Raw drew 3,519 million viewers this week against some tough completion in the NBA; meanwhile Smackdown drew 2,652 million viewers. So a clear victory for Raw this week but viewership’s that the WWE will likely be pleased with.
There was nothing majorly standout on either show this week. Although that includes anything standing out as bad. I think it would be fair assessment to say that both Raw and Smackdown were solid this week.
The opening segment of Raw is the kind of segment that I really enjoy in wrestling. While if done too often it can become confusing and not let single wrestlers or storylines stand out, in this case it had that whole the show is going crazy feel to it. That’s the kind of feel that was quite common in the attitude era – lots of excitement and carnage. Brock Lesnar being a complete beast is of course always going to be best for business – and doing so makes me excited to see him and Goldberg in a longer more competitive match. Of course there is no guarantee that match will be good, it might end up being a bit slow and boring, but my excitement for the match is there.
I enjoyed getting to see the Alexa Bliss Vs Becky Lynch steel cage match. While it has been fantastic seeing the women put into matches they’ve never been in before, it has generally been the same wrestlers in those matches. So I’m excited that these matches are now becoming common place for the women and that different women are getting the chance. I do hope that these matches don’t become too common place however, as when these stipulation matches happen at the moment, they feel special. This is a contrast to the feeling when male wrestlers are in hell in a cell matches or ladder matches etc. Some of those matches have been used so often that they don’t feel so special anymore and don’t feel like the stipulation is deserved. So hopefully they don’t do the same with the women and keep these stipulations back for when the situation really deserves it.
If you compare the tag team divisions on both Raw and Smackdown, Raw’s particularly feels flat in comparison. Sure, Smackdown’s division doesn’t exactly have a lot of depth, but at least the top players are feeling fresher and focused on than their counterparts on Raw. That’s not even to say that without a little bit of work Smackdown’s tag team roster couldn’t have more depth. I enjoy the work of the teams such as Breezango and the Vaudevillians and with a little bit of focus and a few wins, there is no reason the either of these teams couldn’t have a legitimate feud with American Alpha. The confusing thing about Raw is there is plenty of depth. You’ve got Cesaro and Sheamus who are two legitimate singles stars in a team, the New Day, Anderson and Gallows and Enzo and Cass who all feel like stars. On top of that the shining stars maybe don’t feel like they are on the same level in terms of star power with those teams but are good in the ring and have their place. Additionally R-Truth and Goldust are experienced guys who are great for some comic relief and when you need a team to lose. Maybe the issue with both divisions is they need more teams that can lose. Bringing in local competitors worked for Braun Strowman so I don’t see how they can’t do that with tag teams. It would save having some of your legitimate star tag teams having to lose on Raw every few weeks. You also have to keep in your mind that there is a wealth of tag teams in NXT right now that could fill out those rosters – #DIY, The Revival, The Authors of Pain, Sanity and TM61 are all teams I could see doing well on the main roster.
The ongoing story between the Wyatt Family is one of the best things on WWE television at the moment for me. Sometimes longer drawn out stories can be boring but the template has been perfect for this particular story. WWE have taken what seemed like it would be a standard feud between Wyatt and Orton and turned it into something far better. This is also some of the most interest I’ve had in Wyatt for a long time. Bray has almost fallen into the background of the bickering between Harper and Orton, which is perfect because when he emerges to become part of the full focus it will feel like something we’ve had to wait for, which generally increases the appreciation. The other part of this that is so interesting is you aren’t quite sure where it is going. My assumption would be that eventually Wyatt takes Harpers side resulting in a return to the Orton Vs Wyatt feud. Although this could go multiple ways. I’m certain it will result in a Wyatt Vs Orton match but I’m unsure of the twists and turns along the way. Will Harper stick by Wyatt’s side or will Orton eliminate him, get closer to Bray and eventually finally turn on Bray for his long awaited revenge? Additionally, I’m unsure when Eric Rowan is back from injury but if it’s any time soon he could play a part in this also. The feeling of not knowing what to expect and intrigue is often missing from WWE storylines, but this is certainly not a case of that.
With the Royal Rumble just a week away I’m sure both Raw and Smackdown will be interesting shows, likely both having better viewership’s than this week, so next week’s article should be a fun one as I try and predict the winner of the Royal Rumble match – something else I’m finding difficult to predict, which is also a good thing.