WWE Raw: How the Company's Flagship Show Has Improved Since WrestleMania
Back in May, in the post-WrestleMania season, I wrote an article that was heavily critical of WWE's flagship television shows: Raw and SmackDown.
However, over the last five or six months, sufficient changes have been implemented in the weekly Raw broadcast to make it feel like a worthwhile show almost every week.
Primarily, since the dawning of the new McMahon/Helmsley "dictatorship," as it has been referred to by Michael Cole, the show has had a clear direction and central developing storyline. In the post-WrestleMania season, we were treated to repetitive "the Champ is here" promos from John Cena, the company's then-top heel, CM Punk had vanished from the face of the WWE Universe and we were seeing a little too much Sweet T for even Jerry Lawler's liking.
Since Triple H aided Randy Orton in his Money in the Bank cash-in at SummerSlam, we have seen a coherent storyline develop, twist and turn whilst remaining cohesive throughout; luckily Kevin Nash hasn't shown up and texted himself yet.
Furthermore, while not all of Paul Levesque's character's actions have actually been "best for business," it is certainly encouraging that a considerable amount of the midcard and lower midcard wrestlers are being featured in what appears to be building towards something of a locker room revolt.
Talent such as The Usos, Justin Gabriel and Zack Ryder are, at least in the short term, being kept occupied by the Daniel Bryan versus authority feud. The way in which Triple H is currently involved and portrayed as a dictatorial businessman is progressive insofar as it focuses on producing a solid main event storyline to sell pay-per-views but also underpins and impacts upon the very nature of WWE television, meaning that the entire roster, from Orton and Bryan to Jinder and Drew, is involved by default.
Not only does WWE seemingly now have a worthwhile direction, but other changes to Raw since the post-WrestleMania season have enhanced the product.
Has WWE television improved since WrestleMania?
For instance, the match quality has significantly increased. As referred to in the above linked article, the May 13 edition of Monday Night Raw featured eight wrestling matches, with only one lasting longer than 10 minutes and another over five.
The other six matches were time-filling exercises, including The Miz going over Heath Slater, The Prime Time Players defeating Tons of Funk and Ryback squashing Zack Ryder in a move designed to establish him as a genuine threat to Cena's WWE title.
The last two episodes of Raw have each boasted three matches exceeding 10 minutes, as well as pay-per-view quality 20-minute main event matches.
Ultimately, WWE seems to be showing a resurgence in confidence in its young, up-and-coming superstars, such as The Shield. And for the first time in a long time, fans are not speculating quite so much when Brock, The Rock or 'Taker are returning but are instead able to enjoy quality programming featuring WWE's full-time roster, which it must be remembered, is a very talented group.
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