Connect with us

Editorials

RAW Haterade: The Lost Art of the Go-Home Show

Published

on

Growing up during the Attitude Era both WWF and WCW utilized an effective yet simple formula to build month to month from Pay Per View to Pay Per View event. While there was something cool to see each week on RAW and Nitro, the two most important shows every month were the night after a PPV and 6 days before one, referred to as the go-home show.

The show the night after a PPV would create excitement and set the course heading into the next big event. Who would the titleholders face off against next? How would so and so rebound from their loss the night before or how would they capitalize on a big win going forward? By the end of that show you were pumped for the next PPV.  RAW and Nitro would build on that initial post PPV excitement for the next two weeks of programming and proceed to put on a go-home show 6 days out that would blow up everything that was about to go down that Sunday and make it feel so important that you would be a fool not to tune in to see what was going to happen.


steve austinI’ll use Stone Cold Steve Austin as an example. Some of his most iconic moments took place on these shows. The image of him driving a zamboni to the ring, diving off of it and attacking Vince McMahon only to be taken away in handcuffs laughing minutes later happened on a RAW the night after a PPV, Breakdown to be exact where he lost the WWF title. We all remember when he drove the beer truck to the ring and hosed down the Corporation. That happened on a go-home show, 6 days before WrestleMania 15. The night he got tied to the Undertaker symbol and was strung up in front of the Titantron; that was the go-home to the Rock Bottom PPV in 1998.

It’s a typical television formula. The penultimate episode of a season creates excitement and intrigue for a payoff you can’t miss come the season finale.  If you’re a Game of Thrones fan you know about the hype surrounding the “dreaded” 9th episode year after year.  So why then does WWE consistently fail month after month to produce a go-home show that heightens the anticipation for their network specials to that next level? Where is the show with that something special, that even a friend who doesn’t follow WWE anymore, but just so happens to watch a go-home RAW or SmackDown with you, catches that feeling that something exciting is going down on Sunday and they have to watch, so they turn to you and say: “That was awesome, are you getting that Sunday? Man I wanna see that.”?

We Don’t Get Hype

It’s a trend that’s been going on for far too long, but just looking at 2017 thus far every go-home edition of RAW and SmackDown has been flat. Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, Fastlane, Payback, Backlash, even WrestleMania and now Extreme Rules have had no wave of momentum to ride coming off the final editions of RAW and/or  SmackDown beforehand. Now I’m not saying these PPVs have been terrible, only that the performers and storylines featured on them would benefit from an ability to create a higher level of anticipation immediately preceding them. This brings me to last night.

Last night’s RAW was a horrific final build to Extreme Rules. A muddled mess of tag matches, in-ring promos that missed their mark, and finishes between wrestlers we’re going to see face off Sunday all of which did nothing to make Extreme Rules feel like the can’t miss event it should be. The most intriguing part of the go-home RAW was Corey Graves’ involvement in several developing story-lines. Corey Graves, who will not be wrestling at Extreme Rules and has no advertised impact aside from commentary on said PPV was the most interesting part of your show 6 days out from a network special. Lazy booking and creative has once again hindered the entire roster and left them limping into what could be the best RAW brand exclusive show this year, rather than doing a Vinnie Mac Power Strut.

Mid-Card Mishandling

Shown here: The Miz wishing he could’ve stayed on SmackDown

The Miz TV segment was a miss. I get we’ve seen Miz and Ambrose fight on SmackDown for the IC title before but still, its two former WWE champions going at it for the only singles title that actually appears on RAW every week and the best they could come up with was jamming them together with the Hardyz, Sheamus and Cesaro? Why not play up the DQ title change stipulation and have Ambrose lose his mind at ringside or have some sort of brawl backstage between them? Throwing them in a pointless six man tag did nothing to build up their IC title match and it actually feels meaningless now. I expect a good match from these two top talents but it just doesn’t feel important.

