Coming off last week’s show, which drew the lowest rating since before the Attitude Era, WWE was in serious need of a creative kick in the rear end. With only two weeks remaining until the next Pay Per View, and a Monday Night Football game featuring two terrible teams, could WWE reverse the trend of bad TV and sliding viewership that has seen them lose a quarter of their audience since July? Hope still remains, but with popular WWE legend Mick Foley taking to Facebook to express his continuing displeasure with the show, the pressure was definitely on WWE to make things happen on Raw, and here’s what they came up with.
10. We Hope You Like The New Day
Actually, everyone does like The New Day, and that’s both a good and bad thing, depending on your point of view. It’s bad mostly because they’re supposed to be bad guys, and being sent out to cut entertaining promos where they reference Dragonball Z and interact with the crowds and do all the things that nobody else in the company is managing to do well is not the best way to be heels. Although threatening to stuff a Terrible Towel down your tights didn’t hurt, because running down the local sports team will always work. However, if you do like The New Day, it’s a good thing because they were all over this week’s show. They opened Raw with a segment praising the new WWE Champion, they did commentary during the tag match to determine the #1 contenders to their Tag Team titles, and they were inserted in the main event match to really stack the odds against Roman Reigns. Oh, and they were in an advertising segment for WWEShop.com and the Cyber Monday sale. It’s almost like WWE kept putting them out there so people wouldn’t tune out over the three hours in case they missed a New Day segment, which is such a horribly cynical theory that it almost has to be true.
9. Oh, Good. This Is Still A Thing.
So, rather than just have Rusev and Lana be back together, and completely gloss over the wholly embarrassing events of the past few months where they were apart, WWE has decided instead to completely rub our faces in it and pretend that the whole Lana-Rusev-Ziggler-Summer thing was actually some sort of incredible soap opera that kept people captivated throughout the summer. In fact, they’re now proud of the fact that TMZ broke the news of Rusev and Lana’s engagement, which resulted in them canning the entire story in the first place and allegedly getting really pissed off at Lana over the whole thing. And the entire reason why they decided to bring it up is apparently, despite almost never being concerned with continuity when it suits them, WWE felt that nobody would believe they were really back together unless they both declared that they never slept with the people they were paired with when they were apart. Even though the entire thing was based around the fact that they almost certainly were.
8. When Nostalgia Pops Get Silly
So, because they don’t have the awesome power of The Undertaker and Kane, The Dudley Boyz actually need some more manpower to even the odds against The Wyatt Family. And hey, listen, we loved ECW, and Tommy Dreamer’s a great guy, and he completely deserved that nice crowd pop. But it’s been over fifteen years since ECW died and Tommy wasn’t the best wrestler in the world at his peak, let alone a decade and a half later. Admittedly, he’s at least slightly more intimidating than Spike Dudley, but most of that can be attributed to the garbage can full of weapons that he brings with him. Also, even with Tommy, the Wyatt Family still holds a 4-on-3 advantage, and that’s being generous one one side and only counting Braun Strowman as one person on the other. It’s all moot, anyway, because the match gets thrown out and eventually we’ll probably have a Tables Match at TLC, possibly involving a fourth ECW alumni. Hey, what’s RVD doing this month?
7. We Just Can’t Have Nice Things
Well, at least we got Sasha Banks in a wrestling match, even if it was way too short and had her facing Brie Bella, who has clearly regressed as a wrestler (and she was not starting from a high level) after months of doing nothing but standing at ringside and yelling “C’mon Nikki!” Also, Team BAD are probably supposed to be heels, but much like The New Day, are so entertaining, and have managed to avoid the entire mess that is the Divas title situation, that the crowd can’t help but get behind them (also much like The New Day, this is probably due to nobody on the creative team paying attention to what they’re doing, so they’re screwing around and getting away with it because its amusing the fans without anyone having to actually write something for them). On the bright side, Sasha looked good, and they’re subtly moving her into the leadership role of the group, even using her (far superior) entrance music instead of Naomi’s as the team’s official theme.
6. Everything You Never Knew You Always Wanted
Yes, Titus O’Neil invades Stardust’s little corner of the backstage area again, and as much as it would be a shame to see the end of the Prime Time Players, these two have a chemistry that almost demands they end up as a tag team. Once Titus melts Stardust’s cold little heart and teaches him the true meaning of Christmas, anyway. There should be no doubt at this point that Cody Rhodes has inherited the best part of his father’s charisma and dedication to even the silliest gimmicks. Stardust isn’t yellow polka dots, but it takes a special performer to make him so ridiculously entertaining without being cheesy.
For more incredible Stardust performances, you should also check out this episode of Xavier Woods’ YouTube show UpUpDownDown, where he and Stardust play Star Wars: Battlefront, and Cody geeks out about Star Wars while still remaining in character the entire time.
