Raw drew 3,380 million viewers while Smackdown had 2,738 million viewers. Two numbers the WWE will surely be generally pleased with.
With the Undertaker showing up this Monday night and laying hands on Roman Reigns, we have another big match for Wrestlemania match set out. As I watched this segment I had two main thoughts, and unfortunately neither are that positive. Firstly and less importantly I didn’t understand the point of having Braun Strowman out their just to back down from the Undertaker. We’ve just seen Strowman who has been portrayed as a monster for months and has gotten better and better beaten by Roman Reigns. Then to add to that the next night the big monster Strowman simply walks away from the Undertaker. Now sure, I completely understand that it wouldn’t be the right decision to have Strowman beat up Undertaker. It would be even worse to have Undertaker beat up Strowman, but did they really need Strowman to be there to set up the Undertaker and Reigns segment? Couldn’t have Reigns come out to then be interrupted by Undertaker? But again that’s just my preference. My other issue is more of a worry. I watched that segment and just thought Reigns came off as being so obviously the dislikeable character here and while it’s no surprise that Reigns will be booed, he actually came off as a bad guy here. A lot of the time while Reigns may get booed by the fans, he comes off as a redeemable nice guy most of the time, but here he was cocky and he was disrespectful. My worry is that this might not be the way it ends up playing out. I hope they go straight for it and make Reigns a clear villain in the story, make it a story we can really get behind, rather than what I fear they may do and reigning back on the villainous tendencies Reigns portrayed this week.
One thing that is sticking out to me on Smackdown is the Baron Corbin and Dean Ambrose feud. Firstly I feel this feud really provides different elements that no other feud currently happening in the WWE does. Additionally to this, I feel this feud plays into Ambrose and Corbin’s strengths. I feel when you get weapons and heavy violence involved these are two guys that can make the most of that. Additionally, this feud feels rather aggressive and involves less standing around and talking and more fighting and again that fits both characters especially well. Obviously the signs seem to be pointing towards a street fight type match at Wrestlemania. I hope that is the way this is going because typically there are two different kinds of matches that get remembered at Wrestlemania – the top matches which are memorable because of the incredible wrestling, the big characters or a combination of the two. Then there are street fight type matches or ladder matches etc that are remembered. To be a straight up wrestling match in the middle of the card with a feud that is maybe 6th or 7th most important on the card is a lot less likely to be memorable in comparison to a street fight with some fun parts to it which provides elements no other match did. So this would put Corbin and Ambrose in a really nice spot and even better it puts the Intercontinental title which has been made to look much better since the draft split in a nice spot.
While some others may not be, I am pretty excited for Seth Rollins Vs Triple H. Seth has probably not been written in a way that has allowed him to be the most likeable in recent months. However this week they seemingly did something a lot of us wanted them to do since her returned from injury – they showed him in physiotherapy and showed how hard he is working to get back to face Triple H. I still understand some others probably won’t find this match to be too interesting I feel like it’s one of the matches I’m most excited for. Although one other moan I do have for Raw – and this is a moan stretching across multiple weeks – is the fact they’ve taken something that could be great like the Sami Zayn Vs Kevin Owens feud and have worn fans out on it because they keep having them face off in matches that are basically just throwaways on Raw and that have very little meaning. I am hopeful that whenever they decide to hold a draft that they will separate the two of them and move one to Smackdown – although that really should have been done when the original draft was made if you ask me or many others.
I saw a suggestion on reddit the other day that Bray Wyatt simply shouldn’t appear again until Wrestlemania. I’d like to take that idea and change it ever so slightly. I’d like to see Wyatt not appear again until the very last Smackdown before Wrestlemania. The premise of having Wyatt not appear is to give off the idea he is so angry and so upset over what Orton did that he is just sitting, stewing about what he will do to Orton and Wrestlemania. I’d say I have two issues over the idea of having him not appear until Wrestlemania – 1. You want that build up between the two with both of them in the same ring before they face off 2. I’m predicting Orton will beat Wyatt at Wrestlemania, so I’d like Wyatt to destroy him on Smackdown first as not to make his first appearance back after being so angry and having such hatred running through him be in a losing effort. Elsewhere on Smackdown I like the idea of the women’s title being defended in a multi woman match. Similarly to what I said about the Ambrose Vs Corbin match, many of the one on one matches can become lost in the shuffle so doing this match can allow it to move pretty quickly and throwing in one or two surprises in there could get the crowd invested.
Generally around Wrestlemania time there is enough to keep viewers engaged although I haven’t as of yet seen too much promoted for either Raw or Smackdown so I could both shows staying at pretty much the same viewership’s if not dipping slightly.