WWE RAW REVIEW 19/09/2016: The Cruiserweight's Arrive. Kind Of.

The art of professional wrestling is one of the most socially active mediums of entertainment across the world. Millions watch men and women grapple for championships, financial success, accolades, celebrity status, and supposed immortality within the squared circle. The Hype Train provides a glancing review of WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night RAW, evaluating the show itself, and then commenting on the good, the bad, and everything else in-between. All aboard.

RAW Review: 19/09/2016

Imagine all the ingredients to make an amazing cake. This cake is a delicious, fluffy, and flavoursome masterpiece that your family and friends rave about for months and years to come. Sure it’s full of sugar, really, really bad you for, but you don’t care. It’s the best cake ever, and when it’s good, you’re going to have a piece every single time. If you think we’re referencing WWE RAW right now, you’re dead wrong. That’s the ideal, a good product comprised of good wrestling, good storylines, and just unrivalled entertainment that you can’t even begin to describe to your friends. Instead, RAW’s cake, with all the perfect ingredients, turns out to be a monstrosity that explodes whilst in the oven. What we’re continually being left with is a sloppy, unfinished, and salty construction that makes you turn your head away as soon as eat a piece. This is all widely metaphorical, but we’ve more to say about cake than we do about the state of Monday Night RAW in its current state.

When asked the question, but why aren’t you guys at The Hype Train enjoying RAW right now? – We hope that we’re not alone when we proclaim that the show in its current form is a disjointed mess with no flow or purpose, and ever since the Draft, we’ve been beating the same drum. This statement is grossly unfair on a few names that have stuck out in recent months (Owens, Jericho, Rollins, Charlotte) but we’re treating the entire product as one cake, rather than separate pieces. Piece by piece, we quite enjoyed some segments to RAW this week, but having to endure three hours of almost nothing in terms of development and purpose for the red brand, we’re being force fed a cake and getting fat off something that on the whole is largely negative.

Week after week, still applying to this review, the point needs bringing up until there is a change in direction for the red brand. There is no establishment, a sense that that RAW is just skating on by, just expecting things to fall into place. But it’s not, and no we’re not trying to be dramatic. People watch professional wrestling to be entertained, and they watch through addiction to the WWE after a golden age and an attitude era, and in its current shape, despite the talent on offer, the jigsaw isn’t falling into place. We won’t just leave this as a statement, we’ll attempt to divulge on the core issues surrounding RAW. The WWE claims they are being ‘real’ in this New Era, but any such era and beliefs will remain purely as a slogan in the eyes of fans, onlookers, and journalists alike.

Illogical booking:

Micky Foley booked Rusev against Rollins, as a punishment for Rollins after he interfered in last week’s main event. Rollins ended up brutalising Rusev by the ring announcer's desk…

Stephanie McMahon claims to not know anything about Triple H’s return that led to Owens being crowned as Universal Champion… Does she not speak to her own husband at night when tucked up in bed?

Why was both Bayley and Sasha Banks put into the title match? Just because.

Why did the New Day appear for no reason? Just because.

Roman Reigns beating Kevin Owens to fuel a US Title feud with Rusev. Just because.

Reigns is number one contender for the US Championship. Why? Just because.

TK Perkins, the Cruiserweight Champion was not on RAW. Just because.

Rollins feuding with Rusev, Owens feud with Reigns. Who is facing who at the PPV? That’s right, none of them.

Why would Rollins come to the aid of Reigns?

SmackDown and RAW aren’t actually competing in the ratings RAW, even if Foley is paid to say so. RAW keeps promoting SmackDown Live on its shows. If they are being serious, don’t mention the other brands. But they do, just because.

Do the WWE care at all?:

The List of Jericho, a 1998 segment on WCW Nitro appeared on Monday Night RAW in 2016.

Foley and his cue cards for the Cruiserweight’s is just a slap in the face. Any real fan doesn’t need cue cards.

Repetitive squash matches for Braun and Bo (hey, does that sound like a future tag team name?).

Roman Reigns opening the show…

Are we expecting too much as wrestling fans?

