Critiquing the WWE Product following the 9/15 RAW
September 16, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
As a fan of the product, what I witnessed a few short hours ago on Monday Night RAW was one of the most awful things I can remember in quite some time. Aside from one fantastic angle with John Cena and Brock Lesnar, this was the worst episode of Monday Night RAW that the WWE has produced in years. The booking was so atrociously lazy for the rest of the show that I cannot believe Vince McMahon was satisfied putting this out. Vince McMahon used to change the scripts of RAW five minutes before starting the show and writing them as the show went on if something didn’t feel right to him. What has happened to the WWE and Vince McMahon? Where are the damn standards here?
Let’s start off with a glaringly obvious example of extremely shoddy booking. What in the world is Roman Reigns doing decisively beating Seth Rollins six days before they’re supposed to wrestle on a show people are going to PAY TO SEE? Where is the intrigue for this match? Roman Reigns is clearly pegged to be the next guy, though I’ll get to it in a minute why they’re failing miserably on getting him there, so he’s obviously not going to lose on Sunday either. Where was Kane or Randy Orton to distract him or cause a disqualification? Seth Rollins was made to look like the lesser man, and that’s the buildup for his match against Reigns on Sunday. Come one, come all! Come see the man who never even came close to beating Roman Reigns six days ago fight him again! Expect a different result because we say so! Are you kidding me? What an absolute joke.
The more I watch Roman Reigns and listen to the continually fading reactions he gets each and every week, I’m starting to become convinced that WWE doesn’t know how to make a star and run with it anymore. Just look what’s happened to Bray Wyatt. There’s no question that Roman Reigns is still rough around the edges when it comes to his work. His moves don’t exactly have the pop or flashiness of a real main eventer. Before he hits them, he always goes through some contrived setup spot that takes someone like me right out of the match. I get that they’re not writing the show for me, but does he really have to punch the mat every time he’s going to Superman Punch someone? If I were getting to my feet and felt the mat quake as I was, I’d just duck. You know it’s coming.
How about those promos he recites every week? I would normally say, “Cuts a promo,” but that guy isn’t doing that. He’s being given crap material and is unable to turn chicken crap into chicken salad, one of the true markings of a professional, so therefore he stands there and recites his lines like a good little boy. They have like thirty writers in a room, and the best they can come up for a guy who’s supposed to be the next guy is cheesy, cliché 1980’s good guy lines? “I don’t like him so I’m going to punch him until my knuckles bleed!” “He’s got the venom, but I’ve got the antidote!” It’s gag inducing, and it’s not just me! Just listen to the reactions he was getting two months ago compared to what he’s getting now.
They’re trying way too hard with a guy who isn’t ready. It’s not his fault, though. He was playing football up until a few years ago. He has natural ability and can go, but he’s not even close to being ready to be the next top guy. He needs a lot more seasoning and some personality. Could it all come together before WrestleMania XXXI? Sure, it could. Will it happen before WrestleMania XXXI? It would take a miracle the way things stand at this current juncture.
As the standards continue to be lowered, I get that the third hour isn’t really the highest rated of the show (not that they have gone out of their way to book compelling television to keep people into it for three hours), but to close out a show with Mark Henry “rallying America” is inexcusable. They could’ve at least made the Reigns/Rollins match mean a little more by putting that on last. Instead, we get Mark Henry stumbling and bumbling through material that he clearly doesn’t believe in for an angle that has zero steam. It’s so clear that the people in the arena that didn’t get a free American flag to wave around could give two craps about this. And that’s fine if it’s plopped in the middle of the show. Hey, tough luck pal, just sit through it and something better will be out to make it ok. However, sticking it at the end? That just put the icing on the crap pie WWE baked tonight.
The whole roster is an issue. There is no depth. They cannot fill up three hours of television with the current crop of people they have. The best thing is, it seems like they don’t care whatsoever!
Naomi and Cameron were sent out to have a match. OK, fine. They have an angle coming off “Total Divas” so I guess they think that will excite the three girls that tuned in to RAW due to watching “Total Divas” on the E! Network. The only issue is… Cameron said she wasn’t up to snuff with her ability on “Total Divas”… and went out to prove that reality television isn’t all scripted garbage. She really cannot work! It’s completely and totally inexcusable for a WWE performer to not know or realize that someone needs to be on their back to make a pinfall attempt. Cameron was screaming at the referee to count the pin even though Naomi was on her stomach. I doubt even Eva Marie would be that dumb. Did this satisfy the bookers of WWE? Does that represent the best booking WWE has to offer?
By the way, this is only the third hour of Monday Night RAW I’m talking about. I don’t have the energy to write about the other filler six-man tag, the divas match involving the ill-fated Bella Twin angle that was again put at the top of the hour at 9:00 EST, and the throwaway first hour of the show. I’ll be here all night.
This is the entire problem with the WWE. This show is only a microcosm of the overall problems. They’re more worried about bleeding their advertisers of every revenue dollar that they can get rather than producing a quality television show week in and week out. You want to know why you’re struggling to get even 700,000 subscribers? It’s because your product is stale and complacency has run amok. You’re the only show in town and lets not pretend otherwise.
Your product is so stale, boring, and by the numbers that the whole focal point for getting the WWE Network is the price. Price should NEVER be the focal point. It should be the last thing someone looks at when they’re buying a product. You have to establish VALUE. Price should be the last thing mentioned. You don’t go to the mall and look at clothes by the price most of the time. You go there saying, “Hey – that would look really cool on me. I want it!” At least that’s what my fiancé says all the time. They can’t establish value because there is nothing of value in the product at this moment. Airing those Attitude Era RAWs in hindsight could have been a bad decision. I just listen to those crowd reactions and cannot even believe they’re real. It’s been years since there have been crowds like that for a WWE show not named WrestleMania or the RAW after WrestleMania.
The bottom line is when is enough going to be enough for them? When are they going to turn this thing around? I seriously doubt that any man or woman working their ass off in the locker room is satisfied with the direction the WWE has been going in. Say what you want about Batista, but at least he had the stones to say that it’s not what it used to be. I don’t even think it is what it could be. I think they’re done taking risks and are just happy that they have a spot on television to generate more media to be put on the WWE Network that no one is subscribing to for $9.99 a month.
I think everyone knows in my six years of recapping that I’ve been more than fair when it comes to the WWE product. I’ve been forgiving at times when no one else has. I love the genre and still enjoy watching it. I still have a passion for sitting down and typing out recaps of their shows. I just wish the people producing it had the same passion for quality that I do for watching. It’s not fair that the people of Lafayette, Louisiana plopped down their hard earned money for the offering WWE put out tonight. It’s not fair to the people that invested three hours of their time into watching it. Do they care about their fans anymore? We’ll see in the weeks to come I suppose.
Check out my recap of this episode of RAW here. Also check out my predictions column for Night of Champions on Sunday. Spoiler alert: Roman Reigns wins.
Thanks for reading.