5. “Punishing” Roman Reigns
Hey, Roman Reigns, we know you’re the next John Cena, but we’re going to go ahead and stack the odds against you all the same. Here’s the situation: Roman Reigns gets a WWE World Heavyweight Title match, but he has to beat Sheamus in under five minutes and fifteen seconds (the length of time Reigns held the title at Survivor Series). And if he doesn’t win the match, Dean Ambrose won’t get a shot at the Intercontinental title at TLC, and The Usos won’t get to be part of the Triple Threat Match for the Tag Team titles either. Anyone who has watched wrestling for any amount of time knew exactly how this was going to end, right? And indeed, Roman won by disqualification, so he didn’t get the WWE World Heavyweight title, but that’s okay, he’s got a TLC match for it in just under two weeks anyway. And because he technically won, WWE won’t have to completely re-book the rest of the card for the Pay Per View, which is good, because like we said, there’s literally only one more Raw until TLC and they don’t have time to do something like that. Of course, the match was terrible, only lasted five minutes, and ended in the dumbest way possible (pulling Reigns out with 40 seconds to spare kind of destroyed the tension a nailbiting finish could have had), but hey, at least it didn’t change anything!
4. Questioning Charlotte’s Paternity
Seriously, is Charlotte actually the daughter of Ric Flair? Because while she apparently is learning to cheat like her daddy, the fact that she’s on the verge of losing yet another friend works in direct opposition to everything her father stood for, which was amassing a bunch of loyal friends to act as bodyguards for you and protect your title reign at all costs. In fact, given that there’s a distinct change that Becky turns on Charlotte as a result of all this (never mind that in a world where things make sense, Charlotte dumps Becky for being too nice and goes heel, which she’d be better at), Charlotte’s time in WWE is more resembling the career path of one of her father’s greatest enemies, Sting, who was known for trusting absolutely everyone and always being surprised when they stabbed him in the back. We’re not trying to insinuate anything, we’re just saying, Charlotte needs to start asserting her bloodline a little better.
3. The League Of Ordinary Gentlemen
All right, so Sheamus has officially assembled a crew of his own that is still connected to The Authority, but also seems somewhat independent. Such is the life of a heel in WWE. At any rate, a faction including the King of the Ring, the United States Champion, a formerly undefeated monster, and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion should probably be a dominant stable, right? Well, assuming you forget that Roman Reigns destroyed three of the four members last week on Raw. But hey, at least they destroyed Reigns tonight…in a match where they had to add The New Day to their side to make the odds 7-on-4 (presumably, Kevin Owens finally found a place to nap backstage where nobody could interrupt him, and thus was not asked to join in), took one of the Usos out of the match to give themselves an even bigger advantage, and still only barely won after Reigns nearly ran over the entire heel side multiple times! Here’s a fun historical fact for you: the original League of Nations was formed in the wake of the First World War with the intent of preventing global conflict, and was disbanded after being considered a dismal failure when it was unable to prevent the Second World War. We can’t help but feel there’s some weird parallels there.
But on the bright side, no more Mexamerica! Right?
2. Nothing’s Happening…It’s Over. A Lot Of People Look Pissed.
Once again, with only three weeks to build towards the TLC Pay Per View in total, and only two weeks remaining after last week’s aimless episode of Raw which accomplished nothing, WWE decided to put on a show where…almost nothing of value occurred. Yes, Sheamus officially formed the League of Nations, but we were already pretty sure that happened when Barrett and Rusev helped him last week. We’ll assume adding Del Rio counts as plot development in WWE’s eyes. Meanwhile, there were a bunch of matches that didn’t mean anything, most of the matches on the show were short and involved bad finishes (including a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title that was deliberately booked to be five minutes long and end poorly), the Intercontinental Champion was nowhere to be seen despite actually having a match already set for TLC, and the big main event match (which was only officially booked forty minutes before the end of Raw) was a long, slow journey to a finish that everyone saw coming and could have accomplished just as much by taking half as much time. Seriously, a 7-on-4 handicap match should not be that competitive, that’s the whole point of it.
1. Babyfaces Are Jerks And Heels Are Good People. Wait, What?
Roman Reigns attacked Sheamus from behind and stole his title, then played keep-away with Triple H while acting like a dick about giving back his stolen property. Ryback decided to slut-shame Rusev’s fiancee (way to Be a STAR, Ryback!) and then caused her to be injured during the match, for which Rusev was treated as a coward when he decided to tend to the woman he’s going to spend the rest of his life with rather than win a match that literally had no stakes. Paige spent an entire match on commentary warning everyone that Charlotte would cheat to beat Becky, was proven right, and then consoled Becky while Charlotte just blew her off. Sasha Banks beat Brie Bella in a match where everyone involved is a heel but the crowd likes Team BAD because they’re funny, and Brie Bella wrestled (and lost) the match like a babyface. Jack Swagger is a xenophobic Tea Party supporter who we’re supposed to cheer for. The Dudley Boyz escalated to bringing out personalized tables because The Wyatts beat them cleanly twice. Even Titus was technically trespassing in Stardust’s personal space. And we haven’t even covered the ridiculous “entertainment tabloid show” gimmick that Adam Rose is apparently using to make derogatory sexual statements about everyone. At least that last one, dumb as it was (and we had to share the video just to prove exactly how dumb it really was), involved a heel being a bad guy. Everything else, though, if you’d never watched wrestling before, you’d probably be confused about who the heroes of WWE are supposed to be. Hell, we’re lifelong wrestling fans, are we’re still not sure.