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MAGIC, MEMORIES & MANIA – Is WWE Raw the dumbest show on TV? Here’s 10 Reasons Why
WWE Smackdown authority figure Shane McMahon recently proclaimed that he doesn’t watch Raw. That makes two of us, and I can see why.
Monday Night Raw is the most successful wrestling show in the history of television. Personally speaking, I have watched more episodes of Raw than I have any other television show in my life. Sadly, a few years after the Monday Night Wars, the show became so illogical and ridiculous that I started to DVR and fast-forward through the show. Does any other major show pay such little attention to character consistency and storyline logic? Finally, a few months ago, I cancelled my cable and stopped watching Raw completely and kept up through the pay-per-views.
Being a lifelong wrestling fan, I decided to check out the last two weeks on YouTube, and I realized the show has only gotten worse. Here are ten reasons why Monday Night Raw may be the dumbest show on television.
(1) Mick Foley’s character has been turned into an idiot
I was a huge fan of Foley’s character when he was an intense, maniacal wrestler that cut intelligent promos and competed in some of the best hardcore matches in wrestling history. The goofy nice guy version of the Hardcore Legend has never appealed to me, and we are seeing the worst elements of it on Raw. I think Foley was a solid choice for the general manager position, but his blind loyalty to Stephanie McMahon is downright ridiculous.
We have seen him vehemently defend her the last few weeks, and it makes him come across as the dumbest man on the planet. There is years of evidence on television of her character being a despicable human being so it is absurd that he is coming to her defense as if she is some saint. Hopefully, it is exposed as a charade to keep his position and he outsmarts Stephanie in the end because otherwise it is just inexcusably bad characterization.
(2) Contrived competition between Raw and Smackdown
Is WWE really convincing anyone that Raw is in competition with Smackdown Live? When Stephanie proclaimed this week that Kevin Owens was the perfect champion of Raw to go against Smackdown, it was one of those moments that take me completely out of the narrative. This faux battle between two WWE brands on the same channel comes across as inane, and it was one of the worst scenarios I envisioned when I wrote my article months ago on how to make the roster split successful.
(3) Universal Championship is already weak
The Universal Championship already appears to be cursed. First, fans laughed at the ridiculous design when it was unveiled at Summerslam. Then we had the first champion Finn Balor get injured, and relinquish the belt. Was it because he was too embarrassed to wear that hideous entity? Then Triple H virtually won the championship himself for Kevin Owens starting his reign in the weakest possible manner and getting the least desired fan reaction of “You deserve it.” Could you imagine a lamer start to a lineage of a new championship?
(4) Giving “important” matches away with no build-up
Earlier this year, we had the supposed last chapter to the epic feud between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Obviously we all knew they would face off some time in the hopefully far future, but you would think that there would be an intriguing storyline reason for it. Instead, the two competed in a throw-away match with no build-up a few weeks ago, completely ignoring a stipulation some fans were invested in. On that same night, one of the biggest “dream matches” in the Women’s Division, Bailey versus Charlotte, was tossed on Raw as an afterthought.
Even if it would draw temporary ratings, it would be a mistake. Roman Reigns fought Owens in a steel cage match on last Monday’s Raw, and it did not draw. Once again, I agree with Mark Madden when he recently said that what WWE needs more than anything is a Quality Control Manager to analyze if characters and storylines are consistent and if matches make sense.
(5) Non-Title matches where the champion loses
I started watching wrestling as a child in the middle of the Hulkamania Era where the major championships rarely changed hands, and they felt like important achievements. Can you imagine if the week before Hulk Hogan clashed with Andre the Giant at WrestleMania 3 if he lost a non-title match to him clean on Saturday Night’s Main Event?
One of my biggest problems with the current wrestling landscape is how insignificant the belts are. Nothing makes them feel less meaningful when the champions lose disposable non-title matches. It does not make them seem vulnerable. It just makes them seem like undeserving champions. Even worse, when they actually lose the belt, it does not mean much because we have already seen them lose on television, and it is not treated like a big deal by the announcers. This Reigns versus Owens match I referenced above is another perfect example of WWE’s inept booking of their champions.
(6) Bad commentary
One of the highlights of my early years as a wrestling fan was listening to Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon or Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura banter their opposing points of view. In recent years, I have had to watch the show on mute because Michael Cole is a goofy dork that I cannot take seriously and JBL is completely inconsistent between heel and face within the same show. Having a face lead and a heel color commentator with strong constitutions can even make average wrestling shows entertaining. Sadly, even Monsoon and Heenan would probably be cringing at having to call this nonsense.
(7) Introduction of Cruiserweight Division
Obviously it is way too early to judge how the Cruiserweight Division will be portrayed on Raw, but it is hard to think of a less interesting introduction. I hate how they were all bundled together like the midget division of the ’80s as if they do not have any individual personas.
The tournament on the Network was brilliantly executed, and it made fans interested in getting to know more about the wrestlers. Hopefully, WWE remembers that what draws fans to the product is stars more than the concept so if they are going to do this division properly, they have to showcase individual wrestlers in compelling stories based on more than their size.
(8) The authority figures are still the focus
Many fans hoped when the Roster Split took place that there would be less focus on the management figures. Unfortunately, I still get the feeling that the show is centered around the authority. Stephanie and Foley are both larger than life personalities, and they can be good characters if presented in a completely different light than they currently are.
However, the lack of a cool, dominant Superstar that is the main attraction of the show makes the wrestlers look like dopes. That is why we get goofy chants that contradict whatever inconsistent roles WWE is attempting to portray on their shows.
(9) Stale atmosphere
When Raw and Smackdown “separated” most of us wished that the presentation of the show would be reimagined. Granted, they did make some changes, but the overall atmosphere still feels stale. It is not so much one thing you can point out, but it is a combination of all of the things above, plus the audience sitting in the building for three-plus-hours with a lot of downtime, and my final point below…
(10) Lack of Cool Factor
Throughout the years, wrestling has generally had at least one or two stars that even non-fans can look at as cool. Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Batista, and The Rock come to mind. Who on Monday Night Raw could be considered cool and draw in a casual viewer much less keep loyal fans interested?
My final conclusion is that I can understand why Shane does not watch Raw, and unless they can fix some of the problems I have discussed in this article, hundreds of thousands more will stop watching what I consider the dumbest show on television.