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Thread: How to save this mess, AKA...What are you even doing?

  1. #1

    How to save this mess, AKA...What are you even doing?

    Preface
    Just an FYI, I wrote a column last week entitled "How to save this mess, AKA...WWE's Indy Revolution". It didn't get quite the response I anticipated, but for good reason. So it is significantly more fleshed out with actual analysis and comparisons to the WWE's Homegrown stars. If you skimmed it over, or it didn't appeal to you, please give it another look and let me know what you think.

    And now...

    Raw Review

    Exposition

    RAW's opening promo, oh how I loathe thee. Tonight on "The Authority Stacks The Deck Against Roman Reigns" The Authority...stacks the deck against Roman Reigns. Goody. Also, Stephanie continues her overacting spree, like Rick Flair is with his daughter, except not fun or funny at all, because she doesn't have 40 years of hard work and respect to draw from.
    Doesn't that just summarize a lot of the problems with WWE right now? Taking shortcuts to get right to the end of the story, without working for the payoff first? Vince complains about Millennials and then acts like a stereotypical one.
    Oh, and Vince announces that Dean with be facing Sheamus tonight, and then Sheamus drills Ambrose in the back, right in front of his best friend, the WHC. Who does nothing but glare at him. That's...pretty odd. If my best friend were jumped by my rival(LOL Roman's rival is Sheamus) I'd probably, you know, help or something. Not just stand there, then leave the ring in an orderly manner. You want to make Roman cool? He shoulda hopped out of the ring and speared Sheamus into the ring post immediately.

    Crimson Mask!!!

    Dean vs Sheamus is a good match, back and forth. I love the new name "Lunatic Lariat" for Dean's rebound clothesline, but Sheamus having to slow down his own clothesline while Dean executed that was a bit annoying. Sheamus and Dean really went at each other, pretty stiff match, and it resulted in Sheamus being busted open after 3 head slams on the ring post. That had to be intentional, right? Otherwise you wouldn't do 3(I think they did the same thing with Brock at WM but I'd have to check). The match ends with a double DQ. Two weeks in a row might be too much for some people, but I think it's establishing Dean's character more; he doesn't care, he just wants to fight, and honestly, Dean's babyface character could use a little more spice. So a hard fought match+blood, that gets a thumbs up from me.
    Afterward, Owens jumps Ambrose and lays him out similarly to what we've seen between the two so far. Dean exits the training room in a rage after a good, short promo. I think we may get a Hardcore match between these two at some point. We need more backstage promos with Dean and Owens, that's for sure. And I really hope they can stretch this out until an epic WrestleMania match, assuming one of these two isn't elevated to the Main Event, because that's what WM matches should be all about; epic resolutions to long, badass feuds. They deserve it.

    Interlude: Vince and Stephanie are businesspeople!

    Paul Heyman runs into the McMahons in the hallway, and he tries to negotiate a 1v1 matchup between his client, Brock Lesnar, and the winner of the Royal Rumble. Vince always looks agitated in Heyman's presence, and Steph says they should discuss it in the office instead of standing directly in front of a live camera. Good business sense!
    I wonder if Paul is written this way because he just has fun playing this character, or if his interactions with Vince, limited as they may be, reflect real life. Paul built a fledgling company from nothing to being a legitimate competitor in the Monday Night Wars, and his Smackdown kicked RAW's ass for a long time. Does Vince resent that Paul's still got it? Or that maybe they're a little TOO alike. Or maybe it's all just character work, who knows.

    Interlude 2: Stardust vs Titus

    We all agree that the Stardust character has overstayed its welcome, right? That's the consensus now? Because it's sad when a worker that's as talented as Cody is stuck batting 8th(baseball analogies!) when he could be much higher in the order. It's his character holding him back now, and though it's fun and kinda poppy, it's gone nowhere, and you'd never buy him beating Roman, or Bray, or Dean...nevermind, anyone can beat Dean, Dean would just pull out that Acme monitor from under the ring and it would explode. But still, Stardust is a waste of everyone's time now.
    I am glad to see Titus get another win; dude is huge and is a fun, bland character in short bursts. But this felt like another rerun from last week.

