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RAW Opinions: The WWE Has Been Bloody Awesome

The PG era of WWE has brought a new method of storytelling to the premier sports entertainment company in the world. No more chair shots to the head, or blade jobs. There is more reliance on the story being told and less on gimmicks. But when the good storytelling and wrestling is paired with some blood, especially when it isn’t planned, it takes what is trying to be accomplished to the next level needed to create interest and emotional investment

Not much of it. But there doesn’t need to be, it should be sprinkled in to add intensity and quality of the instances where it occurs. If it seems (and is) organic and a function of the intensity the combatants are bringing at that point in time — like when Rob Van Dam and CM Punk came up bleeding in the MITB ladder match and Randy Orton’s knuckles were opened up when he was throwing some stiff punches the way of Fandango — it helps more than any promo or well-executed move could ever do to make the whole thing look more “real”.

Instead of sending in faux medical crews to clean up the wounds on the tops of the receding wrestler’s hairlines, they were allowed to continue and bring the intensity seeing your own blood can create. The cameras didn’t dart away from the gashes, nor did the announcers act like nothing had happened. These instances play into the “anything can happen” aspect of live television people like Stephanie McMahon have been so quick to point out as of late.

Was this something WWE had planned on doing? Maybe they realized stopping a bout or throwing up an overused fake “X” symbol in the middle of a four star plus match takes away from what is being done. I think a little bit of both. But the most surprising aspect of all was them showing photos on the website of RVD and Punk being sewn up, acknowledging the amount of stitches needed.

WWE seems in the midst of a positive change, perfectly balancing passively pandering to older fans while still gearing their big-picture product towards children, like a Pixar movie with headlocks. This could be me telling myself otherwise and rationalizing an interest that is frowned upon as childish. But fortunately I think it’s bigger than that.

Does blood represent full fledged change back to the “glory days” of the Attitude era? No, but it is the start of a period of greatness, which has been non existent for as long as I can remember. The segments on Monday were a testament to this method of thinking, and were the first step in building to some huge feuds at the second biggest show of the year, Summerslam.

I’m not asking for a full blown bloody resurgence, nor should the tactic be overused. But a little here and there can go a long way in producing the captivating television young and old pine for.

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Raw Opinions: An Unappetizing Menu

If WWE had their way — and they usually do — the average viewer would watch Raw with cellphone in hand actively streaming WWE Active. To kill time following Monday’s show, they’d log online to Youtube, post opinions to (dead) tout, and watch straight to DVD releases starring Mike MIZanin. All this followed by episodic episodes of Main Event, and much maligned/sometimes surprisingly compelling B-show Smackdown.

Much of this “content”, however,  is replays of the other shows you’re supposed to be watching, replays of the show you’re currently watching, hype videos, charitable causes and reminders of WWE’s mainstream appeal.

It’s affected the fluidity of the show. Commercials scheduled during matches is as old as wrestling itself. It’s how they get you to stay through the break. Showing highlights during matches of what’s currently on the app? That seems like the best way to get you to leave at the first sign of freedom from the tyranny of Matt Striker’s backstage interviews.

This clusterfuck of information, half assed storylines and filler thrown our way is frustrating. I shouldn’t  be asking myself questions like “is there really an audience for a new ‘Zack Ryder Show?’”. Usually, there are periods of programming that make putting up with this minutae tolerable, but lately, they’ve given us less reason to be so accepting. Aside from the widely praised Shield, the segments and feuds have been leaving much to be desired, it’s easy to question the idea of putting as much material out as WWE does.

There is no hiding the fact that the more influential wrestlers in WWE are less than happy with the way things are handled and the people who are more or less pushed nowadays. To have your largest superstars using the internet to regularly mock the product  is not a good look. The three hours given to Raw is more than enough time to put the more compelling aspects of the brand on display, and less emphasis on getting as many of the faces television time as possible.

A Raw Opinion: Are We All Beliebers Now?

This in the first of what will be part of our weekly The Tuesday After Raw™ branding suite. Raw Opinions may be blurbs like this, or carefully constructs treatises on the importance of clowns in wrestling. This is one from our friend, C.J. Tuttle on The Shield, John Cena and the importance of proper heel maintenance. Enjoy.

The Shield

I can’t remember the last wrestler/wrestlers I felt the level of excitement I experience when The Shield’s theme hits.

Instead of the usual thought process:

“oh, this guy is back again?”

Or- “this guy is being re-packaged again?”

Followed by- “where’s the skip ahead 30 seconds button…”

I genuinely become interested in where the show is going to lead me for the next commercial infested 15 or so minutes. So how much longer will I feel this way?

The build up of the three new-era independent wrestlers in the faction has been great, and above all other things of importance: steady. So, Monday night when The Shield wrestled in the co-main event of the Lesnar*HHH show and lost via disqualification on FREE television it left me befuddled:

  1. These are the only heels that mean anything to anyone in your company.
  2. You just had them destroy The Undertaker.
  3. They are poised to win two belts on Sunday.

You put on pay-per-view events, let alone one’s in 6 days, to see the good guy get his redemption. Not throw away everything that comes along with a new “Streak” that Michael Cole is talking about incessantly on free television. WWE is asking us to suspend our disbelief for a few minutes, or actually until we find the next nanosecond to open the WWE App and believe that The Shield are in fact beatable.

When did the ideology that bad guys can be bad AND good at what they do disappear? 2013 style heels seem to always require an out to get victories. When all that really is required is consecutive wins over formidable heroes.

For the first time in a long time, the WWE had done all of this.

Monday, some of that was destroyed. Along with a glorious triple threat match featuring Dolph Ziggler — thanks, Jack! — and just about anything else a 26 year old male viewer can grasp onto nowadays. I understand why the brilliant minds [just in case they read this] at WWE creative did what they did with Cena, just like anyone familiar with the PG business model.

I just hoped they would Shield me from it just a little longer.