By Will Pruett
Full disclosure: To retain his sanity, Will Pruett watches the 90 minute edit of Raw on Hulu. He has no regrets.
Break ups are always awkward. We’ve all had to send the weird “I’m actually breaking up with you” text to someone we once cared about. We’ve had to pick up our phones and make an actual phone call at times. Most of us (but never me) have even been forced to break up with someone in person (I hear it’s pretty lame). This episode of Raw featured a couple breakups I’d love to look at.
First up is Charlotte’s breakup with her father “Drunk Uncle” Ric Flair. Charlotte was praised by her father for finding her own Arn Anderson type in “Enforcer” Dana Brooke. As he handed the microphone over to Charlotte, a sense of impending doom set in. Something negative was about to occur.
This reminded me of a time I was summoned to a newly ex-girlfriend’s home because she was distraught. I walked in and told her we were not getting back together. She proceeded to cry and plead for me to reconsider. I decided against doing so and, like the heartless jerk I am, had to leave. While Ric did the leaving here, it played out in a similar fashion.
Charlotte’s breakup with Ric is an overall positive for her, WWE, and the women’s division, but it was executed in a poor manner. WWE didn’t build up to this breakup. They didn’t make me want to see it as a fan. They didn’t do the work leading to it and the breakup lacks impact because of it. I went through almost a year with this particular crying human. I earned my breakup. WWE didn’t.
A.J. Styles’ breakup with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson was akin to another breakup in my life (because who doesn’t love reading about my breakups instead of wrestling?). Sadly, I was not the one doing the breaking here and I ended up rather broken up after. My heart was all sad and things as my Facebook relationship status changed to “It’s Complicated” with this particular person. She wanted to still be friends. I knew it would hurt too much to do so.
She was the A.J. Styles to my Gallows and Anderson. While I knew I wanted to relationship to go on, I also knew I couldn’t bear just being friends. This is the message Gallows and Anderson were conveying. They put on a brave face, but I assume they walked backstage and had a big cry. After all, they were betrayed.
It’s rare to see one breakup on Raw. Seeing two was quite the shock. It made me wistful for the pre-marriage days of breaking up and weeping while watching the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice wondering if I would ever find my Mr. Darcy…
And now for some random thoughts:
– It was quite nice to have Seth Rollins’ gravel-enriched voice ringing in my ears on a Monday night. Seth’s promo opening Raw was a nice way to play into the crowd’s eagerness to applaud him and then turn the crowd against him. It worked. Seth interacting with Shane and Stephanie McMahon throughout the show worked as well. Rollins vs. Reigns feels like a big match.
– Some folks are upset about Seth Rollins returning as an antagonist, but it makes the most sense. Seth never had his redemptive moment before he left. He never had the story we anticipated including a match against Triple H. Seth never actually turned. I understand wanting to cheer him, but a feud against Roman Reigns essentially gives fans permission to. I enjoy Seth being a consistent personality before and after his injury.
– Also, a WWE roster lacking in top heels had no reason to have a former top heel return in a babyface role. It would have been completely illogical.
– The Money in the Bank match looks to be very fun with Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, and Chris Jericho involved. The weak link in this one seems to be Jericho, who showed us again on this show just how slow he can go.
– Sami Zayn getting a win over Sheamus would have seemed like a much bigger deal in December than it does today.
– An Apollo Crews and Sheamus feud could bring some actual personality out of Apollo. I want to see him get angry.
– Cesaro finally getting a win over The Miz made me happy. I love Miz as the current Intercontinental Champion and hope WWE doesn’t change course with him anytime soon. It will be interesting to see what Miz does with his three challengers from the last couple months in the Money in the Bank match. Will Miz be as compelling with different opponents?
– Enzo’s return was left off of Hulu Raw. Sad times.
– The “State of the Women’s Division” segment turned out to be a segment about Ric Flair. This is horrifying. WWE has done very little with their roster of women since WrestleMania and it is quite disappointing.
– I am always okay with watching A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens.
– Owens is my current prediction to win the coveted golden briefcase/permanent carry-on bag. Owens is the type of wrestler I see taking full advantage of the bragging rights Money in the Bank offers. It’s also a way for him to eventually be conquered by Sami Zayn, but still have something important he holds on to.
– Last night I saw a ton of concern about A.J. Styles losing two nights in a row and thus being buried. This is absurd. Styles was in the main event on Raw and the main event of Extreme Rules. He lost two fantastic matches and the crowd was behind him. Styles isn’t being buried in any way. Is there regression in his presentation? Yes. He isn’t main eventing Money in the Bank (which we all know). This isn’t a burial. It’s the natural flow of storytelling.
This was a decently action packed episode of Raw. The Rollins return and the double breakups helped to move the verbal portion of the show into “good” territory. The Money in the Bank qualifiers were quite fun and they carried Raw to being a very good 90 minute show. Yay!
Got thoughts on this show or my review of it? If they aren’t super annoying thoughts (and please don’t ignore this and post super annoying thoughts), hit me up with them! Check the Twitter @itswilltime, leave a comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.