This week’s episode of “Monday Night Raw” had its fair share of problems. There weren’t a lot of things to get excited about, but one of the major moments stuck out to me above many of the others, and has actually been a focus of the debate since the show ended. Today we’re going to expand on something that happened on the show and look at how it’s part of a much broader problem.
One of the major moments this past week was the Ascension coming to the ring and having a quick promo before their squash win over some unnamed jobbers. Their promo was very simple: they’re in the same vein as teams like Demolition and the Road Warriors but they’re going to be even better. For some reason this has come off as disrespectful to those teams, even though this is the sort of thing that has been done for years in wrestling. Perhaps you may remember CM Punk talking about how he was better than people like Steve Austin, the Rock and Hulk Hogan during his long WWE Champion reign?
However, what I want to focus on is the commentary after this talk was over. JBL’s initial reaction was that Konor and Viktor couldn’t lace the Road Warriors’ boots and guest commentator Booker T. simply said it was stupid. These comments took all of ten seconds but they immediately ruined what little good the show had going for it and stuck in my head for the rest of the night.
Commentary in WWE has been a major problem for a long time now and it’s something they really need to change in the near future. The announcers do a lot more than just call the match and give you a basic outline of what’s going on. Often times, they’re the introduction to the talent in the ring. Announcers are supposed to tell you who these people are and why the fans should care about what they’re seeing.
The important word in that sentence is care. The fans have to care about what they’re seeing, or they’re not going to stick around. Why would I care to watch something if one of the first reactions you hear is “they’re stupid”? It’s basically saying there’s no reason to see this act and you’re wasting your time watching it.
Think about it like this. Let’s say you’re watching a movie trailer and the quotes from critics are something like this: “The biggest waste of time all year!” “This movie is so stupid!” “Let’s see what else is on!” The WWE commentators are glorified critics at this point anyway, which is why these comments cause so many problems. At the end of the day, the commentators are the only voices you hear every single week. The fans, especially newer ones, are going to trust a lot of what the three of them say.
Now the story going around is the commentators were trying to build heel heat on the Ascension where they’ll eventually prove the commentators wrong by being as dominant as the Road Warriors and Demolition. Going back the movie trailer analogy, it would be like the actors in the movie hoping the fans carry it to success in spite of the critics. This is a common problem with having the commentators have such personalities.
Look back to the great commentary teams of the 1980s with Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon being the best option. Both of them were able to criticize or praise people but also be proven right or wrong. They had basic good or bad characters but they rarely dominated the story. In other words, they did commentary on what was going on instead of directing it in one way or the other.
On top of that, it’s insulting to “NXT” fans. Ascension held the NXT Tag Team Championships for 364 days, by far the longest reign of any champion in the promotion. They dominated the division for a year and then finally got to debut on the main roster. Yes they’re basically a direct descendant of the power teams of the 1980s, but why is that such a bad idea? The WWE tag team division is hardly stacked at the moment. The Usos were champions for a good chunk of 2014, Miz and Mizdow are a one idea act and Goldust and Stardust have hit their ceiling. Who does that leave? Los Matadores? Cesaro and Tyson Kidd? Slater Gator Baby?
The Ascension is an actually different idea and something fresh for the tag division. On top of that though, they’re a product of “NXT”. I’ve been watching “NXT” since it started and haven’t missed an episode yet. I’m also a big fan of teams like Demolition and the Legion of Doom and loved the idea of a team in the same vein as those two. They finally made made it to “Monday Night Raw”, albeit about a year after they were ready.
It’s like watching a guy you followed in local plays and community theater getting a role in a Hollywood blockbuster. Myself and a lot of other “NXT” fans have been clamoring to see this forever, and this is what we get? One of the worst announcing teams in wrestling history burying a team because they’re saying they’re going to be better than everyone else and squashing jobbers? As in doing the exact same thing that almost every other wrestler has ever done?
Basically what WWE said this week is “That NXT show that we hype up to make you buy the Network doesn’t mean jack and you fans are stupid for saying it’s better than our main show. Well screw you, we’re treating these guys like jokes.” It’s petty, it’s stupid, and it makes me feel like I’m wasting my time watching “NXT” because WWE has this big chip on their shoulders because someone, even in their own system, is showing them up.
Ascension made it up to the top of the wrestling world and their reward is to be buried by the announcers while they’re squashing jobbers? This is the same announce team that spent the entire span of Cesaro’s match last week laughing about a slip of the tongue Cesaro made during his promo before the match, because WWE commentary never makes mistakes right?
WWE commentary has turned into the cast of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” as they heckle most of the acts (other than the Authority because WWE TV is all about them anymore) and act like they’re smarter than every fan that watches the show. I find myself wanting to watch the shows with the TV muted more often than not and that’s a very bad standard to set.
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