Shane McMahon says RAW Underground isn’t exactly a new concept but it is bringing an exciting and fresh change to WWE RAW each Monday.
McMahon was this week’s guest on After The Bell with Corey Graves and the pair discussed the new format for RAW’s third hour. McMahon explained that they are “trying different things and it’s a work in progress” but noted the different format is a good way to showcase new talent and get people exposure.
“It’s a little bit more of a faster pace, a bit more intense and thus far people seem to like it so we’re rolling with it.”
McMahon says he has a good amount of input on RAW Underground and noted that the concept goes back to ancient times, but he’s taking fighting elements that resonate with him and seeing how they can blend them together.
“Quite a bit. I mean this goes way back, this isn’t an original concept. This is more even going back to Roman and gladiator times when they used to have short matches to determine [who would continue to fight]. So the iterations, there’s been lots of stuff— or similar things I should say — in Japan for quite some time. I’ve been traveling to Japan since the late ‘80s, so when I was a teenager and I saw some of this, it always resonated with me and again,” McMahon said, “you mentioned MMA and a lot of my friends do that sport. I also practice multiple forms of it so I really enjoy it. If you can blend that with WWE entertainment and what we can compact together and again, it’s a work in progress and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”
One thing that RAW Underground has been successful at is giving newer talent a chance to shine, as well as tenured wrestlers a platform to show a different side than their ‘WWE Universe’ counterparts. McMahon agreed with Graves’ choices of Dolph Ziggler and Viking Raider Erik as two guys that have excelled so far, also praising Dabba-Kato (fka Babatunde) and Riddick Moss, who he called super-impressive and a guy that has the ‘it factor’.
“The two you mentioned. I knew Dolph would. Erik, I’d heard about and he’s got a lot of skill sets, whathaveyou, and the more and more you talk to him it’s like ‘Oh, wow! We can do this and let rip.’ So I’m very pleased with that,” McMahon said, “and as you said, we have so many other people without an MMA background or just tough guys. I don’t know if you had a chance to watch Titus O’Neil…”
Graves agreed with Shane’s assessment, noting that Titus once hit him so hard during a wrestling match in FCW that he thought his jaw was broken for a month. Graves called him deceptively powerful and seeing him in a different light, or a new lease, is refreshing.
“It’s more reacting and they’re going with their instincts. It’s fast-paced and it’s energy,” McMahon said, “and that’s what it’s designed to do. You don’t have time to think about things, you’re just going for it.