Monday Night Raw is in the books for the week. We’re now less than two weeks away from the Royal Rumble. How did the Raw brand do building up to one of the WWE’s big events of the year?
Pretty darn good if you ask me. The big complaint with Raw is the three hour run time which tends to drag about halfway in. Yet this episode, while not a classic, did a lot to keep you entertained for the whole three hours.
The highlight of the show was the Six Man Tag that closed it. Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Braun Strowman faced off against Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Sami Zayn. On other nights, the WWE would have had the good guys win the show but not on this night. They did some great work showcasing Braun Strowman as an unstoppable beast. Plus they finally had Kevin Owens let loose and look like a credible threat against Reigns and Rollins.
As I’ve said before, I have had serious issue with how Kevin Owens has been portrayed on television. While I don’t need to see him go on a Goldberg type winning streak or anything, for me to believe that one, he deserves the Universal Championship and two, has the ability to beat the challengers that come his way, he needs to be portrayed as an athlete who can pull out a win at any time. That not only makes him look good, that makes his opponents look good as well.
The problem I and other fans have had the past few years with WWE booking is not with the talents they’ve chosen to get behind. Take Roman Reigns. While I don’t think he’s right for the spot they’ve given him, I would be lying if I didn’t see some parts of his performance that could turn him into greatness at some point in the future. Yet if WWE is hell bent on making him the next big performer, they have to pair him with opponents who can make him look good.
Take the movie Rocky. Would we have cared for the story of Rocky Balboa if Apollo Creed was presented as a weak, ineffective champion who was lucky to be in the position he was? Of course not. We love the movie because Apollo Creed is great at what he does. That makes Rocky’s performance all the better when he’s able to go the full fifteen rounds against him. The WWE needs to push their villains as hard, if not harder, than they do their good guys. Without a solid, believable villain, we won’t care about the obstacles the hero faces because we won't believe it.
I really enjoyed the interaction between Charlotte Flair and Bayley. Both are naturals on the mic. The best wrestlers are ones that are good talking to the audience. Whether it be trying to get the audience to cheer for them or boo them, the best are able to get you to care for them in one way, shape, or form. When Bayley defended her passion for wrestling, you believed her. When Charlotte ridiculed the audience for caring about Bayley, you really wanted to hate her. There was even a moment where, when Bayley was talking about how her father would do anything to help her interest in wrestling, Charlotte had this look in her eyes like she was close to crying. With her father being The Nature Boy Ric Flair, his reputation precedes itself. The way she reacted, even though you want to hate her, made her more human. More three dimensional. That’s how you build a good character. Well done.
Finally, the WWE announced that Goldberg will be appearing on Raw next week. Yet they spent all of twenty seconds talking about that. When you have someone the stature of Goldberg appear on your show, someone who has been shown to bring in viewers, I find it odd that the WWE didn’t spend as much time as they could pounding home the fact that Goldberg would be on next week. Heck, they did the same for Brock Lesnar who appeared on the opening segment of this show. Brock’s not on every week. That appearance should have been hyped to the moon like the Goldberg appearance should have been. I consider that a failure on their part.