WWE Monday Night Raw: When Did Raw Become a Live Infomercial?

Jonathan ClarkContributor IIINovember 15, 2011

How did this happen?

How did one of the most anticipated RAWs in the last couple of months turn into a live advertisement? How did we get a show that had more mentions of Twitter than actual matches?

I love the great one, and I personally can say I enjoyed the 20 or so minutes out of the three hours that he was on the show…that was essentially supposed to be his.

I did enjoy him saving, and I literally mean saving, that terrible “this is your life” segment without ever having to say a word. I found entertainment in him giving a beating to The Miz and R-Truth, although I think it hurt their characters considerably for the event.

I did not enjoy the “trending topics” line that was thrown around; the mention of Twitter, WWE '12, Maxim and Hombre and the constant nods to the WWE shop during nearly every segment or match the entire night.

I used to always wonder how much bigger The Rock would have been if social media was as big as it is now in the 1990s. I now realize how much I would have hated it. Can you imagine Rock or any of the other major “Attitude Era” stars pushing products like what was pushed tonight? And I hate to bring up the “Attitude Era," it’s done, I get that, but it's RAWs like the most recent where it’s so easy to see why people just can’t let that era go.

I wasn’t really that bothered by the mentions of magazines, as it was only once during the show, although I’m pretty sure Kelly Kelly’s promo for her upcoming magazine cover was actually longer than her match.

But I didn’t need to see a promo about WWE '12. It was barely OK when Santino and Zach Ryder were clearly advertising the pre-order bonus, but essentially that was only because it worked in the form of the whole “whose side are you on” type of campaign. Every sport does it (Kobe/LeBron, Manning/Brady, Pacquiao/Mayweather, etc.) so it’s not out of the ordinary.

But for WWE to actually take time out of the broadcast when so much had already been spent on commercials was overkill. No one is going to just decide to buy the game because you show it on your program. Even young kids today research and watch video previews on games coming out.

I’m all for advertising your extra products, but not when it gets in the way of their main product. After all, that’s what commercials are for.  

The nods to the WWE gear also got pretty redundant.

I get it—Zach Ryder has new gear, Rock has a new shirt and Cena needs more shirts sold. Yes, Mark Henry and Big Show have pretty cool-looking shirts. That’s cool too. I’m fine with marketing that, but the jokes don’t have to center around that, and the camera doesn’t have to keep a close-up of the shirt.

I’m going to get The Rock’s shirt because I like it, not because you mentioned it.

I saw what Mark Henry’s shirt said. It’s nice. It gets the point across. I didn’t need a close-up of it during his entire entrance.

That being said, that is subjective. Some people may not have found that distracting or bad at all. Heck, some may not have noticed.

But the Twitter talk, we all noticed that. John Laurinaitis, CM Punk, Mick Foley, Michael Cole, The Rock, John Cena and the WWE "Did You Know" segments, it was most of the show.

Twitter was mentioned so many times that it gave you the feeling that Twitter just came in and paid WWE to advertise. Laurinaitis talking about it was lame and Cole always talking about it was disgusting.

I’m sorry, but I’m glad Twitter wasn’t around during The Rock’s time because as badass of a guy as that Rock is, even he sounds lame talking about “trending topics."

This is what doesn’t make sense to me in today’s WWE. They advertise more for everything else than their actual main product, the shows and PPVs.

If anything, the WWE needed to use a lot of the wasted time on RAW to advertise for Survivor Series. Better matches, if not more matches, could have occurred. Better and more drawn out story lines could have taken place.

Instead all we got was a couple of singles matches between the two main teams, that ended up seeing each other later that night anyways, a lame (unsurprising) hyped-up match for the Divas Championship and a forced heel strengthening match for Henry and Del Rio.

Oh, and we can’t forget the shots Rock and Cena took at each other before completely burying The Miz and R-Truth.

It’s at the point where if something major doesn’t happen in Survivor Series, like Barrett’s team winning or Cena going heel, it will make one of WWE’s major PPVs not worth it.

Many already have claimed Royal Rumble and WrestleMania to be not worth it, with SummerSlam getting the only positive nod.

For a company that has 13 PPVs a year, with four of them being considered major, you think WWE would know by now how much should be put into these shows.

I can only hope that WWE has an amazing show in the form of Survivor Series. The Rock and Cena are too good to miss, but I just can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed with the buildup that has taken place for this show. I can only find it sad that so much went into talking about other products, especially Twitter, that we ended up getting a wasteful three-hour Raw.

Twitter is cool and all, but I don’t want to read about feuds—I want to see them.

I don’t believe Cena is going to go heel, nor do I think that Wade Barrett’s team is going to win or that Big Show and Henry will actually have a good match.

That being said, I’m starting to think that one thing, if not all of those things, needs to happen for Survivor Series to be considered good, even with the great one on the card.