I read something not too long ago on “the dirt sheets” about how TNA was talking about the lack of importance of pay-per-views going forward for their company. I want to say it was Dixie Carter who was talking about it, but it’s a safe bet few of you even know what a TNA is, so it doesn’t matter. But the point was that fewer and fewer people are ordering wrestling pay-per-views, and more people (at least in an ideal world) are watching the shows which air on Spike and USA Network respectively. Of course, if you’ve seen TNA’s ratings, you know virtually nobody is watching it (and with good reason, a few bright spots here and there aside), and WWE’s ratings, while not in the toilet like they have been, aren’t exactly burning up the cable charts either.

Following the ratings is a fool’s game though because without a direct head-to-head competitor for Raw, Smackdown, and Impact Wrestling, and the fact that professional wrestling is a cheap way to kill two to three hours for these cable channels without spending money on original programming, neither TNA or WWE live in fear of having their programs cancelled. So, without the fear of the shows being cancelled, and the declining pay-per-view buy rate, it does make sense to put more of an emphasis on the “free” shows and not the ones you have to pay to see.

Even WWE has been exploring this future as much of the talk surrounding their network, which we may never see but hopefully will, has centered around eliminating all but the four most important pay-per-views: Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series.

The reason I bring all this up is because if you hadn’t watched Sunday night’s 2012 edition of WWE’s No Way Out and you only saw this episode of Monday Night Raw, there would be absolutely no reason for you to go back and watch the pay-per-view. Back in the day when a fresh episode of Raw aired after a pay-per-view, in the days of the Tuesday night replay, you might get the basics, but for the full story, you had to get the replay. That’s no longer the case. You got to see the exact same finish, sans McMahon, to John Cena’s match tonight against Big Show, John Laurinaitis, and David Otunga that you saw at No Way Out. That guy we all hate, on the Internet anyway, came out and said the same thing he said at the pay-per-view to the extremely likable Paul Heyman. And what about the mystery involving AJ’s intentions in the CM Punk / Kane / Daniel Bryan feud? It’s still a mystery, but you know CM Punk retained the title, which with this particular story, is almost a minor point. AJ has completely stolen the show and makes the pursuit of the belt almost a MacGuffin.

Oh, and if you totally forgot Abraham Washington existed, he screwed over Primo and Epico and is now backing the totally not gay, no matter what Booker T says, Prime Time Players.

So, when you get right down to it, that’s what this show was: It was a show for the majority of the audience that doesn’t watch the pay-per-views and wanted to see the same exact plot points played out. Absolutely nothing of consequence happened, nor did any stories move forward in any meaningful fashion. Considering that virtually nothing happened at No Way Out 2012, aren’t you glad you spent the $44.95 to see it?

A Special Note About Triple H Going Forward

Nothing I or anyone on the Internet has to say about Triple H matters. He pretty much runs things, and the majority of fans go absolutely berserk when he comes to the ring. So instead of constantly complaining about what a dbag Triple H is, I’m just going to ignore him. Tonight when he was in the ring with Paul Heyman, I didn’t even see him. As far as I’m concerned, Paul Heyman is now pulling a Jack Donaghy and negotiating against himself to arrange a match for Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam where absolutely nothing will happen for twenty minutes. Brock is just going to come to the ring, do that thing where he growls and snorts and people pretend to like it, and then he’s going to go to the back, collect his paycheck, and go home for the evening. It’ll be the easiest fifty bucks Brock Lesnar ever makes.

So don’t expect me to write anything about Triple H. Ever. It’s just not going to happen. As far as I’m concerned, when that man opens his mouth, all I’m going to hear is that ear piercing sound Walter White heard on the first episode of Breaking Bad when he found out he had terminal lung cancer.

5 Thoughts On Tonight’s Edition Of Monday Night Raw

1. Ok. There was one major difference between last night’s “No Way Out” pay-per-view and tonight’s edition of Monday Night Raw. You know what that was? The announcer’s were absolutely terrible. From Michael Cole going back to full, obnoxious bad guy mode during the segment with Cyndi Lauper, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Layla, Wendi Richter, and Heath Slater, to Jerry Lawler simultaneously taking a dump all over Daniel Bryan by questioning if the Yes chants were even for him, and then not acknowledging, at all, the “let’s go Ziggler” chants from the crowd in the following match. I know. The announcers are more or less puppets following a script and being fed things to say throughout the show by Vince McMahon and the other producers, so it’s not fair to really criticize them specifically, but the announcing itself was just terrible all around. And whether he’s being fed lines or not, Jerry Lawler saying “girls just want to have fun” is fifty shades of creepy.

(Bonus Thought: Heath Slater speaks nothing but the truth, but someone should probably tell him Man Mountain Rock was also a one-man-band, and things didn’t end so well for him either.)

2. Just once when Kane’s pyro goes off, I’d love it, absolutely love it, if some guy was intentionally standing on the spots on the stage where the flames come out, solely to execute a gag where he’s lit on fire by the flames and then shouts on camera, “Oh god! It burns! Why was I standing there?!”. This incident would then never be acknowledged, but I’d find it endlessly hilarious. Then again, I’m the kind of guy who wants to use his spare time to corral stray dogs and teach them to bark the theme song of “The Wire” in unison. So, what do I know?

3. Dolph Ziggler and TNA’s champion, Bobby Roode, seem to be in this unintentionally hilarious contest where they’re trying to show the world how much personality they have and failing horribly at doing so. And while both of them are very talented and COULD be awesome, for whatever reason there’s just something about both guys right now that just doesn’t click. Maybe it’s just me, but on camera anyway, these two just don’t seem to have that something that makes you go, “Yeah, I’d pay to see a match involving him”.

Also: If you have to tell people you have “the IT factor”, you clearly don’t.

4. If Alberto Del Rio is so rich, why does he drive himself to the ring?

5. If you go back and watch when Ricardo Rodriguez left the ring after attacking Santino, there was a little kid who reached over the guardrail and appeared to have hit Rodriguez in the shoulder with his fist.

If, at any point you find yourself over thinking something that happens on Raw, remember that you’re not the target audience for the WWE. The little kid punching Ricardo Rodriguez is.

And yeah, that made me die a little inside too.

Brandon Mendelson is the resident WWE expert. He’ll be giving his opinions on Raw, Smackdown and the entire WWE Universe. Get used to it.