The post-Extreme Rules Monday Night Raw was a dispiriting return to mundanity when the company needed it least.
It wasn't a show without talking points, but the company have reached a show-don't-tell point if they expect to generate excitement for one of their biggest events of the year. Since WrestleMania, the organisation has fundamentally failed its feature performers. Battles over titles have been contested with an undercurrent of comedy, former main-eventers have have been figuratively and literally left swimming in sh*t, whilst 'dream' matches dissolved to dust under the weight of a bloated schedule and terminal creative malaise.
Extreme Rules was in many ways the payoff to the slump. Ordinary to a fault when it was actually any good, the pay-per-view failed to inspire an audience with fingers burnt to stumps by the booking of the past few months. The likes of Asuka and Kevin Owens were destroyed so emphatically that it was too tough for fans to invest as required in Carmella and Braun Strowman respectively. Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns had a match that perhaps over-performed on expectations that were somewhere in Pittsburgh's sewer system before the bell. The response didn't justify both getting straight back in the Brock Lesnar hunt, but that's now the story set to anchor August.
Bayley and Sasha Banks couldn't make it on to the card, but their segment was the biggest talking point emerging from an important-yet-indifferent Raw. Are they fighters, or lovers? Brooklyn beckons...
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.