Thursday, January 25, 2018

RAW (Jan. 22nd, 2018): 25 Years Of RAW

I only had two twits on my little seen Twitter thing that I almost considered ditching because it's pretty pointless... but since I use it as a quick scribblepad more than anything, it allows for quick thoughts that would otherwise be a waste of space on the blog, which I try (and fail) to keep to worthwhile material.

In any event, one Twit referred to a exclusive interview where Stone Cold Steve Austin, after having given Vince and Shane McMahon Stunners on TV, ripped into one of the interviewers for only having one question. It was Austin in classic form; perhaps a little more rapsy due to age, but still a compelling promo if there ever was one.

Favorite line of the bit? "My name is Stone Cold Steve Austin and I actually drew money."

The other twit that I wrote was sitting down to watch the show and then turning off the TV when Stephanie McMahon showed up on screen... because nothing gives me a headache more than another long-ass promo from the Queen of Ear Rape.

However, skipping that bit, I was able to watch the show. Not all of it, but some of it. And I can decipher five points from that show.

Point 1: The Manhattan Center got boned.
So RAW eminated from two locations; the Broccoli Center in Brooklyn and the Manhattan Center in New York. The Manhattan Center was the place where the first episode of RAW took place and to their credit, WWE made an effort in dressing the place up so that it resembled the building as it appeared in 1993. And when news broke that Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler would be calling the action from the Manhattan Center, people got excited.

Sadly, most of the "good" or important stuff took place at the "proper" arena with the standard RAW set, while those who chose to attend the Manhattan Center portion were relegated to a couple promo bits, maybe one match, and a couple cruiserweight dark matches that left people unhappy and the old timers asleep. (Jim Ross would claim otherwise, but we all know better.)

Honestly, I wished they had done the whole show from the Manhattan Center instead of just doing the whole split-show thing, which they have NEVER been good at doing. A whole episode of RAW from the place where it all began would not only be cheap to set-up (and no doubt cut down on all the extras like pyro and other tripe), but it would also be a different and interesting dynamic with the different setting and it would also be a proper celebration of sorts.

But I guess that's too much "thinking outside the box" for the safe and uninnovative WWE.

Point 2: Give the Miz a year-long reign as Intercontinental Champion
What world am I living in where a guy who used to be the most annoying little shit on television has evolved into one of the best parts of any WWE broadcast? There is no world like that because Miz was never that annoying, just uninteresting and not good. But the guy has certainly evolved and stepped up his game to the point where even I have to raise an eyebrow and pay attention ever so slightly.

So one of the matches on RAW (from the Broccoli Center, not the Manhattan one) saw Miz defeat Roman Reigns to win the Intercontinental championship for the eighth time. At one time, I would've said Miz should just get a World title reign (or even a Red Belt title reign), but now I'm hoping they go the CM Punk route with him and give Miz a nice year-long reign as Intercontinental champion. Look, the guy made the belt feel important and has given it a level of prestige and respect that NONE of the people who held the Red Belt championship has done since that pile of shit was introduced a couple years ago. Let him run with it for a whole year... maybe even break Honky's title run and be the greatest IC champ of all time.

That would be a more worthwhile stat than how many times he's held the belt.

Point 3: Line up all the old-timers and give them a mercy killing
What's the point of flying all these guys like Eric Bischoff, William Regal, Jonathan Coachman, and other old-timers for a one-off bit when all you're going to do with them is either line them up on stage in a short but pointless bit that means nothing or put them in a pointless backstage bit where they do nothing of note. I get that this is supposed to be a celebration of sorts and, admittedly, the APA poker game was the only backstage bit worth doing - and then they kept doing them and I stopped caring - but it seems like they just invite these guys to show up and they do NOTHING with them.

Seriously, what was the point of bringing CHRIS FUCKING JERICHO - a man who has been on such a high roll with his recent New Japan stuff and clearly looks to be primed for better things - and then waste him in not only a pointless backstage bit with the guitar guy whose name I don't know, but also have him reprise the "List" thing with the two jabroni interview guys for a website exclusive bit?

Look, as much as it was a "thrill" to hear that Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler would be reuniting for the Manhattan Center bits, was it really that necessary for the little bits you did from that building? When it came to showtime, JR and King seemed out of it. Understandable since it's been a while, but it's kinda like wishing for something to come back because it used to be really cool and then it comes back and suddenly, you wished they never bothered. That's the feeling I get here.

Point 4: We woke him; therefore we break him.
One of the highlights of TNA during its troublesome years was the reinvention of Matt Hardy into this "broken" entity and the subsequent productions that followed. Now I never really cared for the bits because anything with Matt Hardy never really clicked with me, but even I had to admit that they put in a lot of time and effort to make this work and for some who bought into it, it worked brilliantly. So when the Hardys left TNA for WWE last year, people were wondering if we were going to see the Broken stuff in WWE. I myself recall thinking that WWE would have no clue on how to properly execute the Broken as expertly as TNA had before they themselves had no clue.

This show saw Bray Wyatt - another failed experiment that had potential before it was squandered by people who have no fucking clue - defeat "Woken" Matt Hardy in a Manhattan Center contest. Bad enough they gave Hardy the same stock music they give all their nothing superstars, but they're having him lose his big match when they should be thinking outside the box or something. After all, thinking outside the box was what worked for Broken Matt in TNA.

But again, as we've established in Point 1, thinking outside the box is outside WWE's capabilities.

Point 5: Royal Rumble? What Royal Rumble?
The first episode of WWF Monday Night RAW took place at the Manhattan Center on January 11, 1993. While January 11 would land on a Thursday in 2018, there is no reason why they couldn't have just had the 25 Year celebration on the 15th of January... the week before. Now you're wondering what difference a week makes and I'll tell you.

This show took place a week before the Royal Rumble is due to take place. And usually the week before a PPV is usually the time when they make the hard sell of said PPV to the television audience. Unfortunately, while most of the time was spent on celebrating 25 years of RAW by only focusing on a handful of them - because I guess Damien Demento wasn't available to challenge the Undertaker to a long-awaited rematch or something - absolutely NO time was spent making the hard sell for the Rumble.

Now, I suppose in fairness, the Rumble is a big enough event that it sells itself and really, any show that's part of the so-called Road To Wrestlemania will sell itself... though I'd say watch the Rumble and then circumvent the whole road by doing other stuff because the two other stops along the way will no doubt be potholes you could've easily avoided altogether. But seriously... you have the Rumble match, you have the three-way Red Belt match that nobody cares about (you say you do, but you really don't because it really doesn't matter), you have WWE Champion AJ Styles defending his title against two Quebecois in a handicap match, and you also have the first ever Women's Rumble match, which should be interesting on a historical footnote level...

...and then they announced that Stephanie McMahon will be doing commentary for the Women's Rumble. So I guess that's going to be an extended piss break for me.

Other than those five points, the whole night is a blur and nothing worth remembering was remembered. In other words, just like any other episode of weekly WWE television in the past ten years or so.

I guess there's the Rumble to look forward to... and then it's back to other stuff.

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