Last night’s RAW, and let’s not waste well-crafted insights on it, sucked ass.
In the opening match, Bobby Lashley squared off against Finn Bálor. This opening match was actually scheduled, which represents progress, but the action itself hardly moved the brand forward. This was—of course it f*cking was—a rematch from last week. As Corey Graves had it, Bálor last week “would steal a big-time victory to build momentum over Lashley”. The word “steal” is key here; a legitimate wrestling hold, in WWE, the likes of which Bret Hart once used to forge his legacy as one of the all-time greats, is now portrayed as a “fluky” pretext/excuse to book a rematch.
Do you know what happens? Huh? Do you know what happens, in WWE, when you build momentum? Huh? You just get 50/50 booked!
And so, inevitably, Bálor and Lashley clashed once again. That 50/50 bit wasn’t entirely accurate. Bálor actually won again, which seemed a strange way to push WWE’s new monster heel prospect seven months after he returned as a face, but no matter: Lashley won via disqualification, after Lio Rush interfered. This was just pretext for another match.
The booking is abysmal, but that’s almost understandable. RAW is a weekly, three hour-long show. By mathematical rule, it must be repetitive. WWE doesn’t necessarily have to booked the same old sh*t, but it’s difficult not to book the same sh*t. In any event, were those matches any good, the booking could be excused by the wrestling fans who enjoy good wrestling. There are a slew of New Japan Pro Wrestling acts with comparable win/loss records, though Gedo is better at obscuring that, and spacing out the rematches.
Bobby Lashley Vs. Finn Bálor was not particularly good wrestling. That’s a subjective opinion, but one supported by the heat, the ratings and online consensus.
Lashley dominated the match immediately. No opening shine. People like or liked Finn Bálor, but that doesn’t draw heat. After manhandling him in the corner, Lashley dropped Bálor with a basic side slam. Having subdued his smaller opponent, Lashley applied a nerve hold. A rest hold would also do here—basically, anything that A) wastes sweet, sweet time as the advert money piles up and B) encourages the fans to get behind some unfortunate b*stard WWE is never gonna push, anyway, making all of this boring and pointless.