WWE Raw Thoughts – May 23, 2016


I’m going to do a really condensed version of my thoughts on Raw as there were some things that were set up for the next few weeks of TV, but not enough for me to do a lengthy blurb about. I’ll also mention that my thoughts don’t follow the order in which things happened on TV.

I loved the energy in the building when Seth Rollins’ music hit and he came out. WWE could have really capitalized on Rollins’ return and created one of the biggest babyfaces in a long time IF they managed the segment properly (and the build to the Money in the Bank PPV). Instead, what did they do? They had Rollins turn on the crowd so they could still position Reigns as their top babyface. It’s not going to work, WWE. You saw this kind of forced booking with Daniel Bryan but Vince still can’t give up his initial vision.

The dynamic for this feud will be quite interesting as I know WWE Creative will try and do anything to get Rollins over as a heel, but I don’t think the anti-Reigns crowd will buy into it.

The Money in the Bank qualifiers have started. Here are the quick notes:

  • Cesaro beat The Miz to qualify, although on Smackdown, WWE’s flip flop booking had The Miz retain his IC Belt in a rematch.
  • Sami Zayn won over Sheamus in a great TV match. I dug how Shaemus sold the frustration afterwards.
  • Chris Jericho beat Apollo Crews (who the crowd still has no connection to and at least he got laid out by Sheamus before the match due to his frustration of losing the aforementioned match)
  • Dean Ambrose got a needed win to get into the Money in the Bank match, but it was at the expense of poor Dolph Zigger who still needs something meaningful to do.
  • AJ Styles lost to Kevin Owens? I’m so curious as to why. Will Styles somehow get another shot? Who will he feud with? I’m glad that Owens got into the match as I think he’ll be the one that wins this thing, but did it need to be at the expense Styles – unless the frustration is going to be a selling point with Styles .

Speaking of AJ Styles, I don’t think the break-up of The Club was necessary. Sure, it gave AJ an excuse, but the “heroes” aren’t supposed to be whining. I don’t think the WWE audience was given enough of these three working together to make this split mean anything and it came off like that on TV. Supposedly on Smackdown and according the spoilers, Gallows and Anderson team up with Sheamus? So are these guys heels now? There hasn’t been enough storytelling or setting up these characters (and others).

Holy crap…Baron Corbin’s backstage promo with Ziggler was horrid. A paper bag could have given a promo with more life.

The Vaudevillains win a championship shot through a tournament, they lose in six minutes on the PPV and they aren’t anywhere on the program the next night? Can someone tell me why? I don’t miss them, but it makes no sense to me.

The New Day give another boring comedy skit and their match with athletes that should be some competition is a write-off. I feel bad for Heath Slater. I really do.

Charlotte’s promo to her father, Ric Flair, was great as she showed emotion and I like how she dealt with the crowd. I’m glad Dana Brooke is partnered with her now, as it’ll help elevate Dana. Unfortunately the whole reason Charlotte should be getting rid of her dad is to show that she can be THE woman to beat in WWE. Now she has another lackey that will provide WWE Creative more overbooking to women’s matches with run-ins, DQs and interference instead of just letting the women focus on wrestling and a story.

As I’m going to publish this, it has been announced that Smackdown will be broadcasted live on Tuesday nights starting on July 19th and will feature (according to the press release) “a distinct cast, unique story lines, and a dedicated writing team.” I guess a brand split is coming and a draft will have to be held. I’m not sure how WWE Creative will pull this off effectively when their current building of characters during a three hour Raw isn’t working as well as it should. I’ll look at it as the glass half full: I enjoy the live TV environment and it may give others new opportunities.