On the flip side of that, what did that 6 man tag do to get anyone excited for the cage match between the Hardyz and Sheamus and Cesaro? The answer is nothing. Those four guys hate each other yet aside from some weak words from Sheamus and Cesaro, WWE did nothing last night to make anyone go: “I can’t wait for that cage match”. The Hardyz have historically been awesome in cage matches as a team and Cesaro and Sheamus have a more smash-mouth physical style and actually benefit from the stipulation. Yet none of that was played up significantly last night. A potential show stealing match on a great card but you didn’t get the sense that a title change was imminent or that it was going to be special. You could say the hype was…deleted.

Stay Away From The Classics

That “This Is Your Life” segment with Alexa Bliss was a cringe worthy visual embodiment of how bad RAW really was last night. Up until the visual and auditory atrocity that was “This Is Your Life: Hugger Edition”, she and Bayley actually had fans interested in the ridiculously outdated “something on a pole” match concept, but that ended last While they were able to bring some fans back with the physicality at the end of the segment, their momentum heading into the Women’s Title match careened off a cliff and died a fiery death. That’s on creative not on Alexa Bliss. We all know how talented she is on the microphone; unfortunately you can’t always make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

Cruiserweight Confusion

Neville and Austin Aries are money together. Their previous one on ones have been stellar. Last night however creative decided that right before their Submission match it would be a good idea to have Neville tap out to Austin Aries in a tag match. Yet another huge mistake that puts a damper on a sound technical wrestling match and dims the Cruiserweight title spotlight. The hits kept coming for the Cruiserweights as Rich Swann pinned Noam Dar on the eve of their mixed tag team match. I doubt anyone was truly looking forward to what is going to be a good little match on the show but what little hype there was for that match’s addition to the PPV died when we all got to see the finish. Lending Sasha’s star power to a program with athletically talented cruiserweights like Swann and Dar was a cool concept that now feels completely inconsequential for everyone involved.

Beast Mode Balor

The final shot of adrenaline for the Fatal 5 Way match that has had everyone buzzing for weeks fell flat as well. While I enjoyed the triple threat match between Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt it didn’t’ matter who won. What it showed was that Balor could hang with the super heavyweights and has a shot to win on Sunday, but we already knew that. All three men had their moments and I enjoyed Joe stealing the win at the end. It was an effective preview for Extreme Rules. RAW’s main event between Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns however was not.

Roman Ruins RAW…Again

Kudos to Seth Rollins for working his ass off and once again carrying Roman Reigns through a main event match. Reigns’ move-set continues to deteriorate from astoundingly limited to virtually non-existent. Clothesline, clothesline, uppercut, running dropkick, superman punch, spear…vomit, that is Roman Reigns. A clean finish was a bad call here either way it would’ve gone but it was by far the worst call to end your go-home show by giving Reigns the win and teasing a possible victory on Sunday. Not only is he one of the most despised wrestlers in WWE by fans but should he win what’s the reward for fans? A match between him and Brock that we’ve already had to suffer through until Seth Rollins literally saved the main event of WrestleMania? That’s how you create a buzz for your PPV main event 6 days out? Let a guy win the main event of RAW without doing a single wrestling move or hold? “Ugh, ugh he beat the Undertaker. Ugh, ugh three Mania main events in a row ugh. He’s a ugh star ugh ugh”. Any other guy wins Sunday night we get something we haven’t seen before when they face Lesnar or we get Rollins vs Lesnar 2, all of which are options that don’t have 50% or more of fans burying the match.

Rollins vs. Reigns should’ve ended in a no contest and the show should have gone off the air with all of the Fatal 5 Way participants fighting in the ring as Michael Cole screamed some sort of generic plug for Sunday night into his headset. While the multi-man format combined with the extreme rules match stipulation will mask Reigns’ lack of in-ring ability, teasing his victory Sunday by having him defeat Rollins was not the way to raise the profile of this match or that of the stars involved. Diluting the build-up of the marquee match on a card with as much potential as Extreme Rules has hurts the entire show

This sad pattern with the go-home editions of RAW and SmackDown has gone on long enough and it’s past time for WWE to reacquaint themselves with how to generate excitement for their talent and rivalries as well as their ensuing events feel important. Last night was just par for the course when it comes to the shortcomings of WWE creative, but going forward they need to keep in mind an important point when leaving viewers with that last impression of their superstars and network specials. Perception is reality, if the show doesn’t feel important and the stars don’t feel special then they aren’t.

