Raw has a major problem.
Now I know that sounds like the beginnings of a rant against the Monday night brand, but I promise you it’s not.
In fact, I thought last night’s show was fairly decent. We were served up a few good matches, some generally ok segments and an intriguing exchange between Drew McIntyre and Dean Ambrose that may bear fruit down the road.
— WWE (@WWE) September 25, 2018
But therein lies the problem.
As things stand, Ziggler and McIntyre are the tag team champs, Rollins holds the Intercontinental gold and Roman Reigns is lugging the Universal Championship around like a sack of old potatoes. With the Shield involved in a prolonged rivalry with the Dogs of War (are we really calling them that?), it means – for the foreseeable future at least – that three of the brand’s main titles are wrapped up in a single feud.
Allowing such a concentration of power to get trapped in one rivalry can only render most of what happens during the rest of the show fairly hollow.
To illustrate: what were Finn Bálor and Jinder Mahal fighting for last night? What did Konnor gain by defeating Chad Gable? What was on the line when the Riott Squad took on the Bellas and Natalya (apart from Liv Morgan’s wellbeing of course, and boy do I have something to say about that later).
Traditionally, matches should revolve around a title, a future shot at a title or a personal grudge. With all of the major men’s championships locked up in one feud, however, that seriously handcuffs what Raw is able to do with its weekly three-hour allotment. How do you book matches with no stakes, no build and nothing on the line?
Despite that, there are no shortage of talking points coming out of last night’s episode. And that’s the purpose behind the WrestleTalk Roundtable. We look at Raw and have a chat about what we liked and what we didn’t. Then we give you our overall impressions of the show and invite you to share your thoughts with us. It’s a foolproof recipe… which is for the best when I’m in charge.
So let’s kick things off with the good.