The ever-outspoken Corey Graves took to his WWE After The Bell podcast this week to address one of his biggest gripes with the current product. According to Graves, WWE needs to lighten up on their constant booking of rematches.
“I am rematched to death – I’m going to tell you what I mean,” Graves began. “It seems like week, after week, after week we see rematches ad nauseam. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not tired of seeing any of these superstars, but I am tired of seeing the same matches over, and over, and over again.
“Just at the top of my head we see The Viking Raiders, who I am a huge fan of. The OC, who I am also a huge fan of. How many times over the past few months have we seen that match? We saw it again at TLC. I went on Twitter two weeks ago and praised Humberto Carrillo versus Andrade because it was awesome. I am all for seeing more of it, but that doesn’t mean in successive weeks. We saw it again at the TLC Kick-Off Show. Yes, it was awesome again, and it appears after what went down on Monday Night Raw this week that we are going to see it again.”
Graves thinks that a rivalry should have it’s climactic match and then allow the two superstars involved to move on to new opponents. This way, more stars get an opportunity to shine and audiences are granted new match ups more often.
“Give me a little space. I mean, why do we need rematches all the time? Why can’t somebody just win and somebody just lose and move on? We have got a lot of talent on all of our rosters,” Graves said. “We have so many superstars waiting to shine and sometimes that can happen with different opponents. We got rid of the automatic title rematches last year sometime, I get that. You don’t need to necessarily headline two pay per views with the same match-up, but why doesn’t that apply to the rest of the roster? That’s not just something that happens on Monday Night Raw, on SmackDown.”
Graves believes that the rematch between New Day and The Revival at TLC was entertaining because the ladder match stipulation added unique spots for both teams to shine. He misses past eras of WWE TV where pay per views felt like a reset of sorts for new opponents, new stories, and new directions for fans to go.
“I am a huge fan of New Day and of The Revival. They put on awesome matches all the time; luckily, at the TLC pay per view they added a new wrinkle in that the ladder match was a tag title match which gave it a different element and a different look, but I don’t want to see it again next week,” Graves admitted. “I want to see The Revival, I want to see The New Day, I want to see The OC and I want to see The Viking Raiders, but I don’t want to see them against the same opponents that they had last week, or the week before that, or the month before that. It’s gotten to the point where a lot of these matches, even these pay per views, start to feel like place holders. There’s nothing must-see. Granted, maybe I am old school. Maybe I have that mentality because when I grew up there was an issue at least from pay per view to pay per view, and then generally the pay per view would mark a pivot point.
“It would move on to something different; different opponents, different stories, different matchups and it felt fresh,” Graves continued. “I understand that there is a ton of time to fill. We churn out so much content every week, you’re going to have inevitable rematches. You can’t have fresh matchups every single week, but give me a week in between. I feel like I am trapped in this weird bubble where whoever your opponent is for that period of time is the only person that exists on the WWE roster to you and it just feels weird. It’s not boring because the matches are good, but it just doesn’t feel important.”
Graves thinks it’s gotten so exhausting watching rematches that even a match as compelling as Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles suffers from being seen too many times before.
“For God’s sake, it’s gotten to the point where AJ Styles and Randy Orton, who are arguably the two best superstars from bell to bell that we have. Randy is one of the all-time greats and dare I say AJ Styles is in that conversation too,” Graves said. “We saw their match at WrestleMania, yes it was awesome. We have seen them interacting in six-man, eight-man’s, whatever it is. They are constantly on the opposing side of one another, so when they have another awesome match like they had on Monday Night Raw nothing against them but it just doesn’t feel important. When two stars of that caliber do battle I feel like it should mean something, not just hey, we know it’s going to be a good match.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.