PARKS'S TAKE PARKS' TAKES: WWE Raw tries a lot of methods to get viewers and attention, but best option would be focus on core product
Oct 8, 2014 - 8:13:17 AM
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By Greg Parks, PWTorch columnist
There’s no way around it: Monday’s Raw was another terrible effort from WWE, aside for The Rock almost single-handedly saving the show with his halftime mic work against Rusev and Lana. Raw has been especially lackluster for a few weeks now, and with a Real Housewife as a guest star next week, I’m not sure we’ve even hit bottom.
Sure, missing guys like Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, and C.M. Punk has hurt the quality of the product. But then, that doesn’t explain how WWE can simply ignore the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion for three weeks. Or why they feel the need to repeat the same, staid matches week after week (and sometimes night after night). Or who they’re appealing to with the Torito-Hornswoggle nonsense. Even the kids in the crowd are wise enough to see through that kind of pandering.
Combine that with WWE’s “Look at us!” partnership with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and this entire month of TV just feels skippable. I’m not sure what audience Kathie Lee and Hoda were supposed to appeal to; oh, wait, yes I do: It was supposed to appeal to them only so WWE could get a cheap plug on the Today Show.
WWE seemed to realize their show wasn’t up to snuff, almost sending The Rock out as an apology to the live crowd for having to sit through the first 120 minutes of THAT. And while I’m loathe to applaud a crowd for taking over a show, credit Brooklyn for making their feelings known about certain parts of Raw last night that were simply, and unacceptably below-par.
The idea was that WWE would be more motivated to put on a better product so as to attract a wider audience to the WWE Network, the new supposed cash-cow for WWE. Numbers have been down, so instead of WWE focusing more on the quality of product they’re offering on television, they’ve incessantly pushed the $9.99 price tag for the network, as if they’ve run out of all their good marketing ideas already. Their best marketing idea, however, may be making the core product worth watching.
Other thoughts: Michael Elgin quitting Ring of Honor via Twitter raised some eyebrows, with many taking a wait-and-see approach, believing it may be an angle. It wouldn’t be the first time social media was used to create a buzz about a storyline. However, Elgin’s issue with ROH was that he was advertised for a show he wouldn’t be at, which isn’t exactly a hot topic of argument to kick off an angle… For the Ask PWTorch segments on PWTorch.com, we may get more NXT questions than any others. It’s clear fans think highly of the show and the talent, but I think many need to put the brakes on when it comes to how far WWE can truly take the product, and what impact it could have on WWE as a separate entity… Steve Austin perhaps making a comeback to the ring has been in the news lately (though JR all but shot it down on Twitter Monday night), but I just don’t see an opponent on the roster right now who would get those juices flowing for him. Dean Ambrose could be one, but would WWE feel like that would be a waste of Austin, even with the push Ambrose has been getting? John Cena would be the other worthy opponent, but WWE would have to make it feel different than Cena facing another part-timer in The Rock. I just really don’t see many options for Austin that would make him want to spend the time working and training for a comeback… If there were any questions about how WWE feels about Rusev and Lana, they were answered when they shared a ring with The Rock. Granted, that hasn’t always meant a bright future (Eugene and Hurricane Helms both rubbed elbows with The Rock during one of his comebacks), but it’s easy to see WWE has big plans for them. Give them credit: They held their own in the ring with The Rock, too...
(Greg Parks writes a longer full page feature column every week in the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter. This week features the second of a two-part series analyzing and ranking TNA's head bookers over the last dozen years.)
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