Dana Brooke hasn’t had a match on Raw since June. She did get a Main Event match last month, but for the most part, WWE hasn’t had anything for her to do since her then-tag partner Mandy Rose was moved to NXT.
Last night (Oct. 4), Dana returned to television for a match against Shayna Baszler. Things didn’t go great for the former fitness competitor, and we don’t just mean in the ring. For some reason, Raw color commentator Corey Graves decided to go First Take on Brooke’s WWE career.
Here’s a clip of that, and a transcription of Graves’ exchange with play-by-play man Jimmy Smith at the start of Brooke vs. Baszler (for when WWE eventually scrubs this clip from Twitter; you can hear the tail end of Corey’s remarks on the official YouTube clip of this segment):
Corey Graves BURIES Dana Brooke on Raw pic.twitter.com/aOJa9RFZym— Doug Rush (@TheDougRush) October 5, 2021
Smith: Dana Brooke ready to take on Shayna Baszler...
Graves: Is she though, Jimmy? Is Dana Brooke ready for Shayna Baszler? ... Listen, I’m all for giving people time to develop, giving people time to realize their potential. But on a long enough timeline, you gotta cut your losses. Dana Brooke has not accomplished much of anything.
Smith: But look at what we’re seeing right now from Dana Brooke. Look at the fight we’re seeing.
Graves: Okay, great. Then let’s keep bringing it out. I want to see more. Dana Brooke has been on Raw and SmackDown for quite some time. I’m waiting for the potential to be realized. Will it ever happen?
Smith: We’ve always seen the physical talent. We all have. She has the speed, she has the athleticism. But will that be enough - that’s actually the question, Corey.
Graves: You can give me a chest full of tools. That doesn’t mean I can build you house, okay? It’s a matter of putting things together, and Dana Brooke in my opinion hasn’t exactly done that. Shayna Baszler however looks more and more vicious, and I love it.
What’s going on here? In a kayfabe sense, they’re presenting Brooke as overmatched so Baszler looks like a bully for not just beating her quickly, and Doudrop seems even more heroic for standing up to Shayna to save Dana.
In theory, it could be the start of a storyline where Brooke finally does realize her potential. But if you think WWE will not only come up with a storyline for someone they haven’t used on television in over three months, but also stick to such a story over the course of weeks or months? Well, you’re a more generous person than I am.
Entering into the realm of informed speculation, we know that Vince McMahon and/or his inner circle give direction and even lines to the announce teams on Raw and SmackDown. Presumably, Graves wouldn’t go into business for himself running down a contracted talent. So working on the assumption this take came from someone sitting in gorilla or the production truck... why?
Could be this was an attempt to give Raw a “real sports” feel, and Brooke was a character they felt they could sacrifice for that cause. Alternatively, this could a motivational technique designed to light a fire under Dana.
It’s not an entirely inaccurate assessment. Brooke hasn’t accomplished much in WWE, but she’s also just a character in someone else’s work of fiction. She can’t accomplish anything unless scripted to. As to whether she’s lived up to her potential? As a fan, she’s never been my favorite - but I’ve also seen WWE push people I enjoy even less, so... I don’t know.
No matter, it was weird to hear commentary essentially tear someone down and insinuate they should be released.
What do you think?