures in my wrestling. I really don’t see the point for them in a world where we all realize that matches aren’t actually made on television, they’re made by writers and bookers behind the curtain.
So why must we subjected to at least three or four segments a week of Vince McMahon slowly losing in mind in front of our very own eyes? It hasn’t been very entertaining, and it certainly is something that we could all do without.
This is a formula the WWE is in love with, the idea of a corrupt power figure that lords over the roster with an iron fist, holding people down and doing what’s best for themselves. Does that sound the least bit entertaining to any of you? I’m over it. Even with a face like Kurt Angle or Mick Foley in charge, their role isn’t the least bit important and is a disservice to those two great workers.
Abolish authority figures. Keep them off the screen, or else you’ll be keeping plenty of fans tuned in to Monday Night Football, or whatever else airs on Monday nights.
2. Stop cutting 15-minute show-opening promos – There are currently two contracted WWE figures that I would enjoy listening to for upwards of 15 minutes: Paul Heyman and John Cena. As neither of them are Baron Corbin or Stephanie McMahon, I think RAW would do well to minimize the promo times to start the show. Not saying that you have to do away with them entirely, because it’s very possible to open the show with a succinct, solid 3-4 minute promo and get right to the action.
Or, you know, just open the show with a match and try to cut down on the Authority’s promos entirely? Food for thought.
In the meantime, however…
3. NXT call-ups – NXT is the hottest act on WWE TV right now. SmackDown is the A-Show, but NXT (along with its UK counterpart) has to be considered the A+-Show at the moment. But at its core, it’s still a developmental system first and foremost, designed to make superstars and get talent ready for their eventual call-up to SmackDown or RAW.
With RAW in desperate need of some fresh faces, where better to pull from than Full Sail? I know we’ve had a wave of guys come up already, but have we really seen an impact from anybody besides Lacey Evans? Even Ricochet and Aleister Black haven’t gotten the chance to live up to their full potential yet. Guys like Velveteen Dream, Matt Riddle, Adam Cole and the Undisputed Era are already primed, in my opinion, to make an impact on the main roster very soon, and while you can’t overstock one show with all of the NXT talent, a couple of new faces from NXT could be just the shot of life that Monday Night RAW is in desperate need of right now.
4. Fresh matchups – This is the big one for a lot of folks. Ask 10 wrestling fans what they think the biggest problem with Monday Night RAW is right now, and I guarantee at least half of them will say “repetition.”
We see the same feuds and matches week in and week out. I count myself as one of thousands who are frustrated with seeing Corbin, Lashley and Drew McIntyre team together for the 10th time, or McIntyre taking on Roman Reigns yet again. It’s not about the match quality, especially in the case of the latter, but we just don’t want to see the same thing over and over again.
That signifies lazy booking on the part of the WWE creative team. There’s so much talent on the main roster, and so many fresh matchups to be had. Find them, book them, and let the magic happen.
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE 205 Live (5/21/19)
Did the 205 Live Crew deliver this week?
Tiffany Takes time to look into this week’s edition of WWE 205 Live. Did the Cruiserweight Division deliver?
After a tough bout at Money in the Bank, where does the Cruiserweight Championship (and all of the WWE 205 Live crew) go now?
Singh Brothers vs Jack Gallagher and Humberto Carrillo: I was a little disappointed that Lucha House Party’s RSVP got lost in the mail, but I’m assuming that they’re selling the beatdown from Lars Sullivan. However, it was nice to see that things are good-ish between Carrillo and Gallagher after last week. However, it sucks that the Singhs still lost! Sure, they look like cut rate male strippers in their ring gear, but they’re really talented should be getting better than being beat every week, didn’t they suffer enough of that working for Jinder Mahal?
Fatal Five Way: Akira Tozawa vs Brian Kendrick vs Mike Kanellis vs Oney Lorcan vs Ariya Daivari: Before I discuss this match and how much I hate multi-man matches that aren’t for a title or a contendership, I want to praise Maria Kanellis for her tribute to the late Ashley Massaro, who passed away over the weekend. During Maria’s first run in WWE way back when, she and Massaro were friends and sometimes on-screen partners and allies, including the storyline of Ashley convincing Maria to pose for Playboy, over the objections of Maria’s onscreen boyfriend, Santino Marella. Yes, THAT Santino Marella. Maria wrote Ashley’s name on the palm of her left hand and showed it as she and Mike Kanellis did their pose. I know Maria has talked about how much Ashley meant to her, but it was nice to see her pay tribute to her former friend, especially since WWE has made no further mention of Massaro outside of a ‘In Memory Of’ at Money in the Bank. Plus, I loved her outfit.
Back to the ACTUAL match. I really hate when WWE does multi-man matches that don’t really have a purpose. This match wasn’t for a #1 Contendership, it was just to put the five top-ish guys in the ring and see what happened. I was actually stunned that Tozawa won since I still think Daivari is going to be going for the championship in Saudi Arabia, but it was interesting to see Tozawa and Kendrick mix it up a little. Kanellis’ bad luck continues to be frustrating, it’s hard to see what, if anything, WWE has planned for him other than just having him lose every week.
