PWTorch Livecast Raw Post-Game Show
Host: James Caldwell
Airdate: October 26, 2015
Report by Mark Golden (@RealMarkGolden)
1:56: Charlotte Flair not over on Raw.
10:05: Roman Reigns being in the title picture again.
17:13: The Shield Triple Threat Feud; Should Wins and Losses Matter; Wrestling VS. Character.
41:46: Cesaro’s Push (or the Lack Thereof).
49:36: Top Contender’s Tournaments and Rankings for All WWE Titles.
1:02:44: Braun Strowman
1:08:29: Ron, From Modesto, Books the Territory
1:15:50: Undertaker and Kane Abducted; If WCW Was Still in Business….
1:21:56: Roman Reigns – Dragonball Z
James opened the show by saying we have a GOOD Raw to discuss, and gave some PWTorch plugs, where you can read and listen to comprehensive reports, results, and reviews for Raw. He went to the phones, post haste:
1:56: The first caller (Anthony…from Santa Barbara) asked James what he thought about Charlotte getting audibly boo’d by tonight’s crowd. He said Bayley is sympathetic, Sasha is cool, and Charlotte is unlikable. James said that is the result of the crowd anticipating a heel turn from Paige and getting it, drawing the wrong reaction. WWE now needs to work on making Charlotte a likable babyface. He also said her size is working against her, because she’s bigger than everyone else (a la Roman Reigns) and thus, it’s difficult to have sympathy for her. James said it worked in NXT, especially because Sasha Banks was so good as a heel, but Raw is a different environment. Paige, the heel, is over now, so they need to paint her as a heel, and rework the dynamic to get the desired effect. Anthony repeated his sentiments, by saying in his opinion, Charlotte would be boo’d by practically anyone they put her in the ring with.
James touched briefly on a number of happenings on Raw. He said he really enjoyed the Fatal Four-Way main event, and put it over as potentially the Raw TV match of the year. He said all the matches on Raw had meaning, which really fit well within, and helped the three-hour format, and said that at least for one night, WWE really delivered a good showing.
10:05: Next caller (Boris) talked about it taking a long time to get back to Roman Reigns being in the main event title picture. James figured it was about seven months. Boris said you can always see who is organically over versus who WWE wants to push. James said for anyone to be taken seriously as a main-eventer, you have to consistently be in the top tier. James said Reigns was visibly blown up in his match with Kofi tonight, and proved that if he’s going to be a headliner, he’ll need to improve in the ring, including great cardio, and the ability to carry someone to a quality match. He said aside from that, WWE protected him for a half-year, and did a slower build with him to the #1 contender spot. The crowd is more receptive to him now, but he still needs in-ring work.
17:13: Next caller (James…from Houston) said this is a good spot for Reigns to be in, because it’s said that Seth Rollins is a perfectionist, and he will be sure to get good matches out of Roman, improving him along the way. James agreed and said the two should have a lengthy program night after night during the upcoming European Tour. (Well, that did not happen.) James talked about Dean Ambrose, and suggested a heel turn and subsequent program with Roman as well. Reigns could benefit in the long run, and this could even lead to a three-way match for the title.
James went through some scenarios for TLC in December, as that marks the anniversary of The Shield. James went on to say that he sees Rollins holding on to the title until Wrestlemania, most likely, but it’s early and a lot can happen between now and then. The caller next asked what matters more: wins and losses, character build-up, or a combination of both. James talked about a radio interview that Ric Flair did last week in St Louis, where the host asked why St. Louis wrestling was white hot in the 1970s. Flair talked about “pure wrestling” protected by the booker being the ticket. J.J. Dillon always says wrestling is a star-driven business, and it’s really a combination of both. WWE normally has weak 50/50 booking, with meaningless matches, but this week’s Raw was exceptional. It featured all the top names in matches with outcome significance and major title match implications. When you make the matches mean something, the characters come to life. This week’s Raw was a prime example of that.
31:30: Next caller (Derrell…from Georgia) said Roman Reigns winning was very predictable, and they basically foreshadowed this throughout the show. Derrell also said Dean being Roman’s “little buddy” what with the pre-match pep talk, really tainted his image as the Lunatic Fringe. Derrell referred to Reigns as Lex Luger. James said you see flashes of quality from Reigns, but never the whole thing at once. He reiterated that Reigns needs to improve, cardio-wise. James disagreed with Derrell about Dean Ambrose, and predicted that perhaps this is all part of a master plan by an evil Ambrose in the long run.
James answered an e-mail, which asked about the possibility of a double turn with Reigns and Rollins. James said the idea is intriguing, and quite possible. He referenced the opening segment with the Authority putting Seth over in a big way, mixed with all the obstacles they have put in Rollins’s way for months, as potential hints confirming that scenario.
