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Ruthless regression

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I was going to start by calling yesterday's (Aug. 25, 2014) episode of Monday Night Raw "hot garbage," but I actually have hot garbage on my back deck (stupid summer) and I'm afraid to insult it, in fear of placebo-ing myself into thinking it smells worse.

There was a point when I was so bored, I flicked around and decided to check out Escape Plan, which is like an Expendables-flavored Ernest Goes To Jail, but that was even worse, so I went back and made the commitment, and was just as disappointed as I expected to be.

Too bad.

We came out of SummerSlam red hot, with terrific booking and sensible narratives. How we managed to regress in the span of just two weeks is astounding -- even for WWE -- and I wonder how much permanent damage has been done to several key storylines.

I won't even bother with The Wyatt Family, because the house that Bray built imploded and got sucked into a creative vortex like that scene at the end of Poltergeist. And for what? To prove that John Cena only got beat by Brock Lesnar because he wasn't mad enough.

Is that where we're going with this?

Oh shit, now you made him mad! Lesnar's in trouble! I thought the whole point of Cena's character was to rise above hate, not give into it. We just saw that entire skit play out against Wyatt earlier this year and as a result, Bray went from 'Mania cannon fodder to Y2Meh.

He falls any farther and Wyatt will be selling boots to the beard from Hulk Hogan to fire up the crowd (shudders).

I don't even know why I'm surprised, because I should know better by now as it pertains to Cena. If he pins Lesnar at Night of Champions and they fade to black with Cena STANDING TALL, I am really going to hate myself for letting my shields down.

I now throw myself on the mercy of the Creative court.

Equally disappointing was AJ Lee and her (cough) "mind games" with Paige. I thought this was handled pretty well up until last night -- as were several prominent storylines involving women -- and it seems like we're about to throw it all away on some ridiculous angle involving creepy lust.

Ahem, Mr. Rueter, if you would please:

For some reason, "lesbianic" makes me think of bionic lesbians or something, and I found that funnier than anything that happened on RAW. Well, that and my wife asking me if Jerry Lawler was now in charge of Creative. Dumbing this program down to love/sex is cheating the fans and a waste of talent.

AJ and Paige, as performers, are so above that kind of crap, it's disheartening.

Essentially what we saw was sexual harassment. One employee made unsolicited physical advances toward another employee with the intent to gain favor in the workplace. That's hot, bro. I know this is kayfabe and blabbity-fucking-blah, but you have two awesome pro wrestlers getting (unintentionally) punished for being women.

You think Vince and Co. would have a googly-eyed Bo Dallas hugging Jack Swagger and kissing his hand?

Ordinarily, I would categorize this as nitpicking, but there are a few things to consider here. Actually, make that a few people. It wasn't that long ago when we had Daniel Bryan as WWE Champion, Antonio Cesaro as the winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Dean Ambrose as the next breakout star, and Batista acting like a certifiable (and blue) douche.

Bluche?

We also had CM Punk on the roster and Bray Wyatt as the hottest heel in the business. Now, we have none of those things, so every mistake becomes monumental -- simply because so few can be afforded. If WWE wasn't going to make any kind of effort this week because it was up against the Emmys, then run a "Best Of" clip show and spare us the second-rate programming.

If anything should have died in the womb, it was last night's episode of RAW.