WWE’s “Prodigal Son” Shane McMahon returned on Raw after a long hiatus. Before this week’s episode of Raw, McMahon had not appeared on air in any WWE programming in 2020. McMahon went on to introduce a shoot wrestling-styled concept named ‘Raw Underground’.
WWE announced Shane’s return earlier, in what has been to raise ratings after a record low. NBA and Major League Baseball’s return has taken WWE to a corner. Monday Night Raw’s third hour was never a success to begin with. Thus, McMahon’s announcement of a shoot style ‘underground’ show on top of the third hour is, in WWE’s eyes, a way to garner more ratings.
When the ‘show’ was introduced, it certainly looked inspired from Fight Club. ‘Raw Underground’ as Shane calls it, seems to be a show with ropeless pseudo-ring, a lot of brawlers and a lot of brawl. It certainly raised some eyebrows, as it is vastly different from the usual dose of WWE programming.
The the first Raw Underground match consisted of Dabba Kato fighting in a worked-shoot-style brawl against an unnamed opponent. WWE has also been hinting the arrival of a new faction.
On social media, fans expressed interest in the new concept, without expecting much from it. To some old time fans, though, the concept resulted in a recall of the infamous Brawl-for-all, a shoot wrestling concept where Bart Gunn upset favourite Steve Williams, wrestlers suffered injuries, and the reward for winning the tournament was Bart Gunn being brutalized by Butterbean at Wrestlemania.
‘Raw Underground’ is a McMahon plan to scale up ratings
Investors questioned Vince McMahon on the lack of ratings and new stars in Q2 2020 Earnings meeting. “What insight do you have and what do you believe is behind the softness? What’s the strategy to turn the ratings around in the near term, and longer term,” Curry Baker asked about the ratings.
“The audience is integral to the success of our programming,” said Vince, though he went on to explain that WWE may need “more compelling characters, compelling storylines and more content to focus on personalities and content outside of the ring.” Shane McMahon’s ‘Raw Underground’ may be a way to create more focus on characterization and storylines.
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