Questionable decisions have been made with regards to leaving certain wrestlers on the NXT roster as well as bringing some up to the main roster over the last couple years. It was questionable at first, but at this point Vince McMahon’s decision to bring Dana Brooke to the main roster earlier this year has proven to be an egregious misperception of talent.
WWE’s weekly television programming is not exactly known for its nonstop entertainment, with the lackluster and bad segments often outnumbering the decent and quality selections. And in over three hours of a regular Monday Night Raw, with all the different options at hand, it is saying something when you can lay claim to the worst segment of the night. Brooke may have done just that though on Oct. 24 in a segment that was downright awful.
It was the latest chapter in Brooke’s ongoing program with Bayley. Yeah, think about that for a moment. One of the darlings of the “women’s revolution” — the ultra-babyface that won the hearts of wrestling fans in her tenure in NXT and had those same fans chomping at the bit to see her finally arrive on the main roster at Battleground (after Brooke had already debuted, mind you). That Bayley is involved in one of the worst feuds on Raw currently.
Sure, you cannot entirely put the blame on the two women, or even exclusively Brooke. After all, this latest segment was awful, and that meant the WWE writers and McMahon had to think it up and believe it was actually a good idea to decide to go through with it. That said, Bayley has been done no favors in being matched up with Brooke.
After the pair had a match on Raw the previous week, which Brooke won, the rematch was set up. Brooke’s win was an upset victory, so it makes logical sense to book another match as a follow-up. Except that’s not what we got.
The two women enter the ring, and Brooke starts cutting a promo. She complains about her win being called an upset over Bayley. Not because she claims to be the superior wrestler or the more talented athlete. No, Brooke’s reason was comparing the way she looked to Bayley. I guess that is the deciding factor in who should win matches. Maybe I missed something, but I thought the whole point of WWE’s “women’s revolution” was we were getting away from a focus on looks and looking at the women’s actual pro wrestling talent. I guess old habits die hard for the WWE staff.
Brooke goes on to inform us instead of a wrestling match, her and Bayley were going to compete in an arm-wrestling match. You could just feel the televisions all around the country switching the channel in that moment.
As noted, Raw is not exactly three hours of wall-to-wall entertainment every week. Whether just accustomed or extra polite, the typical WWE audience is pretty accepting. It takes a lot for an entire crowd to trash a WWE segment nowadays. Usually the worst you’re going to get is a silent crowd passively watching and waiting for what’s next.
The moment Brooke made her arm-wrestling announcement, the crowd started turning on it. By the time the “match” began, the crowd was raining down “boring” and “this is stupid” chants. Wrestling Observer’s Bryan Alvarez maybe said it best.
Did anyone on the 2016 Prediction Show predict that Bayley would be in a segment on Raw and fans would chant "BORING!" and "THIS IS STUPID"?
— Bryan Alvarez (@bryanalvarez) October 25, 2016
In all honesty though, an actual match between Brooke and Bayley would have only been an upgrade to a bad match as opposed to the awful segment we got. After all, we got to see the match one week prior. It was not pretty.
It has only become more apparent over the months that Brooke is not ready to be on the main roster. As harsh as it sounds, Brooke is like a virus on the roster. Every program involving her has only been brought down by her presence. Perhaps it’s a gift or perhaps a curse, but Brooke has also only been around the best female talent on the main roster in Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Bayley. It means her lack of talent sticks out like a sore thumb in comparison, but it can also detract from her when viewers have other things to pay attention to.
The long-standing feud between Charlotte and Banks has thankfully been ridden of Brooke’s involvement as Charlotte’s lackey. But that then meant she got paired with Bayley in a singles feud; and as great as she is, even Bayley is unable to bring a shine to this turd. The arm-wrestling segment was just the latest chapter in that mess.
While it was good for Charlotte and Banks to be rid of Brooke, being on her own has taken away those shields which covered up her flaws before. Now since she has been feuding with Bayley, all the flaws have been open for viewing. She has to do promos on her own, she has to work matches solo, and the spotlight is on her rather than it being on Charlotte beforehand.
Who knows how long WWE is going to keep up the feud with Bayley? We can be sure it won’t be impressing anyone for however long it continues. And we can almost be sure McMahon is not going to be sending Brooke back to NXT, especially post-brand split. All we can really hope for is Brooke’s lackluster work with Bayley results in some sort of rub-off and Brooke can learn a thing or two as she continues to develop her craft.