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Raw is Tales From the Underground - 8/3/2020


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3 minutes ago, The Natural said:

was well received critically, deserved to be. I did say less is more and expected WWE to overuse it.

Yeah that's Vince alright...  take something good and run it completely into the ground until everyone hates the concept. 

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How do you not think the idea of Raw Underground is bad? Brawl for All is universally seen as one of the worst things WWE has ever done. This is just a spin on that with lame porno background music, Shane over-enthusiastically calling "matches," the strikes or "ground and pound" barely touching, wrestling moves being used in what are supposed to be no holds barred MMA-esque bouts, a TKO being called because of someone getting punched in the ribs, and so on. You're essentially trusting Vince and Bruce with producing their own idea of what underground fighting is. In what world could that possibly not be guaranteed to be bad?

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I would be offended by the shit I saw just now but I have to be surprised first.  Instead this was just sad to watch and I hate myself for doing so.

Edited by NikoBaltimore
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I don't think the idea itself is bad, I think the execution of the idea is horrible which goes back to Vince and Dunn. I wouldn't trust them to make a cup of coffee at this point. If and this is a big if..  they had allowed someone else to produce the idea without a million cuts and made it look more gritty then I could get into it.. the only thing that saved it from being a total disaster in my view is THB showing up. 

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So the guys in black, assuming they aren't Ninjas from July, are they just rushing to do Project Mayhem before they've even established Fight Club, or is this Vince being topical by having a BLM/ Antifa inspired group causing minor inconveniences for no apparent reason?

If the 'Justus' name WWE just tradmarked is for them, that's well dodgy. The phrase "There is no justice, there's Just Us" is something dodgy 70s cops used to say when assaulting suspects. BLM and Antifa are about demanding more and better justice. 

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I'd just scrap it and find a new way to debut a faction unless they are positioning these jabronies at the same level as the ninjas. Destructive hijinks while yelling "YEAH DUUUDE! HAHA!" is sub-Simon Dean-rides-a-Segway levels of Zero Fucking Chance of getting over.

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11 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

I missed the Antifa thing, who was in it? And how pissed off am I gonna be that they're trivializing it in the first place? 

Whoever snuck the Megadeth logo onto Ruby's jacket needs to be fired, btw. A bunch of punk logos, a Batcave logo, and Dave Mustaine's dumb ass do not jive. 

I think Dolph's correct, but incorrect Megadeath patch a few years ago surrounded by Poison and Twisted Sister patches is worse.

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11 minutes ago, Niners Fan in CT said:

I don't think the idea itself is bad, I think the execution of the idea is horrible which goes back to Vince and Dunn. I wouldn't trust them to make a cup of coffee at this point. If and this is a big if..  they had allowed someone else to produce the idea without a million cuts and made it look more gritty then I could get into it.. the only thing that saved it from being a total disaster in my view is THB showing up. 

The idea itself is and always has been bad. Inoki's fascination with MMA nearly destroyed NJPW, "shoot" fighting in wrestling for the biggest promotions is almost always garbage, and this gimmick works for indies because it's just a special attraction to set yourself apart from other indy shows. You have to suspend your disbelief enough as it is. Introducing an underground fighting concept in WWE would never work because a fanbase larger than WWE's is already accustomed to what real fighting looks like. It's always going to look comically bad unless you're on the indies and can basically do grappling bouts for people who paid to see that. 

Edited by Craig H
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5 minutes ago, AxB said:

is this Vince being topical by having a BLM/ Antifa inspired group causing minor inconveniences for no apparent reason?

That's exactly what it appears to be.  The imagery is what old white dudes think of when the boogeyman is discussed.  WWE isn't nearly smart enough to do an ANTIFA angle and not have it be an embarrassment and completely tone def. They should probably move on and quickly. 

However,  if they play it more like a NEXUS type of invasion where it starts off looking somewhat harmless but then the group expands into taking over the show entirely they might have something...   Plug in Ciampa as the lead or something like that. 

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Also, one last thing...You have this underground concept where matches can end very quickly based on the damage done. They weren't doing anything different than what happens in regular WWE matches and those matches can go on for 5 to 45 minutes depending on who is involved. It just doesn't make sense and it's bound to create an even bigger disconnect.

Now, if the "underground" concept was presented as here's this different style of wrestling without the glitz and polish and those who prove themselves get a shot on Raw? Ok, you're getting closer, but that's basically what NXT is.

