Smackdown, as I predicted, jumped from last week’s low of 1.58 to a respectable 1.72. I was predicted Raw would increase in ratings, although it did, it was by just 0.1 ratings points, from 1.92 to 1.93.
With Hell in a Cell coming up for the Raw brand, it’s the yearly reminder that the Hell in a Cell match is not as special as it used to be. The match is of course not about a feud that warrants the stipulation anymore; it’s just that time of year again. Additionally, the speciality of the match is hampered because it will be used three times in one night. Despite this, I am certainly excited to see the women step into the steel structure for the first time. To me, the Charlotte and Sasha Banks feud is the only one that deserves the cell. This paired with the fact this is the first time, actually makes their cell match feel special.
Having said that, I don’t think this feud needed what it got this week. Instead of ramping it up, having Charlotte brutally attack Sasha, or making it clear both really hate each other, they teamed up to drop kick Rusev? Then after that, Charlotte taps out to Sasha, which became an afterthought to the awesome spear Roman Reigns hit, leaping over the two to connect with Rusev. I understand they wanted to somehow get to this mixed gender tag team match; however, they seemed to take a weird, overly complicated root.
Charlotte came off as a just as good as Sasha, standing up against the misogynist Rusev. Surely a better way to do this would be the same set up, but then Charlotte turning on Sasha, stating that Rusev needs to respect her, just not Sasha. Then actually being on the same page with her team mate? Nonetheless, I’m sure Sasha and Charlotte will put on a great show in the cell. Hopefully they are allowed to push some limits and really make the match memorable.
Over on Smackdown, the Wyatt family is once again back together in one of its many formations. This formation clearly being the strongest. Harper and Wyatt himself have always stood out in the Wyatt family – and that is coming from someone who has a soft spot for both Strowman and Rowan – and seeing them in some kind of a two man power trip on Smackdown could really be something. I wasn’t paying so much attention to their reunion until Talking Smack.
Just as usual, Talking Smack has presented some of the best WWE segments I’ve seen all year. Wyatt and Harper both cut promos that for me, instantly presented them as a bigger force than they were before. It has been a while since I’ve been as engaged in a Bray Wyatt promo, possibly because this one had true meaning, rather than some empty words that don’t lead to much. I’m just hoping that they are really allowed to cause havoc on Smackdown over the coming months.
The proposal of Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan this week was really quite interesting. Three traditional 5v5 Survivor Series elimination matches. The 5 best female competitors on each brand face off, the same for the 5 best male competitors and the 5 best tag teams for each brand squaring off. This all sounds good, except the tag teams 5v5 seems like it would be 10v10, which could end up being a bit of a mess. Nonetheless, I’ve always been a fan of Survivor Series 5v5 matches, I’ve also, unlike some others, always been a fan of brands being pitted against each other.
This can lead to some interesting teams, usually with the good guys and bad guys teamed up, some of which may already be embroiled in feuds with each other. We also get to see certain superstars mix it up with others from the other brand, which we won’t see often at all. Plus with three matches, you can assume this will be a type of best of 3 series, with the wining brand receiving bragging rights. I’d like to see them make some kind of prize for the winning brand though. Possibly the number 30 spot in the Royal Rumble? Or the main event of Wrestlemania?
Raw seems to be continuing to build to an eventual Chris Jericho Vs Kevin Owens match. As I stated on a previous article, if done in a certain manner, a match between the two for the universal title at Survivor Series in Toronto, could be really entertaining. I am slightly fearing that they’ll have Jericho cost Owens the title at Hell in a Cell, meaning their eventual match won’t be for the title. I’d honestly be really disappointed in this, as having the title on the line could add so much extra story and drama to the match. Additionally this would be mean Seth Rollins winning the title and as much as I love Seth, I feel giving him the title again now would feel too repetitive.
On Smackdown it seems we are working towards another AJ Styles Vs Dean Ambrose match. While we’ve seen this match quite a few times, it has generally been pretty good. Not only that, but I’m also aware of the lack of other possible challengers for AJ’s WWE title. While it would be nice to see the likes of Apollo Crews or Randy Orton challenge, they either simply haven’t been built up to such a position, or are engaged elsewhere. My question would be where do they go after this feud? You’d assume Cena will jump back in at some point, plus I’m sure if they need a go between for Styles a feud with Orton would work. However, the longer Smackdown goes on during this brand split, the more you become aware it is a bit of a thin roster.
Particularly the male singles competitors simply just don’t have wrestlers who have been built to the point they are believable challengers. Smackdown could really make more use of enhancement matches to build the likes of Crews, Corbin and Kalisto. Also, with the likes of Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Booby Roode, Tye Dillinger, Austin Aries and Eric Young on NXT, you wonder how long it will be before they are filling more spots. Those are just the guys that can step into main event or upper midcard spots. You could even see the likes of No Way Jose, Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy promoted to help enhance the likes of Crews. We will just have to see, but Smackdown will have to think a little more about its future, rather than just the now, at least it seems that way from current viewing.
For next week I’d assume Smackdown will have another jump in ratings. The show is still actually below its 1.77 average since the brand split, so I’d assume it will get closer to, if not equal that average. Raw should also increase, with the promise of Goldberg. Otherwise I’d have predicted a drop, as go home shows have been typically boring as of late. However, WWE will be bemused if next week’s show somehow manages to drop in ratings, with the return of Goldberg.