Reviews: WWE Raw
Raw 25: 2/5
You know... at this point, I really do think my complete and utter inability to quit wrestling wholesale has to be categorized as masochism. It may not extend past catching up on news, noteworthy clips, or the odd Big Four PPV depending on card... but the fire cannot be extinguished fully. It is my curse. Well, one of them, anyway. ...But even so, I have not been in any of my lives been as soundly disheartened by the state of WWE, as I was when I decided to give the 25th anniversary of Raw a chance for old time's sake. Welp, my hat is well and truly off to the gormless manatees that run the place, because even the most ridiculously overblown piece of satire or hyperbole could not hope to match the level of incompetence shown in earnest. Old faces were, by and large, given blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos; shallow nostalgia pandering at its worst. Matches were rushed afterthoughts that accomplished little for anyone involved apart from a payday... and that's just counting the ones lucky enough not to have their future jeopardized by old men wanting to look cool just one more time before inevitable prostatic hyperplasia makes that impossible. The Bellas were trotted out as women's "legends" on par with trailblazers like Lita, Molly Holly, or Victoria. Their blatant recentist revisionism and lack of respect for anything that predates the advent of social media exploitation mutes any and all attempts at establishing any meaningful connection to their own past. This goes far beyond Mr. McMahon's own inability to truly value anything for reasons other than financial pragmatism; it's become a problem endemic to their entire business ethos. The nadir of their ineptitude is the blow that struck the hardest; seeing Undertaker come out to a mid-tier con card response, and deliver a singularly incomprehensible rambling promo about... no one knows. Even if they hadn't literally fallen asleep at intermittent moments, King and JR were none the wiser. Taker looked haggard and tired, his voice showing insecurity normally associated with mid-2000s identity crisis Triple H. Basically, they made The Undertaker look like a trash bag nobody. There were a few moments such as another affirmation of just how much of a indispensable MVP The Miz has become, Elias looking like a big deal (anyone who ganks Cena with a guitar made of what I presume to be pure kryptonite is okay in my book!), and basically every picosecond of Asuka's screentime, but on the whole it just reaffirms that the key to WWE's future certainly doesn't lie in the way it treats its past. The way things are going, a 50th anniversary seems an unlikely prospect.