Earlier this week the WWE announced on social media that Renee Young will be a guest commentator filling in for Jonathan Coachman on the August 13 episode of Monday Night Raw. Hello and welcome back to Planet Kayfabe. I'm K.C. here to talk about this *cough* historic news and how WWE should do it right and why I think they're going to find a way to f*** it up because I'm a cynical, jaded smark who can't just ever be happy.
When the news broke I was happy for Renee. She's been very good in all her roles since joining WWE. The only thing that didn't please me were the words "filling in". I was hoping this was permanent. I'm not even trying to make a joke. I think Coachman is the drizzling shits. I think he's mainly had a rough go because it was clear that he's out of touch with the current product, yet he was put on TV anyway having to get to know a bunch of new names he had no knowledge of before. His shoehorned sports analogies suck. I'm sure non-sports fans don't care, but every time he makes one they're horrible and most of the time Michael Cole even pokes holes in his analogies. Whatever. I could ramble about why Coach sucks, but I'll just say I think he's the worst. Yes. Booker and Otunga are better in my opinion. So, without even yet heating a word come out of Renee Young's mouth at ringside on Raw, I would fully support her taking his seat for good. As a matter of fact when WWE first watered down this current brand split by having Corey Graves on both shows I suggested they should have just put Renee on Smackdown, so needless to say I'm excited to see how things will go.
Upon seeing the news I think in a perfect world Renee would be incredible. She's knowledgeable, passionate, has a great voice, obviously a great look which is just a bonus anyway if you're on commentary and of all their backstage interviewers she is by far -- BY FAR(!!!) the least robotic and most natural sounding. However, the first thought that came to my mind was "Great. Give her freedom to do her thing and don't have some asshole backstage yelling at her in a headset for 3 hours." Renee Young was on Edge & Christian's podcast this past May and I suggest you go listen to it. She's pretty honest and lets her hair down for a pretty entertaining episode. One interesting part in the show (and I'm either reading between the lines or reading too far into it, you decide) but pretty much she said she liked doing the show "Talking Smack" because it was unscripted and she had freedom to create. She hates commentary and hosting because they pretty much hold your hand the whole time. Before being on the current Mae Young Classic team, she called matches for Superstars. So, if she felt over-produced on Superstars, I can only imagine how bad things are on Raw. We've all heard the horror stories from guys like Mick Foley who hated the job because they're rarely able to react naturally to what is happening and instead regurgitate bullshit from the back. Say this, plug that, this is trending, laugh awkwardly at this not funny segment. Yeah, it's pretty bad and I think most long-time fans would agree the past decade or so has been a pretty weak age for WWE commentary.
Another fear of mine is that the sound of Renee's voice is going to be drowned out by the loud thuds of WWE giving themselves a huge pat on the back for 3 hours because they did the "progressive" (I guess?) thing by putting someone without a cock at the announcers' table. Just look at their social media pages. Usually when you see a bunch of different people tweeting about something WWE related at the same time it's because they were instructed to put something over. This is a one-off fill-in spot and of course the PR hype machine is out in full force. Of course, because she is also very much respected in the business there were tweets from people outside of WWE congratulating her and I'm sure even the instructed ones, if my assumption is correct, are still genuine comments. However, iIf this is a taste of what we are in for Monday, it will probably have the reverse effect and end up sabotaging Renee's performance because to them it's more important that they put over how great the company is for having a woman call a Monday Night Raw than to just allow her to do her job because she's been great in her other hosting duties during her 6 years so far with the company. The ironic thing is that it would be more progressive of them to not treat this like a big deal. Don't act like you're manufacturing another historic moment in women's history. Just put her there and have her do the job because she's great at her job. To just throw it in our faces like HOLY SHIT WE'RE PUTTING A WOMAN ON COMMENTARY. EVOLUTION UP IN THIS BITCH! only marginalizes her. In fact it almost makes Renee come off as a token to just further pad WWE's continued efforts to get on the good side of playing gender politics the last few years. As if they could just put ANY woman there. It doesn't matter because the only thing that matters is "making history" right? Well, I think that's wrong and I think Renee deserves better than to be marginalized. So, for her sake I hope they don't cloud her performance by putting over the company all show because I know she could be great in the role and it's something I've personally wanted to see for a while now.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter because I live-tweet Raw and Smackdown and I'm sure I'll have plenty to say. Hopefully my fears and Renee's own concerns given her own words on the E&C Pod of Awesomeness are relieved and WWE for once actually trusts their on-screen talents to actually speak for themselves. Seriously, what's the big deal, WWE? You own the wrestling world. You're only going to get bigger when you go to the FOX Network next fall. Do you think the company is going to fold by having seasoned commentators do their jobs without constant hand holding, not to mention the wrestlers who have to spew the same scripted bullshit every week with the same robotic buzz words. Renee, like the vast majority of us, preferred promos and commentary when they weren't so heavily scripted in WWE and that's what made Talking Smack such a great show that was worth watching. You never knew what someone was going to say unlike on their televised show, when I'm sure any of you astute fans who watch every week have a pretty good idea what every wrestler is going to say the moment they stick a microphone in front of their face. Some are better at it that others, but for the most part they're all the same. Renee is very likable and has a broadcasting background. There is no one backstage, Vince included, who is going to make her better by having her read a cheat sheet or regurgitate words from her headset to the audience at home. This isn't even just about Renee. It's everyone on commentary. Unless if she turns out to be the female Jim Ross, she's unfortunately not going to stand much of chance under the way WWE is currently structured in micromanaging everything and over producing their commentators.
