Maybe it’s me. Maybe in my “aging” days of watching the WWE, I’ve just lost the point of what they’re trying to be. Ever since starting my days watching Bob Backlund, Pedro Morales, Pat Patterson and more through The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker to Shawn Michaels, John Cena and now Sasha Banks, Roman Reigns and more, I’ve always enjoyed the action, the storyline and the what’s going to happen next of the soap opera.

But now, it seems like all the WWE is after is a promo to start the show and let’s see how many clicks we can get on social media. Are we trending yet?

Let’s take Friday for instance. Instead of waiting to maximize an angle on SmackDown, it’s #1 show LIVE on FOX, it’s announces on social media that Bianca Belair will face Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at their WrestleMania Backlash PPV. Lost opportunity to cause some excitement on LIVE tv. Then, you start your LIVE show with 17 minutes of talking before starting a tag team match with Daniel Bryan & Cesaro taking on Seth Rollins & Jey Uso. Why not just get right to it? The match itself is very good. It’s been forever since they started a RAW, a SmackDown and yes, lately, even NXT with some action. It’s not because they can’t do it. They have some of the top performers in the industry. They just don’t want to do it and it’s turning me off. It’s as tired as those “TONIGHT ONLY” commercials for WWE merchandise on WWEShop.com that right every night.

Take a cue from what you did with your talent relations department (bye bye Mark Carrano) by cleaning house after they embarrassed Mickie James and others by sending their belongings to them in trash bags. Do the same with the creative team. Shake it up and clear some heads to make EVERY show as good as it can be and not something that Vince McMahon comes in a couple of hours ahead of its start time and rewrites. Maximize your time and make every minute count.

I, along with the rest of the WWE Universe, would definitely appreciate it.

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

RAW

RESULTS

  • The Viking Raiders defeated Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
  • Riddle defeated Randy Orton
  • WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Non-Title Match: Naomi & Lana defeated Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
  • Elias defeated Kofi Kingston
  • 2-on-1 Handicap Match: Drew McIntyre defeated T-BAR & MACE by DQ
  • Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman defeated T-BAR & MACE
  • Asuka defeated Charlotte Flair

Welcome to Monday Night RAW Repeat.

It seems like we’ve seen everything before. Oh yeah, that’s right. We have!

Last week, we ended RAW with Drew McIntyre getting attacked by T-BAR and MACE. This week, we start RAW by having McIntyre attacked by T-BAR and MACE.

Last week, we saw The Viking Raiders beat Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin. This week, the first match is The Viking Raiders defeating Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin.

Last week, it was The New Day vs. Elias and Jaxon Ryker. This week, it’s Elias beating Kofi Kingston.

Last week, it was Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke walking away from a match against Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler. This week, Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose force Nia Jax to walk away from a match with Lana & Naomi. Oh yeah, hello Angel Garza! Maybe Garza and Reggie will fight over Nia while Shayna beats her up and finally rids herself of this madness.

Last week, we get Charlotte Flair pontificating in the ring. This week, we get Flair pontificating in the ring.

You get where I’m going with this right?

Otherwise, we had a scheduled match advertised for Braun Strowman vs. Randy Orton in their first ever match. Well, with no explanation, we get Riddle facing Orton instead with Riddle pulling off the upset. And oh yeah, it doesn’t help Riddle any when you have Orton spouting off that he doesn’t even know who the guy is. Way to bury a guy. And speaking of Braun, he’s there and helping McIntyre rip the masks off T-BAR and MACE (hello Dominik Dijakovic and Dio Maddin) to hopefully end what was RETRIBUTION for good. Unfortunately, we had to sit through two disqualifications to get there though. Sloppy booking if you ask me.  But don’t worry, there’s a rematch, of course, already set for this upcoming Monday.

All the air seems to have gone out of the Alexa Bliss/The Fiend storyline and now it’s just throw things up against the wall every week to fill five minutes. Too bad. Now she’s got her “friend” Lily making threats against the RAW women’s division.

Welcome back Humberto Carillo. He joins the line of match/no-match when he answered Sheamus US Open without a title match Challenge. Underwhelming.

So much for the promise of a quality main event between Flair and Asuka. Predictably, Rhea Ripley interferes to give Asuka the win and Flair goes crazy beating up male referees after the match. WTF! At least the show is over now.

After the show on RAW Talk, we find out that Flair has been suspended indefinitely by Adam Pearce and fined $100,000. Now let’s see if we get the rogue Charlotte. Apparently, Flair needs some dental work so here’s a quick exit from TV.

I’ll admit. I was pretty harsh on RAW watching it live and it wasn’t as bad the second time through, but damn the redundancy is making it tough when putting it up against NXT and SmackDown which, for the most part, are making better use of their time and common-sense booking. Imagine if RAW moved with the urgency of their brethren shows? Three hours wouldn’t seem like…well….three hours, would it?

Where’s Keith Lee? Maybe he’ll just end up on SmackDown one day with Mia Yim.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

NXT

RESULTS

  • LA Knight defeated Dexter Lumis
  • The Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Breezango
  • Sarray defeated Zoey Stark
  • NXT Cruiserweight Championship Open Challenge: KUSHIDA defeated Oney Lorcan to retain title
  • IMPERIUM defeated Ever-Rise
  • Kyle O’Reilly defeated Cameron Grimes

Kool Kyle is pretty fun! Well, not if your Cameron Grimes, I guess. I like the personality shift for O’Reilly and now it seems like an encounter with Karrion Kross is ahead after O’Reilly’s main event victory over Grimes. Grimes doesn’t get enough credit for being as good in the ring as he is since his character outside the ring overshadows him. Plus, O’Reilly is riding as high as he’s been as singles competitor in his NXT career. As for Grimes, it’s time for his own encounter with The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase. I can’t wait for the back-and-forth between these two!

