Before we get moving with our rebooking of some of the WWE’s iffy creative decisions this week, let me first say that I thought Monday Night Raw was excellent. Well, at least from an overall standpoint.
Seriously. Enough nice words can’t be said about how well the entire Chris Jericho-Kevin Owens thing went. While a lot of that had to do with the months and months build that lead to the split, it really came out wonderful.
Another thing I thoroughly appreciated was the backstage shot of Triple H talking to Owens. Maybe it means nothing in the grand scheme of things, though it might help explain the Owens turn on Y2J, it was nice for the WWE to show the two together since Hunter basically gifted Owens the Universal Championship. It is a small detail for sure, but one I’m glad got a spot on the broadcast.
Not to mention the main event of Raw, which saw Bayley defeat Charlotte for the Women’s Championship. You can nitpick all you want. And I get it. It is clear that the WWE wants to build up Charlotte’s Network Special record, and a number of times, she’s held the title, so having her drop them at Raw is an easy thing to do. But, still, what a moment.
OK. Enough praise from this here handsome writer. There were still some issues with the WWE’s booking this week. Let’s get after it.
The New Day Being Heel-ish
What Actually Happened
Bo Dallas was already in the ring when The New Day come out to ringside. The heel-ish part alluded to in the subhead is concerning Kofi’s (relatively small) comment on Dallas being a social outcast — which is a rib on the latter once being a member of the famed jobber stable The Social Outcasts.
The match itself was fine. I like Dallas. He did well. He even got some offense in.
Kofi would end up winning because that’s how these things work.
This isn’t a huge issue, but it is a pet-peeve of mine I have with how some promos will forever work in certain people’s favor. The idea that Dallas can be ripped for being forced to play a role in a bad gimmick isn’t his fault. It is the WWE’s. How and why that should be an insult to him by another wrestler is kind of absurd, and unfair.
It is the Triple H thing. Hunter used to tip guys’ gimmicks all the time, and they could do nothing about it because then they’d be breaking a character they are literally paid to play.
Anyway, it is somewhat ironic that Kofi (you do remember his original gimmick, correct?) would take a shot at another wrestler like that on-air. And, yes, I am sure Dallas was fine with it.
The fix here would be to just eliminate the kayfabe joke from the pre-match promo. That’s it. Again, NOT a big deal, but it’s just a pet-peeve of mine.
Samoa Joe Ending Another Segment With Sadness
What Actually Happened
After Sami Zayn’s upset win over Rusev, he was being interviewed when Samoa Joe came out already sweating in his suit.
Joe would do some hurling around of our Canadian friend before finishing the entire segment by putting him in his glorified sleeper hold.
Save for hurling Sami into the big screen thing (whatever it is called) at the top of the ramp, no big spots were had during this encounter other than Joe being there to be evil.
Listen, we should all be 100 percent fine with a wrestler’s finishing move being a submission hold. It is also worth noting, as Paul Heyman has pointed out in the past, to get a person’s submission move over, that person has to go over other wrestlers regularly with it so the crowd realizes this.
However, a submission move to be the “wow” moment that closes out a segment that features one guy jumping another is seriously underwhelming. Not to mention, especially since 90 percent of the WWE Universe isn’t yet familiar with Samoa Joe, it comes off as just some guy squeezing another guy really hard.
Maybe this is me being nitpicky again, but these types of segments (as it was with the Seth Rollins interruption/Joe debut, too), should be ending with an “impact-move.” Something that a live audience would verbally gasp at.
This is something that helped Kevin Owens TREMENDOUSLY when he debuted to wallop on John Cena, for what it is worth.
For Joe, it could be his muscle buster.
The 30 Minute Gap Of In-Ring Action On SmackDown
What Actually Happened
SmackDown, which is only a two-hour show mind you, went 30 minutes without there being a single in-ring match after the American Alpha tag team match to the Mickie James-Becky Lynch battle.
In total, there were only three (THREE) matches during all of SmackDown.
Listen, I get it. SmackDown has a much tougher job trying to balance promos, angles and non-matches with actual in-ring fisticuffs, but to go 30 minutes without there being any matches is pretty long considering the segments that filled those 30 minutes didn’t need to last as long.
This is obviously preference based, as I prefer the actual wrestling over promos, but this is partially why the tag team division is in turmoil (see what I did there) and the mid-card guys are failing to get over. The WWE just hasn’t yet figured out how to allot the time available correctly.
And, honestly, I don’t hate that 40-ish minutes each week goes to the main event. It makes the end of each SmackDown special. It just doesn’t help in adding any balance.
I don’t know what the sustainable fix is, but a short-term one could be something as simple as shortening the “angle segments” that tend to go longer than they need to be.
Hell, even if you don’t want to cut them by a lot, if you cut just two and a half minutes from each of the six non-wrestling segments, that’s 145 extra minutes to be played with for a match (that’s not counting cutting out some entrances, etc).