5 Changes We're Already Loving About WWE's Monday Night Raw And SmackDown After Vince McMahon's Retirement

Vince McMahon in the WWE
(Image credit: WWE)

The Vince McMahon era is over in the WWE, and with the end of his tenure reportedly comes a lot of control on the WWE creative team. Now, Triple H is in as head of creative, and he’s already making some moves in this short time that fans like yours truly are very much on board with. 

We only have a small sample size to work with, but that's all it takes, with some promising changes having quickly been made on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown. Here’s a rundown of what we’re liking so far and the changes we hope continue to happen the longer this new era of WWE continues on. 

Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky in the WWE

(Image credit: WWE)

Fresh Matchups Between Superstars

One of my biggest pet peeves with the WWE has been the repetitive matches between feuding wrestlers. I know the logic concerning which wrestlers get title shots can be spotty, but it never made sense for me to watch two wrestlers face off repeatedly for three weeks straight, only to have to watch them brawl yet again for a pay-per-view in the fourth week. The WWE has such a deep roster, even with guys like Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton injured, so there isn’t a reason why we should see the same superstars squaring off against each other week in and week out. 

We’ve seen small changes to that process in recent weeks, especially in the new rivalry going down in the women’s division. You have Bayley, Dakota Kai, Iyo Sky, Alexa Bliss, Asuka and Bianca Belair working this feud. So far, the WWE is doing exactly what it should in presenting us fresh looks in the feud with different matches week to week. There’s obviously still some work to be done with other rivalries, but I think this is a great indicator that we’ll see more of the roster utilized in the future.

Karrion Kross and Scarlett in the WWE

(Image credit: WWE)

Former Superstars Are Returning 

We’re not even that far into Triple H’s tenure as head of WWE’s creative, and we’ve already seen some exciting and unexpected returns. Dakota Kai and Dexter Lumis were certainly ones that came out of nowhere, and who would’ve thought we’d see Karrion Kross back in the WWE so soon? It’s clear there are some wrestling superstars who are very excited about seeing the WWE under new leadership, especially with Triple H in charge of creative. 

I think it’s easy to see why that is, especially given how quickly Karrion Kross found his way into a major storyline with Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns on SmackDown. It was a tremendous step up from the weird gladiator mask gimmick he was trying to get over with when Kross was released from WWE in November 2021, and a sign that perhaps the new regime sees more for guys like Kross than the old regime did. That should be very exciting to some folks on the roster if so, as they could see much better opportunities in the WWE than they saw previously.

Ciampa and Bobby Lashley In the WWE

(Image credit: WWE)

Underutilized Superstars Are Getting More Attention

Having just wrapped up talking about Karrion Kross’ weird run on the main roster after a successful run on NXT, it only seems fitting to bring up Tommaso Ciampa as well. Ciampa seemed on a solid path to stardom when he left the NXT for the Monday Night Raw roster, and yet, he was paired with The Miz. Don’t get me wrong, The Miz is about as good of a person to be paired with as an up-and-coming superstar in the WWE, but it was an odd coupling. You have Miz in his flashy bandanas and trench coats, and then a dude rocking black wrestling trunks and a beard. 

For now, it doesn’t seem like The WWE is necessarily going to separate the two, but they’re finding ways to make the Miz and Ciampa pairing make more sense. Booking Ciampa to face Bobby Lashley for the United States Championship was a great first step and a way of introducing Ciampa to wrestling fans as someone more than Miz’s glorified bodyguard. Perhaps we’ll see other stars get the same treatment in the coming months, and maybe even see the main event picture change a year from now. 

Roman Reigns in the WWE

(Image credit: WWE)

Banned Words Are Being Brought Back

Vince McMahon had some peculiar rules when it came to wrestling, ranging from the moves that are allowed to the verbiage WWE superstars can use on camera. There’s a laundry list of common wrestling terms and words that haven’t been used in the WWE for such a long time, even if other organizations use them without pause. As an example, wrestlers aren’t even allowed to call themselves by that name, but instead are called “superstars.”

It’s a rule that reportedly may be a thing of the past, as Dave Meltzer mentioned in a recent Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Triple H brought back the terms “wrestler,” as well as “wrestling,” after years of such terms being sidelined. It could be a sign that more terms will be unbanned in the future, and pretty soon we’ll hear wrestlers say things like “belt” and “hospital” again. It may sound like a silly change for some, but let’s not forget that it was somewhat silly that some of these words were banned in the first place. Less censorship is a good thing, especially in this instance where normalized wrestling terms were made taboo to say in the WWE.

Dexter Lumis in the WWE

(Image credit: WWE)

Background Storytelling Is Adding A New Dimension To Storylines

Monday Night Raw pulled off something cool in a recent airing that audiences might have expected from a scripted drama, through maybe not a pro wrestling event. Throughout the three hours, fans noticed the WWE staff dealing with what appeared to be a car crash in the parking lot of the arena, and while the company never directly acknowledged the incident, fans took notice and began tweeting about it as the mysterious car sitch continued in the background. Which led to the big reveal happening in the final match, where security managed to apprehend returning superstar Dexter Lumis before he was able to rush the ring to attack AJ Styles. 

Three hours is a time commitment to watch Monday Night Raw, and there are times when not every hour is absolutely vital to the program. Leaning into more serialized and branching storylines like what they did recently with Dexter Lumis is a way to keep the fans invested throughout an entire telecast, even if the match they’re watching in the moment isn’t something they’re overtly interested in. Granted, it’s probably not something we need to see every single week, but I’d certainly like to see more of it happen in the future. 

Monday Night Raw airs on USA on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET, and on SmackDown Fridays on Fox at the same time. Pick up a Peacock premium subscription to check out the upcoming WWE pay-per-views, especially with all the exciting matches teased for the future. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.