Vince McMahon came out to Monday Night Raw, late in 2018, along with his family (Stephanie, Shane-o-Mac and Triple H) and declared that after Baron Corbin tanked the ratings as GM [honestly hysterical to blame your company failings on a fictional character], there would be a new GM in charge. That GM has made a ton of God-awful decisions, causing ratings to completely nosedive, apathetic crowds, and 20th Century FOX to go into a full-on panic. That GM has done a horrible job. That GM, of course as famously stated on Monday Night Raw…is you.
Technically me, also. But I didn’t vote for your shitty ideas.
So first, time for “Cowboy” Bob to diagnose the patient before prescribing the good ol’ shot o’ whiskey to pour on it to fix it.
Who am I? I’m “Cowboy” Bob, that’s who. I follow a trajectory as a pro wrestling fan that is similar to many:
I followed the product religiously from a 6 year old Hulkamaniac crying over, yet finally accepting, his loss to the Ultimate Warrior to a 17 year old checking my beeper for anyone who just saw Triple H interrupt Stephanie’s wedding. I then left the product for about 15 years, until hitting the age of 32, realizing I suddenly didn’t care what anyone thought of my love for oiled up musclemen fighting because one interrupted the other on a microphone, and saying “ah fuck it, I’m ordering the Royal Rumble, who’s going to stop me?”
I’m not a socially bankrupt neckbeard. I’m not “woke”. And I don’t sit around breathlessly awaiting gifs of who Tetsuya Naito faced for the NJPW Caucasian Championship (that’s basically what their US title is, right?).
I have a cursory awareness of what’s outside of WWE, and Good Will Hunting-esque photographic memory of WWE’s history (I caught up on all of the years I missed).
So while I was enthralled with the product upon my return at Royal Rumble 2015 (“How are they going to sell the crowd on this Roman Reigns guy?” Yikes.), I too, admit, that it’s now become nearly unwatchable. So what did you do wrong as GM?
The Kofi Problem
Kofi Kingston is, by the “Cowboy” Bob Scale, the worst WWE Champion in the history of the company.
I take no joy in saying this. Kofi Kingston is a great worker, absolutely deserves the respect and spot he achieved over the years, and did a great job. However, I have long judged wrestlers by the “Cowboy” Bob Scale, which is very simple: It’s a 1-10 scale on Look, Promo and In-Ring Ability. Some say that some guy (Bert Heart, something like that?) came up with it, but trust me, it was good ol’ “Cowboy” Bob.
In my view, a wrestler needs at least a score of 23 overall to be the world champion. Where do I arrive at this? I believe you need an average of an 8 in two categories, and I’ll let you slide with a 7 in a 3rd.
Kofi Kingston gets a 2 for Look, a 4 for Promo and a 6 for In-Ring ability, for a paltry score of 12.
Look – He’s a skinny dude with an incredibly weird chest who looks like he weighs a couple pounds north of Drake Maverick.
Promo – All he has is Bay-BEEEEEEEEEEEE and “blah blah I fought my way to earn this and life is crazy, man!” (admittedly a fault of WWE’s awful babyface booking in general)
In-Ring – He’s a good worker capable of some fun spots.
I know what you’re saying! B-b-but muh Jinder Mahal!
While I can defend the Modern Day Maharaja all day, he still beats Kofi as he receives an 8 for Look (kids really should look into steroids)…
…a 5 for promo, and a 3 for In-Ring Ability. That’s a 16. Not World Champ-worthy either, but the dude was a jobber for life (not even to the stars! Just a straight-up jobber!) and gave his all.
The simple truth is, Kofi Kingston was a mid-carder for 11 years for a reason. He’s a good worker with a bland personality. Which is fine! He fits in perfectly with New Day.
New Day is one of the most inspirational acts in wrestling history. Three dudes going nowhere who, individually, had no future, but collectively, were the perfect mesh of talents and personalities.
Xavier Woods is a brilliant mic specialist, but has no presence in the ring. Big E has the look and personality, but doesn’t quite have the match storytelling ability. Kofi has the in-ring down, but can’t speak. (For the record, if I had to push one of New Day to the title, I think Big E is the logical choice, but again, this is your fault as GM, not mine.)
The WWE champion sets the tone for the entire product. You can take Kofi and put him over arguably the best character in the entire company (Daniel Bryan and his hemp belt not getting a 1,000 day reign was criminal), have him beat poor Kevin Owens over and over, and have Michael Cole scream “KOFI IS A LEGITIMATE CHAMPION!!!” at the top of his effeminate lungs for 5 hours a week if you want to, but the people aren’t as dumb as you think.
This is a joke, and the crowd hasn’t turned on it yet because Kofi legit seems like a good dude, and they don’t want to be rude about it.
Whiney, lecturey Daniel Bryan and his stupid hemp belt should be the champ RIGHT now.