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I think if the shoot fighting looked realistic but the in-ring wrestling also looked more realistic (like a competitive sport) then you could differentiate between when a match has set rules in place and the "underground" where the rules are basically a fight to a finish.  

But WWE presents most of their matches as comedy. There's good stuff in there but it's not usually presented as a sport.  They'll have Thatcher and Riddle doing something that looks competitive but then in the next segment it's some sports entertainment stuff.  Or you'll see Sasha and Asuka working on each other's leg and everything is going well and then they decide to "spice it up" by cutting to backstage on the titantron.  

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7 minutes ago, Craig H said:

Also, one last thing...You have this underground concept where matches can end very quickly based on the damage done. They weren't doing anything different than what happens in regular WWE matches and those matches can go on for 5 to 45 minutes depending on who is involved. It just doesn't make sense and it's bound to create an even bigger disconnect.

Now, if the "underground" concept was presented as here's this different style of wrestling without the glitz and polish and those who prove themselves get a shot on Raw? Ok, you're getting closer, but that's basically what NXT is.

Why would Viking Raider Erik or Dolph Ziggler need to prove themselves to get a spot on RAW? Shit they could come on at the start of the show and demand a title shot, and their punishment for disrupting the broadcast would be to wrestle the Champion in the main event.

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If one was OK with the Thatcher-Riddle fight pit match, then the 'shoot fighting' of Raw Underground shouldn't be that far out.

Nothing they did last night was remotely close to Brawl for All. With how the wrestlers were used, there's not a separation to where they said 'this is fake, that is real.'

WWE presented a grindhouse show with influence from Lucha Underground. I haven't watched Chikara, but I believe those who say they had something similar lined up. But their company fell apart--which has been discussed at length. WWE was looking for something new for Hour 3, they had been in talks with Chikara, and Shane has always wanted do something like this. So they went for it.

Will it work long-term? Will it work at all? Probably not. Just because someone isn't ripping it to shreds doesn't mean we think it's all rosy. 

If you don't like it or think it's doomed to fail, that's fine. I don't think it's going to last beyond a few weeks. But there's no need to berate anyone whose opinion doesn't line up with what you're thinking. I've been told that's the point of the board.

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1 hour ago, Rev Ray said:

Are you sure it wasn't Dolph's favorite band "Megadeath".

You know, I didn't get a close enough look to see. If it is then that would be HILARIOUS. In that case they probably just cut it off Dolph's jacket. 

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How does Shane get blown up by just talking into a microphone?  That bitch gets sweaty just by thinking hard.

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1 hour ago, The Natural said:

Jeremy Borash and Trips. The Vineyard match was well received critically, deserved to be. I did say less is more and expected WWE to overuse it.

EDIT: Keeping that autocorrect in.

Now I'm going to be angry if WWE doesn't have a Vineyard match figured out for Survivor Series.

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Definitely not my cup of tea. But I can give them credit on this, when was the last time a Raw thread went 5 pages? It has people talking. Which means people tuned in to check it out. They accomplished not having the lowest rated show of all time for this week. It'll probably have a better than average number too.

But man... a few people have brought up this point already but you REALLY can't do "real fighting" on a show about "fake fighting" without breaking the 4th wall. With 10 minutes of actual thought why couldn't they have given this a structure and rules that don't break the normal matches in a kayfabe sense? Punches are illegal in pro wrestling. Say that underground fights have legal punches. No ropes because there are no rope breaks. No five counts. There are no pinfalls. Give the viewer a sense why these matches are structured different and end quicker without saying, or the very least alluding to the only rationale being real vs fake. There's different rules so there's different strategy and that's why the fights look different than matches.

But no. They just throw Shane out to be the face of it with zero explanation. In theory this concept *could* work. The Bloodsport shows are proof of concept. But they just Vince everything up, and give you vertigo with all the ridiculous camera cuts. Slick perfection is boring man. Gritty & real is what draws. Whoever posted that old Raw intro video... it's like a whole different genre. That had a pulse. This generic straight to DVD Fight Club rip off is not how you get the pulse back.

And also didn't they hype up a new faction debuting? Full on bait and switch. No new faction showed up. Tozawa's ninjas showed up twice. And they were throwing fire at the power grid for some reason... what... ohh... those weren't the ninjas? Are you sure? How am I supposed to know that? They wore the same fucking outfits. Short sighted ass ideas as usual lol.

