Vince McMahon has no new ideas left.
RAW is currently a sinking ship, with ratings setting record-lows week after week. Admittedly, in the middle of a pandemic, but the show is at an all-time low.
McMahon clearly has no idea what to do.
This week on RAW the company introduced a new concept, RAW Underground, which consisted of Shane McMahon hosting a “fight club” in a warehouse somewhere, using a ring with no ropes. The no-holds barred fighting looked like a typical brawl in a WWE backstage segment. Nothing was new or fresh. The referee during the fights (underground fights have referees?) even signaled for the timekeeper to ring the bell prior to the fights beginning.
It was a wrestling match, in a dark warehouse, using a ring with no ropes. That’s all it was.
Elsewhere on the show, WWE hyped that Ric Flair would be making an appearance. Look at WWE Network where they’ve pumped up interviews with Steve Austin and even the Rock has some of his projects promoted here and there on WWE TV.
Vince keeps going back to the same well, because he hasn’t had a new idea since 1997.
RAW is trying to feel more gritty. It’s trying to feel edgier, but it’s not going to work. Not enough about the underground segments broke away from the rest of the show. It was essentially a cross between the Brawl for All and a wrestling match, only the “fights” were simply wrestling matches that only consisted of punches, kicks, and some guys getting takedowns.
Oh, and they bleeped out a few swears. How edgy of them!
Let’s go back in time to 1997 when Vince’s creative team helped usher in the Attitude Era. That was a new, fresh approach that completely changed the dynamics of WWE and the wrestling business in general. It helped WWE win the war and put WCW out of business. At the same time, new stars like Rock, Austin, Triple H, and Kurt Angle were pushed heavily. In other words, WWE was a machine in creating new stars.
They didn’t go back 20 years. Imagine if, in 1997, Vince went back to Bruno Sammartino, Stan Hansen, and Ivan Koloff to draw ratings against WCW?
Shane McMahon didn’t work as the lead character on SmackDown just last year, when he was the central figure on a show that was seeing its numbers go down week after week.
Nothing about this new idea for Shane is fresh. I’m not even sure the idea was fleshed out by WWE creative, with news that Vince ripped up most of the RAW script over the weekend and demanded re-writes.
What changed with WWE over the years is a lack of talent development. Even after the Attitude Era, WWE was able to build John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, and Edge into bonafide stars. Who has had a big break since then? Who feels head-and-shoulders above everyone else on the roster? Maybe Roman Reigns? Maybe Seth Rollins? Anyone else?
WWE stopped creating stars.
Everything about WWE’s behind-the-scenes creative process is toxic. The writers are forced to write for an audience of one, and unfortunately for WWE fans, that one person has no idea what to do to stop his ship from sinking.