PWTorch Livecast Raw Post-Game Show
Hosts: James Caldwell and Pat McNeill
Airdate: October 19, 2015
Report by Mark Golden (@RealMarkGolden)
20:01: Hell in a Cell (not) only on WWE Network; Legends out of place on Raw; Wasted opportunities.
27:50: HIAC match placement; Seth’s true challenge.
34:47: NXT; Divas Division.
40:48: The Steve Austin Show podcast w/Brock Lesnar.
44:34: Breaking up the Shield and Ending the Undertaker’s streak;
52:09: Regarding Henry.
1:00:00: Steve Austin; WWE resting on their laurels
0:00 – 20:00: James started the show by briefly summarizing Raw from earlier in the evening, and then introduced Pat, asking his overall thoughts of the show. Pat noted that certain wrestlers were conspicuous by their absence, and speculated that perhaps they indulged in the water while in Mexico over the weekend. They both thought it was possible that Raw had been re-written at least once before it went on air live. Pat talked about not only Randy, but Dean Ambrose being removed from HIAC, which leads to further speculation as it relates to this Sunday.
They discussed whether WWE can afford to lose Cena at this time, and how bad things can get, ratings-wise, in the aftermath of HIAC, with Brock, Undertaker, Cena, and Orton missing from their roster. They continued with how Raw had some good wrestling, with some awkward booking, including throwing a lot of names out there in the first half hour to 45 minutes, an unadvertised Shield quazi-reunion, etc. Pat said again that NXT is benefiting from the simple format and formula of basic Wrestling 101 booking, while Raw is suffering weekly, what with McMahon’s “seat of his pants” booking. James said he hopes they shake things up a bit this Sunday. Pat said that while Kane won’t win the title from Rollins, this probably won’t be the last we see of this feud.
James asked Pat if there’s a possibility that Cena will lose the U.S. Title this Sunday in the Open Challenge. Pat said, if Cena actually does take time off, logically Cena should lose on Sunday, announce the next night on Raw that he’s taking time off to rehab a knee, and return at TLC, but, as has become the norm for WWE, the logical, natural progression of things will probably not be their course of action. James and Pat said that while this wasn’t a bad episode of Raw, per se, it was disorganized and disorienting, respectively, but this should be an interesting week, leading up to, and including HIAC. Pat said good night, but not before plugging some of his PWTorch.com and Torch VIP contributions.
20:01: First Caller (D.J., from Miami) talked about how, for the first time in a while, Cole and JBL’s plugs for the Network, as it relates to this Sunday’s “special event” being available ONLY on WWE Network, were kept to a minimum. James said they should avoid saying it at all, as it’s not true if the shows are still available on a pay-per-view basis via a number of carriers. He said they should watch their wording, and say something like: “The WWE Network offers the best deal to see ‘Hell in a Cell.'” D.J. then talked about how Shawn Michaels seemed listless, and ultimately did nothing to serve the ratings tonight. James said he’d be surprised if the rating gets above a 2.5. He said the legends can see right through the material on the show, and they know it’s uninspired writing, but they still did the best they could with what they had to work with. James said it was better than a “Legends Panel” that they feared would happen, but this still isn’t the good stuff that these guys are used to working with, and they struggle as a result.
In Austin’s case, he was more interested in doing his podcast, rather than wasting an appearance just to introduce someone. In the case of Michaels, he’s put his time into his career, and at this point is apathetic towards the product, just wanting to be left alone at his ranch. It was a tough spot for all the guys who aren’t a regular part of the current machine to convey the atrocious stratagem of the WWE. D.J. then said he thought Kane should have been there tonight, and crossed passed with Undertaker, and maybe even Shawn Michaels, as there is a lot of potential with that interaction (e.g. first-ever Hell in a Cell match, Kane’s debut, Brothers of Destruction, et al). James said that goes back to the overall disorganization of the show, and agreed with the lost opportunity.
27:50: Next caller (Derrell, from Georgia) described tonight’s show as a “cluster” and he said he hates how they mistreat Seth Rollins. He said in his heyday, Shawn Michaels wouldn’t have tolerated this treatment. He said he was turned off by how hard Ric Flair was produced to put over Roman to the crowd. He said he can’t wait for Wednesday nights for NXT because that’s where he gets his wrestling fix. He asked James about match positioning at HIAC, which in Derrell’s opinion, has been ill-endorsed. James said obviously Brock and Taker will headline, with possibly Roman vs. Bray opening the show, thus book-ending it with HIAC matches. James said the World title match will likely go one at the top of the second hour, and depending on who Cena’s opponent will be in the U.S. Open Challenge, it might be on right before the Brock vs. Taker main event. James said Shawn’s segments with Seth were Shawn looking in the mirror at himself 20 years ago, as the small cocky underdog champion, but the question remains if Seth can persevere and be successful and break out the way Michaels did, especially with the quality of Raw in 2015.
