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Watry: Defending WWE Raw & The Wild Card Rule

May 7, 2019 | Posted by Justin Watry
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Last November, I attended a WWE Raw taping live in Milwaukee. It was my girlfriend’s first ever wrestling show from the company, and she loved it. Had a great time, as did I. Very fun and exciting to be there. I had been to dozens of shows throughout the past 20 years, but the experience never gets old. Then I got home and was bombarded with negative comments. Apparently, it was not only a horrible three hours. It was the single worst three hours in the history of wrestling! Yikes. While I did somewhat defend the show, it was mostly due to being there live. My judgment was clouded, and my viewing was different than everybody else watching at home. Not quite the same.

Fast forward to this past Monday night. Another three hour RAW. Another ‘worst show ever’ tirade.

Another Watry Defends column…

Defending Wild Card Rule & WWE Raw

Wild Card Rule – Imagine being Vince McMahon for one second. Just imagine it. Now imagine signing new television deals worth over $2 billion. Pretty sweet, huh? Now imagine those companies telling you what THEY want for YOUR product. Kinda sucks, right? Well, that is where things are for WWE in 2019. USA Network wants the best for Raw, and Fox wants to load up Smackdown Live. Both want the best guys and gals on their shows. Makes sense. Only problem is this little thing called the brand split. Vince McMahon wants to stick to it (as do many fans), but the two billion dollars say otherwise. Thus, the Wild Card Rule is born. Pretty much a cop out from April’s Superstar Shakeup… but enough wiggle room to create buzz each week and keep the rosters intact. For the most part at least.

WrestleMania Rematches – This felt like hot shot booking, absolutely. Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio have had their WM35 rematch. Now Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre get to have theirs. Oh, and we also get a WM35 WWE Championship rematch. Wonderful. Here is the thing though – the biggest name value in all of WWE is “WrestleMania.” Mention that, and fans will react. The company was up against it this week to deliver a home run. With a few available Smackdown LIVE stars (no Monday live event), why not? We have seen it for years, so save me the complaining. Both had the correct finishes (disqualification and clean pin) too.

AJ Styles/Seth Rollins – Funny how these two are kinda getting away with being the center of attention during the low ratings? Interesting. I would say they are protected by the internet darling label, but I will save that for another time. The fact is I am digging this feud right now. Good stuff. Baron Corbin winning a match (any match really) may be a tough pill to swallow for some, but it works in context. AJ and Seth are great on RAW, and their clash at Money in the Bank should be even better.

Local Talent – No, WWE is not going to rewind thirty years and have a million ‘squash’ matches every show. The late 1990’s killed that concept. That being said, I am ALL for Lacey Evans beating up a local talent and gloating about it to the rest of the women’s division. I am ALL for the Lucha House Party getting a victory of any kind. They can be worth more than what we’ve seen the last couple months. I was at a Saturday live event in March, and the live crowd loved them. Athletic and marketable. Those two quick bouts fit the show. Three if you count the Viking Raiders crushing Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, which is also a win. Nothing but quick matches in 2019…no. A few…yes. Cherry on the top – another entertaining brawl between Lacey Evans and Becky Lynch! They could do that every week, and I’d be fine.

Braun Strowman/Sami Zayn – In a perfect world, Sami Zayn would hit the ring, bash the fans, and milk this all for another few months before getting his comeuppances. In a pressured television world, we needed to get to the payoff already. Zayn (rightfully) talks about how the diehard WWE Universe is probably complaining about something, and then Braun Strowman comes out to shut him up! Boom. Those two had a good mini-feud in late 2016, and it seems to be time for Round Two. Braun does one of his popular backstage stunts, Zayn is sent packing to the dumpster, and I got a chuckle out of the whole thing. Since I was called garbage on worldwide TV, I sympathize with Sami here. Poor guy.

Ricochet Wins – At last check, Ricochet was in the MITB ladder match. Not Robert Roode. Thus, Robert Roode should have never defeated Ricochet two weeks ago. I say that as a big fan of both, for the record. Do not take this as criticism of the talent. Ricochet is the guy being highlighted right now. Therefore, he needs to come out on top of this. On Monday night, he did. Ricochet won and gets to continue his roll towards the pay-per-view. Pretty straight forward if you ask me. What’s the problem?

Samoa Joe – Okay, Samoa Joe threatening Rey’s kid and mentioning Uncle Eddie was brilliant. I still say a beatdown is coming, but for one night – the tease was worth it. Destroyer Joe is best. Watch out Mr. Rey Mysterio.

Firefly FunHouse – The third episode was much better than the second episode but not quite as ‘fun’ as the debut episode. Bray Wyatt is back on track again, and you can count this as another ‘W’ in my 2019 Bold Predictions. The dude is an entirely new person, all with a little bit of effort. I mean, we may have lost a furry rabbit but whatever. We will be okay. What happens in the fourth episode next week? No clue. What I do know is that I actually care. That is more I could say about Bray Wyatt the last two years.

The Miz/Shane McMahon – Very quietly, The Miz and Shane McMahon have been one of the better story lines since last year. I know this debate comes up constantly on the 411 Foresight Wrestling Podcast, but I stand by it. There has been some quality television between the two. This Monday night made sense. and I was cool with the result. Miz was waiting to get his hands on Shane and once he did, the weasel got away with a low blow and an awaiting limo. That is playing a heel, ladies and gentlemen. Again I ask, what’s the problem?

Lars – Big new giant smashes a lower card guy on the roster. Okay. No issues with that one. Why the complaining? Fans whine and cry about creating new stars, and here is WWE trying with Lars. Yet, the whining and crying commences. Of course. Perhaps Sami Zayn is onto something.

The Revival – When a talent is leaving one promotion for another, their final days are usually not pretty. We know that. As the supposed ‘smart’ wrestling fans, it is the case with 99% of defections. In the history of wrestling. The Revival have turned down new contracts. New FAT contracts. New hefty contracts. New fancy, well paid contracts from WWE. Those were declined, and the tag team is all but gone. WWE did their part, even offering up a big raise to sign. The duo said no. From there, their options are either NOT be featured on television or play the fools. The Usos are the top tag team right now in the company, and The Revival are going to be looking up at the lights going forward. Again, pretty basic stuff that has been around the industry forever.

SUMMARY: Did I think Raw was amazing on Monday night? No. Did I think it was the greatest night in the history of our sport? No. I thought it was a decent show in the month of May to build towards Money in the Bank, which is precisely what it was. The Wild Card Rule was obviously an audible called by somebody last minute and with what WWE has, they did their best. I can’t fault them for that. Can you?

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Justin Watry