Raw hit 2,884 million viewers this week, while Smackdown hit 2,175 million viewers.
I’d like to begin by apologising for my absence for the past two weeks. With important exams at University to be taken I thought it was best to fully focus on them. So with those exams behind me, it’s time to get back to these articles.
Well we’ve given Jinder Mahal his time to build to his title match, and I can’t say I’m really all that convinced. The major problem I’ve had with Mahal isn’t really him, but more of what he’s scripted to say and how he’s scripted to say it. I find on Smackdown he has quite stereotypical, boring dialogue and in addition to this, it seems he has been told to deliver this trying to be intense. Instead it just really comes off as over acted and in all honesty it comes off very fake. When you compare this to Mahal’s words on talking smack, they are very different. On talking smack Mahal comes off as far more natural and by doing this I actually enjoy him far more on talking smack. Obviously it’s nothing new that a character comes off better and is preferable on talking smack in comparison to Smackdown itself. The match that Smackdown has actually most successfully got me interested in for Backlash on Sunday is the Dolph Ziggler Vs Shinsuke Nakamura match. At first, in all honesty, I didn’t pay much attention to the promos between the two, but this week Ziggler reminded me why a few years ago he was one of my favourites. Now unfortunately that’s not really the case anymore, simply down to the stop start type booking Ziggler has been on the other end of. However, Ziggler for me really gave his first promo that reminded me of a Ziggler of the past this week. It would obviously be silly for anything but a Nakamura win this Sunday, but I’m sure the two of them can put on a great match.
While to some Braun Strowman’s injury may have seemingly come at the worst time, I think in the long run it will actually help Strowman. The crowd at the moment is loving Braun, and I’m sure that would have continued for a while yet, but just like everyone else, the crowd eventually gets bored of you or starts to think you’re being given too many chances etc. With this short break I think Strowman will come back to even better reactions from the crowd and the break will likely allow them to continue for longer. Not just that, but it now seems Strowman’s match with Lesnar has been moved from one of the random B pay per views to Summerslam, which is certainly an upgrade. All in all I’m sure Braun would rather not have to have surgery, but there are certainly some positives to take from the wrestling perspective. This does of course have the drawback that the WWE will have to make due with one less top competitor on Raw for a couple months. However, I think they’ve started well, as this fatal 5 way match set to take place at the next pay per view is one I’m sure will deliver.
While I’m not sure the drastic change on Smackdown of having Jinder Mahal pushed up the card has worked out, the advancement with Breezango thus far has been a successes for me. They’ve managed to give the team a few wins and in addition to that we’ve had the segments backstage each week which has helped to really build the personality of the team. I’ve also really enjoyed any time the Uso’s have been handed a microphone since morphing into these more villainous characters. While I really am not that incredibly excited for the match itself, the character work in the build-up has helped a lot. Unfortunately for Breezango I would assume the long term plans are to focus more on the returning New Day and American Alpha. With a good performance here, I’m sure that Breezango can force themselves further into the future plans, but of course sometimes once the WWE have made up their mind, very little can change it.
Looking at the Intercontinental Championship picture and similarly to much of the storylines in the WWE, it has been a little bit over complicated. For me, I’d like to see the Miz once again win the title. Ambrose of course could do plenty with the title, but I think that the Miz can allow for a long title reign, similarly to his on Smackdown last year, it allows him to go through a series of challenges on the Raw brand, and eventually when someone beats the Miz it could create a big moment. The likes of Balor, Rollins, Kalisto and Roman Reigns amongst others will need storylines to keep them going when they aren’t in the chase for the Universal title, which has a champion that won’t even be around a lot of the time. So these are feuds that could be at the forefront of Raw storylines at any one time and could add some real entertainment to the show. If eventually someone like Balor was to beat The Miz – as it may be a while before Balor gets his proper shot in the Universal title scene – I could see it being a really good match with a lot of fantastic surrounding moments.
I’d hope that in the coming weeks both Raw and Smackdown could improve their viewership’s. Although doing this will of course take some strong showings from both shows. Unfortunately both shows have a bit of a feeling of too much familiarity to them, and both could do with a bit of shaking up, which is ironic considering the fact they did get a “shake-up” just a few weeks ago.