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By Mike Johnson on 2021-06-08 10:34:00

One of the ongoing narratives about Monday Night Raw in recent weeks is that the show is a constant loop where rematches and characters seem to happen over and over, this strange nexus of content that takes a step forward and a step backwards.  When you compare the show to Friday Night Smackdown, WWE NXT and even AEW, it's not an unfair assessment in the least.

Last night's episode ended with Shayna Baszler disrespecting Alexa Bliss' demented doll Lilly.  Any horror fan who has ever seen Child's Play or Annabelle knows this will not end well for Baszler, as the former MMA fighter was tormented by exploding pyro, falling set pieces and more, her usual smug demeanor melting away into near-Scream Queen fear.  Baszler locks herself in a room (why she would not seek to escape the building, I have zero idea, but what victim makes smart choices in a Friday the 13th film?), only to find out that she's locked herself in with Lilly, who apparently is about to force Baszler to descend into the mouth of madness.  END SCENE.

It was a strange, cinematic way to end Raw and lots of readers wrote bemoaning the finish.  Was it bad?  If you wanted pro wrestling to end your pro wrestling show, of course it was.  If you expect spectacle in your WWE, you may be a little more amenable.  As someone has watched horror films directed by everyone from Tobe Hooper to Wes Craven to JR Bookwalter, I knew what they were going for here and while it was certainly out of place for WWE, you can't argue it wasn't something different.

I've seen some readers complain this ruins the women's division.  I tend to disagree.  Was there a title belt blemished by this?  No.  Did The Boogeyman ruin the entirety of the men's division when he would worm someone?  Of course not.  There's going to be good and bad in all wrestling booking and when you experiment and do something off the wall, you are going to entertain some and turn others off.   Whether this did that or not remains to be seen, but WWE had to know this wasn't going to fly with the more die-hard of fans, but still went with it. 

I don't think in a world where Bianca Belair is feuding with Bayley and where Nikki Cross is actually getting, you know, - used! - this is the destruction of the women's division.  I'm personally far more annoyed by the booking of some of the other talents on Raw of late, including Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley, if we are going to be honest.  I was far more offended when James Ellsworth was responsible for the finish of the first-ever Women's Money in the Bank match!  You can have different types of characters in the division.  Not everyone can or should be just wrestlers trying to wrestle.

To me, the most important thing in any story or angle is the follow-up, something that WWE on Raw does not always nail.  If Lilly the crazy doll attacked Shayna Baszler, what are the ramifications to that?

*Is Baszler now under Lilly or Alexa's spell?

*Is Baszler, who's always been a bad-ass now going to show she's fearful or under some sort of PTSD?

*Are we going to learn that Nia Jax and Alexa were in cahoots the entire time?

*Is Baszler going to have disappeared so we have a mystery of exactly what happened when Raw went off the air?

*Is Lilly the doll going to reveal she's come to life with a new performer playing some demented character that Alexa is going to manage?

*Will Alexa reveal this was all a ruse to get to Baszler for some sin Baszler commited that we aren't yet aware of?

*Are we going full demonic possession with Alexa and is Jim Mitchell about to pop his dead out a door?

Or, Will Shayna show up on Raw Monday with no ill effect of anything that happened, at all, and dismiss it with a line in a promo after a week of fans wondering what happened?

The latter, unfortunately, could very well be where all this is heading.  After all, we've seen lots of talents get beaten down or lose major matches and show up the next day, smiling and going through their ring entrance routines as if nothing ever happened.  Hell, The Miz and John Morrison were attacked by zombies and as silly as it was to write that, it's like nothing happened, right?

Last night, Shayna Baszler had A Nightmare on Raw Street...and if next week, it's as if nothing ever happened, well that's the 2021 WWE incarnation of some bad horror film, the type that brings the audience in with a great trailer or great artwork on the poster or DVD and then, delivers a big old goose egg instead, leaving everyone who wanted a good scare let down instead, now a lot of less willing to invest the next time around.

The last thing Raw needs is yet another goose egg on yet another week, because then the ending of Raw last night was indeed terrible, because that means no matter who was behind the conjuring of this scene, it was all for nothing...just another wasted effort in the Monday Night Vortex. 

The last thing they need is for fans to be let down, so instead, let's hope that whatever direction this goes in, there's an actual character evolution and storyline twist here, not just an illusion that fades away the second the lights get turned back on in the darkened room....

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