It was 3,062 million viewers for Raw this week, meanwhile Smackdown 2,637 million viewers.
Thankfully neither Raw nor Smackdown fell into the vice of being a “Christmas show” this week. Sure both had Christmas trees on the entrance ramp and such, but unlike some episodes of Raw and Smackdown around Christmas in recent years, this week’s show didn’t feel like throw away episodes.
James Ellsworth being completely destroyed by AJ Styles was the perfect payoff for their time together. While I was hoping that we’d have seen the back of Ellsworth for a while – not forever, but just for a while – it seems something could be brewing between he and Carmella. Now of course if this ends up being a Cedric Alexander and Alica Fox esc romance it could be pretty awful. However, I am hopeful it could be something else completely. I feel that it would suit Carmella’s current character fantastically if she was to use James Ellsworth to allow her to get ahead in matches. Obviously Ellsworth wouldn’t be able to get physical with the women, but he could create distractions and take a slap or two. All the while Carmella would be leading him along, with Ellsworth thinking he has a chance and Carmella knowing exactly what she is doing.
Over on Raw it seems the rise of Braun Strowman just doesn’t stop. Of course I’m not complaining – others certainly probably are. Strowman to me is entertaining as he provides something very different from the likes of Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. While I really don’t like the idea of Strowman in a 25 minute 1 on 1 championship match, there is a reason why he is either placed in short matches or multi-man matches. In those formats I find Strowman to be a fantastic asset and it seems as though that must be the direction. I’m not sure how this entire thing could end up at the moment. Currently it’s meant to be Reigns Vs Owens at the rumble, however possibly Rollins and Strowman could be inserted into that matchup? It could also be possible they may have Rollins face Strowman, or even that neither will have a singles match and they are using this situation to promote both Rollins and Strowman’s involvement in the rumble match itself.
Natalya admitted what everyone else seemed to know this week – she attacked Nikki Bella. Now that isn’t to say that the storyline playing out exactly as everyone thought it would is a bad thing, on this occasion I thought it was good they added some doubt into it, as it allowed Natalya to cut that promo this week. The way she turned to on a pins head from innocent and friendly to total bitch was fantastic. What Natalya said was obviously bound to get a reaction from the crowd, due to the use of the word “bitch” and some personal comments. Getting the crowd reacting and not just sitting by watching in a feud like this is great, as there was always the potential that some fans wouldn’t be too interested in this feud. If these ladies are allowed to go out there and really get physical and violent I could see some really entertaining matches out of these two.
The womens division on Raw has now moved on from the Charlotte feud with Sasha Banks and with that we’ve seen the beginnings of two new feuds. Charlotte was beaten by Bayley, which will surely set up a title match between the two; meanwhile Sasha Banks was attacked by Nia Jax. Both feuds I believe could be quite interesting. We’ve seen in NXT that Charlotte and Bayley can produce some magic together – meanwhile, obviously quite a lot of people aren’t big fans of Nia, but her best matches have been against Asuka and Bayley. Both matches were pretty great. So it has been proven that Nia can have some pretty great matches with smaller girls who have a lot of ability, so I’m sure her and Sasha can have a good match up at some point.
With John Cena’s return next Tuesday and a host of title matches, I’d expect Smackdown’s ratings to go up, while a boxing day edition of Raw may see Monday’s ratings drop a little.