Why Raw Is A Terrible Television Program And Other Wrestling Related Things

I’m pretty bored and angry with WwE these days as I think we’ve established in these posts and on Twitter, but for some reason I’m still in the mood to write about it, so let’s do this.

I’m not going to answer all of these because some of them have to do with TLC in ways that would make them pointless now, but I have thoughts on a few.

While bringing in Rhyno and Tommy Dreamer to team with the Dudleyz makes sense due to their ECW roots, it would have been nice to see WWE use the spots to call up some fresh blood from NXT.

No. That’s actually a bad idea on every level I can think of.

If there’s one thing WWE doesn’t need right now, it’s meaningless dudes floating around the midcard. They have far more than enough of those, many of them plucked straight out of NXT. Tyler Breeze? A geek almost immediately. Only took them about 3 or 4 matches. It was amazing. Everyone they called up for the Diva Revolution? Loved them all in NXT, but who could possibly care about whatever the hell this is supposed to be? The ascension? Tag Champs in NXT that were over with the audience in spite of being limited in what they could do, now buried 12 feet under before they even had a chance. Neville? He’s just some guy who can do pretty flips and stuff. Kevin Owens? They got off to a hot start with him, then slammed on the brakes when it hit them that they might accidentally make a star. I could keep going, but I need to get back to the point.

The Wyatts, who came out of NXT I should add, need wins. A lot of them. Now. The Dudleyz, even though they still have something to offer, are largely a nostalgia act at this point. That being the case, it makes sense that they would bring in partners that are also nostalgia acts. This also has the added benefit of the Wyatts getting meaningful wins while at the same time not hurting anyone’s future potential. The fans are going to be behind Bubba or Devon or Tommy Dreamer no matter what because they have years of good will and reputation they can cash in now to help make the Wyatts look strong. If the aim is to have the Wyatt family win, this is exactly how it should go down. If you replaced Rhyno and Dreamer with any two guys from NXT, those guys, who nobody is invested in, are immediately on the losing side of a feud, almost certainly dooming them to becoming meaningless dudes in the midcard.

Now let’s look at it from the other side. If the Wyatts lose yet again, you might as well scrap the whole Wyatt Family concept and either send all four of them away for repackaging or cut bait and fire every single one of them, because there’s nothing left. I suppose you could always just split them up again like they tried to do already, but then you’ve got four meaningless dudes floating around in the midcard instead of two, which is arguably worse. So if given the choice of established guys teaming with the Dudleyz or absolutely anyone from NXT, I’m picking the old names every day of the week.

With Sami Zayn returning to the ring this week, you expect him to be part of the main roster before WrestleMania 32.

Given the easy to understand story of and history between the two and the abilities of both to tell it, a match between him and Kevin Owens makes total sense and I think there’s money in it. But given the weird half touring indie fed half training school NXT has become, it’s getting harder to figure out who’s bound for WWE proper and who’s sticking around to draw people to the bigger NXT shows anymore. That said, if there’s a short list of people WWE has an eye on to bring up, I’d be shocked if Zayn’s name wasn’t on it.

Alberto Del Rio’s WWE return has been a disappointment so far.

Big time. After the reaction he got coming out for his surprise return during John Cena’s open challenge, it’s been all downhill. the United States Title, which WWE and Cena himself put months of work into establishing as a meaningful thing that wrestlers should want to have, already feels like one of the who cares belts again. That’s bad. I think it’s even worse than the direction of Del Rio’s character, which is…nonexistent. I tried really hard to think about what the direction of his character actually was before settling on nonexistent, by the way. I did this because there’s no way that this should be happening. How does a guy go from getting fired after being the victim of racism and standing up for himself or at least that’s how it’s been presented in the media, to being one of the hottest acts in wrestling all over the world to making his grand return to the company that wronged him and now, to borrow a phrase from myself, being pretty much a meaningless dude in the midcard? It’s more astounding than what they’ve done with Tyler Breeze. And yes I know they slapped him into the top heel stable, but putting somebody in a main event group doesn’t automatically make that person a main eventer by association. He feels like a floundering act that’s being shuffled into whatever they can think of regardless of whether or not it’s the right fit for him. I hope he’s quietly making good money, because WWE is wasting whatever they’re paying him right now and he’d better hope they don’t figure that out.

