Shane McMahon Embraces the Weird with Raw Underground; More WWE Fallout

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistAugust 4, 2020

Shane McMahon Embraces the Weird with Raw Underground; More WWE Fallout

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    In a bold move to spark fan attention, WWE promised a big change and delivered, with Shane McMahon returning to introduce Raw Underground to the world.

    The concept was focused on pure destruction. A ring with no ropes was set up, allowing performers to step in and truly fight. McMahon wanted everyone to see what WWE Superstars could do in a real fight.

    From the debut of Dabba-Kato to the dominant showings of Erik and Dolph Ziggler, many thrived in this new environment. However, no one made their mark quite like MVP, Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin. The Hurt Business took over Raw Underground.

    Throughout the night, more weirdness spread as the lights went out throughout. It was later revealed that a group of masked men were sabotaging the equipment, including throwing Molotov cocktails at a generator.

    The more straightforward moments of the night focused on some of the best talent in WWE. Drew McIntyre continued his impressive run with a promo on Randy Orton that no one will forget, while Shayna Baszler made a drastic change in perspective by choosing to align herself with Asuka against Bayley and Sasha Banks.

    This night was one to remember. While it is hard to say truly if that is a good or bad thing, what mattered to WWE was that everyone was talking about it all.

Raw Underground Could Benefit Some Before It Likely Fades Away in a Month

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    Raw Underground's first night was a confusing mess. It was a fresh change of pace, but it was difficult to get invested. The mess of segments made sure the concept ran too long without lasting impact.

    However, certain stars did emerge amid the fighting. Those with true fighting and technical experience could get over with this concept, including Dolph Ziggler, The Viking Raiders (especially Erik) and the debuting Dabba-Kato (formerly Babatunde).

    More than anyone though, The Hurt Business can get off the ground with this concept. MVP has attempted to sell how lethal Bobby Lashley can be, and The All Mighty can destroy people in this format to fully establish himself. Shelton Benjamin can also dominate with his wrestling background.

    These stars will need to shine through quickly because Raw Underground comes off as a temporary fix. WWE will only run with the gimmick until the writers run out of ideas for it. That will likely happen quickly given how much was furiously thrown at the screen in the first week.

    If it is going to work, it needs a tighter focus. The camera needs to stay focused on the action. McMahon will probably need to be replaced as single commentator, and the dancers need to go.

    More than that, WWE needs to put the focus on those who can carry this idea. Establishing those who are dangerous is essential.

New Mystery Stable Confuses More Than It Intrigues

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    Ahead of Monday night, WWE promised a new stable would emerge. The group was seemingly revealed when masked men were shown to be behind repeated power outages in the Performance Center.

    However, it made no sense to announce this group and then deliver their debut in this way. They were shown to be dangerous and separate from the company, but no one should have known they were coming.

    The new stable seems like another attempt to get people to tune in, but it wasn't that successful. By the end of the night, most had forgotten about the weird masked men who barely appeared Monday.

    Raw does not need another stable, though. So many names are a part of an alliance in some way or another, and it does not add anything to the complexion of the show. This just leads to more interference and unfocused storytelling.

    It is difficult figuring out who is involved with who week-by-week. It took almost a month to fully establish The Hurt Business, while Seth Rollins' group has changed every month for the past year.

    These vandals just add another confused element to Raw, which is quickly becoming a mess of unfinished ideas.

Drew McIntyre Remains Raw's MVP Even While WWE Gets Desperate

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    Drew McIntyre was on fire in his response to Randy Orton's challenge for his WWE Championship.

    The Scot called out The Viper as spoiled and protected, and he promised Orton he would rip his head off for all those he had taken out over the years.

    This was a fantastic promo from the WWE champion. Even on a desperate night of action, McIntyre stood in the ring and shined with a straightforward focused speech.

    As WWE continues to change the focus of the show, it should be clear that the Scot is part of the solution, rather than being part of the problem. He has been fantastic in spite of the lack of crowd and delivered every time he steps in the ring.

    It might be the easy answer to give the WWE Championship to Orton, but it is not the right move. While The Viper is on top of his game as well, he has had his time. He doesn't need a title to be viewed as one of the absolute best.

    This is McIntyre's time. He deserves to carry his momentum and performances all the way to a live crowd.

Shayna Baszler Did Not Need to Turn Babyface but Should Work in the Role

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    Shayna Baszler stepped into the ring to address Asuka after The Empress of Tomorrow challenged Sasha Banks at SummerSlam.

    The Queen of Spades said she was rooting for Asuka but would be coming for her next. The Boss and Bayley arrived to mock the two, setting up a match that devolved into chaos.

    After her interactions with Nia Jax, The Boss, The Role Model and Asuka, it seems WWE is slowly easing Baszler into a babyface role. This may not be absolute, but it does appear that she is needed more to combat the top heels.

    She did not need to change to shine, though. The Queen of Spades is too good not to thrive with anything she is given. She dominated NXT and is one of WWE's best female wrestlers. Her mic skills improve every week, making her a complete package when many who could match her are out of action.

    This is the right time to put her in whatever position works to get her competing for titles. It is possible she ends up dethroning Bayley since the brand split grows more volatile by the week.

    Whatever happens, a division focused on Asuka, Bayley, Banks and Baszler is a great women's division.