    Jericho vs New Day, the entertainment capital of WWE

    There were a few people that thought Jericho's return last week to make fun of New Day was a waste of time. I thought it was fun, and would lead to something bigger. Here, we get a mini-payoff. Less "Cool dad" Jericho, more Attitude Era Jericho going back and forth with Xavier on the mic. He called New Day dumbasses, and Xavier lost his mind(You can't say that, this is a PG show!), and set up a 2v2 match with The Usos and Jericho/Xavier in their respective corners.
    The match itself was...a New Day/Usos match. There were hard hits by Big E, bumps by Kofi, The Usos hitting some crowd-pleasing stuff, and fun trombone nonsense on the outside. Jericho got ahold of her this time and snapped the arm off, and Xavier looked like someone killed his dog in front of him.

    We need an intervention

    Seriously, we need to gather some friends and family, find a safe place, maybe pass out some snacks around...and talk to Jericho about his wardrobe. I know he's always been a bit out there with his weird ponytails and glittery stuff, and he wears a Lite-Brite jacket, but this is too far. A jacket and a scarf? A week after wearing a vest with no shirt underneath? Come on, man! It's one thing to perform athletic activities in just your underwear and baby oil, but you were walking around backstage in that! Probably grabbed a bite to eat in that, had some makeup put on while wearing that, talked to Dave the camera guy wearing that. It's just weird, dude!

    #FactionWarz!

    So, Social Outcasts are faces now? Or are they just as confused as the rest of us? I'd have thought winning their first match via 3 man distraction made them heels, but here they are, playing pseudo-faces against The Wyatt Family.
    Also, someone needs to tell them that trying to be the white New Day is not cool. Did you see Slater gyrating when they came out? The way he played off Rose's little jabs? #gimmickinfringement!
    The match itself lasted about 2 minutes; Strowman looked at them and said "You're jobbers, what do you think you're doing?" then Ryback ran down to defend charisma black holes everywhere and they clear out the Wyatts.
    Also note, if Ryback joins, what do the 5 members have in common? 3 of them were in a faction before. #NewNexus! Minus the compelling members...and David Otunga.

    Rey Mysterio Returns!

    He's wearing green like a Ninja Turtle now, and goes by Kalisto, but we all know what we saw, right? He delivered a very solid promo before the match, took a bunch of nasty bumps(dude is like 4 feet tall, a stiff breeze looks like a nasty bump on him) but got the rollup to win the MexAmerica championship! This was another good match that was paced correctly(Del Rio slowing it down and delivering power shots, Kalisto trying to speed it up and taking a ton of abuse along the way). And that suicide dive where Del Rio shoved him, mid air, into the barricade? Goddamn, I hurt just thinking about it.
    I have a question for WWE; why does Alberto Del Rio hate other Mexicans? I mean, he doesn't hate everyone, he's a member of the LoN. But his fiercest rivalries have been against other Mexican wrestlers. What gives? Also, as much as I like the badass, I-hate-everyone Del Rio, I think he works best as a face. There are a lot of people that want to root for him, and his heel character where he calls people "Dog" all the time just doesn't seem authentic. It's too soon to re-turn him, but the crowd wants to chant "Si!" at him, so let them.

    All women hate each other, episode 1129752

    I'm a little torn about this. On the one hand, the wrestling has been infinitely better since they refocused the division around the actual Horsewomen they called up and built a simple story of trust and betrayal with, as was pointed out on Reddit, more backstage, hallway-style promos and less Miz-TV promos. This feud is the 2nd best in WWE currently.
    On the other hand, one can argue that the story boils down to "All women hate each other" which has been the basis for, basically, every other storyline since Mickie stalked Trish. Sure, on the other hand you can say the story is about Charlotte's corruption/fall, or Becky learning DTA(Don't Trust Austin...er, Anyone). It's open to interpretation to an extent. But the fact that it can be argued makes me a little sad. How hard is it to come up with a more nuanced framework than that?
    Anyway, Charlotte comes down for a match with the remaining members of Team Bella, and The Lasskicker jumps the Champ and beats her down. Rick declares that Charlotte is now in no condition to wrestle and the match is cancelled. That's fine, I guess...gotta stall until Royal Rumble for the payoff, but still, there could have been another Diva's match or something tonight to compensate for this. Why not have Team BAD stroll down and give Naomi 5 minutes with Alicia instead?

