Raw managed a respectable 3.137 million viewers this week, meanwhile Smackdown got a decent 2.505 million viewers.
I thoroughly enjoyed both Raw and Smackdown this week. Having thought Survivor Series was a successful show, the positive mind-set I went into these shows with certainly helped. While Wrestlemania season doesn’t really begin until the Royal Rumble, it’s already feeling like it’s coming together and the excitement for the Rumble match itself and Wrestlemania, plus everything surrounding it is helping to make Raw and Smackdown even more enjoyable.
While at first the way the match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg panned out confused me, I now am quite optimistic about the future for both wrestlers. I like many wanted Lesnar first defeat in what is legitimately years to be against a younger guy. However, when looking at the current roster, I wasn’t quite sure who that younger guy would be. Plus, just because Lesnar lost here does not mean that there won’t be value in a younger guy beating him further down the line. With Goldberg sticking around that gives WWE another star to use. While there are some fantastic talents on the roster right now, none really have that aura that is presented by a Goldberg or a Lesnar or an Undertaker. Much of that I think is down to how often they are on TV and therefore really don’t feel special. Goldberg has done very well since coming back and from all accounts seems to be a pretty great guy so I’m happy he is sticking around.
James Ellsworth main eventing Smackdown has seemingly become quite a regular occurrence, and I’m not as offended as some others seem to be about it. The whole Ellsworth story has been entertaining for me and unlike some I don’t feel it has hurt AJ Styles at all. I believe this has been a much better alternative than watching Styles and Ambrose have to work out this storyline on their own. Due to how long it has been going on for, I feel it has needed Ellsworth to add an extra element. Having said that, there still is a line with Ellsworth and hopefully the WWE doesn’t cross it. He’ll obviously get his opportunity at the WWE title, but now seems like the time that AJ Styles finally just crushes him and the feud becomes simply about himself and Ambrose. Ellsworth meanwhile I hope sticks around, could maybe be used elsewhere. Unlike a lot of other wrestlers on the roster, Ellsworth can afford to take loses, as he is not presented as an actual threat. Therefore I’d like to maybe see him used to give some of the more midcard guys a chance to have a feud where they can pick up some wins. With the way everything is going, I’d not be surprised to see Ellsworth and Baron Corbin feuding soon. My overall hope though would be that Ellsworth is beaten by Styles and then remains off TV until possibly a return at the Rumble.
There was quite a bit of comedy across WWE programming this week and as we all know, with wrestling comedy can be very hit and miss. I felt the likes of the Dean Ambrose segments on Smackdown and naked Enzo were hits and when there is a hit, it makes the show a lot easier to watch. I honestly think comedy is one of the best ways to keep an audience engaged and I felt the WWE used this week this week. Obviously there has to be restrictions on. If you use comedy too often it becomes tedious and on top of that you have to be careful which Wrestlers are taking part in this comedy. For example, there are certain types of comedy you won’t see the WWE having Dean Ambrose take part in. As they do not want to risk having the audience think he is a joke. Instead they just want him to think he is a funny guy, but still a serious threat in the ring. Generally when you get that mix right, you really do find success. Stone Cold, Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels and The Rock are some of the biggest names in history and they used comedy to their advantage a lot. Especially nowadays with social media and constant sharing of “moments” it would be smart to utilise comedy more. Connor McGregor is known by a lot of people who have never seen a UFC event – because some of the things he says are hilarious and then get shared around the internet. It would be silly to not try and emulate that in the WWE.
The tag team divisions in WWE as of late haven’t quite been hitting the way I’d have liked. I feel we’ve been a bit spoilt by the fantastic tag team division in NXT, although with those teams from NXT constantly coming up, you have to question why this hasn’t been translating to the main roster. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed what was done with American Alpha this week. Probably more so than any other appearance they’ve made on Smackdown so far, they looked fantastic. Both guys looked more so like they did in NXT, suplex throwing badasses. Hopefully we see more of this, although there is still some reason to worry. With Alpha set to face Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt next week, I’m a little afraid of how that will come off. Generally wrestlers who are just the tag teams will probably be used to make the higher up the card guys, such as Wyatt and Orton look good, they are considered to be a level below. Obviously Alpha can lose and still look good and I hope that’s how it happens.
As I said earlier, despite it only being November, I’m already starting to gain interest in this year’s Wrestlemania card. There are so many potentially amazing matches that honestly; the card is probably going to be too full. A John Cena Vs Undertaker match for Smackdown’s World Title, a Lesnar Vs Goldberg match and a Finn Balor Vs Kevin Owens match for the Universal title are all on my dream card. I have had the idea of The Club Vs The Shield in my head for a while, but I’m well aware the WWE has been building to Triple H and Seth Rollins for a while now – so that one does seem unlikely. I’ll set out a dream card a little closer to the time, as a lot can change from now but I’m hopeful that this year’s Wrestlemania will have a packed card as with the amount of talent available, it seems difficult to mess it up.
I’d expect both Raw and Smackdown to have slight drops in their viewership’s drop a bit next week with the excitement of Survivor Series dropping off a little – although with two good shows this week I don’t expect any drastic drops.