#Team Red: Raw is Inferior to SmackDown Live Through Storytelling, Character Moments
One month ago, my esteemed and talented colleague, Will Harrison penned an article decreeing Smackdown the superior WWE branded wrestling program. This past Monday, WWE proved Will correct, albeit for the wrong reasons.
As the editor of The Three Count, my job is to create and curate dynamic and interesting wrestling content. My task this week was to deliver a piece defending my stance of Monday Night Raw as the better of the two main wrestling programs. This Monday, WWE made that task all but impossible.
If this late October edition of Raw were the episode I had chosen to show to a friend curious about the magic of professional wrestling, I would've been unimaginably embarrassed. Since returning to WWE as a fan after a sabbatical during the Laurenitas dark era, this was easily the absolute worst episode I've witnessed.
Save for one award quality segment in the center of the program; nothing WWE produced even attempted to be interesting or entertaining. From the commentary desk to the action in the ring, every facet of the show carried with it the urgency and excitement of stalled freight train. Read on if you dare as I present to you a tale far more horrifying than anything WWE could have dreamed up to celebrate Halloween.
Don't worry... this won't take long.
Although this may come as a shock to anybody who's watched wrestling for more than a few months will be shocked to read what will easily win Kulture Shocked's Promo of the Year was a contract signing. Believe that.
Led by Mick Foley, his haunting warning directed at Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair as they set to make history was at times both gut-wrenching and horrifying. If wrestling is truly about “telling a story,” as Triple H so often likes to claim, then there has been no better example than Mick Foley's performance this Monday.
Such is his love for Charlotte Flair and his respect for Sasha Banks; he basically begged them not to sign the contract to compete in Hell in a Cell. At times fighting back tears and shaking with passion, Foley implored the combatants to reexamine their decisions and reconsider their match.
No words penned to paper can accurately capture the raw emotion that went into this “shoot” style promo. As Foley trembled in horror at the memory of competing against The Cell, the audience, silent in their admiration at times both cheered and chanted at his performance. However, most chilling of all is the realization that his shattered hip and violent nightmares are all at the expense of entertaining us.
For Foley so loved The Universe, he gave his only physical being. Watch this promo. It's magic.
Literally Everything Else
Our Main Event of the evening saw Seth Rollins defeat both Kevin Owens and Best Friend Chris Jericho in a triple threat. He did so by breaking a superplex attempt by shoving both men to the mat and pinning both men with one arm each. It is worth noting Rollins had previously spent the better part of 15 minutes of the match getting the piss beaten out of him.
You can't make this stuff up folks. Seth Rollins won a match, one which carried no real drama or consequence by holding down two men bigger than him with one arm each. This is after kicking out of a Codebreaker which came after a failed frog splash, further damaging Rollins's already injured ribs. However, to understand how truly awful this match was, we must first examine its origins.
At the onset of Raw, we were delivered the shocking news that the true star of the show, The List had been absconded. Jericho announced he would not be competing in a match until The List had been returned. Rollins, of course, was in possession of The List and revealed that not only was Stephanie McMahon on The List, but Kevin Owens was as well.
Rather than guarantee that Jericho does not compete in a match by holding onto The List, he
passed it around the locker room. It eventually made it's way to the menacing hands of Braun Stroman. Jericho asked him to give him The List and he did. The End.
In truth, hearing Stroman recite the line, “Say Please” performing his best Lennie Small impression was the highlight of the night, save for the aforementioned performance by Mick Foley. The entirety of Jericho's performance in the evening hinged around him getting a clipboard back. No amount of fireworks or star power can change that.
I am Embarrassed for TJ Perkins
If I were to award a Countie for Worst Wrestler of the Year right this second, it would probably go to TJ Perkins. At the very least the people writing dialog for TJ Perkins should be in consideration for the award. The manner in which Perkins delivers his lines is so astoundingly terrible, it makes an inner city kindergarten production of Robin Hood look like Fiddler on the Roof.
“Dude, you can't just hit the reset button.”
“You can't just hit the pause button on life.”
“You're on your last life...”
TJ Perkins is indicative of one of the biggest problems with modern WWE and their creative team: Grown adults do not fucking talk like these people do. We get it TJ; you like video games. Enough already. You already torture us enough with your awful entrance, please spare our ears the sound of you inane chatter.
Bayley is Doomed
After the finish in their match last week, seeing Bayley approach the ring clad in Rocktape isn't a surprise. Whether she is facing an actual injury not, it's sad to see. That being said, it was surprising to see Bayley compete in a match against the person who injured her. Well... jokes on us.
Dana Brooke challenged Bayley to the one match she knew she could best Bayley in, a pie eating contest an arm wrestling match. Of course, she beat Bayley when Bayley used her injured arm, but her good arm was too much for the Caucasian Kharma, leaving her with no option but to save face by sucker punching Bayley in hers.
During the segment, the crowd rewarded the performance with cheers of “This is stupid” and extended chants of “boring.” Both women deserved every bit of it.
The genius idea of attempting to get Lesnar and Heyman over as heels in his hometown went over as well as could have been expected. Aside from the realization that the dynamic of Lesnar/Heyman is getting a tad stale, not even the master of the microphone could save a segment that doomed from the second the idea left the booking room.
After the crowd roared with a resounding “Goldberg sucks” chant, the wheels had clearly fallen off the wagon. The plug was pulled, and Heyman and Lesnar were forced to return to the back, tail between their legs. Even Paul Heyman couldn't save a bad idea, although the silver lining to all this was that it was the most involved the crowd had been all night.
Odds and Ends
Guys. All of this was all terrible... but this is what I remember.
Ernie's sex change appears to be nearing it's completion and the transformation into Emmalina appears to be imminent.
Sheamus and Cesaro worked together in a match t that we're going to see at Hell in the Cell and actually picked up a win. Nobody cares.
Enzo and Cass wrestled, and Anderson and Gallows made asses of themselves. Please for the love of god make this feud stop. Didn't Dana Brooke work with those two in their hospital at one point?
Curtis Axel lost in his hometown, after giving an impassioned speech about his family's lineage.
Will... you win. Raw sucks and doesn't look like it's getting any better. However, in truth, Smackdown isn't doing much better. While I won't defend that a show with a superior roster is putting out an inferior product, over on Team Blue, a jobber beat the WWE World Heavyweight Champion... twice. It's a hard pill to swallow, but your show is crappy too.
The Emperor has no clothes. Soylent green is people. I honestly don't know what to do anymore. I don't know how much more I can take. Something needs to change, and I mean soon. If Hell in a Cell doesn't deliver, at this point, I'm unsure where WWE goes from here. No amount of Scooby Doo specials or episodes of Camp WWE on the WWE Network can save us.