Amalgam Rhapsody: If Raw May Have One Volley
Submitted by LoneLee on 07/03/2019 at 01:18 PM

There’s an old Bon Jovi song lyric (not sure if that’s it’s origin) that states “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” That couldn’t describe the state of Raw any better in the last few years. Since January alone, we as fans have been promised changes in many forms. We’d be the authority, no more authority figures, fresh matchups, wildcard rule, etc. An obvious slew of attempts to throw ideas at the wall until one sticks. Not surprisingly, nothing has. To be honest, the vast majority believes that the quality of the product will cease to change for the better until Vince McMahon steps down from his ivory tower or refrains from micromanaging. It’s come to a head that we’ve absolutely given up on anything the old man contaminates with his fingerprints. We have a preconceived notion to poo poo on anything he does. Ahh but you see, there’s also that same contingent of fans that feel the exact opposite way when it comes to Paul Heyman.

The 53-year old Heyman is no stranger to the WWE Creative team. He’s been sent home on two different occasions from this position, once in ‘03 when SmackDown at his helm had been surpassing Raw in the ratings and once in ‘06 after the revamped ECW began to decline. Is the third time the charm for the advocate or will it be three strikes, he’s out? Perhaps it even feels like a step backwards for Vince to hand the reins of his baby to someone known to challenge his ideas with such conviction rather than leave it to another yes man like NXT proud papa Triple H. Not necessarily.

Whether we can consider AEW a legitimate threat or not isn’t the matter at hand. WWE TV ratings are decreasing by the week at an uncomfortable rate. And why? It’s stale, yes. It’s formulaic, yes. But most of all it doesn't feel must-see. We know we aren’t missing anything due to the fact they save anything that’s worth anything for PPVs. It’s DVR fast forward material and/or a 3-hour drag. Even though it’s been well over a decade, Heyman and Bischoff are familiar in this fight, Triple H is not. They were at the forefront against Vince during the height of professional wrestlings most successful, and now they are on his side...perhaps only to keep them from being competition once again?

The fact of the matter is Vince needs someone who will not only challenge him, but work with him going forward as a unit. In many ways, Heyman mirrors his on-screen character as boisterous, articulate, sapient, and not afraid to ask “if he may have one volley” giving a different stance on an opinion. From one perspective, he’s that internet fan that doesn’t like the product but has another more tactful way of presenting the what, why, and how to make things less aggravating to watch. And simply by announcing Heyman as Executive Director, just that one simple announcement, it made Raw must-see again because it strings along that Heyman contingent and the seekers of change for the ride. At least for one night we’ve seen that it’s working.

Heyman in a sense is a lot like Dusty Rhodes. When he sees that uniqueness of an individual talent he can give them the opportunity that accentuates it. He doesn’t put them in situations that hinder their skill set or exploit their weaknesses in hopes that they’ll get better over time by learning the hard way. As proven in the past couple months working as a promo coach with the likes of Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss. Look at Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley having a grandiose hoss fight, instead of another cheesy test of strength. Cesaro showing a solidified mean streak after the goofiness surrounding him. The Good Brothers playing instigator between two of the very best in-ring competitors in the company. These are subtle actions that add volume to a story, something WWE has been lacking for quite some time.

They also add a sense of realism to the product. A “holy sh*t” moment within the first 10 minutes of the show accompanied by somber voices from the announcer team and well wishing Superstars throughout the night. A refreshing break from the usual and consistent whiny Seth 20-minute promo to open the show. Although, I would’ve hoped the stage had remained off for a longer period giving more attention to the ring but I’m kayfabe assuming The Undertaker restored their electricity a little earlier in the night?

And not that any more talent were necessary to move to this already crowded main roster but they were introduced in ways that fans could familiarize with them quickly. Street Profits come across as yet another team that “loves to have fun” as Cole might put it but right away they are on screen with the petulant Paul Heyman. Maria & Mike Kanellis left everyone feeling extremely uncomfortable after an emasculating spectacle. Mission accomplished.

It wasn’t all gumdrops and rainbows however…

I didn’t expect an immediate hostile takeover of Raw that would see a State of the Union from Heyman complete with a new stage, theme song, stripping of all the championships, and proclamations of grand visions to come. Save that for Eric Bischoff’s SmackDown. I also didn’t expect some of the more tired stories to be dropped at a whim. We still have Shane getting more screen time than he needs. We still have a cringy Seth/Becky couples scenario with the equally awkward Corbin/Evans. And we still have all the too cute for their own good tropes WWE uses to extend matches.

Here is the main issue. It doesn’t matter how beguiling Heyman can be to the audience or if he has an army of talent to present on Monday nights. In the end, one man makes the final decision of what goes on the air. As time goes on, will Vince be more open minded in trying new ways of doing business given the gradual proven success of Heyman? Or will he be too proud that someone underneath him can do a better job at running his show than he can? In all likelihood, we know the dismal answer.

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