We thought we had moved on. That it was once again safe to check social media. Monday had past, and the memories of what had been an objectively horrendous Raw were quickly fading. And then…
Can’t wait for Lacy vs Charlotte rematch. #raw
— Miro (@RusevBUL) June 4, 2019
Never change, Rusev. Never change.
Setting aside what we did get from the red brand Monday night though, the story of WWE has very much instead been about what we haven’t seen. Raw in particular has made numerous pledges to the fans that it either didn’t deliver, or never intended to deliver in the first place.
This bad habit started immediately after WrestleMania, where the entire post-Mania show centred around a title unification match between Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston. The whole night was spent hyping up that clash, with the promise that one of the men involved would be leaving as both the WWE and Universal Champion.
Of course, we know that never happened. The Bar got involved and the main event was converted into a disappointing tag match. The simple truth is that WWE never intended to give us the heavily teased one-on-one bout. Like any good snake oil salesman, they were trying to sell us a miracle product designed to cure all ailments… and then we found out that in reality it was just a jar of Usey-Hot.
But the misleading marketing didn’t stop there. Recent weeks have held the promise of McMahon family sanctions, cross-promotion debuts and repeated assurances of Brock title cash-ins. None have come to pass, yet that hasn’t stopped WWE from claiming: “it will happen next week. Next week will be better.”
Normally I wouldn’t care about these sorts of carny tactics. Wrestling is all about sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors. Some of the biggest pleasures as a fan come when you expect one result, only to have the rug pulled out from under you. But it’s different when you’re advertising a match or event that you have no intention of following through on. That sort of deception is openly dishonest. You’re lying to your fanbase in an effort to manipulate them, to get them to tune into a product you know will not live up to expectations.
It’s not just a fraud, it’s a sign of desperation. One that makes WWE look like even bigger chumps every time they do it.
Fortunately, SmackDown appears to have been largely spared this type of misleading marketing. Last night’s show promised an appearance by Goldberg, Bayley being interviewed on A Moment of Bliss, and Lars Sullivan’s first words. And while not all of it was good, you know what? At least we got it. And that already puts the blue brand on steadier footing that its sister show.
Let’s get to the review.