Stars of the WWE’s Attitude Era, the last true era within in the annals of WWE to garner its own commonly used title, claim that the roster at that time was the deepest that the WWE (then WWF) had in years. After the departure of major stars such as Razor Ramon and Diesel, and before them Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage, WWE was forced to go to creative well in order to create new starts to join mainstays such as Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. As a result, stars one may have heard of like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Triple H were born.
Although the Attitude Era contained a deep roster full of outlandish characters, the New Era comes at a time that WWE is not forced to provide shock value in order to vanquish another company that represents a professional threat. Instead, the stars of the New Era come off as simply amped-up versions of themselves and need only their own inherent personalities and in-ring ability to put on a show for the fans. A roster deep with such stars produced a great episode of Monday Night Raw this past week that did not even try to rely on the SummerSlam main events to make the show enthralling. Rather, the episode excelled purely on the depth that the Monday Night Raw roster contains.
With the exception of Seth Rollins’ impressive in-ring promo, the remaining Monday Night Raw SummerSlam main eventers were held to promotional videos contained pre-recorded interviews. Each of these interviews were masterfully executed in a way that only a company like WWE is capable of producing. Two other goals were masterfully executed in the process. The effort that went into these promotional videos clearly showed that these matches are focal points of the upcoming pay-per-view. At the same time, only giving these matches promotional segments shows that WWE wanted to know just how deep its Monday Night Raw roster is. Safe to say WWE was likely pleasantly surprised.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass opened the show to hype their upcoming SummerSlam match against Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. Amore, on his own, could verbally carry a sixth of the three-hour program if he was assigned to do so (his tag team partner is not half bad, either). In a modified reunion of last week’s opening magnum opus, Enzo and Cass were soon joined by Jericho and Owens, a combination of three of the best stickmen in the WWE. Another excellent verbal segment was produced, showing that all contributors will rhetorically benefit the programs they will go on to at the completion of the current one.
Again, women’s wrestling received valuable television time, as Sasha Banks pinned Dana Brooke, the result being that Brooke will be banned from ringside during the SummerSlam between Banks and Charlotte. These ladies continued to prove that Monday Night Raw is women’s wrestling central. Not only does Monday Night Raw have the WWE Women’s Championship, they have the only two women’s wrestlers that are captivating crowds in WWE arenas at the moment.
The remainder of the show provided further examples as to what makes the Monday Night Raw roster so deep. Segments having Neville and Sin Cara nonsensically defeat the legendary Dudley Boyz, P-Diddy attempting to stay relevant, and Golden Truth embarking in shenanigans with Scooby Doo did not stop Roman Reigns, Cesaro, and Rusev from owning the night.
Midway through the broadcast, Roman Reigns interrupted a heat vacuum that found Rusev and Lana celebrating their recent wedding. His interruption resulting in a fight that saw Lana accidentally falling into her cake, the only thing that could ever make her look ugly. In the main event of the night, Rusev wrestled Cesaro (Cesaro’s second match of the night) in a barn-burner that found the “Swiss Superman” losing due to interference from Sheamus.
This scenario may not seem too polarizing. However, the current status of Rusev and Cesaro make one expect them to conquer the midcard, but not the main event. The resulting match (hopefully) sent a message to the WWE to let them know that Monday Night Raw is not forced to rely on consistent main eventers such as Rollins, Reigns, Owens and Sami Zayn to steal the show. They now have two more members of the Raw roster that can be called upon in the future to come through when their number is called.
WWE was forced to experiment with new stars during the days of the Attitude Era in order to stay afloat. Some of these stars had legendary careers, while others had the shelf life of a Furby. The similar experiment conducted on Monday night, an experiment that was absent of several of the rosters major names, showed that the Monday Night Raw roster is capable of consistency that past rosters, as legendary as they are, were not capable of producing. One can only hope that his consistency was taken to heart as the WWE proceeds on with the New Era’s brand split.