The Wrestling Backfire: How To Fix Monday Night Raw’s Flawed 3 Hour Show (Brock Lesnar, John Cena, CM Punk, The Rock)

Wrestling fans all have different opinions on certain subjects, but one thing the majority strongly agrees upon is Raw’s way too long. Of course, the most simplistic decision that would emend the problem would be going back to two hours. However, it doesn’t look they have any desire in doing that, so I decided to create some suggestions to make the show better. If they do not make improvements, I see their rating percentage going under a 3.0 in the fall, which would be a very bad sign.

Start With A Bang: They usually have an opening segment set up the main event, which lasts about 20 minutes and usually sets up a lackluster match, Instead of doing that, they ought to start off with a bang. They should a high-paced match to try to get the crowd into it from the get go. Needless to say, this is where a Cruiser Weight division would come handy. If it’s a huge angle or something important, by all means, start the show off with that. But a twenty-minute formulaic promo to set up a tag-team match or something lackluster isn’t a good way to start the show off.

Better Timing For The Comedy: Don’t get me wrong, comedy has its place in wrestling. Wrestling is essentially a television show that’s displays every type of genre, and that is one of the reasons it’s so unique. Needless to say, but I would to see is WWE with a blend of everything on each show (similar to how Smackdown’s niche was in-ring action, while Raw’s niche was suspense, drama, and shock-television). Anyway,  Shakespeare was one of the best writers ever that utilized comedic-relief. He realized that too much drama becomes overwhelming for an audience, so what he would do is give them some comedy to allow them to catch their breath.

For a more modern-day example, look at Goodfellas. There was a lot of tension, drama, and suspense, but there was enough comedic-relief so it would not become bloated. That’s how comedy should be used in wrestling. Instead, WWE does it the wrong way, as it feels like they’re using the heavy drama as the relief. Like I said, comedy has its place in wrestling, but it should be used for relief after something dramatic happens. When comedy becomes most of the show, everything else feels like a joke as well. Here’s an example from Monday Night Raw-

Vickie Guerrero was attacked by AJ Lee and then Daniel Bryan was in therapy. It did become a little more serious when Jerry Lawler accepted Punk’s invitation for a match and John Cena faced the Miz, but quickly jumped back to comedy: Santino’s cobra had a mind of its own, Sin Cara failed to dance, Kane joined therapy, and Daniel Bryan got counted out because he was too busy doing his “Yes/No” shtick with the crowd.

This was all  before Triple H’s promo, which the fans were supposed to seriously after the freak-show that led up to it. I mean, the fans just saw a wrestler that has a puppet that has a mind of its own and then WWE wants the fans to take Triple H’s retirement seriously?

The show has become so phony and cheesy. It almost feels like a very bad Saturday Night Live, and Cole’s forced laugh doesn’t help. And it’s not even if 90percent of it is funny. It’s extremely broad humor. I know they’re catering to kids, but they’re also insulting the adult fan base’s intelligence. A lot of times, I just feel way too old for this show, and I strongly doubt I am the only one.

One Or Two Good Long Matches Per Week: I comprehend why Raw used to lack wrestling- the most important matches should happen on pay-per-view and they need build. But on a three-hour show, there needs to be a good amount of wrestling. Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan foreshadowed a promising start for good, long TV matches, but there has not been a good one since. Both Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are more than capable of having a good long match with almost anyone. Thus, both of them alone could do it every week.

Add More Depth To The Roster: It boggles my mind that WWE is essentially a monopoly, yet TNA has better in-ring wrestlers. In fact, I would argue that if they had the WWE launching pad, they would be better overall wrestlers. WWE does indeed have good wrestlers, but they just aren’t utilizing properly. They have Tyler Black, Jon Moxley, Richie Steamboat, and Chris Hero in NXT who are all ready for the big stage In addition, they have Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, and Daniel Bryan who could be having 100x better matches if they were allowed to.

