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This past Monday, Raw went old school. Everything from the music to the ring apron was pulled straight from the past and put on display once more. So many fans seemed to go wild for this and I was among them. Seeing the red, white and blue ropes, the steel guard rails, the referees in their blue shirts was such a fun trip to take and trip is certainly a great way to describe the actual experience of watching all of this unfold but did this leave you craving something that is long gone?
Wrestling itself has, in recent years, taken a backseat to the storylines and interviews. Whereas you used to see a few wrestlers talking for a few minutes packed in between matches it almost feels like these day you see it in reverse. The talent which exists within WWE, for the most part, are capable of putting on amazing shows of athleticism and some truly entertaining matches but we don’t really get to see that much anymore on TV. Even PPV matches sometimes seem a little shorter than they ought to be.
WWE is in the business of catering to the crowd. The more they give you what you want, the more money they are bound to make. Vince McMahon is known for thinking he knows what is best for the fans but in the current economy, with his ratings drooping and his PPV buys sagging, you’d imagine he’s looking for ways to pull the crowd back in. Does the current state of wrestling, then, speak to what the fans want, or what he believes we want? Are shorter matches, longer talking moments and fewer actual shows of athleticism truly what the crowd is asking for?
I have to admit this much, when I look back at some DVDs from the late 80s, early 90s, I sometimes feel a little bored in the midst of a match. I don’t know whether to attribute this to the fact that perhaps the match was too long or that I’ve adapted to the new style of shorter matches. Either way I’m willing to bet some of those amazing WWE Legends you saw on Monday would not be as near to their legendary statuses if they had not been involved in longer matches which granted them the time to perform some of the most amazing moments in WWE history.
Also, if there was one moment from Old School Raw which stuck out to me the most, it was Piper’s Pit. In this segment we were shown that some of these WWE Legend still have what it takes to captivate us. Rowdy Roddy Piper gave, what I believe, was the best promo in the past few years. John Cena could learn a lot from that moment with Piper. His words were sharp, his emotion was up an I, for one, was riveted by what he was saying. And absolutely agree with him.
Another fascinating, if not sad moment, was seeing Jim Ross return to do commentary. The crowd absolutely exploded when Ross came out for this, and listening to Good Ole JR calling a match again was like music to my ears. I did not want this to end, and in a way, I think this may backfire on WWE. People want Jim Ross back, people want Michael Cole to go away. I don’t understand this pseudo heel persona which Cole is putting on, it doesn’t make any sense to me. So why are we being subjected to his horrid commentary? Why would you put someone like Jim Ross out there to tease us with how good Raw could be? If nothing else it should show you how much a good commentator can make a great match an amazing match.
Overall WWE’s venture into making Raw Old School was highly successful. Fans were pulled back, if only for one show, to relive their youth and to see how current WWE stars would appear in the old school set. We were given the gift of seeing some amazing Legends once more, as well as hearing our favorite commentator return as a glaring reminder of the way things could, and should, be. Hopefully the success of this show will lead to it becoming an annual event, lord knows I’d definitely be tuning in once more. And if only one good, great, amazing thing could come out of this Raw then I’d love for it to be the beginning of the return of Jim Ross. Doubtful, but it would truly make WWE much more worth watching.