10 Thoughts on WWE Raw Supershow 10.11.11 (HHH, Vince McMahon)
by Patrick Spohr on October 11, 2011

Welcome back to 10 Thoughts on Raw, and big thanks to Pulse Glazer for picking up the column last week as I wallowed in pain and suffering. And no, I’m not talking about the walk-out ending of last week’s Raw. Before I talk about that, I would like to mention this week’s Caught in the Ropes wherein I highlight another five members of the FCW roster.

Now, let’s talk about that vote of no confidence, shall we? Yeah, Steven Gepp, CB, Mike Gojira, Blair Douglas, and many others ’round here have already discussed the issue, but I want to approach it from a different angle. If you don’t want to read another rant on the issue, it won’t hurt my feelings if you skip ahead. Honestly, when I saw the end of the show, I didn’t think all that much of it. The story was heading towards its own inevitable conclusion, with HHH literally or figuratively wrestling for control of the company against another party, most likely Vince McMahon. Plus, to be honest, I was already tiring of the storyline and just wanted the whole damn thing to be over and done with.

However, the backlash caught me off-guard. Many writers have noted the widespread dissatisfaction among the IWC for the current state of wrestling. You’ll get no argument from me; wrestling as a whole is down right now. Mr. Gepp has also noted the rampant nostalgia among writers and commenters. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and often the easiest way to describe something abstract is to compare it to something else. However, the nostalgia bent can be pernicious if not understood, and that’s what I really want to get at.

I was browsing through some videos on Youtube when I noticed one commenter’s prescription for what ails the WWE. Yeah, I know that the comments section on Youtube is a veritable no-man’s-land for well-reasoned, articulate thought, but something struck me. This person’s cure: bring back the Attitude Era. Like the Attitude Era was a singular set or performer that could just be brought back on a whim. But listening to a lot of people out there in IWC-land, it seems like that’s exactly what a lot of people want. They want the Attitude Era back, or nWo-era WCW, ECW, Smoky Mountain, Georgia Championship Wrestling, or the Rock n’ Wrestling era. Fans who were cultivated during that era don’t simply want the product of TNA or WWE to improve, they want them to revert back to their earlier years.

The Attitude Era is never coming back. The WWE has tried to, in a sense, reinvent the Rock n’ Wrestling era with a more kid-friendly product for modern-day, and it’s failed. ECW is dead. WCW is dead. They can’t be revived. The idea that the only way forward for wrestling is to move backwards is a flawed concept. The industry, like any other form of entertainment, has evolved, and while it may take cues from previous years, an entire movement can’t be summoned back from the ether. They had their time, and we may love them, but they’ll never revert to what they used to be. The idea is akin to NBA analysts branding new talent with the dreaded “Next Michael Jordan” tag. Jordan can’t be duplicated, and insisting that he can only serves to skew our view of newer talent.

All fans can hope for is that the WWE, TNA, or any other promotion can take the lessons learned from their most popular eras, and hopefully more lessons from their least successful, and give us something new. It might meld traits from the Attitude Era, Rock n’ Wrestling, ECW, or any number of other “golden age” eras and promotions, but waiting for wrestling to go back to “the good ol’ days” is a fool’s dream. When things turn around and get better, and they will, it will most likely be in a way we don’t fully expect. Okay, enough of that, and on to…

THOUGHTS!

1. How is the WWE, in the current storyline, a more dangerous place now than in years past? I want to hear someone explain that. For years, we’ve seen people assaulted backstage, valets put through tables, men bitten by snakes, and Mabel, but not one character would think of filing lawsuits and/or walking out on the company. I could maybe see that kind of angle coming from young guys like Dolph, but why would veterans follow suit? You might think things are bad now, Mark Henry, but at least nobody’s going to hit you with a barbed-wire bat or throw you through a window.

2. Great, HHH is setting himself up as the face and the rest of the WWE as the heels. Wait a second, the cameramen and techs walked out last week, so are they back now? Someone’s operating the cameras and lighting and production. What the hell is it, WWE? Did you get scabs to pick up their work? Where are Punk, Cena, and Orton? Well, here’s Cena which is…not exactly what I wanted. What, Cena sides with the company? Shock. I guess we’ll see the rest of the hold-outs here.

3. Thank you, Punk for being the voice of reason. “This is professional wrestling, it’s not ballet,” is the counter-argument against this entire storyline. That’s why this whole angle doesn’t make sense. IT’S PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING! If someone’s not getting knocked out on their way to the ring, if someone’s not getting assaulted, if there are no referees getting pummeled, then something’s wrong. There’s a certain sense of fun with these four guys trying to run the show on their own, but the whole angle still doesn’t work.

4. Vince showing up; it was only a matter of time. Jesus, the Board of Directors thing again? More legal maneuvering and blah, blah, blah. Come on, Vince, just say that Johnny Ace is running the show now and get it over with. You’ve been heading in this direction for months, let’s just get on with it.

5. So, is Alberto del Rio part of the Christian/Ziggler/Swagger/Rhodes stable or not? This looks to be the new Corporate stable, and del Rio seems like a natural fit, so why wouldn’t he be out there with the rest of the guys?