I don't want to end this sounding negative so I'll just further express that I'm happy for Renee. I could give a flying rat's ass about making history. I'm sick of WWE talking about how they're "making history" and "breaking barriers". I'm just happy that there's going to be an upgrade on commentary and I've wanted to see her in this role on a main show for a while. Female or not I could give a f***. It's not that big of a deal for you, WWE. Get over yourselves. Also, don't make it sound like this is even big for women either. For Renee it is a big deal. I hope it goes great and they decide the very next day that The Coach is no longer needed and ship him back to ESPN with the rest of the biggest assholes in broadcasting.
Now it's time for my SummerSlam mailbag. I did one around WrestleMania week with hopes of doing these Q&A's quarterly around each of the Big 4 PPV's so... if you want to see your name in a column for Survivor Series Q&A keep an eye out on Twitter later this year when I ask for your questions.
Jennifer from Facebook: "Do you think Finn Balor is under-utilized in WWE?"
To an extent he is. He's more popular than his current push and will be on the SummerSlam card in a pointless match that we're all going to forget about a week later. It's better than not being on the show, though. He was the first ever Universal Champion, but had to vacate the title the next day due to injury. That could have been when he was going to get his big push. Maybe they're just testing his durability. He's over enough to where they could be doing more with him.
Chris on Facebook: "Do you think Samoa Joe will win the title at SummerSlam?"
My SummerSlam review will be up next week, but right now I'm still leaning more towards AJ to retain to extend his lengthy run even further.
Cauncey @SharkBomb99 on Twitter: "Who is the greatest jobber of all time?"
iWWE Account @iwwe_wwe on Twitter: "Do you think Natalya will turn on Ronda?"
I thought that's what they were going to do a month ago but it didn't happen. I'm guessing Natalya will be paired with Ronda for a while during the period where she's getting her feet wet. Ronda is pretty much learning on the job, so it's best she works close with a friend that she trusts... and because everyone turns eventually, yes, I'm sure Natalya will turn on Ronda in a "student becomes the teacher" sort of story line, but I don't think it's happening at SummerSlam.
John Doiron @jfd1965 on Twitter: "Do you anticipate a heel turn by Sasha where she returns the favor on Bayley for her beatdown before their alleged reconciliation?"
It's better than what they're doing now. People wanted to see a fight. Instead we get a lame team with a stupid name. This just isn't Sasha. She's a natural heel. She's at her best when she's cocky and sassy. Not smiling and hugging.
Sarah @edgealicious on Twitter:
"Does Paul Heyman screw Lesnar and align with Reigns or does that get swerved because it's "too obvious" to the IWC and he perhaps aligns himself with another superstar or female superstar?
Who do you think would be the perfect fit/combination for/with Heyman? Or does he align with a team and build them up like only he can?"
To answer the first question it seems like WWE could go in that diraction based on the "uncut" version of the Raw interview WWE released on social media where he was about to say something about how Brock can be beat but then stopped himself and walked off the interview. It could just be a red herring to get us talking, but it's something. Even if it's "too obvious" I think it would be a cool story and it might even help Roman Reigns. Its sure better than the status quo of Roman finally beats "The Beast", wins the title to a chorus of boos and comes out the next day to say it is his yard while the fans continue to boo. Rinse repeat until he drops the title.
The 2nd question is hard to say. I think if they actually turned Roman and Paul managed him it could be a lot of fun. However, not everyone they've paired Heyman with has worked out. There was also Ryback and Curtis Axel and it just didn't work. There were also others back in the early-mid 2000's as well like Big Show and Heidenreich which were not great pairings. At this stage of Paul's career and given his stardom, I'd rather see him work along side an already established top guy to sprinkle some seasoning on the steak so-to-speak instead of having to build another Brock Lesnar from the ground up. Honestly, of the young stars just cutting their teeth, I don't know who Heyman would be best paired with, but I hope he sticks around even if Lesnar is gone after SummerSlam. He's valuable to the company both on screen and off.
That's it for the mailbag and that's all for this edition of Planet Kayfabe. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy your weekend, everyone. Also, one last time, best of luck to Renee Young.
Follow me on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe and I'll be back next week with my SummerSlam preview. Take care everyone. For NoDQ, I'm K.C. See you here next time.