I Got Worked By WWE Raw 25
RAW’s 25th Anniversary was WWE’s perfect moment to right the sails with it’s fans, both longtime and returning. With the returning of legends from several different eras, WWE couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to make this a “State of The Union” show. For all the self-aggrandizing, corporate buzzwords and the agenda pushing that we’ve been spoon fed every Monday, the McMahons could have extended the olive branch on both a branding and storyline level with of all people, the McMahons, still remaining at the focal point. Thanking every wrestler, every crew member and every fan could have cleansed the palette of any sort of bitterness before we were treated with a hardy meal of nostalgia and hype for this Sunday’s Royal Rumble. Instead, we were given that same, dry turkey sandwich that we’re all used to getting when a themed show rolls around - all with the buzzwords, agenda pushing and self-aggrandizing with the legends just being used as a backdrop.
I got worked, so in that regard, this Raw was definitely old school.
When the biggest star in the show’s history, Steve Austin, wasn’t given a mic to speak during the opening segment, reality began setting in that this was going to be like every other reunion show we’ve gotten. Most of the legends we saw were shoe-horned into segments that didn’t add any significance to the current day product, which was still chock-full of disjointed commercial breaks. The matches that we were given could have happened on Raw 23, let alone last week and I’ve never felt more empathy for a wrestling audience than I did for the fans at the Manhattan Center, who dolled out $400 just to get a vague Undertaker promo, some guest appearances, a commemorative chair and some flat screens on roller carts to watch a product that they were missing out on. Lawler and Ross’s presence were solid, they had about as much airtime as Jimmy Fallon did. Even Matt Hardy senselessly losing to Bray Wyatt got lost in the shuffle.
Instead of witnessing another Heath Slater beating, what would be the harm of a Ted DiBiase offering his management services to The Bar for one night as they kicked the pocket change out of the returning Dudleys? Or have Austin come out again to help moderate the confrontation of Sunday’s main event three-way? I’d like to think there was something bigger planned if it wasn’t for the time constraint corner they painted themselves in, but trotting out Harvey Whippleman instead of Stone Cold seems like a bit of a misstep.
Granted, I probably got myself way too hyped for Raw 25. The gullible, die-hard 13 year old fanboy from 1998 was being conjured up inside me, creating and formulating possible outcomes that would have been near impossible when you consider who everybody is answering to and the publicly traded universe that particular person resides in. The “never say never” attitude (a WWE buzzword in it’s own right) can make professional wrestling fun especially when the new talent isn’t being promoted properly, but it’s a deadly game to play.
“Always say never” may be the most beneficial mindset to have, that way one wouldn’t be totally stunned when Stone Cold doesn’t talk.