Some feedback to the go-home Raw

Hey Dave.
Love your work.
There's a reason why Rock/Cena can't go anywhere at all in the direction of Blassie/Tolos. It's because after 12 months, we STILL don't have a concrete reason why these two assholes want to duke it out. Is it because they're both stars and figure it's time to fight? Who the hell can get behind that? With the ratings doing poorly for Mania season, there's no way this event is breaking any records. I actually predict less than a million buys.
Keep up the good work.
Brian Burke
Wilmington, DE

Hey Dave --
Here's what I wrote on facebook last night:
"I thought ONCE IN A LIFETIME (the Rock/Cena Countdown show) was excellent, and all their interactions have been entertaining, but none of it has done much to make me interested in their match. If anything, I have less interest now than when it was announced a year ago. It'll be interesting to see what kind of ppv numbers Mania pulls on Sunday."

I agree with everything you've said about the build, Dave.  I don't know whether my feelings reflect a wider state-of-mind, but since the announcement last year I've been planning on ordering Mania, but with everything they've done (which in so many ways has been tremendous, it just doesn't make me want to see a match between the two) they've talked me right out of it.

The entire thing illustrates my biggest problem with WWE today, which is that the matches are meaningless, there's no reason to emotionally invest in anything.

Dave Wolf

Hey guys,
Usually, I am not as tough on RAW as most - I manage to detach myself
from armchair booking and sprinkling my own ideas of how to optimize the
product over the presentation most of the time, and therefore manage to
be entertained by what WWE puts on television every Monday night more
often than not.
That being said, yesterday's RAW was just mind-boggling and may have
been the worst major go-home show I've seen during the last couple of
years. Like somebody on the board wrote, it felt more like the go-home
show to Bragging Rights than the one that was supposed to hard-sell what
the office hopes to become their highest-selling PPV of all time. I was
kind of pumped for Mania and actually stayed up until past 5 am to watch
this live? Really? REALLY!?
Let's run through what made this a show for the ages:
-) The Rock/Cena stuff was a solid performance by both, but it was
probably on the lower end of all the promos both of them did during the
buildup. It felt like a promo that should have taken place at the
beginning of the program and not the last one before the big show. The
perfect promo would have been the one from a few weeks back, when Cena
got under Rock's skin and told him to "keep on trending". I feel that
was the point, when the program had the most steam behind it, it got
weaker and weaker the weeks following. Don't get me wrong, the "Once in
a Lifetime" special was great, but this promo just didn't feel like the
final money promo for this match should have felt.
-) No HHH/Taker/Shawn live appearances? What!? The #2, some may even
argue #1 match on the show, and none of the three appeared in front of
the crowd? The video packages were well-produced, but still - no final
push? There were a number of things that could have been done. Sit-down
interviews with HHH and Shawn (if not with Taker); another Taker
sequence like they did early on with him, maybe him stalking around in
the cell; a final controversy between Shawn and HHH; a final staredown;
hell maybe even a few highlight videos of past Cell matches with the
both of them, ideally clips from Shawn/Taker and Shawn/Hunter. Wow...
just mind-boggling. But then, I am sure at least some fo these will end
up as video packages on the PPV, when people already ordered
-) BraggingRightsMania. If I ever see guys running around in stupid red
and blue shirts ever again it will be too soon. Everybody looked like a
geek here and really, it felt like a good 80% of the show was used to
build up this battle of geeks (and yes, part of the problem is, that
most of these guys shouldn't be geeks, and some should regularly be in
main events and represent the young/next generation to carry the
business during the next decade). Meaningless matches, stupid skits and
boring promos. Wow, Miz is on Team Johnny. So that was the reason for
the week-long storyline of him not being on the card? How frigging
creative! Then taking Christian out and replacing him not with Alberto
Del Rio (which would have made the most sense) but with frigging Drew
McIntyre? What, why? Because his 247 "you are fired" angels got over so
great with the audience? Sorry, at this point it's the Chris Masters
syndrome and unless he's cut and brought back in a few months, totally
