WWE has a really bad habit, one that we saw abused again on Monday Night Raw this week, of booking wrestlers into programs that feature 48 different variations of a match between one or more wrestlers leading to what is supposed to be the actually meaningful match. This only works when you're doing something like a tournament.
It doesn't work how they've been using it.
That includes having Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy face Cesaro and Sheamus in singles matches for a couple weeks before then booking them to team up with Dean Ambrose and The Miz, respectively, for a six-man tag. That's three straight weeks of matches leading to the steel cage tag title showdown they have scheduled for Extreme Rules.
That's without mentioning the many times Austin Aries and Neville have crossed paths, with this week's version being "Aries submits Neville in a tag match when they have a Submission match at the PPV in a few days, whatever could this mean." It's so played out.
Then you have Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns all working matches against each other in various forms over the past couple of weeks in preparation for all five to get in the ring together for a Fatal 5-Way to determine the next number one contender to the Universal championship. There is nothing special about either match-up now because we've seen it, time and time again, just with a slightly different presentation.
No, not every match can feel special like a Brock Lesnar match because not everyone can disappear for a few months at a time but would it kill WWE to book a feud where they don't wrestle until the actual pay-per-view? Whatever happened to a good old fashioned training montage? What about an actual story told through backstage segments and in-ring promos? Are they so creatively bankrupt they can't come up with ideas for everyone, so they just throw them in matches together and hope the ratings don't fall TOO far?
Other assorted musings from Raw this week
This is your life, Bayley: Alexa Bliss is fantastic, one of the very best WWE has to offer. That said, she could do nothing to save this abomination of a segment and, in fact, there's an argument to be made that it's one of the worst in the history of the show.
True love: That said, there was at least one good thing to come from it -- I hope one day I can find what Phil and Tracy found on this show. Really hope it works out for those crazy kids.
Coup de Grace: I suppose we should be reading into the fact that while Samoa Joe won the triple threat on this show, he did so thanks to Finn Balor's finisher. Are you ready for Balor vs. Brock?
MYSTERY: WWE cannot be counted on to deliver the goods when they book mystery angles but they're always fun anyway. I think the last text message based mystery was when Kevin Nash texted himself to stick the winner at SummerSlam, which resulted in CM Punk losing the WWE championship before also losing to Triple H, who then went on to beat Nash into retirement. (That's a quick little history lesson for you fans out there who only know Triple H as the the savior of wrestling with what he's done in NXT.) Either way, mysteries are great, even when they're not, so I'm glad we have not one but TWO mystery angles going on right now with who attacked Enzo Amore -- The Revival showed up this week and they acknowledged their backstage appearance last week, so they're immediately knocked down the list of possibilities, while Big Cass is protesting a bit too much and somehow always right next to Enzo just AFTER he gets laid out -- and what the text was that Corey Graves showed Kurt Angle. Perhaps they're linked! Maybe it was Angle who attacked Enzo (both times) because he's upset he can't wrestle and Graves showed him proof that someone knows! That would also explain why Graves would help protect the secret, because he HATES Enzo. Or, and stay with me here, what if no one is beating Enzo up at all and he's just getting blackout drunk? See? How fun is this?!?
Sing a song: Elias Samson is the dirt worst. So, clearly, he's the best.
Hurt: Samoa Joe cut a promo at one point where he said he was watching the Finn Balor WWE 24 special so he could scout better ways to hurt him. More of that, please.
Risk it: There was a risk to take by pairing Sasha Banks up with Rich Swann, even for a brief time. It would either make Banks look lesser for her association with the struggling cruiserweight division or it would make Swann look all the better for the star power he would be teaming with. It's still early, of course, but it looks like a solid decision so far. Banks might even get some folks to watch 205 Live!
Titus Brand: I love that holding tights gives a guy such an unfair advantage in pro wrestling. It's my favorite dumb finish, like Kalisto was extra immobilized because O'Neil had a handful of tights.
I'm just going to choose to be happy that we have two mystery angles going at once.
Grade: Whatever you want, please don't yell at me in the comments