The WWE TV YouTube Experiment
Week 1, Episode 1
Monday Night RAW/ June 17, 2019
Los Angeles, California
As you can read in my introduction column, I’m doing an experiment to see if WWE’s YouTube content is any good. If it’s worth watching, if it’s enough to make me want to get back into watching WWE (I’m 11 months clean and sober), or if it’s just not worth my time. Every week I will only watch the video clips WWE posts to their official YouTube channel, and I’ll write a review, so to speak, of the show based on that alone. It’s an experiment. Seriously. I have a hypothesis and everything! Go check out the big introduction if you haven’t already, and then come back and read along with me!
I welcome and greatly encourage feedback, especially because my only exposure to WWE (for the most part) will be the YouTube clips. I won’t be reading recaps or reviews. So please, by all means, if you have any opinions, positive or negative, about what I’m about to write, let me know. I thrive on criticism (constructive or otherwise — tell me I’m a batshit crazy moron if you want). That all aside, I don’t want to be insanely long-winded, so I’m going to get right into it.
Total Number of Clips: 18
Total Time: 45 minutes, 43 seconds
Seth Rollins blasts Elias with a steel chair (2 minutes, 22 seconds)
Good start! Based on what I know, Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin have been feuding over the Universal Title. Seth is defending the belt on Sunday at Stomping Grounds, and Corbin promised that the match would have a special guest referee. In this clip, Elias is in the ring making fun of Los Angeles and reveals that Corbin chose him to be the ref on Sunday. Out of nowhere, Seth Rollins appears out of the darkness and lays Corbin out with a chair (very cool visual) and declares that anybody who decides to take Corbin up on the offer to referee the match on Sunday is going to take a steel chair up the ass. Something like that.
This was a very simple and effective start to the show. Rollins showed a ton of fire, and coming out of the darkness with the chair shot, as I mentioned, made for a really cool visual. I am interested in watching the next video clip! (1 for 1)
Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match (2 minutes, 42 seconds)
Another great clip. A quick peek at the results shows that the match was about 14 minutes long, and they crammed it into 2 and a half. Not a bad thing, as the idea of the YouTube clip is to get across the story being told. The story here is that Ricochet beat Cesaro, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman and The Miz in order to earn a shot at Samoa Joe’s United States Championship this Sunday. Strowman was dominant. He caught Cesaro springing off the ropes and nailed him with the powerslam and followed up by scooping Lashley up, thwarting an attempt at a spear and hitting another powerslam, except instead of driving him into the mat, he threw him onto Cesaro. Moments later (according to the clip) he hits Lashley with a second powerslam and pins him. Cut ahead in time, and Cesaro is hitting the Gotch Neutralizer on Braun, which allows Ricochet to kill Braun with a massive 630.
I don’t know if there’s a deeper backstory or if Lashley and Cesaro were just mad that they were eliminated fair and square. Not only did they attack Braun after being eliminated, but after the 630, they piled on and helped Ricochet secure the pin! Is Cesaro a heel? Is Braun? Lashley? I know Ricochet is a babyface and unless things have changed very recently, The Miz is a babyface as well. Either way, that gave Ricochet the chance to win the match, as moments later (the magic of editing!) he hits a second 630, this time on The Miz, and pins him to win the match. He doesn’t have long to celebrate, however, as Joe hits the ring and blindsides him. Ricochet saves himself by ducking a clothesline and sending Joe to the floor and wiping him out with a dive.
When you only show 2 and a half minutes of a 14-minute match, you’re due to get all action. It was fun. Since I’m essentially coming into this as almost a newcomer, this clip told me that Braun is a dominant beast, Cesaro is strong as hell, Ricochet is good at flipping, and the Miz… maybe sat ringside until the very end. I don’t know. He was only in the clip for about 5 seconds. Oh, and Joe is an asshole. An enjoyable clip that gave me a little bit of an idea about 4 of the 6 men involved. (2 for 2)
Becky Lynch catches Lacey Evans by surprise (4 minutes, 21 seconds)
I don’t really know much of the backstory here. Lacey has been a thorn in Becky’s side. I know that she interfered in the title match with Charlotte to cost Becky the SD Women’s Title and according to the promo here, Lacey has been attacking Becky from behind. Becky cuts to the chase and calls Lacey out, and Lacey obliges. She talks about how she’s a classy lady (I gather that’s her usual promo) and before she can get into the ring, Becky attacks and hits her with the Bexploder and leaves.
Some of the segment was definitely cut for time, but it got the message across. Becky is tired of Lacey’s schtick, but Lacey is keeping it up because she knows it pisses Becky off. Becky caught Lacey by surprise and got the upper hand before their match on Sunday. I’m hoping that what I saw here isn’t indicative of what Becky has become because her promo was super generic and she didn’t seem like she wanted to be there. The fire that I remember seeing in clips since she became “The Man” was not there. It seems like Lacey would be a perfect foil for her, so maybe the edit hurt the segment or maybe missing the entire feud up to this point has cost me some context. In any event, it wasn’t bad by any means. It was average. I love Becky and I’m interested in seeing what Lacey can do, so I’m in. (3 for 3)
Seth Rollins takes out Baron Corbin with a steel chair (1 minute, 5 seconds)
This was a quick one. Baron Corbin cuts an awkward promo about Elias no longer wanting to be the referee. I assume it’s because he’s afraid Seth will hurt him, even though he could, I dunno — leave the arena and avoid Seth until Sunday? In any event, Corbin stumbles over his lines and tries to be smarmy and cocky (I think) but just comes across like a goof who is struggling to remember his lines. He had about 35 seconds to fill with 6 sentences, and he sounded like a 5th grader practicing for his first ever role in a school play. Slow down! Enunciate! Take a breath and pause between your sentences, dude. I understand the character traits he was trying to get across, but he did that poorly.
