So, after taking a little hiatus from writing columns, I’m back and ready to fire off some opinions and discussions about the current product…….and promptly rip it a new A-hole! A little known fact about me: I have not watched a full episode of RAW in a long time. I have not even sat down to watch a full 3-hour episode of RAW since RAW went 3 hours and before then, I hadn’t watched RAW in a long time. There were many reasons for it:
No cable- I was in the military at the time and I lived in a dorm room. I never purchased cable and even now and then, the Rec Center would show episodes of RAW and I would always check it out when it was on but due to no cable and no computer at the time, it was very hard for me to watch RAW. Also, being in the Navy, there was the constant thought that I would be going out to sea so that also made RAW very hard to watch on a consistent basis. Plus, I haven’t had cable in YEARS and sure, I could watch the episodes of RAW on Hulu or even on the Network……..but I just stick to key clips and moments to check out. For instance, I watched the clip of when John Cena chose Daniel Bryan to face him at Summerslam 2013, I watched the full segment of when chants for Daniel Bryan interrupted the hype of the John Cena/Randy Orton TLC match on that final RAW before TLC 2013, I watched the clip of Seth Rollins turning heel and I watched the clips of the RAWs after Wrestlemania. However, as for viewing FULL RAWs during that timeframe, I have not watched one RAW since maybe 2007 in its entirety.
The Internet- Just because I don’t watch RAW, that doesn’t mean I don’t follow it and I have been following it since I stopped watching it. I read reviews, analysis, watch Youtube videos and reviews and that’s how I get my weekly RAW fix.
Lack of interest- Easily one of the big problems and that’s because RAW is just no longer must see TV and Smackdown hasn’t been must see TV since God knows how long!!
Now…….all of these are valid reasons as to why I myself don’t watch RAW but for the people who do watch RAW, I would love to hear the reasons as to why you DO watch Monday Night RAW, especially considering the poor quality. I mean, 2015 has been a GARBAGE year for Monday Night RAW, so bad that they’ve lost 500,000 viewers since after Wrestlemania (which I’ll get into later) and the ratings are equaling that of the horrible stretch of 1995 and 1996 or even the Nitro stretch from 1999-2001 when people were mocking Nitro for their dead in the water ratings………the WWE can no longer mock WCW because they are pretty much in the exact same boat, ratings wise, as WCW was. And this isn’t a new thing, people, RAW ratings have been in the toilet for a LONG time! Sure, Mania season gets a decent bump up in ratings and every now and then, there is a bump up or something if something catches the fans’ eyes but for the most part, RAW ratings are consistently in the toilet. Actually, I shouldn’t say “toilet” because technically, RAW is still one of the most watched shows throughout the week, it gets pretty consistent ratings…….they just aren’t getting the MASSIVE ratings they got before. I think that’s why USA still keeps RAW on their network and why they haven’t moved them down back to 2 hours: the show is still consistently solid in the ratings and throughout the week, it’s just not the ratings juggernaut that it used to be and that was to be expected and considering that ratings for a lot of TV shows have been dwindling over the years along with streaming become more and more of the preferred way to watch TV, that’s still an impressive place to be. I think somehow, the WWE and USA have settled in their place of being happy where they are and are perfectly fine with it if the ratings don’t go below 2.0. However……..I think we are getting closer and closer to that point, meaning that this convenient staleness is eventually going to have be replaced with good ideas and thinking about the future.
First, let’s look at an argument that really angers me and really shows that some people just seem to be stuck in the old way of thinking when it comes to the blame game: the WWE champion is the one responsible for the ratings, good or bad. Now……..Rollins has been a horrible champion in terms of ratings: he’s lost 500,000 viewers on his watch since Wrestlemania 31 when he became the champion. Sure, there was some steadiness in the summer and things were ok for a little while but over the past few weeks, things have taken a massive nosedive and the question becomes this: Should Seth Rollins receive the full amount of blame for the low ratings? Well…….NO!!! I have argued with Mr. Tito on LOP about this for months (he never replies back because he knows I’m right and his outdated argument makes no sense): his line of thinking is that Rollins is the champ, he’s the one responsible. The argument that I’ve brought up is this: why should the champion be the sole person responsible for the low ratings if the entire show is garbage and how can the WWE champion still be positioned as the guy who is responsible for the ratings if he’s constantly treated as being in the middle of the food chain behind the established stars like Cena, Orton, Triple H, Taker, Brock, etc.? Obviously, Tito doesn’t answer my questions (when a person has an inflated sense of self-worth and feels that he’s always right, you’re never going to get anywhere with them) but that’s something I want the readers of this column to ask themselves: Does Seth Rollins deserve full blame?
