There was no ratings war article last week. This was due to the ratings for both Raw and Smackdown not being in until this week. Therefore we will have a look at the ratings for both this week and last week in this article. This week Raw dropped from 2.11 last week, to just 1.88. The drop has been majorly blamed on the return of Monday night football. Smackdown is incredibly close to equalling Raw. Scoring 1.86, up from last week’s 1.76. This of course is bittersweet. Such close ratings makes a ratings war a bit more interesting, however, I’m sure WWE wish that came from a huge increase in Smackdown’s ratings, rather than a large decrease in Raw’s.
I’m a bigger fan of big men/women wrestlers than most it seems. That has been why I’ve really enjoyed Nia Jax and Braun Strowman matches since the draft. Both have been given opportunities to look dominant and look strong. I said when these began, that it will be interesting to see how the transition to facing contracted WWE talent goes. Both Nia Jax and Strowman have started to do this. Strowman so far hasn’t really been given an issue with another talent, so we will have to wait for that. Jax on the other hand, has been given an issue to dispute with Alica Fox. I really liked what they did this week, having Jax put Fox through the guardrail. With multiple other personal issues going on throughout Raw, Smackdown and NXT in the WWE between the ladies, it was important to make this one standout. The brutality and physicality of their brawl this week did that. Not only did the segment make Jax seem like more of a monster, it also has the potential to help Fox, is she is to continue to bring the fight to Nia, despite her injuries.
I’ve also enjoyed the other storyline going on with Raw’s womens division. Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Dana Brooke all their parts to play, although those parts could be more clearly defined. As right now, I know I want Sasha to get a match with Charlotte, but I also want Bayley to get a title match also. As a viewer, I’m also slightly confused as to if I should be getting behind Dana Brooke. She has yet to show any redeemable qualities, other than slapping Charlotte. Plus just a week ago, she was berating and about to attack Sasha Banks, who Dana thought was about to announce her retirement. At some point, I’d assume Nia Jax will become involved in the championship picture. Probably with some more pieces of this puzzle separating off, to be given more of a spotlight in their own feud. However, having lost her two title matches in NXT, I’m not sure having Nia Jax lose her first title match on Raw is smart. Having said that, I’m not sure the current direction of the storylines fits having Nia win the title. Although, taking a hard left and going in a different direction is sometimes the better choice.
Sadly, the cruiserweight classic has been concluded. However, that does mean we will be seeing cruiserweights on Raw from next week onwards. I’ve spoken before of my concern that the cruiserweight matches will not be as good on Raw, due to wrestlers having to tone down their style, to prevent overshadowing bigger parts of the show. Time will tell if my concern was justified. Although, I do have concerns on other things to do with the cruiserweights on Raw. The group of cruiserweights who seem to be coming up to Raw are very talented individuals. Take the likes of Johnny Gargano and Ciampa, who are rumoured to join that group, have the ability to play a part in any part of Raw – cruiserweights, tag teams, maybe even the main event one day. I’m really hopeful that the cruiserweights do not become isolated and are not stereotyped as only being capable of being in that one division. Hopefully there will not be a glass ceiling for the cruiserweights.
The cruiserweights will aid Raw in the fact they can fill air time and add more bodies to the roster. WWE still has to beef up both rosters a little. While I believe both rosters are stronger than some others think they are, I’d still like to see some more depth. Simply because while I believe there is a lot of talent there, if you only have a small talent pool, eventually things will overlap. Having new and fresh feuds are important and I feel Raw and Smackdown could both do with some extra bodies. Although WWE will know they have to be careful. Not only is bringing in too many new faces at once possibly confusing to fans, WWE could shoot themselves in the foot by doing so. Most new talents will have to be plucked from NXT. Once this happens, it means spots must be filled in NXT. This can be done by either using existing talent signed to WWE, who aren’t on NXT yet, or signing new Indy talent.
The reason WWE has to be careful, is because if they take Nakamura, Joe, Aries and Roode all from NXT, that could be detrimental to other NXT talent. As those NXT talent, who WWE might still want to see improvement in, will not get the benefit of working with those talented individuals. The same goes for the independents. If WWE go and sign the top ten independent talents tomorrow, up and coming talents will be worse off for it. As again, they will not get to work with people more talented than them and won’t learn from them. So WWE have to be careful to take the right talents, at the right times, although WWE will for sure know that.
So as we enter a period where Raw ratings can be notoriously lower compare to the rest of the year, you can count on two things. First of all, WWE will be pulling out a lot of stops to convince viewers to tune into Raw, rather than Monday night football. Secondly, ratings between Smackdown and Raw will be a lot closer, making these articles that little bit more interesting. Smackdown has been receiving some good feedback. So I assume Smackdown’s ratings will grow next week. I assume Raw will have a slight growth too, although both will remain close and I wouldn’t be surprised if Smackdown even manage to surpass Raw by a point or two.