Big Show Booking Hurts Randy Orton, Heath Slater's Return, More WWE Raw Fallout
An emotional return, another Big Show push that absolutely no one asked for, the continued push for women's wrestling and the potential latest acquisition for MVP headlined a July 6 episode of Raw once again devoted to hyping the upcoming Extreme Rules: The Horror Show pay-per-view.
Heath Slater returned to get in the head of Drew McIntyre, at the behest of No. 1 contender Dolph Ziggler, but stole the show out from underneath The Showoff and WWE champion. What does it mean for him going forward as he navigates free agency in pro wrestling?
Why is The Big Show back and feuding with the hottest heel in the company?
Just how invaluable as women's wrestling become in 2020, amidst all of the uncertainty and inconsistencies that have plagued WWE?
Dive deeper into those topics, their answers, and find out why MVP is WWE's most important character in this recap of Monday's broadcast.
Big Show Storyline Hurting Randy Orton's Momentum
Make no mistake about it, The Big Show does not improve or enhance any storyline or match in the year 2020.
That is not at all discrediting his Hall of Fame career or his many, countless accomplishments in WWE over the last two decades. He has been a reliable, dependable and credible main event attraction for the majority of his career, but there is nothing about him coming back to feud with Randy Orton that does The Viper any favors in this renaissance year he is enjoying.
Strictly from an in-ring perspective, Big Show cannot keep up with Orton, who is as good now as he has ever been. From a character standpoint, he claims to be a "big, nasty, pissed-off giant" but he is eerily similar to the same incarnation of The Big Show we have seen over the last five or so years.
There is nothing new or fresh about the persona and simply avenging the beatings dealt Edge and Christian by The Viper is not enough to get fans invested in whatever specialty match WWE Creative is going to push on them come July 19.
The giant is a relic at this point in his career, little more than a reminder of WWE's reliance on the stars of yesteryear when it struggles to create new ones. Is it possible that he and Orton will steal the show come Extreme Rules, especially if the company can hide weaknesses through the magic of editing? Hell yes, but all this feud has done is cut off the momentum Orton had on his side following the stellar rivalry with Edge.
Given the current state of Raw, the last thing the company needs is one of its few credible heels losing meaning because of an ice-cold feud with Big Show some seven years after they last clashed.
Heath Slater Enhances Value with Serious, Emotional Return
Heath Slater emerged from the unemployment line, appropriately sporting a "free agent" t-shirt Monday night, and confronted former tag team partner and current WWE champion Drew McIntyre in an emotional start to Raw.
Recalling how he was there for McIntyre when the Scot was fired from WWE back in 2014, then how McIntyre was not there for him when he was recently released, Slater showed the type of seriousness he rarely got the opportunity to during his run with the company.
Fired up and demanding the match with McIntyre that the champ promised him during a recent edition of The Bump, Slater had the viewing audience eating out of the palm of his hand. He captivated the crowd and turned in some of his finest work to date.
Ignoring the seconds-long loss to McIntyre, the promo and the post-match curtain call elevated the first segment of this week's show and reminded both fans and promoters of the value Slater brings to their company.
He can do comedy, this we know, but his performance on Raw showed a side of him that one lucky company will be able to exploit to their gain and Slater's benefit going forward.
Women's Wrestling Proving Invaluable to WWE in 2020
The year 2020 in WWE has been defined by inconsistency and unprecedented conditions but seven months in, there has been one certainty: women's wrestling has been absolutely invaluable to the company.
It has been the most consistently great across the board, from the in-ring action to the storytelling, the characters to the entertainment value. There has been nothing from the men's side of things on Raw or SmackDown that can measure up to what the likes of Asuka, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nikki Cross, Alexa Bliss, The IIconics, Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler have done this year to elevate the sport.
Monday was another example of just how important it has become to the company as the women took up significant television time in the form of Kairi Sane vs. Banks, Ruby Riott vs. Billie Kay and Asuka vs. Bayley. All three matches were good or better, featured interesting storylines aimed at getting the performers over and propelled said stories forward.
Now, entering Extreme Rules, there are two high-profile title matches that could easily headline the pay-per-view over anything from the men's side if WWE was so inclined.
That is a testament to the hard work of the women involved and a creative team that finally recognizes the significance of women's wrestling beyond an overused tagline.
Is MVP the Most Important Character on Raw Right Now?
Don't look now but MVP is the most important character on WWE Raw right now.
Not only is he embroiled in the United States Championship picture (that title is FIRE), he has also been essential in re-establishing the credibility of one Bobby Lashley following The All Mighty's descent into comedy and crash television as part of his relationship with Lana.
Furthermore, his ability to put over talent, as witnessed in his few exchanges with Apollo Crews and Monday's backstage confrontation with Cedric Alexander, makes him ever so valuable to a creative team that has proven unable to get those particular stars over on their own.
MVP was always a talented talker and while his in-ring career may be winding down, his influence on the Raw brand will be felt for the foreseeable future if he is allowed to remain in this advisory/managerial role.
We have seen what he has been able to do for Lashley and if he can do that for Alexander, the former cruiserweight champion may finally get over at a level his size previously would not allow for. While WWE Creative has not gone back to it of late, there is the late relationship with NXT stars Shane Thorne and Brendan Vink, too.
If WWE really wanted, it could easily create a stable under MVP in which his mic skills get everyone over and elevate them by association alone. We have seen it work in the past, when someone like Bobby Heenan would compile a collection of talent has The Heenan Family and help get them to levels they never would have been able to on their own.
As a mouthpiece, as a motivator and someone with the connection to the audience that Alexander, Thorne, Vink and even Lashley longed for, he can bridge the gap and make sure the talent on Raw missing that little bit of "something" does not go wasted.
Thus making him absolutely essential to the long-term success of the Raw brand and its more underutilized performers.