PWTORCH LIVECAST MONDAY – RAW POST-GAME SHOW
HOST: JAMES CALDWELL
DATE: SEPTEMBER 28, 2015
Report by Mark Golden, Podcast Reviewer (@RealMarkGolden)
MAIN TOPICS COVERED
-October 19 Raw
-Sunny’s recent legal troubles
-Seth vs Kane, Shield vs Wyatts, Uhaa Nation
-Eric Bischoff 2016 HOF?
SUMMARY OF SHOW (w/Time Stamps)
James kicked off the show by briefly summarizing a few of the happenings on Raw tonight, and the fact that there was little to no focus throughout the entire three-plus hours. He said he wanted to try to talk about other things besides all the negatives within WWE, as at this point it’s redundant and depressing. He said that perhaps now is the “calm before the storm” that will be October in WWE, what with Brock Lesnar’s October tour and all that comes with it.
6:05: First caller asked where the feud between Wyatt Family and Roman and Dean is heading. James said it seemingly has no end game, and that’s the main problem with it. He pointed out that it’s almost a year ago that this started at HIAC 2014. The caller said he looks forward to Brock coming back next month, and to NXT Takeover, and ROH, and as a wrestling fan, he’s content, and now knows to not get his hopes up for Raw anymore. James said WWE really needs to do something in October. But, as always, the three-hour format is killing the show week in and week out. He said that while they try to have something for everyone, there’s no focus.
12:47: Next caller asked about Sunny’s recent arrest, and her inability to post bail. James said it’s a shame that she’s fallen this far, and there are quite a few legal matters within the wrestling business right now. The caller talked about the awkward dynamic between Dean, Roman, and Randy. James said he’s not entirely sold on the trio, and the strange dichotomy that perhaps could be foreshadowing. The caller then asked if the U.S. Title will go back to not being taken seriously based on what happened tonight. James said that the whole first segment was more about setting up New Day and the Dudleys, while presenting the U.S. Open Challenge, and this shouldn’t be seen as a bad sign for the U.S. Title. James also said it was interesting to see someone else against Cena, while giving the spotlight to Xavier Woods for something more than just being the clown at ringside.
18:58: Next caller said tonight’s show is the perfect example that illustrates how little WWE cares about the ratings, and how it was a big mistake putting the U.S. Open Challenge and New Day in the same segment. The caller asked if someone should step up and take the reigns from McMahon, and he said WWE needs to bring Daniel Bryan back. James said they definitely need help on the babyface side, and it was apparent tonight. James then reiterated that McMahon needs to choose between being CEO and creative head.
26:46: E-Mail question #1: “How well did WWE promote Taker vs Brock at HIAC?” He said they didn’t, and they even referenced the lack of promotion in the Heyman and Show segment tonight. E-Mail question #2: “What could be done to get Roman over as a main eventer by WM32?” James said the secret to that would probably be to wait a while before pushing him again, because they tried it, and it failed, and it’s still fresh in most people’s minds. E-Mail question #3: “What celebrities could WWE get for WM 32?” James said outside of some Texas sports celebrities, it’s hard to say.
30:35: Next E-Mail asked why Seth Rollins is always thrown into matches against Roman or Dean on Smackdown – is this a way to keep the three together? James just said it is just the go-to match combination for the Smackdown tapings, nothing more, nothing less, no context.
32:00: Next E-Mail referenced what seems like a weekly “car crash” spot (tonight’s table spot with Roman and Bray) and if that’s a way to keep the crowd alive. James said the product is flimsy and the reaction is light, so pointless spots will get a pop. Today’s crowds will pop for balderdash, because they are not fully invested in the product, as there’s not much to get behind anymore in WWE. James said there are no strong heels, faces, or storylines and thus, no connection.
35:20: Next E-Mail: “Are there changes coming to Raw? Something seemed off tonight.” James said there’s no accountability. It’s Vince’s game and he can do whatever he wants. He said the home audience tunes in because it’s habit at this point, and the live crowds are there because “hey, let’s go see Raw” – until someone really brings it to Vince’s attention, there will be no changes.
36:50: Next E-Mail asks “What’s next for Roman Reigns?” James said it doesn’t seem like there is a gameplan at this point. He said they are comfortable with his program against Bray. James said he would benefit from a change of dance partner, such as Kevin Owens. It would be mutually beneficial, but he doesn’t see that happening.