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    May 30, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    couldn’t agree more

  2. D Martinez

    Jun 1, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Spot on. I have gone back to supporting the local Indies. At least they are trying to impress us and the promoters actually seem to care about their supporters. Sure would be nice to see WWE get back to the formal that works.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

AEW

Break It Down: Ranking Every Major Wrestling TV Show (Week #2)

Published

on

Break It Down

While it’s still early on in 2021, the wrestling world has set a high standard for in-ring quality so far from last week and all of the shows continued in that mindset here. The shows were all varied and while not everything worked for each show, there were a lot of positives to takeaway.

A week that featured huge title matches, fantastic promos, and even some fireballs being thrown in for good measure has been enough to keep everyone entertained. But, which show was the strongest of the bunch? Let’s Break It Down and find out!


6. WWE Raw

Randy Orton

Photo Credit YouTube.com/WWE

WWE Raw has been a struggle as of late, and sadly this show didn’t change that run of form for the red brand. It was clear the show had been hurt by COVID-19, with a lot of people missing and a lot pulling double duty on the night, so credit does deserve to be given for that. On that note, praise is deserved for Drew McIntyre too, for making his appearances via video, despite having a positive COVID test.

Sheamus and Keith Lee had a fun match as partners and as opponents on this show, but outside of that this show lacked a lot. Charlotte Flair facing Lacey Evans was nothing special, and using Ric frequently right now isn’t helping her character while having Riddle be beaten so easily feels like a mistake, even if it helps Bobby Lashley overall.

The whole show was built around Triple H returning for a one-off match with Randy Orton, which was all set up nicely. It was never going to be a full match, but it would’ve been nice to have given this a little longer. Obviously, the big talking point was the Alexa Bliss fire, some people loved it, others hated it. I personally, quite enjoy a little magic and ridiculousness when it’s done well, and this story is working so far, with this being a nice finish to the show.

5. WWE SmackDown

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/WWE

WWE SmackDown kickstarted 2021 with a bang last week, but sadly this episode was a slight drop in quality. It was still a good show though, with lots of positives to take, especially in terms of the in-ring product, with Daniel Bryan and Cesaro have a particularly great match on this show.

The work with Billie Kay was a lot of fun, with her ‘punk’ vibes being fantastic comedy, while the storyline with King Corbin and the Mysterio family continues to be put together well. Jey Uso had a really good match with Shinsuke Nakamura too, who appears to be gaining a big push as a babyface, which is great to see.

However, there were elements that didn’t work, with Bayley’s new talk show and segment being a little awkward, while all of the build with Roman Reigns and Adam Pearce was a little dragged out and too repetitive from last week.

4. WWE NXT UK

WWE NXT UK was another really fun show this week, with the brand continuing to put together some great work lately. Seeing the debut of Sha Samuels was great, as he is a real talent in the ring and on the microphone, and he had a nice hard-hitting encounter with Joe Coffey to kick off the show.

Jinny and Kay Lee Ray had a really nice promo segment to build to their title match, and it certainly built interest in their upcoming title match. Plus, Sam Gradwell and Tyler Bate had a really enjoyable match together, with WWE clearly looking to build Bate back up.

However, this show was really all about the main event. WALTER defending his NXT UK Championship didn’t disappoint. He and A-Kid had tremendous chemistry with this being a very hard-hitting encounter that didn’t let up from start to finish, with WALTER retaining, but A-Kid looking just as good in defeat.

3. IMPACT Wrestling

Photo: Impact/Twitter

It was a big week for IMPACT Wrestling with the Hard To Kill event taking place this weekend. While that PPV was a lot of fun, our focus is on the weekly edition of IMPACT, which on the whole was also a great show, building to the PPV in a really nice manner.

The opening women’s match got plenty of time and they didn’t disappoint, while the tag team match featuring Manik and Suicide was also a fast-paced and frantic bout. The storyline development between Eric Young’s group and Rhino and his men wasn’t really needed, with the match itself being incredibly average.

