|This excellent match was wasted on lazy booking|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
More specifically, the terrible decisions at the ends of these matches obscured monumental feats. Cesaro and Sheamus running the false tag finish in the proper show opening match felt electric and unique on its own, but when one thinks about how their story played out since the stillborn end of their Best of Seven Series, it was the perfect denouement to their climactic bar brawl scene where they first realized that they were meant to
But the fact that other notes were lost to the overwhelming inertia towards tired decision making in the writers' room or more pointedly in Vince McMahon's office plays into the recurring theme that WWE brass think they are the stars and thus shut its stars out in the pouring rain for their efforts. Sami Zayn's Herculean feat of going the distance with Braun Strowman is blunted by the insistence of Jinny Couture's Bizzaro-World Counterpart, Mick Foley as the main actor in the narrative. Very real commentary on using sex as a weapon is decimated when the supposed good guys, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, begin the story by very really sexually harassing a married woman. The beauty of the overtime period, with Sasha Banks' face bloodied in war against her mortal rival, feels more like horrific déjà vu because it was the third verse, same as the first.
But the ending of the show will look the most egregious because it's the main event. People tend to remember main events and endings more clearly because those are the last things people tend to see, and once again, WWE treated the closing moments of something it expects people to pay extra money for the same as it ends its two flagship shows. In the pre-Network era, this practice was far more egregious because of price point, but even with the $40 (actually more since a Network subscriber gets WAY more for the $9.99 price point than the PPV but I digress) discount, ending a main event match, especially one where Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens put in work the way that it might have ended on television is still inexcusable.
Expecting WWE to change its spots as long as Vince McMahon is still alive is a foolish endeavor, and as long as the wrestling is good, these special events will remain decent viewing, if not required. Smackdown to a lesser extent and NXT to a greater one still have the kind of return on investment that one might expect, but for the amount of time required to put into RAW on a monthly basis before each of these shows, one shouldn't have to put up with more recursive storytelling when some kind of satisfactory payoff is expected somewhere on the card. At this point, however, wanting something different on RAW is shouting into the Abyss.