“Rematches are dead, long live the rematches!”
I could virtually hear those words echo through WWE passages as the card for Stomping Grounds was being finalised. For, but six months since Shane McMahon triumphantly announced the end to automatic rematch clauses, we have an entire pay-per-view of rematches. Stomping Grounds? More like Retreaded Ground! (Not one of my best.)
But the essence of my criticism remains. Why are we resorting to a crutch that was wearing thin just last year, to excuse the lack of imagination in booking a host of tired rematches in 2019?
Consider the Stomping Grounds card for a moment. Both Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins are set to defend their titles against the same opponents they faced at Super ShowDown last week – matches that no one should be excited to sit through again. Roman Reigns will meet Drew McIntyre in a rematch of a Raw bout, which itself was a rematch of their lacklustre WrestleMania 35 encounter. Similarly Becky Lynch and Lacey Evans have faced off several times in recent weeks, with their last one-on-one encounter coming less than a month ago at Money in the Bank.
The closest thing we have to an original booking decision is Bayley vs Alexa Bliss. And even that suffers from the lingering bitterness of their Kendo Stick On A Pole match from Extreme Rules 2017. Not to mention the infamous “This Is Your Life” debacle of the month prior.
So Raw certainly had its hands full this week as it faced the monumental task of generating interest in a card distinctly lacking in ‘wow’ factor. Think about it: how do you make people care about the current state of Raw? Well, you put Baron Corbin in the main event, of course! I’m kidding. You have Samoa Joe appear as a guest on MizTV.
This is going to be a long show. Let’s get to the review.