The WWE TV YouTube Experiment
Week 2, Episode 2
Monday Night RAW/ June 24, 2019
I would consider week one a successful beginning to this experiment. Week two will feature both RAW and SmackDown, and it will continue that way until the episodes on the Monday and Tuesday after SummerSlam. If I survive.
Check out last week’s RAW by clicking here.
Stomping Grounds on Pay-Per-View
Last week was the go-home show for the Stomping Grounds PPV, which overperformed. It wasn’t great, but it was pretty good. I liked some of the matches more than others, but I’m not of the opinion that it was a “great” show, a word which I’ve seen tossed around online a bunch since Sunday night. I’ve also heard it was awful. It turns out that my 2-month $0.99 trial ends on July 17, so I’ll get to see Extreme Rules as well. We’ll see what happens for SummerSlam. In any event, I liked the Lacey Evans idea as Corbin’s guest referee, but the main event felt like a worse version of a bad Attitude Era gimmick main event. The Austin/McMahons 2-on-1 ladder match from the 1999 King of the Ring show comes to mind. It was far too long and drawn out — I understand the idea that Becky decided not to get involved until Lacey physically interjected herself, but that didn’t happen until 15 minutes into a match that barely had any right going more than 10, at most. The crowd reaction was awful — but if you truncate everything and have Lacey go after Rollins at the 5-minute mark instead of 15, then the crowd doesn’t turn on the match and it comes off way better.
I still blame the dopey people who bought tickets and then chanted for other stuff, though. The tickets for this show went on sale in mid-May. WWE was no different then than it is now — the people who crapped on this show would have already hated everything WWE has been doing. What did they expect? Wasted money. I don’t blame them for the show being bad (like I’ve seen some people on Twitter do), just for being dumb enough to waste their money and their time on something they already decided they didn’t like.
The show was good enough. Let’s talk RAW.
Total Number of Clips: 15
Total Time: 40 minutes, 59 seconds
Rollins, Lynch, Corbin and Evans get Extreme (4 minutes, 45 seconds)
Sounds like Becky is still the most over person in the company. Seth and Becky make googly eyes at each other and call Corbin and Lacey dumb. Then the irony comes (hopefully intentionally) as Corbin’s music hits and they turn their attention to the entrance, only for Lacey Evans to attack from behind. That was well done. Becky gets the better of Lacey, though, and Seth intercepts an attempted blindside attack from Corbin and the heels bail. I loved Corbin’s promo here. It was actually quite impressive. I’d have stumbled over that line 100 times and he fucking nailed it. The exact opposite of his awkward backstage bumble from last week. Seth and Becky agree to a “Winner Take All” match for both titles as the main event of Extreme Rules. Well, that’s one way to do things.
I know a lot of people are sick of Corbin and Lacey in the spot they’re in, but since I literally just got back into things last week, I haven’t had time to get sick of it! Bonus! I dig the idea and it makes sense. The segment was a fine way to open the show and immediately start the build by announcing the Extreme Rules main event at the top of the show. I only hope for two things in that match: they make it No DQ and both men hit some sort of offensive move on the opposing woman. Even if it takes Baron, the heel, knocking Becky down from behind, which pisses Rollins off, followed by Lacey trying to sneak attack Seth, only to get caught. Just let him hit her with a superkick. She slapped him like 4 times on Sunday and tried to separate his balls from his body. Impact is running Sami Callihan vs. Tessa Blanchard at Slammiversary, which is their most high profile man vs. woman match to date. I don’t think the world will end if Seth kicks another wrestler, who knows the risks involved AND physically attacked him, in the face. (1 for 1)
Eight-Man Elimination Tag Team Match (2 minutes, 58 seconds)
I was very confused by this clip because it wasn’t a regular elimination tag, where it’s 4-on-4 and each individual is eliminated separately. This was 2 teams teaming up against 2 other teams, and when one member of a team is eliminated, his regular tag partner is eliminated. I hope they explained that to the live audience. The clip starts with Bryan taking out Dash Wilder by mistake with a suicide dive, followed by Bryan and Woods in the ring. Bryan walks into a decidedly not-inadvertent uppercut forearm from Wilder, clearly in retaliation, and that led to Bryan getting pinned by Woods. I was very confused by this, but then it was announced that Bryan and Rowan were eliminated. This confused me even further — but just for a moment until I put together that this must have been some contrived way to enforce the ‘no wrestling during commercials’ rule. Woods immediately gets himself and Big E eliminated when The Revival nail the Shatter Machine. Gotta assume they went to commercial here. The match ends with an awesome sequence, as Jey gets a blind tag and the Revival try to take out Jimmy with what appeared to be an attempt at a superplex/top rope splash combination, but Jey stopped Dash and ended up springing off of his back and getting Dawson with a surprise pinfall off a top rope splash of his own. Nice.