Moose’s squash victory was also dragged on a little too long, and he would’ve benefited from being a little quicker. However, the main event between Karl Anderson and Rich Swann was solid, and the post-match brawl built up the six-man tag team match for Hard To Kill perfectly, which is what was needed.

2. WWE NXT

Photo: WWE/Twitter

Yet again the black and gold brand was very enjoyable this week. The show featured a lot of brilliant in-ring work, with a large focus being placed on tag team wrestling, with the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic beginning, which brought plenty of fun bouts.

Grizzled Young Veterans showcased just how good they are, although, booking Ever-Rise as a babyface team here was odd, while MSK’s debut was very fun to see, with the former IMPACT stars seriously impressing. Candice LeRae and Shotzi Blackheart had a good bout as well, while Xia Li’s character development continues to be done brilliantly.

Johnny Gargano’s match with Dexter Lumis was the only real disappointment of the show, as this didn’t quite connect. However, the work with Pete Dunne throughout the show was excellent, building him and his group up as a real threat, with Dunne facing Finn Balor being something that everyone should be excited for.

1. AEW Dynamite

 

AEW Dynamite was incredibly exciting this week, with a lot of really good matches taking place. The show benefited from not having and big multi-man matches, with everything being crisp and to the point. PAC and Eddie Kingston had an excellent opening match which set the pace for the entire show, with this story being a lot of fun.

This show also saw the best piece of booking that Miro has had since he joined AEW. He was dominant and physical, and hopefully, this is how he’s used moving forwards. The Matt Hardy and Private Party backstage segment will likely be overlooked by most, but it was really good storytelling here as well.

Kenny Omega choosing The Good Brothers over the ‘Bucks is a nice twist, and FTR also had a fantastic tag team bout with Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt. The Waiting Room segment was fun and really shows Britt Baker at her best, meanwhile, Tay Conti and Serena Deeb had a fantastic match. The main event also delivered, like everything on this brilliant show, but the only nitpick I had was Sting’s appearance. Doing the same thing with him every week is already feeling stale, he is someone who should be used less frequently to make him feel more special, in my opinion.

Sixth place= 1 point
Fifth place= 2 points
Fourth place= 3 points
Third place= 4 points
Second place=5 points
First place= 6 points

2020 results (each week, the points tally will be added up below):

WWE Raw- 2
IMPACT Wrestling- 6
WWE NXT- 10
AEW Dynamite- 10
WWE NXT UK- 6
WWE SmackDown- 8

Continue Reading

Editorials

We Ranked: 5 Ways WWE Should Utilize The Legends On WWE Raw

Published

on

hulk hogan

Tonight is WWE Raw Legends Night, and plenty of familiar faces will be coming back to the company, but how should WWE use them? It’s going to be a blockbuster episode of WWE Raw to kickstart 2021 in style, and there will be a real element of nostalgia about the show, with a lot of legends being confirmed for the event.

While not every legend is going to have a significant role to play on the show, some of the talents are going to have a very big part to play in things. WWE has heavily pushed the legends aspect of the show, so there’s no doubt going to be some involvement. But what are the best, and most logical ways the talents could be used?


Prev

Continue Reading

Editorials

Break It Down: Ranking Every Major Wrestling TV Show (Week #52)

Published

on

Break It Down

Well, here we are week #52, the final weeks worth of wrestling for 2020 (even if one show was technically 2021), and what a year it has been. When I started this feature series at this time last year, I certainly wasn’t expecting shows with no fans and the difficulties that the world has faced, but one thing that is worth mentioning is how hard everyone in the industry has worked.

But it’s time for the final Break It Down of 2020, taking a look at how each show wrapped up their year, and which show was actually the best of the bunch with all things considered. So strap in, and remember… 2020 is done!


4. WWE Raw

Photo Credit: YouTube.com/WWE

The show kickstarted in a great way this week with Sheamus and Keith Lee having a really fun one on one match as the Limitless One became the number one contender. The promos worked well for both men in the build-up and that led to a physical encounter that established both wrestlers.

