Alternative Booking: RAW

Sept 27, 2013

There has been a lot of talk about this past week's Monday Night RAW and the "absurd" 11-3 match where the baby face team had the 8 man advantage. While I agree that at face value this does seem absurd, you do have to admit it was an exciting match and The Shield did come off very strong in it. In addition to that Ziggler got a great reaction when he pinned Ambrose, as did the Usos when they pinned Reigns, and of course the crowd went nuts for Daniel Bryan when he won the match pinning Seth Rollins. So with 7 people seemingly coming off well in the end and the crowd going nuts, was it really that dumb?

Oddly enough my biggest problem with the booking of this match wasn't the lopsidedness, but trying to understanding why Hunter and Steph would book it. They have been tyrants to the baby faces and The Shield has been their loyal servants, so why set up a match that rewards the people who disobey you while punishing those who have obeyed?

I doubt I will ever get their answer but I thought it would be fun to pitch an alternative booking to Monday night that could explain quite easily. It only requires the tiniest of adjustments and I think it would not only explain why the match was booked but build more intrigue throughout the show and IMO get even more people over in the Main Event. The only adjustments my booking alternative needs are just a minor adjustment to the match announcement, the addition of a couple short back stage segments, and some fine tuning to the commentary.

The key to my opening segment is Hunter and Steph coming off a little less sincere in their attempts to "be fair" in making this match as a reward to the faces for their stepping up last week, and more of a focus being put on them pointing out that these guys should also want to be the face of the company, rather than just backing Daniel Bryan. The Sheild should also look a little more upset about being put in this position. I would also have had the Announcers debating the motivation behind booking this match, with JBL touting this as proof that Hunter and Steph are fair and only looking out for the good of the company, while Cole and Lawler are a little more sceptical.

From here I'd come back from break with the Sheild backstage upset and asking Hunter or Steph what the hell they are thinking. In response they would say, don't worry we always do what's best for business, trust us. Up next was the Kofi match with ADR and this plays into my story perfectly. As soon as Kofi comes out for his match Cole or Lawler needs to be a little outraged and question why Kofi has to wrestle before the main event. JBL could "defend" the decision by saying that perhaps Maddox had already booked some matches for RAW that need to be honored and he doubts this had anything to do with Hunter and Steph. After Kofi gets beat and has his arm destroyed by ADR Cole could question if Kofi will even be able to come back for the Main Event.

With the following Prime Time Players and RVD matches the announcers become more outraged that this can't be a coincidence all the guys on the baby face side of the Main Event are having to wrestle earlier on the show, and with all of them getting destroyed and laid out, speculate that there may not be many of them left to fight in the Main Event. After a couple of these matches you can again show the Shield backstage where they are now understanding what HHH and Steph said about trusting them. Later in the show when it is clear that only some of the faces are fighting twice you cut to the back and have the guys who haven't fought yet together back stage and have Booker show up to further stir the pot, pushing the "You can make friends in this business or you can make Money" and push to these guys that they should be thinking about becoming the face of the company themselves rather than trying to cover Daniel Bryan's back, and being the guy standing tall at the end scoring the winning pinfall could go a long way in moving into the title picture.

The story of the show becomes that while Hunter and Steph profess to be fair by rewarding the face team with this 11-3 match, in truth they "might be" setting them up to fail by taking as many members of the team out as they can first while also trying to spark dissension in the ranks with those who will be left. This story would need to be gotten across with debate and discussion at the desk between Cole and JBL. You could also add in backstage segments with the doctor evaluating RVD and Kofi putting over their injuries to add further doubt that they will be able to compete.

Now come Main Event time the Shield comes out first so they can do the thing with Dustin and Cody. Then the fresh Baby Faces come out and JBL explaining that it's a shame that Kofi, The Prime Time Players, and RVD won't be able to compete in the match but the faces still have a 7 on 3 advantage. With Cole countering that they only have the advantage if they can work together and that is far from a given after what Steph and Booker said about becoming the face of WWE.

You then have the ring entrances of the remaining faces with a long pause before the match actually starts to make it feel like the entrances are over, then you hit the Prime Time Players music for a surprise pop that despite being laid out earlier they are manning up to fight. You then do Kofi's music for his entrance and finally RVD each selling their injuries but putting over that they are risking further injury and coming out here at way less than 100%. The announcers need to really put this over to help get them over as bucking the odds. By making this a big deal each of these guys get over more for being extra tough and going the extra mile to foil HHH and Steph's "plan" to eliminate them from the match. You can do the eliminations exactly the same way with just more emphasis being put on the existing injuries to lessen the damage of getting beat twice on one show.

You now have one more story to tell because once it gets down to just Seth Rollins, you again have the announcers sell the story of dissension with JBL pushing the possibility of the remaining faces turning on each other because each guy should want to score the deciding fall to help their chances of becoming the face of the WWE and perhaps getting consideration for a shot at the vacant WWE title. This would play into the spot they did where all of the faces looked at each other and then separated to the 4 corners, JBL could pop, saying he knew it, ego gets the best of everyone, and to succeed in this industry you've got to put ME first. Then when they all get in together and work together, and the crowd erupts and the line that Cole hit of "it looks like Daniel Bryan has emerged as a locker room leader" makes a whole lot more sense because the office tried to turn the locker room against each other but Daniel Bryan kept them together and they all followed his lead on to victory.

It's pretty much the exact same show, I just think my way comes off making a bit more sense, protects more of the baby faces, and tells a clearer more compelling story throughout the show.

That's my 2 cents,
Lance Storm

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