The last time that we heard about the WWE TV programming deal it was very soon after the WWE Network first began that the WWE did sign a new deal with NBC Universal. At the time there were loads of rumors about what else could be apart of the deal for example a physical Hall of Fame. Right now though it seems like the WWE might be moving again which is shocking due to how long the WWE has had Raw on USA Network. Though it seems like some might wonder why the WWE doesn't just move both Raw & Smackdown to the WWE Network, but the easy answer is that the WWE wants to have the ability to promote the Network outside of the Network.
Now the likely party that could be landing the programming rights for the WWE programs both Raw and Smackdown. In 2019, Fox is now apparently the favorite to land the programming which is shocking as they seems to be one brand that I never really expected to be in the lead for WWE programming. Though the Fox has had a history of interest in wrestling and the stations to air wrestling I never did think they would.
According to reports though both Raw and Smackdown would be moving to Fox stations once the contract with USA is complete. Some changes that are expected if the deal does actually happen are that are Raw would move back to two hours every week instead of three and some WWE programs would air on both Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 which could mean either 205 Live or Superstars will be on TV. Though this part is very much rumors it would be very interesting if any of these rumors actually happen especially the Raw rumor.
Following the very well put together Ultimate Deletion match it appears that someone maybe getting a much needed repacking. Following the match Matt Hardy knocked Wyatt into the Lake of Reincarnation and Senor Benjamin was unable to locate Bray after the fact. Though this is a little far fetched it also could point to Wyatt either becoming a member of the Woken Universe or simply getting new gimmick all together. According to Dave Meltzer he believes that Bray has needed to be repackaged for quite some time now and is getting not just a much needed break, but also a much needed face lift.
There is no doubt that Wyatt has been screwed up the WWE creative team and not just by him never really being able to get a major win, but also his title win last year. Wyatt has had periods of time when he was the best thing on TV, but it seems like the company has never really wanted to invest in him completely which is very puzzling considering who he's feuded with. I agree with Meltzer though that Bray has needed something new for quite a while and I think even the time off will help.
However, his character isn't the only thing that needed to change as how they book him and view Bray needs to change as well. This though will loose all meaning if they bring Bray back and make him look like Dolph Ziggler did when he randomly returned at the Royal Rumble. I am very excited about them giving Bray Wyatt sometime off and am positive that this will hopefully lead to something good for the former "Eater of Worlds."
The random disappearance of Jeff Hardy late last year was later announced as a torn rotator cuff and would be on the shelf for over 6 months. This would be a precursor for Matt Hardy to finally become "Woken" in the WWE and though his current feud with Bray Wyatt has lost some momentum it's great to see Matt getting a singles chance. But now with Jeff Hardy's return being spoken about it is interesting to wonder what Matt will do when his brother does return. This leaving a lot of writers to point to Jeff and Matt being on different shows from one another with this years draft looming.
However, looking back at the original "Broken" Matt Hardy run I do believe that the best part of his time in TNA was there time when Jeff & Matt were tag teaming. With that being said I do think that if they bring Jeff back to team with Matt as "Brother Nero" that would be the best way to go. This would especially be the case if Matt is allowed to expand the "Woken Universe" with other members of his family to really invest. Now it is still unclear when Jeff will return to the company, but it seems like it will be around WrestleMania.
The one thing that this opens the door for is that Jeff could be one of the many people to either return on the Raw after Mania or it could be that Jeff returns following the draft. Though there were rumors last year that Jeff would get another chance for a singles run with the company before he would hang up the boots. However, I do think at this point it would be better if Jeff returned as Brother Nero to add another layer to Matt's character to really invest in his gimmick.
Though at this point it might be very hard for some fans to believe, but John Cena hasn't always been the flagship of WWE. They worked very hard to build Cena from the ground up and it was three WrestleMania's that made Cena the "Head of WWE." This was John's fist test following his win last year against JBL and then would follow it up with Shawn Michaels the following year with another amazing match.
At this point Triple H was really grasping at straws as far as new feuds are concerned at this point after years of dominating. But now they were using Hunter as a helper to build the new star which is unlike anything he had done in recent years. This match really put over not only the chemistry these two had together and that showed that John Cena could headline the Major event.
