Do spoilers still count if they haven’t aired yet when you write up the results? Eh I don’t think so so we’ll be fine here. One of the biggest problems in wrestling at the moment is not knowing when a feud is supposed to end. How many feuds can you think of where you’ve said “this AGAIN?” It drives me crazy and I know that I can’t be alone in that aspect. Wrestling today either seems to not know how to cut things off or just wrap up the feud already because they want to keep things going for various reasons. It’s been bad as of late and there’s a specific feud that has been worse than others.
Last week I read the spoilers for the Christmas Eve edition of Monday Night Raw and something caught my eye. One of the matches on the card saw Elias defeat Bobby Lashley in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight. The match taking place on Christmas Eve didn’t surprise me, but rather the fact that the match is taking place whatsoever. Why are these two guys still feuding?
Back in November, Elias started feuding with Lashley, naturally with Elias’ guitar being involved. Elias would sing songs about him, Lashley would bend over in the unfunniest thing going on today (which is covering a lot of ground), they have some matches and the feud just keeps going no matter what happens in any of the given results. Think about this for a minute.
It didn’t go so badly to start:
Here are the results of the feud since their first match on the November 12 Monday Night Raw:
Lashley b. Elias via DQ
Lashley/Baron Corbin/Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman/Elias/Finn Balor – No contest
Lashley b. Elias via pin
Elias b. Lashley in a ladder match
Elias/Balor b. Lashley/McIntyre via pin (Elias pinned Lashley)
Elias b. Lashley via pin
In four, yes four, singles matches in just over a month, they’re 2-2 against each other. One of the matches was a ladder match and one of the matches was a street fight. Now someone of you might think that either of those is enough to finish a feud, but the ladder match wasn’t and I really have no reason to believe that the street fight is going to wrap it up either. The feud is just continuing because it’s just not stopping.
Elias won the ladder match at Tables, Ladders And Chairs but Lashley beat him up after the match to keep things going. As I’m writing this I don’t know if the feud is going to continue after the street fight, but is there any reason to believe that it won’t? Nothing else has been the ending either, so why should this be the ending now? What makes this match so much more important than the ladder? Is it just because it took place after the previous one? That’s not exactly much storytelling or progression of a feud. Instead of coming to a conclusion after being built up, it’ll just stop one day because that’s all there is to be had.
Looking at that list of results, it’s not even the only entry on the list. You might also notice Balor and Corbin on opposite teams, because their issues are still going. The two of them traded wins for a few weeks and then Balor brought back the Demon for the first time in a year, defeating Corbin in 1:35. That’s about as definitive of an ending as you can have. Balor has proven Corbin wrong for saying that Balor was too small to contend by going to his highest level and destroying Corbin once and for all.
Then they climbed a ladder for some reason:
The next night? They were still feuding, with almost nothing having changed at all. It was like the previous night’s match, which featured Balor using an upgrade to get a win on the biggest stage these two are likely to fight, didn’t exist. Corbin shrugged the loss off and kept going, making it seem like the wins and losses don’t matter. If that’s the case, why are these people fighting in the first place? To set up more talking segments where they yell at each other in scripted speeches? That’s where we are now?
There are other feuds that have this issue as well (Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar, New Day vs. the Usos vs. the Bar, almost anything Stephanie McMahon is involved in and I could keep going) and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. At some point you need a beginning, middle and end but the feuds seem to be either all middle or a beginning and a very long middle, which takes the life out of whatever you’re trying to do.
It brings things back to the exact same problem that plagues Monday Night Raw over and over: why should I keep watching if nothing is going to happen? If I want to see Lashley vs. Elias in a big match and didn’t see it at Tables, Ladders And Chairs, it’s cool because I can still see it continuing either tomorrow night or a week later when they fight in a street fight, which is totally more important than their six minute latter match.
This isn’t even a situation where the problem is some big and mighty fix. It’s as simple as knowing when the feud is supposed to end and having the people involved not interact anymore. The night after Tables, Ladders And Chairs, the most that Elias should have done is come out, mention that he defeated Lashley once and for all, and done whatever he was doing next. In other words, don’t have Lashley get his heat back immediately after losing to Elias and move forward. Or don’t have the ladder match in the first place and move on to the street fight.
Either way (or whatever other way you decide), just get to a conclusion and be done with story you’ve put together. This isn’t a feud that has a long lifespan (it’s a guy with a guitar vs. a muscular guy who bends over in front of the audience calling the other stupid) and for some reason we’re already on our fourth singles match between the two of them, plus a pair of tag matches, assuming the feud actually ends after this week’s show. I’m not sure why it will as they’re 2-2 and Elias has won the two big matches, but for the sake of sanity, I’ll stick with hope.\
And finally, bowling balls:
As usual, it comes back to the new generation of wrestling seeming to be more about telling stories rather than being a wrestling show. Back in the day you would have a place where the feud ended because everything had built to one big match and there was nowhere to go from there. Now, it comes off more as “well we’ll stop when we feel like it” because there’s no definitive ending in sight. that’s not good writing, and comes off like they have no real planning of what they’re doing from week to week.
Simply put, if the match result doesn’t matter, why should I watch the match as it actually happens? Either the match means something or it doesn’t and the way things have been going with far too many feuds as of late, nothing in the midcard really seems to matter. At some point the feuds need to just end because they either have nowhere left to go or they’ve reached the logical conclusion. Instead they just keep going, leaving you wonder why you’re wasting your time watching the show. If that’s where WWE has taken you, it’s time to find a big new batch of navigators because everything is lost.
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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