WWE RAW Review
September 15, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
The season premiere of Monday Night RAW (whatever that means) took place last night and was a big improvement compared to the last two shows. The crowd was good for almost the entire show, we saw some surprises, we had some good matches, and we had some decent build for Night Of Champions. Unfortunately, this didn’t translate into ratings. This show was the lowest rated show since they moved to three hours. There are many factors that went into this. Going against Monday Night Football is the crutch excuse. They’ve done well in years past. I’ll detail the reasons why I think this happened throughout this review.
Sting had not one, but two matches – but no promotion
For the 53rd week in a row – that’s right, we’re past a year now – RAW opened up with a promo segment. It was Triple H and Stephanie McMahon coming out to hype up the show. The big complaint about them is they flip flop between face and heel way too much. I agree with that. It really hurts their characters. They’re supposed to be faces here talking about pediatric cancer awareness (a worthy cause) and talking about all the great matches you’ll see, then later in the night, they’re heels rooting against Sting. They wear too many hats on TV. This is where they need another face of the company. Personally I think the institution of a face commissioner or general manage to counter their power would be hugely beneficial. It would also give them a representative to tout all these great things WWE does. The Authority never sees anyone get over on them. Even on the rare times it happens, they get their heat back immediately. That needs to change. They’ve essentially been dominating the roster since 2013. What’s the end game? Where is this all leading? This is a major thing that turns me off about the product, and I suspect it does for many others.
Anyway, Triple H said he was going to make an historic announcement. Triple H announced that Sting would be competing in his first ever Monday Night RAW match against Big Show. This was a huge misstep. This should have been announced over the weekend and hyped up big time. They have to forgo trying to give all the glory to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon and get the announcement out there. I don’t know if making the announcement earlier would have made a huge difference, but how could it hurt? This company is so bizarre in that they seemingly don’t like to promote big events. Brock Lesnar has made numerous comebacks with little to no fanfare. Everyone knows he’s showing up, but WWE wants to keep it a “surprise.” Whenever Daniel Bryan has a huge announcement to make, that’s usually announced on Twitter fifteen minutes before and – surprise, surprise – the ratings don’t move.
In my opinion, they need to start either announcing things a week out at the end of RAW like they used to back in the day or announce it shortly after Smackdown. I get that what I’m asking is impossible since scripts for RAW are usually not finalized even as the show is going live, but they should make a concerted effort to do so. It could make a huge difference.
I thought they did a really great job building up Sting’s appearance throughout the night with career highlights. They really made it special. I thought it was a particularly nice touch when they showed a clip of the WCW roster holding him up on their shoulders, which included The Giant a.k.a. Big Show, his opponent in the main event. The match itself against Big Show was over in a flash when Seth Rollins interfered. Just a quick aside: am I the only one who isn’t digging Sting’s WWE theme? It’s kind of a bummer and really quiets the crowd it seems like.
Anyway, Seth Rollins and Big Show double-teamed him until John Cena made the save. A tag match was booked, and that was a lot of fun. Cena did a great job building up the heat in the match before making the hot tag to Sting. I thought Sting looked really good given his age and the time he was given to actually do things. It ended with Rollins tapping out to the Scorpion Deathlock. The champion losing to the challenger heading into the PPV historically does not bode well for the challenger, but we’ll see what happens. This was good stuff that probably would have had more eyes on it with just a little bit of promotion.
Don’t lose your mind about the Divas Championship
Let’s just get it out there: no one really cares who the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time is. Does it really matter? Does it tarnish the championship completely? I don’t think so. With the way the championship has been treated since it was created in 2008, it’s not like this is a super important or prestigious title. People are just mad because John Cena’s girlfriend beat CM Punk’s wife’s fake title record. Who was the longest reigning Divas Champion before AJ Lee? If you guessed Maryse (The Miz’ wife), you win the prize of absolutely nothing. Where was the uproar for her? It’s a non-issue that will be forgotten about when the next outrage occurs.
