INDUCTION: Raw Underground – First Rule of Shane Club is You Don’t Talk About Shane Club

28 Submitted by on Thu, 11 March 2021, 20:00

WWE, 2020

In recent years, it’s not exactly a secret that World Wrestling Entertainment has seen its audience shrinking at levels not seen since Hulk Hogan’s physique in 1994.  And whenever that happens, we often see Vince McMahon throwing various things against the wall to see what may stick – one need look no further than the legendary Attitude era to see a man willing to set the apple cart on fire in an attempt to garner attention.  And while that’s been less the case recently as the company seems ever content to stick with a pat (and ever aging) hand, here and there we’ve seen at least attempts of trying different things.  

Sometimes that works.  Sometimes it fails.  Care to guess which side of the coin we’re on today?

Yes, kids, it’s time to discuss Shane McMahon’s now legendary fight club.  Portrayed as a sorta kinda shoot fight portion of the normal Monday night show, it was rumored to be essentially Brawl for All 2.0. Like the world needed such a thing.

It wasn’t really Brawl for All.

It wasn’t really a shoot fight.

It wasn’t really entertaining.

It was…well, you know…WrestleCrap.

Fortunate this here site is named as such!

So the show opens with the epitome of a tough guy – SHANE MCMAHON.  And you can tell he’s ready to rumble, as he’s wearing a sorta pseudo army shirt.  I mean, look right there on his arm – it’s a pocket fit for a pack of smokes!  

If that’s not a tough guy, I don’t know what is!

Amazingly, though, somehow Shane was NOT going to be the featured act.  No sir, instead we got…

…whoever this guy is!  No idea, but he got hit with one power bomb and couple punches that had him going cross-eyed right in front of the hard cam.  Shane is so concerned for his health that he began screaming “that’s it, that’s it!”  All I can say is thank goodness for Shane McMahon – he apparently saved this man’s life.

THAT, kids, is how we got into the first ever Raw Underground.

No idea if it should be italicized or not.  

To be honest, probably not.  Doing so would give it some semblance of importance.  Not meaning that it would indicate that it was an actual real television program, more that I spent more than 2 seconds pondering if it deserved me hitting COMMAND+I prior to typing its name.

Yeah, this disaster really isn’t worthy of type of effort.

So Shane comes out, stops the ‘fight.’  Said fight took place in a ring with no ropes, in what appears to be Kevin Dunn’s idea of what a dingy warehouse would look like.  I’ve worked in my share of dumpy places like that, and trust me, this ain’t it.  

But hey, EDGY!  

You know what else is edgy?

Skanks in fishnet, dancing in pink neon lights!

With each passing moment, this becomes less a wrestling show than a PS2 intro video.  And I don’t mean that as a compliment.

“Welcome everyone to Raw Underground,” says Shane, “where there are very little rules, lots of excitement, carnage, chaos, and quite frankly, lots of things I would like to see.”  As has been preached to me by nogoodniks the world over, when you want brutality, you always need to make sure to drop a “quite frankly” in there.

You know what else our pal Vince goes to when he needs a quick ratings fix?  Say it with me – a really tall guy!

And thus Shane introduces us to Dabba-Kato, who he notes is 7′ tall and, to quote Shane, “I dunno, maybe 360 pounds?”  Dabba smirks at Shane like, “uhh, whatever pappy”, and then we get something else that lets us know this is 100% a WWE production:

JUMP CUT CITY!

Seriously, who watches that and thinks, “wow what action!” and not “wow? what? action?”  Just watching that clip makes me want to grab a bottle of Dramamine.  I will be honest, I don’t watch a WWE faithfully as I used to these days, but I see this and honestly question not WHY someone would watch the company, but HOW someone COULD watch it.

That legitimately makes me kinda sick.  Is other TV like this?  I mean, it’s a like a five second clip with six cuts!

