WWE’s Bloodsport-inspired MMA style weekly Monday night aside Raw Underground appears to be finished permanently, according to a report in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The concept was debuted back in early August, introduced by Shane McMahon as an alternative to the standard Raw programming, featuring short “shoot” bouts contested in a ring with no ropes and a crowd right up against it, with a unique grungy aesthetic that set it apart from WWE’s typical production style.
A report two weeks ago stated that Raw Underground was going on hiatus due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the Performance Center – as many of the people who made up the audience were PC trainees who had potentially been exposed to the virus.
Meltzer noted that when the show returned it would be undergoing changes, although did not specify what they would be.
Now, however, it appears that the concept has been dropped completely.
Meltzer wrote in the Observer:
“Raw Underground for right now is considered done. At first it was dropped because of the COVID breakout and fear the extras who are in the crowd may have been exposed so it was shut down for a few weeks. But almost everyone who was part of that breakup is now back. Then again most were back either this week or last and this week with the draft it wouldn’t have fit as easily.
There was fear that bringing all those people, both the wrestlers and the people they used as the audience, to Raw tapings could start a spread to the Raw roster and the idea is to keep NXT talent away from Raw and Smackdown talent as much as possible”
Although it is a shame to see the out-of-the-box concept dropped so soon, it is perhaps not a surprise. As interesting as Raw Underground was, there was a sense of futility to it, with little advanced storyline-wise and inconsistencies – such as the previously invincible Dabba Kato getting needlessly hammered by Braun Strowman – that rendered it pointless.