    The Main Event....*Sigh*

    Roman vs, what, 15 heels? I'll give WWE a little credit first; Having Owens stand toe-to-toe with your Champion for the first 6-8 minutes was a nice boost for him, and though it was slow and grindy, it wasn't bad. Then, for some reason, Stardust and Breeze hit the ring and get immediately wrecked, by the guy who's just been fighting with Owens for 8 minutes. Way to make two good workers seem completely insignificant. Then the rest of the heels join in, and hold Roman while Sheamus delivers an awful looking Brogue Kick; not sure who's fault that was, but ewww.
    Finally, Brock's music hits and, for the second time tonight(first being Becky's sneak attack) the crowd sounds like it gives a crap. Brock suplexes basically everyone. Twice. Then grabs Roman and gives him an F5 in the middle of the ring, and does that weird, cocky smile/laugh in Vince's direction.

    I'm so utterly confused by this main storyline, yet again. Not because they posed questions with no answers(though, why did none of the faces help Roman as he gets his ass kicked by multiple heels for the 100th time is a good one) but because they took a really dumb route to get somewhere obvious. Brock is in the Rumble? No way! Let's devote 2 backstage segments and let him eat the whole heel roster to demonstrate that he's a threat!
    There was a long rant here that I deleted. Instead, let's break this down by character:
    Owens - Looks like a badass tonight after beating up Ambrose and holding his own against Roman.
    Brock - Gets a huge pop for beating up your supposed #1 face. F5's Roman...why? Roman didn't even beat him for the title, they've had no interaction since April.
    Roman - He overcomes the odds! Except when he doesn't! Looked completely dead after an 8 minute match with a guy his BFF, Dean, has beat multiple times. If their characters were "Dean is infinitely tough, Roman is infinitely strong" that would make sense. But Roman is Superman, he shouldn't look like Josh Koscheck after the GSP fight from just that.

    The villain has to get the upper-hand in a story to make it compelling, and WWE's thought is that this is that step. Right? Except the villain in this case is The Authority, and they've had the upper hand for 3 years. And in the end, their schemes still didn't really work because Brock came down and trashed everyone! This is a garbled stew of nonsense, a cacophony of stupid questions, obvious answers and idiotic booking to stitch it all together like the mangled corpse that the main event scene has become.

    WWE has all the pieces that they need in place. A great IC feud. A great Diva's feud. The Champ looks strong, The Wyatts look strong, Brock is back, Vince is back. And this is what they come up with. It's embarrassing. I can't even formulate a good closing argument here, it's just so bad, so stupid, so nonsensical. RAW's like this are the most frustrating thing to watch because they have all the potential in the world, and then botch it in such a horrific way it just melts my brain.

    How to fix this mess, AKA Fantasy Booking!

    This Rumble will revolve around The Wyatt Family, Brock, and Roman, with a dash of LoN I'm sure. So they have to be in-orbit of one another.

    How do we move forward? Well, what are our current problems?
    1. Your champ just got his ass kicked, so he needs some heat back.
    2. Brock F5'd him for no reason, so now he needs a reason.
    3. The Wyatts need a little more momentum.
    4. And there's only 1 RAW left until the RR. So...

    Brock and Heyman come out for a main event promo. Brock says that Roman cost him his championship at WrestleMania, since Brock was never pinned, and he hasn't been given a rematch. So he decided to take it out on Roman and everyone else last week.
    Roman comes out and says that when men have problems, they solve them face to face. They don't run in after the fight and then act like they're badasses. They ARE the fight("I Am The Fight" t-shirt, send me royalties!). If Brock wants to wait till the Rumble, he'll have to take a number because 28 other guys want a piece of Roman too. But if he really wants to fight, they can throw down right now, face to face like men. Brock does his creepy laugh, says "Not today" and leaves the ring. As he's on the apron, he flies back in and he and Roman start unloading on one another.

    That's when the lights go out, and when they come back on, Erik Rowan is outside the ring with Paul Heyman in a head vice, and the other 3 members of the Wyatts are in the ring. Hell breaks loose. Eventually Rowan comes in to help, but Roman and Brock hold their own. Bray lands a low blow on Brock and calls for the Wyatts to clear out. They head up the ramp, Brock is wabbling around while grabbing the family farming gear, and BOOM! Roman hits a spear on him. OOOOAHHHH! Grabs his title and walks back up through the crowd, the Wyatts on the ramp calling for Roman's head. And then Brock sits back up like the Undertaker; stunned, but not out.

