WWE Raw: Ready. . .(Re)Set. . .Go!
Sunday, July 20th, 2008
It took a (long) while for WWE to react to slumping ratings and buy rates, but at the very least, the past few weeks have made for some fresh, interesting television. That's a good thing, however, at the same time, it's too much, too fast, too soon. . .
Real life has prevented me from seeing as much current pro wrestling as I'd like. I usually see Raw and ECW each week, DVR TNA and Smackdown to burn onto a DVD later on. A few random thoughts from what I've seen and those I shoot the breeze with within the company. . .
Loved the idea of hot-shotting CM Punk right to the top of Raw. Absolutely hate the idea doing it within the same 24 hour timeframe that Kofi Kingston won the IC Title and Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes won the tag team title. To make it simple, too much too soon. . .
Punk's win should have been a show long celebration. . .replays and highlights at the beginning of each segment coming back from a commercial break to let fans know they saw (or possibly missed) something BIG. Instead, it was thrown in there with Kofi's huge upset over Chris Jericho to win the IC Title a week or so after coming to Raw from ECW, and less than a day after Cody Rhodes turned on Bob Holly to "win" (or change championship partners) with DiBiase Jr. I like the heel pairing. . .
There is no arguing that Raw needed to be overhauled. Big time. All four major league weekly wrestling programs feel like you're watching the same thing each and every week. . .again. . .and again. . .and again. . .and again. You get the point. The biggest negative was moving Michael Cole over to the Raw program as lead announcer. Yuck. The guy has been with the company over ten years, still cannot call a match with sincere emotion in his voicetone. He's a terrible salesman for the product he's selling. Smackdown was really given an adrenaline rush with the talent they picked up and having Jim Ross call the action. But. . .it shows the lack of depth in the announcing department right now. They're looking for "storytellers." Unfortunately, they have two guys that absolutely suck doing play by play, and the color guy on the "A" show is way past his prime. . .
I'm all for change, but this should have been broken up over two or three months instead of 24 hours. Each title change and each wrestlers elevation made less of an impact as a result. That's not a good thing. While the TV shows aren't worth going out of your way to see, the upper card on their PPV's have been excellent in 2008. Problem is there's too much sizzle and not nearly enough steak in the build up of the PPV's. It's fine and a positive to have a "draft" each year and freshen things up, the bigger problem is that WWE needs to invest more in it's roster and add ten or so guys to each roster so it's not so boring. . .so you're not seeing the same guys each and every week. . .over and over and over and over again. Why does Undertaker stay hot and actually deliver PPV buys when he returns?? He's in and out, not on TV every week.
Variety. Look at the Monday Night Wars. Insiders laughed at WCW for having so many guys under contract they never used, and it was a joke for the most part. Bad booking aside, WCW had the ability to keep Nitro and Thunder fresher than they did instead of doing it with the same old, same old that eventually killed them. Every Monday, you never knew who you were going to see pop up on your television set. In 2008, you know exactly who you're going to see barring an injury. . .
What WWE did wasn't a bad thing at all, it was the way and the timeline in which it was executed. Make people feel and remember the moment. Title change should have meaning and value. The elevation of new stars should be exciting with strong angles. In my opinion, WWE shot themselves in the foot in exchange to hot shot. . .