Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Raw 1000: Lose the Attitude

Raw 1,000
St. Louis, MO
Photo courtesy: Aaron Heller
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

After watching WWE’s 1000 episode of Monday Night Raw, I found it to be a lot like “Prometheus” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” If I simply took it as three hours of entertainment it was a good show. If I started to really think about what was on the show and what was accomplished during those three hours I found the show to be a perfect example of what is wrong in today’s WWE product. Since I have this blog as a means of expression, you know I had to think about the show and not sit back and just be entertained.

Going into the show, I didn’t know what to expect. With the reports of past Superstars being there, I figured we’d get a lot of segments where they tried to shoehorn as many guys into one segment as they could. Really there were only two such segments. I also expected a lot of flashbacks and montages to recap the previous 19 years of RAW. There were only two such segments, the catchphrase montage and a look at the Austin/McMahon feud. I’ve heard conflicting reports about why “Stone Cold” Steve Austin wasn’t there. Given they didn’t even have a video of him commenting on RAW leads me to believe the public reason given isn’t the 100% accurate one.

With three hours and only two packages shown, the amount of wrestling on the show wasn’t much different than a normal episode of RAW. There were only five matches on the show for about 26 minutes of wrestling. That includes one match that went 2 minutes and one that went for 10 seconds. If that’s what we can expect from the new weekly 3 hour RAWs, I have a feeling fans who watch via DVR are going to do a lot of fast forwarding.

Getting into the actual content on the show I was once again reminded of one important wrestling truth, the only time wrestling was important was from 1997-2000. Michael Cole mentioned the Attitude Era at least 5 times when talking about former stars. I understand that without the Attitude Era, RAW most likely wouldn’t be 3 hours now because it most likely wouldn’t have gone to 2 hours in the first place if it wasn’t for WCW Nitro getting better ratings. We also wouldn’t be watching pay per view caliber match ups on a weekly basis if not for the Attitude Era. My problem is the Attitude Era ended 11 years ago and the WWE and fans alike refuse to let it go.

DX takes care of Sandow
Photo courtesy:
On Raw 1000 we saw DX beat up Damian Sandow, Lita and the APA destroy Heath Slater, Kane and Undertaker took out the Smackdown Job Squad and to a lesser degree The Rock verbally bitch-slapped Daniel Bryan. We also found out a guy who has wrestled two matches in the last 8 years gets a title shot at the Royal Rumble. Sure the fans were into it and cheered wildly as these former stars did their shtick but next week on the 1001 episode of RAW which of these people will be on the show and which will be a memory? Bringing back profanity, innuendos, hardcore matches and crash TV won’t make the current WWE as successful as the Attitude Era. What made the Attitude Era was the collection of talent and the way they were used. When “Stone Cold” or The Rock were on their rise from mid-carders fans couldn’t care less about to mega-stars, you never saw Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund, or “Superstar” Billy Graham show up and deliver a beat down. Austin and Rock were treated like rock stars and were given a chance to connect with the fans with unscripted promos. If both guys were new stars in WWE today, do you think either one would become the star they are with the way shows are booked and talent is used? Remember, it took Austin 3 years and Triple H being punished for the “Stone Cold” character to become popular. When he started his ascension he wasn’t being laid out by the champion on a weekly basis like Dolph Ziggler or being squashed by mid-card comedy acts like Jack Swagger is these days. If Superstars aren’t presented as Superstars the fans won’t treat them as such.

The Rev. Slick returns
Photo courtesy:
Lets get back to Raw 1000. One of my biggest disappointments was the former stars that showed up. I tried to avoid all spoilers so I would be genuinely surprised when someone from the past was shown. Other than Slick, Lita and the APA there were no real surprises. We got the standard legends that appear anytime they need legends, Jim Duggan, Roddy Piper and Sgt. Slaughter. And we got all the guys who have beat up Heath Slater for the past month. I don’t know why other guys weren’t there. Maybe there were a lot of scheduling conflicts. There was also the disappointment of having Jim Ross and Howard Finkel on the show yet not having them involved with the main event WWE Title match. Having The Fink do the introductions of John Cena and CM Punk and having JR call the action would have added to the importance of the match. Even if JR only speaks in sound bytes these days.

Not only did I feel the show lack in former stars, it lacked in current stars big time. On a three hour show the only current diva to make an appearance was the Diva’s Champion, Layla, who was used in a backstage comedy bit. Where were the other divas? At least Layla got to be in a segment. Kofi Kingston, one half of the Tag Team Champions, only made the show because he sent in a Tout video. Was the show really that crunched for time where a multi-team tag team match or a Divas match couldn’t take place?

New Raw GM: AJ!
Photo courtesy:
Overall, as I said in the beginning, RAW was entertaining for the most part but there was a lot of head scratching when it came to what made it on the show. I’m not even going to get into the AJ is the new General Manager of RAW. I am so tired of the authority figures in wrestling. WWE please get a new playbook and start thinking outside the box when it comes to booking the show.

What did you think of RAW 1000? Was it as satisfying as you hoped it would be or did it come up short? Are you excited for SummerSlam or should they cancel all pay per views until the Royal Rumble? Share you thoughts on our Facebook page, or on Twitter. Please don’t send us any Tout videos. It’s hard enough to keep up with two social media sites.

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