Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - My biggest pet peeve in wrestling, Battleground takes shape with Roman Reigns starting to come out of his shell, The Authority's vacation, and more!
By Will Pruett
When I turned off Raw, I was annoyed. WWE didn't produce a bad television program, but I found myself frustrated and downright bothered. Something happened on this show, not once, but multiple times, that violated the very nature of wrestling storytelling. It somehow transformed wrestling from a logical (I use this term lightly) medium into a farce. It risked ruining everything wrestling is. What was this thing? It was theme music playing in the middle of a match.
The first occurrence of this gross misuse of a sound system was during the Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio match. Out of nowhere, the ringside guest commentator's music started playing and Fandango was able to stand on the announce table and dance. While dancing is an acceptable form of heel heat-garnering, this was dancing to music, in the middle of a match. I could understand if Fandango had produced a boombox (or perhaps a Bluetooth speaker) and turned music on himself, but he was aided by the sound technician. This makes no sense.
The second occurrence of this travesty occurred during the main event of the show. John Cena and Seth Rollins were engaged in their match when suddenly Kane's music and video wall began playing out of nowhere and Kane made his walk to the ring to interfere. Other players eventually interfered in this segment, none of them having their theme music played. Why did Kane get special treatment? Why was Kane's entrance enhanced via sound and video? What did Kane have to do to the obviously idiotic sound technician to get his music played.
Think about the purpose of theme music. It's there to signal a wrestler coming to the ring and tell us something about them. In other sports, music is often used for a fighter/batter/athlete to psych themselves up. The music is a part of their pre-whatever they happen to be doing ritual. If (for the sake of logic) interference were possible in other sports, playing music to signal it would never happen. Imagine if someone ran into the cage during an MMA fight and punched one of the fighters in his face-parts. Now, imagine if this guy randomly had a D.J. strike up his sweet tunes on his way down the aisle.
When music is played for interference, it suddenly becomes "part of the show" and not a random occurrence. It looks and feels pre-planned, not spontaneous. When Kane's video wall is all cued up for his entrance in the main event segment, we suddenly realize Kane was supposed to interfere in the segment. If we know Kane's interference was planned and executed according to plan, we suddenly see the fictitious world wrestling exists in.
I know I'm not breaking new ground by discussing how wrestling's presentation often raises direct opposition to what wrestling is supposed to be, but this detail is important. It's not still real to be, but I long to be gripped by stories without glaring errors and gaps in logic. I want to believe the sound guy in WWE isn't some crooked miscreant attempting to sabotage a legitimate sporting contest. Is that too much to ask?
And now for some random thoughts:
- Roman Reigns had a pretty good night with a microphone in his hand. While his delivery started out seeming overly-scripted and wooden, he seemed to drop into the promo right around when he delivered the "Cena sucks" line. Reigns is still finding his voice and had the frightening task of doing so while he is being pushed into the main event scene. He showed here that he is up to this major challenge.
- I knew Reigns had reached main event status when he was allowed to use the word "bitch." WWE saves their minor swears for main eventers.
- Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton had a stand-out match that could have been much better, if not for a couple of awkward spots. The fans want to buy into Ambrose and cheer him. This is a good thing. Orton seemed motivated to have a good match (aside from when he forgot to dropkick an early-jumping Ambrose). I could watch them have a major feud at some point in the next year and be happy.
- Randy Orton gets bonus points for posing after a botched spot. Orton trolling the crowd always makes me happy.
- The Uso's vs. Harper and Rowan is always a fan matchup. WWE needs to give these acts some promo time to make this feud seem a little more important. Hearing from the wronged Uso's and the frightening Wyatt Family would be fun.
- Chris Jericho vs. The Miz was slightly disappointing. I was hoping for a longer match, but what we saw was enjoyable. Jericho vs. Wyatt is the real attraction anyways and I'm happy we should (likely) be seeing it at Battleground.
- Miz's new Hollywood character could be really fun to watch develop. Since he's been embarrassed on TV every time he has used it, I'm not sure it'll last long, but I hope it does.
- The story with Paige and A.J. Lee too a moment to slow down this week and it was necessary. Both women should get a chance to really let this feud develop and grow. It's the signature program in WWE's women's division and it could be the program this era is defined by (think Trish and Lita) if it's done right.
- Bonus points to WWE for having four concurrent stories happening in the women's division. While I'm not a fan of the Layla and Summer Rae story, the Nikki Bella/Stephanie McMahon/Brie Bella story and the Funkadactyl breakup are working for me.
- Nikki Bella getting beat up took about 45 minutes, right?
- Who owns the Figure Four now; Dean Ambrose or The Miz?
- Rusev crush stoned guy.
- Bret Hart's appearance was fun and Damien Sandow's impression/costume made me laugh. Sandow is doing great work in this role and, while I do believe he is capable of more, I can't possibly call this a burial.
For me, this show boiled down to the entrance music problem. While I enjoyed most of what WWE did, this is a really annoying habit they have started. I can ignore it once in a while, but right now, mid-match theme music has switched into overkill.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter @itswilltime.
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