There was plenty of awesome action in the ring this week. But in addition to the in-ring performance, there was the little things to help storylines move forward. Nothing was too oversaturated or overdone. I do wonder where Xia Li and Tian Shan have been the past two weeks though.

LA Knight topped Dexter Lumis in the opener but it was with the help of Indi Hartwell with her distraction of Lumis. She’s so infatuated with that man, it’s good. Plus, even though she left her bestie Candice LeRae standing alone to get beat up by Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart, Indi rebounded to get them a title shot in the upcoming weeks.

The Grizzled Young Veterans and Breezango put on a good show while setting up GYV back into contention in the tag team division. Both are so good at the psychology of tag team wrestling.

Welcome to NXT Sarray! That was a hard-hitting debut against Zoey Stark, who continues to look good against the very best in NXT. Solid, solid stuff here. And we even got a Toni Storm sighting, taking out Stark after the match.

KUSHIDA gave back to the Cruiserweight Division with his own Open Challenge, which Oney Lorcan took him up on. After the win, KUSHIDA faced the wrath of Legado del Fantasma before MSK came in for the save. Yes, friends, an awesome 6-man tag match awaits us and it’s going to be high-flying for sure!

IMPERIUM got an easy win over Ever-Rise but continued to keep Killian Dane and Drake Maverick in the picture. Little things that make sense make a big difference.

This show was beyond entertaining and we’re talking about a show in which Karrion Kross barely appeared while Finn Balor, Tommaso Ciampa, Adam Cole, Xia Li and others were out. The depth is very good these days in NXT.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • Daniel Bryan & Cesaro defeated Jey Uso & Seth Rollins
  • Tamina defeated Nia Jax
  • Intercontinental Championship Match: Apollo Crews defeated Kevin Owens to retain title
  • The Mysterios defeated Chad Gable & Otis

Daniel Bryan acting as the sarcastic, yet encouraging mouthpiece for Cesaro was fun. He gets to upsell Cesaro and putdown Roman Reigns as the same time. Not to bad after joining Cesaro to beat Jey Uso and Seth Rollins to start the night after Rollins walks off leaving Uso to suffer the pinfall defeat at the hands of Bryan’s running knee. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have Cesaro get the pin? The match was of course entertaining as hell and further cements Rollins as the coward he continues to be. Cesaro’s push continues and that’s a great thing.

At what point does Sonya Deville betray and pull the rug out from Adam Pearce? I’m waiting…

Nia, Shayna, Reggie, Tamina, Natalya. It’s one big ball of chaos for the tag team champs. Can’t we just skip right to it, give the belts to Nattie & Tamina and let Jax & Baszler kick the crap out of each other? They’ve taken all the fun and charisma out of Reggie.

I liked the set-up giving Kevin Owens the Intercontinental Title Match against Apollo Crews instead of the obvious rematch against Big E. It sets up a little tension between KO and Big E too! Give those two guys some tv time, a ring and a mic and watch entertaining television begin. Crews gets the win; Owens gets a Nigerian Nail from Commander Azeez and Sami Zayn was brilliant on commentary.  Plus, Big E attacks after the break as Pat McAfee puts it simply: “Big E’s not happy.” Everybody wins and the storyline advances. A good piece of business by all right there.

OMG! It’s Aleister Black. Great to see him back! The vignette is mysteriously good. What’s next from the “Tales of the Dark Father?” I’m in!

Having Montez Ford run sidecar as part of any Bianca Belair feud is good. Putting him on the mic with Bayley could be special, with or without a cell phone, which was a unique way to move things along.

Did we really need The Mysterios vs. Otis & Chad Gable again? I did not. I’m all for giving people air time but not the same thing we’ve seen many times before.  Fun match. Little purpose.

Wait. WUT! So, not only does Reigns dismiss Cesaro as a challenger for his Universal Championship, but he in turns gives Bryan a final shot at the title. It really is all or nothing for Bryan as the YES movement chairman either beats Roman for the championship or he is banished from SmackDown FOREVER! Interesting little swerve their to close out the show as even Cesaro was telling Bryan he had to accept the match. I do like the build-up for it too by announcing the match a week in advance. I’m guessing we’ll get Bryan’s greatest moments heading into the match as well all night. As for Reigns wrestling on free TV – they’ve made it special, which as we told last week, that’s a MUST.

Quality show with almost every segment hitting!

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Parting Shots:

The biography of Stone Cole Steve Austin on A&E this past Sunday was fabulous. I can’t wait for this week’s episode on Rowdy Roddy Piper. We get to relive Piper’s NWA, Mid-Atlantic and Georgia Championship Wrestling days before he really hit the big time in the WWE.

Welcome to the WWE, Megan Morant. For those of us here in New England, we know her as Megan O’Brien, formerly of Patriots.com. Best of luck Megan!

————————————————————————————————————————————–

Coming up this week:

RAW:
Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman vs. T-BAR & MACE

NXT:
KUSHIDA & MSK vs. Legado del Fantasma
Dakota Kai vs. Mercedes Martinez
Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory – if Reed wins, he gets a future NXT North American Championship Match

SMACKDOWN:
Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan – if Bryan loses, he’s banished from SmackDown
Intercontinental Championship Match: Apollo Crews vs. Big E

————————————————————————————————————————————

Thanks for letting us share our thoughts! Shoot me an email at jcrowe567@gmail.com. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions! You can also check out my blog, The Crowe’s Nest as we delve into more pro wrestling, sports entertainment and the World of Sports. My apologies ahead of time – I AM a Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND.