Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - The sad tale of the Stretcher Match and every other gimmick match I'd like to see retired, Roman Reigns and John Cena qualify, and Stephanie vomits
By Will Pruett
This may shock you, but the Stretcher Match concept does not entertain me. It isn't enjoyable. It's rarely good. It seems like a race someone would have on the playground, not an athletic contest. Because of how disappointing watching a Stretcher Match felt in my soul, I've decided to compile a (likely incomplete) list of the gimmick matches WWE needs to retire.
Stretcher Match: This is an easy first match on this list. The whole idea of the match is to cross an arbitrary line on the ground, but the wrestler does not have a set length of time for their opponent to ride the stretcher. John Cena demonstrated on this show that you just need to gingerly place one guy on the stretcher when it is at the line. It was boring on this show and it has never been interesting.
Last Man Standing Match: I've written extensively about my dislike of this stipulation, yet WWE goes back to it about four times every year. It's basically just watching a referee counting to nine and wrestlers slowly trying to stand after big moves. Let's retire this one and just have street fights.
Ambulance Match: It's much like a stretcher match, in that it is medical. Every so often, WWE breaks this one out (normally for John Cena) and the match is never entertaining. Once again, it's wrestlers fighting down the ramp to the ambulance and trying to place an opponent in the back of it. It's boring, in a medical way!
Dumpster Match: It's like a Casket Match (which is grandfathered into being acceptable because of The Undertaker), but with a Dumpster! This is why you should never watch it. It is, quite literally, trash.
Flag Match: We're only about five weeks away (this is a guess) between a Flag Match featuring Rusev (for Putin!). This is a preemptive strike against the idea of someone having to climb up a pole to get a flag for nationalistic pride. America is pretty cool, but why retrieve our flag from a corner of a wrestling ring?
Handicap Match: They just don't work, and in a fair universe where the wrestlers have equal chances of winning a match, they are illogical. A wrestler going into a Handicap Match is like a football team agreeing to play against two football teams at once. It doesn't work.
Lumberjack Match: Unless the wrestlers are dressed as Lumberjacks, I'm not okay with it.
_______ on a pole Match: Just don't have wrestlers shimmy up poles, please. It's not a pleasant sight and fans don't enjoy watching it.
Buried Alive Matches: With Undertaker likely done with wrestling (or only having one or two matches left in him), it's time to officially bury this match. The only difference is that this match is dead. It's been dead since 1998.
I'm sure there are others, but this is the list I can come up with right now. I'm all for brilliant match concepts, like the Championship Scramble, being used as often as possible.
And now for some random thoughts:
- WWE once again played to lower than the lowest common denominator with a segment involving vomit. It is not just gross, it's absurd. Roman Reigns (a good guy) basically roofied Stephanie and Triple H's coffee. Does he just walk around spiking the drinks of those around him? These are the types of things we see from John Cena that annoy everyone. It's not a good guy action and the results were downright embarrassing. Stay classy, WWE.
- WWE loves segments with all the wrestlers standing on the stage. It's strange to see how much they enjoy this spectacle.
- John Cena was taken from having a one-in-twenty chance to get into the WWE Championship Ladder Match to having a one-in-two chance to get into the match. This is hardly a punishment.
- What did Kane do after he walked onto the stage during the opening? Did he just turn around and walk back to his cave?
- Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler will always be a good match, but sadly, they have played it out in ten days time.
- I liked the Dean Ambrose run in and promo. Ambrose is extremely talented on the mic and it seems like WWE is really turning him loose.
- Ambrose vs. "Bad News" Barrett was a pretty fun match to watch. These two could have a great series together in the future.
- Dean Ambrose now has his own entrance music and is wearing jeans. I like the look and I didn't hate the music (we have yet to see him enter to it), but I'm amazed that WWE would separate him from Roman Reigns. Reigns needs Ambrose to speak for him. Ambrose can use the presence Reigns brings to enhance his own. Hopefully we haven't see the end of the symbiotic relationship.
- The first hour of Raw was really fun and very focused on big angles.
- Roman Reigns apparently uses his ample pocket space to carry roofies.
- Bray Wyatt's promo on this show was something straight out of TNA Impact Wrestling's script and playbook. Saying the WWE Championship randomly equates to power makes very little storyline sense. Look at Daniel Bryan's title reign; where was his power? Wyatt's promo was a random space filler on this show and it shouldn't have existed.
- Sheamus vs. Wyatt was a good match with yet another poor finish. WWE gave us three cheap finishes on a row. Why have these matches if there are no finishes available other than cheap ones? This is where squash matches actually worked on wrestling shows in the past. They allowed wrestlers to cleanly win. Clean wins would be nice.
- Heath Slater is entertaining, but the One Man Band was more exciting than the American Rock Star. Patriotism is cool, but being a delusional rock star is cooler.
- Rusev crush puny rock star.
- Maybe Kevin Hart shouldn't be on commentary.
- WWE's women continue to be misused. This shouldn't be a major shock, but it needs to be pointed out.
- The Battle Royal was pretty standard until we got to the final two with Roman Reigns and Rusev. I was surprised by how over this confrontation was and how over Rusev was in this moment. It was a fun final two.
- Paige won a random match quickly. Who is she again?
- The "Stardust" character is going to be really interesting. It was fun for one night, but I have to wonder what Cody Rhodes does as the character in the future. Does he keep this going longterm? Does it get over? I liked it for tonight and I like it more than a Rhodes Brothers feud, but how long can it last?
- John Cena vs. Kane was boring.
- Somehow Cena has made the stair throw a random normal spot in his standard match. I didn't think it was possible, but it is.
This show had a few nice moments and a few eventful happenings, but it was bogged down by WWE's ridiculous propensity for booking non-finishes and terrible comedy. WWE tends to take one step forward and two back with these issues. The main event filled me with a sense of dread for the whole episode as well, which didn't exactly help anything. A guaranteed-to-be-disappointing main event doesn't exactly propel fans through the show.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter @itswilltime.
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