    Now your parts are in place, and you have a cool transition into the Royal Rumble match with everyone looking pretty badass. You're welcome, WWE; as usual, I'm fixing your messes for free.

  2. #2
    Brock had a very simple reason to F5 Roman. To let him know that he has arrived and what waits for him at Royal Rumble. It doesn't need any fixes, in my opinion. The greatness of Brock lies in the fact that he is not interested in petty reasons for fighting - like Roman costing him his title? He is above the usual crap that heels play out. He didn't want to be in Rumble, but now he is and he is getting his appetite ready for the Royal Fest that he is going to get by eating 28 bodies.

    LON are beyond saving. Wyatt Family is puzzling, actually. I can't say for sure whether they will be bad asses or merely pawns in the Rumble. It can go either ways, or both ways too - in the sense that they will be a force earlier on but with someone like Brock or Roman entering, they will fall down like a deck of cards.

    I can only see two legit possible winners in Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. I can't put my money on Bray, Dean or KO. I hope they do shine bright on that day. The only other one I can see is Daniel Bryan. That's more like wishful thinking at this point. But..... But.

  3. #3
    I want to agree that Brock or Roman are the two favorites to win the Rumble. But...

    Roman isn't winning 2x in a row after finishing second, considering the crowd and critical response to the last two. He just isn't. Especially with HHH's revenge lurking. Brock could win, but we've been down that road before as well; the show-up-once-a-month champ that likely drops his belt as WrestleMania. We've just been there, done that. So to me, I think they have to go in another direction.

    Agree about The Wyatts too, they'll either dominate the middle of the Rumble before Brock/Roman clears them all out, or win it all. No middle-ground.

    Refusing to turn Roman really limits their options, it's pretty obnoxious.

  4. #4
    @TRSOTP @MazzaLOP Mazza's Avatar
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    Hey Hey Hey, Otunga slander will not be tolerated around here!

    Good stuff here. This format avoids all the pitfalls of your last effort. That said please don't let that stop you branching out. You have a good thing going on here but you'll improve a lot more from those experiences.

    Anyway, back to this one. You have a nice little format going here. Bite sized bits and pieces which is easy to get through. Also perfect for people who want to pick and choose which bits to read which is often the case with reviews. I very much agree with you when it comes to the whole Roman-Dean bromance. One day they have each others backs to the death, the next it's like they are living in separate universes. I honestly think that is the main reason for the disconnect to Reigns. If they had had each others backs consistently like they did during the Reigns-Wyatt feud since the day Seth turned, I don't think there'd be any character issues. As for your questions, I don't think Reigns struggling against Owens is an issue. Top end of the roster has that feel that it is pretty even. I'd say it's a good thing. Pretty sure KO and RR will have a lengthy title feud at some point this year too so that worked well for me. He will need to get his heat back but that won't take long. I think the same goes for the Wyatts. I can see Heath and his merry men getting murdered on Raw. As for Brock, don't think he needs a reason to do anything other than he's Brock Lesnar and he's not got what he wanted (actually you don't even need the second part). More importantly it's a sign of intent. All that said, I am certainly not against your spot of fantasy booking. I wouldn't necessarily have Brock justify his actions but they could certainly get into it with each other. Roll on the go home!

    Quick question, do you honestly believe that section before you go into the fantasy booking or are you just using it as a part of your gimmick and way to get into the next bit. Seems out of place with your view of the show as a whole.


  5. #5
    Which part are you referring to? About WWE having good pieces and just squandering it?

    Roman, in my opinion, was most enjoyable when Dean was chasing Seth around, and he was just laying out all the lackies. That was super fun, he's basically the best, coolest bodyguard ever. But just like Diesel, he's not a very compelling lead man.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JacobWrestledGod's Avatar
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    I perfectly fine with Reigns getting F-5ed/ . The thing about Reigns is how the IWC like to scrunise his every move/booking closely, which is okay, but nothing is going to please everyone. If Brock don't F-5 Reigns, some will bitch about how they are diluting Brock's bad ass character and giving Reigns a free pass (getting Brock's heat to put him over). They will probably also complain about how Reigns is booked too strong etc if Reigns dominated KO. Now that it's the other way around with Brock over Reigns, people complain how Reigns look too weak.

