WWE brought in LaVar Ball and the Ball family to RAW because it would get people talking. LaVar Ball is a controversial figure in sports today. Many feel that he is overshadowing his son’s talent and profiting off of his name. Lonzo Ball was drafted by the Lakers with the #2 pick in the NBA Draft this year, but most people are talking about his father’s appearances on shows like ESPN’s ‘First Take’, FS1’s ‘Undisputed’ and his controversial appearance on ‘The Herd’ w/ Colin Cowherd. When Ball appeared on ‘The Herd’, he got into a heated argument with co-host Kristine Leahy. Ball told Leahy to “stay in your lane” and that did not go over well. The media scolded Ball for the next few days and Ball responded by releasing “stay in your lane” T-shirt for $50 on the Big Baller Brand website. Ball also used the joke again during his appearance on Miz TV on Monday night.
LaVar Ball appeared on Miz TV on RAW this past Monday and the promo has been met with a lot of mixed reactions. Those who find LaVar Ball funny thought that the promo was wildly entertaining. Those that are sick of seeing LaVar on their TV every 15 minutes weren’t all that thrilled that he was now invading WWE. You can check out the promo if you missed it in the video below.
Negative reaction from WWE Superstars
Corey Graves posted a photo yesterday on Instagram comparing LaVar Ball to Mama June from ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’. Graves added the caption “Am I the only one who drew this comparison?”.
WWE Superstar Braun Strowman chimed in and stated that he wanted to stomp LaVar out in the middle of the ring. Strowman username on Instagram is “adamscherr99”.
WWE Superstar Curtis Axel also wasn’t a fan of the appearance:
— Curtis Axel (@RealCurtisAxel) June 27, 2017
Baron Corbin posted a response on a photo WWE released to promote the appearance of the Ball family on Instagram:
Reaction from mainstream media
On ESPN’s ‘Around The Horn’, journalists Bill Plaschke and Woody Paige were not fans of LaVar’s actions on RAW. Plaschke believes that LaVar Ball is inadvertently turning Lonzo Ball into “one of these villains in wrestling” and it will cause Lonzo to get booed everywhere he goes. Paige criticized the Ball family for going on RAW during the night of the NBA Awards. On the other hand, Mina Kimes and J.A. Adande thought that the segment was entertaining. Adande stated that LaVar Ball became the star of a WWE program so that is good for the NBA.
On FS1’s ‘Speak For Yourself’, Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Chris Broussard debated if the Lakers’ GM Magic Johnson should put a stop to LaVar’s antics after his appearance on WWE. The general conclusion of their discussion is that any publicity is great publicity and it will help out the Big Baller Brand.
As I said in my RAW reaction article, I thought the segment was absolute garbage. Personally, I’ve never found LaVar Ball entertaining but it is clear that tons of people do. He is the opposite of politically correct and his boisterousness is something that most people on this planet couldn’t pull off. I mean, who else do you know that could walk down to the ring like this and it would completely fit in with their persona?
The Ball family didn’t bring in the ratings on Monday. In fact, RAW’s ratings on Monday dipped from the previous week. Yet, Miz TV took place at the beginning of the second hour, which happened to be the highest rated hour of the show. WWE isn’t usually discussed on channels like ESPN and Fox Sports. WWE has recently partnered up with ESPN and Superstars occasionally appear on SportsCenter for brief interviews. The Ball family’s appearance on RAW was discussed on all major sports media platforms yesterday, so it is hard to argue that WWE didn’t get what they wanted out of the segment. From a traditional wrestling fan’s perspective, the segment was a failure. From a business perspective, it was a success because it became viral and is still being discussed. It is one of WWE’s most popular videos on YouTube right now and is still trending on the site.
WWE is having a hard time building new stars right now. At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if they brought back RAW guest hosts to try to bring in more viewers. How about RAW brings back celebrity guest hosts and have LaVar Ball host an entire episode of RAW? I’m sure that will get even more people talking.