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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Monday Night RAW Was Terrible and WWE's Future Will Only Get Worse
By Mr. Tito
Aug 26, 2014 - 2:34:46 PM
Each week, I always get the same question... "Tito, it's just $9.99 per month! Why don't you have the WWE Network already?" Because after I get through 3 hours of Monday Night RAW, I don't want to watch another second of pro wrestling for the week. Yeah, I said it.
Tonight's RAW was broken and was shining example of everything that I've said for YEARS here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. We had it soooo good during the late 1990's with WCW being ran well from 1996-1997, WWE surging behing Rock/Austin from 1997-2001, and a legitimate 3rd option with ECW to entertain you late at night. We took it for granted! Funny thing is that the WWE Network acknowledges this era by rolling out the Monday Night Wars footage to legitimately sell the WWE Network. The sad thing is that was pro wrestling's peak and given the current ownership and management of the WWE, we'll never see pro wrestling that great again. Ever.
I don't have the WWE Network because I've seen every Pay Per View between 1988 through current before and I lived through much of the footage on the Network. The "WOW" factor is gone for me because I have most of the best moments from shows and matches photographed in my memory. I will only buy the WWE Network if and only if the NEW content impresses me to buy. Sad thing is that everytime I watch Monday Night RAW through its 3 hour marathon on Monday nights, I have ZERO demand to watch any more wrestling for the week. I'd rather lose my mind on something random from Netflix that I haven't seen before than attempting to find value in the WWE Network by watching old stuff.
Sorry, but minor league wrestling like NXT and WWE's 3rd tier show, WWE Main Event, aren't enough to get me to buy. And I don't give a shit if you think $9.99 is cheap... I'm getting charged by Comcast monthly because our Federal Government gives zero shits on how they are (a) monopolizing the Cable market and (b) monopolizing the broadband internet market. They openly price gouge and refuse to offer channels without packages to limit consumer choice, but we'll never see anti-trust legislation applied to them. Yeah, go ahead and buy NBC/Universal and why not buy Time Warner's broadband while you're at it. How about supplying the Vaseline while you're at it so it can go in the hole easier? Until WWE Network can offer RAW/Smackdown current shows, I don't feel like paying more for entertainment on my television screen. Sad enough that I watch Netflix more than I watch Network/Cable TV.
But again, after I watch Monday Night RAW, I want no part of pro wrestling... The Pay Per Views, other than Rumble, Wrestlemania, Money in the Bank, and SummerSlam, are poorly booked... Smackdown is second rate, although the move to Thursdays is nice... I usually catch the replay of Smackdown casually on Universal HD.
Don't believe me that RAW sucks? Fine... Let's breakdown tonight's pile of shit show:
RAW started off with the WWE Legends discussing the rematch of John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar and then John Cena came out to acknowledge his ass kicking and then suggest that things will be different this time around. Whatever... SummerSlam was actually carried by Pay Per View carriers and yet the WWE delivered a BOMB of a match between Lesnar and Cena. Just like the WWE killed its Pay Per View market by inventing the WWE Network (2013 vs. 2014 numbers show that shortfall already), they hammered in more nails into that Pay Per View coffin by not delivering quality. Lesnar vs. Cena was hyped big and the WWE didn't deliver. What we saw was an extended beatdown of John Cena who has dominated the WWE for the last 10 years.
Ohhhhh, but you have or buy WWE Network to see Night of Champions for the "better" Lesnar vs. Cena match. Way to kick your customers in the nuts, WWE, just as their 6 month deals are expiring. I'm willing to bet that SummerSlam's poorly booked main event actually discourages renewals rather than Night of Champions causing growth in subscription numbers.
Next up, Jack Swagger vs. Rusev. Rusev is another example of an overhyped WWE developmental wrestler whom the WWE pushes as an "instant main eventer" rather than starting low and letting him naturally climb the ladder. Fans are rejecting Rusev even as the United States is having a legitimate political world conflict with Russia right now. Actually, Jack Swagger is actually getting some legitimate fan reaction as a babyface. But what does WWE do? Strip Swagger of his manager for the week and give Rusev another win. THE GUY IS NOT OVER! But don't you worry, WWE management wants to put Rusev into a program with John Cena immediately! Just another poorly assessed talent by Vince and Triple H.
