Last night, WWE officially kicked off their new brand extension era on Monday Night RAW, and it was a very busy show.
Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley kicked off the show by announcing that since Dean Ambrose successfully defended the WWE title at Battleground and took it to his new home on SmackDown Live, a new championship, the WWE Universal Championship, would be up for grabs at SummerSlam. Seth Rollins, the No. 1 overall pick in last week’s WWE Draft, already has a spot in that match and his opponent would be determined via a set of fatal four-way matches with the winners meeting at the end of the night.
The first four-way would be Rusev vs Kevin Owens vs Cesaro vs Finn Balor, who was making his main roster debut. In the end, Finn Balor would get the pin after hitting a dropkick and the coup de grâce on Rusev. Roman Reigns, whom Stephanie had called a “loser” at the beginning of the show, ended up winning the second four-way match as he defeated Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, and Sheamus. In the main event of the evening, Balor would get the win over Reigns and will go on to face Rollins at SummerSlam.
“After tonight’s RAW aired, I came to the sad conclusion that the professional wrestling business as we knew it is dead. Gone forever are the days of unique characters, compelling story lines and fights that actually looked real, and here to stay are the days of a middle-weight (at best) beating not one, but two heavyweights in the same night, in matches that told no stories and looked more like Swan Lake than fights.
“When Finn Balor was booked to defeat the likes of Rusev and Roman Reigns in the same night — on his first night — this was the nail in the coffin for me. I never believed that I would ever see a powerhouse like the WWE cater to the smallest audience, with the loudest voice — the IWC.”
Russo also went on to bash the segment involving The New Day, says that WWE might as well put Curtis Axel on the ring crew and the squash matches that Nia Jax and Braun Strowman had definitely won’t work when Monday Night Football rolls around to compete with RAW. He did compliment the WWE Women’s Championship match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte, saying that they stole the show and commended the real emotion at the end of the match. However, while Russo says that he is a fan of Sasha, he would have kept the title on Charlotte as an unbeatable heel, saying that the IWC wins again with WWE putting the title on “The Boss.”
“In a night that was written to shame and embarrass Roman Reigns for failing a drug test, Stephanie kicked off the festivities by calling him a ‘loser’ at the top of the show, claiming that he cost RAW the WWE Championship the night before. So what does Stephanie do to the said ‘loser’? Why, she books him in a fatal four-way match, in turn giving the said ‘loser’ yet another opportunity to gain a shot at the WWE Title. Makes sense, right?
“The best part of Finn Balor is his ‘Special’ entrance that comes only at the ‘Big Shows.’ I guess his DEBUT on RAW wasn’t a ‘Big Enough Show’ and didn’t warrant his ‘Special’ entrance, so he came out looking like just a regular guy to the casual fans that had never seen him before.”
Again, while a majority of those on social media loved the final match between Reigns and Balor, Russo wasn’t a fan.
“Balor beat Reigns in an unbelievable match that would have never happened if the fight were a shoot. Reigns would be flossing his teeth with Balor. But, we had to cater to the IWC, while making Reigns pay his penance.
“Rollins vs. Balor at SummerSlam—OH, BOY!!!”
If all of those comments weren’t enough to get the IWC going, Vince Russo is continuing his tirade on his Twitter account today.
Congrats 2 Binn Falor, based on his success from last night he’s just been named the NEW SPOKESMAN for Lucky Charms! pic.twitter.com/9BoFtj2MrP
— Vince Russo (@THEVinceRusso) July 26, 2016
Thank God I’m being unfollowed by NXT marks. It’s like picking weeds after a rain storm.
— Vince Russo (@THEVinceRusso) July 26, 2016
Now, on one hand, wrestling fans have to remember that Vince Russo was a very important part of the Monday night wars…on both sides. Once WCW started to gain momentum following the formation of the nWo, it was Russo that helped get the then-WWF back in the game with some great ideas and storylines, essentially bringing in the Attitude Era with edgier content. On the other hand, “Brawl For All” was his idea and it was also on his watch after jumping to WCW that David Arquette won the World Heavyweight Championship. And let’s not forget that Russo himself once held that prestigious title and holds victories over Hall of Famers Ric Flair and Booker T.
So while Vince Russo certainly was a genius at times, his judgment could also be questionable at times as well. So which side are you on? Is Russo on point in his criticism of Monday Night RAW? Or were you part of the WWE Universe that loved the way the show was done? Feel free to sound off in the comments section.
[Image via YouTube]