There’s been a huge reaction over the booking for the match between Natalya and Charlotte from last Monday’s Raw. As it was described in this week’s Wrestling Observer, “You could seriously have a monkey with a lobotomy in charge of creative and he’d make a smarter call than this.”
If you didn’t see the show or see our report in Tuesday’s Roundup, Natalya got the victory over the NXT Women’s Champion in less than three minutes when she reversed a figure-four attempt into a cradle for the pin. The contest was Charlotte’s debut on Raw and was meant to be an advertisement for the titleholder’s defence against Sasha Banks on tonight’s live NXT: R Evolution show. Quite how Charlotte getting pinned in a short contest against the woman who she beat to win the title in the first place helps to build her profile is anyone’s guess, and it wasn’t like it didn’t have people within WWE arguing against the decision at the time that it was made.
Observer author Dave Meltzer says he received a lot of feedback from people within the company “all totally mystified how this actually happened”. The contest started as Natalya v Charlotte but was then changed to a tag team contest where Charlotte was to have got the winning pin but was turned back to the original matchup with Natalya winning – and even she thought that everyone would be better served with Charlotte getting the victory, and should receive a lot of credit for being unselfish and thinking of others before herself. Triple H also admitted afterwards that he would not have gone with a Nattie win, but the decision was made from above – as in, Vince McMahon.
This topic was brought up by Mike Johnson from PWInsider during the conference call to hype tonight’s NXT show, where Triple H put the decision down to time constraints – the match length was cut to make way for more Slammy awards – as well trying to downplay her being beaten in her debut in a match which should have gone longer or should have seen her win:
“Yeah, you know, one of the difficult things about live programming is – it’s live – and times are crunched; times are tweaked. Having been in a million different things going on that night, I can’t speak to the exact amount of time that they were given, or had but the show is in flux; it’s live. I am sure, I, just having seen what happened that night, I know they were given more time than that, but by the time they get there, things go over, things get crunched. We have a lot of responsibility to make within that show, commercials and it’s not just, we can’t just throw things on the air. They are what they are.
Would we have preferred to have given them more time? Hell, I would have liked to have given them the time I gave them at the NXT special and be able to showcase what they do.
As far as the decision of who went over, Nattie or Charlotte or anything like that – those decisions are heavily debated and made. It is what it is.
At the end of the day, for me, it’s about promotion. When you look at what they have done in NXT and everyplace else, the amount of the people that see them there compared to the amount of people who will see them on Monday Night Raw with the whole world watching is, is – the difference is mind boggling, and just for them to be exposed in that vein is massive.
It isn’t to get Charlotte…you know, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, it was her debut and all those things.’ Well, it was, in some ways. But, it’s not like she’s going to be on there again next week and by the time she’s is back on Raw and ready to be competing on Raw on a regular basis and performing on Raw, you’re going to see a different Charlotte and see it presented in a different way. It was really just exposure.
As far as what the outcome was, that can be debated. You know, I put out a picture of her and I last night because she was so emotional afterwards and came back and it was just such a positive for everybody involved. For Nattie. For her. They were just so excited for getting the opportunity and getting to do it the way that they did and you know, you can go back and pick apart bits and pieces of it, but when you overall look at it in the bigger plan, six months from now, a year from now, two years from now, whenever it is, no one is going to go, ‘Well, they killed her on her debut.’ The bigger picture is involved.”
As well as distancing himself from the booking on Monday, Triple H seems to be trying to be diplomatic with the way things went as publicly going against his father-in-law probably wouldn’t be too prudent. It’s funny how Charlotte’s debut is almost dismissed as being nothing too monumental and will be forgotten about as it does not reflect well on the impact the TV show has. If it is the case that nobody remembers the match, let’s hope that the booking is more favourable towards her the next time she appears on the main roster.
Incidentally, we’ll be back tomorrow with reaction to her NXT Women’s Title defence against Banks. You can watch it on the WWE Network.