The Investment Rate

The Fiend Debuts | Monday Night Raw’s Investment Rate (15/7/2019)

Discussing Bray Wyatt’s return as ‘The Fiend’ and Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion, Benjamin Clem gives his review of Raw and tells us his ‘Investment Rate’.

Twenty four short hours after Extreme Rules, the third episode of the Heyman Era of Monday Night Raw delivered a small, delicious taste of what the future of WWE’s flagship show may hold.

The rumours of WWE moving away from the “PG” programming in favour of something with a little more “Attitude” certainly seem to hold some weight after the events of tonight’s show. We saw a demonic clown, heard several expletives, and cringed much less than we’ve become used to while watching Raw, but we still have to address that question posed every single week… How invested were we in Monday Night Raw?!

You all know the shtick; I watch Monday Night Raw, make notes of the positives and negatives of the show, then I present you fine readers with an actual percentage of how truly invested we were. So, with the introduction out of the way, let’s launch right into it!

The Good

Starting off, I’ll admit I’m not usually a big proponent of multi-person matches, but tonight’s Raw definitely had me reconsidering my stance. Tonight’s show featured two six-man tag matches, an elimination Fatal Four-way, and a ten-man battle royal in the main event spot. As I said, normally this would have received a lacklustre reaction from me, but not only did these matches perfectly showcase twenty-six members of a massive roster, but every one of them served a purpose.

The battle royal and fatal four-way matches gave us new number one contenders for both the Women’s and Universal championships respectively, and the six-man tag matches pushed storylines while also highlighting the talent we may have forgotten were still employed by WWE. As long as we don’t continue to see these type of matches overused on a weekly basis, then I’d have to consider this a perfect first example of the Raw machine running properly.

The Fiend… It’s about time, right?!

Finally, Bray Wyatt has debuted his new gimmick inside of the squared circle. After a losing effort resulted in Finn Balor taking out his frustration in a very ECWesque post-match assault on Samoa Joe, the lights began to flicker and Balor’s theme droned to a stop. As darkness overtook the venue, sounds of a struggle could be heard coming from within the ring. Suddenly, several lights returned and fans were presented with the ominous visage of The Fiend cradling Finn in the Sister Abigail position. Wyatt delivered his finisher, posed momentarily over the fallen Balor, and then vanished as the darkness returned. No, it wasn’t a perfect moment, but it absolutely met fan expectations of what we wanted from Bray’s highly anticipated debut. Many are assuming this attack will set up The Fiend facing The Demon, but with rumours of Balor requesting off time being reported, it’s hard to say where this angle is headed.

Wrapping up the positives, I gotta say it was a pleasant surprise to see WWE handle the delicate balance of ridiculousness and realism that is modern-day pro wrestling. Sure, tonight featured Bray Wyatt in a clown mask and a nearly naked Drake Maverick pinned moments before presumably being intimate while wearing the 24/7 Championship, but we also saw amazing in-ring talent and one hell of a work/shoot promo between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. A decent grasp of the thin line that exists between popcorn and professional wrestling is one of the main factors that will make WWE a viable product moving forward in a world where AEW exists. 

The Bad

You know, I can sit here all day and praise WWE for slowly changing their mind concerning their programming, and it still wouldn’t make up for the decision to put another world title on Brock “Overpaid for Half the Time” Lesnar. Now, I know that this is most likely a kayfabe tactic to easily explain why Paul Heyman seems to be at every Monday Night Raw, but would it be so wrong to just tell viewers Heyman runs the show?

Yes, the storyline aspect of Lesnar’s Advocate taking over makes zero sense, but I highly doubt there are many people watching who didn’t see the enormous press coverage when Heyman and Bischoff’s new roles were announced. Once again, WWE….you are insulting our intelligence.

The other negative I have to address the week is one I’ve highlighted three weeks in a row as of this article. In fact, from here on out I will be referring to this train wreck as the “Kanellis Conundrum”. Why is this still happening?

Did the negative comments made by Mike after resigning with the company really warrant a storyline that presents him as a cuckold and his wife as being madder than a spanner? Truthfully, this was by far the lowest part of tonight’s show. I don’t know where this angle is going, but it needs to get there sooner rather than later.

The Verdict

This had to be one of the better Monday Night Raws I’ve watched in recent years. Which, admittedly, it’s pretty damn shocking. After telling a multitude of other fans that I barely watch WWE’s current programming, and have all but given up hope on their product, they still find a way to keep my eyes lingering on what they present. 

And there you have it, folks! An above-average showing for Raw earns my highest percentage so far. Undoubtedly a step in the right direction for WWE, in my opinion. I truly hope to see more content like this as we inch closer to Summerslam, but we all know pro wrestling is an ever-evolving species.

So, with this week in the bag, it’s time to bid all of you adieu the only way I know how.

Until next time, may all your kicks be super, and every frog splash five stars!

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