Raw drew in a decent 3,074 million viewers this week, while Smackdown had a solid 2,465 million viewers.
After spending so much time preferring Smackdown since the draft, this week I found myself far more hooked on the on goings of Raw in comparison to Smackdown. I cannot heap enough praise on anything involving Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe from both the Great Balls of Fire pay per view or the most recent Monday Night Raw. With Joe and Reigns set to battle it out for the right to face Lesnar at Summerslam, I can only assume, and also hope, that Strowman will involve himself in this match, with the end result being a fatal 4 way between all four men for the Universal title at Summerslam. Strowman came off looking amazing after walking out of that mangled ambulance on Sunday, although I feel he would have looked even better had he walked out on Raw the following night. Samoa Joe has been on a role ever since he became the number one contender and he was not slowing down one bit on Monday. Joe came out full of fire as he tore into both Reigns and Lesnar as Raw kicked off. Honestly, I’d love to see Joe as the champion, but it seems like there is a lot of fantastic stuff being produced by the chasers of Lesnar’s title at the moment. I remember some months ago saying that Raw had some depth problems in terms of main event players. That is certainly not the case now, as you have all four of these guys, with both Finn Balor and Seth Rollins waiting in reserve. Not only that, but the likes of Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, The Miz, Big Cass, and both the Hardy’s are also capable of being used in such a capacity. While this proposed fatal 4 way could be a perfect opportunity to take the Universal title off of Lesnar without pinning him, I’d like to see Lesnar keep the title. This is mainly because of the potential opponents that Lesnar could have lined up. One of one matches with both Rollins and Balor would be really fun and interesting and hopefully it won’t be long before we see them.
On Smackdown we’ve had the rare occurrence of a championship changing hands at a house show – of course not just any house show, but a Madison Square Garden house show. AJ Styles defeating Kevin Owens to win the United States Championship. You can understand the reasoning for switching the title so suddenly. Not only does a title switch give a quick revamp to the show and add some excitement but it also allows the WWE to show how house shows are must attend and anything can happen, especially the big house shows like MSG. While I generally prefer villainous champions, there is always a time for the fan favourite to hold titles – even if not for too long. This also allows AJ to continue to work his way to a grand slam in the WWE – a feat he has already previously achieved in TNA – so this US title will look good added alongside the TNA grand slam and his IWGP title in Japan. AJ could do some really interesting things with this title, starting with making sure he can prevent Kevin Owens quickly regaining the title. AJ is clearly one of the best wrestlers in the WWE, along with Kevin Owens, so having the United States title jump between these two really does help present it as an important title, which once upon a time it really wasn’t. While there isn’t quite the same excitement around the title as there may have been during John Cena’s open challenge, the title is still very much held in a standard way above where it was before Cena won the title a couple years back.
If there was one feud I was excited to see in the weeks coming out of Wrestlemania, a feud between the Hardy’s and the Revival would be right up there among the feuds I was most excited to see. I’d assumed this storyline would come together sooner, but of course the injured jaw sustained by Dash Wilder unfortunately prevented that. Nonetheless, these are some matches I am really excited to see. The Revival have long been one of my favourite tag teams, not just in the WWE but in the world. The Revival just have a feeling of being ruthless and the Hardy’s have the perfect level of experience to really be able to put that across to an audience and help the Revival benefit from it. I feel this is a storyline that could do with the tag team titles being involved. Of course to do the WWE would need to find a way in which to take them from Cesaro and Sheamus and insert them here and at the moment the only way I could imagine that happening is through a multi team match. I’d suggest there is a lot to the matches these teams could have and that would mean that the feud will be revisited in the future, and it won’t just be the one or two matches.
I had a few things I could have talked about in my final paragraph on Smackdown this week, but I felt I had to change this paragraph once I found out about the cancellation of Talking Smack. Talking Smack for a while was my one of, if not my favourite piece of content produced by the WWE on a weekly basis. While I have not been watching the show as much as of late, that was not down to the quality of product but instead my own time constraints. The show consistently managed to build up characters and give you an idea of a character far more impressively than either Smackdown or Raw. The likes of Alexa Bliss, Baron Corbin and the Miz among others really benefited from the format where you could tell the wrestlers were given far more freedom and far more opportunities to develop their characters. While the show will still be used after Smackdown pay per views, it’s frustrating to see Smackdown superstars will not have the chance to develop their characters so impressively like the likes of Corbin and Miz were afforded by a weekly edition of Talking Smack.