I had to read a recap of the show to confirm what exactly was going on. I don’t know if I have ever seen a match of this nature before. I’ve seen tag team battle royals that stipulate that if one member of the team is eliminated, the team is eliminated, but this match was certainly unique. As expected with a 3-minute runtime, this video was heavily clipped, but what they showed was pretty good. I assume this is leading to The Usos challenging The Revival for the RAW tag belts at Extreme Rules. I approve. (2 for 2)
Drake Maverick begs R-Truth for a 24/7 Title Match (5 minutes, 2 seconds)
Truth and Carmella are guests on Miz TV, and Miz reveals that the 24/7 rule was suspended for the interview. Okay, that’s cool. Miz runs down some of the title changes that have happened thus far. Truth makes some jokes, continuing to be a national treasure. He hasn’t been able to “eat, drink, or be merry”, and he can’t even go to picnics! That’s a damn shame. Drake Maverick interrupts the interview, and he gets booed. People in Washington are such jerks. Truth totally cockblocked him and may end up causing his wife to get the marriage annulled. They make a joke that I think only the R-Truth character could pull off, as he confuses “consummated” with “constipated”. Crowd chants “constipation” — it would have been far more clever for them to chant “masturbation”, but it’s all good. Drake asks for a one-on-one title shot and Truth accepts. Well, technically he accepted a match with Hornswoggle, but Drake works.
Truth is fucking great. This was a funny segment. No idea what the plan is with Miz right now. He lost his babyface turn feud with Shane and I don’t think he’s done anything since. Is he a SmackDown guy? I guess I’ll find out tomorrow. Good segment. (3 for 3)
R-Truth vs. Drake Maverick – 24/7 Championship Match (2 minutes, 34 seconds)
Truth pins Drake immediately, catching him with his finish in 15-seconds. Titus O’Neil drags a ref down the ramp and a bunch of other goobers follow. They try to win the belt, but Truth and Carmella escape through the crowd. Drake Maverick is too downtrodden to comment on what just happened and walks away from an attempted in-ring interview by Charly Caruso. He’s nearly in tears, and the crowd sings him out with “Na Na, Hey Hey”. I know he was a heel before, but has he been an asshole on TV lately? Why are they being so mean to the poor little spud?
This was a continuation of the Miz TV segment. I assume after a commercial break. It was fun and silly. I am not offended and I am pretty well entertained. (4 for 4)
Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans conspire against Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch (47 seconds)
Baron and Lacey have an awkward conversation backstage about how Rollins is a bitch, so all they have to do is take out Becky and they’ll win the match. I guess that’s fair. Corbin sorts hits on her at the end, and it’s very uncomfortable for everyone.
It happened. Can’t really complain about a conversation that lasted under a minute and was used as a way to get to a commercial break (I assume). No reason to hate it. (5 for 5)
The Undertaker comes to Roman Reigns’ aid (2 minutes, 40 seconds)
After Roman was able to beat Drew at Stomping Grounds, so Shane booked a 2-on-1 handicap match with himself and Drew against Roman. It was going well until Shane climbed to the top to hit the Coast-to-Coast dropkick and Undertaker’s DONG hit. Lights out, lights on, and it’s Undertaker! The crowd goes batshit and ‘Taker kills Shane and Drew. Didn’t see that coming.