On one hand, I can see how Rollins should be at least one of the many reasons why the RAW ratings have been sinking. Rollins is the WWE champion and he is one of the most heavily featured guys on RAW……..he probably takes up about 60-70 minutes of a 180 minute episode of RAW. That’s counting matches, opening promos, closing promos, skits in between…….the WWE has made Rollins one of the major focal points of the show so I can’t say that they haven’t been featuring him enough nor can I say that he doesn’t main event PPVs (outside of Summerslam and the upcoming Hell in a Cell, he’s been in the main event of every PPV this year since he became champion……..if I’m wrong, please correct me). HOWEVER, Rollins is literally involved in almost 1/3 of an episode of RAW and he’s also a major focal point on Smackdown……..THAT’S a problem. Your WWE champion has become overexposed to the point of people are growing tired of him! John Cena RARELY wrestles on Smackdown……..I feel that Rollins wrestles on both RAW and Smackdown and that might even include more than one match a night! It gets to the point where Rollins’ promos just all start to bleed together to the point where he’s not really saying anything we haven’t heard before and people get bored of it. Plus, to be a WWE champion, you have to be, you know, TREATED LIKE THE WWE CHAMPION!!! Here is Seth Rollins’ total TV record in 2015:
His record before becoming WWE champion on TV was a horrible 5-16 and after he won the title, he’s gone 17-24 (if these are wrong, please correct me……I was just breezing through Cagematch.net and I wasn’t paying attention to No Contests outside of the Lesnar match at Battleground). That’s just on TV, imagine if I counted Rollins’ house show matches and dark matches, this guy would be coming pretty fucking close to notching almost 100 loses total this year! But surprisingly, the WWE doesn’t see that as a problem. I understand that Seth is a heel and that heels are supposed to lose…….but when a heel is your WWE champion, it’s kind of getting to the point where he actually has to look, you know, like a threat or at least convincing at being WWE champion instead of some sniveling little asshole who plays second fiddle to everybody until he’s able to escape come PPV time. The problem is that Rollins as a little bitch boy champion just isn’t working because his booking is inconsistent…….one minute, he’s getting in Brock Lesnar’s face like a badass and the next, he’s running away like a pansy. Plus, you’re WWE champion should never be booked as the guy that the top babyfaces beat at the house show. But, the results show one thing: Rollins has the worst win/loss record of any champion in history……..I’m supposed to tune in to watch THIS guy if he can’t even beat Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble in a handicap match??? Rollins has lost numerous matches on TV this year that should have been easy victories for him because he’s the champion…….yet guys like Ryback, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose beat Rollins clean on TV this year! Basically, my point is this: if the WWE doesn’t stick to the old school way of booking their champion as dominant or at least smarter than the rest of the roster then Seth Rollins should not be getting the blame for the low ratings because who wants to see a horribly booked chickenshit as champion?! However…….the silver lining for Rollins this year is that he’s pretty much become this generation’s Shawn Michaels (no…..there is no comparison) and blown everybody in the WWE out of the water with his in-ring performances, storytelling, athleticism and just sheer work-rate……..he’s got my vote for Wrestler of the Year……..yes, over the golden boy, John Cena, who has had a great year himself but Rollins has just turned it up a notch in the past few months and has really opened my eyes to how dynamic of an in-ring performer he is!
