Clash of Champions takes shape, and the King of the Ring continues as WWE presents us with yet another edition of Monday Night Raw!
After two weeks of questionable showings from the red brand, tonight’s story driven episode felt like a well deserved breath of fresh air. Admittedly, a lot of the build up we saw tonight still didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and it goes without saying that Clash of Champions will probably be one of the stranger recent WWE pay per views, but we still have a question that remains unanswered… How invested were we in this week’s Monday Night Raw?
Ladies and gentlemen, every week I watch Monday Night Raw making note of the positive/negative aspects, and then I distill all the information gathered down to an exact percentage of how truly invested the fans really were. With the introduction out of the way, it’s time we jump right into the good and the bad of this week’s episode.
It’s safe to say that WWE is going all in on the King of the Ring tournament. This most recent revival of the classic event has included interviews with legendary former winners, an extreme amount of screen time devoted to pushing the tournament, as well as remarkable in-ring performances from the men taking part.
It’s certainly apparent that WWE is aware of what’s keeping a large amount of eyes on their product currently. Not only did tonight’s show feature stellar first round matches that saw Baron Corbin and Ricochet move on to the quarterfinals, but we were also treated to a great exhibition match between quarterfinalist Cedric Alexander and first round elimination victim, Cesaro. It’s still unclear what the ultimate reward will be for that winner of the King of the Ring, but it’s my personal opinion that this whole event is specifically designed to incorporate Ricochet’s “King” moniker from his independent career into his WWE persona. Mark my words, when King of the Ring ends, Ricochet will sit on the throne.
Moving on, tonight’s show featured a unique match to determine the number one contenders for the Raw Tag Team Championship. A seven team gauntlet match referred to as “Tag Team Turmoil” was announced by the Street Profits in a backstage segment, with the winners going on to face Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman at Clash of the Champions. Not only did this match showcase rarely seen teams such as Heavy Machinery and the B-Team, but it also featured the debut and subsequent victory of the team of Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. Finally WWE has partnered the modern day Curt Henning and Rick Rude, and considering the men they’ll face at Clash of Champions also have a title match against each other later in the night, it’s a safe bet that Ziggler and Roode will be the next Raw Tag Team Champions.
Switching gears to the more negative parts of this evening’s Raw, the first topic has to be Bayley’s inclusion in tonight’s show. Remember the Wild Card rule?! Yeah, that’s still a thing. Originally designed as a way to highlight talent from both shows simultaneously, recently the Wild Card Rule seems to only be utilized in an effort to promote the happenings of SmackDown Live. Never has this tactic been more blatant than during tonight’s Bayley/Nikki Cross match. Sure, Bayley previously interrupted one of Alexa’s Moments of Bliss, so a match between her and Cross makes some sense, but that’s completely lost when the commentary team spends the entire match discussing Bayley’s ongoing rivalry with Charlotte Flair! Booking like this only makes it more obvious that the brands need to stay separate. If SmackDown can’t draw viewers without their champions showing up on Raw, then something needs to change creatively.
Continuing with the cons, it’s really starting to become unclear how WWE wants us to perceive Braun Strowman. Last week Braun needed Seth Rollins help fending off three men, but this week we’re expected to believe that Strowman could be holding three different championships by the end of Clash of Champions?! Don’t get me wrong, Braun is probably the most believable wrestler you could get away with working three times in a night, and I knew there was zero chance he’d beat Styles tonight, but… what’s the point?! Remember what I said earlier about Clash being strange? Think about this, currently Braun is feuding with The O.C., but come Clash of Champions neither of Strowman’s matches will involve Styles, Gallows, or Anderson. In fact, it goes without saying that AJ Styles will defend his United States Championship at Clash but there has been absolutely no indication of who he could face other than the kayfabe possibility of Braun that was played on tonight. In my opinion, by the end of Clash of Champions, Braun won’t be holding any titles and it’ll be even more obvious that this cold/hot push was nothing more than filler booking.
This week’s Raw delivered some much needed direction to current storylines, but still left most fans scratching their heads. With All Out taking place this Saturday and AEW’s television debut a little over a month away, the majority of us would expect something a little better than double bookings and sudden partner versus partner storylines. Tonight’s Raw was tailor made to build excitement for Clash of Champions, but still barely succeeded in doing so. Taking that all into consideration, this week I have to say the fans were…
And there you have it folks, once again Monday Night Raw is starting to keep less and less of us truly invested in WWE’s current product. Hopefully things will start making more sense as we get closer to Clash of Champions, but only time will tell. With another investment rate in the books, it comes time to bid you fine readers farewell the only way I know how. So, until next time, may all your kicks be super and every frog splash five stars!