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Posted in: Column of the Month
October 2014 CotM: RAW Needs a Reason
By Subho
Dec 11, 2014 - 10:01:29 PM

LordsofPain.net is pleased to present to you the October 2014 Columnist of the Month- Subho

Well, hello, Lords of Pain’ers? My name is Subho, and I won the Columnist of the Month vote for the month of October down at the Columns Forum, and got this opportunity to grace the Holy Grail of Lords of Pain, the “Main Page”!

2014 has been an interesting year for me as a wrestling fan. The year started with my fandom at its peak as I supported Daniel Bryan’s journey with a passion. The Royal Rumble fiasco brought it down several notches, but all was right in the end as Bryan finally captured the titles. Then the curse of injuries halted the momentum, and I spent a considerable amount of time around July and September looking for something to sink my teeth into. But Dean Ambrose was there to satiate that hunger, and I felt that beginning in October, WWE really found a decent formula for its weekly shows, and I enjoyed them considerably. The build ups to Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series were interesting, and while there were only a couple of matches per show that really had me intrigued - on an overall basis, WWE’s presentation was serviceable.

Just when it seemed all figured out, though, Survivor Series came and went, and since then, we’ve found ourselves in a bit of a rut. RAW, for me personally, has been really tepid over the past 3 weeks. Repeated segments, repeated matches, lack of a proper over-arching angle, and many more problems plague our weekly viewings, and the WrestleMania season looks like it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows if the early indications are to be believed. The journey to ‘Mania 31 has been a really tricky one, and with just a few months left before the journey ends, WWE sure seems to be in a state of bother. But how did things turn around so quickly?

I’m sure most of you will agree with me that The Authority was a constant in quality throughout their tenure. For 15 months, they were the glue that held WWE’s programming together, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that the moment they exited has also become the moment when WWE’s quality deteriorated. Now granted not everything WWE put out in these months was a hit, but in isolation, the performance of The Authority was top notch. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, no matter the hatred that is directed towards them, had really taken to their roles as the oppressive regime and done wonders with it. Even if you disliked the storylines attached with them, you’d have to agree that their promos and general presence were always a highlight of the show. They’ve also aided the growths of many superstars over these 15 months, including and not limited to, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Dolph Ziggler. I would have even liked them to continue a bit longer and end their run in a major blow-off at WrestleMania, as the earlier rumors called for. But it wasn’t a guarantee that WWE would suffer without them. I don’t think anybody ever saw it coming, and we were all rather optimistic that WWE would cruise with this momentum and hit a homerun again.

So, what happened? For starters, its WWE’s refusal to move past them that has emerged as the biggest problem for me. Turn back the clock to Survivor Series 2004 when Team Orton defeated Team Triple H, and every contestant of the team got the opportunity to run RAW for a week. Did the faces find themselves again being cunningly outnumbered? Or did they use the power to support their own motives? The faces got a big win, and took advantage of that and gave the heels a taste of their own medicine. It was simple wrestling psychology, and it worked real fine. But, what do we see now? Dolph Ziggler, after months of being Curb Stomped and attacked by Seth’s security, still finds himself on the receiving end of that and does nothing about it. Who’s making the matches, anyway? Why wouldn’t John Cena, with all the power vested in him, do something about all the mishaps still going on with his team-mates? And how has RAW ended over the past 3 weeks?

24th November: Dolph Ziggler and John Cena stand tall after fending off Seth Rollins and his security.
01st December: Cena, Ziggler, Ryback, and Rowan stand tall after fending off Seth, Show, Harper, and Kane.
08th December: Seth, Show, Harper, and Kane stand tall after putting down Cena, Ziggler, Ryback, and Rowan.

Did Survivor Series ever end or what? WWE has been running on auto-pilot, and one didn’t miss much if they decided to skip the build up to TLC. Nothing new happened, and one could have probably predicted more than half of the TLC card after SurSer was over. I get that WWE put all its eggs in one basket, and build the November card up really decently, but they should have been more prudent of the aftermath. They gave the Network away for free, but don’t you want to retain your customers after the month is over? RAW once again finds itself on the brink of another “Guest Host” Era, and I hope to God that they find a regular GM soon. That stuff gets tedious after a while, and we sure as hell don’t want to see more of Seth Green or Larry The Cable Guy. And I think regularity is exactly what RAW needs now. The Authority induced regular hatred, and that worked wonders for them. Fans need a reason to tune in, and to have them begging for the heel faction to get their comeuppance is the best feeling. Similarly, to watch a bunch of faces make life hell for their heel counterparts is also intriguing and makes the fans tune in. RAW has just kind of existed for the past 3 weeks, and they seriously need to get a hold of this sooner rather than later.

