As many have pointed out, the Aug. 30 episode of Raw featured none of the three matches WWE announced for the show the week before.
The Miz vs. John Morrison bout was dropped from advertising by the time WWE started promoting the show on the day of. Morrison ended up losing clean to Omos one week after Miz turned on him.
Eva Marie vs. Doudrop was never going to be more than an angle, furthering Eva’s gimmick of trolling fans who hate her by squirming out of matches.
Sheamus vs. Bobby Lashley in a non-title match sounded like a stakes-free heel vs. heel time-filler even when it was announced, and Raw switched it up to a much better show-opening United States title Triple Threat, and show-closing Tag title match that sets up Randy Orton and/or Riddle as future challengers for Lashley’s WWE championship.
But even though what viewers got in place of the announced action ended up being an improvement, last night’s Raw was still an example of WWE making liberal use of the “card subject to change” disclaimer. A less generous read would be the company’s been employing bait-and-switch tactics by doing things like advertising Sasha Banks for SummerSlam right up until the match was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas. It’s led to some skepticism about other promoted attractions, like John Cena at the Sept. 10 Super SmackDown show in Madison Square Garden after he said goodbye for now to the WWE Universe & is said to be filming a movie in Europe, or even the Universal title match between Roman Reigns & Finn Bálor scheduled for Friday.
Reactions vary on whether this is a troubling trend, or just part of the game. As to what happened to the Aug. 30 Raw? It’s a familiar story.
Sources told PWInsider that Vince McMahon hated the original plans for last night’s show, and “ripped up the script” for both the initial draft and the first rewrite. McMahon then asked for new ideas, and rejected every one before laying out his own plans for the show. As of 6pm ET, there was no script or plan for the episode.
It was said to be one of the longest days the creative team’s had in quite some time, and one person told Insider it was “the loudest and angriest” they’d ever seen Vince before a show.
So circling back to “will we see more advertised matches not happen?” ... While the situations with Banks and Cena are probably a different matter, as far as the weekly live shows go?
The answer is almost certainly yes - unless they stop advertising matches until hours before showtime.