Raw Reunion has come and gone and, as usual when WWE has a big special episode like this, the reaction has been mixed. I certainly loved the show, but at the same time I can understand the complaints this time around. While the show focused on the legends almost entirely, it ignored almost any build towards Summerslam, which is less than three weeks away. Given the changing landscape of WWE creative, that might not have been the best idea (keep in mind that USA came up with the plan and probably had no idea about Summerslam).
The other issue that comes up is how much better the legends are presented than the regular wrestlers. That’s very true, and in this case it isn’t hard to see why. Normally the argument would be that WWE should have spent more of the show focusing on developing their current talent, but after the weeks and months of pure failures that we’ve been sitting through as they fail in such an endeavor, would one more week have mattered all that much?
I don’t think you can give a definitive answer about whether Monday’s show was good or bad and I’m not going to try. That’s going to depend on your taste and how you look at it and in this case, both sides can make perfect sense. Instead, we’re going to take a look at why the legends come off so much better than the regular stars of today and try go through some of the things that would help so much. And no this isn’t going to be “let them be unscripted” because the legends were mostly scripted on Monday and they did just fine for themselves.
Keep in mind that these are general issues and they do not apply to everyone on the current or older roster.
Let’s get the biggest one out of the way first: the legends know how to stand out. Look at someone like Ted DiBiase, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, the Boogeyman, Godfather, Sgt. Slaughter, Hurricane and others. These people have something that makes them stand out, be it their color scheme, costume, manner of speaking, signature something (ala DiBiase’s laugh) or any one thing that makes them stand out.
Do these people get your attention:
Focusing on the looks for a second, the color schemes that the wrestlers put together can mean so much. Look at some of the names on the show. Hogan has the red and yellow, Slaughter is all camouflage, Ric Flair is famous for his robes, Hurricane wears bright green. These people instantly stand out and get your attention. It works today too with New Day being a prime example. Ignoring the charisma, the dancing and the pancakes, you have three guys in bright blue shirts coming down the ramp. That gets your attention because it looks different than anything else.
Compare it to shopping. When you’re buying cereal or candy or something where there are a lot of varieties, how important is the packaging? How many candy bars or boxes of cereal are in some brightly colored box or wrapper? It’s very rarely some dark color or generic box. They’re designed to catch your eye and get your attention. The exact same thing hols true for wrestling. If you’re flipping through the channels and see people dressed all in black or three guys (or just one) in a bright blue shirt that stands out from the rest of the scene, which is going to make you stop?
On the other side, you have the simple time factor. One of the biggest draws of Raw Reunion was having wrestlers who haven’t been around in a long time making some appearances. It’s the really easy concept of absence making the heart grow fonder and that applies to everything. In short, how can we miss a wrestler if they won’t go away? People like Hogan and Austin aren’t around very often so having them show up feels like a treat. Now what would happen if they were around every single week? How long would it be before fans got sick of them like anyone else?
Hey, I Remember You:
On the other side of the modern spectrum, you have Bray Wyatt. His last televised match was all the way back in August 2018 and once he wrestles at Summerslam, it’s going to be nearly a full year since he wrestled on television. At one point fans were sick of seeing him but then the Firefly Fun House videos started to pop up and the fans were right back into him all over again. It’s a really simple idea: don’t have the same people doing the same stuff every week and fans will keep responding to them.
Finally, Monday night felt like it was fun. The legends all seemed to be having a good time and they were out there doing something entertaining. It wasn’t the ultra serious stuff that we get so often in WWE with wrestlers talking about wanting to hit each other in the face. That’s the way you should present most of your stories, but sometimes you need to be able to have some less serious fun.
This might be a little more entertaining than another dry promo:
That creates such a breather on the show because it isn’t the same as everything else. Hence the term comic relief: it’s a relief from the serious nature that everything else has and that can be very valuable. Couple that with the regular stuff not being great in the first place and it’s easy to see why the title, just like the legends got over so easily: it makes things feel fun and the fans, who are there for entertainment, want to have a good time.
Overall, I liked Raw Reunion a lot better than the regular show, but it isn’t something that could work more than a week or two a year at most. The legends have a lot of advantages coming into the show that it’s easy to see why they are so well received. While that might not be the fairest comparison, the legends do offer a few good ideas about how to fix the current situation with the current roster. It might not be as simple as a costume change or letting people have time off, but something needs to be fixed so there can be legends of the future.
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 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the History Of In Your House.
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