41:46: Next caller (Jamal…from Atlanta) asked what else Cesaro needs to do to move up on the card. James said WWE will justify the use of Cesaro with the fact that he basically won the opening six-man tag at HIAC and he had a good match with Owens on Raw, etc. but in order for it all to mean more, he has to start winning big matches. Same could be said for The Dudleys, who have been on all but a losing streak since their return to WWE. James suggested a big match win for Cesaro, like an IC title run, but it won’t likely happen. Jamal said he will be at Survivor Series, but other than the Wyatts vs. Undertaker & Kane, there’s not much potential for a great show next month. James said no matter who is in the match involving Undertaker, they will almost assuredly make a big deal out of it come Survivor Series, as Survivor is one of their big shows of the year, and this is the 25th anniversary of the Undertaker. James offered a few suggestions for who could potentially team with Undertaker and Kane.
49:36: Next caller (Mike…from The Woodlands) liked the concept of this week’s Raw, with the #1 contendership up for grabs via a series of matches. James agreed and elaborated on this, by saying this is something they could do on a semi-regular basis, for the IC, U.S., Tag Team, and Divas. This would give a lot of wrestlers something of importance to do, and it would make each show meaningful, with continuous tournaments, and a constant competitive atmosphere. Mike said that Charlotte’s work has been a bit off as of late. James said that has to do with her adjusting to working with a new batch of wrestlers in WWE; it’s just a period of refinement. James said she’s used to working with Paige, moreso than the Bellas, and this new program with Paige on Raw should help, as those two have worked together a number of times. James went on to say, in response to an e-mail addressing a similar comment, that in order for the Women’s Division to really be successful, they have to focus on individual feuds, and not several factions of trios.
57:23: Next caller (Mike…from Brooklyn) spoke positively about this week’s Raw. He and James agreed it was certainly focused. Mike asked what WWE should do about the other titles, especially since all the champions were in the World title chase. James said they need to take a step back and see where they are going with Del Rio (Swagger???) Owens (Cesaro???), and New Day (PTP???) and there’s a lot that can happen, as all those champions are heels. Next week could be a good “reset” week, as far as the mid-card championship divisions go.
1:02:44: Next caller said he’s a fan of Braun Strowman and asked where he will be in a year. James said he will likely just be a monster heel. James said Strowman is bland, and he doesn’t see any potential in his development. James said that opinion might stem from a show he covered in-person earlier in the year, where Strowman worked a very rudimentary dark match, and he was very green. Since then, they’ve done nothing with him to get him over, aside from just having to stand there as a henchman.
1:08:29: Ron…from Modesto, felt there was a missed opportunity during Brock Lesnar’s “Go To Hell” Tour, in that Cesaro could have come out of this as a star. They had an opportunity to put him over, as the guy who Brock couldn’t beat or barely beat, instead of, or alongside, Big Show, during their brief program, when Show knocked him out for no apparent reason. Ron also suggested a World Title shot, for every ten successful U.S. Title defenses. Ron fantasy booked triple threat scenarios involving The Shield. James said there are a number of things they could do. It’s inevitable, but the most interesting part will be the when and the how. Ron’s ideas are more intricate than WWE is willing to map out, since they usually book week to week, with a handful of long-range plans.
1:15:50: Jay…from Tampa asked if The Undertaker and Kane abduction by the Wyatts is a passing of the torch, or is it leading to something more. Jay also asked about Roman Reigns, and who would be in line as a challenger to him if he wins the title. He then asked if WWE would be wasting talent like Cesaro if WCW was still in business and competing against them. James said they probably wouldn’t do it as much, or as often, but they wouldn’t fear anyone jumping as they’d be under contract, but the fear would exist more if WCW were still around, and beating Raw in the ratings, thus lighting a fire under WWE. James said as far as Roman Reigns goes, it is hard to sympathize with Reigns as a babyface champion, because he’s so big, and his challengers will depend on when (and if) he does in fact win the title.
1:21:56: Next caller (David…from Houston) said that he thought Roman Reigns should be booked to appear vulnerable, like a particular character on Dragonball Z. James agreed, and said he should have gone through a learning process, through losses and/or beat downs. This is what he needs in an effort to come off as sympathetic, but instead, he’s booked as a Goldberg type, which isn’t working. David said he’d like to see them turn Roman heel, but that won’t happen. He also said the way Roman’s HIAC match with Bray was booked in a way to get Roman over with the crowd, as a prelude to his #1 contendership. James said it wasn’t quite Orton vs. Foley from Backlash ’04, where Randy got out of that “silver spoon, third-generation” stigma with a crazy, violent match, or Tommy Dreamer earning fans’s appreciation with regular brutal beatings. If they did, or could do something like that with Roman, he might be more over. However, Reigns shows no real emotion. He is built like a one-dimensional character that has all his lines fed to him. They could have had him take a savage beating at HIAC to garner sympathy, and have him talk about what he learned from the battle with Bray, but alas they did not.
James went to the e-mails. The first one talked about a third party doctor medically clearing Daniel Bryan. James said he hadn’t heard much other than there was talk of Bryan answering the U.S. Open Challenge at HIAC. He said if this is true and Bryan is ready to return, it will be interesting to see what they do with him, and exactly where he’ll fit in.
Next e-mails talked about Raw being good, Paige finally being pushed as a complete heel, The Dudleys “Whazzzup” Top-rope headbutt being a DQ, the politics of Undertaker and Brock bleeding in their HIAC match, and who will defeat Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Title.