OK, so let’s recap. As of this week, WWE Raw is home to:
- An illegal fighting ring.
- Anarchists who destroyed a power generator with Molotov cocktails
- Someone falling ill after being poisoned prior to a match
- A megalomanic citing a need to “sacrifice” people by literally gouging their eyes out
Raw is currently a combination of drunk and delirious. We could try to make sense of the delirium. We’d start by spouting off some adjectives like absurd, ridiculous, nonsensical, ludicrous, and Vince Russo. We’d then crack jokes about how Vinnie Mac finally got around to watching Fight Club and let Shane-O to fulfil his 2003ish frat boy fantasy of having an illegal fighting ring. And then we’d finally analyze the rumors and hearsay to give you, our dear reader, some sort of narrative about why Raw was what Raw was. We’re going to do none because there’s no point in arguing with something that is drunk and delirious.
Instead, we’re going to ask you how Raw should proceed. Should the WWE powers that be dismiss the proceedings as a fever dream? Should they employ a back-to-basics approach that SmackDown and NXT have been using recently to decent success? Should they do a combination of the two? Ponder these questions as you watch PTWs most vocal arm-chair bookers, Jay and Jason, fight over the soul of Monday Night Raw:
Jay: They have to double down on the Underground thing. It’s terrible in an endearing sort of way like, The Room or QT Marshall. Like, they’re trying, only, you know — terrible. But, it has potential in that it can keep low and mid carders busy while building them up, plus it can be a hub for storyline progression. It can be the seedy underbelly of Raw and it can be used to start storylines or progress them in a Mos Eisley sort of way. Imagine MVP reclaiming the US Title and then using the Underground to insulate himself from challengers.
Jason: See, I’m of a different mind. I think the fact that the
Beat Down Clan Hurt Business intimidated Shane-O-Mac so much that the dude pretty much fled the scene of his own personal midlife crisis should be the story. I think MVP, Bobby and Shelton need to lean on Shane to get opportunities. Bobby gets that US title. Shelton and MVP get the tag belts. Then Shane for whatever reason can’t get Bobby a shot at the big belt, so they beat his ass off the show and go on a reign of terror building back up to Drew/Lashley II.
All the promo packages forget to include any shots of the embarrassing Underground segments, Babatunde goes back to being a large, but forgettable trainee, and all of the scrubby undercard guys continue to struggle for relevance. That latter part, admittedly, is not ideal, but better than having them win fake shoots with nameless redshirts in a billionaire’s bland interpretation of the Never Back Down series of films.
Jay: I do like the Shane/ MVP idea, but I think it would be weird to just forget about it. We all balked at the 24/7 Title yet, it has been a big boon for Raw one year later. Speaking of which, Tozawa is the new 24/7 Champion thanks to his ninja posse. What should they do with them? There has to be some sort of payoff in regards to where they came from and why. Ric Flair should be revealed as the ninja master that is training Tozawa and the rest.
Jason: Honestly? I don’t care about the 24/7 title even a little bit. The only story worth telling with that belt is to give it to someone so badass that they scare people away from trying to win it in increasingly stupid ways. I’ll admit to enjoying R-Truth’s Looney Tunes act from time to time, but I don’t know that that ugly hubcap on a weight belt is doing anyone any favors. Similarly, I want serious Tozawa again. I know he’s a cruiser, and Vince McMahon sees anyone under 220 lbs as a living joke, but let the guy be awesome again, not just a stereotype with a series of trainees in black pajamas.
Plus if the ninjas actually became a thing, I know they’d end up fighting the anarchist collective that’s been firebombing field equipment to little effect, and who needs that?
Jay: OH-MY-LANTA YES! Ric Flair’s Ninjas vs. The Anarchists in Molotov Dojo Match. WWE refuses to sanction it because they only way to win is to burn down the enemies dojo/hideout with Molotov cocktails, so it has to happen…in The UNDERGROUND. The damn thing writes itself.
Jason: I might almost prefer that to the inevitable bungling of this new Retribution faction, as I know it’s just going to be a not-so-subtle dig at Antifa and other protest organizations and they’re going to end up as bumbling jobbers before too long anyway. What I want is a proper chaotic organization (like SAnitY in NXT), not an ineffectual joke (like SAnitY in WWE).
Give me a group led by someone who is actually charismatic, who seeks to wreck shows and win matches not for prestige, but to prove that it’s all meaningless. Give me a leader who goes up against the world champion, has him beat dead to rights and then just walks away without getting the pin. Just to prove that the role of champion doesn’t elevate you above anyone and you can get got at any point. I would say that leader should be Adam Cole, but I figure that will just result in another retread of the UE or Bullet Club, and both of those ideas have run their course.
Jay: That would be wonderful but WWE will never push anyone to a level past the WWE Championship. Besides, “Ninjas v. Anarchists: Dawn of The Underground” just rolls off the tongue.
