Monday, October 19, 2015

Is Raw simply background noise?

A1 poster, The Sock, put the question to us this way, "Is RAW mostly background noise for you these days?"  I think it's an excellent question and the timing makes perfect sense as we've entered our post-SummerSlam/pre-Royal Rumble swoon and ratings have continued to tumble. 

There's a lot to unpack here, but ultimately I have to say my answer is "Yes, absolutely."  In that very thread I responded this way, "Yes, I look at social media and discuss the show more than I actually sit and really watch it.".  This is very true too.  I sit in front of my TV and watch Raw from its beginning through to its bitter end.  How much do I pay attention to it?  Not a lot.  Last week's episode was probably the worst for me in a while.  I may have really watched about five minutes of it total. 

The question is, "Why is that?"  Well, I'm far from a WWE hater (or WWE fanboy, regardless what you've heard), but some of the criticisms are well-placed:
  • Repeated matchups
  • Tired format
  • Show is too long
  • Talented guys not getting elevated (Hello, Cesaro!)
  • Disastrous WWE Title run for Seth Rollins
There are certainly other factors, but these are the biggest.  Let's take a closer look at each issue:
  • Repeated matchups--Because the day and age of squash matches is long gone, we are forced to watch the same guys (most stuck on the midcard treadmill) do basically the same thing week after week.  What's worse is most of these programs stretch across multiple PPVs/special shows so it really compounds the issue.  
  • Tired format--To me, this is one of the biggest issues.  The layout of the show itself is so repetitive that it makes it not seem worthwhile to watch anymore.  You know you're getting your 18 minute talking segment to open the show and set the matches.  You know that Seth Rollins is going to be forced either then or later to deliver an unnecessary long promo.  You know you'll get multiple backstage discussions that further the story along or whatever.  It just feels like the same show week in and week out and it gets to be a grind.
  • Show is too long--Speaking of a grind, a wrestling show needs to be a heck of a lot better than Raw has been if you want people to devote three hours to it each and every Monday night.  I know the third hour is going nowhere due to financial reasons, but creatively it would improve the show tremendously.
  • Talented guys not getting elevated--We can continue to give people a hard time for getting butthurt over their favorites not getting elevated, we can continue to give them a  hard time for improperly using the term "buried," but there is something to be said that WWE has done "less with more" as it relates to a lot of their talent.
  • Disastrous WWE Title run for Seth Rollins--All these other issues with Raw would be much more easily forgivable if the top programs were HOT.  Unfortunately, they are absolutely not.  The booking of their top title and champion is the easiest way to see this.  Rollins has gone beyond just being a chickenbleep heel and has become a non-factor in the ring and it's frustrating.  If your champ and your top title don't matter, then what does?  The answer in a lot of fans' minds is, "None of this."
There are other issues that have caused Raw to be less than compelling TV.  Some of those things I am going to get into later and they relate to John Cena and my guy, Roman Reigns.

Hopefully Raw snaps out of its funk tonight, but I do not have high hopes.  Otherwise, we desperately need Royal Rumble season to get here.  Then maybe something worthwhile will finally happen.