Over the past few months, WWE and TNA engaged in a Monday Night battle that fizzled out quicker than Edwin Jacksonâ€™s fantasy baseball value in 2010.
(sorry Dâ€™Backs fans, couldnâ€™t resist)
TNA has (rightfully) backtracked to Thursday nights, where they can (hopefully) rebuild their audience and recapture the lost eyeballs that became blind to their programming. With that said, I wouldnâ€™t say that this was a big win for WWE either, mainly because of the following factor:
Raw has been a mess since HBKâ€™s retirement and will become an even bigger mess when Batistaâ€™s gone
Since Shawn Michaelsâ€™ said farewell to the WWE Universe, Raw has really suffered from overthinking, overstacking, and overreacting. They are on a consistent ratings downturn (thank you Pawn Stars for giving us an intriguing alternative!), and this post-WrestleMania hangover has now become a full-on chronic migraine that WWE has tried to cure with quick-fixes that just have not worked.
During the WWE Draft, WWE clearly wanted to give Raw a huge boost by sending Edge, Chris Jericho, John Morrison, R-Truth, and the Hart Dynasty to the flagship show. From a TV business standpoint, it does make sense to keep USA Network happy by stacking the Raw lineup. I also see the appeal in letting SmackDown kind of coast along until the big reboot takes place on SyFy.
However, I also think that Raw has now become an overstacked, jumbled mess of a show where the wrestlers have to be squeezed into segments and matches that come off as nonsensical or too short for my taste. Throw in the fact that there is so much WASTED time with these Guest Hosts taking up 15 to 20 minutes per week, and what you have is a program that is just not compelling to the real wrestling fan.
The worst part is that when WWE does strike gold with a storyline or two on Raw, even those angles get caught up in Guest Host nonsense or eventually become stale because of the fear Creative has in messing with a tried and true (and trite) formula.
Exhibit A: Edge and Ortonâ€¦and Wayne Brady
As much as I LOVE where this feud is going for Edge and Orton, was it really necessary to stick Wayne Brady into The Cutting Edge segment so that he can take an RKO on his way out?
Instead of trying to replicate a â€œStone Coldâ€ moment with a celebrity that NO ONE cares about â€“ this wasnâ€™t DX posing with a famous athlete to get on SportsCenter, which was enough shameless pandering itself for one year â€“ why not simply let Edge and Orton do a straight segment without any interference at all? Moreover, those five minutes or so that were wasted on Wayne Brady could have added more WRESTLING to the show. Actually, by Raw standards, you could have added another whole mid-card match, since they are 2-5 minutes in length anyway.
At the very least, we could have seen an actual WWE superstar interrupt Edge rather than waste an RKO on someone whoâ€™s never coming back. It could have been Ted DiBiase, John Morrison, R-Truth, ANYONE on the roster instead of the Guest Host.
And no, WWE, I donâ€™t want to see Wayne Brady and Meat Loaf as a new tag team anytime, EVER.
Exhibit B: Batista and Cenaâ€¦and Bryan Danielson
Batista is currently in the best heel run of his entire career. Itâ€™s a shame itâ€™s being wasted on an already-established John Cena in a feud that has been retreaded and reused and recycled and re-recycled, and itâ€™s even more of a shame that heâ€™s finally found his stride with one foot out the door of WWE.
I have an idea. Instead of Batista scoring the win over now-defunct Daniel Bryan in the Beat the Clock challenge, how about Daniel Bryan makes Batista tap out, immediately quits NXT and repackages himself as Bryan Danielson, and taunts Batista so badly that Batista forgoes his title shot for an I Quit match with Danielson, where the person who says I Quit leaves WWE.
Then, Cena could be freed up to wrestle Sheamus (at least itâ€™s a fresher retread) and Danielson can beat Big Dave on his way out, thereby giving him much more of a push and a rub that he would get by, I donâ€™t know, pinning Santino Marella on Raw, being eliminated from NXT with no buildup, and repackaging himself as Danielson on a 30-second promo that no one watched live and a blog post that the casual wrestling fan did not read.
Give us something COMPELLING to see, and weâ€™ll watch
They can still fix the Bryan Danielson debacle, but for me it has to be done in an urgent and compelling manner.
My solution: Insert Bryan Danielson into the Miz-Bret Hart U.S. Title situation on Raw
Danielson can interfere and cost Miz the U.S. Title, and Bret can win the gold with a HUGE pop from the Toronto crowd.
Bret can then give a long speech to the Canadian fans and subsequently pass the WRESTLING torch by giving the U.S. Title belt to Danielson. An angry and emotional Miz can then whine and cry and complain about it, and a match can be made for Over The Limit: United States Champion Bryan Danielson vs. The Miz for the gold.
You now have an intriguing way to continue the Miz-Danielson saga far away from NXT, and a way to start cleaning up the mess that has been Monday Night Raw.
All we need is something COMPELLING to see, and weâ€™ll watch…
…If not, then weâ€™ll keep changing the channel and WWE will lose The Real ‘Monday Night War’, with or without TNA on Monday nightsâ€¦
Tags: batista, Bret Hart, Bryan Danielson, Daniel Bryan, edge, guest host, hart dynasty, hbk, john cena, John Morrison, miz, monday night raw, Monday Night War, Monday Night Wars, NXT, R-Truth, randy orton, Raw, Santino Marella, Stone Cold, ted dibiase, The Miz, TNA, tna impact, United States Championship, WWE, WWE Creative, WWE Draft