repackaged with a push behind him I'm sorry, but don't use the guy
outside of Superstars. Yeah, sucks for him, but being #11 in a match
featuring 12 random mid-carders won't do him any good either. Booker T
was a mild surprise and I guess why not, he'll be better than Foley who
is shot on so many levels and it's probably a lot smarter than risking
Rey injuring himself further. But still, just fuck you for wasting our
time with this shit, I'd rather see half these guys in a Money in the
Bank match, at least these are usually entertaining and good for a few
whacky high-spots (and on that stage, at least it makes sense to take a
few risks, compared to going all-out on a show watched by 8,000 people).
But now we will get a 12-person match that will probably be average and
filled with stupid comedy with about 8-10 more people at ringside which
will get nobody over, except maybe an almost 50 year old announcer who
means nothing for long-term business.
-) Punk/Jericho already lost steam over two weeks ago. Wow, now CM Punk
is a bastard. That really hits hard, if you're a character in a George
R. R. Martin novel. Wow, so Punk's parents only married after he was
born? Shocking. Please, reveal how his mother is actually a witch during
the buildup of Extreme Rules and try to burn her at the stake. And I
love me some Punk, but the Christian injury angle was lame and had a lot
less heat than that random beatdown that Cena gave Jack Swagger a few
months back. I looked forward to this match, and I am sure it will
deliver, but I have less interest in it now than I did before.
-) Bryan/Kane vs. Sheamus/Orton. I hate these random matches where two
sets of opponents get thrown into a random team for a random match on a
random spot on the card. Kane/Orton might be a decent match, but it has
no story, no reason and no buildup, so meh. Sheamus/Bryan will be fun,
and AJ interfering is intriguing, but I guess they just phoned in the
result of this match, as usually with WWEvenSteven booking, the one
getting the final pin duing the build-up is the one losing the big match.
-) I like Brodus Clay, but he's not on the Mania card that we know of,
so why was he on the final build-up show? His chicks are hot though and
it only lasted a minute, so why not. that is, if they had put him on in
addition and not instead of something that needed to be on the show
(like Taker/HHH or some other good build-up)
-) Nothing like burying the tag champs in a random match in a spot that
could have easily been taken by any other geek. At least they didn't
show them being treated like superstars in Puerto Rico before burying
them here.
-) Why the FUCK is Great Khali on my television? Hide him in a 12-men if
you must, but I do not need to see this man in the ring on his own.
Henry could just have performed the visual of picking him up during the
random brawl after this match. If I were Vince I'd be terrified to have
Khali even do a single move on the go-home show, fearing it might turn
off potential buyers.
So I have no idea what this was supposed to be. If this had been week 1
after the Chamber, well, for the heck of it, OK. But this felt like TNA,
where they actually have the climax of the feud and getting it off the
ground later. Will be interesting to hear if thy rewrote the thing a
million times and worked with a final draft that was 2.5 minutes old
when the show started. Vince really must have had a grumpy day for this
show to be what it was, or he is so far out of touch with reality that
he should really step down at this point. WCW at it's worst could not
have put on a dumber go-home show.
I was pumped for Mania this year and I really, really, really hope that
it will be a good show, and with the four top matches, I don't know how
it couldn't be - but after seeing this show, I am dreading what might
become of it. I hope they don't fuck up the Rock/Cena finish (and I can
see either guy winning, with the right story) and I hope that HHH and
Taker will go all out without killing themselves. I expect good matches
from both Jericho/Punk and Sheamus/Bryan and just hope that the girls
match and the Bragging Rights thing will be over quickly without doing
damage to the show. They have to have some kind of pay-off with Zack and
Eve too with Zack getting the last laugh, or his character will be
damaged beyond repair. Orton/Kane might mechanically be good but is just
a lame match and would really profit from a stip such as last man
standing. Show/Rhodes could be entertaining and I see them further
building Cody by putting him over. Will be interesting if Christian,
Alberto and Brodus Clay will be on the show in some capacity, especially
with Christian introducing Edge.
Kind regards,
Markus Gronemann
Dark Mat EU
Vienna, Austria

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