So...What's New?

So...What's New?

From the Top Rope

So...What's New?

So…do you feel shook up?

No…the answer is no!

The news broke Sunday afternoon that Raw would be graced with the presence of the Chairman of the Board himself, Mr. McMahon. Not only that, but WWE was using the phrase all too familiar to the WWE Universe – McMahon was there to “shake things up!”

Finally! The shot in the arm that Raw has needed! But what did it mean exactly? Would we have an impromptu Superstar ShakeUp? Would it just be the firing on Baron Corbon and a new GM announced? Would we find out that McMahon has now decided to use different product in his hair? All viable options!

Raw kicked off with No Chance In Hell ringing loudly in Sacramento as The Boss made that infamous walk down to the ring. Shortly thereafter, he introduced his daughter Stephanie…followed by Triple H…followed by Shane McMahon. The whole McMahon family was standing in the middle of the ring!

OK hold on a second, I have to address that. I couldn’t help but laugh every time the announcers would emphatically state that “the entire McMahon family was in the ring!” The entire family in the ring…I don’t remember them killing off Linda! The matriarch of the family probably deserved a little more respect than that!.

Back to Raw…

Seeing everyone in the ring like that made me think that this big announcement was that McMahon was actually going to be stepping down. It would make sense, especially with the launch of XFL 2.0 coming in 2020. Not only that, but Triple H has proven with the success of NXT that the succession plan laid out for WWE is a solid one and the company, creatively, would be in good hands.

Well, that wasn’t it, but the announcement itself was still an interesting.

For the first time that I can remember the McMahons stood in the middle of the ring and basically said “we know that our product has been horrible lately. Our bad. We’re going to fix it though.”

That in itself was remarkable. McMahon has never really been on discussing the products shortcomings on WWE TV. If he didn’t do it in 1995, you would think that he never would!

The promo was seemingly led by Triple H (a good decision). The Game had focused on the fact that we would be seeing “new” – new matches, new faces, new everything. With recent happenings on the independent scene I couldn’t have been the only wishfully thinking that he would drop a line that would sound like “Raw needs to get back to its dominance. It needs to be historic, it needs to be monumental, it needs to be…Elite!” and then the
music hits and out walks The Elite!

Sadly that didn’t happen, but still, when the announcement was made my hopes were high – as I’m sure yours were too!

…it didn’t even take the tie for the McMahon’s to leave the ring before we realized that things were still going to be the same.

Out comes Baron Corbin to plead his case to stay as Raw General Manager. What led, less than one segment from Triple H claiming “new” was here starting tonight, was literally THE EXACT SAME THING THEY DID THE NIGHT BEFORE! Oh, I’m sorry, minus the biggest superstar in the TLC segment, Finn Balor.

Not only was it the same thing, but they had an opportunity to start things off new! The McMahon’s gave the classic build up of “you can keep your job if you win your match against. THIS man” complete with the motion to the stage. Perfect! You just told us we would be getting “new” so who is it? Is it Lars Sullivan making his debut to dominate the authority figure? Is it someone returning from injury? Nope! Kurt Angle…again…just like the night before.

At that point doubt wasn’t just creeping in as far as ”new” goes, it had set up camp. But there were still chances to redeem themselves though! Dean Ambrose comes out and issues an open challenge for the Intercontinental Championship. There it is! This has to be a debut! Will it be Sullivan? How about Velveteen Dream? Will Aliester Black make his long-awaited debut? Well, maybe not since all of the gimmick presents on stage would interfere with his entrance (a thought that actually made its way into my head). Who is it??

It’s Tyler Breeze.

Um…ok…well it’s nice to see Breeze on Raw but, no, not feeling it. Another lost opportunity!

But wait, what’s that? Is it ANOTHER open challenge? Yes, the open challenge idea is a little played out…especially when its done on the same show multiple times, but this is the night to start NEW! The challenge was made by Ronda Rousey, who will accept? Stephanie comes out and announces we will have an eight-woman gauntlet match to determine who gets the shot!

Great! Eight chances for a new (there’s that word again) superstar! Aaaaaaaaand no, Eight Raw woman who are currently on the roster. Current..a word that is the opposite of new. Setting up Natalya vs Rousey for next week is fine, but not on the night that is supposed to be “new”.

The night wasn’t a total loss though. The Revival won a Fatal 4-Way match to become the #1 contenders for the Tag Team Championship. That is a big plus! The Revival vs Bobby Roode and Chad Gable could have main evented in NXT and kept the crowd in a steady rotation of being on the edge of their seat and standing. If given the proper amount of time they can do the same on Raw.

Also, we got return promos for both Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. From the end of 2017 through WrestleMania this past year these two were the most entertaining characters on the show. Raw needs top stars who can produce both on the mic and in the ring. There may not be two better now, especially on Raw, than Zayn and Owens. Hopefully the reigns will be taken off when they return.

We did also get a four minute video for the NXT stars that, at some point (wasn’t last night) will be the actual new faces that Triple H claimed would be here – Sullivan, EC3, Heavy Machinery, Lacey Evans and Nikki Cross. I don’t have a problem with these names, but it could be a little better.

I understand that there are top names in NXT now that are title holders and in storylines that will keep them in Orlando for the foreseeable future (Black, Tomasso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Undisputed Era, Shayna Baszler, Kairi Sane, etc.) but still, a big NXT name like Velveteen Dream may have gone a longer way to make the splash that WWE was hoping for.

The optimist in me is always thinking though. Maybe last night was just a way to clean up storylines heading into the ACTUAL new. That may mean that we see more of the same on SmackDown tonight, but maybe starting next week we get are actual “new”.

Wait…next week Raw and SmackDown are on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day…probably not the ideal time to make too many changes. So when Triple H screamed for all to hear that “new” starts tonight, he obviously meant a few weeks from now!

With how things have been lately, just make it SOON!

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