Overall Thoughts: So, how was 205 this week? It was a little…lacking. It had two great matches but it felt like there wasn’t a real direction they were heading. The Fatal Five Way was just to see who was the best but that logic was a little dumb because it was more about who was opportunistic than who was better in the ring.
I did enjoy the team of Gallagher and Carrillo, but I can see Carrillo’s gimmick, whatever it is, getting old really quick. Hopefully the teaming with Gallagher will give Carrillo more of an edge, like teaming with Sasha Banks gave Bayley more of an edge.
I still think it’s going to be Nese vs Daivari II at Super Show Down, but we’ll have to wait and see.
That’s it for Tiffany’s 205 Takes! Tune in tomorrow for my takes on the NXTs!
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE SmackDown Live (5/21/19)
Did Smackdown deliver in your eyes?
WWE followed up an eventful edition of Raw with another eventful edition of WWE Smackdown Live, and Tiffany has her Takes on the entire thing!
After the shocking events of Money in the Bank, how will SmackDown move into SummerSlam season?
Money In the Bank: I’m already over this. The yapbox for Mr. Money in the Bank managed to be so obnoxious tonight, it made want to do things with that briefcase that are physically impossible. Hopefully the fact that there hasn’t been a successful men’s Money in the Bank cash-in since Dean Ambrose in 2016 will hold true.
WWE Championship: I felt really bad for Sami Zayn. Here he is, becoming a top heel, but he gets sacrificed after a great match with Kingston, just so Dolph Ziggler, who hasn’t been on TV since January, can walk in and get a title shot. Really? Plus, what was Ziggler’s malfunction? Way he was acting, you’d think Kingston double crossed him or something.
As for Ziggler, I actually rolled my eyes at his explanation. Ziggler got the shit knocked out of him by McIntyre back in January and hasn’t shown his face since. WWE wasn’t denying him a damn thing, so the idea that he was more deserving of Kofi’s spot is nonsense. Sit down, Dolph.
One thing I found interesting was the whole situation with Big E, the real one, not the fake schmuck that came out first. Big E and Ziggler were once business associates when E first debuted on the Main Roster, the fact that E got conveniently taken out, leaving Kingston without his New Day pals raises some serious questions.
WWE 24/7 Championship: There’s a lot of things you can say about Carmella, but she’s a good friend. Not only did she spend most of her evening trying to help R-Truth keep the WWE 24/7 Championship, sacrificing a chance to pummel Mandy Rose in the process,she even tried to help him with his disguise and didn’t take advantage of him to try and grab the belt for herself. That’s friendship.
Women’s Championship: So, Emmie Slattery (Lacey Evans) and India Wilkes (Charlotte Flair) took on Scarlett O’Hara (Becky Lynch) and…I hate to refer to Bayley as Melanie Wilkes, but I’ve painted myself into that corner with the ‘Gone with the Wind’ references. ANYWAY, the two Women’s Champs took on the women they beat on Sunday. Charlotte was clearly still mad about losing her title less than five minutes after she won it, but not only did she and Emmie not win, but CHARLOTTE took the pin. However, don’t be fooled into thinking things are rainbows and unicorns between Scarlett and Melly. Becky and Charlotte are owed rematches and Becky’s coming to collect hers.
Mustafa Ali vs Andrade: God love Mustafa Ali. He took a hell of a beating on Sunday and lost the opportunity, that RUMOR says he was promised, to be the Money in the Bank winner, but then he and his poor back got another pounding at the hands of Andrade. However, unlike what happened at Money in the Bank, Ali refused to let another victory be snatched away and fought through what looked like serious pain to pin Andrade and leave Rhode Island a winner.
Roman Reigns vs Elias: Remember when everyone predicted that Drew McIntyre would be a world champ and the best thing since sliced bread last year? Well, he’s back in the position he always seems to end up in: Lackey to someone with more personality than him. It was revealed on Monday that Shane was using McIntyre as his new muscle and used him to punish Roman Reigns after Reigns defeated Elias yet again. Problem is that Reigns is great at getting guys over, but unless he can manufacture a personality and charisma for McIntyre, this feud is going to be a waste of time because McIntyre is as interesting as beige paint and barely gets a reaction.
Overall Thoughts: So, how was SmackDown? Well, it was actually pretty good. There was a lot of of story progression as WWE gears up for Saudi Arabia, Mudhole Stomping, or whatever the next US PPV is, and SummerSlam season.
I will admit to being hesitant about the 24/7 championship and there are some issues I see with it long term, but right now it’s a hoot to watch and definitely helps break up the show.
I’m ‘bleh’ on Ziggler vs Kingston. They always have great chemistry, but this whole situation is uncomfortable and weird. It feels like whoever WWE actually wanted to put with Kingston in Saudi Arabia is refusing to go and so they’re putting in Ziggler just so the match will be on the card.
Becky and Bayley was a great team up, but it’s clear that Becky isn’t going to be leaving SmackDown anytime soon, RAW Women’s Champion or not. Charlotte taking the pin was odd, but very satisfying to see.
The whole thing with Reigns and Shane is good, but it seems that WWE hasn’t given up on trying to get McIntyre over with the crowd with or without a personality. Vince is a stubborn one.
That’s it for Tiffany’s SmackDown Takes! Up next is 205 Live!