Truth be told, neither Raw, nor Smackdown, were all that great this week. Neither show was really bad as such; however, they both were mostly used to set up Summerslam. Nothing special or out of the ordinary was to be expected, not the week before the second biggest pay per view of the year. Raw drew a 2.12 rating this week, improving on the 2.05 rating of last week. Smackdown also had a slight improvement, going from 1.69 to 1.72. WWE will be determined to keep building on those ratings; a good Summerslam will help raise those ratings up next week.
Raw and Smackdown’s main events had different ways of building up matches for Summerslam. Smackdown’s highlighted one half of the Cena Vs AJ match. Having John Cena take on Alberto Del Rio. Not only did this highlight Cena and give him a win before the event, with Styles out to watch Cena, it allowed for a post-match brawl, giving fans a taste of what they can see on Sunday. On the other hand, Raw gave one of their matches away on free TV, just under a week before it takes place. Yes, the main event of Raw was Rusev Vs Reigns. The only difference this Sunday will be that the United States championship will be on the line. Reigns and Rusev are a good pairing; I enjoy seeing them face off. I am sure I will enjoy their match this Sunday; I’m just confused as to why we saw it on TV. Possibly we will see Rusev retain at Summerslam, and this was just a way of protecting Reigns. Now he will be able to say he has beaten Rusev recently.
I am incredibly excited for the Styles Vs Cena match. I don’t think it’s quite the match I’m most excited for this weekend, though. In fairness, there are a lot of match to be excited about. Styles and Cena will put on a hell of a show and I have loved the way their feud has built up. One thing I can say about the Reigns Vs Rusev match is that Raw has promoted their mid-card title match far more than Smackdown. Apollo Crews is a rising star and the Miz is quite frankly great. Hopefully we see the Intercontinental title take more of a focus on Smackdown, in the weeks following Summerslam.
Heath Slater has consistently been one of the best parts, of both Raw and Smackdown, since the draft. Heath is simply hilarious and while some believe comedy in wrestling is generally bad, I disagree. Comedy is one of the easiest ways to make someone watch a television show. It takes a good amount of time to really get someone invested in characters and storylines. However, it can take just a moment to make someone laugh. I don’t know about others, but when I find a show that makes me laugh, I don’t tend to switch channels easily. So a character like Heath Slater, in my opinion, is very valuable to the WWE.
Slater also avoids pitfalls that many other comedy characters can often fall into. Much of the time comedy characters in wrestling become very niche. Only small portions of the audience are in to the type of comedy they display. Heath seems to avoid that, displaying comedy that is widely found entertaining. I once heard Daniel Bryan say Heath had the potential to be “a modern day Honky Tonk Man” I’d love to see Heath eventually end up on Smackdown, and have this vision play out.
Many people were worried about the women’s division on both brands, following the brand split. Many thought that the women on the roster now, and the number of women, was perfect for just one roster. They felt splitting them into two, simply diluted the product of the women’s division. I decided to look at it positively, thinking of it as an opportunity for other women to feature more. Thus far the likes of Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss and Eva Marie have already made use of these opportunities. I’ve really liked the work of both rosters women since the draft. We will see how things progress, in the next few months.
Will both divisions manage to have consistency and not seem like they’re repeating themselves constantly? Right now though, I like the way both are heading. Charlotte and Sasha looks like it will be awesome again. Charlotte got some really heavy boo’s on Monday and she plays into it perfectly. Eva Marie is still killing it and even getting recognition for that. We are yet to see her in the ring, and maybe that is for the best. I say that admitting that I actually enjoyed some of her matches in NXT. I feel as though her eventual in ring debut, may not get a great reception from the majority of the internet, though. Nonetheless, Eva has showed she has talent. Her facial expressions after costing Natalya and Alexa Bliss the match this week were just fantastic. The six women tag match at Summerslam probably won’t be anything special; rarely are six person tag team matches. However, I am still excited to see how the ladies on Smackdown and their storylines develop.
Sasha Vs Charlotte will probably be awesome, both women almost always deliver. I feel that they have one more match in them, even after Summerslam, though. It has been talked about quite a bit recently, when will the women first main event a pay per view. I feel no feud; no pairing is more qualified for this spot than Sasha Vs Charlotte. I’d love to see the two main event the first Raw exclusive event; which I believe will be ‘Clash of the Champions’.
I am looking forward to the Cruiserweight division coming to Raw. Should the division be allowed to function the way it does on the CWC, it could be fantastic. I am worried about that though. When you hear some stories about backstage in WWE, truthfully many of them coming from the past, but some from as recently as when JTG was around, it makes you worry. If guys like Kota Ibushi and Cedric Alexander go out and have a match, on Raw, like they did last week, will other guys like that? Or will guys higher up the card feel they’re being overshadowed by the cruiserweights? Now sure, matches like those will not happen every week, they can’t, but typically cruiserweight matches can steal the show on Raw’s week to week. Many of today’s crop of wrestlers don’t seem to let egos get in the way, as much. Typically many seem to like competition. Hopefully the cruiserweight division does fuel that competition, rather than petty, ego driven, backstage politics.
I’m for sure excited for Summerslam. I’m hoping the show won’t just be good matches though, I’d like some storyline progression built in to the show. That way I’ll have a hook into watching Raw and Smackdown the following week. The whole weekend is set to be pretty great; I wish Summerslam wasn’t going to be quite as long, however, there is a lot to get hyped over. For someone, living in the UK, who has stopped staying up late for most WWE shows, I know I’ll be doing it two nights in a row: Saturday and Sunday. I’d struggle to even come up with a top ten matches I’m excited for this weekend list; simply because there is so many. I think for me, it’s a three way tie between Rollins Vs Balor, Sasha Banks Vs Charlotte and Nakamura Vs Samoa Joe. What match is everyone else most excited for this weekend?