Raw’s ratings soared this week, much if not all due to the return of former WCW Champion, Bill Goldberg.
The red brand saw a rating of 2.17, up majorly from last week’s 1.93. Smackdown saw a tiny drop, from last week’s 1.72 to 1.71. Sadly, James Ellsworth is not quite as big of a star as ole’ Goldberg.
As someone who was born in 1998, I was never really a wrestling fan when Goldberg was around. Now sure, I’ve seen plenty of him with the aid of the WWE Network, but it’s never quite the same of watching a wrestler as it happens. The first I knew of Goldberg was my brother trying to create him on ‘Shut Your Mouth’. I didn’t get into watching WWE week to week until after Goldberg had departed following Wrestlemania 20. So when I heard Goldberg was coming back, I thought it was cool, but it didn’t give me the same excitement as many others would have experienced when they heard about his return. Nonetheless, I thought his return this Monday was fantastic. The crowd were so happy to see him, his entrance was fantastic and you felt like his words came from a real person – not a character – you felt great for what seems a genuinely great guy.
This Brock Lesnar Vs Goldberg match gives me the feel of a real big fight. I’m trying not to read too much on this match, I fear that some others negativity might just dampen my excitement. My honest thoughts are if you keep this match a spectacle, don’t have the actual match go too long and give us a real definitive ending, it will go down very well. That’s what Goldberg deserves. Some people he’s worked with might not always have the best things to say about him. However, the clear passion he showed on Monday, matched with the many stories you hear about Bill doing amazing things to put smiles on children’s faces makes me want to see him have a killer last match. Goldberg should never have went out on a sour note like Wrestlemania 20, so let’s hope he goes out with a bang at Survivor Series – hopefully on the losing side, as beating Lesnar you’d hope is reserved for someone who will stick around afterwards.
I’ve seen a lot of back and forth about the Sasha Banks Vs Charlotte match. Many saying the feud doesn’t constitute the match, which they aren’t playing it up enough and that their – supposed – main event feels forced. After taking myself from others chatter and evaluating the situation myself, I couldn’t disagree more. Now this is a case of each to their own, what you get from a feud can be very different from what another gets. I do feel though that no other match at the pay per view comes close to the level of rivalry Sasha and Charlotte have – so of course it should be the main event. I don’t feel the stipulation or placement on the card feels forced for “progressions sake” –that’s not to say WWE having been looking for an excuse to do this anyway. Sasha and Charlotte have been feuding for months – actually for years on and off – and have traded the title back and forth, so an elevated payoff seems natural to me.
Sure, the build hasn’t been that of bloody beat downs- we have to remember what parameters the WWE lives within these days – but these women are far from best friends. The go home show I hope will preview Hell in a Cell with a heavy beat down from Charlotte on Sasha; add some real brutality and hatred between the two. However, this week’s interviews set two different tones. I really enjoyed Charlotte’s interview, she was serious and made clear she wanted her title back.
Two gripes some have had with the build to this match I can agree with to an extent. Sasha’s interview this week had quite a cheerful tone, as her and Lita celebrated the fact she is champion and how special it is women will be stepping into the cell. I feel like if I was stepping into that cell, I’d be scared to death. Yet this isn’t the vibe Sasha gives off. Additionally, I’m passed this whole talking about how “revolutionary” these matches are and hearing about how these glass ceilings have been smashed. It’s fantastic that these women have been given these opportunities, although they’ve been given them because of how incredibly talented they are, not because it’s a good marketing opportunity. I’d like to see less of WWE patting themselves on the back for solving problems they themselves created, and instead them just getting on with it. More personal issues, less “this was my dream as a little girl, we’ve smashed glass ceilings, high five.2
Over on Smackdown, my hero James Ellsworth was once again leaving me wondering why he’s spent so many years wrestling without ever getting a break. Sure, Ellsworth got a bit of a lucky break, but he has snatched it with both hands. Many people couldn’t play the part Ellsworth has been playing; yet Ellsworth has knocked it out of the park. James’s match with AJ was fantastic and incredibly inventive. I hope they keep Ellsworth around, I mean not only is he my hero, but the guy preforms a role that not only are many not willing to do, but that many aren’t going to be nearly as good at. I’d love to see a tag team of Ellsworth and Slater at some point, with the best point being that they never actually need to win.
It seems as though every week I’m saying “Hey guys, people are doing their best promo work on Talking Smack” now with the word being that these segments are typically unscripted, this is not a surprise at all, so hopefully they eventually learn from this. Baron Corbin is a guy I’ve liked from the get go when he debuted on NXT, although he seems to be quite a polarising figure. He is starting to come to a pivotal point in his WWE career – a sink or swim moment – he’s been on the main roster for half a year and done quite well in my view. However, he’ll need to soon convince the powers that be that he is worthy of a main event spot, rather than facing a struggling to push above the midcard. The longer he spends there, generally, the tougher it is to get out of the midcard and progress towards challenging for the top title of your brand.
Corbin has a lot of the attributes I’ve link with being a top player. A unique look, dedication to his craft, a natural type of charisma that means when he walks into a room you pay attention to him, an athletic background and evidently from his speech on ‘Talking Smack’ ability on the microphone. Corbin’s height does him no harm with some decision makers in the WWE, although it probably does affect his ability to gain popularity with some fans, who struggle to find his slower more methodical pace entertaining. Corbin has shown the ability to produce a story through his in ring work in the past. A trait which more so than being able to do “cool moves” has produced some of the best matches of all time. I’d fully expect Corbin to be given a chance on the thin Smackdown roster, although he may have to bide his time, as the brand currently has a villain champion in AJ Styles. With Corbin having only preformed as a villain on WWE TV, I’m unaware how good he would perform as a fan favourite. Although, Corbin’s natural charisma that makes him come off as quite threating generally does lend itself to a villain persona.
I’d expect a decent drop in the ratings for Raw next week, with go home shows before a pay per view generally lacking a little. Plus, without the inclusion of a massive return like Goldberg they’re bound to slip. Hopefully they don’t fall below the 2.0’s again. Smackdown I’d hope has a small increase, although I don’t expect much movement either way.