I may not have been the biggest fan of the title reign throughout the year due to lack of credible opponents, but now that we’re here, I don’t mind it. The video package they put together for her last night made it worth it. The match itself against Charlotte was decent, nothing too special, but the ending was good. My only qualm is they did this exact same thing at Money in the Bank and the match was restarted. It was even featured on last week’s episode of “Total Divas.” Still, it was good booking. When you’ve got a near yearlong title reign, you don’t give the big change away for free. You make people want to pay to see it. It was the right move. This society of instant gratification wants everything now, now, now, but sometimes it’s good to wait. It’s classic booking, and I liked it.
I’ve also got to give some props to Charlotte for her post-match performance with the tears in her eyes as she gave up the championship. She may be an awful (and I do mean awful) promo, but she pulled out a great performance with just her ability to emote. It was a great image and really went a long way toward making the Divas Championship more credible.
Dear God, please don’t let WWE creative try to improve The New Day or break them up ever. I’ll never ask for anything again. Thank you. The New Day killed it in the first match of the evening as they defended their Tag Team Championships against The Prime Time Players. Xavier Woods with that damn trombone… forget it. The dance with Triple H and Stephanie… come on. In the irony of all ironies, The New Day were bigger faces than their actual face opponents. What a fun tag team, and the match itself was darn good. Check it out!
Paige and Sasha Banks had a much better match than their last effort on RAW, but there were still issues. I still don’t know why I should care since they never bothered to show why they’ve been feuding. I usually tune the commentators out (I know I’m not alone), so I need to actually see it to get into it. There were some timing issues, particularly when Paige did the summersault senton even though she could clearly see that Tamina had already moved Sasha out of the way. I could see Paige on the way to a heel run by screwing Charlotte out of the title on Sunday.
I can’t believe I’m going to say this – I really liked Roman Reigns’ promo against Bray Wyatt last night. Reigns sounded comfortable and closer to how he probably is in real life. The guy isn’t John Cena. Stop scripting him like it. If they tried that earlier in the year, WrestleMania would have turned out differently. I’m interested to see who is going to team with Reigns and Ambrose this Sunday. The rumor is Baron Corbin, but I think it needs to be someone that can pack a punch and shock the people. My guess is Chris Jericho since he’s feuded with The Wyatt Family in the past.
I really liked the match between John Cena and Sheamus. It was physical and showcased some impressive feats of strength. I don’t think Cena gets enough credit for the great match work he’s displayed this year. People who claim he can’t wrestle really don’t know wrestling at all. As long as he never does the springboard stunner again, you have nothing to complain about.
That was a really rough promo from Ryback. I don’t think the guy is a good promo at all. I know he may have his moments, but if he has, I can’t remember it. It sounds like he’s reading off cue cards. Even Kevin Owens couldn’t save this. Still, I think they’ll have a great match on Sunday. I just don’t want to hear Ryback cut any more promos.
Good build for the Kickoff Show with Neville and The Lucha Dragons running off Stardust and The Ascension. I don’t hate The Ascension being paired with Stardust as his henchmen. I don’t get the Stardust character or see where it fits in to the so-called “Reality Era” at all, but since he exists, this is a decent pairing.
So Cesaro goes from being completely buried by The Big Show last week to beating Rusev this week. I don’t think WWE is ever going to invest in him in a big way, but it was nice to see him pick up a victory.
This was a solid show that was unfortunately sunk with some promotional missteps by the company. Interest in the product seems to be very low over the past few weeks. The lack of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman definitely is part of that. Another problem is the fact that everyone continues to trade wins. No one gets over that way. It’s been this way for years. I still think the format of this show is long overdue for a shakeup. Stop opening the show with promos, start promoting things days out instead of hours out, and start building guys up by giving them multiple wins. I’d also love to see the three-hour concept die, but that’ll never happen. This was a good show, but big picture problems are going to continue to plague WWE throughout the fall it seems.
Bump of the Night: Paige missing a summersault senton off the apron!
Match of the Night: John Cena vs. Sheamus ** 1/4
Final Rating: ***
Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Be sure to check out my predictions for WWE Night Of Champions on Sunday!
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.