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RAW finish leaves viewers totally confused

Well, that's one way to end the final pre-Draft television show. Was it a good one? Even an optimist would have to stop and think twice.

You know, that was a perfectly good wrestling match between those two chaps last night. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins worked hard, and despite a few sub-par brawling sequences, put forth a strong main event. Even if it wasn't PPV caliber, it was nonetheless a compelling bout. WWE did a good job of helping its audience forget that the match didn't actually matter, because of the triple threat on Sunday, where the Champion doesn't even have to be pinned to lose his title.

Before we even get to the asininity of RAW's final moments, first let's talk about this. The Draft is tonight, and no one at this point has any idea whether there will be two WWE/World Champions, two Women's Champions, or two Tag Team Champions. I've stated before that the women should be on one brand, which I recognize isn't ideal because they deserve a showcase on both. The fact is, the numbers aren't there for a split crew. It will be the same matches over and over again, ad nauseum. It's basically true of the tag teams as well, and certainly for the Cruiserweights, who actually do have their own brand. Anyway, I'm thinking of all these things again watching last night's show, but then we get to the main event.

Are we to believe that had a double finish (yes a draw, but the rationale of a double finish) not occurred, only one brand would be able to claim or even argue it possessed THE Champion? So, under that assumption, would that mean the other brand would then have turned the Intercontinental Championship into their top prize, or just created another title out of thin air? Considering Stephanie instituted an entire new division, I suppose anything's possible. It all comes back to the same recurring theme about the WWE Draft.

Especially as it pertains to minutiae and ramifications, WWE has not done the requisite amount of planning and preparation for this event. Or, if the company has, it's done a bang-up job of appearing inept.

As Rollins held the title and Stephanie proclaimed him Champion, there was a smattering of boos, but mainly there was chaos. The announcers were off kilter, the fans were uncertain, and everything jumbled together, coagulated, and oozed its way into a cave of darkness. The show goes off the air with Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton telling us Seth Rollins is the new WWE Champion. Truthfully, it should have stayed that way. It would make more sense for a second title to emerge tomorrow, by Shane's decree, than it would off a draw, which is what happened. I recognize you know that's what the finish was, but you're in the minority.

Unthinkably, RAW went off the air with arguments at ringside, but with Rollins as Champion. Less than two minutes later, Dean Ambrose was Champion again after the match was officially ruled a draw. See, the referee went back and watched a replay, which of course only happens once in a blue moon, and reversed the decision. I didn't see it happen, and you didn't either. We found out via Twitter, but it was actually taped, because it aired on the WWE Network. I rewound the DVR to the last minute, just to make sure I didn't miss instructions telling me what to do to see the finish of the 25 minute match I just watched.

I didn't. There was nothing.

Whether someone missed a cue, or it was a wild oversight, or WWE didn't really care whether virtually anybody saw the conclusion and "resolution," it's inexcusable for a company to make that mistake. This was a night where nothing of import was scheduled on the WWE Network, so there was even less of a reason to have accidentally been in the right place at the right time.

How does Vince McMahon not force JBL to scream "NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK" as the show is fading to black, if indeed someone missed a cue or didn't hear something through the earpiece? JBL is Vince at the table, so there's no way he couldn't have covered up for the error, even in the brief window he had to do so. This company never shuts up about its streaming service, and rightfully so, as it's becoming a lifeblood to WWE, and it's a fine product. This was a platinum opportunity to sell its virtues yet again, by pushing that the add-on was the only way to see the results of a hot main event with major consequences.

And they missed it. Further, looking at the lack of specifics when it comes to drafting NXT Champions, how many titles end up on what shows, or who can be placed where, one really has to wonder if WWE is leaping into an empty swimming pool. The Draft should be a great deal of fun, with plenty of excitement, but everything feels so timid, so murky. I'm all for surprise, but we should know exactly how things are going to work tomorrow. Our only questions should be who the draft picks are, and in what order. That's it. The rest should be readily available, not just the rules we've seen.

It's creating chatter, but in the wrong way. Not to mention, Battleground taking place after the draft, where guys could technically be competing for titles not currently owned by their brand, is really strange. If there's another odd finish on Sunday, is that where the second top strap comes into play? And if so, why? What's the reason why there wouldn't be separate Champions if everyone can be drafted? According to the list, Dean Ambrose (and Seth Rollins) are selectable tonight. Last night was just dreadfully executed. There's no other way to slice it. Everybody makes mistakes, but there was plenty of time before the show ended to save it and at least partially fix it.

All of these items, including the RAW finish, comes across as rushed or ill-conceived. The schedule is the schedule, and USA Network plays into this in some way, but ideally, your Draft wouldn't happen until the Tuesday after SUMMERSLAM, not five days before Battleground. The August PPV sells itself, and then business generally drops as football returns and creative takes a nap. That's when a shot of adrenaline to the chest would be most helpful. It would also allow a bit more time to actually complete some of the open programs that have barely even gotten started.

Plus, there are no split-brand PPV events until that point. If the roster split leads to tremendous TV, the momentum is on WWE's side in advance of September, and they have a better chance to hold on to the numbers, but that's not a sure thing.

The concern has nothing to do with talent, but with organization and a lack of coherence and information. If we're all confused, imagine the casual fan who tunes in, is excited for the Draft, but is now suffering from a migraine trying to comprehend it all. That's not desirable. A promotion never wants its fans to feel like imbeciles, even those that might view those people as such.

You have to find a way to make this stuff easy to process. That finish last night was a Stanley Kubrick film shown to a four-year-old child. Not advertising the ending on the Network was as intelligent as placing that same four-year-old child at the helm of a billion dollar company.

WWE is basically running a seemingly compelling foreign film, but inexplicably blacking out the subtitles after a half-second. Slow down and think. Make sure the audience is able to do the same. And, make sure if the projector has to cut off before the credits, patrons are told to change theaters to see the final three minutes.

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