WWE Raw Thoughts – August 22, 2016
Not even 24 hours away from Summerslam and Finn Balor winning the first ever WWE Universal Championship, news broke that Balor’s shoulder was injured to the point that it would require surgery and he would be out at least six months. WWE had to think of a plan to move forward…and quick. Were they successful? Hell no.
After Balor relinquished the title in a classy, emotional fashion, Seth Rollins marched to the ring with the expectation that he’d have the belt handed to him. From there we had many wrestlers show up in the ring wanting a shot at the newly revealed and vacant title. What we got was a clusterfuck start to the show.
You’re tell me that WWE wasn’t smart enough to tell the viewers straight off the bat how they were going to handle the situation instead of having a bunch of wrestlers in the ring shouting at each other while the authority figures looked confused? Instead we were told that Rollins would face Sami Zayn to start a series of matches that would culminate somehow next week in crowning a new champ.
It took them until after the third commercial break to actually explain to people that the winners of matches (that we really didn’t know too much about) would face off in a fatal four way (yawn) to crown a new champ. Some of the people in these matches just didn’t make any sense. Let’s take a look at the participants and the winners who will square off next week…
Like I said, Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins faced off. It looked like Zayn got hurt early (real or not), but fought through the ankle injury to pull off a decent TV match and looked strong. Rollins got the win to move forward, but there wasn’t any doubt from the get-go that Rollins would move forward.
Next we had Kevin Owens face off against Neville. Now, I’m all for Nevelle and want him in a meaning feud and story line – perhaps for the US Title now that, for some fucking stupid reason, Reigns and Rusev and their feud over it seemed to magically disappear last night. What I don’t get is what has Neville done to be put into a match for an opportunity for the new championship? Once again, you knew who was going to win this one immediately and Owens won to receive his spot in next week’s match.
Later on, Big Cass went against Rusev. Why is Big Cass getting a shot? Why not Enzo? This makes no sense! What made even less sense was the way this match ended. Yes, Rusev supposedly had hurt ribs but there’s no fucking way Rusev would walk away and lose a match by count out with a chance of capturing Raw’s main title next week. Why would ANYONE walk away!? It makes Rusev look weak when all they’ve been trying to do is trying to rebuild him as a monster. Ridiculous, stupid, and lazy booking and writing. That means Big Cass is in the match next week.
The last match, and show closer, was Chris Jericho vs. Roman Reigns. I guess Reigns isn’t in the doghouse anymore as this is the third Raw in a row he’s been in the main event, closing the show with boos from the audience. There was no doubt, again, who was winning this match but at least Jericho made it believable that he was a threat with some good offense and near falls.
So on next week’s Raw we have Reigns vs. Rollins vs. Owens vs. Big Cass for the WWE Universal Championship. You know that it’s really between two people: Reigns and Rollins. I see Rollins winning this to try and have the fans back Reigns’ quest to capture the belt again. Any moron will tell you it will backfire as the majority of people will back Rollins while the kids back Reigns. Maybe WWE will surprise me and let Owens win this thing, but then again, there are probably better odds of me winning the lottery on Friday.
This whole tournament, booking of it, and deciding who was in these matches was a mess and it was like the end of WCW booking where it seemed like no one knew what the hell was happening until five minutes before we knew. I know that TV probably had to be re-written quickly due to Balor’s injury (and therefore probably the booking of some of the wrestlers’ road maps for the next few months), but there were some serious oversights with this and I don’t know if there are people in WWE Creative asking the question “why?” I understand there is a lot of pressure when this happens but if people who aren’t “professional sports entertainment writers” could come up with many different scenarios (including not rushing to get a new champ and set up a full roster tournament bracket over a few weeks), why can’t these guys?
Speaking of questioning decisions, where the hell were Cesaro and Sheamus on the show?!?!? They’re in a best of seven tournament for a shot at a championship and a) neither men were in a qualifying match and b) they didn’t have their next match on the show?!?!?? WHY?
On a more positive note, the best thing of the night was Bayley’s debut on the main roster. If they play her story right – the underdog overcoming all odds to finally capture the woman’s title, they’ll have the fans hooked. They need to look at how she was booked in NXT and transfer that to the main roster. They should NOT put belt on her within a month and have Charlotte (who is still one of the best on Raw on the mic) cheat and weasel her way out of every match until Wrestlemania to build her character and story.
The crowd was so hot for Bayley and it was a great debut. I also liked that her match with Dana Brook wasn’t just one-sided and it was so appropriate for Bayley to get the win.
So, Anderson and Galllows aren’t wearing their stupid coats anymore, but they still can’t pull off a win against The New Day in tag or singles competition?!? How are we supposed to take this team seriously or look at them as a threat? WWE Creative have basically buried them since they came on the main roster. So what do they do next when no one will take them seriously? They attack the supposedly departing Dudleys! Does that mean the Dudleys aren’t going anywhere yet? Who cares as the Dudleys have lost every match this past year in less than four minutes and The Club aren’t a threat because they’ve basically lost everything they’ve been in, too. Bad writing and bad booking = people not giving a shit.
The last thing that I need to bitch about from this messy and disappointing show is the absence of Brock Lesnar. It was teased by Stephanie McMahon that Lesnar crossed the line by putting his hands on Shane and there would be ramifications. Why? She hates her brother! She should be applauding this…but that’s WWE TV logic and continuity for you.
Not only was that a mess, you’re telling me that your “main attraction” that just closed one of their biggest shows of the year in a controversial way was nowhere to be seen on the follow up show? Stephanie didn’t even deal out what her “ramification” was either. This makes no sense!!! Fuck Lesnar. I don’t want him on TV anymore as he shows up, does his few moves, makes his couple of millions of dollars, and then sits at home for months. People should be irate about this! How do you NOT follow up on this angle the next night on TV? I’d so like to be a fly on the wall during WWE Creative meetings because maybe then I’d understand the decisions made to make the programming suck. What an f’n mind boggling show.