Wrestling is a complicated sport because there are so many moving parts going on at once. At the same time, it is a huge combination of athleticism, a collection of stories and a weekly television show (often shot live) at the exact same time. You don’t get to see something like that happen with any other show and while it can be difficult to pull off, there are times when something is a complete failure for a variety of reasons. That was the case this week on Monday Night Raw.
This week’s Monday Night Raw was the Raw Legends special, featuring a variety of former WWE taking part in a big reunion event. The show had been hyped up for a few weeks with several names being advertised, plus a WWE Title match main event with Drew McIntyre defending against Keith Lee. That sounds like a heck of a night and on paper it certainly was. Then they actually had the show and it was one of the biggest messes that I’ve seen in a good while.
I’m not going to go over the whole show step by step, but the entire night was one weird moment after another, capped off by one of the most out the weirdest endings to Monday Night Raw in history. Today we’re going to look at some of the bigger problems with the show and complain about a variety of things that happened throughout the night because that’s what I tend to do around here.
We’ll start at the end, with McIntyre retaining the title as the legends (some of whom we had not seen throughout the night and who had nothing more than cameos at the end) watched from the stage. McIntyre grabbed the microphone but Goldberg, the big surprise of the night, came out to confront him. Goldberg didn’t like McIntyre disrespecting the legends and challenged him for a title shot at the Royal Rumble. McIntyre didn’t get the chance to explain as he was knocked down with the show cutting off due to time constraints.
Now on paper, this doesn’t sound that bad. You can get the idea they were going for and the lack of time was the major problem. Unfortunately, a wrestling show isn’t something that exists only on paper and there was nothing resembling McIntyre disrespecting the legends. See, the original idea had been for McIntyre to say something about the legends, which would have brought Goldberg out (hence him having the microphone when Goldberg appeared), but the time constraints cut it off. Goldberg just said what he was originally supposed to say without the key detail being included, again because of time.
The time thing is what matters most here, because for the last eight and a half years, Monday Night Raw has run for three hours. That’s a long show (you might have hear some people complain about it before) and yet somehow they managed to run out of time. In theory that should not happen, but then you look at some of the things that happened on the show, it isn’t even that surprising because WWE wasted so much time on Monday.
So this was the show built around the legends, with a bunch of names making their cameos after not being around for a long time. Consider Melina, who was shown backstage when the Lucha House Party came up. Melina smiled at them and did their dance before not being seen for the rest of the show. Mark Henry was shown backstage talking to Ricochet and then was scared off by Randy Orton (who Goldberg never mentioned despite him threatening legends all night long). Jeff Jarrett and Booker T. just showed up on the stage for the main event.
Those are just a few examples, but they all fall into the same category: why were they there? From a kayfabe perspective, what was the purpose of having them there? Did WWE call Melina for the sake of standing around backstage all night? Did WWE need another target for Orton? Are Booker T. and Jarrett just there for the sake of window dressing? Yes they’re famous names and people who are going to draw some eyes (hence why they were advertised) but they they were just….there.
That’s where you get to the core problem of the show: it feels like it has no structure and everything is just being thrown out there at a moment’s notice. I get that Vince McMahon is going to do whatever he wants to reset everything, but assuming there is a way around the insanity that is his whims, there needs to be a way to fix something like this. It can’t be that hard to block out a schedule and then be willing to cut something. I know it might not be the most popular move, but something needed to be trimmed for the sake of the bigger picture.
With all due respect to Melina, would anyone have minded if that cameo not have been there? Would it have mattered if Booker T. and Jeff Jarrett had been in another segment in the place of some of the more minor names? Was anyone really needing the same Sgt. Slaughter and Ron Simmons cameos so they could say THE EXACT SAME THING that they say every time they’re back? How many viewers would you lose if you advertised this show as Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair returning to the show? Maybe throw in Kurt Angle (who was advertised and then never actually showed up for whatever reason)?
But no, instead of doing something about all of these problems, we got another MizTV with New Day turning it into their own talk show to set up a pretty lengthy tag match, the exact same kind of 24/7 Title deal that they have been doing for about a year and a half, Flair being embarrassed and yelled at by his daughter, Dana Brooke and Shayna Baszler having a 36 second match and both Tag Team Champions losing via a distraction into a crucifix.
How many of those things (and it’s certainly not an exhaustive list) could be cut, trimmed or ignored with absolutely no major repercussions on the show? This is the same company that felt the need to cut/furlough dozens of wrestlers and workers last April but they can fly in people like IRS (who certainly didn’t seem phased by the fact that his son was BURNED ALIVE a few weeks ago) and Tatanka and give them a payday for the sake of standing around backstage and nothing more all night.
The point of WWE’s television is supposed to be making money, be it having people buy a show, buy some merchandise or just want to watch next week’s episode. What in the world did some of these things do to make me care? Not only was there a bunch of wasted time, but it was time that cut into the big story at the end, which is what was supposed to be the angle that was supposed to draw the money in the end. But we didn’t have time for that because we needed Torrie Wilson to lie to Angel Garza about Cardi B. being there so the Boogeyman could scare Garza and cost him the 24/7 Title to start R-Truth’s 46th reign.
This week’s Monday Night Raw was a mess because they don’t know how to handle this many things going on at the same time. It was a lot of time being wasted and that time wasting ultimately cost them a chance to have a big angle at the end to draw people in. The company doesn’t seem to care, but that has been the obvious case for a very long time now. I have no idea why they did a lot of what they did on Monday, but I’m not at all surprised by how many eyes were rolling by the end. It was the only logical conclusion.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!