The Daily Jobber

Your finest source of breaking news & analysis from the world of pro wrestling & sports entertainment.

Worst… Raw… ever?

The Monday Night Raw which aired 24 hours after Survivor Series, which is already being hailed as the worst pay-per-view offering of the year, received its lowest ratings since WWF was on the losing end of the Monday Night Wars.

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Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer reports that with 3.19 million viewers during its first hour, 2.99 million in its second, and 2.71 million in its final hour, November 24th was the first time Raw has averaged less than 3 million viewers since 1997.

Why was the show’s audience showing so dismal?

Meltzer sights Monday Night Football offering of the New England Patriots vs the Buffalo Bills as one factor.

Professional sports will always provide competition for wrestling, especially football. It’s no surprise that WWE’s numbers habitually go down during the winter months, as the race for the Superbowl – still American sport’s biggest cash cow – amps up.

One might even blame the lower ratings on global issues. Syrian refugees, Russian plane bombings, mass killing in France. Rumours were even a-buzz last week around Isis threatening Survivor Series.

Injuries are piling up, eliminating many reliable members of the roster:

  • Randy Orton, shoulder surgery
  • Cesaro, shoulder surgery
  • Seth Rollins, torn ACL/MCL
  • Nikki Bella, neck rehabilitation

Aside from those on the shelf,Raw seems to be missing some of its biggest, sure-fire draws all at once.

In the past, whenever things got rough, WWE would give the ball to John Cena. Unfortunately, he’s taking time off to host a new reality TV series.

Brock Lesnar was last seen at Hell In A Cell, and has not been heard from since.

Sting has not made an appearance since losing to Seth Rollins at Night of Champions.

Even Undertaker and Kane, who have been featured quite prominently in the past months and were a focal point of Sunday night’s pay-per-view event, were absent from Monday’s show.

Leaving aside global terrorism, unfortunate injuries, widespread absenteeism, the holiday season and professional football, many agree that November 24th’s Raw simply wasn’t up to par.

 

JOBBER RAW BREAKDOWN


Opening Segment

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What happened:
Triple H and Stephanie talked about Roman Reigns, then introduced new WWE World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. Sheamus thanked them, then talked about Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns came down and stood up to Triple H, demanding a rematch. Rusev attacked Reigns from behind, Sheamus followed with a Brogue Kick. The heels retreated. H granted Reigns his rematch at TLC.

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What didn’t work:
Sheamus is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, the new face of the company, yet the heels spent the entire segment making Roman Reigns the focus.

Dudley Boyz vs Wyatts

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What happened:
Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper won after a distraction from Erik Rowan and a discus clothesline. The Family beat down the Dudleys after the match.

What didn’t work:
The Dudleys are still over, yet they have been booked so poorly since their return. They are becoming a gimmick-based, baby-faced jobber team reminiscent of the Bushwhackers.

The Wyatt Family were given their most credible, substantial, potentially career-defining push in their feud with the Brothers of Destruction, and once again came up as losers. The next night, they find themselves jerking the curtain with the Dudleys.

 

Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch

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What happened:
Banks escaped submission with the help of Team B.A.D., rolled up Lynch for the victory.

What didn’t work:
This was actually a solid match, and actually worked to build a program between Lynch and Team B.A.D., as well as solidified Banks as the key player.

The only downside to this segment was that it was too short.

The New Day’s Country Music Jamboree / Open Challenge

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What happened:
New Day bad-mouthed country music to draw heat from Nashville crowd. Their open challenge was accepted by the Lucha Dragons, then by the Usos, but New Day cancelled the challenge and retreated after a brief shmoz.

What didn’t work:
Kofi, Big E and Xavier are normally very entertaining, but their rant on country music was unoriginal and went on far too long.

Although it was nice to hear Sin Cara, Kalisto and the Usos talking for once, they didn’t have too much to say.

Setting up and open challenge for the Tag Team Championships, then teasing a potential match, then teasing a potential triple-threat match, only to end the segment with no pay-off is bad television and its no secret many viewers tuned out at this point.

Mark Henry vs Neville

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What happened:
Michael Cole got over that Mark Henry expressed great respect for Neville’s ability. He showed hesitation during the match. Neville landed a hard kick and the Red Arrow and gained a three-count. The two shook hands after the match.