And then, after seeing Dabba-Kato beat up a couple ham & eggers, we just go back to regular old Raw.  The commentators tell us how cool & hip this Underground thing is and how they all dig it.  If you want something to be truly cool & hip, do you know the first thing you do NOT do?  Tell someone how cool & hip it is.

Especially with WWE announcers, because they are about as far away from cool & hip as you can get.

Also never ever use the term “cool & hip”.  You’ll sound like a 52 year old man writing on a website that’s been around forever talking about the worst in pro wrestling.

Next we get one of the Viking Raiders in more tough guy action!  And if you don’t know what that is, well, it’s basically just pro wrestling but with no ropes and people jumping up and down next to the ring for no discernible reason.  Also, Shane McMahon screaming “that’s sick!” over and over while a four second loop of music plays on repeat for all of eternity.

Usually when I am writing about stuff like this, I just shake my head and press on.  Tonight, I am literally in tears laughing at how someone somewhere thought this was COOL and would bring in that coveted younger demographic.

Again, this was all planned out.  Money, likely more than any of us would ever want to know, was spent on this.  Time – TIME, THE MOST VALUABLE ASSET ANY OF US HAVE!!!! – was spent setting up the warehouse to make it look like the hood or whatever.  I try to never ever swear, but my fingers are fighting my brain to allow them to type “FFS” after every sentence I am writing tonight.  

Amazingly, this concept didn’t die after the first week.  Nope, it returned and we all knew what was missing – another giant man.  Remember kids, when things go wrong, just keep finding super tall guys until it goes right.  In this case, we get Shane’s door man, and yes, that is in fact Omos in his WWE debut.  What an auspicious start.  Nowhere to go but up from here.

I don’t mean that as a joke.  It’s impossible to go lower than this.

Back to Nauseavision we go, but week two brings us an added bonus: Shane is now calling the action as if it’s an amateur wrestling match! “Whoa, going for the single leg! There’s a front face! These guys are expending a lot of energy!”

If you’re going to make us suffer like that, at least bring in Bischoff for a payday to talk about front leg round kicks or whatever so we can laugh a bit.

Shayna Baszler also shows up and is promptly caught in a chin lock by some rando in the audience.  If the poor girl was brought into this mess in an attempt to add some ‘legitimacy’, well, that’s out the window now too, although to be fair she does wind tapping this geek out.  

Back to the good ol’ Raw announce crew as they tell us again just how awesome this all is.

As a reference point, this is also what WWE considers “awesome.”  So maybe they’re not far off.

In an effort to be positive, I should note that this platform was at some level introducing new folks to the audience – Dabba-Kato, Omos, Arturo Ruas.  I mean, it wasn’t like they were just wheeling guys that had been around forever in the company out there.

Oh wait, my bad, here comes Dolph Ziggler, noted shoot fighter extreme.

And spare me the emails and posts about him being an amateur wrestler.  Already know that, already don’t care.

Still, I suppose if you really want this to get over, you need someone to show up who could legitimately hurt people.

Mission accomplished!

I mean, she hurt people over and over when she wasn’t supposed to, but it’s a start I guess!

Also an ending, as she immediately leaves within seconds of her arrival.  And people say she’s dumb.  Puh-shaw.

Soon enough, Underground became the Hurt Business show.  Which is fine – good heel group, and it would be a good way to display their talents.  I mean it’s a tough guy competition, right?

Which explains how Billie Kay would appear as well.

Wait.

Wut?

Oh, you just make everything better.

After a few weeks, it just became the same old same old.  Ten million jump cuts every twenty seconds.  Shane yelling stupid things.  Looping music that had you reaching for the closest sharpened pencil.  And if you were holding out hope for those new guys?

Well, Arturo was soon passing out to Dolph’s sleeper hold…

…while Dabbo-Kato was getting obliterated by Brauny the Strowman.

It was just a complete disaster.

Shockingly, the plug was pulled on this fiasco within two months of its debut.  Rumors swirled that the company was concerned about potential Covid breakouts.  Seriously, that’s the story.  But let’s be serious for a moment: do you think, for one second, when the world gets back on its axis and we’re all vaccinated it’s going to magically reappear?

