WWE Raw Aug. 16, 2021: 3 things the company got wrong

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Believe it or not, it gets exhausting bringing up the nonsensical ways WWE books Raw every week, so you’d think it would be doubly aggravating to actually put together the shows (well, more so than usual).

Apparently, WWE doesn’t think so. If they were, we’d see some significant changes to the on-screen product every once in a while. Instead, it’s the same stuff; the same non-finishes, the same parity booking, the same matches over and over again.

This week’s episode of the company’s flagship show didn’t fray from this formula, and as expected, it led to some subpar moments. Let’s take a look at three of those moments and dissect what went wrong.

These are the three things WWE got wrong on the Aug. 16 episode of Raw.

The Alexa Bliss/Lilly/Doudrop/Eva Marie stuff

WWE really couldn’t find a more compelling secondary women’s storyline to write, huh? To be fair, these segments with Alexa Bliss, (sigh) Lilly, Eva Marie, and (sigh) Doudrop didn’t take up much time.

Still, that time could’ve been better spent on something else. And listen, that isn’t an indictment on Bliss (who has shown solid range in the role) or (sigh) Doudrop, who are doing the best they can to make this work (or even Eva Marie, even though she has the on-screen appeal of sandpaper). The material they’re working with, on the other hand, is chum for the remote.

Worse yet, all of this is leading to a SummerSlam match between Bliss and Eva Marie. Oh boy. Look, Bliss has improved considerably in the ring throughout her WWE tenure, but it’s doubtful that even a Bret Hart-esque carry job could propel Eva to a passable match on Saturday.

Even showing the fissures in the Eva/(sigh) Doudrop relationship couldn’t save this, since WWE will probably just have (sigh) Doudrop join Bliss and keep the name, which would be like going from playing for the Texas Rangers to playing for the Baltimore Orioles (man, that hurt to type).

Randy Orton vs. Omos ends in a disqualification

Given that WWE only deemed the post-match RK-Bro reunion to be important, it begs the question that always comes up in these situations: If WWE didn’t want Omos or Randy Orton losing before SummerSlam, why did they book Orton and Omos to wrestle each other in the first place.

Even worse, the disqualification finish made AJ Styles — who kicked Orton in view of the referee to trigger the decision — look dumb for causing his partner to lose a match against a future Hall of Famer and the implicit earnings that come along with a win.

In the long run, fans will probably remember what happened after the match more than what happened before, but treating the match like an afterthought is still a problem. All you have to do is listen to what the crowd does (or doesn’t do, more accurately) during matches and you’ll understand why booking non-finishes to get to angles and other stuff has such a negative effect on what the performers are trying to accomplish between the ropes.

50/50 booking and Nikki A.S.H’s “underdog” push

With Styles pinning Riddle (in a fun match) earlier in the night, Omos’ DQ loss to Orton was also a case of the 50/50 booking WWE loves to use, with the tag champs and the members of RK-Bro splitting wins.

If this brand of creative stasis is for you, fear not, because WWE made sure you received an extra serving via Raw’s main women’s storyline, which is building to a Nikki A.S.H/Charlotte Flair/Rhea Ripley triple threat match for the Raw Women’s Championship.

For the last bit of build to this match, WWE did the following:

-Booked Ripley to pin the almost superhero clean after hitting the Riptide

-Had Nikki and Rhea beat up Flair after the match

-Booked Flair to pin Ripley in a tag match. Nikki was Ripley’s partner while Flair paired up with Nia Jax

So, to recap: Flair got beat up by the babyfaces only to get her heat back later in the show and Ripley pinned the Raw Women’s Champion and got beat later in the show. Parity booking aplenty….unless you’re Nikki, who lost twice and only has a few punches to Flair to point to as a positive.

See, because she’s an “underdog” who “almost” wins. Of course, it shows that, after all these years, WWE still doesn’t know what the word “underdog” actually means. All this does is make her look like a fluke who is unworthy of being champion.

If WWE is worried that Nikki would cease to be an underdog if she won more, well, that’s what happens to all underdogs. Eventually, the mountain of wins erases the doubt people have in them and become the favorites. It happened to the New England Patriots (yuck), the Golden State Warriors, and plenty of other teams and athletes. It’s a little thing called progression.

Next. WWE Raw: SummerSlam go-home edition. dark

A story where Nikki racks up wins and gains confidence as her reign continues would be a compelling story to tell. Instead, WWE has made her 2006 Rey Mysterio 2.0, and that combined with the win trading by the “favorites” has dragged this story down.