It’s tough to judge this one. It was barely a minute long, and while it featured a brutal 35-second mushmouth performance from Baron Corbin, it ended with him getting hit with a chair. I can’t be mad. (4 for 4)
The Viking Raiders vs. Russ & Randy Taylor (52 seconds)
Hey! A full match! Erik hits a sweet running knee on one of the dudes and pulls the other into the ring to hit him with an exploder. Ivar tags in. Erik hoists the guy up for a German and Ivar springboards into a clothesline to assist and add extra impact. A springboard Doomsday German, perhaps. Erik presses the legal man into the air and Ivar catches him with a powerslam (the move is now called the “Viking Experience” — good to know) and that’s that, in 32-seconds.
The Raiders looked awesome and the other guys got in zero offense, which is exactly how it should be. If I’m a fan who has never seen these two guys before, I get two things from this clip. One, I want to see these guys again, because they look awesome. Two, their names are stupid as shit. Still, this was good. (5 for 5)
R-Truth and Carmella try out some new disguises (1 minute, 9 seconds)
While the Taylor Brothers — why not call one of them Brad or Mark, by the way? Missed opportunity — lay in the ring, still recovering from being destroyed by the War Raiders, the cameras pan the audience. Carmella and Truth are in disguise, but everyone quickly realizes who they are and a cavalcade of people come running down the ramp. Truth tries to hide under the ring only to find a confused Titus O’Neil, and the distraction lets he and Carmella run through the crowd to get away.
I haven’t been following the 24/7 Championship saga very closely, but what I have seen has been entertaining. Nothing really happened here, but it was a minute long and happened in the same televised segment as a good squash match, so there’s zero to complain about. (6 for 6)
Drew McIntyre brutalizes old friend Heath Slater (2 minutes, 17 seconds)
Heath Slater walks into a room with a little buffet. Shane McMahon is there with The Revival and Drew McIntyre. Drew looks like he would rather be anywhere else in the world. Slater asks for a raise, and because he’s an asshole, Shane gives him a sliver of hope and then denies the raise and tells him to get to steppin’. As Slater leaves, he makes the sign to Drew to follow. Quick cut to the hallway, as Drew feigns trying to help Heath and offers him some money, but beats the crap out of him instead.
Now I’m not familiar with the storyline — so correct me if I’m wrong. I know Shane McMahon has been winning matches left and right over top talent, and I’m assuming that Drew has been helping him cheat to win. Whether I knew that or not, here’s what I gathered from this: Shane McMahon is the asshole boss, The Revival, who go unnamed, are a couple of silly lackeys, and McIntyre is just Shane’s bodyguard/hired gun. If that’s actually the case, that fucking sucks.
The Revival running in and scooping up all of the cash was funny. I enjoyed that. Again, I don’t know the story, so maybe Drew is getting sick of Shane’s power trip. That would explain his body language. If that’s not the case, as I said, that sucks. So Shane is getting a bunch of big wins, the tag team champions are bumbling lackeys, and Drew is a possibly unhappy bodyguard? Gross. Now, if Drew wins on Sunday against Roman, that’s a big deal. Shane doesn’t have a match, so maybe he’s proven his point and is going to step aside and be Drew’s manager and the authority-like leader of the group of Drew and The Revival. I would be all for that. Again, I don’t know much about what’s going on, so I’ll catch up as time goes by. As a standalone segment, this was fine, but because I don’t like Drew as a “heavy” and I know enough about this story as it currently stands, I just didn’t like it. (6 for 7)
The New Day crash “The Kevin Owens Show” (5 minutes, 0 seconds)
Baron Corbin is the guest. Sami and Kevin don’t want to get hit by chairs, so they both opt out of being the guest referee for Baron Corbin’s Universal Title match on Sunday. Corbin figured that would be the case, so he has EC3 waiting in the wings. EC3 comes out, and as expected, he gets lit up by Seth Rollins with a chair shot from behind and gets another shot while he’s on the ground, just for good measure. I’m enjoying this running gag. It’s funny, but at the same time shows that Seth isn’t going to let Corbin try to make believe he’s still the “Constable” and yield power that he doesn’t actually have.
The New Day make their way out for no discernible reason (which I’m cool with, of course) and challenge Corbin, Owens, and Zayn to a match. EC3 agrees to sanction the match just like Stephanie McMahon sanctioned her marriage to Triple H, and that’s that. Renee Young made the obvious “Weekend At Bernie’s” joke (and now the Tweet makes sense!) but it was too obvious, and she didn’t try to make it topical. If you have to go that direction, why not say “Weekend At Dixie’s”? It’s a 3-second line that most people aren’t going to pick up on anyway… how many people watching RAW do you think actually saw that movie?
This was fun and felt way less than the 5-minute runtime of the clip. It’s the 8th clip so far and the longest of the night. The Nick Marsico from a year ago would probably complain about the lack of compliance to the “wildcard rule”, but I think it’s actually a funny gag to have more than the allotted 3 (I think that’s how many it’s supposed to be) pop up on the opposite show every week. It’s humorous to me whether it’s their intended purpose or not, so I’m all for it. Plus, The New Day is a welcome addition to any show, any time. Fun, silly, and furthered the night’s running storyline, as well as the build for the title match on Sunday. Plus, Baron Corbin said less than the other segment he was in, and didn’t stumble over his lines! Everybody wins! (7 for 8)
The New Day vs. Baron Corbin, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (2 minutes, 52 seconds)
Woods rolls up Sami for the first fall (why not tell us it’s 2 out of 3 falls in the description?). Cut to the second fall and Owens hits a superkick on Big E, but doesn’t get the pin. Cut again, still in the second fall I assume, to Kofi almost pinning Corbin, but Corbin comes back with a SWEET looking Deep Six. Clip again, and Corbin accidentally clotheslines Sami. Owens doesn’t like this and superkicks Corbin, allowing Kofi to get the pin with Trouble in Paradise.
