The 25th anniversary of WWE Raw started off hot with Vince and Shane McMahon taking stunners from Stone Cold Steve Austin, but it dovetailed into a cluster of poorly executed legend appearances and nothing matches.
The WWE Universe expected better from Raw 25.
Brian Campbell @BCampbellCBS
#Raw25 did not get the job done. And that's the bottom line.2018-1-23 04:15:38
The problems started with the buildings themselves. With Raw emanating from both the Manhattan Center and the Barclays Center, the fans at each venue were forced to sit through long stretches of downtime, subsequently killing their enthusiasm and excitement level for the in-ring segments.
Fans in attendance also didn't have a lot to cheer about. While some of the backstage promos with current WWE Superstars and legends interacting were nostalgically fun, the in-ring competition was lackluster.
Fans being forced to sit through meaningless matches such as Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. Apollo Crews and Titus O'Neil just for the payoff of the Dudley Boys just didn't resonate.
Aaron Oster @TheAOster
Nostalgia is fine, and it's a lot of fun. But compare this to RAW 1000. That had some titanic storyline moments. This needed a bit of that. #RAW252018-1-23 04:18:16
Superstars such as Elias and The Miz had memorable moments that made the show enjoyable at times, but other segments such as those involving The Undertaker and the women's legends left people asking themselves, "Was that it?"
It's hard to expect WWE Creative to book any true storyline development due to this episode being the go-home Raw before the Royal Rumble, but the writers could have done more to make the night feel important by creating unforgettable moments.
For a perfect example of dropping the ball, look no further than WWE booking Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt to square off in a match for the first time on television without promoting it. To make matters even worse, the bout was given no time and Wyatt beat Hardy clean.
Is that how well-crafted storylines are built these days?
For me, there were a couple solid segments, some nice olive branches extended to past talents, but otherwise not so great. #RAW252018-1-23 04:16:43
And as the cherry on the disappointing Raw cake, the last two segments featuring D-Generation X at the Manhattan Center and the faceoff between Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar and Kane felt rushed. As a result, the importance and impact of each was diminished.
Maybe instead of focusing all of WWE Creative's effort on getting so many people on the broadcast, the company should have used its legends and Hall of Famers to help make their younger talent feel more important, thus strengthening the business for years to come.
Or the WWE Universe can just keep pretending all of the legends will be able to save Raw moving forward instead of leaning on arguably the most talented roster of men and women in wrestling history.
For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics or catch the latest episode in the player above (some language NSFW).