Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Let them eat squash

Nia Jax in action
Courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

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Monday Night RAW ushered in the new era of the brand separation with something wrestling fans haven’t seen in awhile. No, I’m not talking about a show that was pretty much entertaining the entire time. RAW saw the return of squash matches. 

Braun Strowman taking care of business
Courtesy: WWE
Nia Jax made her main roster debut squashing Britt Baker in the first hour of the show. Later in the show, Braun Strowman, making his first appearance separated from the Wyatt Family, demolished the pretty fly for a white guy jobber, James Ellsworth. Both matches combined were 11 minutes shorter than the shortest match on the show. 

I’ve seen some comments online about how the squash matches exposed there’s not enough talent to have two separate brands.  Now, I don’t know the wrestling history of the people making these comments. If they are fans that became fans during the Attitude Era or later, I can understand not understanding the purpose of a squash match. For wrestling fans that remember life before the Monday Night War, squash matches were the majority of matches on television. 

Big Cass & Enzo vs. The Shining Stars
Courtesy: WWE
I think bringing back squash matches is an idea that is way past due. Using the matches from Monday night, new talent got to look impressive without sacrificing the credibility of any other wrester on the roster.  For example, later in the show Enzo and Big Cass fought the Shining Stars. It’s probably safe to say given the way the Colons were presented before and after they make Los Matadors, fans don’t see the Shining Stars as credible threats to any other tag team on the WWE roster. If WWE wants to push the Shining Stars as potential tag-team champions, they’ve got a lot of damage control to do before fans will accept them as anything other than a jobber tag team. 

Obviously WWE can’t have every match on the show be a squash, however utilizing two or three matches per show is not only a solid way to establish talent, it will also help stretch out feuds. Instead of seeing Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn fight each other week after week, KO can squash some unknown local talent then run down Sami in a post match promo.  

The brand split is still fresh so who knows if the current changes will last more than a month. Right now though, I am on board with the changes I’ve seen so far. If WWE would get rid of the opening 15-minute in-ring promo, I think they’ve got all the tools to make me interested in their shows again. If they revert back to their old ways, well, I’ll be hoping at some point “Broken” Matt Hardy will show up and delete them all.

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