Raw hit 3,600 million viewers this week, down from 3,893 million the previous week. However, Smackdown leaped up the ratings charts, coming from 2,885 million viewers last week to 3,105 million this week.
The rosters have truly been shaken up this week, and I’ve got to say that generally I’m pretty happy with the wrestlers who have switched brands – although my biggest gripe is probably the fact that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are now still on the same brand, and I fear the WWE will run what could have been a fantastic feud into the ground.
I want to start by talking about a segment that could go down as one of my favourites in a long time. Seeing Braun Strowman return numerous times to beat up Roman Reigns a little bit more, and finally tipping an ambulance with Reigns inside it was certainly a little bit different than what we are used to – and I can’t complain about WWE trying something different, that’s for sure. Even though in a morale sense Strowman is totally the guy here, in the messed up world of wrestling, this has only made him more popular with a lot of fans. Although at this point it’s evident the WWE knows Reigns will be booed and Strowman will be cheered, they are just happy both are getting loud reactions and will find a way to twist it into whatever story they want to tell. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, they have a story they want to tell and they will stick to it, yes while it can be frustrating at times that the fans will show WWE they clearly aren’t behind a story and the WWE will push on with it regardless, I don’t think this is a case of that. I am looking forward to what is ahead in this storyline, but I do hope that after such a brutal attack the WWE do at least keep Roman off TV for a couple weeks to put emphasis on his injuries.
Smackdown could really put on some awesome matches with the roster they have amassed. With talent such as Randy Orton, Nakamura, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn there could really be some fantastic stuff stretched between the WWE title and the United States Championship. While I wasn’t exactly pleased with Owens and Zayn being on the same brand, they both really do seem to fit with Smackdown. Especially Zayn I am happy to see on the blue brand as since the draft Smackdown has been good at giving everyone something to do, so for someone like Zayn who has seemed to be lost in the shuffle on Raw, I am happy to see him get a chance at being used more often. As much as some may not really put Orton or Corbin in the same category as the other guys I mentioned, this is a chance for them to show they can put on the same quality of matches as the likes of Styles and Nakamura.
Raw’s womens division needed a bit of a refresh and Alexa Bliss and Mickie James can certainly do that. Alexa has been a standout on Smackdown since the draft and I think a possible combination of her and Nia Jax – which was hinted on this week – could really work. Mickie James probably won’t be as serious of a threat as other members of the division, but her experience could really help the likes of Alexa, Nia Jax and Dana Brooke. Mickie brings a lot of history and along with that she brings an ability that by being beaten by younger wrestlers she could really make them look good. I think someone like Emma could really be a star in this Raw womens roster and I am hoping they use her full abilities. As much as the likes of Nia Jax and Dana Brooke have taken a lot of criticism, I do believe they will continue to improve and can become important parts of a womens division that has a lot of potential.
I’ve made my feelings about Smackdown’s team division known for the last few months – because of the way some of the tag teams on the brand have been used, it needed reinforcements. The New Day will be very welcome on Smackdown as the WWE have clearly shown a lot of trust in them, hopefully meaning they will show similar trust in the likes of American Alpha and the Uso’s. My favourite travel agents have also made the move to Smackdown and it is an opportunity for them. I will admit that the former matadors will never be the top tag team in the division, but they can certainly be an important part of the division. The way they attacked American Alpha showed a more serious side of them. Both of them are pretty good in the ring but unfortunately they’ve been given characters that are never as serious as the wrestling skills they have. If presented more seriously like they were on this week’s Smackdown I think they will fit right into the division. As I said I don’t think they will ever win the championships but being a bit of an in-between feud for American Alpha when they aren’t involved in a title feud is a good start for them.
I expect with some of the excitement of Wrestlemania and the shake-up dying down this week we will see a drop in viewership on both shows. Generally people will tune into post mania shows and shows with big stipulations (Like the shake-up) because they don’t want to miss something big. The people who watch every now and again or watch the show after it airs will probably return to doing so this coming week.