Proving that nobody has their finger on the pulse of pop culture like Vince McMahon, WWE unveiled its latest concept meant to turn around sagging ratings and make new stars on Raw last night: a ripoff of the 1999 film Fight Club. Teased slowly throughout the night, the segments, which began airing after 10PM, were hosted by noted underground icon and Vince McMahon's large adult son, Shane McMahon. Filmed in a back room of the WWE Performance Center done up to look like the dimly lit inside of a seedy warehouse, the fights took place in a ring draped in black that had its ropes removed, with trainee wrestlers dressed in all black and white pounding on the mat and fights that ended not with a pinfall, but with Shane McMahon declaring that one of the wrestlers had had enough after getting hit with a couple of suplexes and punched in the face a lot.
And, like any truly underground production, Raw Underground was plagued by an endless number of quick camera cuts. Yes, Raw Underground may be a gritty, low budget take on the world of underground fighting, but that doesn't mean Kevin Dunn isn't gonna Kevin Dunn this s**t.
In the YouTube video of the first Raw Underground segment, in which debuting wrestler Dabba-Kato savages a couple of no-name randos, I count at least 48 camera cuts throughout a less-than-three minute video. And if that seems like it might actually be low by Kevin Dunn standards, you have to keep in mind that there were a lot of longer cuts, like shots of the bloated Shane-o-Mac talking or shots of the go-go dancers shaking their booties against the wall, because as we all know any underground fight club worth its salt has got to have go-go dancers shaking their booties. The majority of the cuts took place in less-than-one-second intervals while fighters were performing moves. A single sequence of mounted punches was likely to have five or six individual camera cuts, one for ever punch.
In the three-minute segment that ended the night, with the Hurt Business showing up at Fight Cl… we mean, Raw Underground to prove their dominance, there were 62 camera cuts by my count, and I think that video may have been edited down a bit, because I was seeing people counting 75 cuts on Reddit last night. If the number of camera cuts is an indicator of success, then Raw Underground blew all projections out of the water.
Of course, a lot of people are probably thinking that this is a fly-by-night concept that WWE will abandon and never mention again in two weeks tops, like that gimmick where Sami Zayn sits in a fake electric chair and talks about AEW, or that time when Mick Foley claimed Raw was gonna have a grim and gritty feel for its third hour, or the cross-brand invitational, or the time the McMahons claimed that the fans were the new Authority, or… well, you get the picture. But WWE is totally dedicated to this, as, according to the latest dirt sheet gossip, though Raw was filmed earlier in the day, WWE was still filming Raw Underground segments past midnight last night. With that much footage, they probably have enough to last through SummerSlam at the least, with thousands camera cuts to go along with it.
So buckle in, folks. No, seriously, buckle in, or you might end up getting motion sickness from the camera cuts. But also, because Raw Underground is here to stay. And to be honest, on a night where Montez Ford collapsed in the ring due to "poisoning" and hoodie-clad protestors set fire to a generator in an angle WWE wanted us to know wasn't "political" so badly they had Ryan Satin write articles saying so twice in one day, Raw Underground wasn't even the worst thing to happen last night.