Raw had the difficult test of competing with the first presidential debate and another Monday Night Football game. Did the red brand phone it in, or did it deliver a quality post-pay-per-view show?
Following up on a PPV is a crucial part of the wrestling business. The WWE takes pride in its television show following a PPV, where it can start the build towards its next event. Last night was an interesting case. With a presidential debate and a somewhat popular Monday Night Football matchup, WWE’s flagship show had a choice: Either it could delay the goods for a Donald Trump-less Monday and wait a week to start the build towards Hell in a Cell, or it could proceed as usual and put on a solid post-PPV show.
The payoff to Cesaro vs. Sheamus
When the best-of-seven series started between Cesaro and Sheamus, fans were hoping for the best. Dreams of Cesaro winning and getting a WWE Universal Championship opportunity spread throughout the WWE Universe. That dream started to become a reality, once Cesaro went down 3-0 in the series. Building up sympathy for the “Swiss Superman” would be critical for the big moment of him completing the comeback.
Then, at Clash of Champions, the WWE made the odd booking decision of having the decisive match seven end in a draw. The assumption was that a resolution would be made on Raw last night. General Manager Mick Foley sort of resolved the issue. He decided that their “championship opportunity” would be as a team, challenging for the Raw version of the Tag Team Championship.
After seven matches, plus a couple of encounters before the series began, this really wasn’t the best payoff. Having them wrestling again wouldn’t have been ideal, but Foley could have gotten unique and made next week’s show have some appeal to it. The hardcore legend could have decided to have one final match in this series, next week on Raw. The added stipulation to the match being that it is a 30-minute Iron Man Match.
This gives the WWE something to take up a half-hour of television, with two guys who can make that time watchable. It also allows them to play up the overtime factor, and have this match be even more compelling. Yes, it would be them wrestling again. But it would certainly be better than having to watch them team up, when everybody wants to see Cesaro finally get a decent singles run.
The Club’s title rematch
If you know what the WWE’s plan with The Club is, please feel free to share that with me. It seems that the WWE just wanted to sign guys that were popular in the wrestling world. There hasn’t been a direction with The Club at all during their run, unless they were helping AJ Styles. This feud with The New Day started off as a good idea. After a number of interactions between the two teams, the entire feud got really stale. Clash of Champions should have been the end of it, with The Club finally becoming champions.
They didn’t become champions, and then ended up getting a rematch last night. And they lost, again. If the WWE was so set on having The Club get their rematch, they should have won. Having The Club lose again helps neither team. Pushing both teams onto their next feuds would have been the best option for all five involved in this program. The New Day can await their next challengers (Cesaro and Sheamus) while The Club can try to rebuild themselves.
Cruiserweight division’s second appearance
Whatever mystique there was around the cruiserweight division is slowly going away. The division has no direction. The WWE is just throwing guys out there with no reason for fighting. A tag team match between four cruiserweights is just a reason to show off some the division. There is no tag team title in the cruiserweight division, so there’s no reason to team up and fight with somebody else.
Instead, the WWE needs to use the time that it is going to give to the cruiserweights to develop each of these guys as individual characters. We don’t need to seem them all at once. Give us a handful, and build those guys up. We need a reason to care about these guys; a reason to cheer or boo them. This isn’t the Full Sail crowd. The WWE crowd isn’t just going to cheer for good wrestling. That’s not the audience. Build a couple of guys up and then once the division is established, add in some other talent.