Can’t really get any gauge as to whether this was a good match or not, but it got the story across. It’s an ineffective and lazy story, though. I get that the gimmick for the night is that Baron Corbin is having a really shitty night leading up to his title match at the PPV, but did he need to look like a chump AND get pinned? I love the New Day, but they didn’t have three other guys who could have benefitted from being in this spot? Why not Ryder, Hawkins, and Cedric Alexander? Great segment to lead into the match, but the match was worthless. (7 for 9)
Paul Heyman has a reminder for Seth Rollins (3 minutes, 22 seconds)
Hey, it’s Paul Heyman! He puts over both Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan, which is cool, and teases that Brock is going to show up. We know he isn’t around. I like that he completely disregards that Baron Corbin has any kind of chance at winning the title, as he addresses everything directly at Rollins.
This was definitely clipped big time — there’s no way Paul Heyman spoke for less than 3 and a half minutes. It got across the point, though, and proves that 3 and a half minutes is all that he needs to cut an effective promo. Brock is watching and Brock is waiting. Be scared, because he’s always got the advantage in any situation, but having that briefcase gives him even more power, so the Universal Champ should be scared.
I love heady-handed Michael Cole ending the segment by pointing out that Brock Lesnar’s steel chair attack on Seth is what drove Rollins to go on a chair-swinging rampage. I don’t think Heyman meant that when Brock returned, he was coming with a chair. He was specifically reminding us, without actually saying the words, that Brock recently kicked the shit out of Seth with a chair. He implied that Seth is on a rampage because of what Brock did and Cole (at Vince’s command, I’m sure) heavy-handedly drove that point home by literally saying it. Stupid line from Cole aside, this was good. (8 for 10)
Seth Rollins dissuades Eric Young (1 minute, 22 seconds)
Corbin asks Eric Young to be the guest referee, and Eric says he’ll think about it. Clearly Seth Rollins overheard because he approaches Young. EY backs off, trying to say he only agreed to think about it because he was tired of talking to Corbin (which is a 100% plausible story), but Rollins beats the piss out of him with a chair anyway.
Nothing wrong with this. Chair-swinging lunatic Rollins is fun. I’m glad Sanity they disbanded Sanity for this. Totally worth it. (9 for 11)
The Usos vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (2 minutes, 51 seconds)
Oh my god, Gallows and Anderson have been around for 3 years? Holy shit. Cole mentions that they were “part of a club” with AJ Styles and namedrops the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles. Well that was odd. Gallows and Anderson completely dominate but pause to “Too Sweet” each other. Gallows gets caught with a double superkick, and that’s the end.
Based on what I read going through the results so I could put these videos in order, I saw that AJ gave the Good Brothers a pep talk backstage and told them to get their crap together. They didn’t, and acted cocky, and it cost them the victory. That works for me. Maybe this time they’ll actually follow through on this storyline. This is like the 3rd or 4th time they’ve done the “You’re supposed to be the most dominant team in modern Japanese wrestling history! What the fuck are you guys doing?” storyline. I hope they don’t just drop it after 2 weeks like they have in the past. The match was heatless, but was literally shorter than the length of this clip, so I can’t complain. They didn’t do a boring 10-minute match to tell a 3-minute story. That was smart. There’s promise here. (10 for 12)
Roman Reigns storms into Shane McMahon’s VIP room (5 minutes, 1 second)
Shane and Drew talk smack, but Drew mentions Roman’s family, so THE BIG DOG makes his way to their (really sweet, actually) VIP room. Roman threw one of the dudes from the Revival at least 50 feet down a hallway and into a loading door on the way. Good god. Roman kicks the crap out of Drew and puts him through a catering table then chases Shane to the ring, where the Best in the World eats a Superman punch and spear. And the crowd was cheering for Roman the whole time! That’s gotta be a positive thing.
This was fine. It looks like they clipped out whatever Roman said to start the segment, since this video started with him in the ring, but it probably wasn’t important. Drew sort of looked like an idiot when he kept talking even after Roman was halfway to the backstage area. Shane already saw that Roman was coming — Drew mentioned something about a movie Roman is going to be in, so I guess they just had to shoehorn that in there. Now I don’t know anything about this rivalry, but it seems like Drew talking about how he’s going to disfigure Roman’s body to the point that his family wouldn’t recognize him was big time overkill. That was graphic for no good reason, and he could have made the same point 30 other ways. But hey, they cheered for Roman and it looks like Drew might not just be a lackey after all, so I’m cautiously optimistic. (11 for 13)
Rumors spread about Bayley (38 seconds)
Watch the video. Whatever. Was this really something that needed to be documented? (11 for 14)
The IIconics vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross – WWE Women’s Tag Team Title Match (2 minutes, 36 seconds)
Not much to say about the match. Bayley was at ringside, probably because of the mean social media post that Charley Caruso showed her in the previous clip. Nikki Cross did most of the work for her team and controlled the match for the majority of what was shown. Alexa Bliss pushed Bayley down, and the IIconics take advantage of the 2-on-1 situation, with Billie rolling up Nikki to retain the titles. Bayley stopped Alexa from getting back into the ring to break up the pin.
The match looked fine. It’s not really possible to judge based on under 2 and a half minutes of wrestling, but the IIconics looked okay in the ring. Nikki Cross is great and if she gets the chance, she will be a fantastic babyface when she plays the same role Nia Jax played back when she was Alexa’s lackey who thought they were besties. I thought the rule was that you were supposed to wait 7 years before running the same storyline? None of this was bad at all. (12 for 15)
Nikki Cross learns the “truth” about Bayley (38 seconds)
Nikki is upset that Bayley stopped Alexa from saving her, which cost them the tag titles. She’s going to be in Alexa’s corner at Stomping Grounds.
