WWE Raw Reunion Show: 24/7 Title Changes and Best and Worst Moments
Over the past few years, we've seen Raw 1000 and the "Raw 25" anniversary shows celebrating some of the best moments of the longest-running weekly episodic television program in sports entertainment history.
For no reason other than to have some fun and hopefully pop a better rating, this week brought us the Raw Reunion, featuring as many stars from the past as WWE could bring back.
Nostalgia is a double-edged sword. A bit of it can go a long way in putting a smile on everyone's faces, but too much can be overkill and make it seem like the company hasn't made any new stars in years.
In fact, sometimes, bringing up memories of the best Raw has had to offer could draw negative comparisons to the current product and drive home the problems in WWE right now.
Nevertheless, each episode of Raw should be judged on its own merits, so keeping that in mind, let's look back on Raw Reunion and discuss some of the best and worst moments of the night.
Best: Seeing All the Old Faces Again
Generally speaking, it's always nice to see legends such as Mick Foley return whenever a special show like this happens.
These men and women were responsible for so many great memories for fans, and looking back fondly on those moments can bring a lot of happiness.
Whether it was Melina making her way to a WWE show for the first time in years or Santino Marella making reference to his "sick sister" Santina not being able to come, such moments put smiles on faces.
There's nothing to dislike about that.
Worst: 'Miz TV' with Seth Rollins and Paul Heyman
You'd think a show about how past Superstars are brought back to boost ratings would illustrate one of the major problems with putting the Universal Championship on Brock Lesnar, who is rarely around.
After all, if he is the draw, he's not going to bump the ratings if he isn't set to appear. But WWE doesn't like that logic and keeps making the same mistakes over and over again.
True to form, this week's "Miz TV" was another example of how flat and uninteresting every feud revolving around Lesnar ends up, because they are never anything more than his challenger saying the same things to Paul Heyman every week.
"Seth Rollins talked about how he'll beat Lesnar at SummerSlam, just like he did last week and will do again next week" is not a highlight you desperately need to catch up on.
It's as if WWE thinks everybody will forget such a basic storyline if it doesn't have 10 minutes on every episode of Raw. It also makes you wonder if the company thinks that promo would really get people more interested than they already were.
For that matter, if Lesnar vs. Rollins doesn't sell itself without these repetitive and boring promos, doesn't that speak volumes to how he isn't an amazing champion and shouldn't be prioritized?
This was a waste, as it didn't go with the theme of the night and didn't help sell SummerSlam. All it did was illustrate how lazy WWE can be with promos and feuds, and how this title reign will obviously be no different than the past five years.
Worst: 'A Moment of Bliss' with Becky Lynch and Natalya
Whoever was responsible for writing this show seemed to think the best way to utilize the current roster was in talking segments that didn't add anything to their storylines.
Writing for WWE isn't the same as writing for an Academy Award-contending film, but some conventions are standardized, such as how something isn't necessary to add if it serves no purpose.
So why were Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross there hosting "A Moment of Bliss" when this could have been just a promo between Becky Lynch and Natalya?
For that matter, why did Lynch and Natalya suddenly pump up the volume on their now-bitter feud to the point where WWE wants it to come off as some deep-seated hatred playing out in the ring?
As with the Rollins-Heyman promo on "Miz TV," this did nothing but re-illustrate the same points from last week, which is why watching Raw can become so monotonous. You don't need to watch four episodes in a month that are copied and pasted when you can watch the recaps before the matches on pay-per-views.
Even worse, more time was wasted on a post-segment interview with Charly Caruso, just so Natalya could talk again about how she'll teach Lynch a lesson.
Best: The 24/7 Championship Title Changes
The best part of Monday's show was tracking the 24/7 Championship being traded between various legends in ridiculous ways.
Pat Patterson may even have set an unbreakable record for becoming the oldest champion in WWE history at the age of 78.
Kelly Kelly is now the first woman to win the title after taking out Gerald Brisco. Who would have thought that statement would ever be uttered ?
But the best moment here came when Alundra Blayze almost put the title in a trash can and Ted DiBiase bought it off her. He has now purchased a championship and not been stripped of it, unlike the time he tried to buy the WWF Championship off Hulk Hogan in the late 1980s.
This was the type of fun WWE needed to have on this show, and it's a shame there wasn't more of it.
Worst: The Stone Cold Ending
Rather than finish the show with a bout featuring the legends, or a Lumberjack Match with everyone ringside to keep a heel like Baron Corbin from running off or cheating, the show ended with a dud.
Hulk Hogan said his usual handful of catchphrases, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin made his way to the ring—to talk.
Better yet, the word should be "to ramble," as he droned on with a heavy-handed message about how everybody in WWE is family. Those points were repeated multiple times, and eventually the show just sort of ended.
Austin's gift of the gab was one of the biggest selling points of his career, so why was this so underwhelming? How come he went out there with virtually nothing to say, other than a propaganda line to make fans feel bad for not supporting the product as much lately?
If you had told everyone that Raw Reunion would end with a thinly veiled desperate plea to not abandon WWE, it's doubtful people would have been buzzing in anticipation.
So why do that, instead of something better?
All the Missed Opportunities
While something can't quite be classified as one of the "worst" things of the night just because it didn't happen, it's important to point out just how much potential WWE failed to capitalize on for a show like this.
If people want to see the nostalgia acts, why was there a dance segment with Rikishi?
Whenever a Dudley comes out and no tables are involved, it's like seeing Road Warrior Animal without shoulder pads and face paint.
Santino Marella didn't win the 24/7 Championship or strike anyone with the cobra? The Godfather flew solo Monday night without a single person to accompany him?
The Boogeyman didn't cross over with Bray Wyatt in a display of creepy characters. Jillian Hall was in the background for one shot, rather than singing someone's entrance theme.
The biggest disappointment of all was that after Kevin Owens had started to use the Stunner as his finisher, WWE missed a major opportunity to have a segment between him and Austin, which could have acted as a "passing the torch" moment.
Owens and Austin could have given Stunners to a variety of heels as an endorsement for KO using the finisher from now on.
Instead, Austin didn't give a single one to anybody, and when Stone Cold is on a show and doesn't lay someone out—preferably Vince or Shane McMahon—that's just wrong.
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.