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.