Stephanie McMahon is all-powerful and Braun Strowman is some sort of supernatural being?
Those are the two biggest takeaways from Monday Night Raw.
Let’s start with Strowman, because his issues are the more forgivable ones. Strowman returned to Raw this week and attacked Miz, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas. Miz tried to leave the arena and a garbage truck blocked him in. Strowman rose out of the garbage truck like Undertaker rising out of the grave.
It was cheesy. It was hokey and it looked terrible. But at this point, I’m resigned to the fact that WWE will find a way to screw up something like Strowman with cheap production tactics — that’s all Kevin Dunn knows how to do — because WWE has screwed up so many talents in the past. It’s hard to get upset when this just keeps happening over and over.
Reality is totally missing from the WWE product, and this segment was the perfect example. It was the type of moment that makes me question why I’m watching the product to begin with.
But that’s the more forgivable error.
To open the show, Stephanie McMahon returned, and it was made abundantly clear that she’s more important than anyone on the roster.
The show started with the ridiculous visual of all the wrestlers standing on the stage together, like they were second graders ready to get scolded by their teacher. Babyfaces and heels, who are supposed to hate each other, are side by side waiting for Stephanie McMahon to emerge, only so they could part like the red sea and Stephanie could make her triumphant return to Raw (which I don’t think anyone actually wanted to see).
It got more ridiculous from there.
Kurt Angle was forced to apologize to the roster for SmackDown‘s invasion and was belittled by Stephanie, over and over, in the process.
Kurt Angle is an Olympic gold medalist, and a freaking Hall of Famer. Within the narrative of WWE storytelling, reality should be at the base and in reality, Kurt Angle shouldn’t need this job.
Angle should be able to tell Stephanie to take her job and shove it, and that he was trying to serve the fans, and not her family.
But that’s not how WWE tells stories. The McMahons, who aren’t full-time wrestlers, are always at the forefront. It’s Shane, it’s Stephanie and sometimes it’s even Vince.
The Mr. McMahon character worked 20 years ago. Since then, all WWE has done is regurgitate that same tired story over and over.
Nia Jax beat Bayley
WWE really pumped that this was a return for Jax, who reportedly (legitimately) walked out a few weeks ago. Apparently there’s no ill will, with Jax scoring the win over Bayley with a legdrop.
Samoa Joe beat Apollo Crews
Joe attacked Titus before the match to make his return, and Michael Cole practically praised him for it. Way to get your heel over!
Miz beat Matt Hardy to retain the Intercontinental Title
WWE mentioned that Jax returned and then acknowledged Bo Dallas returned as well. No mention of Roman Reigns not being on the show, which I find odd, unless they’re trying not to turn attention to it. Is Reigns a big ratings draw? WWE must think so, I guess.
Asuka beat Stacie Cullen
This is how Asuka should have beaten Emma last Sunday at the PPV. A quick squash. Legitimize Asuka as a badass and let her move onward and upward.
Finn Balor beat Cesaro
The weird booking of Finn Balor continues. Was this supposed to make up for a clean loss to a 50-year-old Kane last week, the night after he beat AJ Styles?
This doesn’t make up for last week.
Kane beat Seth Rollins
Rollins gets the distraction “excuse” in this loss, but it’s still a 50-year-old beating someone who is supposed to be in his prime. All so WWE can promote one Strowman vs. Kane match that no one will really feel invested in. But hey, at least Strowman rose up out of some garbage.
Heath Slater & Rhyno beat Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
Kalisto beat Drew Gulak
Very quick match – it lasted under one minute – but Kalisto gets the and will eventually challenge Enzo Amore again for the Cruiserweight Title.
Alexa Bliss beat Mickie James to retain the Raw Women’s Title
Unfortunately for the women, this match served as a backdrop to the silly Braun Strowman angle that closed the show.
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