After looking at the more successful elements from this week’s episode of WWE Raw, it’s now time to discuss the parts of the show that weren’t as effective. As you would expect from WWE, quite a few segments and matches fit into this category.
These are the top two things that went wrong on the Dec. 20 episode of WWE Raw.
Honorable mention: AJ Styles and Omos split up- Yes, WWE has built to this dissolution for the last few weeks, but doing the breakup on this week’s show felt too rushed and the company failed to give the fans a strong reason to cheer for one guy over the other. Styles and Omos going one-on-one next week also feels too soon, but perhaps WWE wants to see what the big man can do on a singles match before moving forward with a hard push.
Honorable Mention: The Austin Theory/Mr. McMahon pairing- Again, WWE shouldn’t be pushing Theory at all, but it can’t possibly think that this is going to get him over, right? Have they learned nothing from Drew McIntyre’s time as “The Chosen One” or The New Breed from WWECW? All this does is annoy the people who want to see him succeed and further annoy the people who don’t want to see him on TV at all due to allegations levied against him, as that time could be better spent on someone else.
Honorable Mention: “CAN THEY CO-EXIST?” strikes again- Things like this are why fans should avoid falling for any lampshade hanging WWE does by pointing out how often it uses bad tropes like this. Bobby Lashley, Big E, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins are in a WWE Title Fatal 4 Way at Day 1; who cares if they can work together.
Speaking of Owens and Rollins, them teaming up to take out Lashley and E after the tag main event helped them regain some luster as threats to win the WWE Title, though it’s telling that the rebuilding strategy didn’t include either of them winning match and that WWE essentially told the viewers that their only chance of winning is pairing up.
Liv Morgan and Becky Lynch exchange words yet again
Liv Morgan has had a rough couple of weeks on WWE television. Last week, she cut an underwhelming promo and got her arm injured by Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch as part of WWE’s odd mission to put more sympathy on her, even though she was only a week removed from getting cheated out of the title by “Big Time Becks”.
Then there was that overproduced video of Morgan attempting to ambush Lynch at Seth Rollins’ wrestling school in Iowa, which ended with Morgan sort of getting the upper hand despite Lynch expecting her to show up (somehow).
On Monday’s Raw, Morgan received another chance to show out on the microphone and…it became clear why Lynch carried many of the early interactions of this feud on the stick. To be fair, Morgan hasn’t had the best material to work with (her best promo was the gross, pro-company one that blamed Lynch for other wrestlers getting fired) but her delivery of the lines hasn’t helped mask the subpar dialogue.
Consequently, Morgan has lost the momentum that peaked during her title match from two weeks ago, making her second chance to win the women’s championship seem like more of a longshot than her first.
This rut Morgan is in should serve as proof that WWE should work to build storylines around what each wrestler does well instead of tasking everyone with the same style of promos and plot points and hoping that their respective abilities can elevate the content. It’s an unrealistic and unfair expectation to place on talent.
As for Lynch, she was solid in this segment, but even she’s had better nights promo-wise.
Damian Priest gets himself counted out in his Championship Contender’s match
It’s bad enough that WWE booked one of these silly “Championship Contender’s” matches between Dolph Ziggler and United States Champion Damian Priest, but then booking Priest to lose because his “dark side” came out and compelled him to attack an interfering Robert Roode made the viewing experience much worse.
Whatever explanation WWE uses for the countout doesn’t matter; booking one of your top babyfaces (and titleholders) to forget the rules of a wrestling match — particularly one where your opponent gets a shot a your title if they win — doesn’t endear them to the audience. It also make Ziggler look like a fluke challenger, as he took 90 percent of the offense from Priest and only won due to a technicality.
As usual, WWE booked this to set up the title match for next week while keeping Priest from taking a pinfall loss. Of course, having Ziggler goi on a winning streak before getting the title shot would worked better, but WWE is seldom interested in what works better.