There's an ongoing debate about who was responsible for the success of the "Attitude Era"... Vince McMahon was obviously in charge, but he oversaw business declining during the mid-1990's. Thus, a different voice backstage changed things... Vince Russo will quickly take credit for that era with his addition to the Creative Team to offset the older business model that Jim Cornette and Bruce Pritchard were booking. Sure, he was a fresh voice, but he was obviously stealing adult themes from ECW and he had Rock/Austin and even Vince McMahon as a heel boss (lucky break from Montreal for Survivor Series 1997). The man who deserves the credit is Jim Ross for the "Attitude Era". From the moment WWE installed Jim Ross as VP of Talent Relations, things began to turn around... The contracts got tighter and more airtight, the free agent talent signings got better (stealing Austin and Foley from WCW quietly), and future talent was being stockpiled to carry the business for the future ("Class of 2002" Ohio Valley Wrestling - Lesnar, Orton, Cena, Batista, etc.).
Problem with today's WWE between Vince McMahon, who actually delegates authority and relies on trusted individuals around him, and a highly inexperienced Triple H with management duties is that they are unable to assess talent. Give John Laurinaitis credit where it's due... Took a while to shape into a decent VP of Talent Relations, but with time, Johnny Ace got it right and stockpiled the WWE's developmental system with good talent. Look up and down that talent roster right now and it's Laurinaitis's picks. The issue remains (a) Creative Team sucking and (b) talent getting poorly assessed.
Don't believe me? How about tonight's pairing of Damien Sandow and the Miz. On one hand, Miz actually headlined Wrestlemania during 2011 and actually beat John Cena in the show's main event. Meanwhile, Sandow won the Money in the Bank briefcase last year... Where are they now? Worse yet, Dolph Ziggler is also a former World Champion. Like Miz, he's now fighting for the Intercontinental Title which has zero hype and legitimacy as a title belt.
Triple H can give himself all of the job responsibilities and direct reports that he wants to (live events, developmental, creative) and open a nice state-of-the-art facility all he wants... But if his job qualifications and analytical abilities cannot get the job done, then Vince McMahon as the CEO and Board Chairman needs to consider serious upgrades to his management team. You have one of the most creative bookers ever and a former promotional owner on your roster named Paul Heyman... Use him!
Speaking of useless titles, another former World Champion is holding the other midcard title with Sheamus as United States Champion. Another former World Champion, Rob Van Dam, wrestled Cesaro for the #1 contendership for the United States Title. There are contenders for this US Title? Can we see a Top 5 list of worthy US Title contenders, WWE? Where is it? Why are we constantly getting these random matches to determine #1 contendership if there is ZERO organization going on? And what on earth differentiates the Intercontinental Title and United States Title again? If you're going to have 2 worthless singles title, why not merge them to have one? Stop wasting our time with midcard stupidity...
Furthermore, the Tag Team Division has become a JOKE again. The Usos are a fine tag team, but everybody else is a hot mess right now. The Stardust gimmick feels so forced, too... Not getting over. Cody Rhodes got over without the stupid facepaint, but the WWE squandered the Cody/Goldust team by failing to build them after their championship win (several non-title losses, too).
Go watch your own WWE Network, Vince McMahon and Triple H. You keep bragging about how CHEAP the network is at $9.99, but have you bought it yourselves? If so, you'd observe that ANY peak period in the wrestling business had a STRONG MIDCARD to assist in their company's growth. Don't believe me? Hulkamania 1980's WWE had Hogan at the top and an amazing battle over the Tag Titles and Intercontinental Title in the midcard. WWE's midcard during the 1980's was so good that they could split the roster and actually draw with a secondary roster. WCW of 1996-1997 not only had the New World Order drawing at the top, but a STACKED roster of Luchadores and stolen independent talent from ECW filling out its bottom. They got a freakin' Cruiserweight Title division over for Christ's sake!! All of their midcard titles were worth following... Then, the famous WWE Attitude Era of 1997-2001. It only got stronger when the WWE obtained an amazing influx of talent to battle over the Intercontinental Title (Angle, Jericho, Benoit, etc.) and then the Tag Team division with Hardys, Edge/Christian, and Dudley Boyz.