That was one hell of a surprise. The pop from the crowd was awesome and I’m intrigued to see where this is going. This is another issue with a lot of people, as it means the ongoing Shane/Drew vs. Roman saga must continue. Just like the Corbin/Evans/Rollins/Lynch stuff, I haven’t been around long enough to be tired of it, so it’s all good to me. (6 for 6)
Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley – Tug of War (2 minutes, 12 seconds)
Okie dokie. Lashley pulls Braun right to the edge of the line in the center of the ring, but Braun was just kidding, guys! He laughs and pulls Bobby over the line, but all that does is propel Lashley into him, and Bobby kicks his ass. So he was kinda dumb to do that. Braun almost made a comeback after hitting a shoulder tackle, but Lashley drives him into the barricade and walks away standing tall.
It was what it was. Lashley wrapped the rope around Strowman’s eyes, which was pretty badass. I assume this is going to set up a bull rope match of some sort for Extreme Rules, and I’m cool with that. I don’t know why people online were so mad about this. It’s not like they spent 15 minutes on this. The YouTube video showed the entirety of the tug of war and the fight, so if we include entrances this couldn’t have been longer than, like 6-7 minutes, tops. I accept this. (7 for 7)
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Viking Raiders (2 minutes, 27 seconds)
This was almost the same as last week for both teams, except they were against each other. Erik and Ivar (ugh) were on the other end of the offense for a bit, but just like last week against The Usos, when Gallows and Anderson got the upper hand they stopped to gloat, and that’s when the Viking Raiders took over and won with the Viking Experience. This clip showed the last 2 minutes and 5 seconds of a 3 minute and 25-second match.
Good for both teams. The Viking Raiders get a strong victory over a team that has a tiny bit of name value instead of a couple of random indie guys. Gallows and Anderson have been destroyed over the course of the last 3 years, but at least WWE is acknowledging that. So even though they lost, it’s a loss against a team that has been destroying everyone, so it isn’t like they lost to some nerds. It continues their storyline, which will hopefully revitalize them. WWE actually has a chance of rebuilding the tag division! (8 for 8)
Naomi and Natalya stand up to Alexa Bliss (1 minute, 4 seconds)
Naomi and Natty try to tell Nikki Cross that Alexa is going to double cross her, but she doesn’t believe them. Alexa shows up and calls Naomi a “neon Bayley Buddy” (awesome) and Naomi challenges her to a match.
I’m going to be down on this one specifically because I don’t like that they’re running essentially the same storyline with Nikki that they did with Nia Jax. Plus, naive young girl Nikki Cross doesn’t appeal to me. Insane Scotswoman Nikki Cross is money. Underdog idiot will end up getting a one-time pop when she figures out what’s going on and turns on Bliss, and it will be downhill from there. (8 for 9)
Multiple Superstars become 24/7 Champion (2 minutes, 29 seconds)
Heath Slater and Mojo Rawley are in the ring getting ready for a one-on-one match with each other, but the goon squad chases Truth back to the ringside area. Slater hits a neckbreaker and wins the title but can’t run away, and Truth hits his flatliner and gets the belt back to become 8-time champion. Cedric Alexander in the ring now, and the Lumbar Check makes him a 1-time champ. EC3 accosts him on the outside, and the 1 Percenter wins him the belt, but Carmella takes it out of his hands, distracting him long enough for Truth to roll him up on the ramp and regain his belt, becoming a 9-time champion. EC3 is forlorn and the geeks chase Truth back up the ramp.
