If you hoped that this week’s episode of WWE Raw would deliver you more helpings of Bobby Lashley, then you likely finished this show with a satiated appetite. Sure, those extra servings came at the cost of some of Big E, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens’ credibility, but seeing Lashley come across as so dominant had to hit the spot for fans of “The Almighty”.
As for the rest of the show…well, it wasn’t very good. Even the good stuff came with either a needless heat segment or the knowledge that WWE wouldn’t follow up on what got booked. Of course, some missteps stood out more than others, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
These are the top two things that went wrong on the Dec. 13 episode of WWE Raw.
Honorable mention: Continuing the Bianca Belair/(sigh)Doudrop feud- Belair pinned (sigh) Doudrop clean with a 450 splash in their rematch from last week, which ended with (sigh) Doudrop getting intentionally counted out. The match and finish was fun, but (sigh) Doudrop’s post-match attack means the feud will continue despite the definitive ending.
The idea might be to do a rematch so Belair can hit the KOD and score the pin, but if that’s the case, why not have (sigh) Doudrop win here instead of showing that Belair can beat her without needing to use her finisher?
Distraction finishes in consecutive matches.
Given that Raw is a three-hour show, even the better episodes aren’t immune to befuddling decisions that produce the opposite of WWE’s intended goal. Take the Rhea Ripley vs. Queen Zelina match and the Damian Priest and Finn Balor vs. Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler tag bout, for example.
In both cases, WWE wanted to give the heels the win while “protecting” the babyfaces in defeat, so it went to its wheel of bad finishes, and this week, it must’ve landed on “distraction finish”. For the men’s match, Roode and Ziggler got the win after a distraction from Austin Theory allowed Ziggler to hit Balor with the Zig Zag.
In the very next match, Ripley and Zelina wrestled for approximately a half-minute before Carmella hopped on the apron to, you guessed it, distract Ripley. Nikki A.S.H. tried to repel this interference, but — in accordance with her “can’t do anything right” story — she got kicked by Carmella, which also distracted Ripley and allowed Zelina to roll her up for the pin.
In both cases, the wins didn’t help the heels since the victories came across as flukes, though given where Zelina and Ziggler are on the card, that isn’t a huge deal. However, Booking babyfaces such as Ripley and Balor to lose because they were too distracted makes them look like goofs, not world-class athletes who got struck with some bad luck.
It also makes whatever respective programs they’re in less interesting.
Groundhog Day: 24/7 Championship Edition
Listen, it’s good that WWE found something for Dana Brooke to do that isn’t cutting promos about not getting anything to do. It’s also nice that R-Truth has stumbled into something that highlights his comedic talent and keeps him from taking a ton of bumps. And this is not some grumpy dismissal of comedy in pro wrestling.
However, you would hope that some level of thought would be put into these segments with the 24/7 Championship instead of recycling the same format over and over again. If things have reached the point where WWE has no fresh ideas for the title, then perhaps it’s time to consider retiring it.
The belt more or less peaked with the Carmella/Truth/Drake Maverick cat-and-mouse chase a couple of years ago, and while Reggie’s run with the gold rejuvenated it a bit, the skits have become repetitive and unnecessary.
At this point, WWE would be better off finding better things for everyone involved to do on the show.