By Will Pruett
Will Pruett watches the 90 minute Hulu edit of Raw because it’s better.
WWE has a very distinct formula when they go overseas to film an episode of Raw. After doing this twice a year for over a decade, it’s easy to spot the trend. Instead of forwarding a ton of stories and taking some of the risks they’d usually take with a normal live Raw episode, WWE relies heavily on time-filling in-ring action to get through the three hour marathon with minimal character or story development.
Sometimes, this formula works wonderfully. Shawn Michaels and John Cena put on the best Raw match of all time, going over an hour in April of 2007. Sometimes, the formula is terrible and it results in a super obnoxiously unfathomably boring show. This show found a balance in the middle. Nothing was terrible, yet nothing will stand out or even be remembered in a week. This week’s Raw was among the “meh-est” Raws of all time.
The show was built around a feud WWE has already seen to completion on Smackdown and was more about the interesting personalities of super-serious bad guy The Miz and wacky Dean Ambrose. It was all in the name of building up their Intercontinental Championship match next week. While I’m happy to see these two get some build up for their match next week, this program is not exactly my favorite. I’m more anxious for the personality of Ambrose to shift to something less comedic.
Ambrose and Miz was the bookends (with Miz vs. Balor and Ambrose vs. Wyatt) and the throughline of the show, as they were also the co-General Managers for the night. I tend to dislike wrestling shows built around a “OMG can you believe who is in charge?!?!” plot and this was no exception. This was some of the most illogical fictional world destroying content WWE could have produced. It ruins many of the things WWE tries to constantly tell us about their universe and it wouldn’t be accepted in any other fictional medium.
WWE often gets a pass for illogical (and awful) storytelling because it is wrestling. I’m not about that noise. WWE should be held to the standard of any entertainment product.
Anyways, this show also featured a whole lot of noise from Samoa Joe and Seth Rollins, but very little development. There was one segment for the Women’s Division again, with little character development and some puzzling decision making (Bayley taking all of the babyface attention away from Mickie James). There was a good tag team turmoil match with a good story centered on Cesaro and Sheamus that highlighted the show.
Everything else on this show hardly stands out to me. This was a boring show and it was hardly worth the 90 minutes I invested in watching it.
And now for some random thoughts:
– The new Hulu Android interface is very poor.
– Mickie James should have come off like a major star in this match, but instead she was second fiddle to Bayley. It was really strange.
– Braun Strowman’s injury comes at an unfortunate moment, but WWE can do a lot with it. Him returning to once again take on Roman Reigns will be highly anticipated. Braun taking on Brock Lesnar, as he said he wanted to do on this show, should be a major match (possibly for SummerSlam). This isn’t the worst moment for a Strowman injury and people will be happy to see him when he returns.
– Maryse isn’t asked to do much at The Miz’s side, but she stands out in really fun ways. I love the subversion of the “heel hiding behind a woman” trope when Maryse steps in to guard Miz. She’s done it two weeks in a row and it’s great.
– Kalisto’s new theme music sounds like a mistake.
– Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss in an alliance should be fun.
– The crowd on this show was pretty awful. London has a reputation for electric crowds, but this crowd was intent on being a distraction or doing nothing. We needed a middle ground between the two. This was bad form from the London crowd and I’m sad that Smackdown will be there tonight.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ODB discussing the fire that destroyed her food truck, the fundraising drive to help her buy a new truck, her appearance on the latest Impact Wrestling television show, Triple H telling her to go to TNA, and much more...