Raw Review: How WWE Possibly Ushered in a New Era on Monday Night Raw
The Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania has had multiple talking points in most years in recent memory. These shows are also known for having very active crowds who stayed the night after the big show.
What we saw last night, however, could very well have sent the WWE into the future.
First of all, outside of a solid Intercontinental Championship match, nothing really stood out in the ring. This trend isn't likely to continue because most of the best workers had short matches, had run-ins or weren't on the show at all. The matches will get better after the feuds are finalized.
Outside of a Money in the Bank cash-in, the biggest item of note was the activity of the New Jersey post-WrestleMania crowd.
The aforementioned new champion, Dolph Ziggler, received the biggest pop for a full fledged heel in years. Wade Barrett was being cheered throughout his match with The Miz. Fandango became one of the most over Superstars on the roster. Three of the four biggest babyfaces in the company (John Cena, Randy Orton and Sheamus) were shown either disdain or indifference from the raucous audience.
Outside of Chris Jericho and Ryback at the end of the show, there weren't many good guys receiving cheers consistently.
This may not seem strange, seeing as how many large crowds cheer the heels and boo the faces. But during the matches, there was a different twist.
When the capacity crowd wasn't interested in the ring action, they would chant random things (or songs). Regardless of their displeasure with the product, they were having a blast, and in turn, they made the show amazing for the people watching at home.
WWE delivered with Ziggler's cash-in and Ryback's attack on Cena. The crowd showed obvious appreciation with deafening pops. But during those moments when the product wasn't very interesting (like the Orton-Sheamus snoozefest), the crowd made themselves the show.
There's no doubt we will hear every crowd in America singing Fandango's theme. But we could also hear and see these crowds doing The Wave and chanting old wrestlers' names when 3MB go out for their weekly squash match.
Let's not act like this wouldn't make the show more fun to watch.
If the crowds respond positively or negatively to every single thing the creative team puts out there, we are likely to get rewarded more. We may have just passed the point of time when heels and faces are trying to manipulate our feelings. The WWE Universe will cheer for who they love and boo who they hate, regardless of the way they are booked.
The New Jersey Raw crowd may have changed the way we see the product on television, but they also possibly changed the way shows are booked. The WWE has praised and celebrated the crowd's reactions from last night on their website and their YouTube channel. John Cena cut a gracious promo after the show thanking the people in attendance for making the night special.
If the wrestling community wants change, that post-'Mania crowd showed us how. Be as loud as we can at all costs, even if that means singing a midcarder's theme song through a squash match. Even if we don't see everything we want to see happen, the show will be more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Every Internet wrestling fan has been preaching about all of the Superstars they want to see pushed and all of the matches they would love to see. The era of the WWE Universe may have been ushered in during a Monday Night Raw in New Jersey. After a lackluster WrestleMania, it was a godsend.
Let's just hope Greenville, S.C., matches the intensity next week. New Jersey can't do this alone.
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