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Below are some rapid fire thoughts from the June 24, 2019 episode of WWE Raw. I started to put these in order in which they occurred on the show but changed it to build off points I wanted to make.
– WWE has done a good job at creating new stars. I can’t believe I’m writing this but three years is a long time to be away and the company has done a good job at elevating Becky Lynch, Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre. Lynch showed promise from the beginning while it took WWE forever to realize what they had in McIntyre, but in the end all played a viable role on this week’s show.
– Daniel Bryan will always be underutilized in WWE. I realize every segment can’t feature Bryan and I realize he’s had multiple WWE title reigns but he’s not utilized like a true top tier talent. He’s treated more like a “run of the mill” guy and will likely be utilized as much for as long as he’s under WWE contract. Vince McMahon’s philosophy in pushing talent in 2019 is much different than it was 10 years ago. No longer is he looking to push guys to the moon to where they reach superstardom but he’s more or less looking to create guys who are marketable but can be easily replaced.
– Having written that, it’s exactly what they’re doing with Kofi Kingston as WWE Champion. He’s the “rags to riches” guy that finally “made it to the top” but he’ll never be revered as Steve Austin or The Rock. He’ll never be treated like the modern day Brock Lesnar or Undertaker. Kofi, the current champ, is viewed more as an upper midcard talent that is interchangeable.
– Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins may be the closest thing to top tier talent in 2019. They’re booked to be above guys like Bryan and Kofi but still not quite to the level of the “special attractions” that are Lesnar and Undertaker. Again, it’s a change in philosophy from Vince McMahon and we should not expect anything different.
– The WWE 24/7 title is one of the dumbest props in recent memory. While the last thing WWE needed was another useless title, it’s like they created this one solely as a rib on the IWC. It carries no weight or significance and is completely useless. This title exemplifies everything wrong with the way WWE views their titles. They should mean something or they should be eliminated. This belt means nothing, is treated like nothing and it’s a literal representation of ways not to use a title in professional wrestling.
– I realize Undertaker is fresh off a disaster of a match against Goldberg but I enjoyed the way he was utilized last Monday. Undertaker is an attraction, even if Vince is going to ride him until the wheels fall off. As mentioned, Vince doesn’t push guys to have success like this anymore so he’s going to use up guys like Undertaker and Brock Lesnar until they have nothing left.
– The “Tug of War” with Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley was something gimmicky that I’m sure Vince thought was great. It furthered the program and I guess entertained the PG audience. For me, it was cringeworthy. I will comment that WWE has made the most of Lashley, who is still in excellent and I’m sure tip top “Wellness” shape.
– Speaking of a re-tread talent like Lashley, am I the only one that notices all of the “re-treading” Vince has done lately? Owens and Zayn, The Viking Experience, The Bullet Club. Hah, he certainly doesn’t care to borrow as he pleases and push it on his platform. Maybe he does it out of necessity or maybe it’s just laziness but sometimes it works and sometimes it comes off as watered down. Mostly, the latter.
– Finally, the main event between AJ Styles and WWE United States Champion Ricochet gave me hope while always understanding something I’ve known for quite some time – WWE doesn’t care about their titles. The fact Ricochet is finally in a WWE ring and “main eventing” a show is a miracle. He’s a guy WWE scouted for years and it’s great the broader audience is finally getting to see one of the best in-ring talents in the world. On the other hand, having Styles pin him clean 24 hours after winning the US title is WWE booking logic 101. Why have the titles if they aren’t going to be defended? And why have champions when they can lose clean without consequence? It’s maddening and something I’ll never understand.