With the exception of any angle involving female talent, nearly every segment tonight was intended to build up the matches scheduled for Super Showdown.
From arm wrestling (yes… arm wrestling) to a highly advertised appearance of the Undertaker, it’s easy to say tonight’s show was the perfect example of WWE trying to cover multiple bases simultaneously. With the controversial event drawing closer, it would certainly seem like the powers that be are determined to go “all in” on what many of us hope to be the final WWE show to take place in Saudi Arabia.
Nevertheless, my weekly task is to supply you fine readers with five things we’ve learned from Monday Night Raw. So, before WWE starts booking a North Korea show, let’s jump right into it.
1. Underdog Reigns
How is it that fans have been begging for Roman to turn heel for what feels like years, and WWE is still determined to try every other push method known to wrestling?! Tonight’s opening segment featured Roman as the victim of a beating handed out by Shane McMahon and his usual band of lackeys. Before being saved by his cousins, Jimmy and Jey Uso, Roman was obviously outnumbered and outmatched, a situation Reigns would find himself in once again after losing in the ensuing six man tag match. In most cases, this sort of tactic would elicit empathy for the babyface involved, but we’re now so used to WWE telling us that Roman is superhuman. Neither Leukaemia nor Brock Lesnar can take this guy down… so why should we believe that Shane, McIntyre and the Revival can? WWE wants us to think Shane O’Mac has Roman’s number, so don’t be surprised if Shane ends up winning Friday just to further his heel character.
2. Flair Shine Skips A Generation
One of the multitude of reasons many wrestling fans consider Ric Flair to be the greatest wrestler of all time is his ability to get anyone over within the ring. Ric was a master of making himself look great by making his opponent look great. With that said, this unique talent seems to have been lost somewhere on his daughter Charlotte. Tonight’s Raw saw Charlotte pointlessly interrupting a face to face promo between Lacey Evans and Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. This resulted in a match between Flair and Evans. Now, anyone who is the slightest bit “smart” to the business can tell you that Lacey Evans is in no way the same level of talent that Charlotte Flair is. Tonight’s match made this painfully obvious to anyone watching as we were presented with Charlotte Flair seemingly refusing to carry Evans at all. While working with Becky Lynch at Money in the Bank, Evans was very easily percieved as a legitimate threat to Lynch’s championship reign. After facing Charlotte tonight, all that legitimacy has been thrown out the window in favor of making Evans look like a rookie botch factory. Not to mention making Charlotte seem like she’s only interested in getting herself over. It would seem another NXT star finds themselves buried on the main roster.
3. Funhouse Nearly Falls Flat
I warned last week that Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse was inching closer to becoming irrelevant, and this week’s edition seemed to be more of WWE creative dancing with the fires of futility. Wyatt introduced “Huskus the Pig Boy” in this exercise centric promo, an obvious reference to his original persona Husky Harris. The idea behind this Funhouse appeared to be implicating the Husky Harris gimmick as overweight and piggish while also showcasing Bray’s extremely buffer current physique.
Sure, the reference to Bray’s original gimmick did more to suggest that what we’re seeing is all happening inside Wyatt’s warped mind, but all the mystery being built around this persona is quickly rendered mute when you end the promo with Bray dancing in zubaz pants. If the trigger isn’t pulled on this storyline within the next two weeks then many of us are going to be left wondering what it could’ve been.
4. Brock Cashes In…. NOT!
What was the point of this?! Did WWE creative just discover the concept of click bait and decide that it would be a fresh way to book a wrestling show? After having Stephanie release a video expressing the company’s unhappiness with Lesnar’s actions, followed by Paul Heyman announcing Brock’s intention to cash in on Seth Rollins tonight, we’re presented with yet another swerve.
Turns out Lesnar will cash in Friday at Super Showdown instead. Are we expected to believe that this is Brock flaunting his power over the WWE when he passed up a perfectly good opportunity to beat Rollins tonight in favour of doing it at an event which is being promoted as Wrestlemania level? Continued spots like this involving Lesnar only turn more fans off to the idea of him even being in the WWE.
We bring the Showdown hype train to a stop with tonight’s closing promo featuring the legendary Undertaker addressing his match with Goldberg this Friday. The Phenom put on the spectacular showing we’ve come to expect from these pre match spots, but can I just say how much more impressive this ending segment would’ve been if we’d had no idea it was going to happen. Imagine if outta nowhere the lights went out, followed by the bell tolling, then unexpectedly the deadman arrives. Moments like that are what created the mystique of the Undertaker! When every return from a commercial break is tagged with “The Undertaker is here!” you might as well be saying, “Please, don’t change the channel!” Sure, Taker showing up is always big news, but can’t it be a surprise for once? And I’m not even touching the fact that Goldberg couldn’t be bothered to make one Raw appearance before Showdown.
There you have it folks! Another Monday Night Raw and yet another five things we’ve learned from it. It’ll be interesting to see what fallout we have in store next week following Saudi’s Super Showdown, but until then… as always, may all your kicks be super, and every frog splash five stars.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @DirtSheetDandy. Thanks for reading!