Recent episodes of Monday Night Raw have seen an increase in the number of squash matches — quick encounters where one wrestler defeats the other in about two minutes, give or take a few. While these matches became much less frequent around the time of the “Monday Night Wars” between WWE and World Championship Wrestling in the mid-1990s, a new report suggests there’s a good reason why they’ve been making a bit of a comeback on Raw as of late.
As quoted by WrestlingNews.co, Dave Meltzer explained on a recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio that WWE has been bringing back squash matches to Raw because the brand’s executive director, Paul Heyman, wants to see more wrestlers pick up wins. This is in contrast to having them alternate between winning and losing in what is commonly known as “50/50 booking.”
“So, they are doing a lot of these one and two-minute matches to get over finishing moves and get people wins,” Meltzer added.
With Heyman apparently implementing this booking strategy to help get more wrestlers over, certain Monday Night Raw superstars, including No Way Jose and Akira Tozawa, have been making more television appearances recently, albeit in jobber roles. On the women’s side, NXT star Deonna Purrazzo was booked to lose quickly to Asuka on this week’s episode of Raw, while former Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion Chelsea Green played a similar role against Charlotte Flair in a match that was pre-taped for the show’s upcoming December 23 episode.
“The idea is that they are not stars yet on NXT so it’s fine to beat them until they start getting pushed,” WrestlingNews.co wrote, explaining Purrazzo and Green’s cameo appearances on Raw.
In addition to the aforementioned wrestlers, Matt Hardy has also been used as enhancement talent in these matches, including one on the December 9 episode of Raw where he lost to Drew McIntyre, per Bleacher Report. The outlet, however, opined that this is also a sign WWE’s creative team has “nothing” for the grizzled veteran at this point in his career.
Although the endgame remains unclear for the wrestlers who have emerged on the winning end of the ongoing series of squash matches, WrestlingNews.co cited its own sources, noting that WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon has reportedly been impressed with Erick Rowan’s winning streak against various non-contracted jobbers and lower-card Raw superstars. According to the publication, the segments which focus on the mysterious cage Rowan brings with him to the ring have produced “pretty good” ratings so far.