What I don't need to tell you in any great detail is this: RAW sucked eggs last night.
The third hour was dismal up until the main event, and while Sasha Banks' emotional promo may have touched your hearts, the biggest thing it did for me was irritate my brain. Allow me to explain.
Bayley debuted on the main roster three weeks ago, and, after defeating Dana Brooke, was granted a title shot at the PPV. Perhaps I'm remembering that wrong, but I clearly remember Mick Foley making that statement. She's incredibly over, more so than any woman (or virtually any man) has been at this stage in her career, and last night she pinned the Women's Champion clean in the middle of the ring.
That was the first mistake, because even if Sasha wasn't returning, what was the point in giving us that match prior to Clash of Champions? I understand that she's not going to win that title, because it would destroy the proper build of that character, but why a promotion would give that match away for basically no purpose was mind-boggling.
Sasha Banks returned and emotionally listed many important women's wrestling names from the past, leading into a strangely worded promo about her condition. It was obviously meant to be a swerve for Charlotte, designed to bring the fans down with thoughts of a shortened career and then pull them to their feet with the reveal. That's all fine and good, but the problem isn't really with Sasha, even though the promo was...questionable.
The big issue is with Bayley, who now finds herself with nothing to do, mere hours after pinning Charlotte last night. Maybe Mick Foley or Stephanie McMahon could add her and make the PPV match a triple threat, but that shouldn't happen. That's way too big a match, in a division with far less depth, to do on a split brand show with very little promotion. So, Bayley is just out of luck. It won't make any sense in storyline, but there's no good answer after what occurred on Monday.
The problem for WWE, and I'm sure the company recognized this if they listened to a pretty pathetic Kansas City crowd last night, is that Bayley is far more over than any of the women on RAW. She's more over than Sasha has ever been on a week-to-week basis (certainly at the beginning of the god awful Divas Revolution), and that's from one segment with The New Day and a six-person tag, plus a match with Dana Brooke. She's the golden goose, and Vince McMahon needs to be careful how, when, and where she's used.
I should be happy with Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte, and I do want to see that match. But, what the hell has the last few weeks been about? The person being pushed isn't going to be involved? Even if Banks' medical situation changed very recently, why not go ahead and do Charlotte vs. Bayley, screw her out of the Championship, and then bring Sasha back the next night per the rematch clause?
Did they have to bring her back immediately? It's like the kid who can't hold a dollar in his pocket for two days. I've used that analogy before for WWE, but with the way they operate in this day and age, it's always an apt comparison. At least with my idea, WWE could then allow Bayley to step down naturally, rooting for Sasha and working with some of the other women, where she could go over, but be out of the title picture in a more believable way for a few months.
What is the rush?
It's highly possible she's going to get the title before that character should, and I'm not sure it's a bad thing, but it wasn't happening in a few weeks. We've seen Sami Zayn struggle to get over because of poor television booking and a lack of oversight to his role, even though he too plays the underdog. There's no magic formula that always works, but Bayley has the potential to be the biggest women's star of all time.
Sasha could be right there with her, but WWE didn't force Orton back when he was healthy. They waited and timed it for maximum value. She's an essential commodity, and I'm thrilled she's healthy, but cool your jets, Vince. This is her dream job. She's not going anywhere. We won't allow it. I promise. I damn sure can ensure you Sean Rueter won't let her leave.
What Sasha Banks did last night could have had more impact in a few weeks, because the fans have already conditioned themselves to want Charlotte vs. Bayley. Honestly, they want it more than Sasha vs. Charlotte as of today. They want both, but let's finish this chapter, even if it's an outlier, before skipping ahead in this book. Outside of the Universal Championship, WWE has pushed the Charlotte/Bayley feud harder than anything else on RAW since SummerSlam. Now, it's morphed into something that could have been delayed, with no negative effect on anyone involved.
My concern is with the timing and the shoehorn effect we're seeing play out on RAW. Bayley arrives (maybe a few weeks early) to cover Sasha's absence, but the latter returns just a few weeks later and the former, who has gotten herself over huge, is just sort of left in an empty room. Perhaps all this works itself out next week on television, but considering we got no answer to the why of Triple H's interference last week, the important word is PERHAPS.
I'm pretty confident WWE made the wrong call here, quelling the momentum for a match that now isn't taking place. Actually, it was two wrong calls, because why wouldn't Bayley be involved at the PPV after pinning Charlotte? That match never should have taken place. There aren't many women on RAW, and there are even less that can actually work. Thus, can we just slow the hell down with all this? Bayley's up, now Sasha's rushed back, the title changes hands twice in a month, and now we're stuck with an odd woman out.
The alternative triple threat is a bad idea, so we've just FUBARed everything. It feels like WWE thinks there won't even be a women's division in three months, so they have to get everything in right now. Unless we've all missed a memo, that's not the case. It's time for Vince and his team to exercise some patience. pay attention to long-term pacing, and be logical in the writing.
Don't get me wrong, I'm geeked The Boss is back, but the real "bad news" was how poorly all of this was structured. It's done none of these three any favors, and some of the audience must be confused as a result. We'll see if they can patch up the holes next Monday.
At least that's how I saw it.
What say you?