I think it’s safe to say that Truth is going to surpass Raven as the most prolific titleholder in WWE history, possibly before the end of the year. Raven is a 27-time Hardcore Champion thanks to the 24/7 rule, and Truth is already up to 9 — the title has been in existence for 6 weeks. This is all so stupid and I love it so much. I don’t know if anything will ever top WrestleMania x8 for the best ongoing story with the 24/7 rule in a single night, but if anyone can make it happen, it would be Truth. (9 for 10)
Kofi Kingston is a guest on “The Sami and Kevin Show” (3 minutes, 58 seconds)
It’s an impromptu episode, as this started as an in-ring interview with Kofi and Charly Caruso. Sami and Kevin interrupt and have their own questions. I forgot that KO calls her “Not Renee”. That’s awesome. Owens reads questions off of notecards, with the gag being that the last word of each question is on the next card, so he has to pause for a moment before finishing every time. Sami calls Kofi a paper champion that only wins because he gets help from his friends. Kofi calls the New Day a brotherhood and challenges Sami to come to the ring to start their scheduled match now. So does that mean it was actually scheduled to be the main event instead of AJ vs. Ricochet? I’m nitpicking.
This was a good segment that continued the New Day vs. Owens and Zayn feud. It’s really just weird filler since Kofi is a SmackDown guy and Owens and Zayn are RAW guys. But then, so is Samoa Joe and he’s Kofi’s next challenger. Owens, Zayn, and Kofi were also on SD the next night. I like the loose Wildcard rule deal, mostly because unlike it’s somewhat similar to how the shows used to be, with storylines from RAW continued the same week on SmackDown. It allows them to sort of keep the brand split while allowing guys to show up on both nights and avoids making SmackDown a glorified RAW clip show like it was before the new brand split started in 2016.
I hope Ziggler is dropped from the storyline after losing to Kofi on SmackDown (which I’ll cover soon) and Owens gets another title shot, followed by Sami — or maybe a triple threat after he (hopefully) retains over Joe. There are so many ways to go with this story and I’ll be heartbroken when Big E eventually turns on Kofi and Woods. I wonder if they can hold off until next year or if it’ll happen before SummerSlam or Survivor Series. Maybe they’ll throw a big curveball and have Woods turn. Or maybe they’ll just stay together. I’d be cool with that. (10 for 11)
Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn (2 minutes, 49 seconds)
Sami bails out of the ring and Kofi chases, but it ends up costing him, as Owens interferes on the outside. Clip ahead and Sami gets a near fall with a Michinoku Driver, and then they skip ahead to the finish, as Kofi gets a sunset flip for the pin after a nice reversal sequence. Owens calls Kofi out for a match and obviously, Kofi accepts.
Probably a very good match. The only part I don’t like is that the matches are so short. I wish they gave us just a tiny bit more in the clips. But that’s the nature of this beast and it is part of the project. (11 for 12)
Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens (2 minutes, 52 seconds)
Owens goes for the apron powerbomb but Kofi backdrops him on the floor. He hits the SOS on the ramp and wins the match by count-out. Well, that was anticlimactic. Sami tries to attack from behind but gets tossed from the ring and Kofi does the crazy “trust fall” dive over the top to take them out. Sadly, his night is not over, as Samoa Joe runs down the ramp and attacks from behind, kicking his ass and choking him out.
This was all angle, as the actual match itself was only a minute and 45 seconds. The finish was really problematic for me, because I didn’t even know the referee was counting, I don’t think the crowd knew it, and the commentary team definitely didn’t know, as Michael Cole reacted with great surprise when the ref called for the bell. That was very poorly done. It would have been a fine finish if anybody other than the wrestlers and the ref knew what was going on. Joe versus Kofi should be awesome. I wonder if they will add some kind of stipulation to it, since it’s going to be the co-main event for Extreme Rules. (12 for 13)
Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss (2 minutes, 8 seconds)
Naomi hits the cool split leg drop thing she does and Bliss rolls out of the ring. Naomi follows with a baseball slide dropkick but hits Nikki Cross instead of Alexa. This allows Alexa to toss her back in the ring and hit her DDT for the win. Why have they given so many women a simple DDT as a finisher so many times over the years? That bugs me. Bliss and Cross look to attack Naomi, but Natalya makes the save before they can do anything. This ended up becoming a tag team match, but it didn’t show up on WWE’s YouTube channel. I’m not complaining, but it’s just odd.
