I love mythology. The huge collection of stories that are designed to explain everything about the world is endlessly fascinating with all kinds of characters and motivations to sort through. You could say the same thing about wrestling, and as it turns out, one story in particular from Greek mythology can be used to explain the biggest problem in modern day WWE. Maybe there was something to that Coliseum Video introduction after all.
The story of Pandora’s Box is something that you’re likely familiar with, possibly just due to the name alone. The idea is that Pandora opened a particular box that contained all the evils of the world: disease, anger, death and any other bad thing. She closed the box to prevent the rest from getting out, but the only thing left inside was hope, which wasn’t unleashed upon the world. That’s where Monday Night Raw is at the moment. We’re in a very bad place right now and there is no reason to believe that there is any hope in the near, or possibly far, future.
There’s no way around it: Monday Night Raw is awful right now as the company presents some of the worst television they’ve ever produced. While there are a host of problems around the show, the biggest problem by far is in the main event scene. Somehow though, even that isn’t something that is just one problem, as it has its own set of problems to deal with on its own.
At the moment, the biggest non-Seth Rolllins vs. Dean Ambrose story is Braun Strowman (currently healing up from major elbow surgery) vs. Baron Corbin, the middle management lackey who isn’t ready for this spot, doesn’t have the talking abilities to be the big bad, and whose devastating finisher is known as I’M CALLING STEPHANIE!!! WHO APPARENTLY DOESN’T WATCH THE SHOW AND NEEDS ME TO TELL HER WHAT’S GOING ON!!!
Can’t you just feel the authority? Check out Corbin’s show of power against Stephanie:
So with Strowman on the shelf, who are we supposed to get behind? I’ll let you pause there for a minute because it’s going to take some time to answer. At the moment, there is no one around to cheer for on Monday Night Raw and that’s where the show is dying. We’re stuck in a boring, terribly uninteresting time where it’s all about waiting around until we get someone to fight for us.
But what are they even fighting for? When Strowman comes back at TLC (assuming he’s even healthy enough to work the show), he’s fighting for a future Universal Title shot, likely coming at the Royal Rumble at the end of January. Yeah you remember the Universal Title. It’s that thing Brock Lesnar won over a month ago and hasn’t been back to defend since, mainly because we needed Monday Night Raw vs. SmackDown Live in a bunch of non-title matches for BRAGGING RIGHTS at Survivor Series, which has since gone a grand total of nowhere because Shane McMahon and the Miz are too busy fighting about a trophy.
Anyway, once Strowman comes back, (assuming he’s actually back after TLC and not just showing up to win the match and then take more time off to heal), we’re stuck waiting for six weeks until Strowman (in theory) gets his next shot at Lesnar, who has beaten him inside of nine minutes in their two previous matches. I know Strowman has gotten close, but when it takes Lesnar about five minutes per match to dispatch him, how much hope can you really have?
That’s of course assuming that Strowman actually wins the title at the Royal Rumble, which I don’t believe in the first place. After all the times that Lesnar has been in a spot where he HAS TO drop the title there because there’s no logical reason to do anything else and then retained anyway, why should I believe that this time will be different? In short, there isn’t much of a reason to believe that’s the case because WWE has dashed our hopes so many times and we’re right back where we started: Lesnar gone and us waiting for something else to happen because there’s nothing to get excited about.
The issue here is there’s no one besides Strowman to get behind. Finn Balor doesn’t remember how to be the Demon unless he needs to win a nothing match against Corbin, who will keep mocking him anyway. Elias hasn’t actually won a big match yet and is really just a good promo and a heck of a guitar player. Rollins is just starting his war with Ambrose and there’s no way that’s just a one pay per view feud anyway, meaning there’s going to be a lot more of matches with Ambrose before Rollins can move on to challenge for……what exactly?
This is the guy we’re supposed to get behind? Here’s why Strowman isn’t around at the moment:
What exactly is the point of everyone fighting on Monday Night Raw? It’s currently not for a title, so at the moment it’s for a future title shot. Corbin isn’t even fighting for a title at TLC, but rather a promotion to permanent General Manager of Monday Night Raw, which is COMPLETELY different than being the interim/action/elect General Manager that he’s been for nearly four months. Rollins and Ambrose are fighting over a personal issue, but what about everyone else?
That’s where Monday Night Raw is really faltering. There’s a bunch of people running around fighting each other but with no goal in mind (because, again, no champion), there’s no way of really telling who is winning. It’s like the WWF vs. Alliance feud before Survivor Series 2001. With a bunch of people just trading wins and titles with no end goal in sight, it’s just a bunch of people trading wins and titles for no reason other than “well, what else are we supposed to do this week?”.
Without a goal to reach for, there’s really no point to anything that happens on the show, leaving the fans with no one to get behind and nothing to hope for. The villains are still around being evil and attacking the good guys, but what are they hoping to do? Please Stephanie McMahon so they can have more power, which in no way, shape or form is different than what they already have other than it has a different name attached? If the best titles you can fight over are job titles, there’s not much of a point to the show even being around at the moment.
I know what happened to Roman Reigns is horrible and I can’t wait for him to be back, but it also shows the dangers in booking the show around one person that hard for so long. Aside from Reigns (and Rollins to a certain extent), there’s no one to care about on the show. Above that though, there’s nothing for the people to care about and it’s showing badly. The same thing was true when Reigns was around. Who was he even supposed to be worried about? Someone from the Attitude Era coming back more than likely, because they’ve been treated as the biggest stars on the show for most of the last few months.
Maybe they should try being old. Remember when these guys were the stars of the show earlier this year:
Really, Monday Night Raw needs a rewrite. I don’t mean the kind where Vince McMahon comes in and changed everything two hours before the show, but rather a direction. We need a title for the people to chase and goals for them to reach. Without those, there’s nothing but a lot of running around fighting each other with promises of something interesting happening at some point in the future. That’s making Monday Night Raw sound like the Star Wars prequels, with nothing but a bunch of midcard heels waiting for the big bad and a bunch of people killing time until we get to….say it with me….A New Hope.
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 the Complete 1997 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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