Raw is not in great shape. You may not realize this because, according to the numbers, many less of you are actually watching the show.
Monday's WWE Raw, which featured Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt in the main event, drew only 2.615 million viewers. The number is down 5% from last week's 2.751 million viewers and reach a new low for 2017.The time has come to point fingers. With as much talent as is currently on the roster, its unacceptable not to have a must-see program each and every week. WWE's main problem could be that they are simply spreading themselves too thin.
With NXT, SD Live, 205 Live, and The UK division, the cream of the WWE's crop is spread out all across the board – both in the ring and behind the scenes. In Raw's hey day, everyone in the WWE was working to make it the absolute best program it could possibly be.
They had to.
If they didn't, they would lose the war to WCW. Now, without a competitor anywhere near (sorry, Impact Wrestling), they are resting on their laurels. I don't believe for a second they've gotten complacent, just that they don't have the sense of urgency that comes from someone pushing you to give fans something bigger than they could have imagined.
It creates frustration with fans for seeing live actors not reacting in a natural way to fan reactions. Like any other show on television, Raw needs clearly defined characters and compelling stories, not just guys reading a script that says it's their yard.
Here are 5 sure-fire ways to save Raw.
5. Two Hours
I know, I know, it's the oldest complaint in the book, so we'll get it out of the way first.
One basic rule of entertainment is "always leave them wanting more."
Right now, we have too much supply, not enough demand for the superstars on Monday nights. We see them every week in the same matches over and over again with the same opponents.
The Cruiserweights have been dispersed throughout Raw in segments that I have come to know as "bathroom breaks." The matches on Monday nights are set to build up bigger matches on 205 Live, but no one is watching those matches, therefore no one feels all that invested in what happens to the performers in the purple ropes.
Reports are that 205 Live views are dwindling on the WWE Network and if we put all these factors together, we get a very easy solution.
WWE isn't going to drop an hour of TV advertisements, but they could make the first hour of Raw on the USA network the 205 Live hour. Make those little guys feel like a big deal by giving them their own show that people watch and give the Raw superstars the same benefit that the SmackDown guys have.prevnext
Friendships lead to storylines.
When Stone Cold Steve Austin was the guy who couldn't trust anyone, fans loved it for how it stood out. WWE has been trying to saddle most of their babyfaces with the DTA persona ever since. So much so that they seem to steer completely clear of giving their faces (not named Bayley, John Cena or Sami Zayn) an easily identifiable "good guy" persona.
This may seem like a nice, post-modern approach to storytelling, but it muddies the waters. We wouldn't mind if, when Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns teamed up, they actually seemed to like each other. If all the top heroes are skeptical of each other it also makes us skeptical of each of them.
We can't have all the good guys being lone wolfs.
Friendship, and the loss thereof, is something the WWE Universe can always get emotionally invested in. Right now, it's like we're stuck in the scene where all the Avengers can't get along with no signs of the triumphant "lets put our differences aside to work together" in sight.prevnext
Go back to the most popular times in wrestling history and show me a time where there wasn't a faction at the top of the card. Even in Hulk Hogan's 4 year long run, the Heenan and Hart Family were constantly scheming to kill Hulkamania.
Perhaps the reason we don't have the babyfaces joining together is that we don't have a powerful antagonist stacking the odds against them.
This wrestling formula has worked for ages and right now WWE is suffering without it. The antagonist doesn't have to be a higher power like The Authority who simply puts the good guys in handicap matches every week. WWE can build sympathy for their heroes by having a faction like Evolution, NWO, DX, The Shield, etc. to put a giant obstacle in front of them.
Not only do factions provide an obstacle for the babyfaces, it makes the heels look like even less noble warriors, which is crucial for getting fans to boo them. If Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens had joined with Triple H last year as was heavily rumored it would be their way of saying "we can't get it done by ourselves."
Right now, fans on SmackDown (who may or may not understand the scripted nature of wrestling) are filling the comment section complaining about how "Jinder can't win by himself." And that's exactly what WWE wants them to feel.
With Strowman and Lesnar out, the stars on Raw are not imposing enough on their own to feel like a threat to Roman Reigns. A faction, however, could do just that.prevnext
1. A different formula for Roman
I get it, Roman Reigns is your top guy. He's the new face of the company. He's the greatest thing since sliced bread. No matter the complaints, you're going to stay the course with him. I really get it and while I think Roman is doing an absolutely phenomenal job at being Roman Reigns, he's not been allowed to change a bit of his character for the past three years.
He wore different shoes for one pay per view and people lost their minds. Not just because the shoes looked like orthopedic grandpa shoes but that he was actually wearing something slightly different than his traditional Shield attire.
Everyone wants Roman to be The Guy but something new has to happen with him to get us excited.
If his next year will just feature him defeating Braun Strowman, The Miz and eventually Brock Lesnar to become the WWE Champion without any character development, WWE is going to be right back to where they were with him after last year's WrestleMania.prevnext
1. A (visible) Universal Champion
I actually don't mind Brock Lesnar not defending his championship for three months. Despite it breaking the 30 day kayfabe rule, I believe it does make him look like a really big deal to not defend it every week on TV.
However, Lesnar –and the Universal Championship– being completely absent is hurting the product.
If Lesnar walked out every week, held the belt up high, then walked out, it would be far more effective than him being completely absent since WrestleMania.0comments
The Champ's star power is voided when we can't see that Champ. If the plan is for Lesnar to hold onto this belt until WrestleMania 34, that puts him at about 4 Raw appearances between now and then. Totally unacceptable.
All for Lesnar being the Universal Champion, but we need him on Monday nights to cash in on his name value.prev