This clip showed a minute and 12 seconds of a match that lasted a minute and 20. Dunno why they didn’t just show it from the start. Maybe to create the illusion that it was a longer match than it actually was? Their odd way of protecting Naomi for the YouTube crowd? There probably wasn’t any reason at all.
Again, I don’t like the Bliss/Cross angle and I find it impossible to care about Natalya for some reason, even though I like her as a wrestler. I think it’s because she’s been wrestling for almost 20 years, 11 of which have been spent on the WWE main roster, and the girl might be the stiffest, most wooden promo in the business. Worse than Baron Corbin. By a longshot. She can do comedy well enough, but anything serious and she just falls apart. The clip from earlier showed that. Not buying any of this, which sucks since it was the only real stuff with the women on the entire show. Becky and Lacey were nowhere to be found after the opening segment and the awkward backstage conversation. (12 for 14)
Ricochet vs. AJ Styles (1 minute, 54 seconds)
This was set up backstage at Stompin Grounds when AJ, Gallows, and Anderson crashed Ricochet’s photoshoot as the new United States Champion. The clip actually starts with AJ visibly and audibly calling the next spot. It wasn’t clear what he said, but what an odd place to start. Ricochet hits a dropkick that knocks AJ to the outside and follows with his own version of AJ’s famous Fosbury Flop dive over the top rope. They cut to Ricochet avoiding the backflip into the reverse DDT from AJ, but AJ catches him anyway, hitting it out of the scoop slam position instead. Kind of how Sting used to hit the Scorpion Death Drop occasionally, but with way more force and way cooler. AJ gets a 2 count. The next clip comes and Ricochet hits a twisting vertical suplex and Lionsault for 2, and the magic of YouTube puts him on the top rope, from which he misses the 630. AJ hits the springboard forearm to pick up the win.
They only showed a minute and 50 seconds of a 13 minute match (I’m sure it’s on the Hulu version, so I’ll check it out) Upon checking out a recap I see that the match started before a commercial but stopped quickly because Gallows and Anderson tried to interfere and AJ refused to wrestle until they left. I think it’s weird that they have left every interaction between AJ and the Good Brothers out of the YouTube stuff 2 weeks in a row, especially since it seems like they’re starting a big angle. This was really too short to judge, but what they showed was good and I think AJ winning was the right call. It earns him a title shot, and makes sense since he’s an established main event guy and Ricochet just showed up. (13 for 15)
Week 2, Episode 2
I didn’t like this show as much as last week. There was nothing outwardly bad or dumb and they set up a bunch of stuff for the next PPV, but it was just OK. Like last week’s show, it took a while until I found something I didn’t enjoy (last week was the 7th video, this week was the 8th). There were three fewer clips than last week, and they left out two things that I would consider important (AJ telling Gallows and Anderson to get serious and the women’s tag match). We’ll see if a trend forms. Last week, the only thing they missed was AJ yelling at Gallows and Anderson because they’re losers who need to start taking things seriously. As mentioned above, they also left out Gallows and Anderson trying to interfere in AJ’s match and getting sent to the back by AJ himself. It’s very odd.
A very nuanced thing that we missed this week was Bray’s puppets showing up in the background. Mercy the Buzzard appeared behind Kofi Kingston while he was preparing for his match backstage, and Abby the Witch was lurking far behind The Miz as he walked down the hall on his way out to start Miz TV. It’s stuff like this that would make it difficult to be a YouTube only viewer. Thankfully, that can be supplemented by things like Facebook and Twitter, which is where I first saw it, as people were taking pictures and posting them. It may be mostly immaterial, as this is really just build-up to Bray making his first appearance out of the Fun House and into the arena. It’s cool to see it, but not a big loss in the grand scheme of things because when Bray himself shows up, that will be uploaded.
