I watched this week’s show and I really didn’t think much of it as it was airing. The more I think about it though, the worse I think it actually was. There are so many problems with Monday Night Raw at the moment and things aren’t getting any better anytime soon. Aside from the lack of anything for the show’s top stars to be chasing (again: LESNAR ISN’T AROUND), the writing has been poor, repetitive, and the people you’re supposed to be cheering for are some of the biggest jerks in all of wrestling. There’s very little to get excited about on the show and today we’re going to look at why last night’s show was so bad.
Today I’m going to be taking a closer look at this week’s show and going into some further details about just how bad it was. There were a few less dim spots here and there but that doesn’t make things that much better. Maybe I can find a little something in here to make me feel better about where the red show is going but there’s a good chance that it’s just going to make me even more depressed, much like most episodes of Monday Night Raw anymore.
The show opened with Roman Reigns coming out to talk (expect to see a lot of him tonight) about how he wanted to fight Bobby Lashley right then and there but Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre interrupted to start a fight. This tied into the end of last week’s show and Seth Rollins made the save, setting up the tag match for later in the night. That’s all well and good, making this one of the few well done and logical parts of the show. Well save for Dolph Ziggler’s involvement in any way, shape or form of course.
Then we get to the problem: Kurt Angle says that Reigns and Lashley are already booked for a third match against the Revival tonight so Reigns will have to work twice. So he gets the long opening segment, this backstage segment, and two matches. You know, for the guy fans already think is shoved down our throats. Oh and remember all those people that creative has nothing for and are just sitting on the sidelines? Just checking, as WWE certainly doesn’t seem to.
Get used to seeing this guy.
The first match was Matt Hardy vs. Curtis Axel in, you guessed it, a rematch from last week, because putting the other member of the B Team in there to face Hardy in a fresh match was just out of the question. The problem here was the B Team doing another parody of Hardy and Bray Wyatt (missing due to a car crash, which WWE had to report instead of saying the B Team had something to do with it because that kind of stuff has no place in a realistic story about a 5,000 year old spirit who threw a possessed man into a lake to expel his witch sister’s spirit from his body) which is THE ONLY THING THEY DO IN THIS FEUD.
Why would I want to cheer for a team whose opponents are always making funny jokes about them and looking like bigger stars as a result? It makes Hardy and Wyatt look like a joke and while they kind of are, the B Team isn’t that much better. No one is coming out looking good in this feud and how many talented wrestlers are sitting on the sideline while the B Team does the same joke week after week?
Reigns (hey it’s him again) was in the back when Lashley came in. Lashley wanted to talk strategy but Reigns told him to just stand on the apron, smile, and collect the win tonight against the Revival. This would be your first example of a guy who we’re supposed to cheer coming off as a huge jerk, giving us even more reason to boo him out of the building. But remember, he’s just a guy and has responses like anyone else. It’s not working as excuse, but why change things after three years?
Bayley and Sasha Banks went to counseling with Dr. Shelby of HELL NO fame. I’ll put all of the segments here instead of throughout the show: it wasn’t funny, it didn’t follow up well on last week’s great moment of Bayley snapping, and AGAIN it involved wrestlers imitating each other. We just did that fifteen minutes ago and now we’re doing it a second time. Is that really all they can come up with? At least they did treat them as equals instead of trying to make Bayley the heel and Banks the face, which never made sense in the first place. I don’t have faith in them to keep it up, but they did it better here. Just in a dumb idea.
And so much for this going anywhere for the week.
The Authors of Pain squashed Titus Worldwide. No complaints here, as it was all it should have been.
Kevin Owens arrived and was scared of Braun Strowman destroying his car (again). More on this later, because it’s only going to go downhill from here.
Reigns and Rollins beat Ziggler and McIntyre via DQ when the Revival interfered. Good, long match with no one taking a fall and the second Reigns match of the night was built up a little more. Again, nothing to complain about here and it was a relief that they went with the logical ending instead of having McIntyre or Rollins take the fall that they didn’t need to take.
Owens, terrified of Strowman for good reason, gets to face him tonight. What a great boss Angle is.
Baron Corbin came out and demanded an apology from Finn Balor. Corbin was actually funny here with his lying about everything that he did the previous week but egads Balor was in trouble out there. The problem wasn’t Balor’s delivery (which was fine) but SWEET GOODNESS the lines and jokes he was reading were bad. He made fun of Corbin’s clothes and haircut and that wasn’t funny for eight year old’s and it wasn’t funny here. A brawl broke out, which was better, but just don’t have Balor out there doing something he has not business doing: trying to make terrible writing sound good so that the writers can feel better.