Ain’t no chance.

Even Vince isn’t that dumb.

Right?


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28 Responses to "INDUCTION: Raw Underground – First Rule of Shane Club is You Don’t Talk About Shane Club"
  1. Jonathan zois says:

    That was not Omos’ debut, merely his first repackaging. His debut was as Akira Tozawa’s really large black ninja henchman.

  2. Gabriel Benson says:

    I’d take Brad Pitt vs Edward Norton. Seems more legit. Good stuff RD

  3. CP says:

    Well, not really Gooker worthy but we knew it would get the treatment in time.

  4. Erich says:

    WWE made such a big deal about both Raw Underground and Retribution debuting at about the same time. Months later, one is gone, and the other should be. I can think of few bigger simultaneous failures like that in recent wrestling history.

  5. Sean Bateman says:

    Whatever happened to Dabba-Kato and Arturo Ruas?

    • Thomas Moffatt says:

      Dabba-Kato after spending an eternity in the Performance Centre and never making it to the main NXT Roster was drafted to RAW during the draft and has not been heard of since (please note his eternity at the PC) and I’m expecting him to re-emerge in the current Shane and Braun silliness.

      Arturo Ruas went back to NXT and promptly got a bicep injury during a match with Kushida meaning when he returns he’ll feud with Kushida.

    • Efraim says:

      Ruas apparently was sent back to NXT, where he has done nothing of note other than being pinned by Kushida in under five minutes last November, while WWE seems to pretty much have forgotten Dabba-Kato is still in their payroll after Strowman obliterated him.

    • Autrach Sejanoz says:

      I’m guessing the five words every wrestler dreads – “Creative has nothing for you.”

  6. Mav says:

    This is like the Battle of the Tough Guys from No Holds Barred, but less interesting.

  7. Al Boondy says:

    “These guys are REALLY fighting … Okay, time to go back to watching these people pretend to fight.” And that’s pretty much RAW Underground in a nutshell *sigh*

    And props to RD for pointing out how annoying it was to hear the announcers fall all over themselves trying to make this crap seem “hip and cool” … That was probably the most cringeworthy aspect of the whole experiment for me personally.

  8. Larry says:

    This should’ve ended with Shane McMahon beating himself up in the middle of the ring area while everyone around him is watching in bewilderment.

  9. Thomas Moffatt says:

    Well, this induction helps to explain why there are two tall guys in Retribution…

  10. Hulk6785 says:

    Every time I see Omos, I think “You guys misspelled Amos.”

  11. Garrett Edward Spears says:

    This deserved the 2020 Gooker award NOT RETRIBUTION!!!!!!!

  12. CF says:

    “I am so cool, you could keep a side of beef in me. I am so hip, I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis.”
    [Zaphod Beeblebrox]

  13. Evan Waters says:

    Okay I only heard about this in passing but now that I’ve seen screenshots-

    Did they get the idea for this from Streetbeefs?

  14. Woke Smeed says:

    The only 2 people who think Shane is hip and cool are Vince McMahon and Shane himself.
    He’s as hip and cool as Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
    I can’t stand watching that 51-year-old trustfund kid anymore. His presence really hurts the product. From that Best In The World storyline over the Miz burial to his current program with Braun… Awful awful awful. Just as out of touch as his daddy.

  15. Christopher Haydu says:

    In my opinion, this was less Brawl For All 2 (although I understand why it would be compared to that)and more like a relaunch Shotgun Saturday Night because of the “Underground” atmosphere. I don’t think Shotgun Saturday Night or Brawl For All were bad. I just think they failed for the reason why most of their ideas fail. They just didn’t give it enough time to work. The Shane McMahon character doesn’t have as much likability as he did in the Attitude Era. If they’d just left him out(or at least had him calm down on commentary), created a belt for it and treated it like another division, they could’ve created new stars to eventually rotate onto the Raw and Smackdown rosters. But they just don’t give their own ideas enough time to get over.