On the opposite side, omitting the scenes of AJ and the Good Brothers could lead to a situation where, when they commit to a big angle, will come across with a lot less impact and might even be confusing. My initial intention was to try to run this experiment without reading any recaps/reviews of the show. I was going to view it from a very minimalist perspective, where YouTube would be pretty much the only thing I would see. The fact that WWE uploads the videos in a seemingly random order is problematic not only for my purpose but for others who might watch in a similar way because it could ruin the flow. And while it may not be a big deal, for example, to see Alexa Bliss trying to tell Nikki Cross that Bayley is not a good person because she interfered in their title match before it actually happens, it is important for an angle that traverses the entirety of the show.
Roman Reigns stormed Shane’s office and took out Drew McIntyre, then chased Shane out to the ring and speared him out of his shoes in a big moment on the June 17th RAW. It was the first video on the RAW playlist. The segment that preceded it, which was Drew McIntyre kicking the crap out of Heath Slater at the behest of Shane McMahon after Slater asked for a raise, was the second-to-last video on the playlist. It was the 17th out of 18 videos. In the correct order, the Heath Slater segment happened 7th while Roman going after Drew and Shane was the 13th video. Seeing those things happen out of order is, if nothing else, really annoying. I guess that’s really not the point of the YouTube channel, though. There probably aren’t a ton of people watching only on YouTube, and anybody who does is unlikely, I would guess, to care very much about that kind of thing.
Last week’s RAW had 3 more videos and was 4 minutes and 42 seconds longer in total. The average video length last week was about 2 minutes and 32 seconds. The average video length this week was about 2 minutes and 44 seconds.
As of Wednesday night (July 26) the most-watched video from the July 17th RAW was Roman Reigns attacking Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon, at 7.9 million views. The next highest out of the 18 videos? Truth and Carmella being caught in disguise and chased by the goon squad. It has 1.2 million. Rollins vs. Bryan was a close 3rd, with 1.1 million views. The Viking Raiders beating up the jobbers was the lowest at about 117,000 views.
To put some of that into perspective, the return of The Undertaker had 7.7 million views, just shy of the 7.9 million for Roman beating down Shane. It has almost equaled last week’s most-watched segment and only took 2 days to get there. Granted these numbers are going to be slightly skewed because I don’t have the figures from last Wednesday, but I think it’s safe to assume Roman’s segment wasn’t already at 7.7 million in under 48 hours. Another thing that’s not shocking is that just like last week, the 24/7 Title videos were the 6th, 5th, and 3rd highest in views. Drake Maverick asking for a one-on-one title shot on Miz TV had 1.2 million views, the segment with the multiple title changes sat at 1.5 million, and the actual one-on-one match was at 2.2 million views. That’s impressive as hell. In about 48 hours, the three videos related to the 24/7 Title all had more views than all but one video from the RAW a week prior. The opening segment with the announcement of Rollins/Lynch vs. Corbin/Evans sat at 2.6 million. I’ll check in next Wednesday evening to get a better comparison.
The Strowman/Lashley tug of war, by the way, had 1.8 million views, making it the 4th highest watched out of 15 videos, behind only Maverick vs. Truth, the Universal/Women’s Title angle, and The Undertaker’s return. People seem to care. Or they heard there was a tug of war and wanted to laugh at it. I don’t have time to get a good survey group together to find the truth. The two least-watched videos were Naomi and Natalya trying to talk sense into Nikki Cross with only about 169,000 and the Gallows/Anderson vs. Viking Raiders match, which came in at only 192,000. That’s two weeks in a row with low numbers for the former War Raiders/War Machine. Better than last week, and they did it quicker, but still not so hot.
That’s going to wrap it up for RAW. I’m going to keep tinkering with the formula until we figure out what this experiment is really all about, or at least until we figure out how much we can learn from it, if anything at all. If nothing else, it will help me figure out whether or not I want to give it another shot with WWE and actually start watching their full shows again. And I’ll also probably give myself a headache every week trying to crunch the numbers. I’m not a numbers guy, but this stuff is somehow fascinating to me.
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