Raw Underground is still evolving. Shane McMahon is still throwing darts at his creativity board and that’s fine. This will be a process.
Unlike last week’s Raw Underground, this week we didn’t see The Hurt Business or the dancing ladies. That was fine because The Hurt Business deserves to be on Raw and Raw only. The return of Dabba Kato was a good look, though the grabbing of the unnamed opponent’s groin area was cringe-level TV. We all knew that Shayna Baszler would have some part in Raw Underground but she stepped right up to challenge Kato. I’m glad Shane stepped in because I wasn’t ready to see Baszler take on someone who is 6 foot 9, 350 pounds. I’m not saying she couldn’t hold her own, but that’s a lot to ask.
Baszler is a perfect fit to introduce women into Raw Underground,and not just because of her MMA background. Baszler has always been billed as the dominant force in the Women’s division. Who can forget the Elimination Chamber massacre of 2020?
Injecting Baszler into the Underground didn’t change her position as the top of the food chain as none of the women wanted to challenge her in a fight. In response, Baszler chose a fighter, hurled her onto the mat, and commenced to beat her down. And even though her opponent did have two friends to help, it still wasn’t enough. This was a great look that keeps Baszler as the top woman in the Underground, and gives foundation to a possible storyline.
The Way Ahead: Bring on The WWE Hardcore Title
Shane McMahon is obviously looking to build Raw Underground as an actual thing, so the WWE Hardcore Championship is a perfect fit. Without the 24/7 rules, the title could be renamed to the Raw Underground Title. This would help create one of two options for storylines. First, there could be a tournament, and since most of the matches are only a few minutes long this would go fast and would work. Next, the ability to create individual storylines that appear random would be easier. You could get rivals each week, but the chance at a high redundancy would be there. The Hardcore Championship would be a great way to break that up when needed.
If Raw Underground is going to be a mainstay, Shane must consider weekly revisions to the model to prove he’s working towards something solid. Otherwise, we’re all in for acts of randomness each week. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, but it could get stupid. No one wants stupid, considering Raw is under 2 million viewers a week.