AJ Styles and Elias had a match that certainly was better than expectations, but there was also a large chunk of the show that was incredibly forgettable. The work with the women’s division continues to leave a lot to be desired, and overall, the show lacked a lot of energy.

The work with The Miz and the Money in the Bank was an odd one, having him lose to Gran Metalik and then regain the briefcase in the same night. The briefcase has been handled so poorly that it’s no surprise fans are losing interest. The show ended with a cliffhanger with nobody knowing what Randy Orton actually did. For some people, that’s something that people loved, but for others, it was a frustrating finish.

3. WWE SmackDown

Photo Credit: Youtube.com/WWE

While this was technically in 2021, it makes this article as it was in the final week of the year. However, because it was technically 2021, WWE did push the New Year vibe, which provided a fun energy to the show, and throughout the night it was a very entertaining evening.

Seeing Sonya Deville return was excellent, as she will add a lot of quality to the women’s division on the blue brand which has proven to be entertaining as of late. Big E’s first match as champion was entertaining, with Corbin being a smart person to put him up against, while Daniel Bryan and Otis proved to be a fun team together on the night.

The main event was the shows strong point though, with Kevin Owens and Jey Uso having a great match together that was full of fire as KO continues to be one of the most exciting stars in WWE at the moment, with him being launched off the ThunderDome set being a great moment to end the night.

2. WWE NXT

The black and gold brand ended the year in a really strong manner with a great show that built towards New Years Evil really well. Every segment and match felt important and like it was necessary in order to build up certain matches for the upcoming show.

The End Of Year Awards throughout the night was fun and well put together, with nice segments following each one. This was particularly strong when Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly had a confrontation, with their promo segment being very well done.

In the ring, Grizzled Young Vets and Breezango had a good solid tag team bout, and it was also good to see Bronson Reed back in a competitive manner. However, the match of the night was between Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne, who had an incredibly hard-hitting battle that really showcased the best of both men.

1. AEW Dynamite

Brodie Jr. TNT Championship

There was absolutely no doubt about what show was taking the top prize this week to end 2020, and that was AEW Dynamite. While this was ultimately a very sad show, it was also a beautiful one that was put together with heart, compassion, and love from everyone within the company, and Tony Khan deserves massive credit for putting this together.

Normal storylines were thrown out of the window for one week with a tribute show to Brodie Lee, following his unfortunate death, and it was done perfectly. From having Erick Redbeard pop up to the way -1 was treated throughout the night, this show was incredible.

It was arguably the best AEW Dynamite of the entire year. The in-ring quality was superb throughout the entire show, with the touching messages being done incredibly well as the entire show just ticked the boxes that the entire wrestling world needed at this point.

Fourth place=1 point
Third place=2 points
Second place=3 points
First place=4 points

2020 results (each week, the points tally will be added up below):

WWE Raw- 108
WWE NXT- 158
AEW Dynamite- 146
WWE SmackDown- 112

So there we have it, my ultimate ranking of the three shows with WWE NXT just edging it over the course of the year, and for my personal taste, I think that’s accurate. The two Wednesday night shows have absolutely been head and shoulders above the two main WWE events, with great consistency and quality within those two events.

WWE Raw started the year quite well but has really suffered for quality towards the end of 2020, while WWE SmackDown has pretty much done the opposite.

But, that’s 2020. A year that most people would likely want to forget, and now here’s to 2021, one which we all hope will be more positive and while we are still a while away from a world of full arenas and sold-out stadiums, there is a hope that it will happen at some point this year.

For 2021, the Break It Down article will be making its return, and I look forward to seeing how the shows work in quality throughout the year. But for 2021, the article will be having a slight tweak, and that’s because I will be adding two more shows to the ranking.

As well as the four that have been used this year, I will also be bringing in WWE NXT UK, and IMPACT Wrestling. These are two shows that people have asked to be included throughout the year (IMPACT especially), and you ask, I will deliver. So, who will take the top spot at this point next year? Join me next week as once again, I Break It Down.

Continue Reading

Trending