Re: **The Official Raw Ratings Thread** (Discuss Ratings In Here)
They need JR back signing talent and they need Heyman back developing talent. Or at least suitable replacements for each guy. Vince needs to chill out and either decide to focus on white whales like the WWE Network and where the next Wrestlemania will be and leave the week-to-week, month-to-month product to those who aren't burned out and indecisive as hell or at least no longer hold such singular sway over everything. We'll probably never know how many potentially arresting angles, storylines, characters, etceteras, were about to be launched and/or continued strongly but were killed off in the crib by Vince McMahon. His obsession over ratings every single week is a long-term detriment. It's almost cruelly hilarious that after all of his massaging of the product, all of his moves, all of his big "gets" and realized dreams, he's staring at 4.6 million viewers tuning in for the first March Raw a month before Wrestlemania. Maybe it would have been better to stick it out with rough ratings six months ago rather than allow the Summer of Punk/"Conspiracy" arc to mutate into an unwieldy monster, or not opt to needlessly have ADR and Cena play hot potato with your most coveted prize back then. The writers are guilty, too, though. Not to brag but I could literally think up a dramatically better scenario for Rock involving himself in the Cena/Awesome Truth struggle in the fall standing on my head and given 30 seconds to pull it out of my ass than WWE creative did, and I know for a fact a number of posters here could, too. Of course, when you have a grievously flawed angle, it becomes difficult to branch out of that. Awesome Truth/Cena never made any sense because the former heel tag team was at the center of the "Conspiracy" which was never paid off. I can only guess how many wrestling fans felt burned by the entire storyline, and the awkward transition into Survivor Series with Punk meekly going back to the original post-Summerslam arc of Del Rio stealing the championship from him as Cena dealt with Awesome Truth (why? what was the connection between them, Laurinaitis and Del Rio?) leading to Rock returning doubtless hurt everything that grew out of it.
But I agree with Starbuck and Brye. The commentary issue is continually underrated as a source of product devastation. I miss the Matt Striker on commentary on Smackdown who would do his best to get guys over. Brye's right, WWE's announcing heirarchy is ass-backward, with the most unhelpful announcer placed as the irreplaceable pinnacle and the hungriest, best guys made into outcasts stationed on NXT and Superstars. All the while Josh Matthews--who once, long ago (about a year and a half ago or less), demonstrated a hunger, willingness to be enthusiastic and present his own attitude, characteristics and desire to put the talent over while having a natural chemistry with Michael Cole--has been quickly molded into boring, cog-in-the-machine Straight Man for Cole. Lawler's expiration date is very far back in the rear view mirror. Why he's still where he is remains a mystery to me.
I also want to see the more notable talent in street clothes again. As with costuming in a film, the clothes can make the man; it's so easy to translate what a character is all about when you see them wear what they would wear away from the ring rather than their wrestling gear. That was a beautiful trademark of the Batista heel run, as he and WWE came up with some fabulous wardrobe choices that gave the audience an open window through which you could be instantly informed from where he was coming. Having your world champions show up in their street clothes, for instance, with the full knowledge that they aren't competing on Raw or Smackdown this week, sheds light on who they are, makes them appear to be important and does not overexpose them in wrestling matches every single week. CM Punk and especially Daniel Bryan could certainly use that sort of treatment going into Wrestlemania. Sheamus with that unique look away from the ring back around the time of his feud with Triple H allowed the audience to understand him better, too, and while that look would probably be rightly modified today as a face, it couldn't harm him any, either.
There are a bunch of individuals on the roster who have more than enough talent. In many instances, it comes down to being treated like stars by WWE. Possessing a functional midcard would be an immense improvement, too. Take Wade Barrett on Smackdown in 2011. Rather than have him slowly climb up the ranks of the Smackdown midcard, he practically went from "jobber" one week to conveyor of the "Barrett Barrage" the next. Within three weeks, he was suddenly in a match with Smackdown's top face at the time, Randy Orton. And we were all supposed to take him seriously as a threat, even though all he'd done in the interim was defeat Justin Gabriel a week after taking a tag team loss to him, and Daniel Bryan, who at the time was rarely even on Smackdown to begin with. Why? No substantial midcard.