Bookending the tag title match with 38-second backstage interactions. Works for me, and advances the storyline very quickly and very simply. (13 for 16)
Fear is power in the “Firefly Fun House” (3 minutes, 9 seconds)
The latest iteration of the Fun House randomly has Bray saying that the Earth is flat and that dinosaurs aren’t extinct. Okie dokie! Or, Yowie Wowie, I guess. Bray, all his friends, and Cultaholic, I guess, want you to “Join Us” and it appears that along with “Let Me In”, Bray’s new catchphrase may be “Follow the Leader” instead of “Follow the Buzzards”.
This continues to be different from everything else on the show, and in a very good way. It looks like they’re putting a lot of legitimate effort into this. I hope it translates well once he gets out of the Fun House and into the arena. (14 for 17)
Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan (3 minutes, 26 seconds)
Rollins hits Bryan with a suicide dive, but upon his second try (he and Bryan both do the multiple dive spot, don’t they?) he’s caught by Erick Rowan, who nails him with a sweet-looking Iron Claw modified choke slam (guess you can’t really call it a chokeslam, but whatever). The match is thrown out after a brawl ensues involving a bunch of mostly random people. The New Day come out to help Seth, which… good guys helping good guys, I guess… Sami and KO followed, which makes sense since they have Woods & Big E at the PPV. The Revival aren’t doing anything on Sunday (except for interfering in the Roman/Drew match I would assume) but they ran down as well. And The Usos, who also aren’t on the card for the PPV, also ran down, since… they’re pals with The New Day. What a random bunch of nonsense. The Usos take out all of the bad guys with a stereo dive over the top and the match is restarted. Seth beats Bryan with the Stomp but gets taken out by Corbin with a steel chair on the ramp to end the show.
I don’t get the point of the big run-in party. To make things seem chaotic, since the 3rd hour of RAW is down and dirty and gritty now? Are they still pushing that or was that literally a one time only deal? Maybe They’ll do Usos vs. Revival on the pre-show. Maybe The Revival will be co-special guest referees. In any event, I’m sure the match was good, but they only showed about a minute of it. Closing the night with Corbin standing tall after blindsiding Rollins with a chair is the type of good, simple booking I like to see. Strong way to close the show. (15 for 18)
Week 1, Episode 1
For the most part, I liked what I saw. Out of the 18 segments, only three of them got the thumbs down from me. One of them was only 38 seconds long! It took 7 videos for me to find something I didn’t like. That definitely makes this a good show in my eyes. Granted this was a curated, truncated version of Monday Night RAW, but nothing got left out. There was some stuff that wasn’t necessary and could have been cut entirely and not be missed. An important note: just because I liked a segment didn’t mean it was a great segment. Unless something is actively bad, I’m going to give it a pass. I’m an easy grader. RAW was easy to watch and made plenty of sense as a series of clips clocking in at 5 minutes or less.
If nothing else, this proves that RAW could very easily be a 2-hour show and not have to cut anything. It also proves that as a 3-hour show, they could fit so much more and feature more wrestlers. Well, one episode doesn’t prove it, but if this becomes a recurring theme over the course of the next 2 months, I think that would prove it. The roster isn’t too big for the amount of time they have.
I’ll have to see if this becomes a trend — interestingly enough, the runtime of the 18 clips, which featured everything that happened on the show, was 45 minutes. That’s the length of an hour-long television show if you exclude commercials. RAW without commercials is roughly 2 hours and 25 minutes, and SmackDown is roughly 1 hour and 25 minutes. If my theory holds up, the runtime of the YouTube clips for SmackDown should be in the range of 35 minutes.
Nick Marsico/ Writer (Kinda)
The Chairshot Dot Com
The WWE TV YouTube Experiment (Week 4: RAW/ July 8, 2019)
Not a good episode of Monday Night RAW. Join me as we traverse the truncated world of WWE on YouTube.
The WWE TV YouTube Experiment
Monday Night RAW/ July 8, 2019/ Newark, New Jersey
I’ve been bleating on and on about how this isn’t a review column, how there was time for that elsewhere and that what I was doing here was more for analysis than anything else. When I looked back at the original article, in which I laid out my tentative plans, I stated that this was about seeing if the content WWE chooses to upload to YouTube is good enough to get me watching their shows regularly like I used to. If it drew enough interest for me to invest hours of time into watching full shows.
I’ll admit that Week 1 was far more enjoyable than I anticipated. Week 2 was a drop, but definitely not bad. Week 3 was the best yet.
Week 4 was trash. I liked what I’ve seen from SmackDown (especially the Kevin Owens stuff), but RAW was a nightmare. So bad that I’m not going to write about SmackDown because I’m tired after watching RAW. And it was supposed to be the “go-home” show for Extreme Rules! The first week of this little experiment was the go-home for Stomping Grounds. They hit every note, didn’t waste any time, and used the entirety of the show to focus on only the matches featured on the PPV. That was not the case this week.
Monday Night RAW 7/8/2019
Total Number of Clips: 19
Total Time: 41 minutes, 14 seconds
*Note: In the interest of saving space, I won’t be embedding every clip this week, only the ones that I feel are necessary.*
Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch vs. Andrade & Zelina Vega (2 minutes, 59 seconds)
This was a “mixed tag team elimination match”. Something like that. It makes no damn sense and was probably the biggest stretch yet to find a reason to not wrestle during commercials. I know it’s been said a million times online by now, but I have to get it out. If it’s a mixed tag match, that means men fight the men and women fight the women. Therefore when Becky eliminated Zelina, she eliminated herself, right? What if Andrade were to then defeat Seth? Is it a draw? It must have been a poorly explained mini-Survivor Series style match. One of the four competitors would be the sole survivor, winning it for their team. Jesus. Why not just make it a 2-out-of-3 falls match instead of doing something convoluted and not explaining it? (0 for 1)
Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans revel in Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch’s misery (49 seconds)
This was SO BAD. It’s worse than porn dialogue, and without context based on the poor acting and the way they’re dressed, one might even think that this was the beginning of a porno movie. Good lord. (0 for 2)
Paul Heyman propagates paranoia before WWE Extreme Rules (2 minutes, 14 seconds)
Typical Heyman fare. That’s not a bad thing or a good thing. It’s just a thing. I will say one positive thing about Brock holding the briefcase is that it’s being done differently than ever before. In the past, we’ve had a number of tropes that have repeated themselves. There have been immediate cash-ins (on the night of the win as well as the next night or a couple of weeks later). There have been guys who have waited a long time and picked their spot (Edge, the first, is the best example of this — he stopped carrying the briefcase after a while and many of us forgot about it until that night in Puerto Rico).
