You are here /wrestling
Guest Columns





What the Hell happened to Raw?!?

On an unopposed night, this is what we get?!?

These two questions have been floating around in the front of my mind since approximately 11:15 p.m. EST on Monday night. And I know I'm not the only person walking around thinking these thoughts and I probably won't be the only person writing and bitching about it or the only person offering my Tuesday Morning Booking, but here goes anyway.

First let me say that I was very excited for Raw coming off of the Armageddon PPV. As I stated over on the EZ board, I liked the event well enough and I dug the main event. I felt that Armageddon left lots of storyline opportunities. I was excited for 9 p.m. to roll around. I was totally deflated by the end of the show. So I offer the following things I think can make Raw a better show in the future:

Remedies for Raw:

1. Shake and Mix Things Up in the Main Event. While I respect and love watching Triple H, Undertaker, Rock, Austin, Angle and Rikishi, the main event really still needs some new blood. These are all great performers, but haven't we seen almost all of the potential combinations already? The WWF has done an excellent job of elevating Angle and is trying hard with Rikishi, but there need to be more fresh faces in the mix. These faces don't necessarily need to be full-time main eventers, but people who are interesting to watch and have some reason (that the writers concoct) to wrestle main event talent. This would serve to give viewers and break from the constant Austin/HHH, Undertaker/Angle, Rock/HHH matches that we've all come to know very well. Remember how cool it was when Jericho challenged HHH and won the belt for a minute? It was nice to see them battle and Y2J winning the belt (with the APA by his side) just made it even cooler. Regal inserting himself during Vince's promo was a nice start, but unless they follow this up with at least one match with Austin, it's pointless. Another thing they could've done was turn Austin heel during the Raw overrun. He said he was going to find some trouble to get into. It built anticipation that stunning Regal simply does not satisfy. Judging from EZ Board reaction, I'm not the only one who was anticipating a possible turn by over beer drinking friend. Status quo is not enough, judging from the ratings. And Vince himself is not the answer, as his presence has not effected the ratings the way he probably thought it would.

2. Stop the Formulaic Booking. Raw match-ups and run-ins are becoming so predictable that it is sickening. Angle, Edge and Christian come to the ring. This lets you know that the Dudleys will eventually come out (based on their Four Corners Tag Match from the previous night) and team with whomever Angle rags on the most from the HIAC match, which in this case was the Rock. Instead of booking them in a six-man tag match with nothing at stake, how about a simple idea like rematches. The Dudleys could've demanded a rematch since their win was basically stolen from them. Why make us wait for the Royal Rumble? The Duds could've had and lost a rematch under less than clean circumstances and still credibly chased E&C for the next couple weeks. How about a championship rematch between the survivors of the HIAC? A hot match would give viewers who didn't purchase Armageddon incentive to buy the replay to see how Angle won the first time. Angle could still retain, just barely squeaking out another victory and then he could boast about how he's beaten Rock three times and the Undertaker and Stonecold twice and how they don't deserve anymore title shots. Hunter and Rikishi could be angered that Foley gave everyone else a rematch that they couldn't be involved in due to injury. This would allow for more interesting booking as we could have some Face/face, heel/heel match-ups for contendership and more. This would also keep the chase going and make viewers hate Angle and his title reign even more, while avoiding the meaningless cluster-tag matches that have become a WWF standard. Just an idea...

3. How about some actual wrestling? The last few editions of Raw and SmackDown! have featured an average of six matches. That's just not an acceptable amount given at least two hours or more of television time to work with. Backstage segments are fine and dandy and last Monday's Raw had a nice storyline flowing throughout the entire show (will Foley retire or not), but the 20 minute interview every single week is just not cutting it anymore, especially when it's the same people giving the interviews and they don't even give their best efforts. Save the extended promos for when they really count and give some more of the talent a chance to shine during those precious primetime minutes. Don't you think that Saturn or Tazz or even Too Cool would love to have even four minutes to show what they can do in front of a live crowd? This brings me to my next point:

4. Write Beyond the Main Event. I've said this before and I'll say it again. It seems that the writers just stop trying after they get past the six top stars. You would have expected this when the WWF had Hart and Michaels on top with very little on bottom, but that simply is no longer the case. Today the WWF has perhaps the strongest top-to-bottom roster in the history of wrestling. They have a mid-card that includes: Kane, Jericho, Hardcore Holly, Regal, The Radicalz, T&A, Tazz, Raven, and the list goes on. Not to mention lightweight talent like Rios and Scott Taylor. All these guys really need is a storyline/angle to make them more interesting or to make them seem more interesting if you already like them well enough. To their credit, the writers are doing a great job with Malenko and Lita (do I smell an eventual Lita heel turn?) but who else is even getting a second thought? Jericho and Kane are two upper-midcard wrestlers who had a meaningless feud that started over coffee, then got a little more credible with the "Kane hates pretty people" thing but ultimately went nowhere. It was a three-month waste of talent. Say what you want about Jericho not being main event material or his blow spots or his "weak-looking" offense. The bottom line is he is OVER and should be getting better stories to work with. The same goes for Kane. He is a monster (pun intended). His new ring gear only serves to make him look even more intimidating. His promos have gotten extremely good and convincing. Why is he not terrorizing the entire roster? Why is he not destroying the Rock or Angle? Aren't they considered pretty people? Put him in a meaningful feud with anyone except X-Pac and Undertaker and I'll be extremely happy.

Raw certainly wasn't the worst show in history, but Vince should've put on much stronger effort. He had a golden opportunity. Nitro had been improving. Raw's number were down since the shift to TNN. It appeared as if that Nitro finally had a chance to slowly cut into Raw's lead over the course of the next few months. Nitro was pre-empted. Raw temporarily gained the attention of viewers that usually tune into Nitro. Raw's ratings went up, as Vince and everyone expected they would. What we also expected was a blockbuster showing from the Stamford boys. What we all saw on Monday was not a blockbuster. It was not a show that would keep casual fans or semi-loyal Nitro viewers around for next week. What we saw is what happens to Vince when he does not have competition: He just doesn't put forth his best effort. He simply (as he said on SmackDown) doesn't give a damn about the fans.

There. I've vented.

Now I'm Out.


Mail the Author

Comment about this article on the EZBoard



Design copyright (C) 1999, 2000 Christopher Robin Zimmerman & KZiM Communications
Guest column text copyright (C) 2000 by the individual author and used with permission