Pro Wrestling

10 Ways The ‘New Era’ Of Raw Continues To Intrigue Us Source:

With WWE cleaning house on the roster this past week (and the rumors of more releases coming), a Pay Per View in two weeks, as well as a big quarterly financial report on the way, the pressure was definitely on for Raw to build some momentum, and fast. The good news is, while TV ratings aren’t yet going up, the quality of recent shows has been anywhere from good to great, a trend WWE would love to have continue as they barrel into a self-professed ‘New Era’, featuring a wide array of both new and established talents paired up in interesting ways. Has WWE found the secret to turn Raw’s sliding ratings around? We have no idea, but at least the shows we’re getting have a lot of intriguing things to talk about, and that can only be considered an improvement.

10. There’s Only One Way To Describe Big Cass

And that is “Future Main Event Star”. Cass’ future in WWE has actually been a hot topic of discussion around here, and the consensus is that we’d be shocked if he isn’t a main event singles talent getting a WWE World Title push within five years, with Enzo possibly moving into a non-wrestling role as his manager. Listen, we love Enzo, but he’s the size of the troll dolls he copies his hairstyle from and will never be a legitimate threat when separated from Cass. However, Big Cass, aside from being an unteachable seven feet tall, has almost as much charisma as his best friend and is a pretty good wrestler to boot. Plus, he’s actually fairly young, and when all the thirty-something talents at or near the top of the card move on (or at least, into part-time roles), Cass should be in his prime, and perfectly positioned to move into a top spot. It’s clear WWE already knows this, as they’ve used the opportunity of Enzo’s injury to showcase Cass as a singles wrestler, and the fact that he fit in perfectly going against the veteran Jericho in a promo battle is a hint of good things to come for the second-most popular guy from Queens to make a splash in popular culture this week. Source:

9. In Every Universe, Stephanie Hates Chris Jericho

Now that she’s sharing power with Shane, Stephanie is at least putting on the face of someone who wants to do the right things that are legitimately best for the show. Sure, sometimes she lets her true self show through and cancels critically acclaimed talk show segments on a whim, but we’ll get to that part of her character in a bit. It’s not secret that Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon have a long history, dating all the way back to the Attitude Era, where Jericho would amuse himself by calling Stephanie names that are no longer allowed in PG-era WWE. Even when they briefly teamed up in 2002, they clearly hated each other and were only doing it to get back at Triple H. And in a long-standing bit of character continuity, even this disturbingly Stepford version of Stephanie, who slapped down Dean Ambrose and handed Chris Jericho back his Highlight Reel just because she could, still equates Jericho with something she’d find stuck to the bottom of her shoe. In fact, when we were searching for a picture for this entry, we discovered that basically every picture of Stephanie and Jericho together that exists features her staring disapprovingly at him in some way. Heel or face, good mood or bad, there is no reality in this multiverse where Stephanie McMahon and Chris Jericho will ever get along. That kind of consistency is actually fairly comforting. Source:

8. That Took A Long Time To Go Nowhere Special

Well, the epic Dolph Ziggler-Baron Corbin feud is presumably (and hopefully) over, ending, as expected, with Corbin definitively beating Ziggler in the center of the ring. The small problem, of course, is that it took several more weeks for the newly arrived Corbin to beat Ziggler than it probably should have (remember, this feud actually started the day after WrestleMania), and Ziggler even scored a clean pinfall win of his own at the last Pay Per View. You would think, at the very least, the blowoff to this feud would merit a PPV match, especially with such a short turn-around time between Payback and Extreme Rules, but at this point, what has Corbin got left to prove against Ziggler? More importantly, what is it about Ziggler that leads people to never stop feuding with him? He had an actual “Best of 1000” Series with Kofi Kingston at one point, he and Rusev couldn’t get away from each other last summer, and now he’s been latched onto Corbin for nearly two months, despite all logic suggesting Corbin should have destroyed him long ago and moved into some sort of title picture or higher-profile feud. Source:

7. The “WWE Fired Everyone Else” Memorial Tag Match

In what sounds like the opening to a terrible joke of some kind, Goldust, R-Truth, Fandango, and Tyler Breeze are teamed up and feuding with each other, and frankly, if we’d finished that sentence with “were released by WWE during their Spring Cleaning spree last week” instead, you probably wouldn’t have been all that surprised. But, with the Social Outcasts down a member, Big Show and Kane nowhere to be seen (not that we’re complaining), half the midcard involved in the Intercontinental title feud and the other half released last week, this is what’s left for your regularly scheduled filler match. Is it so wrong that we’d be totally okay with all the time spent on R-Truth and Goldust trying and failing to become a tag team if this is the end result, with two new tag teams getting a chance (especially Fandango and Breeze, who deserve fresh starts) instead of one tired pair involving two guys who have been around forever? Maybe next week, they can face tag teams that aren’t each other for once? Source:

6. The Head-Patting Will Continue Until Morale Improves

WWE continues to build the Women’s Division in fits and starts, and while the debuting Dana Brooke might seem like an odd choice to make the leap from NXT (instead of someone like, you know, Bayley), given that she’s far from the strongest wrestler, her character work has evolved in leaps and bounds in the past year. Her pairing with Emma in NXT created a perfect pair of heels who talk incredibly big games and then get destroyed by fired-up babyfaces to make the crowd happy. With Naomi and Tamina both hitting the injured list in the past week, the Women’s Division was in need of heels to fill out the division beyond Charlotte, and it should be interesting to watch Emma and Dana work the crowds to gain heat over the next few weeks. Well, right up until Becky Lynch suplexes them into oblivion, of course. Source:

5. The Least Interesting Names In The World

We know we go hard after WWE Creative a lot, but that’s only because they totally deserve it, and last night proved that someone in there really isn’t earning their paycheck. After last night, the main event feud for the WWE World Heavyweight Title is now being contested between a wrestler who wants to be known as “The Guy”, and another wrestler who has formed a team known as “The Club”. There is no way that can possibly be the final name for that group, mostly because it seems like it would be impossible to actually trademark (but also because we’re still anticipating the arrival of the guy who will give the group its actual name). The good news is, the names are really the only boring part of this feud (well, except for The Usos, who don’t matter), as The Club and The Guy are bringing it with a combination of good wrestling and complex, conflicting (but justifiable) motivations. Even better news is that Roman Reigns seems to have won over at least a portion of the crowd (even if it might only be the part that thinks he’s really hot), which is an accomplishment in itself. In fact, this whole angle is actually working so well that the only reason we can see why it didn’t close the show is that WWE has to have literally given up on the third hour in terms of trying to draw ratings, and is planning to keep running the “real” main event at the top of the second hour. Which, admittedly, isn’t the worst plan in the world. Source:

4. Whoa. Deja Vu.

So, a consistent problem in WWE is that their main crutch for building feuds over their titles is to have the next challenger pin the current champion in a non-title match. It’s tired and over-used, but WWE has never been quite as blatant about using that cliche as they were this week. Having Sami Zayn pin The Miz to earn his way into the Fatal Four-Way match was fine, because a significant part of the Miz’s character is that he always loses straight-up fights and has to resort to being a weasel, and at the very least, it was a clean pin off of Zayn’s finisher without any real outside shenanigans. However, in addition to the Intercontinental Champion getting pinned, we also saw the Women’s Champion get distracted and pinned by Paige, the Tag Team Champions get distracted and pinned by The Dudley Boyz, and just for good measure, the #1 Contender to the United States title got distracted and pinned by Sin Cara. You might also notice that in every case, they were pinned by wrestlers that they aren’t actually feuding with, and in fact, none of the winners even have a match at Extreme Rules (well, at this point, anyway). Theoretically, shouldn’t at least a couple of those winners now be #1 Contenders to a title? Also, we should take this time to point out that distraction roll-ups are terrible, and doing them multiple times in the same show displays another ridiculous lack of creativity. Source:

3. An Eye For An Eye, A Sparkly Jacket For A Potted Plant

If there’s one thing you count on with Dean Ambrose, it’s that he will always seek revenge, and it will probably be slightly goofy. Attacking Chris Jericho during his ridiculously overwrought entrance and stealing his gaudy jacket was a nice surprise, in that when it happened, we were initially shocked and confused, but once we realized who it had to be, we were okay with it. Frankly, interrupting Jericho during his increasingly lengthy entrance is something more people should have considered over the years. It’s dark, his personal night vision would be ruined by the lights on his jacket, he’d never see it coming. Our minor complaint is that we were technically denied a main event match as a result, but Big Cass did get his licks in anyway, and as much as we love the guy, it’s probably a little too soon for him to get that big victory over Chris Jericho, and losing would have served no purpose. Plus, any time we can write crazy sentences like “Dean Ambrose destroyed Chris Jericho’s LED ring jacket” is tremendously fun for us, and that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Source:

2. Speaking Of Generic Names That Need Clarification…

Hey, did you know that WWE is in a New Era? We’d be shocked if you didn’t, because everyone in WWE spent most of the three hour running time of Raw making sure to say the words “New Era” as many times as humanly possible. Now, we understand that this is a branding thing, and the easiest way to embed an idea in the minds of your audience is to repeat it endlessly until everyone catches on and starts using the term themselves. We even think we’ve got a grasp on what the concept of the New Era is, which is a bunch of new young Superstars, some from NXT, and some that were already on the roster, stepping up to take all the spots vacated by injuries to the old guard (which will hopefully not be completely undone once those wrestlers start returning in the very near future), giving WWE a very different look from the one that it had before WrestleMania. However, the name is terrible and doesn’t really define what the New Era is supposed to be, and also, aside from some new faces, it’s very much the same show. If this is a New Era, can we finally get a full re-design on the Raw set? Maybe a new theme song? Just something cosmetic but noticeable to freshen up the look of the show, as we stride forward into this supposed New Era.

Also, New Era is already the name of a brand of licensed sports clothing. We just thought you should know that. Source:

1. Did Everyone Else Forget That Stephanie Is Evil?

In case the subtleties of Stephanie McMahon staring just a little too long at that picture of Vince and Shane were lost on you, we need to remind everyone that sooner or later, Stephanie is going to do something massively evil. That’s okay, we’re all ready for it, but maybe that’s why we feel very uncomfortable watching Shane and Stephanie get along, knowing that at some point, Stephanie is going to stab Shane so hard in the back that the blade might shoot out the front of him like one of those chestbursters in Aliens. That was a far more graphic image that we originally intended, we apologize, but we started off on an analogy without knowing how it was going to end, and that was the result. We are glad that Shane was around more this week, because without him making appearances, we’re just stuck with disingenuous Authority-style Stephanie again, but we’re not sure we can take that many more weeks of teeth-gritting awkwardness before Stephanie finally makes her move to take over the show, but since that might not happen until SummerSlam, we might have to deal with it. Source:

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.