Are we going to talk about how Seth Rollins has gone off the rails while jumping the shark and into the deep end? I mean, he’s spouting nonsense about sacrifices and greater goods by all we have is removal of eyeballs and “Don’t call me Buddy, guy” Murphy.
Jason: What can you even say about Seth? He’s going to have to put over the offense from an untrained 21 year old for like eight full minutes before he gains the upper hand and threatens to bust Dominik Mysterio’s eye, leaving the kid to be saved by either his father or whatever they’re turning Aleister Black into (Maybe he’ll finally fight for the blue collar man, like Michael Cole said that one time).
I’m both looking forward to and dreading whenever Murphy breaks free from Seth, as that dude deserves the push that comes with that kind of movement. It may come sooner than later, too, given Seth’s impending fatherhood. I just hope Murph’s a better promo than he’s shown thus far, because that dude is aces in the ring, and we don’t want another Cesaro.
As for Dominik, he needs to go after SummerSlam. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong at The Biggest
Party Modest Gathering of The Summer, but from what I’ve seen, the kid still has plenty of room to grow before he’s ready for the main roster or even NXT.
Jay: Dominik and Seth will get through this. After all, Dominik went through a very traumatic custody battle back in 2005; he’s tougher than we give him credit for. And Rollins is too big a fixture to fail. But they have to keep going forward with Rollins, unfortunately. They invested so much damn time into him being this delusional megalomanic that he has to go full-Raven and gather a flock of followers. This Rollins messiah thing had more legs when he was flanked by The Authors of Pain.
Also, Montez Ford got poisoned. I mean, we’ve all been there, it’s a common workplace prank. My co-workers poison me weekly.
Jason: You know, it’s crazy how common attempted homicide is among the WWE’s personnel. Regardless of their moral alignment or past proclivities, everyone from Randy Orton to Roman Reigns has nearly murdered one of their coworkers in the past. So who am I to begrudge Zelina from a little poisoning? I’m hoping they don’t go the obvious route and have Zelina’s Home for Handsome Men be the culprits, as I think it could land the Profits a cool new feud. Though I’m sure this is all to build the inevitable 6-person tag, which at least gets Bianca Belair back on my screen, and there’s no reason she shouldn’t be running that women’s division.
Jay: Yeah, they’ve been going to the murder well a lot lately. In the past year we’ve gotten “who tried to run over Roman Reigns?” Undertaker burying AJ, Baron Corbin throwing Rey Mysterio and Aleister Black off a building, and we just glossed over Sheamus framing Jeff Hardy by running over Elias. Like, Sheamus ran him over and the story was “Sheamus is being such an ass to Jeff Hardy,” the murder doesn’t even register. Sigh, and you’re right about Bianca Belair. And Shayna. And Ruby Riott. And most women on Raw. And were you as sad as I was after they teased Joe?
Jason: It’s heartbreaking every time they trot out eloquent murderer Joe. My favorite segment in years has to be when he told Paul Heyman how he was about to straight destroy Paul Heyman in a calm and intimate manner, directly into the camera, and then proceeded to do just that. That he has not, and most likely will never be WWE Champion is a travesty of justice.
Jay: Finally! We agree. Eloquent murder Joe is the best Samoa Joe and we need his eloquent, yet murderous hand now more than ever. And there’s always hope. After all, Jinder Mahal showed us anything is possible. But you know where Joe can take his eloquent murderous rage to? The Underground. I want a blood feud with Joe vs. Ric Flair’s Ninjas in The Underground set to the backdrop of The Anarchists trying to burn down the whole club to upset MVP’s stranglehold on Raw with the twist being The Anarchists being aligned with Seth Rollins all along.
Jason: The only way I accept that is a worked shoot fight between Samoa Joe and Bobby Lashley (with MVP as his mouthpiece). That, I would actually be up for.
Jay: We saw that at Bound for Glory 2009. How could you forget Bound for Glory 2009? In short, I think Raw needs to stay the course with the absurdity. It’s already been introduced and at this point, they need to see it through, and I want to watch Samoa Joe fight ninjas with Ric Flair yelling at them to do ninja stuff in the distance.
Jason: And I just want to see Joe die valiantly fighting shoot- fight revolutionary Bobby Lashley! Agree to disagree!
We hope you’ve enjoyed a small peek into what our Slack group is like. As you can see we are revolutionary thinkers but, we need to hear from you.
Did you like The Underground segments?
Do you think Samoa Joe should fight ninjas?
Can Seth Rollins find his way back to relevance?
Tweet us at @AIPTwrestling.
Do you love wrestling? Do you have strong opinions on AEW, WWE, NJPW, Impact, ROH, and the independent scene? Do you like to write about wrestling? Then we want you on our team. AIPT is currently recruiting wrestling writers. Apply to write for AIPT today!