WWE Raw was its usual three hours and change last night, but somehow, this show felt twice as long. Which is pretty impressive, considering they still didn’t find time to feature Kevin Owens.
But hey, who needs to see the Intercontinental Champion when you’ve got the League of Nations, Sheamus’ new heel stable scraped from the underside of the midcard? Or Roman Reigns, now in his 50th week of overcoming adversity en route to his inevitable title win? Or comedy bits from Adam Rose, Stardust and Titus O’Neil? Or “Cyber Monday” infomercials with the New Day? Who cares about ratings? Oh, and did I mention there’s a PPV in two weeks?
Yeah, this one was pretty bleak. So let’s just get right to it: Here’s my five-point takeaway from the November 30 edition of Raw.
5. Bad Charlotte
Outside of crying all the time, Charlotte doesn’t seem equipped to play the babyface – which is part of the reason why her reign as Divas Champion has been so bland. During her NXT days, she was a natural as a cocky heel, a genetically superior athlete who knew she was better than anyone she stepped inside the ring with. Let’s face it; when you’re Ric Flair’s daughter, you were born to be bad, so it was encouraging to see her take tentative steps toward to dark side last night by channeling her daddy’s “Dirtiest Player in the Game” gimmick to score a distraction win over her (former?) friend, Becky Lynch. Her promo following the match – where she admonished the wide-eyed Lynch, “This isn’t NXT, this is the big leagues” – seemed to seal her turn, but then again, this is the Divas division, where character alignments change by the week, so let’s just wait and see if Bad Charlotte is here to stay. I’m hoping she is.
4. Tommy Dreamer Comes to Dudleyville
The Dudley Boyz have been seriously outmanned in their feud with the Wyatt Family, and last night, they decided to call for reinforcements – in the form of their fellow ECW alum Tommy Dreamer. And while it was great to see the hardcore icon make a return to WWE (it had been almost five years), it seemed odd to hand this spot to a 44-year-old guy with an admitted history of concussions instead of using it as a one-off to give an NXT star a bit of shine (Baron Corbin and Finn Bálor were reportedly backstage last night). Also, it says a lot about the state of this company that Tommy Dreamer was booked on Raw last night, but Kevin Owens wasn’t. Does Dreamer give the Dudley’s war with the Wyatts an edge? Sure. Will their inevitable tables showdown at TLC be fun? Probably. Do I wish Spike Dudley was involved somehow? Definitely, if only to see how far Braun Strowman can toss him.
3. Anyone Seen Kevin Owens?
Where was the Intercontinental Champion last night? The last time a WWE star no-showed like this, Randy Orton had been taken out while taking out the trash, so I’m hoping Owens isn’t injured – and the fact that WWE is still hyping his match with Dean Ambrose at TLC would suggest he’s fine. Triple H even mentioned Owens by name while teasing that TLC bout, so KO doesn’t appear to be in Vince McMahon’s proverbial doghouse, either. Maybe his match was cut for time? (Gotta fit the New Day’s “Cyber Monday” infomercial in there somehow.) Or perhaps Sabrina the Teenage Witch cast a spell on him? Whatever the reason, the fact Owens wasn’t booked on Raw – especially when the show centered on Sheamus creating a new League of Nations stable – was odd, to say the very least. And, boy, did these three-plus hours drag without him.
2. The League of Nations Is Here
Great news, Woodrow Wilson fans: Sheamus has got himself a new stable, an international assemblage he’s calling the League of Nations. I’m all for Rusev, Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio joining forces with the champ – if only because it gives each a brief respite from midcard hell – and while their mega main event (where they teamed with the New Day to take on Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and the Usos) was little more than a 7-on-4 clusterfrick, this might just be a case of WWE doing the best they can with what they have available. Their name is pretty dumb, but this international cadre of ne’er-do-wells should help carry this show for the next few months – and the image of the Celtic Warrior backed by all these brutes certainly makes him more imposing than his new “Sheamus 5:15” catchphrase, but man, does January’s Royal Rumble seem far away.
1. The Roman Reigns Show
Remember last night, when Triple H was telling Dean Ambrose (or maybe it was the Usos – it doesn’t matter) how Roman Reigns needed to learn that his actions had repercussions? Apparently no one in WWE creative was listening. After all, ever since Roman Reigns dispatched of the Wyatts at Hell in a Cell, the writers have spent an overwhelming amount of time rekindling his quest to claim the Heavyweight title – at the expense of almost everyone else on the roster. At this point, they’re basically bending over backwards to create new obstacles for him to overcome: tournaments, cash-ins, beat-the-clock challenges…you name it, and Roman has run through it, while pretty much everyone else stands around and watches. You want to know why the crowd didn’t care about last night’s Dolph Ziggler/Tyler Breeze match, or couldn’t be bothered to boo the man currently holding the WWE title, Sheamus? Because WWE doesn’t give them any reason to. Even worse, after building up the stakes in Roman’s match last night – he had to beat Sheamus in 5 minutes and 15 seconds, or else Dean Ambrose and the Usos both lost their respective title shots at TLC – they had it end in a lame DQ, meaning he won on a technicality. Are you excited about any of this? Is anyone?