Mind you, I still spend the funds. I already have my tickets for the Raw World Tour show in my area this October. I enjoy the live show, mainly because it’s rare that those outcomes have any effect on the TV product. You can invest more time into dissecting storylines while watching Raw or SmackDown, but the live show takes those established feuds and gives you, well, entertainment. It’s almost as if the “house show experience” is one of the few ways that the current WWE product harkens back to the days of old. Faces are faces, heels are heels, and while we might get some suspense over a potential title change, we know that this is purely entertainment and that in the end, the right guy will win.
TV? I’m watching Raw faithfully from 8AM to whenever after 11PM they decide to end it, and at the 9:45/9:50 mark of each show for the last month, I realize “crap, there’s another HOUR of this!??!” with the extra frown on. And I don’t even know what it is. The three-hour Raw format has been much better than the previous three-hour specials they’ve done before this time. There aren’t too many individual segments that drag, but the show on the whole just feels like it’s too long. They even pace the segments the way they should for the most part, but I’d much rather see them construct a two-hour Raw as nicely as they do the three-hour shows.
It could also be a lull. For SummerSlam to be one of the “big four” pay-per-views the WWE puts on, the build-up to this event (which featured a three-way for the WWE Title, a Sheamus/Del Rio match we’ve seen numerous times, HHH tapping out to Brock Lesnar and no significant title changes) felt quite uneventful. The build-up was pretty much lukewarm (while critics are divided on the Shawn Michaels element to the HHH/Brock storyline, I can’t find anyone who wanted to buy the PPV because Sheamus jacked Del Rio’s Ferrari), and it resulted in what felt like a $55 edition of Raw. It’s almost as if the WWE forgets that pay-per-views cost money, and in order to justify them, we need more than “SEE BROCK FIGHT” as a hook to plunk down our hard-earned cash. Change a title, show me something I’ve not seen, something.
Maybe Creative is stretched. Three hours of Raw, two of Smackdown, NXT (when they’re writing for it in advance), an hour of Superstars and now Saturday Morning Slam and whatever other projects they have, it’s amazing that they can at least keep the bubble afloat. I’d just wish that they’d had more “newness” or edge to their product. Not edge in terms of the Attitude Era, but storylines that are engaging and not just thrown together because we need wrestling. Give us a reason – a logical one – for these two to have beef, be it “I’m better than you” or “you got my girl” or “give me your title”. I’m an easy apologist for professional wrestling when it’s good. When I can’t justify the amount of time I spend watching Raw, reading dirtsheets or what have you? You’ve got an issue.
All of that said, I’ve got a five year old (six in September). He is getting involved, and the only cool action figures that aren’t from a movie or comic book are WWE figures. He likes reenacting moves (he’s got Ryback’s Samoan Drop down to a science) and cheering for his favorites (Cena, Ryback, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara). I’m not “going anywhere”, but give me something to grasp. Bones get thrown (Daniel Bryan’s rise), but do I really want/need to see him fighting Kane in nothing programs right now? I don’t want to change the channel – don’t force my hand, WWE!
For a full recap of SummerSlam, Raw and current news, please check out this week’s Black Rasslin’ podcast. It’ll be going on hiatus for a while, so get these last episodes while they’re hot! See you next week!