38:24: Next caller said now would be a great time to strengthen the youth of the roster, instead of relying on the older stars. He said he fears anyone from NXT coming to Raw now. James agreed, saying this is not a good environment for anyone getting promoted. Owens’s program is directionless, the Divas have a mediocre deal at present, and until things improve, even though they are starved for fresh talent, it would be better for all involved if the NXT wrestlers stay where they are, as the ones they do have now on Raw are kinda “just there.”
44:48: Next caller said he’d looked up the stats, and the ratings mirror those of 1995. James said the biggest difference between then and now is WWE had WCW light their competitive fire, whereas today, WWE isn’t building towards the future like they did then, with Austin, Rock, Triple H, etc. but instead are relying on older stars such as Sting, Kane, Big Show, etc. Some external pressure could lead to necessary creative changes, because otherwise it’s not happening anytime soon, because McMahon and company are complacent. The caller said just bring hot NXT wrestlers in would not be a solution without proper placement, as they would fail, a la the Divas Revolution. James said if the October 19 Legends Night doesn’t see a bump in ratings, then it further demonstrates the general consensus of the company, overall.
51:48: Next caller talked about how NXT’s Takeover special on October 7 has the Iron Man main event match for the NXT Women’s title, while on Raw, the woman are sorely mis-used. He asked for James’s thoughts on that. James said McMahon doesn’t see it that way, as regardless of the quality of their segments, the “Divas” are given valuable segment time, like the top of the second hour. McMahon makes creative decisions based on his view of the world, and the end result is an inferior product. The caller talked about how about five years ago, WWE would bring in a Jericho or Rock or Stone Cold to pop a rating, but that equity is shot, and that will be proven on October 19. He predicted at 2.7, at best. He went on to say the sense of urgency and danger among the champions is gone. There’s no “juice” to quote James, and there’s no hope until the Royal Rumble. James said they need to get back to the fundamentals. He said there’s no recent history to draw from for the October 19 show making a dent, as they had Taker, Brock, and Sting all summer, and there was nary a bump in ratings. He talked about how Kane is a legacy star and the title match against Seth feels very mid-card.
1:02:52: Next caller said the #1 fan of the Vince McMahon “Kiss My Ass Club” is Kevin Dunn, and he tells Vince what he wants to hear. He said he didn’t watch Raw yet, and asked James what he recommends. James suggested the first half hour. He agreed that Dunn enables McMahon, leading to the uninspired product.
1:06:15: Next caller asked about WM32, and the rumored matches of Rock vs. Brock and Rock vs. Triple H. He asked if anyone is actually interested in seeing these matches, and how would those matches come about between now and then. James said Heyman would talk about how Rock and Brock never had a re-match from Summerslam 2002. In the other match, they could do a thing with Rock and The Authority. James said he’d much rather see Rock vs. Brock and Cena vs. Taker.
1:09:49: The caller asked about Smackdown’s scheduling, the booking of Rock vs. Brock, and if McMahon sees anything as competition. James said Vince has a tendency to coast if he’s only competing with himself, even if there are shareholders. He said the company could drastically benefit from at least an occasional reboot, or at the most an off-season. A way to let the show have a natural break the rhythm of 3+ hours, 52 weeks a year. He said Vince is living off the adrenaline rush of booking on the fly, week to week. He said they could have family involvement to build to Rock vs. Brock, as well as the re-match factor. James said he could see the argument for Smackdown being on either Wednesday or Thursday nights, once it’s on USA Network next year.
1:18:08: E-Mail: How does WWE build up a mid-carder to main event status, without the fans seeing them as just a mid-carder, or is it a better idea to have fresh faces as main-eventers? James said this current environment needs to be fixed, before anyone can feel significant, whether they’re new or a mid-carder.
1:19:59: Another 3 part E-Mail question: “Will Eric Bischoff be inducted into the HOF in 2016?” James said it certainly feels like it, based on his recent exposure on the WWE Network. Next question: Will Apollo “Uhaa Nation” Crews survive under McMahon’s microscope once he’s “called up?” James again said the current environment is not conducive to a successful run for anyone on television. Next question: “Will TNA air on Destination America post-Bound For Glory, or someone lying about the timeslot?” James said it looks like Impact will be on through the rest of the year.
Another very thorough show covering everything Raw, soup to nuts. James is another guy that should be in charge of creative. My only issue is that practically every caller or emailer has a three-part question. Give this a listen every week if you really want to know the highs and lows of Monday Night Raw. James Caldwell breaks it down for you.