Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/07/23/rar-7-22-19-raw-reunion/
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John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw featuring the Raw Reunion and the return of Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, DX, Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and countless others.
Monday’s show featured the returns of tons of stars from the past, a show-closing Toast to Raw hosted by Steve Austin, Bray Wyatt attacked Mick Foley, the emergence of The OC, Seth Rollins Kliqs with his new buddies, multiple 24/7 title changes, minimal attention dedicated to SummerSlam, and lots more.
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NEWS OF THE DAY
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So John and Wai were talking about who you bring back from the early 2000s time period, and they are right about lower mid card guys but part of the issue is most of the top guys from that time period are still wrestling in the company, were recently, or have made comebacks recently, or sadly have passed away.
I mean going back to say ‘03-2010 your WWE champions were
Brock -Current Universal champ
Kurt Angle -Was wrestling recently
JBL- regularly on commentary for PPV shows
Cena- until very recently was showing up with some regularity.
Eddie - passed
Edge- he would be a decent return but has been back a few times
RVD- currently in impact
Orton- possibly in a current WWE title feud
HHH - wrestled last month, on TV fairly often
Jeff Hardy - on current roster
Batista- has returned a few times including recently.
Sheamus- still on the roster
Miz- still on roster
Add the World title and you pick up
Undertaker- big name but returns fairly often
Goldberg- just returned
Mysterio- on current roster
Booker T- regularly on commentary
Kali- not a big star
CM Punk - likely never returning to WWE
Jericho- in AEW
Jack Swagger- not really a big star
I feel like with a Few exceptions (Hogan for example) a lot of the big name legends had much shorter runs on the roster, and those runs were special. Now we have been seeing the same guys continuously for 15 years, they don’t really do a great job of putting over newer stars. So maybe 10 years from now we will really want to see these guys in the “legend role.” But we are most of them regularly now, so I don’t anticipate seeing them, it isn’t a big deal. And those are your top guys.
As to the lower mid card, I think the move away from crazy gimmicks is what is responsible for that. The Godfather is a character, the Boogie man is a character. Paul London is just a guy.
Wai singing caught me way off guard
So I have a buddy I reference frequently as he is my eyes as a casual viewer. Watches Raw/SD and Specials (won’t watch nxt or anything else). He’s somebody who knows the nostalgia acts on last nights show. Those are who pops him.
But he didn’t write me last night per usual to discuss anything. And I hit him up today and the answer:
“I get they brought back names and it was to help the ratings but even for me it did absolutely nothing. Not one storyline advanced. And we went to brooklyn and had all those people back and that was a year ago. And this is a lot of who was at Mania. Do they plan to do this every year?”
And this screams to me that even the nostalgia acts aren’t hitting with the fan they are intended.
And if other promotions will use older names in new and more appropriate ways, not great for WWE and their concept of these reunion shows.
I think the reunion is too many nostalgia acts at once, and many of them cannot actually wrestle. Like when the Rock came back years ago to fight Cena, it was a huge pop for a star from the past returning to the ring. Or when guys jump into the rumble it gets a reaction. Seeing a couple of old guys hobble to the ring doesn’t do anything. Having what 30 of those guys on one show is too much and it lacks purpose. It works better as just a few guys peppered into the show, or things like the recent Taker return with Roman (even though he was just on the Saudi show). If they had Austin come out and Stun Shane in a segment where he was say beating down on Owens, then have him corner Owens at summer slam or something, it would get a huge nostalgia pop. What we got was “Hey look here are all your old favorites, as Sami pointed out, on Face app.”
I agree with John and Wai. It was cramming lots of faces into the show randomly. D Von helping The Revival for what reason ??? Rob Van Dam, Sergent Slaughter… WTF ?
Most of it didn’t make any sense.
John brought up the great point of the age of the legends that they are using. That college students watching today weren’t even alive in the Attitude Era and during WCW.
I remember starting to watch wrestling during that as a teenager time and I enjoyed WWF because it felt more current. Whereas WCW was filled with "has-beens’ and “WWF cast offs” like Hogan, Randy Savage, Nash, Bret Hart, etc.
I can’t imagine what a teenager watching today thinks. Maybe they enjoy the legends and history to it? If they are a young WWE fan maybe they have watched a bunch of the documentaries on the Network and are familiar with these old guys and know the relationships as well as old-school fans.
I think it’s more about nostalgia being the “in” thing in pop culture. Hollywood is cashing in on nostalgia with all their movie remakes. I’m 29, and the remake of The Lion King has had a huge buzz with my friends around my age.
One of the most popular shows on Netflix (Stranger Things) takes place in the '80s and evokes a lot of '80s nostalgia. WWE seems to be just trying to follow the nostalgia trend that Hollywood is cashing in on right now.
Speaking as somebody of that age, you kind of nailed it. There are so many documentaries and video games out there that familiarize you with who these people are and the moments that they are remembered for, that it’s still cool to see them. A comparison would be like when Michael Jordan shows up around allstar weekend. I was born after his run with the Bulls had ended, but he still feels like a superstar when he shows up, and Stone Cold Steve Austin for example is kind of similar.
That being said, you can only trot out the same faces so many times before it loses its specialness.
Why cant they use that nostalgia to help build their stars of the future though? I’m 33, I still like seeing some of these guys. What I don’t like seeing, is them constantly making the current stars, look like nobodies.
Why cant they build a story throughout the show…we cut to the back and Rikishi is laid out in the parking lot and no one knows what the fuck happened. Later in the night Hall & Nash are supposed to be interviewed in the back, but they find them laid out around the corner. A little later Hulk Hogan is supposed to come out for some kind of speech, but we cut to the back and Jimmy Hart is calling the EMT’s to tend to a bloody Hogan.
At this point some of the legends are freaking out, thinking they could be next and you’ve got Vince trying to keep them from leaving the show. Finally at the end, you have a big segment with Austin and someone comes from the crowd and its Samoa Joe, who chokes out Austin and cuts a scathing promo on the legends trying to steal his spot. This could lead to Reigns standing up for the legends.
I dont know, this is all off the top of my head in 5 minutes, but you can switch the players involved and do some different variations, but just fucking build someone. That is why I loved the Wyatt/Foley segment. It was perfect for this show.
I actually liked the show overall, but probably the most embarrassing part is just how little reaction some of the legends got.
The whole DX thing came off so flat. I don’t think I’ve ever seen HHH just look like a guy as much as he did last night.
The only legend who got much of a reaction was Austin, everyone else was people we’ve seen fairly regularly over the past few years. The well is dry for all these returns.
I would have had all the divas doing some silly dancing in the ring with Becky Lynch and then Becky becomes badass again and kills them one after the other, a bit like No Way Jose/Austin Aries (a great NXT segment)
Which legends got bad reactions?
DX, Rikishi, Foley, Hogan - basically anyone other than Austin.
Like when Road Dogg was doing his speech no one cared.
DX and Rikishi felt fine to me.
Foley is overplayed. He was just out for the 24:7 title intro. He’s worn out his return welcome by being a whore to money.
Hogan probably more muted because of the racist stuff
It is mostly that there were too many of them and many people were not clamoring for. No one was dying to see Candace Michelle.
To be honest I couldn’t remember her name for the life of me.
Yup. Jillian hall was just in the background too. Too many questionable legends
Too many in general IMO, I would rather they not have more than 2 or 3 legends one show (more of the legends are a group, the pops are probably also better when they are unexpected, but that doesn’t help ratings as much unless you are doing it regularly, and people tune in to see who is going to show up this week.
No he wasn’t.
What was up with Madusa Blayze? She looked like a Barbie doll that got melted.