As a general rule, I am all for being a bit controversial. I like art forms (be it music, wrestling, literature or film) that push the boat out and shock. However, I do think there is a line and I think WWE may have crossed it in the final segment on RAW this week.
Invoking the death of Reid Flair was a stupid moment. It was a stupid moment because it didn’t actually achieve anything. In days gone by it may have led to heat on Paige but in this day and age it leads to heat on the company. It leads to people questioning why this has been brought up, whose idea it was and who was asked about it beforehand. It just causes problems. It doesn’t achieve anything except making everyone look bad.
It doesn’t help of course that in the last few days both Reid’s mother and his father have come out saying they knew nothing about the segment. That Ric, a man who is wrestling personified and is still contracted to the WWE, wasn’t asked about it. Is disgraceful. That is his son and they are using a throwaway comment about his death to put heat on a poorly put together feud.
Which in some ways is what makes this all the more frustrating. Two women wrestlers closing Raw should have been huge. Paige going full badass heel (which she should have been a long time ago) should have been huge. This should have meant something. Instead, WWE have forgotten that to make this special you need to do the legwork. The women made their way to the main event of NXT because they consistently stole the show. They weren’t just placed there in order to make a point.
When Roddy Piper did something controversial it meant something. When Marilyn Manson did something controversial it meant something. When Hunter S. Thompson did something controversial it meant something. When Paige invoked the name of a young man not that long in his grave, I don’t think it meant fuck all. That’s why this angle didn’t work. It’s not because I’m squeamish or because Charlotte’s promo before that was, to be honest, a bit pish. It was because there was no reason for it. These women are talented enough to be the best without relying on shock tactics and this was one tactic that went twenty steps too far.