To end this point about Rollins: if you’re going to book your WWE champion like a grade-A loser, then no one is going to tune it to watch him…….no matter how awesome he is in the ring or how SWANK his all white attire is. The fact that the WWE goes out of their way to book Rollins like a little bitch is really fucking irritating………like it makes me want to throw up every time I hear about how far they go to treat Rollins like some little punk ass champion who doesn’t deserve. This feud with John Cena is a clear cut example of who REALLY is the top draw of the company because Rollins has only beaten Cena one time (Summerslam) since this feud got reignited here in 2015 while Cena has pinned Rollins multiple times, made him tap out to the STFU (I continue to add the “U” to the STFU name because it’s not an STF) and has seemingly gotten the better of Rollins every step of the way…….you take away John Stewart’s interference at SS and Cena has completely EVISCERATED the WWE champion over the past few months! John Cena has consistently been booked as being better than the WWE champion…….SO WHY DOES THE WWE CHAMPION GET THE BLAME FOR LOW RATINGS?!!!! Once again, it’s because of tradition but it’s a fucking bullshit tradition if you ask me because John Cena is treated as better than everybody on the roster…….yet, unless he’s champion……he’s completely devoid of the blame for the low ratings!! The WWE rarely follows tradition anymore…….but notice how they follow THIS tradition only when it suits their needs or backs up their point. When the company is doing well and the ratings are doing well, it’s the WWE brand that gets all of the love and appreciation in the world………when the ratings are low and when John Cena or none of the other established stars (Rock, Brock, Taker, Triple H, Orton, etc.) are not the WWE champion, let’s point the finger at the WWE champion and those stupid “NEW” stars. The fact that now a lot of “old school” fans are using this same bullshit cop out excuse just shows how out of touch THEY are along with the WWE……..and yes, that does include the aforementioned LOP writer from earlier.
One of the major highlights of the year was John Cena’s US Title Invitational and it’s not hard to see why: it allowed a mid-card or a NXT talent to face Cena for the US Title, get some exposure, hang tough with Cena and have a great match. The idea of it was very old school and very compelling since it allowed Cena to come off like a Bret Hart style of champion who takes on all comers and no need for any stupid feuds or storylines……just straight up wrestling matches that worked and usually, the matches were pretty damn good and at times, they were even great. What fascinates me about this is that fans have ripped apart John Cena for constantly winning matches against up and coming talent……..so the WWE books an angle where that’s exactly what Cena is doing and people actually like it? My problem with the US Open Invitational is that it really……..doesn’t go anywhere. I love watching great matches but what is the whole point of the Open Invitational outside of being a vehicle to showcase John Cena having great matches? Sure, Cena fought youngsters and most of them came very close to beating Cena each and every week……the point of it was that Cena is the top guy and these guys came close to beating him but they still aren’t good enough to beat him just yet, meaning they aren’t ready to ascend out of the mid-card. However, Cena is technically the top guy of the roster and is treated more importantly than the WWE champion…….so a victory over him should be 10 times better than winning the WWE Title but a loss to him shouldn’t keep them in the mid-card, it just shows that they aren’t ready to be the top guys yet but that they can eventually challenge and win the WWE Title in the future…….but even if one guy gets lucky to beat Cena, he’ll more than likely beat them right back and the victory means absolutely nothing. The whole thing just goes round and round in a vicious cycle because we know that whoever Cena faces, he’s either beating them or if he loses, he’s going to beat them again because NOBODY is surpassing Cena as the top guy for a good long while…….but I guess if we get good matches out of it, what’s the harm, right……even if the whole thing is to make John Cena STILL look more important than everybody on the roster but what do I know?