Probably, but we’re also not idiots that that will just accept the reasons behind why things are happening. This RAW programme leading up to Clash of Champions really does echo the sentiment that the feuds and matches are happening, just because. The only true contender to any title is Brian Kendrick, who won a Fatal 4 Way match in the first rebranded Cruiserweight division. Rollins, Reigns, Sasha, Bayley, and Gallows/Anderson are just kind of there competing without any justified reasoning.

There is an air of irrelevance on RAW that makes you ponder, why do I care, and why do I bother at this point? This wasn’t the view we had last night. RAW on first viewing was ok, but having slept on it, we believed that our evening was partially wasted with another bumper RAW, that didn’t offer any hard core proof that Clash of Champions is going to be a special event this Sunday. The stakes of every match were non-existent, or we’ve seen it before, with RAW phoning in a go-home show under the impression that everything will just be alright. It’s RAW after all, it’s all good.

To make matters worse, SmackDown Live has been repeatedly good since the draft, providing investment in every feud and match that takes place, so people are automatically drawn to the question… Why can’t we have that on RAW as well?

Is there any salvation?

RAW’s formula currently exists on the idea that personality and appearance matters more than the actual substance of any three hour viewing of WWE’s flagship show. Just have all these wrestlers turn up, fight, bicker, and argue, and it’ll all gel together without a hitch. They have the stars, they just need establishment. The main event scene is a current car crash, whilst they don’t give the time of day to a very strong tag team scene on the red brand. When talent such as Sami Zayn is being wasted, it is understandable why an increasingly smart fan base just loses the will to care. We’re just days away from Clash of Champions, and are we excited? We’re getting hard, but viewing like RAW on Monday continually test our patience as enthusiasts.

Like it’s serious, and honest champion (yes Owens is nothing but telling the truth, evident when he asked Foley is he was serious about a cage match), the WWE needs to follow example and treat every minute of every show as if it’s the last.

RAW Results: 19/09/2016

Rollins vs. Rusev ended in a double countout

Braun Strowman defeated Sin Cara

Charlotte and Dana Brooke defeated Bayley and Sasha Banks

Bo Dallas defeated Gary Graham

Cesaro defeated Sheamus

Sami Zayn, Enzo and Cass, and the New Day defeated Gallows and Anderson, The Shining Stars, and Chris Jericho

Brian Kendrick defeated Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, and Gran Metalik (match to determine the #1 Contender for the Cruiserweight Championship)

Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens (Steel Cage match)

Who is on the RAW Hype Train?

Chris Jericho: RAW’s MVP, yet again. Jericho was good on the mic, provided an entertaining list segment, and was the star in a 10 man tag team match.

Kevin Owens: As RAW’s top asset, Owens is continually solid in the role as champion and we look forward to an entertaining encounter with Rollins at Clash of Champions.

Charlotte: We’re not convinced by Sasha, whilst Bayley’s still new. Charlotte continues to carry herself as the leader of RAW’s woman’s division. The victory with Dana over Banks/Bayley helped the champ’s cause heading into the PPV.

The Cruiserweight Division: Swann, Metalik, Kendrick, and Alexander provided an excellent Fatal 4 Way to determine TJ’s first contender. All we needed was an appearance from the champ to crown off a first stellar night for the division.

Upcoming Pay-Per-View: Clash of Champions (Sunday 25th September 2016)

Kevin Owens defends the Universal Championship against Seth Rollins, with Roman Reigns to enter the match if he beats Owens on the 12/09/2016 edition of RAW.

The New Day will defend RAW’s Tag Team Championships against The Club’s Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson.

Charlotte will defend the RAW’s Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks and Bayley.

Rusev will defend the United States Championship against Roman Reigns.

TJ Perkins will defend the Cruiserweight Championship against Brian Kendrick.

Sami Zayn will battle Chris Jericho in single’s action.

Cesaro and Sheamus compete in the final of their best of 7 series, with the scored tied up at 3-3.

Alicia Fox and Nia Jax will square off on the Clash of Champions kick-off show in singles action.

The Good…

The List of Jericho was very entertaining, even if it is an act Jericho performed in 1998 with the 1000+ list of wrestling holds Y2J possesses. Jericho is just the best thing on RAW right now, full stop.

