The final Raw before the WWE Brand Expansion Draft took place Monday, and it saw the reveal of the general managers for both Raw and SmackDown Live. The SmackDown Live choice of Daniel Bryan was not shocking, considering the rumors that had been spreading like a wildfire over the past week. The Raw pick, on the other hand, is the first topic of this week’s edition of Rebooking Raw.
Mick Foley is the Raw general manager
On its surface, Stephanie McMahon’s choice of Mick Foley as Raw general manager is a great one. Foley is a fan-favorite, and a face-GM is not something we see very often in the WWE. Having two of them at the same time wasn’t one of the scenarios that wrestling fans could have envisioned.
That being said, picking Foley does look rather odd. The former world champion has publicly had his fair share of criticisms of the current product, the product that Stephanie has been in charge of (in kayfabe). For him to take this job, after everything he’s said, seems very much like selling out. The WWE realized this, and made sure to address this by having Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy say that he thinks Stephanie is passionate about, and has a mind for, the business.
His reveal being first could have set the stage for a very interesting chain of events, all inside the realm of possibility and in line with the show. After seeing Bryan being picked, and watching how cordial Foley was with the competition, it all could have set back in for Stephanie. Her hatred for Bryan and the YES! movement, and her hatred for the WWE Universe. Throughout the night, this could be confirmed by her seeing Foley getting along with the superstars and Bryan once again.
Enough would have been enough. Stephanie would hit the ring, and demand Foley come out. She would explain to him that she needs someone of strength to run Raw, someone who isn’t afraid to be brass and cerebral when they have to be. And with what she has seen tonight, Foley isn’t going to cut it. She fires Foley, less than three hours on the job and replaces him with Triple H.
Yes, the heel-GM role is played out, but having Triple H/Bryan recreate their feud as the heads of the two shows is exactly what the WWE needs to make both shows matter and give us a little glimpse into some longer-term plans for both guys.
WWE Draft rules
This is something a little outside the scope of rebooking Raw, but it’s something that needs to be addressed and needs to be re-done. For the first time on WWE T.V., the official rules of the draft were announced to the world and they were puzzling.
First off, Raw just gets the first pick. There wasn’t even a fake coin flipping or randomized computer animation to start the show. Heck, if they really wanted to they could give the first pick to SmackDown Live and just rig it and have them take somebody and leave Raw with the guy they want. It’s their own draft, it can be setup in a way that makes SmackDown Live feel just as important, while still giving the flagship show what it needs.
The whole: for every two picks SmackDown Live gets, Raw gets three, doesn’t help either. Why can’t it be just a regular draft and then afterward divide the rest of the roster to give Raw more talent for three hours?
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins went to war and had a great match for the WWE Championship. It had everything that a T.V. main event needed, and then they went to their bag of tricks to get themselves out of a finish, going with the double pinfall.
There’s no issue with a Dusty finish, they need to sell the pay-per-view and both guys should be strong heading in, but they messed up a golden opportunity by using this finish on Raw. With the brand split coming up, we know that there will two separate championships. That being said, they will need to have two champions past Battleground, if both shows will start having separate rosters after Sunday.
Imagine a scenario where Monday’s match ended via a double count out or double DQ or just a good-old fashion draw (how about bringing those back?). Then on Tuesday, we see two members of the Shield (Roman Reigns and Rollins) go to one show, while Ambrose gets drafted to the other. Fast forward to Sunday, and Ambrose/Reigns both pin Rollins (or however you want it to break down) at the same time, and that’s the perfect segue into two separate champions.
Instead, we are going to get this awkward contest on Sunday where these guys are on different shows but fighting for the same belt, and it’s just going to be weird. And if they still go this way for the finish, they gave it away on Monday, which is awful.