The whole roster is in a state of flux to the point where I do not care who wins and who loses anymore because, eventually, the person who loses will get his win. Hell, even when the WWE comes out of nowhere to shock the hell out of us by having Kevin Owens beat John Cena in his very first WWE match……..they come right back around to have Cena beat Owens on the next two shows clean as a whistle and thus, he sends Owens to the mid-card “where he belongs”. A lot of people (yes, it was another Tito argument here) believed that Cena should NOT lose to a “minor leaguer” like Owens because he just came up from NXT and that Owens hasn’t been built up enough for that victory. In theory, that’s correct because Owens has done nothing in the WWE to earn that victory yet. BUT……..the WWE has done such a piss poor job of building up new talent over the past few years that the only way for a new guy to actually get over with today’s crowds is by beating a top guy like Cena, Orton or even Sheamus for that matter! And what happened when that Kevin Owens guy beat John Cena clean at Elimination Chamber? Owens outsold John Cena in merchandise (despite not even having nearly as many items for sale as Cena), Owens’ segments on RAW were some of the highest rated of the summer (including when Cena was not on RAW and it was up to Owens to carry the feud by himself and also including when Owens murdered Machine Gun Kelly in awesome fashion), the house shows where Cena and Owens fought did great business (you can say it’s all because of Cena…….but I believe Owens should get some love there as well……if Cena was fighting Stardust, I don’t think the sales would have been nearly as good) and…….most importantly…….the live fans were cheering for Kevin Owens and getting into every segment he was involved in to the point of becoming one of the most interesting characters in recent history!!! SO…….remember this……..people can piss and moan all they want about the WWE “making the wrong decision of having a newcomer beat their top star” but the proof is in the numbers: Kevin Owens beating John Cena clean at Elimination Chamber was a fantastic business that was actually paying off and turning Kevin Owens into a Mega Star!
………So they had Cena beat him at the next two PPVs clean and now he’s just another mid-carder now because he was doing all of these great things and people in the WWE didn’t like that. At this point…….Owens beating Cena seems like a lifetime ago and it honestly has nothing for Owens since that three week stretch. Yet, dumbasses continue to bring up Cena losing to Owens because the top star should never lose like that………yet it’s perfectly OK when the WWE champion loses like that all the time.
“But, Jared, John Cena is the top star!!” – WWE and their moronic segment of fans who believe everything they say (notice I didn’t say “WWE fans” because that’s generalizing)
“Ok, but why does Rollins lose matches like that all of the time?” -Me
“Because he’s not the top star of the promotion!!”
“But why does the WWE champion take all of the blame for the low ratings?”
“Because he’s the WWE champion!!”
“But he’s not the top star.”
“So why doesn’t John Cena get the blame for low ratings?”
“Because he’s not the WWE champion!”
“But isn’t he the top star who is treated as more important than the WWE champion?”
“But he is not the WWE champion…..therefore he is devoid of blame and criticism about the low ratings!”
“Then shouldn’t you be booking your WWE champion as the top star of the promotion?”
“Unless they are John Cena, they are not the top star of the promotion!”
“So what if the ratings were this bad with John Cena as WWE champion?”
“Then the rest of the company, from the writers to the wrestlers, need to step up and help him out…….Cena can’t do everything himself!!”
“Yea but it’s his fault that the ratings are low, right?”
“……..it is never John Cena’s fault for the low ratings……..”
See how fucking stupid and mind numbingly preposterous that entire argument is??
Honestly, the rest of the roster are basically just a sea of bodies who do things and fill time without ever adding anything to the overall product. Outside of only the New Day, nobody has really stepped up and really tried to make themselves stand out importantly in any way, shape or form. However, I can’t fully blame them because if anybody tries to get themselves over without the WWE’s ok……they get turned into jobbers (see Ryder, Zack). I think Vince actually likes The New Day, hence why they are consistently entertaining and why they are allowed a lot of leeway for the antics that they do (although…….I think Vince finds them entertaining in a different way from how us normal folk find them entertaining). An episode of RAW is just a series of matches with no consequences or build up whatsoever……they just happen. It’s 50/50 booking and thus, nobody looks good.
The Divas Revolution………do I even NEED to discuss how stupid the Divas Revolution is…….and I wasn’t even a fan of it when it was initially announced either. I knew that it was going to bomb or the WWE was not going to take it seriously whatsoever and I’ll be damned if that’s what they’ve been doing. The whole thing just FEELS like a bad joke being told each and every week and I believe that is how it’s been booked ever since. I mean, let’s be honest, who had the original idea of the Divas Revolution in the first place? AJ Lee. What was the point of Stephanie McMahon being the person who “came up with the Divas Revolution?” To take the shine away from AJ Lee. What was the point of Nikki Bella’s record breaking Divas Title retign? To surpass AJ Lee.