What didn’t work:
The Mark Henry/Neville story-line is a great idea, but this felt under-developed. The angle of Henry expressing respect for Neville would be more effective if the audience saw it earned, perhaps after a series of matches in which Neville proves himself to the bulky veteran.

These two seemed to be only beginning a program together, but this match had the feeling of a blow-off. A very short, quick, sloppy blow-off.

Prime Time Players & Goldust vs The Ascension & Stardust

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What happened:
Titus O’Neil pinned Viktor after hitting the Clash of the Titus.

What didn’t work:
The Ascension have yet to make any kind of impact as a legitimate tag team since their promotion to the main roster. When they formed an alliance with Stardust, it seemed as though they would gain some credibility. They have not.

Goldust made his return to action at Survivor Series, and it is highly likely that he will re-enter a program with Cody “Stardust” Rhodes. However, this six-man tag match did nothing to advance that feud.

This felt like a nice, PG crowd-pleaser that belongs around Christmas time.

Zeb Coulter & Alberto Del Rio’s MexAmerican Address

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What happened:
Coulter bad-mouthed the American fans and declared the borders to MexAmerica are closed forever. Jack Swagger confronted Coulter and Del Rio. The heels slowly retreated.

What didn’t work:
MexAmerica is not over. It doesn’t seem to be getting over any time soon. When a segment is saved by Jack Swagger, you know you are drowning.

Diva’s Championship Match:
Paige vs Charlotte (c)

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What happened:
A long, intensely physical match ended in a double count-out. After the bell, Paige snapped and attacked Charlotte, putting her in the PTO submission on top of the announce table.

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What didn’t work:
Nothing. This was the match of the night. The in-ring action was top notch, both wrestlers told a compelling story and really sold it well. There was adequate build-up earlier in the show. The ending kept the feud hot and brought Paige’s heel persona to a new level of brutality. Awesome.

Heath Slater’s Segment

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What happened:
Heath Slater bashed country music, and told the crowd he was going to perform rock music for them. Ryback interrupted and squashed him.

What didn’t work:
New Day already bashed on country music earlier in the night, and it was uninspired. Having Slater beat a horse that never alive to begin with is just lazy writing.

Ryback was the only one to benefit from this segment. It was filler, pure and simple.

Dean Ambrose & Dolph Ziggler vs Kevin Owens & Tyler Breeze

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What happened:
Ambrose pinned Breeze after hitting the Dirty Deeds DDT.

What didn’t work:
Great action in this match, which is no surprised considering the talent involved.

Owens was in top vocal form as usual, coming out with the line of the night:

“Torn up shirts is my thing, Dolph!”

In fact, it seemed like in a show lacking high points, WWE put most of its best and brightest in a single match, instead of spreading them around.

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Breeze gets a huge shot in the arm here, being thrown into the mix with main event talent after getting his first pay-per-view win. That win, however, was barely mentioned. In fact, the only mention of it was immediately shot down by JBL.

Dean Ambrose was came off as one going through another day at the office, instead of having competed in the main event match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship less than 24 hours earlier.

The Tex-Mex Burger Commercial

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What happened:
I’d rather not remember.

What didn’t work:
We needn’t get into it.

The Main Event:
Roman Reigns vs Rusev

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What happened:
Sheamus was ejected from ringside for suspicion of interfering. King Barrett attacked Reigns, forcing a no contest. Reigns beat down Barrett and Rusev with a steel chair as Sheamus retreated.

What didn’t work:
The match itself worked. With a need for top tier heels, Rusev is back from a torn bicep and is rightfully being built up as a big-time bruiser. Reigns is getting ever more comfortable in the main event spot and getting better at delivering main event matches.

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The involvement of King Barrett, likewise, is great for the Englishman, who is in need of a boost after drifting in the mid-card for years.

The way the show ended, much like the way it opened, was another example of WWE forcing Roman Reigns down the throats of audiences.

Having the man standing tall at the show’s closing, after decisively fending off a three-on-one attack, is not the way to build sympathy for him.

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Sheamus seems to have lost all of the bully and bravado he had months ago, and has been reduced to a cowardly opportunist. The man who loves to fight is now a man who hides behind his cronies. He has the opportunity to be a formidable, dominant heel figure at the helm of WWE, but he’s coming off as nothing more than a place-holder.

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