WWE Hot Take of the Week: Breaking Down Everything That's Wrong with Raw

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

Welcome to another Hot Take, where this week, it's just too hard to pinpoint one singular thing to complain about when there are so many issues going on.

Instead, it's better to focus on the particular overarching commonality between them, which is Monday Night Raw itself.

Without question, it is the A-show and the primary driving force of WWE content, but longevity and the reputation that has preceded it doesn't mean the current crop putting on the show are given a pass for its present state.

It isn't even as though these are nitpicks like Alexa Bliss being off one year when talking about her age in the A Moment of Bliss promo. She should have said she was eight instead of seven. Big deal. It doesn't change anything and it was just a minor math error.

This is even forgiving some of the bothersome things we've come to accept about WWE, like how the interviewers have to stare into oblivion at the end of each promo instead of saying "back to you" to the commentary team.

Rather, if you break down what happened on Raw this week, it's scary how almost each and every segment had some kind of irksome drawback that could have been avoided, and it's particularly vexing how most of these things have gone unchecked and uncorrected for several weeks, if not months.

For instance, in a perfect example of the "show, don't tell" rule of writing, Dean Ambrose's opening interview about his temptations to turn on The Shield amounted to nothing. He basically said he's not turning on his friends and to stop asking him about it, which was 10 minutes of a non-answer we all could have done without.

When Constable Corbin came out, however, it actually furthered the storyline. Ambrose was given a choice to either prove his loyalty by fighting Braun Strowman or selfishly opting for a title shot against Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins.

Declining a chance for gold out of faithfulness let the audience know where The Lunatic Fringe stood much more than anything he said in the interview, and much quicker.

Then, as we've seen these six men fight so much over the past few weeks, it wasn't necessary to watch anything but the finish of the match against Strowman. The only thing that mattered was Reigns inadvertently costing Ambrose the win by disqualification.

Ambrose lamented his previously honorable decision, saying if he were a little more selfish, he could have been holding either of those titles instead of licking his wounds and suffering a loss.

At least that problem was still a fundamentally good idea that simply wasn't concise enough. When it comes to Baron Corbin telling Reigns and Rollins that their matches would be non-title, though, it actually flies in the face of logic.

Corbin has it out for The Shield and sides with The Dogs of War. Why would he purposely make sure Reigns cannot lose his title until Crown Jewel? Vince McMahon never did any favors for Steve Austin, nor did Triple H do anything but try to derail Daniel Bryan's career. 

If your answer is that he wants to protect the integrity of that event, that's what a babyface general manager does, not a heel one!

Even worse, the commentary team bothered to say that if Dolph Ziggler could win against Reigns, he could be in line for a title shot! He could have had a title shot in this very same match, but it was just ruled a non-title fight!

Your winner and still champion because the belt wasn't in jeopardy at all, Roman Reigns!
Your winner and still champion because the belt wasn't in jeopardy at all, Roman Reigns!Credit: WWE.com

Yes, Corbin is supposed to be booed for not allowing the belt to be defended, and Reigns should be cheered for wanting to be a fighting champion. But by having The Big Dog not put the belt on the line at Super Show-Down or any time until at least November 2, it means we're in the same boat as when Brock Lesnar was champion.

After telling the story of Reigns being the savior who would put the Universal Championship to good use, WWE effectively went out of the way to force that to not happen. His match at Hell in a Cell was a no-contest and he isn't defending it again until Crown Jewel, where he'll fight the same two people he's been fighting for two years. Yawn.

But those are just the problems with one feud. There are so many other headaches and troublesome things from the Raw roster.

Why are Chad Gable and Bobby Roode a tag team? The pairing is awful, especially since it consists of Gable trying to impress Roode by saying "glorious" and then the two of them losing to Konnor of all people.

The Ascension have been completely inconsequential for almost their full time on the main roster. Giving them wins over Gable and Roode doesn't help them seem less like failures, it just makes Gable and Roode look worse and if WWE doesn't follow this up with a consistent, meaningful push for at least Konnor, it will be a sacrifice for nothing.

Can you ever call yourself glorious again when you've done nothing for months and then you lose to Konnor?
Can you ever call yourself glorious again when you've done nothing for months and then you lose to Konnor?Credit: WWE.com

Meanwhile, both Gable and Roode could be incredibly helpful in the mid-card of SmackDown, as that brand has almost no babyfaces at all.

For that matter, Finn Balor could go over to SmackDown and help out with that problem, since he's clearly been an afterthought since his return from injury. The best thing he has going for him now is the Mixed Match Challenge.

Speaking of that, why isn't someone like No Way Jose in that tournament to give him some spotlight so people can remember he's even employed, rather than overworking the same few stars?

They're bigger names and can draw more fans to watch, but the small number of viewers aren't worth it and there's no way to make any more stars on the roster if you're only using the same people and never give anyone else a chance.

The people who only wrestle on Main Event and never on Raw might as well not exist, because nobody watches Main Event. WWE doesn't even care enough about it to put it on the website's list of shows.

Clearly, there must be a philosophy that nobody cares about 205 Live, either, because Lio Rush is a heel there and a babyface alongside Bobby Lashley on Raw.

You shouldn't want to cheer someone on Mondays and then hope he gets beaten up on Wednesdays.
You shouldn't want to cheer someone on Mondays and then hope he gets beaten up on Wednesdays.Credit: WWE.com

Meanwhile, Drake Maverick is as staunch of a babyface as humanly possible on 205 Live, but somehow the heel manager of Akam and Rezar on Raw. That lack of continuity is hurtful, not helpful.

For that matter, why did WWE take Paul Ellering away from them only to put another manager into that position? And why are they AOP now and not The Authors of Pain? What is up with this fascination of shortening names?

Let's hope WWE doesn't succumb to the temptation to have The B-Team score any surprise wins over AOP to further that feud, as a comedy jobber team like Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas should never be able to beat two behemoths unless the goal in mind is to diminish AOP's credibility.

That's what has happened with The Revival, now that they've gone from being in title contention and possibly regaining some momentum to being stepping stones for jokes in order to set up the B-Team and AOP feud.

By transitive law and the alphabet, AOP is better than B-Team, who beat The Revival, which makes them The C-Team.
By transitive law and the alphabet, AOP is better than B-Team, who beat The Revival, which makes them The C-Team.Credit: WWE.com

They gain nothing out of it but further confirmation that it doesn't matter if you were a big deal in NXT as your accomplishments don't equate to main-roster success.

Monday Night Raw is the flagship show for WWE and it should be three hours of quality entertainment with enough room to showcase lots of Superstars in the best storylines the company has to offer, with the most creative writing staff making us want to tune in next week.

It shouldn't be a weekly rinse and repeat of a 30-minute promo opening that sets up a main event tag team match that ends in a disqualification or when they deviate from that formula, it's to rely on showcasing four stars from another era to come back.

Elias shouldn't be able to get the longest, loudest, most sustained heat from an audience in months if not the whole year just by using the old trick of insulting the local sports team with a passing reference. That should be the standard, not the standout.

Hiccups will happen and we as fans need to allow WWE room for mistakes in experimentation, but when these problems continue for as long as they have and infect nearly every minute of the show, it becomes maddening how the company doesn't see a correlation between those annoyances and the decline in viewership.

If WWE wants more people to tune in to Raw, there needs to be a reason to. Nobody watches the television shows that only upset them and we all have our limits, which more and more people seem to be reaching.

Enough is enough and it's time for a change, but that will only happen when the writers change their philosophy and new strategies are implemented from the very top of management downward.

Otherwise, these same complaints will continue in future Hot Take editions to come.

Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.


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