The general consensus since “Wrestlemania XXXII” seems to be that “Monday Night Raw” has gotten better. Shane McMahon has been in charge of the show since then and the Authority has been gone, but the question is what has made the show that much better. Today we’re going to look at a few things that have happened in recent weeks to make the show a little bit better, or at least easier to sit through.
While the long promos to open the show are still happening, it helps to have some of the matches announced in different ways. Earlier this week on “Monday Night Raw”, it was announced that Shane McMahon had made a match during the break (and announced it on Facebook for some reason). It was quick, it was easy, and it was done by the time we got back from a break instead of having a segment backstage announcing the match like the fans are morons who can’t handle “this match was made during the break”.
It’s a simple idea but just having the matches made quickly by a boss who doesn’t make an appearance is the way to go most of the time. There’s nothing wrong with Shane coming on TV to make the matches every now and then but it’s nice to have something fast that lets us get on with the point instead of having to wait around for five minutes while the idea is hammered into our heads.
With that one out of the way, let’s get to the other big idea: people getting fresh opportunities. Now this is where we get to an interesting point. Earlier this week on “Monday Night Raw”, Shane suggested that names like AJ Styles, Sasha Banks and Sami Zayn were getting a chance under his watch and that’s why things are taking off. That’s fine in theory, assuming you ignore the fact that it really doesn’t make sense.
Just going off this statement alone, you have three people who were in prominent matches at “Wrestlemania XXXII”, the night before Shane got power in the first place. Two of them were even in title matches at the show and arguably have taken steps back under Shane’s watch. The idea that Shane is the reason behind their successes really doesn’t hold up but it’s a nice thing to make people believe because it makes the new era sound better.
I guess in theory you could say that the arrivals of Apollo Crews, Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady and the Vaudevillains are influenced by Shane, assuming you ignore the fact that Crews, Amore and Cassady were already in the building when Shane took over and that there’s a good chance the Vaudevillains had been called up by the previous administration.
On top of that, there’s the fact that people get called up from NXT and make their debut on “Monday Night Raw” every year after Wrestlemania. Last year saw the debuts of the Lucha Dragons and Neville, which came a year after the debuts of Paige and Rusev (at least in his singles debut). This is hardly a groundbreaking idea from Shane and it’s another case of calling the same thing something different because it’s coming out of a different mouth.
However, the fact that it’s a different mouth makes a difference. For once, we have a face boss and a (somewhat) face champion. It’s been a very long time since we’ve had either one of these things for an extended period of time. Looking back, here are the most recent WWE World Title reigns (number of days listed):
Triple H – 70
Roman Reigns – 41
Sheamus – 22
Roman Reigns – Less than 1
Seth Rollins – 220
Brock Lesnar – 224
That takes us back to “Summerslam 2014” when Lesnar won the title in the first place. Over the course of a year and a half, we had roughly six weeks of a face champion (unless you count the end of Lesnar’s reign where he was more of a tweener than a heel). That’s a very long time to go without someone you can cheer for and it’s really hard to sit through it for that long.
The same is true for the heel bosses. How long has it been since we’ve had someone in charge that we can cheer for? Other than the few weeks after “Survivor Series 2014”, the Authority has been in power for going on three years. That’s getting up there on the levels of Vince McMahon from back in the late 1990s. At some point it’s time to change things up instead of going with even more of the same thing over and over for years.
So why are people so happy with “Monday Night Raw” lately? If there was one reason to sum it up, it’s because it feels different. For the first time in a long time they’re actually doing something fresh instead of the exact same stuff over and over again for years. The wrestling and younger talent have been getting a focus and we’re coming up on a new match instead of more of the same people fighting over the title while we’re waiting to get to the next big show.
This brings us to the big question: how much credit does Shane deserve for the new found success of “Monday Night Raw”? As with almost anything else, the answer is somewhere in the middle. The key thing about Shane is that he brings in an energy to him as someone who hasn’t been around in a very long time. After so long with the same stuff over and over again, people are going to cheer for something fresh, even if he’s presenting several of the same ideas that we’ve seen for years now.
Overall “Monday Night Raw” has been a lot better lately but placing the credit at the feet of Shane isn’t the right answer. There are several factors that have to be taken into consideration when you look at how the show has been going and Shane is certainly one of them. He brings a different perspective to the show that helps things move along, but a lot of the things people are praising are things that have been done for years, albeit with a different person offering the presentation. Shane has made “Monday Night Raw” a lot more exciting lately but there’s a lot more to it than that, which hopefully people start to realize.
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