There has been a litany of “fake-outs”, foiled cash-ins that guys have claimed were fake-outs, actually foiled cash-ins that were stopped before the match could take place, and a few failed cash-ins. There have also been a couple of cash-ins that were announced ahead of time (RVD in 2006 and Cena in 2012). This time, the tropes are going to be limited. I can handle having Paul Heyman muse about it and threaten the champions every week or so. It’s different, so that’s good. (1 for 3)
The Miz & The Usos vs. Elias & The Revival – 2-out-of-3 Falls Match (1 minute, 29 seconds)
This was a thing. Sounded like a fine match based on the reports. Usos get the win and earn a tag title shot on Sunday. Miz vs. Elias is such an insane placeholder, though. They’re only on TV to fill a non-existent void, and nothing ever happens. (2 for 4)
Drake Maverick and his wife are still not on their honeymoon (3 clips/ 1 minute, 28 seconds/ 1 minute, 28 seconds/ 48 seconds
None of this was nearly as fun as it has been in recent weeks. It wasn’t actively bad, but they have to move on from the honeymoon gimmick. At this point, it’s only happening so they can put a pair of big tits on the screen since they’re allegedly moving away from TV PG and looking to get a stranglehold on the teenage demographic. Getting them to put a stranglehold on themselves by using attractive women has certainly worked in the past. The YouTube views for 2 of the videos after just under 48 hours were around 240k for two of them and around 575k for the one that best featured his wife’s chest. Drake and Truth are still great, though. Also, is “the honeymoon” just going to be some sort of gag? They referenced that they already went, and now… they’re going again? Continuity error or joke? It’s tough to say. (5 for 7)
Shane McMahon searches for Roman Reigns’ tag team partner (2 minutes, 27 seconds)
Nope. Still can’t get behind this angle. (5 for 8)
Bobby Lashley obliterates Rey Mysterio (2 minutes, 57 seconds)
Nothing wrong with this. People are upset that Lashley isn’t selling his injuries, but it was already established that even though he’s the one who took the spear, Braun suffered worse injuries. I’m also not upset that Mysterio made his comeback only to get his ass handed to him. That’s the point! (6 for 9)
No Way Jose vs. Cesaro (1 minute, 31 seconds)
It’s nice to see Cesaro beating people up as he should be. This was the entire match. We also now know that they didn’t change their mind as rumored, and Cesaro will indeed be facing Aleister Black at Extreme Rules. Should be a great match if they let them do it, but are they sacrificing Cesaro to Black? I’m hoping they figure out a way to protect both guys without making either of them look like goons. (7 for 10)
The Street Profits make Extreme predictions (3 minutes, 57 seconds)
They ran down the card for Sunday. It was somewhat entertaining because these guys are great, but it felt like a gigantic waste of time and talent. Why are they here? What the fuck is “the smoke”? Interested in the team, not interested in… this. (7 for 11)
Maria Kanellis craves pickles and ice cream (2 minutes, 12 seconds)
You drop a bombshell and start an angle in such a dramatic fashion and do it in a way that actually upstages RAW’s top stars, who are also in the segment, and follow it up with THIS? Holy shit. To everyone who said the angle had Paul Heyman’s fingerprints all over it last week, I say that this week, it had Vince McMahon’s asscheeks all over it. Hot garbage. Awful, stupid, dumb, not entertaining, cringe-inducing. Every trope of every pregnant, emotional woman on TV was used in 2 segments (this clip was two segments that aired at different times in the show). Wow. I had an open mind. I did. Now they’re going to have to get some Russian goddamned scientists to open it back up again. (7 for 12)
The Viking Raiders vs. Colin & Devin Justin (1 minute, 47 seconds)
Just keeping the guys on TV. No harm here. There are two sets of tag titles and yet somehow the tag team scene is actually really jammed up. It’s a good problem to have, I guess. (8 for 13)
Ricochet vs. Luke Gallows (2 minutes, 30 seconds)
Ricochet vs. Karl Anderson (2 minutes, 57 seconds)
Nothing extraordinarily wrong here. I don’t see the reason that they needed to have Ricochet beat both guys, though, and it is a problem. They just turned last week, but they’re still just a couple of losers. Why not have him defeat Gallows and then have AJ and Gallows interfere when it looks like he has the upper hand on Anderson? Why pin them both? It’s little things like this that actually turn me off of the product just as much as awful stuff like Mike and Maria. (9 for 15)
Bayley vs. Sarah Logan – Beat the Clock Challenge Match (2 minutes, 31 seconds)
This was fine. Match seemed okay. The crowd chanted “CM Punk” during a perfectly good match because, despite all of the “women’s evolution” bullshit, they still have a terrible women’s division. The women range from decent to great. The use of them ranges from terrible to okay-ish. Impact just had a PPV with a really good four-way match for the Knockouts Title that saw the women doing weapons spots better than most men do. They also ran a man vs. woman main event that was totally fucking believable, and outside of a handful of mentions that it was the first intergender main event on a major (well, they were a major promotion at one point) PPV, they didn’t act like it was some earth-shattering event. It was a pair of wrestlers who had a personal rivalry and were settling the score. The end. (10 for 16)
Dana Brooke vs. Nikki Cross – Beat the Clock Challenge Match (3 minutes, 2 seconds)
I still hate the storyline. Glad that Bayley showed some backbone, though. (10 for 17)
The Man and The Man’s Man come around at WWE Extreme Rules (1 minute, 40 seconds)
Corey Graves tried to stir the shit. This is so unbelievably contrived that it almost physically hurt to watch it. We know one can lose the other’s title by taking the loss, and we know that something like that could potentially hurt a relationship. It doesn’t need to be shoved down our throats. Trust your audience. Just a little bit. (10 for 18)
Roman Reigns & Gary “THE GOAT” Garbutt vs. Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre (2 minutes, 28 seconds)
What was this? Earlier in the night, Roman said that he was fucking with Drew and Shane, not the other way around. I have to assume, based on the fact that THEY STILL LOST IN 2 MINUTES that all Roman was doing was protecting some poor hobbling janitor from getting hurt and not staying one step ahead of Shane by getting an opponent that could help him win. This was an unbelievably dumb segment that made all four guys look bad. (10 for 19)
Wow. This was bad. Just not good television. Or in this case, not good YouTube clips. Even the 10 clips that I rated positively weren’t all that good, including the 24/7 Title stuff. Nothing was more than, I guess, kinda okay. At best. Episodes like this were the reason I quit in the first place. I can’t even further articulate how bad it was. Illogical, silly, dumb, often pointless, unfunny crap. Ugh.