The Man Hit Her Peak In December And You Couldn’t Just Admit It
I’m going to cut you a little slack on this one. When Becky Lynch took a legit punch in the nose from Nia on the Raw before Survivor Series, I too saw dollar signs. The iconic image of Becky with blood running down her face after triumphantly invading Raw (now you get to see Smackdown stars invade every week, thanks to the WildCard Rule!) will go down in history with Austin bleeding during the Sharpshooter and James Ellsworth winning the Money in the Bank.
Then you, WWE and society went off the rails. WWE clearly saw the interest for Becky vs Ronda go through the roof. With no Roman and no Cena, and an international superstar in Ronda, this seemed like the no-brainer Mania main event. The problem is, we still had 5 months to go, my attention span isn’t what it was in 1993, it was obvious even to people who still think the Montreal Screwjob was a shoot that Becky would get herself in the match, and the whole feud peaked in December. Even by January, Becky’s Royal Rumble win was perfunctory. It was what it was.
The problem, besides running out of steam, and similar to The Kofi Problem, is that Becky Lynch is also basically a mid-carder. On the “Cowboy” Bob scale, I’ll give her a 7 for promo (huge improvement from a year ago!) a 5 for Look and a 5 for in-ring ability.
A “Cowboy” score of 17, which is nothing to sneeze at for sure, but not setting the world on fire.
Becky faces a very similar problem to Kofi. When we tune into Raw, it’s just blatantly obvious that Charlotte Flair is the star. And it’s also painfully apparent that newcomer Lacey Evans is better than Becky in every conceivable way.
I know this sounds harsh to Becky, but this is also WWE’s problem where babyfaces are unable to give you any reason to cheer them besides “Hey, at least I’m not that person!”, and the heel is obviously the more compelling character. There’s no defense for this, as Stone Cold was gleefully stunning his own tag partners and The Rock was tossing t-shirts over interviewer’s faces and bullying them over whether they ate Poontang Pie or Strudel for years and were deservedly the darlings of the industry.
Becky’s strides from last year – forgettable mid-carder on the preshow where she belongs – to a legitimately entertaining wrestler is admirable, but this is not who should be at the top of the company. And with both belts?! C’mon, mofos.
You Worked Yourself Into a Shoot Over Brock Lesnar
Wahhhhhhhhh, Brock Lesnar isn’t around to defend the Universal title! Brock doesn’t job! Brock doesn’t sell! Brock can’t use the Money in the Bank like a boombox from the early 90’s!
I hope you’re happy. First of all, Brock Lesnar, with a 10 for Look, 7 for Promo and 10 for In-Ring, at a score of 27 on the “Cowboy” Bob Scale, is one of the greatest champions in the history of our great legitimate sport. With a legitimate bad-ass pedigree, the look of a boss from a God Of War game and a wholly unique, brutal style that makes even casuals wonder if he’s purposely trying to hurt somebody, this is the greatest act pro wrestling has seen since Hollywood Hogan was arguing with old ladies in the front row.
Brock not showing up for months makes the title MORE valuable. Brock not selling for every scrub you want on a lunchbox makes the title MORE valuable. Brock not jobbing clean to your precious NXT call-ups makes the title MORE valuable.
This is a concept that wrestling fans don’t ever grasp. Remember when Kevin Owens was called up back in 2015 and shockingly picked up a clean pinfall over John Cena, causing the entire wrestling community to lose their shit?
The entire reason that moment meant anything is because John Cena doesn’t lose to just anybody. This is pro wrestling. People are built up to eventually put over somebody new, even if it’s multiple years later.
Brock was the best thing that ever happened to the WWE title, and you ruined it by forcing WWE’s hand to get the belt off of him. Now we have Seth Rollins (admittedly a worthy champ at a score of 23 CB) giving tedious babyface promos and trying to look tough by calling out a dude he had to kick in the balls 3 times to steal the title while looking like Roman Reigns’ little brother out there.
Okay Fine, You Admit You Messed Up. Now What?
I also listened to the Jon Moxley interview on Talk Is Jericho, but I am a tad skeptical.
As evidenced by my quick throwaway line about the Montreal Screwjob being a work, I simply don’t believe a word that comes out of any of these carnies’ mouths.
While Moxley’s diatribe on the creative team and Vince McMahon’s process is fascinating, it’s also a litttttttttttle too close to the wet dream fantasy that wrestling fans have as they all believe that every dumbass idea is from Vince McMahon (yeah, that complete moron that created a billion dollar company and bought his competition) and that every great idea is from Triple H.
Maybe that is the case, but we have no idea and assuming so is silly. Would it shock me if Moxley fully understood what the internet believes, and took full advantage by spoonfeeding them exactly what they want to hear? Not at all.
However, Vince’s issues aside, he tried to listen to you. He took your career mid-carders, along with Wrestling Buddy-sized Roman and gave you not 1 but three storybook “Wrestlemania Moments”.
Did he get rewarded with high ratings and critical praise? Nope. Surprise, surprise, he put 3 people at the top who didn’t belong there, and the product fell off a cliff. If Vince doesn’t know what he’s doing, none of you certainly do either.
Raw has to change, and I will detail out why in a new post, but what is the first step in the turnaround process?
Undoing the damage that you did.