I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground when I say that Monday Night Raw is not an exciting television show at the moment. With three hours a week, the show has worn a lot of fans down, to the point where it rarely feels entertaining. That has been the case for a long time now and it feels like it is getting worse by the week. The same was mostly true this week, but something stood out to me on the most recent edition and it illustrates a very important reality about WWE TV as a whole.
This week’s Monday Night Raw featured a six woman tag between Nikki Ash/Doudrop/Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair/Rhea Ripley/Liv Morgan. That doesn’t sound like much and it is because it is a match that we have seen in various forms for months. It may have been the first time all six were in there at once, but these six have been feuding with each other in singles action for a long time. That’s all well and good and it made all the sense in the world to have this match on the show.
We’ll get back to the match itself later, because first up we need to talk about the promos beforehand. Before the match, the villains met backstage, with Ash saying she is the hero the division needs, Doudrop saying she would be the villain who teamed with Lynch, and Lynch saying that she defeated Belair in 26 seconds at WrestleMania. This was another good example of NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS, but that was only one of the issues they were having.
Then you had the other trio talk, with Morgan and Ripley discussing Ripley’s gear, followed by a quick strategy session. Belair strolled up, said she knew they were talking strategy, and then said that she wanted to face Lynch tonight, because Lynch is overdue for a KOD, courtesy of the EST of WWE. Belair and company then came to the ring for their match, with Belair doing her standard dance/strut/hair spinning, which she does in every single match she ever has.
To put it simply, these promos were dreadful and pretty easily the worst things on the entire episode. Aside from NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS, it was badly acted, featured the women standing in ways no one would stand, and had all of them speaking in catchphrases and slogans. These segments make you feel like you are watching something that would be booed off of a seventh grade drama stage with the teacher failing whoever wrote such a horrible script.
This has been a problem for WWE (men’s and women’s) for years and that does not seem to be going away. There are some people who can have some freedom, but almost everyone talks about premium live events and championship opportunities and trying to find a path to WrestleMania (they had to bring in fifteen women and a bunch of men to fill in the Royal Rumbles but gee, I don’t know if we can find a spot for you in a two night show). You might remember Jon Moxley complaining about how he had no idea what any of this stuff meant and the more I hear from these promos, the more I completely believe them.
This is the kind of dialogue that Steve Austin and the Rock couldn’t make work on their best days. That is where everything falls apart with this stuff, as it sounds fake, making it even more difficult to get behind the characters and their issues. Unfortunately WWE would rather sound like a badly written movie than a wrestling promotion, but that is another point for another time. What matters is that it doesn’t work, and it never will because it sounds so bad in the first place.
But then, they had the match, and that was when things got a lot better. By that, I don’t mean they blew the doors off or anything, but these six women went out and had a perfectly watchable and at times good tag match. The stupid lines and weird wording were dropped and you had six talented wrestlers putting on a match that saw Belair pin Ash after the KOD.
Everyone looked pretty sharp (save for a few missteps here and there, which happens in almost every match of any kind) and the stuff they did made sense. You had Belair and Lynch go at it for a bit to help set up their WrestleMania showdown, Ash and Ripley got to extend their deal (if it is still going that is) and Ash took the fall from Belair to keep Belair and Lynch strong. That is a nice use of a little over ten minutes and everyone got at least a little bit of shine. It’s like the people talking before the match and the people having the match were in different worlds.
That is where the lesson comes into play. Despite how weird they sound when they talk (again, not their fault), these are talented people who know what they are doing in the ring. These women belong on the big stage in front of a lot of people because they are good at what they do. Once they get away from all of the utter nonsense that is a WWE promo and get to go out and do their thing, you can easily forget just how bad things are when they are so heavily produced.
Think back over the WWE Women’s Revolution. The whole concept turns seven years old this summer and has seen women’s wrestling come a very long way. While some of the things have been better than others, what matters the most is having women be taken seriously for a change. There have been some amazing moments, and almost none of them involve the women being treated like brainless idiots who can’t string together a coherent conversation to save their lives.
The same holds true on SmackDown. No, Ronda Rousey is not the best talker, but who else has had the kind of debut and huge career that she had? She debuted in a classic, won the Raw Women’s Title, and went on to headline WrestleMania. How many great promos do you remember from Rousey? She might have a great line here or there, but things got a lot better for her once the bell ring. The same is true for just about everyone in the company, at least among those who are not tied down by the horrible dialogue that they are handed every week.
What matters at the end of the day is that these women are stuck with the same horrible parts of the show that the men get. No one could make this stuff sound natural, from Ash being ALMOST a superhero (still one of the lamest ideas in recent memory) to Belair having to get in “EST of WWE” every single possible chance she can. It is badly written material spoken in an unnatural way by people who might only be ok at reading lines in the first place.
Then they actually get in the ring where they are the ones who get to do most of the work. Sure there are agents and coaches who help them get ready and map things out, but ultimately it is the wrestlers themselves doing the work. They know how to make this stuff work and that is what they did on Monday. It is a shame that they are not as well remembered for what they can do between the ropes, but letting them not have to sound like corporate slogan machines is the real revolution that needs to take place at some point in the future.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books
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