Hello everyone. Hope you all are doing well. It is the start of the television fall season with premieres all this week of returning favorites and new series. WWE seeing this trend dubbed last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw their season premiere. With a sports entertainment product that runs 52 weeks of the year, what do you do for your season premiere?

Traditionally an ongoing series will start a season premiere with new characters, new storylines, twists, turns and deceit. However, WWE seemed to miss the message on the episode itself. With six days until Night of Champions, the company tried to make Monday night special and climactic given the looming threat of the NFL. Two matches were promoted and given the spotlight a week in advance. And truth be told, the in ring action was not terrible but considering the television competition just got more intense. They would’ve brought more to the table.

I thought The Authority making the announcement that Sting would wrestle in his first Raw match was a good draw for the episode. But other than that it just felt like your standard edition of Raw. They tried to pretend things were special like the Miz TV segment with the Wyatt family. It wasn’t the must-see segment that the Miz would have you believe. The Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose appearance really didn’t add anything to the story other than the fact that we know there’s a third person. If you really want to get interest in who this person is they should of had a segment later on in the show showing Luke Harper taken out by a mysterious shadowy figure. That would lead to someone wanting to check out Night of Champions.

WWE kicked off the night with the Tag Team Champion dancing machines The New Day and I thought it was fabulous. Seeing Triple H and Stephanie getting down was funny and a good way to kick off the night. The match itself between the PTP and Kofi and Big E was solid and a good way to get the energy going. Xavier Woods proves he grabbed the brass ring with that trombone. It should be interesting to see the Dudleys versus The New Day. There should be a fun bit of interaction between the two very eclectic personalities.

We also saw interactions between Kevin Owens and Ryback setting up an Intercontinental title match this Sunday at Night of Champions. I thought the segment was fine but it definitely shows the limitations of the Ryback character. All that being said I thought the guys did well in getting their opponents over while creating tension between themselves. It really will be interesting to see how these two styles mesh and what comes of this Sunday. I have made no bones about my prediction that Kevin Owens will be the winner of the 2016 Royal Rumble and I think the Intercontinental title is the next step in that progression.

Given all the build up of Charlotte versus Nikki Bella in the last few weeks, I thought WWE’s creative on the Divas title match was terrible. It took away from the good work both women did in the match and proved that The Divas Revolution may be only a name they can trademark. Don’t get me wrong I understand wanting to try to sell WWE Network subscriptions. But I think they missed the chance to try to make the season premiere special. You could’ve just done the rematch where Nikki invoked a rematch clause this Sunday. Doing screwy finishes with these ladies does not add to athletic aura the you trying to instill with your marketing. It just makes them seem like catty and less than. You can talk the talk but sometimes you need to walk the walk.

It’s one of the things that’s really strange to me. I know not a lot of people admit to watching Total Divas but I will.. The main reason on the viewer of that program is I want to see how WWE portrayed their women to an outside audience. This past week’s episode son Nikki questioned herself regarding her future and that whether she wanted to stay Divas Champion. The pressure had gotten to the “Fearless” leader of the Bella army. This is juxtaposed to the arrogant and over-the-top Nikki on WWE television. One would think that WWE want to get a consistent character throughout all the programming. And that may be the problem these women themselves are different than the characters they are betraying. How much better with this feud have been if they did a heart-to-heart interview with Nikki Bella saying how much the pressure has gotten to her after a year of defending the title. This would play off the episode of Total Divas and make that show more valuable for those that want to understand the characters better. I said this on the Walkabout yesterday but WWE needs to use the programming outlets, WWE Network and otherwise to really utilize these personalities.

Speaking of utilizing personalities, even though WWE did a great job highlighting to younger fans Sting’s importance over time. I thought the episode really did not showcase The Icon’s best qualities. There needs to be something more to his entrance is very sterile. Maybe they just need to have the music cue, the video hit, the lights go out and and he show up in the ring, because seeing him come down the ramp seems like something was missing. Not to mention the matches he was then were not exactly the greatest. I’m not delusional a 50+-year-old Sting can’t do what use to but the booking of all this felt really lackluster. I’m guessing when we look at the overall numbers this week’s show won’t be the ratings that WWE was hoping for. Ironically, it felt like an episode of WCW Monday Nitro in a weird way where nothing really gets settled.

John Cena and Sheamus did their best to really make a great match but it felt like it was just there. As was were a lot of the matches. Nothing really felt like it had weight.

WWE did not put the best foot forward if they were planning on staying off the juggernaut that is the NFL. Truth be told, three hours is a long time to try to keep people’s attention but when you call something a season premiere you expect a little bit more forethought and effort. We as fans know that more often than not the night after Wrestlemania is really when the new season begins. This past summer it seemed like the night after SummerSlam was the same way. But last night’s Raw was no season premiere.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.