Last night’s episode of RAW provided me with 20 minutes of awesome entertainment followed by 160 minutes of hallowing mediocrity. I sat there as it started and learned of this celebration that Stephanie McMahon planned for Kevin Owens and I’m saying to myself, “here we go with the bland wrestling gimmicks that I’ve already watched a million times!” Like most of the stuff on the show, this also felt totally scripted and less than organic at best. I was hoping to see Triple H, as I felt his explanation was what myself and many others were waiting seven days for, and we didn’t get it. So they’ve left us to wonder what’s coming next and I feel as if that’s ok because instant gratification isn’t the best solution and, as I sit here and write this, I’m still wondering–so the WWE is dangling the carrot in front of our faces and making us jump for something that we can’t reach just yet. I’m totally fine with all this because it’s a good thing to keep people guessing and waiting for the next show.
Mick Foley and Stephanie gave some solid performances backstage as Foley questioned the commissioner’s intentions and loyalty. I could feel some real emotion coming from the television and it felt damn good! I also like Kevin Owens with a microphone in his hand. He is very intelligent and uses his words wisely with a generous serving of quick wit on the side. The problem I have is that it felt like we were all being forced to come to terms with him being this huge heel. His promo came off as written lines being shoved down our throats and not a testimony from his heart. I hate this! Let the guy go out there and talk from his gut with his real emotions so that people can grow to dislike (or like) him naturally.
Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed this segment. I really liked the fact that Seth Rollins showed real intensity on the microphone and made me feel like this was real, even if it was only for a minute or two. The progression of this story made me feel like we got a little bit of a swerve with the initial suspension of Rollins that ultimately turned into a Universal Championship title shot for him, all with glaring tension and confusion among Foley and Stephanie. They provided me with some layers to the story and many things left unanswered which is a pleasant surprise at this point. The potential for a Rollins/Stephanie love affair angle is still very real and I’m just clinging to the fact that they didn’t completely bury that notion last night. Until we know why Triple H did what he did, everything about this angle is still up in the air and I’ll take that over them squeezing the life out of it with the same old underwhelming fake wrestling gimmicks—because that is exactly what they are!
I feel that the show peaked at this segment and then pulled me along for the ride on a downhill slope of boring bulls***! Why are we seeing Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens for like the twentieth time in four months? The match had nothing on the line and seemed like a desperate attempt at filling a main event slot because the WWE thinks EVERYONE will mark out for this match because these guys are “good workers.” Allow me to be the hand of reality that slaps some sense into WWE’s creative team—when two guys have touched countless times in matches that have very little steam propelling a real story, it exposes them! I’ve already watched these guys showcase their stuff against each other too many times and I don’t care anymore because there isn’t anything new for me to see.
Understand this: If the fans watched Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant wrestle each other twenty times before WrestleMania 3, do you think that match on March 29, 1987 would’ve been as memorable? Do you think that the infamous body slam from Hogan to Andre would’ve stood the test of time as a defining moment in wrestling history? Do you honestly believe that spectacle would’ve still carried the iconic aurora that’s synonymous with it to this very day, even though it’s been almost thirty years? Would it have been possible for those moments that have been frozen in time to maintain the mystique associated with them? I don’t think so! Usually, the first time of anything is the most special and anything else is just a rare exception.
I have to give credit where credit is due. At least the main event for next week’s show is a much better match that actually has stakes attached to it. Roman Reigns has his opportunity to beat Universal Champion Kevin Owens and earn his place in the title match at Clash of Champions, thus turning it into a triple threat match which is far more intriguing to me. I have to wonder: Where will Rollins stand with all of this? Considering he helped Reigns fight off Owens and Jericho after RAW went off the air, only to get a spear for his troubles. At least I’m sitting here wondering what will happen and I’m invested enough to wait for a payoff.
Aside from all of this compelling storytelling, the show got back to the garbage. I watched many great talents work their asses off in the ring, but what I didn’t have were solid reasons to care. The Shining Stars went over Enzo and Cass and it was pointless. I couldn’t give two s***s about a program with these teams. Maybe if The Shining Stars weren’t buried from day one, I would care! Also, more squash matches for Nia Jax and Braun Strowman—seriously, enough is enough! I’m sick of the misuse of these squash matches and it’s a pretty clear cut argument when even Bo Dallas is now getting this type of match. It’s time to move forward with Jax/Strowman before the fans completely turn on them or either one gets injured and creative is forced to start over. Oh yea, how could I forget about this segment between The New Day and The Club? I honestly don’t even know what to say. I couldn’t even pay attention to this because it was THAT BAD! Last week, we saw a “pool guy” in his underwear, and this week we got a ridiculous segment that isn’t even deserving of any attempt at in-depth comments. It looked like a group of SNL misfits parading around the ring with no direction while being absolutely out of their element. There’s bad comedy, and then there’s THIS! Awful, cringe-worthy and nothing more than an excuse for a segment.
WWE, what the f*** are you doing?
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