Average Clip Length, Week 4: 2 minutes, 10 seconds
Week 1: 2 minutes, 32 seconds // Week 2: 2 minutes, 44 seconds // Week 3: 2 minutes, 33 seconds
Shorter than usual average by 20 to 30 seconds. None of the segments reached 4 minutes in length (recent weeks, at least one has hit 5) and the longest was the 3 minutes and 57 seconds of somewhat entertaining silliness from the Street Profits, a segment that had no business even being on the show.
I didn’t catch viewership numbers after 48 hours, but as of Friday night, here are some figures:
- Over 2.6 million views for Roman and Cedric The Janitor
- 193k views for Becky & Seth with Corey, and 173k for Mike & Maria
- Just under 2.2 million for the Becky/Seth mixed tag match
- Just over 530k for Lashley beating down Rey Mysterio
Lashley’s segments have been performing well every week, which is somewhat interesting. His booking had been trash for a while. I wonder if the feud with Braun brought some eyes to him, and I wonder how much Mysterio’s involvement factored in. None of the 24/7 Title stuff reached over 300k views, after being so popular for the first few weeks.
See you next week. Hopefully with a better show to talk about.
Nick Marsico/ Writer (kinda)
The Chairshot Dot Com
The WWE TV YouTube Experiment (Week 3: RAW & SmackDown)
The WWE TV YouTube Experiment
Monday Night RAW/ July 1, 2019/ Dallas, Texas
SmackDown Live/ July 2, 2019/ San Antonio, Texas
As I said from the very beginning, I really didn’t have any clue where this was going, how it was going to work, or what the format would become. After reading the first two installments (and writing them… golly) I realized that for one, they’re just too damn long. Over 4,500 words is an excessive length for something like this, in my opinion. Secondly, it ended up being just another RAW review, only based on a very limited sample of the product. Plus, we already have a RAW report, a RAW review, and a RAW podcast. What I did the last two weeks was superfluous. I’m taking that element out of this experiment. I will provide some brief thoughts, but nothing as detailed as I have been doing. I can do that elsewhere if I feel the need. It also allows me to incorporate a short-form version for SmackDown. You’ll see that after the RAW section.
Monday Night RAW 7/1/2019
Total Number of Clips: 17
Total Time: 42 minutes, 36 seconds
Braun Strowman drives Bobby Lashley through the LED wall (2 minutes, 49 seconds)
Very strong start to RAW. It bugs me that the rest of the LED wall went back to working again for the rest of the show, but I don’t know how that stuff works. As many people online have mentioned, the commentators going silent was a great idea. The crowd reaction was amazing and the whole deal felt important. (1 for 1)
Strowman and Lashley are taken to a medical facility (3 minutes, 38 seconds)
I don’t know why this wasn’t included in the first clip. Three and a half minutes to show two guys get rolled into ambulances while the commentary team used their best Owen Hart Voices? To me, it completely killed the chaotic feeling the first clip created and dragged everything to an irritating halt. Plus, they had them talk on camera for a whole minute after the guys were in the ambulances. Do the crazy shit, go to commercial, come back with both guys almost already in the stretchers, and move on. (1 for 2)
Samoa Joe interrupts The New Day’s battle with The Viking Raiders (1 minute, 57 seconds)
This was more chaos. The minute of the match they showed was good, and Joe’s appearance was perfectly timed. I guess this also confirms that the Viking Raiders are heels, as they joined in on the beat down. I know people are complaining about WWE coming up with ways to avoid wrestling during commercials (even though they did it anyway this week) but this was at least a great way to do it. (2 for 3)
The New Day vs. Samoa Joe & The Viking Raiders (2 minutes, 48 seconds)
The crowd was on fire for this and the match appeared to be pretty awesome based on what they showed. Joe choking out Kofi is great because it shows that Joe is a killer, and Kofi didn’t tap. He’s protected and continues to avoid being pinned or submitted while being champion, which is unheard of. I really want Kofi to hold onto that title for as long as possible. It’s going to be his only reign, so let him run with it for a while, please. (3 for 4)
Drake Maverick must choose between the 24/7 Title and his wife (1 minute, 27 seconds)
Drave Maverick is tremendous. He has excelled at everything I’ve ever seen him do, from everything he did in TNA, to 205 GM, to this proper comedy character. Didn’t see the AOP manager stuff, but he put his heart into it and went all in, so he gets credit for that as well. (4 for 5)
The Street Profits bring “swag” back to Raw (1 minute, 33 seconds)
I absolutely love these guys. As everyone says, Montez Ford is going to be a star. He’s got everything. I just hope they get to tag for a good while before going their separate ways. Angelo Dawkins is a guy who took a bit of time to find his groove, but now that he has it, he’s great. Feels like a classic tag guy, but that’s not a bad thing. No idea why they’re on RAW, but they’re entertaining so I have no reason to complain. (5 for 6)
The Undertaker is Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre’s “Reaper” (5 minutes)
I don’t know what the hell was going on here. I’m hoping all of this leads to Drew getting a decisive win over The Undertaker at SummerSlam, dropping Shane and becoming a proper challenger for Seth Rollins. This particular segment was long and dump. It reminded me of Undertaker’s infamous promo about leaving Big Show in the desert that happened on RAW in the summer of 1999. This wasn’t at all on that level, but the silly shit Undertaker was saying was ridiculous, and the whole time it felt like he was just trying to remember his lines. Not a fan. (5 for 7)
Natalya vs. Lacey Evans (2 minutes, 32 seconds)
This was just a match. They only clipped about a minute of it out. What they showed was just fine, decent wrestling. Not much you can really do in a 3 and a half minute match. Lacey probably could have controlled more of the match, but that’s just picking a nit. The goal here was to give Lacey a win over an established wrestler and show her and Baron working as a team. That’s what they did, and it worked. (6 for 8)
