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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Raw is midcard/Raw is stagnant

Really looking back on Monday's Raw, you noticed a few key components were absent. Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, Bad News Barrett, Rusev, and Bray Wyatt (sans the one-minute pre-tape, which for all I know was repurposed old footage) did not appear in the arena. That's a pretty good chunk of upper-midcarders that have been balancing the shows for the past year. You can even add The Usos, Jack Swagger, and Cesaro and Kidd (aside from their seven seconds of watching a TV backstage) to the absentee list. That's 11 wrestlers you could count on appearing at any time in the past year provided they were healthy (a dozen if you wanna count directionless Erick Rowan).

On the one hand, plenty of time was allotted to the newbies. Neville and The Lucha Dragons marched forth with the latest NXT invasion, while Stardust was given ample time with John Cena to show off his moveset (as Ambrose did last week). The NXT matches were a taste of something different, Neville's half-epic with Rollins and the Dragons bringing something different against New Day (whose veering toward heelism has potential to be fun).

On the other, the absence of the above names meant that WWE felt it was appropriate to have Orton, Ryback, and Reigns all work in duplicate, with wear down matches (for themselves or the crowd?) prior to the number one contender's triple threat. That reveals a dangerous line of thought for booking and creative, as it not only sheds light on their lack of faith to throw, say, Ascension vs. K-Swiss or something else largely throwaway out there, but the company clearly feels there's only so many active performers that can maintain a rating. The top six absences would have certainly added a lengthy match to the show - Barrett could team with Sheamus to give us the tag match with Bryan and Ziggler that was promised two straight Smackdowns, and bait-and-switched both times. That would have eaten up 15 minutes and prevented the three top contenders from pulling double duty.

Just a little look at where the company's mind and faith are each at. It's two sided: chances for new guys, yes, but panic booking that overkills the main eventers.

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