WWE RAW Thoughts – July 18, 2016


I’m back, mo-fos! Vacation time was amazing, but we have a serious week in wrestling: last night’s Raw, tonight’s Smackdown draft that will hopefully change the landscape of WWE for the better, NXT, the Cruiserweight Championship series continuing (first episode was excellent), Battleground on Sunday, and then the new Raw and Smackdown programs the following two day. It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited to see and I’ve got a positive outlook.

I have to say, for the most part, I was really happy with Raw last night. Maybe it was the beer, wine and tequila shots with my buddy, but I think it was a good go-home show before the PPV and set up the draft for tonight well.

First off, I did not have Mick Foley as the new Raw GM even cross my mind as a possibility. I love it. The fans need a “good guy” to run things as if they had heels running Raw, I think it wouldn’t be beneficial at this point. The only thing I didn’t dig for this beginning segment with Foley being announced as the new GM was that the “heel” Stephanie McMahon character was running her mouth about things that we all know Foley would be against, so why did he shut his hole for most of the segment.

Daniel Bryan being the new GM for Smackdown was spoiled in advance, but it didn’t matter as the crowd was red hot and unless you’re dead, it put a smile on your face. Bryan seemed overwhelmed once again by the crowd’s love and appreciation for him, but it sure made for a memorable segment.

The interaction between Foley and Bryan backstage was also great. I really like that it seems like it will be a friendly rivalry to produce the better show, but that’s the key: there’s a rivialry. They want to prove their show is the must watch. I’d be floored if Smackdown ever overtakes Raw in the ratings, but I hope it happens to show that the need for the product and this much original programming is there. Once again, I’m looking at this as the glass half-full as I’m so hoping things go upward as the first half of this year has probably been the worst I’ve seen from a creative standpoint since the early 90s.

The announcement that the cruiserweight division is coming back to Raw is absolutely awesome. The CWC on the WWE Network has been great so far and I’m looking forward to a different style continuing on mainstream TV and WWE making new Superstars out of these guys. So pumped!

I understand the logistics behind Raw getting an extra draft pick for every two Smackdown gets. It’s a longer show, so they need more people on the roster. Wow. Something that makes sense!

The whole promo segment between Cena, Enzo & Cass, and The Club was awesome. I’m actually surprised that Enzo either took the risk or was allowed to say some of the things he did in the “PG” era, as if Brad Maddox could get fired for called the crowd a bunch of pricks, how on earth could Enzo be referencing fellatio without some kind of push-back?

Where the whole segment went sour for me was when The New Day came out happy and prancing after where we were to be left thinking they were actually intimidated or affected by their outside brawl with The Wyatt Family from the week before. Nope. Nothing. Cracking jokes and talking about fucking Pokemon. Ridiculous. I hope they get their asses beat on Sunday as I’m totally done with them on TV. I don’t want The Three Stooges as my tag-team champions.

The big match between the 12 men was OK, but it went too long. When you’re taking so many commercial breaks during the segment, too, you just are milking it without anything really happening. It WAS interesting, though, to see Enzo hitting Cena by accident to make you question if everyone was on the same page leading into Sunday’s match. As well, after Cena making himself look like an out-of-touch nob during Enzo and Cass’ promo, it makes me want to see both of them turn on Cena on Sunday – which won’t happen.

I want Dana Brooke and Charlotte to be separated after the draft. There’s just no chemistry or believable relationship between the two. Charlotte needs even more mic time to berate the fans and other wrestlers because she’s getting damn good at it. She doesn’t need a sidekick.

Darren Young beats Del Rio? Really? I’m all for advancing talent, but wrong person to lose to him. This is the guy that a year ago beat Cena clean in the ring in 8 minutes and is a former WWE Champion, but he loses to Young in five minutes? Piss off. You know Young is getting the belt on Sunday with this shit – and good for him, but it’s just the wrong approach to booking him (same goes for how he won the Battle Royal the week before).

Speaking of weird booking, the Ambrose/Rollins match was great but what I still hate is WWE having to take commercial breaks during important matches. When they do that it just takes you out of the “anything could happen” feeling you’re supposed to have, especially watching a championship match.

To make things even more fucked up, the ending with the double shoulders down was a good way out, but every adult, including the ref, not making a decision and acting confused didn’t need to happen. Foley is the new GM and all he needed to do was go in there and say “the match is a draw” or that there was no winner and talk with Daniel Bryan to make a rematch on Smackdown. Boom. Done. Easy. What did WWE do? They announced that Ambrose was still the champ on the WWE network and their website without letting their audience know. Thanks to tequila, I went to bed right after thinking there was a new champ, but didn’t read there wasn’t until this morning.

The rest of the program was decent and I really didn’t find too much to bitch about. Maybe it’s the summer vacation and maybe it was the deliciousness, but I enjoyed last night’s program! Here’s to a potentially good new era of Smackdown!