34:47: Next caller (Boris, from Chicago) said he only watched the first hour of Raw, and noted that there are a number of top wrestlers in NXT just waiting to bust out and they could really help Raw. He also noted that the Divas division is a cluster. James said that the NXT women have had to work down to Raw Divas’s level, and the poor way they were introduced to Raw, combined with the flip-flopping of heels and faces has really hurt things, not to mention the old guard (e.g. The Bellas) who had no one of real quality to work with until now. James said the same would happen if any of the other NXT wrestlers come there, because the atmosphere and environment is such that they would hurt anything that makes them unique, and Triple H should keep wrestlers such as Finn Balor and Bayley at NXT for as long as possible.
40:48: Next caller (Mike, from Brooklyn) asked if James watched the “Steve Austin Show” with Brock Lesnar. James said he did not since he was hosting the show, but he’s interested to see it. Mike said there was nothing newsworthy coming out of it. James said Brock and Steve don’t have much to talk about, which is probably why it’s a garden variety podcast, and there’s nothing “juicy” there because there isn’t a match to promote between the two, and Brock might talk about Undertaker, but aside from that, not much else. Mike said he’s looking forward to HIAC. James said it will be interesting to see where they go next with a few different things.
James read an e-mail, asking him if he has any bold predictions for this Sunday. James said, with all the titles on the line, he predicts there will be one title change: John Cena will lose to whomever challenges him. (This turned out to be correct!)
44:34: Next caller (Adrian, from Aurora) asked if WWE benefited from breaking up The Shield, and ending The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak. James said things haven’t panned out the way WWE planned, with a heel Undertaker that the fans don’t want to dislike (even if he’s coming off like Clint Eastwood’s Kowalski in Gran Torino), and Roman Reigns, who hasn’t caught on. McMahon underestimated the damage this would all cause, and there has been a lack of strong follow-through. The original intention was for Brock to end Taker’s streak, and be avenged by dashing superhero Roman Reigns, so they broke up The Shield to give Roman that breakout moment as a single star. This didn’t work, and Seth got the spot, but as a heel. James said he’s waiting for something to happen so that this all make sense, but it’s proving fruitless. He said Roman isn’t getting rejected as badly as he was 10 months ago, but if they put him in a title program with Seth coming out of HIAC, the fans might completely turn on him again.
52:09: Next caller (Jay, from Tampa) said certain wrestlers like Kane, Orton, Mark Henry, and have been watered down so much thanks to how they’ve been booked, that in 10 years, if they have a “Legends Night” (like they did tonight with Austin, Flair, Michaels) it would mean nothing if they were scheduled to appear. Jay talked about Mark Henry being a guest on Talk is Jericho, and contradicting himself on the show, talking about how serious he takes his career, and how he’s careful of how he’s used, when in reality, he’s the epitome of what he says he’s against. He said Mark Henry talked about being ready to retire after something like 18 years with the WWE, and Henry barely did anything of note throughout that entire time. James said the way WWE sees a guy like Henry now, as the semi-credible guy to put others over, until WM season, where they’ll start his retirement program. James said there’s so much more the rest of the roster could be doing, as well.
56:37: Next caller (Jonathan, from New York) agreed with James’s take on The Streak ending, The Shield break-up, and NXT guys “coming up” to Raw. James reiterated that Raw needs a lot of improvements with the quality of the show for the roster they have before they bring anyone else in.
1:00:00: Next caller (Chris, from New York) asked if Steve Austin doesn’t wrestle at WM32, can we consider his career over? James confirmed that, and said Austin wants it to be over, as he’s not said anything to the contrary, especially considering WM32 is in Dallas, Texas. Chris asked if WWE rests on their laurels, as Raw is still a top-rated cable show. James said they can, but the problem is that they bragged about a number of things as their sales pitch to USA Network (being DVR-proof, having the best of both worlds of sports & entertainment, etc.) but the ratings have not backed them up.
Another good show. As usual, James gives intelligent, detailed responses to the callers’s questions. It would be nice if some callers would listen to the show as they’re calling in and waiting on hold to prevent repeat topics, or if their question has been answered, or their topic has been brought up by a previous caller, they would change it up accordingly. As a listener, it’s tough to hear the same thing discussed three or four times in a row, but as a host, James manages to answer the same questions without getting frustrated.