This is the most important person in the Divas Revolution and she doesn’t even work there!
Yes, the entire Divas Revolution basically plays out as “Six Degrees of AJ Lee” where everything being done is somehow connected to AJ Lee in an attempt to surpass her, to erase her and to undermine her contribution to the idea. Everybody hated when Nikki Bella surpassed AJ’s reign as champion…….I was fine with her doing it if it was done in a great and entertaining way that felt like Nikki had earned the chance to be considered one of the greatest women champions ever in the company and that one of the babyfaces would beat her for the belt in a great moment……..the WWE did the exact opposite of all of that, hence why everything just felt like a giant waste of time. A lot of people who picked on the fans who hated Nikki surpassed the record pretty much called them out for this one reason: “Why do you care at all? It’s not really that big of a deal.” My response to that: it COULD have been a big deal, it COULD have importance to it and it COULD have been better but the WWE, like the petty little children that they are, did business the wrong way and now nobody looks better for it. When a 40-something year old guy on Youtube is calling out teenage fans for being all butthurt over Nikki surpassing the record the way she did………that 40 year old missed the entire point of why people were pissed off about and that’s because he’s too busy picking on teenagers instead of looking at the clear picture.
At the end of the day, everything seems to just stay the same. The writing remains horrible, the skits remain juvenile and stupid, the same guys trade wins and loses all the time, the WWE champion is booked like a little bitch, Cena is booked as God, Vince McMahon still runs the company, etc. I think one of the major reasons for the WWE’s decline in viewership is just the overall product being garbage and the person who gives the OK to everything that gets put on TV is Vince McMahon. Vince McMahon no longer has what it takes to be the owner of the company and to have the final decisions because, quite frankly, he’s getting up there in age. To compare Vince McMahon to somebody, he’s basically Jerry Jones…….the owner and GM of my beloved Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones is a great businessman, but he doesn’t know dick about football…….so why should he get the final say about players and stuff when he really isn’t qualified to make those decisions? That’s why Jerry Jones should hire a GM, a football mind who knows what he’s doing, just like Vince McMahon needs to allow Triple H to start getting more hands on with the product. I think Vince just should sit back and be the owner…….let Triple H have a try at running the product. Hell…….the fall is the PERFECT time to do it in! The ratings are going to be low anyway but let’s try out a few of Hunter’s ideas and see if they work? Why not let Triple H and Stephanie tag team RAW for a few months? Hell, he’s going to be the owner anyway…….why can’t Vince just let him get his feet wet and let’s see what he can do? Quite honestly, Jerry Jones has only won 2 playoff games since the year 2000……meaning that Jerry Jones is not the person Vince McMahon should be emulating. The man he should be emulating: ROBERT KRAFT!!!
Who is Robert Kraft? He’s the Owner of the New England Patriots. What does Kraft do? Simple: Bill Belichick tells Kraft what he wants, Kraft gives him the money and Belichick does his thing. The results? 6 Super Bowl appearances, 4 Super Bowl wins, consistent winning records, consistent playoff appearances, consistent playoff victories…….all since 2001. I know Vince is a dominant male but maybe it is time for him to step back. His approach is outdated and is not working…….it’s failing. We don’t need anymore Yes Men……..we don’t need any more John Cena title reigns……..we don’t need any more 50/50 booking…….we don’t need any more Divas Revolutions……..we don’t need any more stupid juvenile humor……..we don’t need any more of booking your WWE champion like a pussy…….we don’t need any more old timers stealing the spotlight from your young superstars……..we NEED a good overall product and Vince, you are just not giving it to us.
By the way……I think all of those things listed are way more valid excuses as to why Monday Night RAW sucks than due to Seth Rollins’ being the WWE champion……just saying.
“Got something to say about that??”
Stay Tuned for my next column as, before we get it once again, I will evaluate the 2002 Hell in a Cell match between the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. I will be discussing the following:
The year so far for both men back in 2002
The beginnings of the feud
The build and feud in general
Discuss their Unforgiven 2002 match
Quickly recap the No Mercy 2002 card
In depth analysis and review of the Taker/Brock match