WWE Stone Cold

Stone Cold Steve Austin delivers a toast to his family of wrestlers, past and present, the road crew and the fans.

On Monday, WWE gave itself a ratings boost with a Raw Reunion episode.

A show like this is something WWE tends to do at least once or twice a year. It's a reason to gather legends and familiar faces from the past, allowing them to interact with today's superstars. It's as much as a fan service as Mick Foley name-dropping a city, or D-Generation X getting the crowd to yell it's famous two-word slogan. 

You also saw Stone Cold Steve Austin drink beers with everyone. John Cena, The Usos, Rikishi and D-Von Dudley mixed it up. Santino, Alicia Fox and Torrie Wilson interacted, and Eric Bischoff made an appearance. The 24/7 Championship get its fair share of former star reaction, as Boogie Man, Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, Alundra Blayze and others got involved in the mayhem.

But the most important part of the legendary interaction circled back to Stone Cold and what he said Monday. He talked about why he came back. He saw some old friends, and got to chat with some current stars. He calls them his family. He recorded a podcast with Ric Flair, whom he hadn't seen in a while, and another with Hulk Hogan, whom he's never had a conversation with or called a friend before.

But he called them family. That's what those pro wrestlers are to each other.

Sure it's a ratings boost, and it's total fan service. It's easy entertainment that will never grow stale. Sure, some pro wrestling fans will criticize it and accuse WWE of needing old tricks to stay relevant. But that's coming from fans who choose to put their fandom in companies that don't have such a deep history. And that's fine. Pro wrestling has something for everyone, and some people prefer to root for wrestlers who have nothing but a future ahead of them. But remember that when you're cheering for guys who ripped off some older wrestlers' gimmicks. 

Some legends also gave back Monday. Foley's segment in the ring was interrupted by Bray Wyatt's alter ego, The Fiend. Wyatt left Foley laying with The Mandible Claw, the Hardcore Legend's old move he made famous in the '90s. Was Foley passing that finisher off to The Fiend? I sure hope so.

Then there were the legends who got involved with the 24/7 title hunt. A lot of those guys were around when the Hardcore Championship had its 24/7 rules. Patterson, if I'm not mistaken, became the first to hold both titles. And Torrie was the first woman to win the 24/7 title. Those were some neat things for the legends to pass off onto a new title to add some history to it.

Lastly, the nWo and D-X gave a huge rub to Seth Rollins in their segment. Rollins got to join forces with The Cliq on camera to chase away A.J. Styles and The O.C. (Only Club). Afterwards, they 2-sweeted, and Rollins got to the deliver the infamous, "If you're not down with that..." line. Many argue Rollins didn't need that extra push, and reports sound like that wasn't supposed to be the case. Originally that spot belonged to Ricochet, but he was injured and not medically cleared to compete so they needed to shoehorn in someone else for the spot. But it still worked.

Next up for WWE is Smackville, a one-off Network special Saturday in Nashville that appears to be an hour long.

Three SmackDown title matches are on the card, according to Wikipedia: Kofi Kingston will defend the WWE Championship against Samoa Joe and Dolph Ziggler, Bayley will defend the SmackDown Women's Championship against Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair, and Shinsuke Nakamura will defend the Intercontinental Championship against Finn Balor.

All three champs should retain. Elias is also slated to give a musical performance.

After that is NXT TakeOver: Toronto and SummerSlam on Aug. 10-11. That card is already taking shape. I'm excited to see what direction WWE takes us in just a few short weeks.

WWE Power Rankings

A kayfabe look at the top 10 wrestlers and tag teams on Raw, SmackDown and NXT.

Monday Night Raw

  1. Brock Lesnar (1)
  2. Seth Rollins (2)
  3. Becky Lynch (3)
  4. A.J. Styles (4)
  5. Ricochet (5)
  6. Drew McIntyre (6)
  7. The Revival (7)
  8. Braun Strowman (8)
  9. Samoa Joe (9)
  10. Bray Wyatt (UR)

Out: Baron Corbin (10)

On the bubble: Cedric Alexander

SmackDown Live

  1. Kofi Kingston (1)
  2. Kevin Owens (2)
  3. Roman Reigns (3)
  4. Xavier Woods & Big E (4)
  5. Bayley (5)
  6. Shinsuke Nakamura (7)
  7. Randy Orton (10)
  8. Finn Balor (8)
  9. Aleister Black (9)
  10. Daniel Bryan & Rowan (6)

On the bubble: Ember Moon.

NXT

  1. Adam Cole (1)
  2. Velveteen Dream (2)
  3. Shayna Baszler (3)
  4. Matt Riddle (4)
  5. Street Profits (5)
  6. Io Shirai (6)
  7. Johnny Gargano (7)
  8. Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly (8)
  9. Roderick Strong (9)
  10. Tyler Breeze (10)

On the bubble: KUSHIDA, Damien Priest

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​JRusso@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPress_Russo

Sports Reporter

I graduated from Rowan University in 2011 where I studied journalism. I covered local high school and college sports at the South Jersey Times and Vineland Daily Journal. I have been a sports reporter with The Press since July of 2013

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