It’s no secret that WWE is feeling the hit of the return of football on Monday nights. The last few weeks have not had the greatest in numbers for the WWE not just from the NFL but the returning television season. And it definitely seems like Vince and crew called an audible because the format was shuffled to make the opening and closing segment stronger in hopes to keep viewers watching until the end.

Was that a success? I guess I’m going to play Tuesday morning quarterback and give you my thoughts.

WWE definitely came on the box strong having John Cena, The New Day and the Dudleys kickoff the show. Xavier Woods once again proved why he is so great. Awesome interplay between Cena and Woods. Not the best match of the US Open Challenge series but still entertaining. I applaud WWE for keeping the Tag Team Champions strong. Adding the Dudleys in a six man tag match really made the first hour strong.

This of course is followed up by the next chapter of The Divas Revolution. While I do like the turn of Paige I think putting them in Miz TV was the wrong thing to do? Then following up with a six person tag against Team Bella felt strange. I understand the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but why would be the Anti-Diva even agreed to team with her ungrateful former comrades? I would’ve just had Paige sitting on the steps or tagging in every opportunity she could proving that she was superior to Charlotte and Nikki Bella

And if I’m being honest why has WWE forgotten the tension between Nikki Bella, Brie and Alicia Fox for her being tyrannical regarding her title match celebration that went awry. A lot of problems with the Divas is the switch them on and off willy-nilly. It’s one of the things that makes the WWE main roster so much different than their NXT counterparts.

Seth Rollins and Kane who look to be the WWE Title match for Hell in a Cell but they are playing second fiddle to Brock Lesnar versus Undertaker. Raw was no exception as the two adversaries played out a story line with an HR rep trying to determine The Director of Operations was unfit to be in charge. The shenanigans culminated in the middle of the show not in the main event segment as you may expect. I think Kane continues to do well in the role of the vengeful Big Red Machine. Even though I thought it was a little cheesy the segment which saw the Jekyll and Hyde transformation of The Demon was a cool moment. It was something reminiscent of Michael Myers and Halloween. While I think Rollins should have a higher prominence than this on the show.

So with Cena in the opening segment, the Divas Revolution out-of-the-way and Rollins/Kane in the middle of the show, what was the main event? The answer simply was Roman Reigns versus Bray Wyatt in what was said to be the final encounter one-on-one. And to be honest the match was worthy of the spot given what they did to close out the show. The problem is the feud itself has not been given the prominence to warrant to the general audience why these guys deserve the spot over Rollins, Cena, Owens or others. This is an indictment more on the WWE machine than the performers themselves. I’m sure that WWE thought the craziness would keep people from changing the channel. Or if I’m being a conspiracy theorist, WWE knew that the football game would take priority and a lot of yours minds so they put Reigns and Wyatt in that spot so they can blame the ratings on them.

They also put over Braun Stroman and Luke Harper with a decisive win over The Primetime Players. I’m not sure what the next step in this feud will be. I’m guessing it’s going to be six man war in a Cell match with Reigns and Ambrose teaming with Orton against the Wyatt family. That can be interesting if it happens. And for once the Cell would make sense.

WWE also tried to get over this Saturday’s MSG show by bringing in Paul Heyman but to be honest the segment wasn’t the greatest. Heyman did his job in hyping the match but Big Show coming across as a monster once again seems disingenuous. I like that the playing into the two men history in the World’s Most Famous Arena. It’s almost like they’re doing 2002 storyline in reverse with Big Show causing doubt in the advocate. In Brock Lesnar’s original run he fought the Undertaker in Hell In a Cell destroying himself making him susceptible to losing the WWE Title at the time to the Giant which led Heyman to turn on Brock. But in 2015 does anybody believe Heyman would turn on Lesnar knowing their history.

I am very surprised that WWE did not announce any more matches last night on Raw. These network specials are going to be the make or break for their over-the-top network. The Beast in the East proved that in ring specials are going to be the driving factor for the subscriber base going forward.

Everyone else on this week’s Raw felt like also-rans, Kevin Owens, Ryback and Dolph and the Bulgarian brute were relegated in a nothing segment while Barrett returns to get revenge on both Neville and Stardust. The middle of the show felt like the last that WWE cared about. Which is a shame everybody worked hard.

I started this article by comparing last night to a football coach planning out a gridiron showdown. The trouble is WWE doesn’t review footage and call plays the make those on the field look the best they could possibly look and score some real points on the board. Vince has lost his Midas touch in a lot of ways and calling an audible really showcase the problems on the current television product for the main roster.

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.