Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we had two really good days of wrestling in a row. Battleground was shockingly good and this “new era” of Raw really looks new and fresh. That’s not good for me because now I don’t really have anything easy to complain about. I did write a Nia Jax article, but I didn’t want two in a row, opting instead to see how they book her first actual feud before evicerating her.
We do have one issue that needs to be addressed; the influx of pay per view events.
If there’s one thing that is immediately obvious, it’s the fact that both rosters are relatively thin on talent. This was especially clear at Battleground when backstage shots were shown of the respective locker rooms. Smackdown in particular has about 14 singles stars which means 6 contenders for each title and four tag teams. Not to mention the fact that they have an extremely tiny women’s division.
Back in the days of the old brand split, each show had a pay per view every other month, not including the “big 4.” It allowed most shows to have an average of a 6-8 week build and in the end, resulted in most shows having at a minimum, decently built matches.
Now, each brand has an event each month plus the big cross brand events (add the fact that MITB should be considered an A-level event) which means more feuds are going to be forced each month with minimum build purely out of necessity.
What does this mean? Unless there is a massive influx of talent from the Indys for both shows, it means a lot of these B-level shows are going to involve rematches which was already a massive annoyance with the combined roster. The worry is that lazy booking and a reliance on these rematches will dominate these smaller shows. How many feuds will they burn through in a year with 6 wrestlers in contention for each belt? Not to mention the tag team divisions. Let’s say that New Day beat The Club. Who next? Shining Stars? Golden Truth? Then Enzo and Cass, who in the meantime will have been feuding with those lower teams. When Enzo and Cass win, what next?
This shows a bigger issue and one of the things I agreed about with CM Punk. WWE rarely seems to ask “what next?” The brand split actually looks fairly good now as a way to let lesser talent have the opportunity to potentially shine, but what about in October when we’re at Hell in a Cell or whatever event they’ll call it? What about in May at Extreme Rules where no one cares because we’ve seen all these match ups?
I hope I’m wrong, but I can see WWE torching through feuds in a panic to try and reclaim ground in the ratings and in one year it being disasterous.
I hope I’m wrong, and Road Block showed that I could be wrong. Road Block was a fine show that was special enough that it was cool to watch even though it was far from ground breaking. Hopefully they emulate that formula. Compelling TV doesn’t need blow off matches every week or month. You didn’t watch Breaking Bad to watch Walt kill someone every episode. You watched to see the characters grow. I want the roster grow, struggle and then ultimately succeed or fail.
If Vince Russo taught us one thing it’s that hot shot booking doesn’t work.