6. Just the thought of a Henry/Big Show feud for the WHC is almost enough to put me in a coma.

7. Well, it’s looking like Mark Henry’s push is coming to an end. Getting beat to hell by Big Show and needing a Cody Rhodes run-in to save him from the pin doesn’t make him look dominant, which is what his whole push was based on.

8. Damn, I’m not looking forward to weekly Johnny Ace promos. No, John, I don’t like you ’cause you have all the charisma of a cardboard cut-out and talk like you have a terminal case of laryngitis. Now he fires JR. I guess that’s a quick way to get heat, but I don’t relish Michael Cole taking over the reigns on commentary again. This sucks.

9. I’ve been watching some Mason Ryan matches from FCW, and I have found one thing he’s good at: serving as a poster-child for steroid abuse. Seriously, that guy has ballooned since his developmental days.

10. Crowd is DEAD for most of this Punk/del Rio match. I mean DEAD. Any possible momentum Alberto had at one time is gone. And here comes Johnny Ace again and…Miz and Truth are back. Of course. For an episode of Raw that is so desperately trying to shock its fans, none of its twists have been remotely surprising, with the possible exception of J.R. being fired. This whole angle, everything that’s been going on in the WWE the last few months, reeks of a desperate company thinking about going all-in, then chickening out at the last minute. Just out of curiosity, I went back and looked at old Raw ratings. On October 2nd, 2000 Raw pulled out a 5.4 rating. Last week’s walk-out episode did a 3.05. At some point, WWE, you’ll actually need to pull the trigger on something and not fall back on the status quo, or else you’re going to be stuck in this rut for longer than is necessary. I firmly believe that the WWE and wrestling in general will get better, but this is the kind of show that prolongs the crap instead of diminishing it.



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Patrick Spohr

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  • CB

    Great points, EXCEPT… you can’t go by ratings to compare how well Raw is doing now vs. then. That’s like comparing CD sales, it’s just an obsolete model hanging on by the skin of its teeth.

    Instead, look at total NUMBER of viewers. 5 million is the magic number they would LOVE to get every week, and that’s not happening consistently if at all.

  • Joseph Hargrove

    Not too happy about Johnny Ace as interim GM but the show was decent aside from the main event. Not very consistent either to be honest.

  • Lorenzo Bonilla

    Your opening statement regarding thebacklash regarding the walkout and the IWC desiring their own “good ole’ days” era to replace is exactly the problem TNA had for most of their run, its going backwards that hurts the product, not forward and WWE needs to take chances again instead of playing safe, as Punk’s early blasting up to Money in the Bank has shown. Playing it safe, pushing the same cycle of talent and burying everyone else hurts your product moreso than helping it.

    Also, why does every Triple H promo have him bury his own roster? He did that at the Road to Wrestlemania when he wanted to fight the Undertaker, and he does it again on Monday. Especially considering some of those talents are getting over (Air Boom, Cody, Ziggler, Ryder)you make them irrelevant by your insecure ego statements. Its the problem a lot of fans had with Cena, where he never took any of his opponents seriously, which changed during his brief feud with Punk and reverted back to Del Rio. If the main eventer doesn’t view you as a threat, then why should the fans? That’s the issue I see in how their promos are shaping.

    I am looking forward to the teamup against the NuCorporation, but the WWE needs to up their ante and make for dramatic story-telling in order for the fan’s to invest in this drawn out storyline.

  • Patrick Spohr

    @CB
    I’ve heard that argument made, and to some degree I agree with you, however the parallel you drew doesn’t necessarily work. CD sales aren’t representative of music sales because physical media is dying. TV isn’t dying, however. It may be consumed in a variety of ways now, but it’s not dying. More to the point, the WWE isn’t diffused across multiple channels the way other TV is. I can’t wait a month and catch Raw on Netflix, get it On Demand (at least with Cox Cable), or watch a free, legal streaming option (I hear Hulu+ has it, but I don’t have Hulu+). People can DVR the show, but I believe there are rating numbers available for DVR. While ratings numbers aren’t the same as they used to be, they’re still important.

  • owangotang

    OK it was not a procedural censure but the Board of Directors did get involved and remove HHH from Monday Night RAW’s lead position…I’m frightened that I’m even slightly thinking like the writers of this show.

  • Wally Kovacs

    I don’t know about the states, but I do know in Canada Raw gets replayed at midnight, and again during the day on Tuesday. While they get ratings numbers for DVR, they are often delayed, and discounted to some extent, as the assumption is they are fast forwarding through the ads. Raw is on Hulu in clip form. There are plenty of recap sites for those who want to know whether it’s worth watching before seeking it out, and plenty of places to find full episodes online. Also, ratings are relative. They are the ratio of people watching that show compared to everyone that owns a TV.

    So:

    (a) there are more people who own TVs, and therefore, each rating point is worth more now than it did 10 years ago

    (b) There are more things to watch on TV … so there are more people fighting over the same proportion that ratings represent. More people getting slces of the pie means most are getting smaller slices.

    (c) There are other things to do than watch TV. With all the other content out there, the ‘total’ ratings will perhaps show that a smaller segment of the people who can watch TV are actually watching it, especially not live.

    So, while ratings may still be a good indicator, it’s important to note that, a 3.1 now vs. a 3.1 ten years ago means two very different things. If the WWE had say, 4 million fans, that watched week after week without fail, with no fluctuation in either direction, their ratings would still steadily decline as, generally speaking, the number of households with TVs would increase. [There is also the entire question of how accurate Nielson houses are … they sort of suck as far as random sampling goes… if you know you aren’t a Nielson house, your own TV viewing habits are irrelevant, while someone who is in a Nielson house could go out of their way to help keep shows they like on the air or boycott shows they don’t like.

  • Michael

    And the continuity breaks keep coming!! UGH…

  • sideshowbob

    But now that we have had this PG stuff for a while, think of the dramatic impact it will have when someone does get busted ear to ear and lands on the Muta scale…

    The crowd has been conditioned to accept Hogan-style matches again if you think about it. Imagine when someone busts out technical matches now too.

    They HAVE effectively been able to hit a reset button, without people realizing it. Well some have, and those are the ones yelling “Cena sucks”. But no, the shock and awe of the Attitude era is gone for now. But for every Mason Ryan, there was a Bastion Booger. They’ve never been all winners..

  • LBD “Nytetrayn”

    It’s less that I want a certain era to come back, and more that I want traits of those eras to return. I liked it more when they pretended it was an actual sport, with titles meaning things, and the talk of winner’s purses of late has been a small pleasure I’ve been happy to see return.

    A lot of it is in the details, the little things. Tag teams which feel like teams, rather than two guys thrown together– the Air Boom name and theme have helped in that regard. Or the way that they used to have the wrestlers address their opponents on a split-screen video as they walked down to the ring.

    I think more might be able to be done in terms of gimmicks/characters, too. I’m not saying we need to duplicate Hogan or Savage or DiBiase or whatever, but find what made them so appealing to the masses in the first place, and try to apply that formula elsewhere to help further enhance the talent we see.

  • Mike Gojira

    I think I have a reasonable answer for why Raw has been so predictable and yawn-inducing, but you’ll have to wait until my Thursday column.

  • CB

    Exactly what Wally said. Plus, the fact that Monday Night Football and Pawn Stars are CRUSHING BLOWS to Raw’s final numbers, I agree that the ratings matter in that sense of comparison between shows in THIS ERA.

    BUT it’s not the end-all, be-all, and you just can’t compare ratings points then and now.

  • incognito

    Bastion Booger jobbed to Virgil in his television debut. He wasn’t ever pushed.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    Wait, is Mason Ryan your guys’ next “NEW VADER” now that the Mark Henry dream push is over?

  • Blair A. Douglas

    Sorry, not Mason Ryan, I meant Britista… or I’ll also accept Fake Batsita.

  • Patrick Spohr

    @Blair
    Yes…if Mason Ryan was capable of doing something other than suck out loud.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    I figure everyone’s next, in the most technical term available, “guy who sucks that everyone wants to blow for no reason at all” will be Mason Ryan or Brodus Clay. People will be comparing Brodus to Vader instead of Henry in no time.

  • Michael

    Oh, and ANOTHER continuity break: Does this now mean that John Cena IS fired?

  • owangotang

    Blair you are better than this. I don’t know why the Mark Henry comparison to Vader grinds your gears so much but apparently it does. Mason Ryan and Brodus Clay are not Vader. Henry is not Vader, not the way he’s booked. If anything Mason Ryan will be Lashley 2.0 and Brodus Clay will be…I don’t know, Snitsky?

  • CB

    Raw first hour: 5.38 million viewers

    Raw second hour: 4.67 million viewers

    Monday Night Football: 16 million viewers

  • James Alsop

    Also: Didn’t CM Punk wrestle Triple H LESS THAN A MONTH AGO in order to get Trips fired? And now he’s getting behind him?

    Continuity nightmare. WWE were so keen to get some stories behind matches at Vengeance that they just didn’t stop to think about the ramifications of those stories. It’s shocking.

  • sideshowbob

    Mason Ryan is more like the next Sid.. With or without the squeegee, only time will tell

  • Blair A. Douglas

    Grinds my gears? I’m typing. It’s funny. This Brodus guy seems like he might be in better shape and a better worker, so I’d just be more apt to call him Vader, that’s all.

  • Blair A. Douglas

    Oh, and CB: Don’t you read our comment board? Ratings for EVERYTHING are down (except that’s not true) and RAW can’t ever possibly get it’s ratings up to where it was (except that it could if it didn’t suck) even if the show may even be better than what it was before (even if it’s much, much worse.)

  • CB

    LOL Blair, I used viewers instead of ratings because ratings from 2011 compared with 2001 just wouldn’t correlate.

    Total viewers, however, is always a good correlation.

    Plus, I didn’t include Pawn Stars on here, but that show manages to kick Raw’s ass most of the time in the key male demographics categories. Chum Lee > VADER!!!!

  • Blair A. Douglas

    I don’t even know what Pawn Stars are. It sounds terrible.

  • CB

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