Again... Go watch your own WWE Network. The blueprint for success (i.e. taking your midcard seriously) is RIGHT THERE to observe.
Actually, where the WWE is improving on the midcard is the Divas Division. WWE officials gave Paige another chance and it's paying off. She's an excellent female performer and looks great doing so even with pale skin. Good to have AJ Lee back and hopefully, the WWE builds on their feud.
Where the Divas Division is an embarrassment, however, is the Bella Twins, specifically Brie Bella. I actually have no problems with Nikki Bella. The surgical enhancements and adding curves has really improved her look and she has a nice bubbly personality that could serve her well if she were on her own. Brie, on the other hand, is a disaster... I'll give Stephanie McMahon a pass here... Brie Bella was awful in her acting during the Stephanie McMahon feud and now with her confrontations with Nikki. The monotone voice and her bad attempts at crying... Just brutal. And I may sound cruel in saying this, but her look doesn't make me believe that she could beat anybody on the WWE roster right now. Does not look tough at all...
Hey... Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins actually wrestled each other... You mean to tell me that Reigns still hasn't sought revenge for Rollins hitting him with a chair to break up the Shield? At least they'll be feuding now, I guess, with Dean Ambrose out and Roman Reigns being unable to hang with Randy Orton in the ring. Wrestlemania 31 will prove to be an utter disaster if Reigns is crowned WWE Champion by defeating Brock Lesnar or defeating Brock Lesnar without a title on the line. If only Roman Reigns wrestled for the Ring of Honor promotion so that Vince/Triple H wouldn't want to push him so hard. Damn it!
What the hell was up with the Titus O'Neil and Heath Slater tag team? Talk about an omission of failing on BOTH wrestlers as singles heels. WWE should have never broke up the Prime Time Players and should have at least kept Drew McIntyre to tag up with Slater. Hey, that's 2 tag teams that could participate in the tag division!
What have I missed here? Did I not pay attention to a Smackdown replay where the teaming of Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Big E were already broken up? Or is this yet another case of WWE Creative getting instantly bored and moving on? Kofi jobbed to Bo Dallas, another guy whom the WWE Creative Team is getting impatient with... Whatever. Just keep undercutting and poorly booking your own talent and yet you wonder why the WWE Network buys aren't up.
HOT MESS of a Main Event with the WWE first performing the "bait and switch" with John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, a Wrestlemania 30 rematch mind you, that converted into a sloppy 6 man match between Big Show/Mark Henry/Cena vs. Wyatts. And the Wyatts lose... And once again, Mark Henry and Big Show, veterans who have proven themselves to be injury prone, get another chance in the spotlight. Big Show is 42 years old and Mark Henry is 43. If they aren't drawing late in their careers, why keep cramming them down our throats? WWE's booking of the Wyatts is way too inconsistent, too... One week, they're strong... The next, they job... Be consistent, WWE. That's what happens when you push them as instant main eventers upon their debut. You set the expectations high and rarely, wrestlers can meet those.
LAST WORD: Like I said, it's becoming a chore to watch 3 hours of RAW every week. After those 3 hours, I'm DONE for the week and would rather zone off into video games or Netflix. I know, many of the commenters below will troll me and say "then stop watching". Two things... (1) I'm a pro wrestling fan and (2) I like to write. I'm constantly faced with that dilemma when the WWE goes from "suck" to "blow".
Anyway, this show gets a D+ this week in my gradebook. Too messy, inconsistent booking, and the midcard is a disaster. If there is any saving grace from the midcard tonight, it's that Cesaro vs. Sheamus at Night of Champions could be pretty damn good if given time. Both superstars can perform but both have suffered through awful booking of their characters. Otherwise, aside from a good Cena vs. Lesnar match, Night of Champions will become a "Night to Forget".
I am reading into the rumors of some kind of weird Heel/Face switch with John Cena and Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions. Many are suggesting that Nikki Bella turning heel is the first step and the Authority will lure John Cena to join them as a means to get the WWE Title off of Brock Lesnar. You can never trust Paul Heyman, too, who has turned on Brock Lesnar before and has dumped many other wrestlers in the past. Who knows? But what I do know is that John Cena remains the #1 merchandise seller by a mile and without any strong 2nd babyface, it's too risky financially to turn Cena.
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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