Welcome to The Nerd Hub and our weekly rants about Monday Night RAW. This week, we review the WWE admitting it mostly messed up the Superstar Shake-Up. Thus, Vince McMahon proclaims himself a genius. Why? He announces a “Wild Card” rule that allows Superstars to visit the opposite brand. Essentially, this mostly undoes the Superstar Shake-Up.
HEADLINE NEWS: WWE NEEDS RATINGS
The May 6th edition of RAW from Cincinnati gave us insight into the WWE’s concern over ratings. The program that averaged over 4 million viewers in 2014 garnered a 2019-worst 2.158 million last week. Man, this creative team must resemble the meme of the dog sitting at a table with fire blazing all around him claiming that everything is fine.
We start the show with Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Obviously, he thinks the answer to must-see TV doesn’t include wrestlers on a wrestling program. Vince quickly gets interrupted by Roman Reigns. Then Daniel Bryan. And then WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. However, the parade of Superstars didn’t stop there. Drew McIntyre, AJ Styles and Universal Champion Seth Rollins all come out for an extended opening-show promo with Vince.
Because Vince must equal ratings, I guess.
This leads the self-proclaimed “genius” to give us the “Wild Card” rule. The new rule allows three Superstars from different brands to visit the other show each week. Later, Vince amended the rule to four because Lars Sullivan also came over.
Congratulations. The three-week-long Superstar Shake-Up got blown up with a stick of dynamite. Aren’t you glad you invested your time into those shows?
Best of the Rest: Bryan-Kingston II
The other “genius move” Vince designed to give us included two WrestleMania rematches. You know, you’ve had a whole month since that show. You might have forgotten what those matches looked like.
Reigns-McIntyre went over like a turd in punch bowl yet again, but Kingston-Bryan didn’t disappoint. More importantly, the novelty of the WWE Championship possibly changing hands on RAW kept us invested.
Rumored to have suffered yet another concussion at WrestleMania, Bryan explained away his absence by saying he spent a month in solitude to prepare for another run at Kofi. The best heel in the company applied the LeBell Lock and teased us with a title change. However, Kingston retained by rallying behind Trouble in Paradise to win the main event.
These two put on excellent matches with their in-ring chemistry. Kingston’s gimmick of being the determined babyface who overcomes better wrestlers works. Kofi’s absolutely killing this run in 2019, so don’t blame the ratings on him.
BIG WINNER: LARS SULLIVAN
Vince bent his Wild Card rule to include four Superstars after Lars showed up to destroy The Congo Line. No Way Jose must’ve dreamed as a child of getting his butt kicked for a living. He always delivers.
The Devil’s Favorite Demon destroyed people in the late 1990s to get over big with crowds. That helped him set up a showdown with his future storyline brother, The Undertaker, at WrestleMania XIV. If Sullivan can somehow channel Kane, then, boy, what a career he could make for himself.
WWE creative should turn up the backstage chaos and beatings to Level 10 with Lars. This time, they should avoid screwing it up, though. Braun Strowman’s still clawing his way through the dirt they used to bury him earlier this year.
BIG LOSER: THE REVIVAL
WWE creative received almost universal disgust last week with its homophobic backstage back-shaving angle. Just when you thought things for Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder couldn’t get dumber, they did.
This week, the writers booked the equivalent of, “Hold my beer.”
The Revival threatened to give us the semblance of a solid tag team match on RAW against Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows. However, we never got the benefit of seeing that match.
Instead, The Revival ran off howling. Unfortunately, that came after The Usos revealed they spread a liberal dose of “Usey Hot” in The Revivals’ ring gear.
Nothing beats the old burning crotch joke.
Do The Usos have enough for Vince?
Lacey Evans – WWE continues to book The Lady of WWE in stellar fashion. They created a clever angle where she invites most of the women’s division to watch her work. She then clobbers enhancement talent, Allie Katrina, to further sell The Woman’s Right finisher. Then, the Sassy Southern Belle takes a few licks from RAW and SmackDown Women’s Champ Becky Lynch in a brawl. Nobody put this match on their must-see list exiting WrestleMania. Now, the build puts it squarely among the most intriguing Money in the Bank feuds.
Bray Wyatt – Episode 3 of Firefly Fun House delivered yet again. This time, we got puppet-on-puppet violence. Mercy the Buzzard ate Ramblin’ Rabbit because he didn’t care for his Bohemian views. Bray explains it’s perfectly alright. He tells us it’s important to express yourself in a healthy fashion. This Bray makes the creep show factor of Old Bray seem like a PBS show.
AJ Styles – The chairman booking a tag match with enemies working together screamed of crap Vince Russo would book. However, one good thing emerged from Styles and Rollins against Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley. Styles laid out the champ for the second straight week with a Phenomenal Forearm. Then, he walked off to let Seth eat an End of Days. An all-out heel turn for AJ would finally add some spark to a Universal Championship feud that needs it.
Baron Corbin – The least-interesting man in the world continues to stack those Ws. Count on The Lone Wolf getting a title opportunity soon. With the exception of the McMahons, no other heel on RAW gets booked to look as strong as Corbin. He keeps picking up momentum coming off his WrestleMania win against Kurt Angle. The logic problem WWE creates for itself remains ridiculous, though. Fans whine they tune out with Corbin on TV. So, the answer to bad ratings comes in the form of more Corbin?
The Viking Raiders – The NXT tag champs proved something we already knew. They are flat-out better than the reigning RAW tag champs. Don’t get me wrong. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder put up a hell of a fight. They are just outclassed by Erik/Raymond Rowe and Ivar/Hanson. Count on the War Raiders/Viking Experience/Viking Raiders to win the RAW gold soon.
Sami Zayn – No segment summed up its result better than the end of Zayn’s promo. WWE took all the heel heat he’s built up the past three weeks and tossed it away in the trash. Just like Braun Strowman did with Zayn. Nothing will kill the buzz Sami generated faster than getting squashed by Strowman. Fans who didn’t like getting lectured by Zayn every week, take heart. He’s toast with more booking like this.
The Lucha House Party – Someone told Vince not to threaten us with a good time backstage. He surely didn’t with this trash. Nothing reminded us more, that WWE lacks the planning for a three-hour show than seeing Lucha House Party get booked to squash enhancement talent. Don’t hold your breath for that big push for Kalisto, Gran Metalik, and Lince Dorado. Unless, it’s Strowman pushing them into the dumpster, too.
Roman Reigns-Drew McIntyre – The WWE needed a reminder that people batted around beach balls and booed a cancer survivor at WrestleMania. So, they gave us a Reigns-McIntyre rematch. Credit WWE for doing what they can to make McIntyre a big joke. The 50-50 booking means fans will only recognize him as the heel who gets over on TV to put over the babyface of choice on pay-per-view shows. Thank the wild card rule.
Ricochet – Like pulling the wings off flies, WWE seems to delight in killing any buzz surrounding the promotion of The One and Only. He got tasked with taking on the stink bomb that is Robert Roode for a rematch. Furthermore, they created no build for a match with MITB ladder match implications. Maybe Ricochet and Roode took the booking to heart. They lacked any of the chemistry they had in the previous match. Most likely, the time constraints on their rematch let them know the company doesn’t think they’re important.
Shane McMahon-The Miz – Another WrestleMania feud that refuses to die. McMahon interfered with Reigns to propel their lukewarm beef. As a result, Miz came out for the save and teased more for their MITB cage match. Elias also came with Shane, seemingly moving the Wild Card rule to five. However, WWE explained that didn’t count because The Drifter came with Shane. Once again, the answer to rating problems equals fewer wrestlers and more McMahons. Kudos to the wild card rule.