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Cup of coffee in the big time: This ain’t little league

There’s a part of me that wants to start off by saying, “Hey, at least they tried.” You could feel the attempt to deliver on the “things will be different on Raw” promise from the opening seconds of the show — it’s just that different doesn’t always mean better.

Raw kicking off with a wild pull-apart brawl before any intro is an attention grabber and following up with a fired up John Cena promo actually injected some energy into things. The problem is, the promo breaks down into a brawl with more and more superstars involving themselves and the WWE is so formulaic that they didn’t even have to announce a match was happening with the six men, they just went to commercial during the brawl and came back with a match in progress.

Because we know that’s how things work on TV, we don’t even have to be informed.

Parlaying a good enough six man into Seth Rollins demanding a match with Dean Ambrose and getting the main event falls count anywhere match was a nice boost back and for the opening hour it did feel like a new energy was pumping through the show.

But there are still too many issues bogging the three hours down.

The tag division is getting no reaction and I don’t understand how a team routinely portrayed as heels getting repeatedly screwed by bad reffing is supposed to build investment.

For as great as Alexa Bliss has been in the past, all these talk shows and Q&A segments have been garbage. Sasha Banks delivered a good line, but the rest of the Moment of Bliss segment was a series of cringe to get us to Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks — and now to Banks vs. Ronda Rousey at Royal Rumble.

But the ultimate issue was the Braun Strowman “face to face” with Brock Lesnar segment. Not only was the idea of cheating around delivering lame, but the split-screen stuff was awful. There was no sense of timing, no sense of drama and felt like a couple kids who forgot their lines in the school play.

The awkwardness cut the tension and having Lesnar walk out, circle the ring and leave was entirely deflating.

And the crowd was deflated again with the main event.

It was obvious Rollins was losing via some underhanded methods. There’s too much investment into Ambrose to flip the title back already and setting up any match without disqualifications opens the door to bring the show full circle with Lashley’s involvement.

I still think there’s a big problem in Lashley just not being the guy they want him to be. He’s a good big fish in a medium pond, which is why “he was great in Impact” is the standard line about his ability to get there in WWE. But he just has never clicked with the crowd on the big stage.

Maybe some heat sticks with him for costing Rollins, but for now he is just the guy who deflated a crowd already barely hanging on.

Again, I’d like to say, “At least they tried.”

But this isn’t little league.

Fingers crossed for a better SmackDown tonight.

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