WWE Fast Lane 2018
Natalya & Carmella vs Becky Lynch & Naomi
The WWE has a habit of ignoring the other women in the division and just focusing on those who feuding for the title. This has lead to many thrown together matches between the other members of the division. Overall though I won't invest in this match as the WWE chose not too. With that being said and trying to figure on what could be Smackdown's title match at Mania I would guess either way we'd need to keep some of them strong. I would like to guess that the heels win cause of Carmella's briefcase, but I think Lynch & Naomi get the win.
WWE Tag Team Title Match:
(c) The Uso's vs New Day
Last year the New Day locked horns with The Uso's almost immediately when they came to Smackdown Live. These two teams would then have the best tag team feud the WWE has seen in recent memory toping it off with a fantastic Hell in a Cell match last October. For once the WWE made the right call having Hell in a Cell match at the PPV event. The feud would then be toned down for a few months before the company restarting it within the last few weeks. It is incredible to think about how successful that The Uso's have been on in the last year, but I think they hold onto the titles tonight.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Rusev
The booking of Rusev since the Rusev Day stuff started taking has been extremely puzzling as he doesn't win far enough and I think this could be similar to the Zack Ryder situation where they didn't push Zack due to him making it on his own. The Rusev & English pairing was suppose to be a joke and wasn't suppose to get over and the WWE could be trying to kill it. But I don't think that happens with Nakamura as nobody would expect Rusev to win so close to Mania. Nakamura will get the win tonight and move full stem ahead for Mania.
WWE Women's Title Match:
(c) Charlotte vs Ruby Riot
For weeks Charlotte has been going back and forth with the Riot Squad and all this has led to the "blow-off" in a way at this event. I'm still surprised that the WWE chose to bring so many women up at one time, but I think all of them have done well since their arrival and I think this is Ruby's chance to standout. I don't think she will win but I think she will put in a good effort against the "Queen."
WWE United States Title Match:
(c) Bobby Roode vs Randy Orton
I am happy to see Bobby win championship gold so soon in his main roster run, but I think the booking of the title in recent months has been so lacking that nobody cares. Orton needed something to do and they gave him a chance against the only title he's never held. But I still question everything they did with Ziggler and Roode's lackluster run so far. Due to my gut calling for a dusty finish I think that Roode may win via DQ with help from Jinder.
WWE Championship Match:
(c) AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin vs John Cena vs Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs Dolph Ziggler
In my opinion both Ziggler & Corbin don't need to be in the match and I think having just a four way instead would've been better especially if it meant keeping Ziggler off TV. I don't have a problem with John Cena being in the match or Zayn/Owens, but I think the company might just be trying to hard. Either way though I would love to see this show end with a face off between Styles & Shinsuke with the WWE Title in between them cementing the match everyone wants to see at WrestleMania.
Apparently as of about a week or so ago the company has chosen to end the brand exclusive aspect of their PPV's. Since the beginning of the second brand split back in the Summer of 2016 the WWE surprisingly went the route of making the number of PPVs double to allow both brands to have a PPV a month. This is totally different from the original split as back during the first split they had one PPV a month with all of them being brand exclusive. Basically this means that if Backlash was a Raw event in April then the next Smackdown event would be in May and not in the same month of the Raw show. This concept allowed for more time in developing feuds and gave the company the ability to give more PPV quality matches on free TV.
However, since the start of the brand split the brand exclusive shows have not drawn especially on Smackdown. Which some might blame on the talent or the split, but I would not blame it on anything other than oversaturation of the market with the company often only having a two week gap between PPVs. This is why I think that the end of brand exclusive shows is a very good thing for both the company and the brand split as both would look better and have better drawing power then they do alone.
Even though at this point it seems like the company might expanding the length of the PPV's to make up for getting rid of the other events they had on the schedule. This means that instead of say a four hour show only happening four times a year it could instead happen with every event and some could move to five hours. The thinking about this concept is ridiculous and an incredibly ludicrous idea as if they don't think they'd be able to fit everything they wanted to on a three hour PPV then maybe they are trying to fit too much. I mean they do have a weekly show for a reason. Overall though I do think this will be a good thing for the company, but it does depend on if the length of the shows change and if they do how drastic the change is.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present