Some of the actual ‘wrestling’ on tonight’s RAW was very good. Seth Rollins in-ring work against Rusev, slowly turning into a face, was a delight to watch. Some of the Women’s match was very easy on the eye, whilst the cage match had some good moments.

The Cruiserweight’s, bar Foley’s awful introduction, provided a breath of fresh air on the show and we hope they slowly get more airtime over the next few weeks and months.

Kevin Owens, once again, was a very good feature to RAW. Big Kev is the perfect person to be leading RAW now and in the future, and even managed to claw a decent match out of Roman Reigns.

Lana’s wardrobe is getting more promiscuous by the week. She’s a married woman now. Rusev, you lucky guy.

The Bad…

In general, there was too much Foley on RAW this week. It was obvious he had to memorise too much, as he kept slipping in front of the live crowd.

To double down on Foley, the RAW GM’s introduction of the Cruiserweight division was terrible. Why did he need cue cards? If he watched any of the action on the CWC, surely he’d know who they were. It’s a little disrespectful to have your big introduction on the red brand, but have its main central figure clueless to who these Cruiserweights are. If they showed any passion or commitment to these guys, they wouldn’t need cue cards.

Where was the Cruiserweight Champion, TJ Perkins? Triple H kind of implied that the champ would be on RAW at the CWC final. No disrespect to the 4 competitors that we got on RAW, but it was all set up for TJ’s hype to continue after RAW, yet we didn’t even get a glimpse of the champion.

RAW generally lacked any common sense or logic. It was chaotic, but not in an attitude era kind of way, more like a, “we don’t know what we’re doing” kind of way.

Why didn’t Rusev and Rollins just not fight each other on RAW last night? Rollins isn’t a fully-fledged good-guy just yet, but the baddies should have used their brains, teamed up, and refuse to fight, instead taking out their frustrations on Roman and Owens… A simple tag team match would have sufficed.

Reigns winning the Steel Cage match, why? They made Owens look terrible, and it was mostly through the commentary table. Michael Cole kept saying how Reigns has brushed aside the Universal Champion like he’s nothing more than an afterthought.

Further to that point, nothing was on the line in the steel cage match, why not? It would have made more sense to stick the Cruiserweight’s in there, so they can do some high spots leading up to Clash of Champions.

Also, why do they keep airing Reigns promos with angelic, heroic music? There’s nothing good about ‘The Guy’.

Also… Why on earth is Reigns getting a US Championship match at the pay-per-view? Just because, apparently.

Reigns opening RAW this week really did set the mood for the whole show. People just lost interest right off the bat.

Yet another point with Reigns, what is up with his mic work in the ring? Steph couldn’t wait to cut him out of the conversation. They either give him the chance to talk, or shut him up all together.

This was a go home show before Clash of Champions, and what did WWE achieve in that time? Absolutely nothing.

How bad has it gotten that The New Day interrupted The List of Jericho because they were bored and had ‘nothing to do’? These are the Tag Team Champions, feuding against The Club of all teams. The show is three hours long for goodness sake, there is a lot of time to fill, and so many good wrestlers who can make something of the product, but no. We get ‘we’re bored, can we come and play’?

Shane McMahon once said “it’s all about the superstars”, but it’s not. Foley and Steph dominated RAW this week.

Everything else in-between…

We’re kind of glad that they addressed the double-pin between Bayley and Sasha from last week’s RAW with a backstage segment. You have to wonder though the bias of the company to just assume Sasha won the match.

Sheamus and Cesaro’s feud has been oh-so typical ever since Sheamus went 3-0 up in their best of 7 series. It’s been predictable viewing, even if the matches haven’t been half bad… We think their title opportunity will probably be a shot at the Tag Team titles, that’s the kind of booking RAW will use.

Braun Strowman and Bo Dallas continued on their path to squash every local talent wrestler in the United States. We find it quite funny that both are either related or formerly in a faction with Bray Wyatt, with Bray the one begging for a victory.

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The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015 specialising in the Fantasy Premier League (#FPL), and professional Wrestling, providing beautiful graphics and weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb ranking tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review movies, television, live music, festivals, and any relevant topic in the public eye.

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