Another way in which regularity can be introduced in WWE programming is with the return of the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Lesnar’s returning next week, but he won’t be there every week, and that’s become a bit of a problem.

When Lesnar defeated The Undertaker at ‘Mania 30, I thought the former would become a marquee attraction for ‘Mania just like the latter. And it seemed right, too. You can’t just award The Streak to someone who’d be gone the next year itself. It is no secret that WWE has thrown a ton of money at Brock Lesnar. Since 2012, Lesnar has appeared in a total of 9 PPVs, and the figures of these events have been mixed to say the least. While 2012 unsurprisingly saw a surge in the buyrates of both Extreme Rules and SummerSlam, the 2013 figures left a lot to be desired from. The 2014 figures are a bit obsolete with the Network, but the reports have all rather been negative. His RAW appearances have been pretty sporadic, and the ratings haven’t seen much positive change. Safe to say, Lesnar’s box office appeal hasn’t been a surety, at least not at the level that WWE would have wanted to.

Many criticized the fact that WWE was overexposing the World Title, and it needed to be defended less often. Well, you have it now, but how much have things changed exactly? WWE hasn’t built any PPV, except Survivor Series, that hasn’t had something to do with the WWEWHC. Like it or not, WWE’s booking methods have necessitated the role of the World Title, and unless and until the company gets more serious about making more meaningful feuds, the WWEWHC has to be at the centre. So, Lesnar’s limited appearances have only taken away another reason for tuning in weekly. I get the kind of performer that he is, and he’s “the” biggest draw that WWE has now, but I don’t think he’s been handled that well. Or maybe they just put too much stock in him.

You all should probably know that his current contract runs out at WrestleMania 31, and he might as well say goodbye after putting over one of the new breed. But, would you really feel OK if he did so? Lesnar’s momentous win at ‘Mania 30 should really mean more than this. This is not a job fulfilled. WWE just can’t place their chips entirely on a new star and ask him to sink or swim. Like they’ve been doing with The Undertaker for the past few years, they need someone who can become a surefire draw, whilst also supporting the rest of the card. And who better do to that than the 1 in 21 and 1? John Cena can take that crown as well, but he'll surely have a couple more main events with the new regime. WWE needs a 2nd main event for the next few years, and Lesnar can easily do that, provided, again, if he signs another contract.

How does WWE make RAW interesting again, though? The easy solution would be to ask Lesnar to appear more. He’s your champion, you’ve given him major accolades, just ask him to show up more often. But we all know that it’s easier said than done. The next thing to do would be to have John Cena lose his #1 Contendership this Sunday. I thought it was a stupid decision to give him that slot months before anyways. Wrestlers fighting for a shot at the World Title is a draw, and Cena has already faced Lesnar so many times now. Rollins beating Cena, by any means necessary, would not only give the former a major win under his belt, but it’ll also make people tune in the next night to see which direction they go to name a new contender. There’s a lot of time between TLC and Royal Rumble, and if we have to suffer through another period of John Cena telling us how determined he is, I’d surely find it hard to stay onboard. If you want new people to rise up to the occasion, give them the damned opportunity!

The funny thing is, WWE doesn’t need to change many things now. I’m not suggesting them to empty the NXT roster and promote them all, there’s no need for another Brand Split; no major changes necessary. Just a bit of careful evaluation of the kind of storyline that’d intrigue people again. Short of Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt changing a lot of people’s opinions about their feud, I’ve found it hard to stay awake for RAW. I’ve seen enough of Rollins vs. Ziggler, or Ziggler vs. Harper, or Rollins vs. Swagger, or even Swagger vs. Rusev for that matter. It’s just the same people in a never ending revolving door. RAW needs something new, and that “new” doesn’t even have to be something major. Give us something consistent again, and we’d be a happy universe!

What do you think about the topics raised here, folks? What does RAW need, according to you? Or have you actually been enjoying RAW recently? Well, then, good luck!

Thanks for reading this! If you’d like to read more from me, or the many other great writers that frequent the CF, just click the “Forums” button up top! It’s a Free For All, so you can get in on the action as well if you want to start writing.

I hope to catch you all again as soon as possible; until then, see ya!