Smackdown dropped down from 1.71 to 1.56 this week. Although I’m told this was because of a baseball game, so hopefully it’s not too much to worry about. Meanwhile Raw scored 2.01 from 2.17 last week. Goldberg we need you.
Let’s start off with Smackdown this week, seeing as I normally start with Raw. It has come to my attention that some people think my hero James Ellsworth is a joke that has worn out. In all seriousness, I personally can see where people are coming from, however, so far I’m still enjoying what James is doing on Smackdown. I’m still hopeful that Ellsworth will appear in the royal rumble, although it might have been better had Ellsworth stayed off TV after last week until the rumble. Nonetheless the whole angle with Styles and Ambrose remains entertaining and allows Smackdown to run the weeks down.
It is apparent that the only possible challengers for Styles are Ambrose and Cena. Of course Orton could challenge but he is currently tied up with Bray Wyatt, as well as seemingly now being a villain? Any other member of the roster is either of a villainous persuasion or has not been built up nearly enough to be a credible challenger. With Cena away filming American Grit and Ambrose already beaten by Styles twice, I think the Smackdown team are doing well filling the time with what they’ve got. While Smackdown’s options for the next few months seem limited, all in takes is one return, turn or NXT call up to shake things up. I do have a feeling that the WWE title will not feature in a title match at Survivor Series. Instead I could see Styles and Ambrose being made to coexist in team Smackdown. Possibly with the other three being filled with any combination of – Ellsworth, Cena (If available), Corbin, Ziggler, Miz and even possibly Wyatt and Orton.
Although I get the feeling a team of Orton and Wyatt will not last long. After helping Wyatt beat Kane with an RKO, Orton proclaimed “If you can’t beat them, join them”. I just can’t see Randy Orton being a part of the Wyatt Family. That would also seemingly just overload Smackdown with villains. I’m assuming this will end with a Daniel Bryan esc double cross. The problem with that would be it will instantly be compared to Bryan’s. With Orton simply not being Bryan and it being a bit of a repeat it will never get the same reaction. Personally I’ve not been too interested by this feud, I’m not the only one either, I know that for sure. I’m holding out for the day that Smackdown has enough good guy characters so Orton can turn to the dark side once again – as it’s truly his best role – and he can rule over Smackdown for a while. As much as AJ Styles is a fantastic villain, Orton playing the villain in a match between the two seems like it could be excellent.
Speaking of villains and fan favourites – Raw seems to be struggling to tell the difference. Rusev, while clearly meant to be the villain in the feud, has come off as the one hard done by in his feud with Roman Reigns. While Reigns has come off as truly just a bit of a dick. Meanwhile, you’ve got Chris Jericho and his list, which the fans love. So what do they do? Have Seth Rollins – the guy who is meant to be the fan favourite here – steal that list. This just seems weird to me, the fans are entertained by Jericho right now, it would seem sensible to have Rollins look to do these sorts of things to Owens, who is the guy he is really feuding with in the first place.
I’ve seen some criticise the fact Brain Kendrick begged TJ Perkins to lose to him. Surely this is something that actually makes us want to boo him? He wants to cheat his way to the title, he wants to deceive and grovel. That makes fan actually want to dislike him – rather than coming out like Rusev and saying he’d bring the fight to Reigns and earn revenge for his family. I personally really like this story they’ve been telling with Kendrick and I actually think it could be interesting to see him win the title. It’s a shame that some decent storytelling with the cruiserweights has been a little overlooked due to much of the Raw audience not being familiar with the talents in the division. I think this will change over time. As the audience becomes more familiar with the division’s talents and as more colourful characters such as Gran Metalik and Jack Gallaher begin appearing on Raw I’m sure they will also become more invested in its storylines.
With the upcoming Hell in a Cell event, I am incredibly intrigued by this Hell in a Cell match involving Charlotte and Sasha Banks. While the build-up hasn’t been perfect, this is, unlike much in wrestling nowadays, truly something we’ve not see before. I am also very confident these two ladies are going to be out there to put on a show. In terms of them closing the show, while it would have been really nice, I have to agree with Dave Meltzer on that whole situation. It would be a mistake to do it now, as they will have missed the chance to promote it.
When the women finally really event a show, that’s truly ground-breaking and is bound to get some people talking and get some publicity. So it would make sense to promote that historic moment way in advance of it happening, not in the few days leading up to, or even on the show it is taking place on. The rest of the show doesn’t capture my imagination too much. A lot of matches that seem to be place holders for some wrestlers while they wait for their next big program. Plus I am way more into the idea of Jericho vs Owens than Rollins Vs Owens. That is nothing against Rollins, but the stars are simply aligning differently right now. I will though be taking a rare chance to watch the show live, simply because of the womens match.
I am hoping next week will be one of better fortunes for both shows. Although I’m unaware of what American sports are on next week, so maybe some big football or baseball game will come a long and ruin it.