Edited by NoFistsJustFlips
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9 minutes ago, Gonzo said:

Now I'm going to be angry if WWE doesn't have a Vineyard match figured out for Survivor Series.

I started to think back on his blue blood feud with Henry Godwin, and wondered if I'd somehow missed the set-up to the hog pen match.

Edited by Dog
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I love the idea of 'Raw Underground' actually. But you need to tweak it quite a bit.  I'd shoot it one camera in the "ring", right in the middle of the action to give it a different look.  I'd establish some rules (No pins/no DQs/Submission or KO only).  I'd put up a big chainlink fence around the 'ring', so you'd have the imagine of the "fans" being right by the action, banging on and shaking the fence when they get excited, but the chainlink gives it more of a fightclub feel, like the action is so vicious it has to be sectioned off and the fans so rabid they have to be kept out of the ring.  I'd get a nice grimy mat with a logo on it, not unlike Lucha Underground.  And I'd make a designated entryway (Again like Lucha Underground) instead of people climbing off the floor randomly.  I'd put Shane as the ring announcer/Dario Cueto of the whole thing, and probably use Vic Joseph to call the action with someone else (Titus?) on colour.  I'd put it as the first or third hour, straight-through (No cutting between Raw and it).  Bill it as where the "tough superstars come to fight" or some such nonsense.  I'd have the 24/7 title brought in there by Shelton and rename it the 24/7 OpenWeight Underground title or some such, and use it as the main belt that is only defended in Underground (Maybe make a woman's one, too eventually).  Bill it as open to all comers, bring NXT guys like Timothy Thatcher in for a run, even some semi-trained former UFC guys on short-term deals, or indie guys.  No outsider interference (Or at least not for a while).  Never use the words "Real" or "Shoot" or "MMA" (Not that I think they did last night).  It would be a great place to throw some guys and gals with nothing to do, to win some matches or tweak their characters a bit.  Then you could make a big deal when they leave the Underground to come back to Raw/Smackdown/NXT.  Heck, you could do some very pro wrestling stuff that MMA can't (shouldn't) like tornado tags, 3-ways and super heavyweights vs. cruisers.  Bring in an outside producer/cameraman to shoot it to give it a real different look.  Ditch the music (or have actual music being played by an actual DJ, not that weird repetitive 10 second clip) and maybe the dancers (I'm on the fence there, they're sexist and pointless, but it kind of gives it a dirtball grimy biker club aesthetic so maybe...).  

Samoa Joe still needs another run, but this feels like too soon after his last abbreviated departure from the commentary booth.  I think he should call the action for a solid year before getting involved in an angle.

 

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Some positives from me to counterbalance some of the negativity:

  • I liked that the show started with a match, and one that seemingly had some stakes (not sure how high, I haven't been following too closely). Has Raw been starting with matches more often lately? 
  • The presentation of Hurt Business calls back to MVP and Lashley's stable in Impact with Kenny King. This is probably the best possible use of Lashley ever in WWE and I like seeing MVP get a late-career resurgence. 
  • Say what you will about WWE promos being samey and overwritten, but Drew and Orton both delivered theirs very well. And say what you will of WWE house style, both have been performing very well during this period from the handful of matches I've seen. I can see myself really enjoying the match at SummerSlam.
  • I'm pleased to see Angel Garza seemingly getting a push on the flagship show.
  • Happy I was paying attention on a night when Shayna had a big match and was re-established in the title scene. I was worried when people were speculating she had fallen out of favour.
  • I don't care for Seth's gimmick, but he's still presented as a big deal on the show. So him being Dominic's first opponent really elevates that match. I think it's a good booking. 

Definitely not enough here to get me to pay the same kind of attention next week. But there are pieces here and there I enjoyed. With a bench as deep as theirs, it'd be difficult to make that not be the case.

Edited by Andy in Kansas
Mind your own business, edit function!
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4 hours ago, Super Ape said:

I’m really tired of seeing people work themselves into thinking they actually like this dogshit.

 

 

Edited by Doc Townsend
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Yeah, and maybe this is hyperbolic, but this is easily the best use of Lashley in his entire WWE run. Both his first run and this current one. It's also nice to see that Shelton is being used like this, which is also the best he's been used in years. Keep having the Hurt Business be dressed in suits like that and be total shitkickers. And have them beat people's asses outside of this underground thing. You could easily re-establish Lashley as a challenge for the Universal or WWE title by doing this act.

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