Raw Aug. 2, 2021: Listing three things that WWE got wrong

WWE, Mustafa Ali Credit: WWE.com
WWE, Mustafa Ali Credit: WWE.com /

Don’t let those poorly dubbed-in cheers fool you: This past Monday’s episode of Raw didn’t give the spectators in Chicago or the viewers watching at home much to get animated over. It’s hard to get excited about a show that only offers slight variations of the same bad tropes week after week, and the Aug. 3 episode remained on that carousel of mediocrity.

Going over every miss on this show would take too much time — another negative consequence of expanding this show to three hours — so let’s focus on three things that stuck out among the rest of the muck.

These were the three things WWE got wrong on the Aug. 2 episode of Raw.

Using Simone Biles’ withdrawal from the Olympics as promo fodder.

There’s nothing WWE loves more than using current events to assert their place in the cultural zeitgeist, and this week, WWE chose gymnastics legend Simone Biles’ withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics to tend to her mental health as the topic.

Biles’ name came up as part of a mid-show Charlotte Flair promo where “The Queen” promoted her main event No Holds Barred match against Nikki A.S.H. The promo itself was mostly the usual WWE exposition dump, but having Flair use Biles’ legitimate concern for her own mental health to set up a throwaway heel line trivializes what the multi-time gold medalist is going through while framing such concern as weakness, which would fall in line with the criticism Biles received when she stepped away.

To be clear, the ire for this promo should be directed at Flair, as she was more than likely regurgitating dialogue that was at least approved (and likely written) by Vince McMahon, a man who becomes irate over sneezes and sleep.

It’s a lazy, retrograde attempt to put heat on a heel under normal circumstances, but especially when you consider the undue vitriol Biles has received from people who believe that athletes (particularly Black athletes) are automatons that exist only to entertain the masses, regardless of how it affects the people performing these amazing feats.

Mustafa Ali loses in his hometown, then gets beat up after the match.

How hard is it for WWE to have a wrestler win a match in their hometown? Why must they always oft for heat in a situation where it would probably be more beneficial in the short and long term to have the local hero get a victory in front of an adoring audience?

Yes, the promotion continued their Masters-esque “Tradition Unlike Any Other” when Mansoor and Chicago’s own Mustafa Ali lost to T-BAR and MACE in a tag team match. You see, because Ali and Mansoor beat the former RETRIBUTION members last week, so the heels just had to win this week!

(They didn’t, to be clear, and the result illustrated WWE’s affinity for 50/50 booking)

To be fair, fans saw a bit of storyline development between Ali and Mansoor — Ali pushed Mansoor out of the way to take the beatdown from T-BAR and MACE — but WWE could’ve held off on that for a week and, you know, let the sentimental favorite get the win.

You’d figure that would be a no-brainer for a company that purports to “put smiles on people’s faces”.

Miz TV

Look, The Miz is a gifted orator who understands his character better than most wrestlers understand theirs. Also, the idea of Miz hosting his Miz TV talk show while he recovers from his knee injury is a smart idea.

However, these segments induce nothing but pure go-away heat for Miz and, to a lesser extent, John Morrison. The most recent Miz TV didn’t represent a sea change in that trend. It was more of the same obnoxious behavior from the heels — who dusted off that annoying “coooooooooorect” bit when discussing Damian Priest — and while Priest tried his best to salvage things, even the best talker would struggle to make this palatable.

Next. WWE Raw: Nikki A.S.H defeated Charlotte Flair in the main event. dark

The nicest thing you can say about it was that it didn’t last too long, but it felt like this lasted for hours which isn’t how anyone should feel about a talking segment.