By Will Pruett
Full disclosure: To retain his sanity, Will Pruett watches the 90 minute edit of Raw on Hulu. He has no regrets.
– I’ve spent the last week trying to figure out why I care so little about the main event picture on Raw. It’s truly puzzling. WWE has some of my favorite wrestlers to watch perform in Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens, a career-long entertaining veteran in Chris Jericho, and a decently compelling performer in Roman Reigns prominently featured. Why don’t I care?
For me, this begins and ends with the protagonist conscience of Seth “Somehow my nickname is now ‘Freaking’ and no one knows why” Rollins. Rollins was poised to return as a top protagonist on a mission to reclaim his WWE Championship. Sadly, S.F.R. returned as an antagonist to the thoroughly unpopular Roman Reigns, fizzled in the middle of the card, and is now one of the least compelling lead characters I can remember in wrestling.
– Kevin Owens has issues of his own. While at one point he was a compelling tough guy looking to prove himself by any means necessary, the teeth of his character have been taken away. He’s taken a joke tag team formed so Enzo and Cass had someone to face at SummerSlam and put the same act in the main event. It’s still ridiculously cool to see Owens as a top star in WWE, but I wish the circumstances were different.
– Braun Strowman, despite being dangerous in the ring, might be one of the better creative successes of Raw since the brand split.
– Mick Foley looked exceptionally bad on both Sunday and Monday nights.
– It looks like Raw is finally going to tell a couple stories at a time with their women’s division. It only took them around six months to do so.
– I like the idea of Nia Jax as a monster Sasha Banks needs to overcome. It’s a fresh match we didn’t see in NXT. It gives Sasha a well built opponent to work with. Sasha and Nia could have a really fun feud.
– Bayley heading towards a Women’s Championship match this soon worries me. Will WWE pull the trigger too early? Do they have a path for Bayley should she fail (much in the same way NXT sent Bayley on a journey going into the first NXT Brooklyn show)? They need to be very careful with Bayley, who they’ve already done some damage to.
– It was really odd to have Bayley in the ring singing such high praises for the Charlotte and Sasha Banks feud. WWE has an obsession with commenting on the art they’re creating and this was on full display here. Something can be great without WWE telling us it is great constantly.
– The Enzo Amore segments on this show proved some inconvenient truths about WWE. Those in power don’t believe in things like sensitivity training or not exposing yourself to female co-workers. They believe sexual harassment is a joke and accusing someone of it makes a person evil. The meta-narrative here is that it’s prudish and terrible to not want Enzo Amore to show you his penis.
– This is probably the last Raw I’ll watch in 2016. I feel like this has been a major year for me as a wrestling fan, but not in a good way. I’ll write more about this very soon, but this is the year when I stopped caring about seeing it all. I’ve skipped watching some pay-per-views this year despite always paying $10/month for WWE Network. I’ve skipped an entire month of wrestling TV. I’ve stopped wanting to see everything and started picking and choosing. As WWE, and others, put out more and more content, this is the strategy I’ve adopted.
I’ll be writing more about this issue and what I view as “essential” in wrestling from this year very soon. It’s a strange thing to not feel bad for missing some things. There’s just too much to see.
Got thoughts on this show or my review of it? Hit me up with them! Check the Twitter @wilpruett, leave a comment, or email me at email@example.com.