Raw’s highest viewers dropped slightly this week from 3,323 million viewers last week to 3,163 million this week. Smackdown went up slightly from 2,628 million to 2,647 million.
We are just one more weeks of shows away from Wrestlemania and while many other seem to feel slightly underwhelmed by the build-up, I’m actually fairly optimistic for the show and I feel as though it will be one to remember. As is the same with all of the WWE’s big shows nowadays, yes it will probably feel too long and yes there will be too many matches crammed into the time but with the right amount of switching off during less important parts of the show, I think it will be really enjoyable.
The Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton story remained pretty creepy this week, but on the up-side, at least it wasn’t totally out with the realms of possibility. This isn’t exactly the way I would have wanted to see the feud between the two play out since Orton’s turn a few weeks ago. I’ve said before that I would have liked to see Wyatt disappear until next week before returning the getting into an all-out brawl with Orton. I am happy they at least avoided the temptation to do as they have with many others and just sticking them in pointless tag team matches for week on end. Hopefully they have the type of aggressive all out brawl this storyline deserves next week to lead into what I hope is a good match at Wrestlemania. In terms of just the match itself, their match isn’t one of the ones I’m most excited about, but because it has had such a good storyline to accompany it, I hope that as the story reaches its climax it provides a good matchup along with it. I’m assuming Luke Harper probably won’t play a part in the match, as he hasn’t really been involved in recent weeks. I still maintain that the best case scenario, at least in my enjoyment of the entire thing would have been adding Harper to the match. You have to feel a little for the guy who played a big part in the feud, which wouldn’t have been nearly as good without him, who will probably end up just being a face in the crowd of the battle royal this year when he really could have been in one of the main matches.
One match that is ranking pretty high on my scale of excitement for Wrestlemania is Jericho Vs Owens. Although I am a little scared the match will get lost the large amount of matches set to take place, I’m confident they will put on a hard hitting, entertaining bout, even if it may be a little forgotten by many fans by the time the show draws to a close. Two guys I also feel for are Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn. Both have been quite heavily involved in the story between Owens and Jericho over recent months and Zayn himself has played a big part in the Raw brand since the brand split. Both don’t see to have any match for the event. While I’m sure Joe will be used in a big way – possibly interfering in the Owens match, or the Triple H match or both – it’s sad we won’t get to see him perform in an actual match up during the event, considering he’d instantly probably be one of the best competitors across the entire thing. Zayn is even more unlucky as unlike Joe, he hasn’t had a focused build around him in recent months and doesn’t have the excuse of just recently debuting to explain by left out of any big matches. I can only assume Zayn will be a part of the battle royal, which is not only a waste of his talents, but he will likely be one of the biggest stars in the entire match and yet will still probably receive little focus and be tossed out prematurely to ensure the Braun Strowman Vs Big Show finish I’m sure the WWE want (Not that I don’t want to see that as well but Zayn can be much more than an afterthought). Speaking of Strowman, this week showed another reason why he’d have been better dropping out of the scene involving Roman Reigns altogether and going back to beating no names for a few weeks again. Even Strowman who has been protected heavily for months was a victim of the part timers and few regulars lucky enough to be considered to be on the part timers level as he was choke slammed by the Undertaker, which really didn’t seem a necessary move to make – we all know the Undertaker is a threat.
The Uso’s defeating American Alpha to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships this week was a little bit surprising to say the least. I had expected they’d feud over them and possibly face each other at Wrestlemania – but I’d always assumed that American Alpha had plenty of time left in their reign. Looking at it though, for a team like American Alpha the chase it always better than the reign and the Uso’s deserve a run with the titles after the way they’ve been performing in recent months. The division had felt a little flat – which isn’t really down to the teams as much as the way they’ve been used – since Alpha captured the titles. So the Uso’s winning should give the division a little bit of a kick start. Now sure, the Uso’s winning the titles does mean they can now go on to be in matches with Alpha challenging, but the issue no matter which teams holds the belts is that the other is their only viable challenger. That’s not to put down the rest of the teams on Smackdown, but since the brand split the only other team that has really received any degree of focus has been the hype bros and Zack Ryder is presumably still a good distance off the ability to return to the ring. I’ve always said the other teams are capable of being good opponents but only if they are presented as such in storyline and sadly the WWE really hasn’t done that. The one exception I could see would possibly be Breezango. While as a team they haven’t been presented as serious threats and they probably wouldn’t get a run with the titles, you can see the WWE is at least starting to recognise that they are an entertaining tandem. Sticking the two of them in a segment with John Cena this week, in which they were very entertaining shows that there must be some sort of trust and belief in them – or at least a trust that hasn’t been given to the Vaudevillians or the Ascension. Sure Breeze did tap out to Nikki Bella and again they weren’t exactly presented as a threat but there is no reason to say that if they didn’t start cheating a little to gain an advantage that they couldn’t at least have a nice feud with the likes of American Alpha. As I’ve said, they have the ability, it’s just if the WWE decide to run with it or not. Possibly the Hardy’s will come in, or someone like the Revival will come up, only time will tell on that front.
With next week being the last Raw and Smackdown before Wrestlemania you’d for sure be expecting good viewership’s for both. In next week’s article I’ll include some of my predictions for Wrestlemania. Hopefully we can have some strong finishes to the build-up of a lot of matches with a lot of potential.
I’d like to finish this article by sending good thoughts towards Jim Ross whose wife Jan, who by all accounts seemed to be a fantastic person, sadly passed away this week. Additionally, good wishes go out to intendent promotion AIW’s co-owner Chandler Biggins (Chris Bryan) who has been in hospital this week. I’m a regular listener of his podcast with fellow co-owner John Thorne (The Card is going to change) and I highly recommend giving it a listen. I’m unsure of exactly what happened but I hope that if possible Chandler makes a full recovery.