A week or two ago, PWInsider reported that there’s backstage talk in WWE of moving Michael Cole to a more behind-the-scenes role. It’s probably a good idea. At WWE’s current rate of announcer acquisition, we’ll have 19 man booths by the end of the year. Which doesn’t just clutter the onscreen product. It’s also a severe health and safety hazard.This is JBL tripping over. Let’s never forget JBL tripping over.
With Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson being brought in alongside Tom Phillips for NXT, who himself is on Smackdown’s four man commentary team with David Otunga, JBL and Mauro Ranallo, who does play-by-play on 205 Live with Austin Aries and Corey Graves, who announces Raw with Cole and Byron Saxton – and former Ring of Honor and New Japan colour commentator Steve Corino recently joining the company – Cole himself fuelled the line-up speculation tweeting:
“The future of #raw?! @WWEGraves @AustinAries @TomPhillipsWWE @McGuinnessNigel Is @ByronSaxton finally out?!” With a picture of them all together, with Saxton jobbed out at the back.That, or he fell asleep watching a Stephanie McMahon promo.
According to ShowBuzzDaily, Monday night’s post-Royal Rumble episode of Raw received 3.615 million viewers. That is way up from last week’s 3.292 million, and it was the highest rated show since the post-Wrestlemania Raw in April last year.
Which sounds really good! Raw is on the up and up! Let’s make the show four hours long, with 20 people on commentary!
…actually, the trends of time are usually imperceptible in the week-to-week breakdowns, like trying to watch a minute hand move on a clock. You trick yourself into thinking there’s no movement at all.
Last year’s post-Rumble Raw averaged just over 4 million viewers. The year before that, in 2015 – a show that was actually just interviews and Rumble replays because the live event was cancelled for weather conditions – was 4.42 million. Five years ago in 2012, when Raw was only two hours long, the post-Rumble show averaged 5.21 million.
When Paul Heyman was asked about the three hour length of Raw on the WWE Network’s Bring It To The Table, he rather brashly replied, ‘well if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.’
If you step back and look at the numbers, whatever the reason behind them, over 1 and a half million people (30%) have.
Luckily, I know the answer to turn the company’s fortunes around……turn Sasha Banks heel!
As has been reported in the past, the long term plan has always been for Sasha to turn heel, as that’s what her character is much better suited for. When Bayley advised Sasha not to fight Nia Jax with an injured knee on this week’s Raw, Banks responded that “unlike some people, I am not OK with coming up short.”
Let me just translate that from bitch speak into real talk. She actually means, “Bayley you’re a f***ing loser.”
Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that a Banks heel turn is coming “fairly soon” off the back of this angle. It’ll be a great way to get Sasha over properly – her positioning as Raw’s top babyface never felt natural – and to give Bayley a wronged-best friend underdog storyline.
Also on Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer gave an update on The Undertaker’s condition at the Royal Rumble:
“He was hurting real bad last night. You can look at him and see that he wasn’t in shape. It’s the hip….He came back too quick from surgery, I think that’s pretty clear…When he was backstage he was hurting a lot.”
Taker underwent hip surgery last September as a temporary fix, and was clearly not moving around as well as usual in the Royal Rumble match. He was quickly eliminated by Roman Reigns after just five and a half minutes, which seems to set up a match between the two at Wrestlemania 33.
There are rumours going around that this year’s Mania will be Taker’s last – like what people say every year – so with Taker being an old school guy, maybe he’d want to go out putting over Roman Reigns, turning The Guy heel in the process!
Yeah! …no, probably not.
How would you book Undertaker vs Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania? Tell me your plans in the comments below, and then get #MakeRaw2Hours trending on Twitter. Make sure to copy in @USA_Network with each tweet.