A solid week for both brands as Raw retook its place at the top of the pyramid of WWE, drawing 3.046 million viewers meanwhile Smackdown gathered 2.596 million.
Generally my articles are quite positive, although over the past two weeks it would be a fair observation that I’ve had one or two more things to nit-pick than usual – not this week though, prepare for me to fawn over how much I’m enjoying wrestling at the moment – with that said though, there are some constructive criticisms I will still voice.
The Miz has been a highlight of the draft split for me. A guy who I have always supported but much of the time was simply just a part of the show – he’s now become a star of the show. Dean Ambrose is a perfect opponent for him too, as shown this week on Smackdown. I was caught a little off guard by Ambrose’s win this week as I’d expected the Miz to hold the title for a bit longer – but that isn’t to say I’m against it. I had wonder where Ambrose would find his place on the roster after his feud with AJ Styles ended and as Intercontinental champion seems like a good idea. The title has seemed a hell of a lot more important and has had a greater platform on which to be shown on since the draft split. Ambrose is a guy who has been treated pretty seriously and made out to be a big deal since he debuted years back and a guy like him holding the title should theoretically help add to the momentum the title has been gaining. I will be hoping that we don’t see the hot potato with the Intercontinental title that we’ve seen before around Wrestlemania season leading to a multi-man ladder match.
Over on Raw the US title isn’t quite matching up to the Intercontinental title on Smackdown. Playing second fiddle to the Universal title in storylines and been defended in matches between differing combinations of three men certainly hasn’t helped the title. Nonetheless, the segment between Reigns, Owens and the rest of the main players on Raw, plus Goldberg on Monday was a good build up to the Royal Rumble. Goldberg’s return has pleasantly surprised me, as when news broke that he was meant to return, I wasn’t all that excited. Like other part timers, Goldberg has this feel of being special when compared to the superstars that are on TV every week. Generally when Roman Reigns interacts with the likes of a Goldberg or a Brock Lesnar, he comes off better for it – so as much as I’m sure some other fans won’t enjoy it, an eventual match between Goldberg and Reigns could be a good idea.
The developing story between Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss and whoever is under that mask is obviously going to draw intrigue around who is under the mask. I’m honestly not so sure who they’ll eventually reveal to be under the mask but I sure am excited to find out. I saw a stat about how much involvement the women had on Smackdown this week and was very impressed. There is basically four individual storylines involving women on Smackdown at the moment and all of them have been developing nicely from my view. As I said last week, I’m hoping Carmella will be revealed to be simply leading James Ellsworth on in order to have him help her win matches, as opposed to them being an actual love interest. Thus far it seems that may be the case, which I’m happy about. I also appreciated the way they debuted Aliyah (even though it’s clearly not an official move to the main roster.) As the way she lost doesn’t take away from her as a competitor and will help when she eventually moves to the main roster.
On a related note, I was very impressed with 205 live this week, as I have been in previous weeks. The show is really starting to define roles for everyone on the roster and not only have the matches started to hit levels we hadn’t really seen since the cruiserweight classic, but a lot of the character work is too. The show is still to debut Gran Metalik and Akira Tozawa, as well as have Austin Aries return to the ring when healthy enough to do so. I’ve admired that they are doing this slowly, as it allows wrestlers debuting on the show to make an impact and doesn’t squash them all together. Therefore when the guys I mentioned debut they will be given far more attention. I mention this as with how great 205 Live is, it hasn’t really translated to Raw. Of course with Raw being a variety show of sorts the cruiserweights are bound to be overshadowed somewhat, but hopefully they manage to break out a little and become a bit more of an important part of Monday nights.
I’d assume we will have similar viewership for Smackdown next week with Raw rising up as both the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are advertised to appear.