Better Structure: I realize something that’s predictable can be effective and something unpredictable can be ineffective. The Undertaker’s streak vs. WCW 2000’s booking is the shortest yet clearest way I can explain it. Anyways, there’s something Memphis, ECW, Mid-South, WCW, and to some extent Nitro and Attitude Era Raws, all have in common, and it’s not just that they were awesome. Despite what month it was, there was seemingly a certain vibe in the air. It felt as if anything could happen at any time. In contrast, Raw feels as if its going though-the-motion and repetitively beating a dead horse. The format is so vanilla and almost never changes, which makes it move at a snail’s pace. It desperately needs excitement and needs to shake up the format. The only time I usually feel that vibe is when Wrestlemania is around.

Cliff-Hangers – In every successful television show, there is something that happens that makes you want to view next week’s show.  Raw on a countless number of occasions feels like the show ends and starts over again the following week. In other words, there’s no flow from week to week; it feels like a separated show every week. Whether it’s an angle, upcoming match, or anything they can think of, there needs to be something that makes people want to view in again. It’s as simple as setting up the main event a week before. Right now, Raw is the polar opposite of “can’t miss television”.

Better/More Heels: Most theatrics follow the formula of Good vs. Evil. The evil is what flourishes out the virtuous qualities of the good and the good is what makes the evil look villainous. Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, and Sandow are superb heels, but there obviously needs to be more than six quality heels. The lack of superb heels isn’t the talent’s fault; it’s positively WWE’s accountability.

Most reading probably saw Dark Knight Rises. So, at the end of the movie did you either say, “Wow. I cannot believe Batman overcame all those odds stacked against him? Or did you say, “Wow. Batman looked so weak. He could not beat Baine up in their first encounter”?

Even though I know Batman is immortal, they did a fabulous job of stacking the deck against him, making me perplexed about how he was going to overcome what has happened. Now, what if every Batman just ran through Baine at the start – where is the suspense in that – and what direction does the movie go once Batman defeats the villain?

WWE’s logic of ‘if the heels overthrow their babyface, it will jeopardize his or her credibility’ is frankly incongruous. If they believe their babyfaces must be stonewalled to that extent, they should not be a top-level talent – because a top-level talent can recover and remain over from anything that happens.

Tommy Dreamer must snicker about this because Heyman was able to get him over, despite losing most of his top-tier matches. It frankly wasn’t even as if Heyman’s booking was so ingenious, either. He simply gradually built Dreamer one step closer each time, but had Raven somehow find a way to retain. And finally, on Raven’s last night in the promotion, they put the title on Dreamer. Furthermore, they quickly followed that up by making the fans forget about Raven by having Jerry Lawler and Jim Cornette spoil Dreamer’s party. Heyman ultimately built the feud to its peak and then pulled the trigger, as a result the fans thought more of Dreamer when he triumphed.

A sympathetic babyface needs to be challenged in some way. After all, there is no such thing as a sympathetic babyface that continuously stands tall. Once that happens, you become the New England Patriots post-2001, which most of WWE’s babyfaces are becoming or already came. Of course, babyfaces should have long-reigns with the title, but that should be after a heel reigned supreme for so long. It at least should be somewhat balanced. There are many fancy words or well-thought out analogies to describe what WWE has done, but the most adequate word to describe it is boring. If the babyfaces are repetitively invincible, the heels are irrelevant, and without them wrestling’s purpose is obsolete.

In conclusion, WWE actually hasn’t had a bad pay-per-view in a long time, but it’s meaningless if there isn’t any anticipation behind it. Just like a movie, there needs to be a good trailer, and television is primarily where money is made. WWE loyalist used to plead that they’re still averaging a 4.0, then it was a 3.5, and now it’s even more down. In other words, gradually, WWE’s ratings are falling. And if the show doesn’t improve, they’re going to keep going downwards each year if they don’t make major changes to not only Raw, but also the product as a whole.

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