Raw drew 3,110 million viewers this week with a show far better than what we’ve seen in recent weeks, meanwhile, Smackdown drew in 2,349 million viewers, meaning our potential ratings war between the two might have to wait a while longer as the shows once again draw further apart.
While my personal pick to have won the fatal 5 way and therefore become number one contender to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship was Fin Balor, I’m not going to complain about Samoa Joe being the chosen superstar for that match. Joe has all of the capabilities to put on a fantastic match with Lesnar, providing he is given the same opportunities I said I wanted to see Finn Balor get last week. The build up to this match couldn’t have started better from my view. I loved how Joe was presented on Raw this week. Firstly he choked out Paul Heyman, which really put across a ruthless side of Joe. Then of course he defended Seth Rollins, albeit with a helping hand from Bray Wyatt. Samoa Joe has had what you could describe as a so-so start to his time on the Raw roster since his debut shortly before Wrestlemania. While Joe has still been made to feel pretty strong, he hasn’t stuck out as someone who has been strongly pushed by the company, and probably felt like he was just one of the roster far too quickly. This new development has really seemed to kick Joe on however, and this is a chance for the company to make Joe seem a little bit more special. Now, it’s probably pretty likely that Joe will not beat Lesnar and Lesnar will be moving onto other opponents before eventually arriving at Roman Reigns. So the big discussion now that will likely be being discussed will be how to have Lesnar win the match, but preventing the result from making Joe look any weaker than he went into the match. Or perhaps this isn’t the discussion, perhaps Lesnar will run through Joe as at the end of the day there are more plans for him and he will need a stronger build up, although I sincerely hope this isn’t the case as it would be an awfully short sighted decision.
Smackdown has a weird feeling right now where the money in the bank ladder match preparation feels a lot more important than the preparations for the WWE title match between Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal. Of course I suppose this is simply what is going to happen when your title match involves a wrestler who until recently was a career enhancement talent, meanwhile the money in the bank match contains many of the top stars of the brand. I don’t think the build-up for either of the matches have particularly captured my imagination. Instead the main points of the Smackdown brand that are interesting me right now are both the womens division and the tag team division. Not even the whole tag team division in particular, more so just the fashion files skits with Breezango. While it’s good to have something that interests you as opposed to nothing at all, you’d imagine the WWE would really want its viewers to be interested in the main angles on its shows. I’m sure once we have a money in the bank holder and we’ve moved on from the Randy Orton, Jinder Mahal feud, be that with either one of them as champion, that will then give me an opportunity to have something at the top end of the Smackdown brand to be excited about.
The tag team division on Raw has does have potential to be quite entertaining over the next few months. I’ve really enjoyed the series of matches going on between the Hardy’s and Cesaro & Sheamus. Sometimes I don’t like having a team or a person drop a title just to take it back a little bit down the line – as a lot of the time it feels like it’s just a time killer. However, in this scenario it has felt like the right move and I’m excited to see how everything progresses and the team of Cesaro & Sheamus has proven itself to be quite diverse. The Revival have been one of my favourite tag teams for a while now and I am excited to see them really getting into this division and utilised in matches especially with the Hardy’s. Of course you’ve also got Anderson and Gallows who are villains and the team of Heath Slater and Rhyno are not really credible threats. So it will be interesting to see if the WWE either turns a team, calls one up or forms a new team to act as another fan favourite team, as the Hardy’s are the only credible ones at the moment and in addition it’s only a fair assumption to think the WWE will eventually look to give the Hardy’s singles runs, so they will need another fan favourite team on the roster, but I’m not all that sure where they are going to come from.
Smackdown’s womens division has in my opinion, been a highlight of the WWE ever since the draft. It has always seemed to throw up fresh ideas, match ups and competitors and that doesn’t seem to be coming for a stop. We are set to see the first womens Money in the Bank match, we’ve got plenty of new match ups to be had, or ones that have happened, but haven’t been overdone, such as Becky Lynch Vs Charlotte and we’ve just seen the re-debut, as an in ring competitor, of Lana. Now of course, sometimes we aren’t going to get matches that are quite at the in ring level of a Sasha Banks Vs Bayley match. However, you can’t just expect that to happen out of nowhere, giving these women a platform to perform and improve on will be incredibly important, and that is what Smackdown does. As I’ve said before, I feel this Money in the Bank match will need a villainous winner, as the whole storyline of carrying around the briefcase and threatening cash ins really hands itself to such a wrestler. I would now say I’d like to see Carmella be the winner of this match as again it would be perfect for her character to be the one to hold that briefcase and the perfect way for her to finally get her hands on some gold in the WWE. Obviously someone like Charlotte would be great at taking this, but with her new found attitude it probably wouldn’t be a fit, and she obviously doesn’t need the help of such a prop.
You’d hope that as the summer time goes on and we edge closer towards Summerslam that both Raw and Smackdown will continue to grow in viewership’s, however both figures have been difficult to predict recently, so we could see some surprises thrown up in the coming weeks, however for Raw especially I’d have to speculate that if they can continue at least the standard of show they produced this week, viewership’s should surly go up.
I will note now that you won’t see one of these articles next week, I’ll be away in Berlin so wrestling will have to take a back seat for a week. I’ll be back the week after however.