The Miz vs. Elias — 2-out-of-3 Falls Match (2 minutes, 48 seconds)
Just a match. Seemed good based on what they showed. It doesn’t seem like they’re going to any trouble to actually give a storyline reason as to why they’re doing these matches, but it is what it is. I kinda like the idea of doing rounds based matches. Regular matches get up to 3 rounds, title matches get up to 5 rounds. It’s one fall to a finish and there’s no scoring system (like the dumb Impact Grand Championship). If it goes the full 3 or 5 rounds, you have a draw. That caps all TV matches to 25 minutes at most unless stipulated otherwise. Just have Vince make the decree, and that’s the end of it. PPVs can stay the same. (7 for 9)
Maria & Mike Kanellis interrupt Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch (3 minutes, 20 seconds)
Seth and Becky continue to have very little chemistry as an on-screen couple. I don’t watch 205 Live — has Mike been Maria’s “bitch” on that show for a while, or is that new? Nothing offensive and this set up a preview of sorts for Extreme Rules, as well as… something else. (8 for 10)
Maria Kanellis claims she is pregnant during Mixed Tag Team Match (2 minutes, 59 seconds)
Well then. I wonder if the people chanting “Thank you Heyman!” after the exploding LED wall spot were cursing his name after seeing this. It’s an interesting direction to take, I guess, and I’m interested in seeing where this goes. It’s like an inverted version of Meat (remember when they had Shawn Stasiak do THAT?), where instead of being worn out because his valets spent the whole day… being with him… Maria just never gives Mike any at all. I thought the Meat gimmick was awesome. I’m not willing to shit on this yet. I have a lot of goodwill to throw around. (9 for 11)
The Street Profits meet Paul Heyman (1 minute, 28 seconds)
This was pretty funny. I guess they’re just trying to put over the idea that they like to stir up shit. I like how they can put this on YouTube, but none of the Gallows and Anderson stuff gets there. Still, this was fine. (10 for 12)
Carmella crashes “A Moment of Bliss” (2 minutes, 56 seconds)
Still not digging the Nikki/Alexa story but if it ends with Nikki going back to being a crazy babyface (like she was during the NXT feud with Asuka, for example) then it’s a means to an end. I just wish they would do something else with Alexa. She’s so good and so easy to hate, and I get that she preyed on Nia, who lacked confidence and she’s using Nikki, who is new and naive, but they’re sorta playing up and ignoring ner NXT gimmick at the same time. Why would none of the women in the locker room welcome her unless they saw her in NXT and think she was crazy? But if she’s crazy, why would she be shy and naive? Either way, I love Carmella and it’s nice to see her in this spot. She’s over. Use her! My pontificating aside, this was a good segment. (11 for 13)
Carmella vs. Nikki Cross (2 minutes, 29 seconds)
Carmella beating Alexa in under 10 seconds in the previous clip was interesting — I’m not sure if it does anything for Carmella so much as it lends credence to Nikki being more deserving of a title shot. And that’s probably what they’re going for. I just hope Carmella gets some shine off of this. The match itself was 2 minutes and 40 seconds. The clip was 2 minutes and 29 seconds, and they showed 2 minutes and 14 seconds of the match. Why not just make the clip 26 seconds longer and show the whole match? They did the same thing last week for no reason. The match was fine and all three women are over, and that’s good. (12 for 14)
Alexa Bliss has no comment on Nikki Cross’ success (33 seconds)
Got the point across. Completely on the nose, which is necessary sometimes. (13 for 15)
Drake Maverick reclaims the 24/7 Championship (1 minute, 19 seconds)
We weren’t as heavy on the 24/7 shenanigans this week as last, but it was for a good reason. While the silliness of having a million goobers all over the place is fun, they’ve actually built a really good storyline between Truth and Drake. Who the hell would have seen that coming? It’s still hard to get behind Drake as a heel if that’s even what they’re going for at this point. I’m really a fan of this stuff. (14 for 16)
Ricochet vs. AJ Styles — United States Championship Match (3 minutes, 1 second)
They showed the final 23 seconds of a 6-minute match. That obviously wasn’t the point. Honestly, I’ve been complaining about it, and even though it would have added to the moment, not showing any of the other interactions between AJ, Gallows, and Anderson before this doesn’t really hurt it. If you’re going just by YouTube, the commentary team did play it up during their matches the last two weeks on RAW, so viewers knew something was going on between them. The heel turn and overall beat down was very good, and it’s going to be nice to see The Club back together. And if they’re going to be a legit team, that adds yet another strong team to the growing roster of great tag teams on the main roster. (15 for 17)
Just like the first two weeks, I liked all but two of the clips. I found something to dislike a lot quicker this time, as it was the second of 17, and then I ended up also not liking clip number 7, which was around the time I disliked something the first 2 weeks. I enjoyed this show more than the previous two, and I wouldn’t attribute that to Heyman, because from what I saw, he was likely only deeply involved with a couple of things. The camera angles and how the commentary team reacted when Braun speared Lashley through the LED wall was all Heyman. The actual spot itself is something that WWE has done a trillion times, so you can’t really say that it was a Heyman thing. Even if it was his idea, it wasn’t groundbreaking. It was done well, at least, even if the explosions were overkill. The Maria and Mike stuff also felt like it was a Heyman deal, but it also could just be WWE pushing the envelope and seeing what sticks. Everything else was typical, but not bad.
