Two weeks away from Money in the Bank, Monday Night Raw seeked to keep our attention focused on the red brand’s blossoming rivalries and storylines.
Last night’s show seemed to be an attempt by creative to make this week’s edition of Raw seem unique, however I think to most fans it came across as odd more than anything. Whether it was the inclusion of several Smackdown “exclusive” talent, or simply the overall filler episode feeling, it’s safe to say this wasn’t one of the strongest editions of WWE’s flagship show. Nevertheless, it’s my weekly task to give you fine readers five things we learned from Monday Night Raw. So, without further criticism, let’s jump right into it.
1. The Wild Card Rule
Pro wrestling, WWE’s product especially, is an ever evolving beast. At times, it’s impossible to predict how events surrounding the business will eventually play out. In past years, WWE has tried to create some sense of stability by instituting exclusive rosters for both Raw and Smackdown. The idea being that wrestling is still unpredictable, but if you’re watching Raw then you know you really don’t have to be concerned with the goings on of Smackdown. Tonight’s Raw saw Vince McMahon throw this age old design right out the window with the announcement of the new “Wild Card Rule”. Now, three to four superstars will be able to compete on the brand opposite to the one they were assigned, with the aforementioned talent changing weekly. It’s easy to think that this is WWE’s attempt to keep things fresh, but I know I’m not the only one thinking that this makes both brands appear to have weak rosters. Why do the “Superstar Shake-up” at all if a few short weeks later you’re going to basically render it pointless? Hopefully this will play out more successfully in the following weeks, but for now, it’s definitely a low point of this week’s show.
2. Universal Title < WWE Title
Now, this may not be something many of us are just learning, but last night’s show certainly drove the point home. After the “Wild Card” announcement, Daddy Vince opted to make Raw’s main event a Wrestlemania rematch between Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship. It makes all the sense in the world to utilize the wild card talent fully, but when Smackdown’s primary title is being defended in Raw’s main event, why would you put the continuation of the Universal Championship rivalry in the curtain jerker spot? Sure it’s a fact that most fans see the fledgling Universal title as the lesser belt, but WWE enforcing that idea certainly doesn’t help their cause as a whole.
3. The Return of Braun the Trash Man
Hey, if Broken Matt got to name his dilapidated boat “Skarsgard”, then can Braun name the backstage dumpster “Duke”? Get it? “Duke the Dumpster”! I can already feel a collective face palm coming from everyone who just had to read that. It would seem that WWE’s go to method for getting Braun Strowman over is still incorporating some sort of maintenance vehicle into his storyline for him to interact with. Sure, I know no one was upset to see someone finally shut Sami Zayn up, but the return of this Braun/dumpster angle only comes across as WWE trying to capitalize off of an already played out idea.
4. Ask for Release, Get Buried
Vincent Kennedy McMahon has repeatedly been referred to as “child like”, however, I personally think you can just as easily label him as “childish”. Nothing has proved this theory more than the recent burial of The Revival. After the news of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder asking to be released from their current contacts broke, WWE quickly decided to show off their notorious petty side by not only denying the team’s request, but also adding two additional months to Wilder’s contract for time he missed due to injury. After all that, most promotions would simply use the unhappy team as enhancement talent for the remainder of their contracted time, but that’s not the WWE method. Last night saw the continued burial of The Revival as they found themselves the victims of another Uso rib. In the current age of the internet, behavior like this should never be used due to the negative view it creates throughout the fanbase. If WWE wants to brag about their involvement with the “Be a Star” campaign, then they should probably be concerned about making themselves out as bullies.
5. This Show Was Terrible
If you’ve noticed an overall negative tone to this week’s article, then you may have seen this point coming. Hell, you most likely share my opinion on this one! Last night’s Raw was, in my eyes, the worst edition since Wrestlemania. The new Wild Card rule made Raw seem extremely weak, no storyline was furthered in any major way, and the Women’s division was given one segment to push multiple angles. Honestly, when it’s my job to watch and review Monday Night Raw, and I’m more interested in experimenting with Impact Wrestling’s newest app while Raw is on, then there’s something wrong! The truth of the matter is this: with AEW’s debut show inching closer, now is the time for WWE to secure their fanbase. Continued Raws of this quality definitely will not help the company’s cause.
And there it is, folks! As difficult as it was this week, we still learned five things from Monday Night Raw. So, before this show gives me full blown depression, allow me to bow out in the usual fashion. Until next week, may all your kicks be super, and all your frog splashes five stars!
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @DirtSheetDandy. Thanks for reading!