WWE likes to revise history whenever possible. For years, their DVD releases were almost comical, from the Rise and Fall of WCWto the atrocious McMahonDVD, where everyone in the company lined up to tell you how great Vince McMahon was for almost three hours.
Last night’s Rawagain highlighted some bad revisionist history.
First, the show aired clips throughout the night of Martin Luther King Jr. Obviously, that’s a noble thing to do on the day in which we remember him here in the U.S. However, isn’t it hypocritical of WWE and Vince McMahon to air those video packages, while at the same time, pushing racial stereotypes in storylines and not really progressing people of color up the ladder in WWE.
How many black WWE Champions have there been? If you count The Rock, then just the one.
It’s just funny that Vince McMahon will run video packages like that, and so proudly tell you all about them in front of investors, but behind the PR curtain, WWE has been run quite differently under McMahon’s watch. Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. is admirable, but Vince McMahon probably isn’t in the best spot to be doing that. Not when he has promoted several racial characters over the years. Even the New Day, although they have evolved, were a racially-motivated gimmick when it first debuted. Then there’s Virgil, Kamala, Papa Shango and Akeem The African Dream. Need I go on?
Then there’s the tribute to Jimmy Snuka. Superfly was a bit before my time, but he obivously made huge contributions to the pro wrestling business and WWE in particular. He was the closest anyone got to the bar Hulk Hogan set in the 1980s. I think Steve Austin at least matched Hogan, if not surpassed him, in the 90s, but in the 80s there wasn’t anyone closer as a top babyface than Snuka.
WWE had to acknowledge Snuka’s death. No question.
But, here’s some revisionist history again.
WWE ran a video package, a graphic, the announcers spoke about Snuka and they showed the crowd applauding the video. Meanwhile, there’s a growing suspicion that Snuka murdered his ex-girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, and he was about to be brought to trial late last year until a judge determined that he was unfit to stand trial due to an illness.
Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but it’s really hard to celebrate Jimmy Snuka in light of recent events. There was plenty of people who thought he was guilty of murder back in the 1980s, when Argentino died of “craniocerebral injuries,” according to the medical examiner. The Argentino family even won a civil suit against Snuka, which he reportedly never paid the $500,000 judgement claiming he was unable to do so.
In 2015, Snuka was actually arrested and charged with the murder. While the charges were dismissed on January 3 due to him being ruled mentally unfit to stand trial, the arrest and charges still happened. WWE can’t just gloss over that, especially when the court proceedings were so recent.
Yet, they did.
WWE … where the history books are written with a pencil and an erasor.
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1. Enzo & Cass beat Rusev & Jinder Mahal
This feud isn’t lighting the promotion on fire, but Enzo is very entertaining and he needs to be on television every week. Before the match, they gave Enzo and Cass some mic work, which is good because it’s definitely the best part of Enzo’s act, and then a short match to kickoff the show worked fine. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but the crowd definitely gets into Enzo and Cass and generally pops on the first few chords of their entrance music, so this was definitely the way to go.
2. Ariya Davari beat Lince Dorado via submission
Interesting finish, with Davari scheduled for an “I Forfeit” match Tuesday night on 205 Liveright after SmackDownon the WWE Network. This was an extremely short match, and I think the whole idea was just to establish that Davari has a submission hold – the Cobra Clutch – ahead of a submission match tonight. Smart to set that up, but I’d also question why you book a submission match without first establishing submission holds for each wrestler. Backwards booking.
3. Anderson & Gallows beat Sheamus & Cesaro by DQ
Very unconventional finish, using a “Dusty Finish” to tease that the heels won the tag titles before the referee changed it to a DQ. I thought it worked well and the match was very good. Gallows and Anderson have been underutilized since making the jump to WWE last year, and now they’re starting to get some heat behind them. If they used that Dusty Finish in a Norteast market, or Chicago, the arena probably would have reacted huge to the Club possible being tag champions.
4. Big E beat Titus O’Neil
Big E put his spot in the Royal Rumblematch on the line just to face Titus O’Neil. Stupid booking. I’m not a fan of babyfaces (especially) just blindly putting something at stake for no good reason, and that’s what this was. Obviously they control the outcome, but if Big E lost that match, it makes him look like a total fool that he lost his spot and potentially a World Title shot just because he wanted to fight Titus O’Neil?
5. Cedric Alexander beat Brian Kendrick
Ho-hum, another short cruiserweight match. There’s not much these guys can do in such a short amount of time, yet that’s what they’re handcuffed with because of the three-hour Rawformat.
6. Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho beat Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Sami Zayn
Usually, I’m not a fan of this type of match. WWE does this a lot, where they take a bunch of singles feuds and just throw them into a six-man tag for a Raw main event. It’s stale, and it’s a tactic they’ve been doing for at least 10 years, if not longer. That being said, this match had some new elements to it that I thought worked really, really well.
The angle to close the show, in particular, is what I thought came across the best. Owens put Reigns through the announce table up on the stage as the show went off the air and stood over him. Finally, the Owens-Reigns match feels like it’s getting some steam after falling behind in terms of hype with apperances lately by Goldberg and the hype for the actual Rumble match.
The announcers vacated the table, which added to the drama and suspense as Owens and the rest of his team attacked Reigns on the stage with no talking in the background. It added to the moment. Also, the fact that we haven’t seen the announce table involved much since the brand split, where it’s so far up the stage, helped as well.