Raw had 3,201 million viewers this week, while Smackdown managed 2,597 million viewers on the Tuesday.
Braun Strowman’s return to Raw has run alongside my added interest in both Raw and Smackdown once again. Both shows over the past few weeks, and especially this week have been capturing me a little bit more than either were a few weeks ago. Part of this also comes down to the excitement around money in the bank matches and the build up to Summerslam. Strowman’s return, while a little bit silly as he reversed an ambulance into the arena and blasted out of the back doors, Strowman once again looked like a total badass – this helped by the commentary teams surprise at his return, mentioning that in storyline he was expected to be out for months longer. However, of course, even Braun Strowman cannot make an event called “Great Balls of Fire” sound cool. Nonetheless, both he and Roman Reigns will meet in an ambulance match at the event, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve enjoyed matches between the two previously, and I am sure I will enjoy this was as well, as part of me is kind of expecting a big spot involving the ambulance. Of course I also hope that Strowman will come out of this match, not only with a win, but with a match challenging Brock Lesnar for the Universal title at Summerslam lined up. As I said at the time, I think Strowman will be better off overall having had this break out with an injury, simply because a lot of the crowd were totally behind him, however that will eventually run out. With the time out, it’s almost like the countdown to that time has slowed down, meaning we will have even longer of Strowman being as popular as he is right now.
There has been a lot of talk about the money in the bank pay per view. Firstly in terms of the overall show there are some people who seemingly didn’t rate it that highly. Personally I didn’t watch it live, so I spent the next day avoiding spoilers in order to watch it spoiler free. Possibly this avoidance of other opinions helped me enjoy it so much, however that isn’t to say others negative opinions on the show were influenced by others etc. The other criticism has been largely over the womens money in the bank match. Many were frustrated and even angry that a man, James Ellsworth, helped Carmella win the match, with it being the first ever womens money in the bank match. Now I can see the point of view that it is damaging to have the first match of that type be effectively won by a man, and how that can in a way undercut the fact this was meant to be progression for the women. However, I personally didn’t react this way and as I said I avoided spoilers so didn’t see peoples thoughts until after I had watched. I didn’t expect this reaction and never really thought of it that way while watching. Again, that isn’t to say people are wrong to feel that way, but I just saw it as a classic way to make fans boo villainous characters. Having said all of that, Carmella was stripped of the briefcase anyway and that would contain a sense of justice. I personally had hoped that Carmella would win it and now I would feel it’s unlikely she will the rematch. The rematch is a smart idea to me because it will allow the women to really shine. Unlike the pay per view, they won’t have to hold anything back because there is another match of the same match type to follow. Instead they will be the main event of Smackdown. I could see either a surprise woman being added and winning or more likely Charlotte being the one to win the rematch, however that is simply a gut feeling.
As much as they’ve feuded quite a bit at this point, I’m still a big fan of anything the Miz and Dean Ambrose do together. Sometimes it can be goofy, but that is part of the charm. They both tend to have good matches together and they both put together some really entertaining segments that actually have me glued to watching. The added element of Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel to the Miz’s group is interesting and something I can get behind. The Miz can always get that little bit of hatred out of the crowd via his avoidance of competitors and by using Maryse etc. These two guys are now a tool that can basically be used to do the same job Maryse has been doing, but give it a different spin and a different element, which in turn just helps things feel a little fresh. These are two guys I’ve been wanting the WWE to do something with and I am happy they are getting this opportunity. While they will probably regularly take loses for the Miz in tag team matches or in matches against whoever Miz is feuding with, it’s still a reason to be on TV which neither guy has had in recent times. For there you never know what that opportunity can change in to.
Similarly to what I wanted with the womens money in the bank match, I wanted a villainous character to be in possession of the briefcase coming out of the event. With the womens briefcase to be on the line once again, I can see someone like Charlotte winning it, as I said. To me it would make sense they’d do this as it would give a different spin to how the woman’s division competitor utilised the briefcase in comparison to the men’s – which we now know is Baron Corbin. I’m happy to see Corbin have this chance, as I felt his character would utilise the briefcase and that additionally now of the other wrestlers really used in the match would need it so much. I felt it was an inevitability that Corbin would become a world champion and the money in the bank briefcase is almost makes that a certainty. I wouldn’t imagine it would happen any time soon as Jinder Mahal is still in his reign which I imagine could still go for a little bit longer and there are plenty of suitors to take the title from him. I feel Corbin’s time will come to bridge the gap between the end of the year and Royal Rumble time, although I imagine the title would be moved on from him before Wrestlemania. Corbin really has worked his way to this point and I would say it is totally deserved and he has proven he is good enough to be there.