I titled this week’s Monday Night Raw review “May All Your Walls Be Sticky” because it was pretty obvious that they were throwing whatever they could think of out there this week and hoping they found something that worked. It has been a long time since a non-Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania had so much going on and that is not a good sign for WWE. They are flailing to find an audience right now as the fans just are not interested in what they are presenting. That can be a dangerous place to go as you never know what you are going to see, but there were two ideas that really stood out to me on this week’s show.
As usual, the WWE.com preview for the show focused on the main points, most of which were drawn from previous episodes. However, there were two things that were being introduced for the first time this week and those are the things we are looking at today. They were very different and seem to be completely separate from each other, and that might be the best thing possible at the moment.
We’ll start with the bigger story at the moment: Raw Underground. This was actually the more straightforward of the two, with Shane McMahon making his return after about a ten month absence to run an underground fight club somewhere in the Performance Center. The setup includes a ring with no ropes, a bunch of fans around said ring, and various dancing girls in limited clothing dancing on a platform. It is as close to un-PG as you can get these days and it certainly stood out from everything else on the show.
Throughout the night, McMahon introduced various fights, none of which lasted over a minute, and featured more of a UFC style kind of fighting. After some unknowns started things off, Erik of the Viking Raiders and Dolph Ziggler won short fights of their own. By the end of the night, the Hurt Business came in, destroyed everyone in the room aside from McMahon and the dancers, and basically took the place over, with McMahon inviting them back next week.
It still isn’t this:
So….thing is certainly a thing that happened and I’m not sure where to go from there. This had a weird mixture of the UFC and Brawl For All (though thankfully there is no indication that it is a shoot this time around, because they aren’t recreating one of the dumbest ideas in the history of wrestling) and that opens up a lot of doors. The thing is, I’m not sure if there are going to be a lot of fans walking through those doors.
The biggest problem that I see with this is that it wasn’t exactly wrestling. Yes it involved wrestlers and yes it involves combat/grappling, but it is being presented as a bunch of fights instead of matches. I get the idea that the standard wrestling match can feel tired and stale at times, but at the same time, fans are tuning into a wrestling show so maybe that is what they want to see.
Now that being said, these segments might have combined for ten minutes over the course of the night and given where things are at the moment, they probably need to come up with anything they can do to fill in the time. It also doesn’t feel like some kind of structured tournament and feels more like a bunch of people testing themselves because they want to do so in an environment without rules.
I’m not sure what to think about this yet, but I don’t think it needs to be something long term. The ending segment suggests that it is going to be tied into angles, which is already going to make it easier to watch. You could introduce some people this way and see what you have, but doing something like this once a week for months on end is going to get old in a hurry. It certainly is a different concept, but I’m not entirely sold on what they are doing so far.
The other big story was the promise of a new faction, which isn’t something you see that often. By putting the announcement in the official preview, one would think that it means WWE knows who these people are and have been in contact with them. That is what makes sense in theory at least, but WWE has rarely been one to go with the logical choice, and that seems to be the case again here.
The new faction only kind of debuted, as they were shown, via security footage, throwing a Molotov Cocktail at a power generator, causing it to explode. This and turning over some boxes with other equipment inside caused the show to be plagued by technical difficulties all night long. That might not seem like much to go off of, but it was about all we had. There were five men shown (all in hoods and black gear) and at one point, someone tried to deliver a tray of drinks to a locker room but was scared off by a large bodyguard. That might not even be part of it, but the segment was never mentioned again.
Now of course the first guess is that this is the Undisputed Era, which is still a possibility. Maybe they found a fifth guy to throw people off or the have a new member. They certainly seemed to be shaking things up a bit, which you might even refer to as shocking the system. I’m certainly not convinced that it was them, but it would fit the idea and it’s not like they have anything left to do in NXT outside of maybe a face run, which sounds like something that could go either way in a big hurry. They might not be the group, but it would certainly fit if they were.
This has potential:
Much like Raw Underground, this is something where we don’t know what we are seeing just yet. It feels like WWE’s take on the civil unrest in the United States as of late (nothing was mentioned about the people involved) and the idea of the company trying to be topical should scare the heck out of you. That could go in a lot of different ways, each of which should be more worrisome than the previous one.
Again, there is only so much that can be said about something like this based on what we saw. It is likely to turn into a story of who is behind the masks and what do they want, which can take its time to turn into something interesting. The key is going to be in both the reveal and the explanation, as you want to have interesting people behind it but you also want them to be doing something worthwhile. Both of those areas are major landmines as WWE is uh, shall we say, pretty bad at things like this more often than not.
Overall, the idea is something that could work and has worked in the past, but it is way too early know where either of them is going to go. That can be both a good or a bad thing, but given WWE’s tendencies to torpedo their own plans with some pretty horribly put together segments and plot details, my hopes are about as low as you can get at the moment. I like both ideas, but I don’t like WWE’s chances of giving either of them an ending that makes them live up to their hype.
But then there’s this:
These are just two of the multiple ideas that WWE threw out there on Monday Night Raw and that makes me think they weren’t put together all that well. I’m interested in both of them though and that’s the point behind something like this. Both of them have a lot more questions than answers at the moment and I want to watch next week to find out something else. That’s a good start, but they could both turn into a sticky mess in a hurry.
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!