WWE programming is at an all-time low right now. The TV ratings are decreasing each passing week and even the die-hard fans are finding it hard to watch 3 hours of Raw each week with the same level of interest and excitement. Since the superstar shakeup this year, both the brands are struggling to lure the audience on a regular basis, but Raw is especially facing the criticism due to its poor Raw bookings. Even though it has some interesting storylines in places like the FireFly Funhouse, Styles vs Rollins Feud, and Sami Zayn, there over-dependence on 50-50 booking and non-sensical segments have been really hurting their product. People are turning towards different promotion and with AEW just around the corner, this problem couldn’t have come at the worst time.
Let’s look at the four problems that the show is having at the moment.
Problems with Current Raw Bookings
1. Treatment of Champions
Let’s talk about the Universal Champion first. After winning the title from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania last month and getting the first feud against AJ Styles, Seth should have been the talk of the town at the moment. The fans should have been praising him as the top guy and the face of the company. Even though it started as such, it is not the case anymore. People are still excited about the dream match at Money in the Bank, but Seth is not getting space to shine as a champion. Seth vs Styles could have been much more than just two stars colliding for a title. They could have incorporated Rollins’ insecurities like how he has finally got an opportunity to make Raw his show after defeating Lesnar. But, first, he has to deal with another big star, AJ Styles who wants to conquer Raw as he did in SmackDown.
The management is trying to make the feud go along those lines but illogical booking like having them wrestle in a tag team together just because both are babyfaces is not helping either of them. They never asked Undertaker and Brock Lesnar to form a tag team before their match at WrestleMania 30. Since this weekend, people are talking more about him dating Becky Lynch than his potential dream match at Money in the Bank this Sunday, which is also his first title defense at a pay-per-view. WWE is still depending on Roman Reigns to sell the tickets, that is why he is getting more time on Raw than Seth, despite him being on SmackDown officially.
The IIconics and the team of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins have barely won any matches since their title victory at WrestleMania last month. WWE is overdoing the coward heel champions with the IIconics as they have done nothing in the last months to make the fans take them seriously. All they do is talk about how good they are as a team then they go and lose a match a couple of minutes later and everything they would have said earlier goes to the bin.
2. Wild Card Rule
The wild card rule was doomed to fail from the start. It was just an excuse to have Roman Reigns feature on both the brands. WWE has been really atrocious with its execution and keeps on making changes to the rule according to their convenience.
Since its initial inception, they have not yet clarified about the rules like if the tag team counts as one or two or how do wrestlers decide who appears on the show. Now, Shane McMahon is having a feud on both the brands. In Raw, he is feuding with Miz and in SmackDown, he is helping Elias take down Roman Reigns. All it is doing is confusing fans who are finding it difficult to keep track of such a complicated rule. Even the lower card wrestlers are suffering because of it, as wrestlers like Rusev and EC3, who are below the company’s radar, may not get featured in the show for months.
3. Inconsistent Storylines
The writers are also finding it hard to follow up on a storyline on a weekly basis. A couple of weeks ago, the character of Robert Roode was introduced to us. It looked like a genuine mid-card prospect. Everything from his entrance to his mustache was screaming of an annoying heel, but they kind of forget about him after his first appearance. After Roode won his first match against Ricochet as a new character, the writer wrote him off the following week only to bring him back a week later to have him lose against Ricochet. Now, he is just another heel who is wandering in the mid-card without any future plans.
Mojo Rawley has been doing his mirror thing since January this year. But, they have been so inconsistent with him since then that when he finally came out to wrestle against Apollo Crews this week on Raw, he was met by the dead air. No one knew the reason behind his changed behavior and the commentators did the bare minimum to explain it.
Viking Raiders should be booked like an unstoppable force who goes through their opponents within minutes. But, Vince McMahon couldn’t find a slot for them this week on a Raw in which Baron Corbin was featured three times.
4. Stifling Popular Wrestlers
The Revival has been nothing short of a joke since losing their Raw tag team championship at WrestleMania last month. Since then they have been losing matches, shaving each other backs and are getting involved in terrible segments, to say the least. Apparently, they are not happy with their RAW bookings (wonder why?) and are just waiting for their contract to expire to leave the company. WWE is naturally not happy with the situation, hence they are treating them like a couple of clowns to lower their market value.
What the management is not understanding is the fact that in the age of the internet, people already know what is going on in the backstage, so instead of damaging the tag team’s image, they are harming their own product as Vince is coming across as an awful person, who would go to any lengths to satisfy his ego.
Instead of burning their butt, have them put over teams like the Usos and the Viking Raiders in their way out in an actual wrestling match. This will keep the tag team division strong and the fans don’t have to sit through embarrassing segments again.
WWE desperately needs to come up with a good show, otherwise, with increasing competition and lack of creativity, they have a long year ahead of them.
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