Average Clip Length, Week 3: 2 minutes, 33 seconds
Week 1: 2 minutes, 32 seconds // Week 2: 2 minutes, 44 seconds
The average length of clips for RAW has stayed right in the same ballpark, with this week being almost identical to Week 1. My hypothesis for the shows being about 45 minutes long on YouTube has stayed true for 3 weeks now.
As far as views are concerned, just under 48 hours after the show, Braun and Lashley going through the LED set had 3.4 million views. That’s a big number, bigger than Undertaker’s appearance at 2.1 million. Drake Maverick winning the 24/7 Title was up to 1.2 million views, continuing a strong run for him and R-Truth. Maria announcing her pregnancy also performed well, getting 1.4 million. That’s all the stuff that everyone was talking about. AJ vs. Ricochet was at 968,000, which is good, as the return of The Club has some buzz. Joe attacking Woods only had 179,000 views in contrast, and the 6-man tag that happened due to the attack only garnered 338,000 views. Not so hot for your WWE Title feud.
The Undertaker’s return last week to save Roman from Shane and McIntyre is up to 12.1 million views, which is insane, as that means in one week’s time, it earned another 4.5 million views. The 48-hour (ish) total for Undertaker’s segment was 5.6 million less than what his return had in the same timeframe. Obviously, that was a big deal, though, compared to a promo that had substantially less buzz. But ‘Taker still draws the eyes nonetheless, at least online. The 24/7 Title match from last week actually did a little bit better in the same timeframe that ‘Taker’s segment did this week, getting 2.2 million views in 48 hours. That video definitely stalled out, though, only making it to just below 2.6 million in a week. The tug of war is up to 4.9 million, which is complete insanity. That means it got another 3.1 million views in the last week. Not quite Undertaker numbers, but I wonder why that caught on.
SmackDown Live (July 2, 2019)
Total Number of Clips: 14
Total Time: 33 minutes, 52 seconds
As I hypothesized back in Week 1, SmackDown totaled just under 35 minutes worth of clips. The average length was 2 minutes, 25 seconds, just shorter than RAW’s average. Notably, they didn’t skip as much stuff that I would consider to be important. Oddly, they cut a backstage segment with Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss, something that they love over on that RAW YouTube playlist. The only other things missing were the comments from the teams involved in the SDL Tag Team scene. Heavy Machinery got to talk, but the reactions from New Day, Bryan & Rowan, and Ziggler & Owens were cut. And that’s fine, because they weren’t super important to the story. Heavy Machinery are much less established than the rest of the guys, so even though their promo pretty much said “we’re a team and we’re gonna win” and didn’t advance anything major, it was a minute and a half of extra exposure for a pair of guys who need it. I’ll check back next week to see if they leave anything important (or substantial, like the Gallows & Anderson stuff) out.
I enjoyed the show. I’ve always been mostly against the brand split. With the exception of the first 2 or so years of the original split (mid-2002 through mid-2004) and the first year of the new split (mid-2016 through mid-2017), I’ve pretty much just disliked the idea. Even though the dissolution of the original split led to SmackDown eventually becoming the RAW clip show, I’ve always preferred carrying some storylines through both shows, simply because WWE was unable to come up with things to do with their “limited rosters”. It led to insane levels of frustration, as I would read, all the time, “the rosters are just too thin” while they had no use for tag teams and both men and women would waste away on Main Event (or Superstars, or any of the equivalent shows).
I’m pontificating. Sorry. That whining is for another time.
Anyway, I enjoyed SmackDown last week (didn’t get a chance to write about it, but the YouTube stuff was fine) and this week as well. I honestly hope that watching the shows this way brings me back into watching the full shows every week. I hate that I don’t care about not seeing so many of my favorite wrestlers. But these last few weeks, while at its core still feels like the same show I finally gave up on almost a year ago, have been pretty good. I have hope.
Some Viewership Numbers
While it didn’t perform well on RAW, the Joe/Kofi feud looks good on SmackDown. Likely thanks to the middle finger (which they didn’t actually show), it has reached 871,000 views in under 24 hours. Aleister Black and Ali haven’t caught much, at 101,000 and 71,000 respectively. Kevin Owens putting Dolph Ziggler in his place reached 475,000 in 24 hours. I’m interested to see how the Joe/Kofi and Owens/Ziggler stuff progresses after a week goes by.
Drake Maverick’s segment with R-Truth from the June 25 SmackDown is at 2.7 million views in a week and a day, further showing how strong the interest is in that title and his and Truth’s interactions. Nothing else even hit 500,000 views, with nothing even sniffing that many, with the exception of Shane McMahon’s minute-long opening promo about The Undertaker, which hit 404,000.
I’ll check in next week.
Nick Marsico/ Writer (kinda)
The Chairshot Dot Com