Vince McMahon Gives Everyone The Stroke Face — WWE Raw Recap
Tonight’s edition of Monday Night Raw was way too long. You’d think with the extra time the writers had they would let some of their stories breathe a little and give screen time to people you don’t often see, like almost the entire roster of NXT and Superstars. But. Aside from a rare appearance by Christian, where he was made to look relevant for a change, it was the same old people doing the same old thing. And that just gets stale after a while.
Correction. It’s not getting stale, it is stale. And that's going to be a huge problem as we move toward Raw being on the air for three hours every Monday.
For a company that is concerned about depth issues with Alberto Del Rio, Racist Rey Mysterio Jr.*, Mark Henry, and R-Truth injured, and Chris Jericho and Randy Orton suspended for stupidity, they’re only relying on a small core of people to carry the load, and for whatever stupid reason there might be, the WWE doesn't seem big on easing the burden on that core by giving television time to some of their other superstars.
I totally get USA / NBC Universal / Comcast wanting Raw to go three-hours. I really do. It saves the network money, and although you might think a big corporate conglomerate saving money is a bad thing, keep in mind that the money a three-hour Raw frees up for Comcast means more funding for scripted series on USA. That's not a bad thing.
But. Three hours of Raw, in its current format, is.
As likable as most of that (increasingly stale) core group of characters are, three hours is just way too much when you also have another two hour program on Friday night, your competitor (and I use that term loosely when referring to TNA) with their own two hour show on Thursday, and then two pay-per-views between the two companies in the same month. That’s a lot of wrestling, and when it comes to wrestling, you can have too much of a good thing.
And those tedious, boring, three hour editions of Monday Nitro are the direction the WWE is heading with Monday Night RAW. So unless they get rid of the unimportant pay-per-views and Smackdown!, there’s just too much television time and too few wrestlers they're willing to use to keep Raw interesting.
5 Thoughts On Tonight's Raw
1. You think I’m kidding about the lack of depth on the Raw roster? Do you know who the most popular superstar of the night was? It was Vader. A guy who, last time we saw him, fell on his ass when exiting the ring, and a guy right now who looks like Brock Lesnar will, after Lesnar retires and spends the rest of his days at a nearly deserted Jimmy John’s somewhere in the horrible wilderness of Minnesota.
2. You know what the difference is between Mr. Perfect and Dolph Ziggler? Mr. Perfect has a personality, and he’s dead. Dolph Ziggler, as talented as he is, has a couple of huge things working against him, one of which is that his character isn’t so much a character as it is just a default thing wrestling bad guys are supposed to do, which is be cocky. That’s all you know about the guy. He’s cocky. Ok. So is every other fricking bad guy on the roster, except for maybe Kane, but that’s because he once murdered his parents and then tried to clobber his brother with their bones, so Kane’s got an excuse. Ziggler doesn’t, and if he’s going to be taken seriously by your stereotypical wrestling fan (people who don’t shop ironically at KMart), he needs to fix this.
Of course, I’m more of a Jack Swagger guy than a Dolph Ziggler guy because when Swagger comes out to the ring, he has this look on his face like he just took the world’s greatest bowel movement, and how can you not love a wrestling villain who's proud of his dumps?
3. I don’t care about the Big Show. I don’t care about the Big Show so hard that when he comes out, I immediately start sexting with the first girl I come across on my contact list because I rather give myself a severe case of carpal tunnel and blue balls than I would watch any sort of segment involving the Big Show in 2012. And I’m saying this as a guy who flipped out when he emerged from the ring at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and threw Steve Austin through that steel cage.
He's a nice guy. I always thought he’d have a movie or television career because he’s legitimately funny, but I’m sorry, one month of relevance doesn’t make up of fourteen-years of irrelevance no matter how you want to spin it, and boy did they try to spin it tonight.
4. Michael Cole was (almost) totally normal on commentary. I approve of this. Especially since the show is going to be three hours and I don’t think anyone reading this column would make it three hours listening to Michael Cole play the bad guy without being filled with the urge to get in the car, drive to where ever Raw is being broadcasted from, and punch him in the face. Cole being normal was the highlight of the night, and that's saying something for a three-hour edition of Monday Night Raw which saw Vince McMahon dancing with the sexiest women on television, Naomi and Cameron.
(Something I don’t approve of? Vince McMahon doing a “stroke face” during his J.R. impression. I think that’s the first time in years I saw something on any programming, wrestling or otherwise, where I just shouted, “Not cool”. There are so many things you can make fun of J.R. about, but “stroke face” is one of those things best reserved for when you’re entertaining a crowd of the elderly and need to relate to them.)
5. I'd be more impressed with Ryback if he didn't beat up on guys who look like they just got off working a long shift at Arby's. I’d also be more impressed if, as the crowd in Hartford, Connecticut pointed out, faced off against the guy he’s ripping off: Goldberg. That's something I think people would pay to see, and at this point, WWE can't pass that sort of opportunity up.
I’d say something here like, “tell me what you think in the comments section below” but really, I don’t care. Were you amused? Awesome. You were one of the few.
*Rey Mysterio isn't actually a racist, but it's a lot of fun to pretend he is.
B.J. Mendelson is the resident WWE expert. He'll be giving his opinions on Raw, Smackdown and the entire WWE Universe. Get used to it.