Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts - our own "hits and misses" version of last night's show. If you've got questions, comments, or opinions, be sure to hit us up with them @RingRap or on Facebook at facebook.com/RingRap. We'll discuss your thoughts on the air tomorrow night as we record episode 126 of RingRap Audio.
1. Failed Logic Brings Acceptable Results:
They really messed up the logic to get to this main event match, and I'll break that down in another point. But, the match was the best part of this show, as all six men put in a good effort. They built well to Cena getting the hot tag, and the crowd popped the most it had all night for that moment. In all it left the fans go home happy from what was otherwise a disappointing show.
2. Not Scared of the Juggernaut:
Another soft hit. WWE did well to book two of the better SummerSlam rematches for next week's show, which goes head to head with the return of Monday Night Football. They could have made this a home run by actually bothering to make these matches feel important in some way.
We got some tease for Orton and Reigns, and we got a Bray Wyatt promo. Chris Jericho was involved in the main event, and never addressed the cage match. I, along with a lot of others smarter than me about this business, hoped for more from Jericho and Wyatt and we never got it. It's been a letdown feud lacking strong angles and mic work that we all thought might happen. The entire Wyatt family has been de-pushed to the mid card it seems and WWE can't figure out how in a three hour sports entertainment jamboree to position a program that has more promise properly.
3. Extending an Invitation:
C'mon, WWE. Do you really think we're dumb enough to believe that you have something set up here with Michael Sam?
If indeed that's the case, then this could be a hit, but I am highly skeptical. This is a huge publicity stunt on WWE's part. The repeated invitations to the former St. Louis Ram Michael Sam were not welcome and turned me off as well. Worse yet, I am praying they don't have Damien Sandow do a horrible impersonation of Sam on next week's broadcast.
I don't even think the announcers (and WWE by proxy) understand this situation. They say they want Sam to have an "open mic" to say what's on his mind, and JBL even asked for Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner) to attend also and debate Sam. For what?!? Goodell to my knowledge has never criticized Sam, the seventh round pick of the St. Louis Rams who was cut.
Sam has come out and made some public statements after being cut being very complimentary of the Rams' organization and his experience there. I guess WWE thinks he should feel slighted and should come on Raw to vent? This is a disaster waiting to happen and any publicity WWE gets based off of it certainly will not be positive. It's a pathetic headline grab.
(Worth pointing out, ProWrestling.net is reporting that Sam is undergoing a physical with the Dallas Cowboys and may land on their practice squad, so this is really a bad PR stunt by WWE now.)
4. Phoning it In...
Talk about a half-assed setup. As we know from the top of the show, Triple H threatened to revoke John Cena's title shot. Cena's legal threat was dumb to begin with, then throughout the night we kept hearing how his title shot was hanging in the balance for Night of Champions. But, they were running promo storyboards for Cena vs. Lesnar throughout the show! Heyman's promo was good, but even he focused on Cena as being Lesnar's next opponent. Eye-rolling material inconsistencies right here.
There were so many easy ways out of this. Book the match so that the man who gets the pin gets the title shot. That could have created pinfall breakups and tension between all six men. They could have had backstage exchanges that created tension between Jericho, Reigns and Cena because they wanted to take his shot at the title away. But they did none of that.
WWE phoned this show in hard, and this was a prime example.
5. Too Long, but Point Made:
I thought the opening segment really overstayed its welcome. They could have gotten to the same point with about five minutes' less time. That said this segment was a soft hit. The star power was there, and Jericho and Triple H verbally sparring was fun. Roman Reigns calling Randy Orton's bluff was good too.
The segment lost me when Cena came out. He threatened legal action if he didn't get the match at Night of Champions, which falls flat on its face for me. Triple H mocking him was right and that's a problem when you consider Cena is the top babyface in the company.
6. Go Away Bella...
What a disaster the "Growing Up Bella" segments were. WWE has so many talented mid-card workers, both male and female, they could be giving productive television time to. In turn, WWE would get a much better "return on investment" out of those talents. Instead, we get what has to be the worst feud in the history of wrestling as the Bella Twins break up (on TV at least). I am baffled at the amount of television time and attention this is getting.
The "black screen" segments with Nikki left me confused - was I supposed to be sympathetic to her for having endured such behavior? Nikki didn't look like an awful person and told somewhat believable stories (the model year of the car was a bust if you do the math) that Brie never disputed. The live crowd hated it, as evidenced by the "boring" chants. Stephanie McMahon bigfooted right over the two women in AJ and Paige who CAN work and if given a chance and some sound creative put on an entertaining women's feud in order to put the Bellas right out front and center.
I'm so frustrated with this. It's bad, it has well run past its course, and needs to be done away with.
7. He Could Sell Ice to Eskimos!
I gave a minor hit to the match featuring Jimmy Uso and Goldust, but it's really for how Jey Uso sold the attack by the Dust Brothers. The match was fine, but when Stardust hit him with the chair after the match, he screamed and actually looked like the blow hurt. He did a great job selling it, which is something we see so little of at this level.
The one drawback is that WWE quickly moved on to the Dean Ambrose injury angle, which took some of the energy off of this. Should have went to commercial, guys.
8. You Had One Minute, and You Still Made it Suck!
What was the point to the six-diva tag match featuring Eva Marie, Cameron and Rosa Mendes vs. Summer Rae, Layla and Naomi? Surely with their production ability (see Brock Lesnar promos) WWE could have run a one minute video package instead of this abomination of a match. They had one minute, and dammit if they didn't find a way to create a minute full of suck.
9. Wrong Way to Use Him...
Bo Dallas is a character gaining traction with me. That said, having three random people who are allegedly hurting in various ways because Swagger lost to Rusev was just too far fetched and didn't work for me. Let him and Colter go back and forth on the mic - it will work much better.
This show was a travesty last night. It's clear that Vince McMahon puts all of his effort into the top of the card, and absolutely none into what is a talented mid- and undercard. He has guys and gals on that roster that can work in the ring. But last night's show was handcuffed by putting six top guys into a main event tag. It left them exposed with characters that are far too thin and one dimensional to be believable, two sisters getting way more television time than they need for a story no one gives two shits about, and a whole lot of filler. From my standpoint, it made the show an incredibly hard to watch marathon.
Let's just hope next week it gets better. WWE went into this same slump last fall and it seems we're headed there again without shaking things up.
Be sure to watch for RingRap Audio to drop tomorrow evening late, where we'll discuss Raw, the Brock Lesnar title run, and a whole lot more. Hit us up with your topics as well!