    Let's make up our minds.

    The fantasy booking part still, to me, feels slightly out of place. Like tacked on. The other parts, very strong, entertaining, thought provoking. Strong work.
    And Jacob wrestled with God.






  7. #7
    I'd be fine with Brock F5ing Roman(like 4 more times would be great) but I dislike how little explanation we've gotten for anything in the last few months. It started with Roman jumping HHH. Why did he do that? No reason. Brock F5'd Roman. Why did he do that? No reason.

    Why did Bray jump Dean and stop him from winning the title vs Seth? No reason. Why was Cena out for 2 months after ADR kicked his head in? No reason.

    A lot of "No reason" going around in major storylines. It's like they know they want a certain matchup, don't know how to get there, so they just say, "Fuck it, throw them in the ring and we just won't tell anyone why." You need action+story+character, and they're only giving us about 1 1/2 of those at any given time.

  8. #8
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    I don't think they need a reason for Roman to go after HHH, he doesn't like him. He's made that clear, and he feels that HHH had a part in Sheamus cashing in to take his title.

    Bray/Dean and Cena/Del Rio are good points though.
    Read my latest. That's not a request.

    THAT'S AN ORDER, MAGGOT!!!!





  9. #9
    Closing Time JCool's Avatar
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    Glad to see another Raw review in these parts. Thanks for having a go at it.
    Like Newton said, Brock needs no additional reason. He is Brock Lesnar. He beats people up. We might get a little more from Heyman next Monday but it's unnecessary. Lesnar's goal is to beat people up and be the champ. The only way he doesn't win the Rumble is if he gets caught off guard by 6 or 7 guys working together to eliminate him, or a Roman Reigns superman punch over the top. Either way, he'll be livid and we'll get another destruction of the RAW ringside area!

    Props for not dishing out any whining or opining on Sheamus. Enough with the "you look stupid" chants. Everyone knows it's an act and that it does, indeed, look stupid. The guy still wrestles fine. He's still a tough lime and he's doing well in his new faction. In fact, his loss of the MITB briefcase should increase his favour amongst the people! No threat of being a champion anymore.

    Alright, Burn. Here's some fantasy booking for you...

    Wrestlemania 32: I AM THE FIGHT vs. I AM THE GAME. The official winner of the match is determined on the WWE App, by way of a vote on which entrance was more extreme, thus ensuring Triple H wins because of his obsession with creating epic entrances for himself. While Triple H is posturing as a demi-God on the stage, Vince McMahon comes out and tells his son-in-law he was signed up to fight the match and, dammit, that's what you're gonna do. So, even though Hunter gets the official win, he still has to fight. Roman Reigns gets on the mic and provides some higher stakes for the match. Loser forfeits their 'Mania paycheck to the winner. Three minutes in and one man's career is over. Who is it?

    THE ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE



  10. #10
    @JCool You are a madman, I love it lol.

    Sheamus is in a tough spot. I LOVE his entrance, he has one of the best themes in WWE, and he looks like a legit badass. But as is the case with many people, he's been the victim of bad creative/booking.

    I also think a big problem with portraying him as a badass is his finisher. Nobody talks about it, but the dude is huge, ripped, looks like a beast, and his finisher is to...awkwardly kick you in the face? Like Daniel Bryan does? His High Cross was way, way better. He if had a huge, high-impact finisher I'd buy him as a bigger threat.

    And if Roman would stop beating LoN 1v4.

  11. #11
    I dont think we have ever had any reason for why Bray Wyatt goes after anyone really. I don't know why he randomly came after Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, The Undertaker.. Anyone. That is what I literally hate about how they have built his character. He just shows up to pick fights with people for no really good reason. And most of the times, its looked like he is used to bury the very people the IWC want to see pushed. Its almost as if Triple H uses them in real life as the crew who get to put down those he doesn't want to succeed.

    Good piece, very thought provoking. I don't mind the fantasy booking angle that much either. If that is what excites you, and lets face it, most of the IWC would still get excited in doing some fantasy booking, there is nothing wrong in adding it at the end. Great work.

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