  16. Chris says:

    It’s not going to reappear because Shane McMahon has moved on to bigger and better things…proving he can beat down one of the biggest and toughest wrestlers on the roster, of course.

    Shane is showing us how cool he is with this feud. He knows that the hipsters today love Nickelodeon and the green slime. Nothing says relevant like references to 1990s kids’ shows.

    RAW Underground could have been decent if they treated it like a division on the RAW brand, like ROH does with their Pure Rules matches.
    They needed to have it in the ring and treat it like an actual match, instead of some weird time killer featuring one minute fake shoot fights with Shane saying random things instead of using commentators.
    It could have been a match type to prove the wrestlers’ toughness.
    It could feature relaxed rules, but not involve weapons or outside interference. Have something similar to the Code of Honour.
    Then, the wrestler would have to win by submission or knock-out.
    It would feature a more technical or strong-style wrestling match, but still be scripted.
    I think that might have been something different.

    • Jerry says:

      Add in purple ring ropes, and you’re back at the cruiserweight division on Raw. That did not work out either.

  17. Emperor Norton II says:

    OK, I cannot stay silent on this: The PS2 era had lots of great intro videos. Soul Calibur 2 (I played the intro almost as much as I played the game), Gran Turismo 4, the real opening video of Final Fantasy X (the FMV with “Overworld” in it.) Final Fantasy X-2 (yes, the opening FMV is kick-ass, don’t @ me), Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 (especially 2!), Shadow Hearts 3, etc…

    In short, I will die on the hill of loving PS2 opening FMVs. I am that full of nostalgia and misplaced stubbornness.

  18. Thun Fish says:

    A deserving induction. I didn’t vote for it because I could actually remember its’ name (and be very displeased that Tony Hawk’s Underground had to share their subtitle with it), which is more than I can say about the Ressurection. I mean, Retribution.

    Some notes:
    – WWE should also consider not letting a rabid animal fuck their camera switcher on a regular basis, hurts the eyes far less. Wasn’t really why I stopped watching but it’s a good argument not to go back to it.
    – Ripping off the Fight Club was a bad idea, they should’ve sprung for DMX and rip off Def Jam Vendetta instead. At least, that had rings.
    – Usually, you focus on improving the main show before splitting off into other things. From what I’ve heard, RAW hasn’t been all that great for a while now so… maybe improving that first would’ve helped.
    – Shane fits in an underground environment like a grandfather fits on an e-sports competition. He just helped sink it further.
    – I’ll disagree with the notion that it doesn’t help to bring a name that could use some new batteries to their career, as long as it is written in a competent fashion (as in they’re not supposed to come in, beat everyone and leave). I have a slight suspicion Ziggler didn’t have much trouble there though.
    – At the same point, is Braun supposed to be like a Pokémon Trainer and go everywhere at least once?

  19. Mr. Boing says:

    At least it didn’t end careers like brawl for all did

  20. Arcane Azmadi says:

    This, along with last year’s Gooker winner Retribution (who, incidentally, have just FINALLY broken up on the pre-show of Fastlane, making poor Mustafa Ali look like the world’s biggest geek in the process), were WWE’s pathetic attempts to be “edgy”. And it was just SAD. WWE was more edgy when Shawn Michaels kicked Stan. I’m reminded of the wise words of Daria Morgendorffer: “As far as I can make out, ‘edgy’ occurs when middle-brow, middle-age profiteers are looking to suck the energy, not to mention the spending money, out of the quote, unquote youth culture. So they come up with this big concept of seeming to be dangerous, when every move they make is the result of market research and a corporate master plan.”

  21. Mr. Boing says:

    this was the WORST ever.. not sure why you chose Retribution

  22. Seafort says:

    Reminds me of the AWA Team Challenge pilot, where Greg and his cohost were droning on about “resh, hot, rock’n roll”

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