Jumped The Shark

Nick Paglino

WWE RawI used to think wrestling could never go under.

Now, I’m not so sure.

Monday’s WWE Raw was a PPV “go-home” show, the last before Sunday’s Survivor Series. “Go-home” shows usually have extra juice by way of trying to, you know, SELL THE PRODUCT.

No such luck. Monday’s Raw was PUTRID, shocking in its abject lack of quality and interesting moments. If that’s the best WWE can do with cash on the table, fake wrestling is a lot closer to the end than the beginning. ABSOLUTELY MONOTONOUS DRIVEL.

Fake wrestling websites don’t see it that way, because if you’re under a certain age, all you’ve seen is some variation on absolutely monotonous drivel. Fake wrestling websites also try to stay positive. Without fake wrestling, what’s there to cover? (Hint: REAL FIGHTING. Meltzer figured that out YEARS AGO.)

Anyway, take my word for it: Raw was EXCREMENT. By way of debate, I throw down the gauntlet: What did you like about it? Seriously, what was there to like about that steaming pile of dung?

How about the scandalous tryst between…two single people? Or the heart attack skit…that can’t lead to a match? Perhaps you liked the bare minimum of action. Or the Disco Inferno knockoff. Or the bad comedy. Or Brad Maddox’s abs. Or yet another Punk-Cena match. (At least that was decent, if just one in a series.)

Wrestling 101 is ignored. Logic sacrificed at the altar of…well, nothing that draws money, that’s for sure.

The top heel was taunting and bullying the elderly announcer that just had a heart attack. WHERE’S THE TOP BABYFACE? We know he’s in the building. He has a PPV match against the top heel in six days. Wouldn’t defending Lawler advance that match? OF COURSE IT WOULD. Roddy Piper turned ‘face when Don Muraco bullied Gordon Solie. Worked like a charm.

In any promotion throughout history, the top babyface comes out. Hulk Hogan would have. WHERE WAS CENA?

Cena did come out to defend the honor of his girlfriend who’s not his girlfriend. Cena + A.J. = BAD MOVE. Cena is every female fan’s fantasy boyfriend. Matching him with a super hot chick makes him all the more unattainable. Why is the top ‘face in a romantic storyline, anyway? HE SHOULD BE KICKING ASS.

Raw just has a sense that we’re waiting around for something. And we are. We’re waiting for The Rock, Undertaker, Triple H and Brock Lesnar to return. THE REAL STARS. Every time they come – and go – those left behind are diminished that much more. Some – like Punk and Cena – are bulletproof. Others – like Orton, Miz, Del Rio and Ziggler – are not. They’re fading. They’re just part of the holding pattern. That hasn’t yet happened to Sheamus and Ryback. But it will. Give it time.

Orton was big-time. No more. Could have something to do with mimicking a snake. CREEPY. Miz, Del Rio and Ziggler got pushed to a certain point, were decelerated, and can’t regain lost momentum. Some can spend years in the mid-card, then take the next step up. Most get permanently defined as mid-carders. PAYING YOUR DUES is an outdated concept that does nothing but ruin careers. You’re either a big-timer, or not.

Performers on top want younger performers to pay their dues. That’s how they stay on top. Sabotage disguised as mentoring.

Sooner or later, the REAL STARS won’t ever come back. Time marches on. Cena’s 35. Then what?

Anyway, Raw sucks. Three hours is a problem, but not THE problem. Creative couldn’t put together a good one-hour show. The elimination of Vince McMahon’s iron fist via death or retirement wouldn’t help, because Chyna Jr. would take the reins, and she doesn’t know what she’s doing, either. The only two guys that could successfully retool WWE are the two guys WWE pointedly won’t listen to, namely Jim Ross and Paul Heyman.

I was co-host of Nitro during the show’s worst period. I look back at those Nitros and know they were better than Monday’s Raw. Than most episodes of Raw. Nothing done on Raw truly engages the viewer. It’s all fast-food wrestling. Sadly disposable.

Sometimes I wonder how much longer I want to write about wrestling. I love the business. Its current state is DEPRESSING.

And then, an epiphany: AS LONG AS THEY KEEP PAYING ME.

I’m often asked if I could do better creatively. Of course I could. You could, too. That’s how bad this product is. I could write shows better than Monday’s Raw during my radio show’s commercial breaks. It’s depressing to think AN ENTIRE WRITING STAFF with Raw as its WEEKLY FOCAL POINT can’t do better.

BTW, I wrote THIS COLUMN during my radio show’s commercial breaks. Not to brag…

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, PA(105.9) . Check out his web page at WXDX.com. Contact Mark by emailing wzmarkmadden@hotmail. com. FOLLOW MARK ON TWITTER: @MarkMaddenX

Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report? Submit it now!