Monday Night Raw is a consistently good TV show.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Where do I even begin, because there are so many problems with the show and really, with WWE in general.

1. Raw is too damn long.

Even if Monday Night Raw was an enjoyable experience, 3 plus hours per week is too much. Even with the ability to skip through commercials, video recaps and entrances, it can still be a chore to get through. Whoever said leave them wanting more was on to something, you guys. But the major reason it’s a chore to sit through is because…

2. WWE has been boring and formulaic for years.

The announcers all sound interchangeable. Every one of them spouts the same scripted cliches and prewritten dialogue over and over to the point where sometimes I wonder if I’m watching a rerun. Ditto for the wrestlers. Everyone who speaks in WWE always sounds like they’re reading shitty lines in the same robotic tone of voice, because by and large they are. And they all sound like they’re being written by the same person. It’s so bad that it’s jarring when somebody’s words actually stand out and I believe them. And every single show just feels…the same as every other show. It’s always insufferable 20 minute talking segment that could be over and done with in 5 minutes or less, 3 minute wrestling match with a stupid finish, a few minutes of backstage talking and bad acting, 2 minute match, more talking and on and on and on. It never feels like anything of value is going to happen. I’ll often catch myself checking my email, researching something for a post I want to write, straightening up the house, cooking or any of a million other things that all seem more important than what’s going on on the screen. And usually I’m right. What’s going on isn’t important. Sometimes I’ll think I missed something, so I’ll go back to check only to see that what I missed was dumb, at which point I get angry at myself and WWE for making me waste those few seconds to go back and look, then move on with my life. Yes there are good matches on Raw, but that’s not enough when there’s no incentive to care about basically everything that surrounds them or even the people in them because nothing matters, which I’ll get to in a minute.

3. Smackdown exists and it’s two hours long.

Again, leave them wanting more. We’re up to 5 hours a week now, and some weeks there’s another 3 hours worth of pay-per-view still to come. Two hours is a more acceptable length for a weekly show, but at its best Smackdown is mostly useless and at its worst it’s actively infuriating, making it feel even longer than Raw at times. Which leads me to the biggest issue.

4. WWE makes you feel like an idiot for paying attention.

You know that quote they use every week about Raw being the longest running episodic television show in history or whatever? I hate that. It drives me nuts because when you look at the other shows to which they’re comparing themselves, you realize how big a waste of time Raw actually is. Those other shows have characters with clear motivations and stories that progress through time so as to make you care and keep watching. Raw can’t keep itself straight from week to week or worse yet, hour to hour. If something isn’t screwed up in the span of one show, I can rest assured that if I saw it on Raw it’ll be ignored or contradicted on Smackdown and that if it happened on Smackdown, it’ll be ignored or contradicted by Raw. By consequence, none of what I see matters, which really doesn’t make me look forward to another five to eight hours of it next week. If I watch every single show and I can’t explain to somebody watching for the first time why something is happening or who someone is without confusing and annoying both of us, that’s not my fault. The issue isn’t that I’m not smart enough to understand your complex, multi-layered storytelling, it’s that you’re a god awful motherfucking shitty storyteller. This is not up for debate. When somebody gets a big win one night and then loses the next day, why should I care about the big win or the guy who got it? He’s just a loser again, meaninglessly running in place like everyone else. When one minute people are at each others throats and the next they’re friends again like nothing happened without explanation, that’s nonsense. And when faced with meaningless nonsense, most people will say fuck it and tune out. There’s a reason the ratings for WWE are where they are right now. Unless you’re a lifelong wrestling fan (and even we’re giving up at this point), why bother trying to sort this shit out? People don’t have that kind of time and even if they do, they want to spend it doing something enjoyable like not watching Raw.

On a happier note, enjoy NXT today. Remember that unless you’re in England it’s going to start at a weird time if you’re watching live. Here, for example, the preshow is at 2:30 and the main card is at 3.

I’ll talk to you all again soon. Right now I’m going to eat lunch and maybe watch Raw, which I hear is actually good and eventful this week. Hopefully this’ll be the point when things start turning around. Yes, I know that’s the there’s always next year of the wrestling fan, but it’s not easy to break that habit, you know?

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