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WWE fighting a losing battle: With itself

wweThe siege of WWE Monday Night Raw smells of a jump the shark moment for the company, which is struggling to find its way creatively of late.

Some of what WWE faces is just bad luck, in the form of a viral outbreak that put stars Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt on the shelf for the TLC pay-per-view Sunday night, and forced the insertion of Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles as last-minute additions to make the card at all watchable.

Styles, filling in for Wyatt against Finn Balor, naturally stole the show, while Angle, subbing for Reigns in the three-on-five main event, was meh, which was to be expected for a guy who hasn’t worked in-ring forever.

Grafting Angle into the main event as part of The Shield made no sense whatsoever in terms of storyline, and it spoiled the seemingly inevitable return of Angle to the ring, with no buildup, nothing, just, bam, we’re in a tight spot, Kurt, help us out.

The Styles-Balor match also felt like a good match spoiled, again with no buildup, for what should have been saved for down the line, getting the two leaders of the Bullet Club into the ring for their long-awaited WWE showdown.

Instead, what we got was a decent match with a surprisingly clean finish for Balor, which is nice for his push, if you can call what Balor has been getting of late, in his nonsense feud with Wyatt, a push.


Now to the buildup for Survivor Series, if the #undersiege flatulence that we saw last night on Raw can be called a buildup.

Angle, as GM, joining with The Shield for a three-on-five match made no sense from a storyline perspective because he hadn’t been engaged in their back-and-forth other than helping set the terms.

And now we’re being asked to buy heels and faces from Smackdown aiming their spears not at each other but instead at the Raw roster?

This is trying way, way, way too hard to get a dumb gimmick over. And trying to create conflict between Smackdown and Raw for the purposes of Survivor Series is a dumb gimmick.

I was liking the push to have title vs. title matches on that show. It felt like some of what those of us old-timers who watched wrestling back in the territory days used to like when we’d see the AWA champ defend his belt in a title vs. title match against the champ from World Class or the champ from Mid-South.

When the final segment on Raw last night was starting to play itself out, I immediately thought back to the nWo invasion, but not the good part, when Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were The Outsiders, and you didn’t know where things were going, and it was exciting as a result, because wrestling is at its bests when you don’t know where something is going.

No, this nWo throwback was to when the gimmick had already been massively overplayed, and Eric Bischoff was throwing a T-shirt at everybody on the roster, and had the black and white against the black and red, the crappy final days that helped usher in the end of WCW.

So, where this goes from here is, the Raw roster will get its revenge on an upcoming Smackdown, and beat down its stars backstage, boring, predictable.

Then we draft teams to represent the two sides, then we have the match, somebody wins, who cares, we’re on to the next shows on Monday and Tuesday, and the rosters start feuding amongst themselves again, like Survivor Series never happened.

Whoever had this dumb idea for this year’s Survivor Series needs some time off.

(Looking squarely at you, Mr. MeekMahan.)

No wonder the talent is peeling off for the indy circuit. They’re getting paid less (due to lost royalties from pay-per-view and DVD sales), working just as hard, traveling just as much, the stuff they’re being asked to do is not getting over, based on declining TV ratings and live gates, and it seems clear that no one in the office cares.

Unfortunately, we only have more of the same to look forward to for the foreseeable future.

Column by Chris Graham

  • Robert Rettger

    Ah but what if NXT decides to do an invasion of smackdown and throw it’s hat into survivor series. The twist being raw then invades nxt instead of smackdown. This could be a superstar shake up move

    • I’d like to see WWE treat NXT more as its own equal brand than how it’s treated now, as the minor league feeder. I personally like the weekly NXT show 10 times more than either of the main weekly shows, because of how it is booked.
      I don’t know that Vince McMahon will ever want to see it given that level of prominence, though, and maybe that is a good thing. As long as it is treated as developmental, he lets Triple H run it the way he wants to. Once it is an equal third brand, Vince will start booking it like he does Raw and Smackdown, which will suck for NXT fans.