It’s easy to play fantasy booker and find holes in WWE storylines. But sometimes an episode of Raw is bad, and I find myself wondering how someone approved this writing. The Raw after a “special event” (the replacement verbiage for “pay-per-view”) is generally when storylines are advanced and/or reset, and the upcoming direction for Money In The Bank isn’t looking so great.
Here are some of the new developments that have me scratching my head:
– Roman Reigns is still a babyface. How is this possible? Roman is getting booed in almost every city I remember. By association, he got The Usos heavily booed at Extreme Rules. Going back two Royal Rumbles, he got The Rock booed. The WWE regularly changes creative during a live Raw broadcast, so why is Roman Reigns as the top guy the one concept that the WWE is committed to?
– Seth Rollins came back to massive reactions at both Extreme Rules and tonight’s Raw. So why did he turn heel mid-promo tonight? He is now feuding as a heel against Roman Reigns, an unintentional heel. With John Cena still out of action, and A.J. Styles moved back down to the mid-card, there isn’t a proper top babyface in place for Money In The Bank. Even if Seth Rollins was a babyface for just one or two months before resuming his heel run, there would still be plenty of merchandise to sell.
– A.J. Styles being back on the mid-card is also questionable. The reactions that he got on the last two “special events,” paired with the quality of the matches from those events, show that he is an undeniable main eventer. He does not need a title to be working at the top of the card. He is the rare talent that is over organically. He got “this is awesome” chants during tonight’s match with Kevin Owens that cannot be disputed.
– Charlotte dumping Ric Flair on tonight’s episode of Raw made little sense. He helped her win a lot of her recent matches via interference. She is coming out to his theme song. She was coming to the ring wearing a Ric Flair robe often in recent months. It’s also public knowledge that there is a book in the works about their father-daughter relationship. And that Ric Flair is getting his own E:60 episode in the near-future. The only way that this would make sense would be that Ric had to be written off to give him a break from the road, or that he had other professional obligations.
– Dana Brooke being paired with Charlotte also made little sense. Presumably this pairing came about due to Emma’s unexpected injury right before Dana Brooke’s in-ring debut on Raw. Her Ric Flair strut is embarrassing, and I don’t think it was meant to be of the so-bad-it’s-good variety. Charlotte doesn’t need a mouthpiece as she’s great on the mic. Charlotte is also bigger than Dana Brooke, so she wouldn’t need an enforcer. Dana Brooke would be better used in squash matches within the women’s ranks to show that she’s dominant.
– Apollo Crews was made to look weak tonight. Prior to tonight, Apollo Crews was primarily seen as part of enhancement matches, showing him as a smiley, athletic and dominant performer. Tonight, he was attacked by Sheamus and then lost to Chris Jericho. Had he been part of a feud, it would be normal for him to lose, but neither of these events did anything to advance his character or bring him into a new storyline.
– Dean Ambrose wrestling Dolph Ziggler didn’t make a lot of sense. Both of them are babyfaces, for starters. If the point of this match was to put Dean Ambrose over so he could qualify for a Money In The Bank match, wasn’t there a competitive heel character available to lose? Baron Corbin? Alberto Del Rio? Someone from The Club?
– The Shining Stars had another vignette which didn’t provide any character development. Prior to their debut match on Raw last week, The Shining Stars appeared to be easy-going babyfaces. During their terribly-received promo, they appeared to still be babyfaces, then began wrestling like heels instantly. If tonight’s vignette called out a babyface tag team, made reference to their hatred of Baltimore, or denounced Americans’ ignorance of Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory, then their heel status would have been more clear.
– The U.S. Title was not spotlighted or defended on Raw. There was a title change at Extreme Rules, as Rusev won the title from Kalisto. Kalisto sold an injury at the end of the match, but Rusev was not. The U.S. Title continues to be dragged through the mud, even though John Cena had successfully elevated it after winning it from Rusev.
In spite all of these complaints, there are still interesting and positive things happening within WWE programming. Enzo Amore returned much quicker than expected. Kevin Owens and A.J. Styles put on an excellent match. Cesaro had a great match like usual. NXT is still fun to watch. The WWE Network show hosted by Edge and Christian is genuinely-funny. The Cruiserweight Classic tournament has great buzz behind it. So many great things coming from the same people that continue to keep Roman Reigns at the top of the card…
In turn, I look forward to DVR-ing my way through yet another week of Monday Night Raw.