Ember Moon beat Liv Morgan. Didn’t go anywhere, had a commercial in the middle, and ended with the Eclipse. There’s nothing to criticize here, but it wasn’t anything good.
Reigns and Lashley beat Revival via DQ when the Revival double teamed Reigns in the corner. Reigns refused to tag out and, again, came off as a complete jerk that no one would ever want to cheer. After the match Lashley walked off and the fans were very happy to see Reigns take another beating. Again though, this is likely to be treated as Reigns being himself and never being made to look like anything but Superman with a glare. At least Revival didn’t take a clean loss, so maybe there’s hope there. I mean, there isn’t, but it helps me get through the day.
Owens can’t get out of the match, even by offering Angle Shania Twain tickets. As usual, Owens is one of the funniest parts of any show.
After a replay of Reigns, Reigns was granted a match with Lashley for Extreme Rules. As soon as I heard that, I had a bad feeling that they would actually put Reigns over Lashley, which would be about the dumbest thing they could do. In other words, you can pretty much book it already.
Mojo Rawley again refused to fight No Way Jose. I know it’s a low stakes feud, but Rawley is getting some screen time and I rather like that.
Ronda Rousey said she’ll be at Extreme Rules. I know she had the best moment of her career back when she went nuts, so clearly the right move was to have her off the show for three weeks. It’s almost like they had no idea where to go with anything and let her cool off so they didn’t have to come up with anything else.
Nia Jax beat Mickie James with the Samoan drop. Jax vs. Alexa Bliss is confirmed for the pay per view in an Extreme Rules match, putting us right back where we were before Wrestlemania. Hopefully Rousey does something to make it a little more interesting than Jax winning a pair of bad matches to prove that bullies never win, even though the bully won and in WWE’s eyes, the solution to bullying is a pair of fights.
Reality sets in for Bliss.
Owens was funny with Jinder Mahal. That’s the extent of Mahal’s usefulness: standing there and doing very little.
Lashley wants to fight Reigns, again sounding like the face in the whole thing.
In the big match of the night, Owens ran away from Strowman and lost via countout in just under a minute. Of course that’s not it though, because this is an entertainment show.
Since Owens is too stupid to remember where he put his keys, he hid in a portable toilet, which Strowman of course figured out. Strowman then taped the door shut and dragged it into the arena. The toilet was then knocked off the stage, with Owens being dragged out, covered in blue liquid to end the show. Where do I even begin with this?
How about this: IT TOOK TEN MINUTES TO DO ALL THIS STUFF. A lot of that was sitting around while Strowman dragged the toilet to the arena because they couldn’t have this set up next to the stage or something logical like that. They can’t fit in all this stuff and all these people onto the show but we have time to wait that long to set up a one shot joke? That’s the best use of the time on this show?
Then there’s the bigger issue: Strowman again comes off as the biggest bully in the world, who not only has destroyed Owens to win Money in the Bank (which he can’t defend because we need to wait months between the times the World Champion shows up around here) but then he beats Owens up on a regular basis and then does this to him. What has Owens done to Strowman in the mean time? Eh pretty much nothing but tried to beat him in matches. For that he gets covered in blue stuff and has his car destroyed?
Is this funny? Someone please explain it to me.
Why am I supposed to cheer for Strowman here? Is it because he’s the good guy and Owens is the bad guy? I thought those weren’t things in WWE anymore. I mean, it’s talked about with Reigns all the time. You remember Reigns: the guy who shows up, acts like a complete jerk, chokes in the big matches, whines about not winning the big matches, and is supposed to be cheered because he shows up? All while Lesnar, the monster who looks like a machine, almost never gives up anything, and is one of the scariest things in wrestling, is supposed to be booed because he gets paid to never wrestle?
Tell me: other than their attendance, record, what is the difference between Lesnar and Strowman? They’re both monsters, no one can beat them, and they run through everyone put in front of them (often including Reigns). Lesnar is supposed to be some horrible guy above everyone else but Strowman, who treats Owens like the most worthless human ever by going completely overboard, is supposed to be cheered because he’s locked Owens in a toilet.
All in all, there is almost no continuity, little sensible character development, stories not being followed up on in logical ways, wrestlers and characters sitting on the sidelines while Reigns gets so much screen time that 1999 Steve Austin would think it was excessive and the same ideas and matches repeating themselves over and over again. What exactly is supposed to make me stick around here? I’m not seeing it, and it’s just getting worse and worse every single week. Can you at least just try? Just do it once and I’m sure we’ll stop complaining for all of five minutes.
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 27 wrestling books. His latest book is the NXT: The Full Sail Years Volume III: From Dallas To New Orleans.
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