It's been a while since I've done one of these, but it's also been a while since there has been news like this that share a bit of a connection. With the arrival of All Elite Wrestling there has seemingly been a ton of non-stop discussions about the possibility of various underutilized WWE wrestlers making the jump to the new company and both Mickie James & Luke Harper specifically Harper were at the forefront of the discussion due to his dissatisfaction with the WWE.
Based on recent reports it seems like Luke Harper is officially back on the road with the WWE after a short vacation. Harper was one of a number of WWE stars to ask for their release earlier in the year as AEW prepared for their first event. As we know Harper's request was denied and he was forced remain with the company even though he wanted out. In my opinion, after both he and Rowan ended up on the injured list last year derailing their tag title reign he hasn't done much other than sit at home waiting for something to do. Harper is one of the most gifted big men in the business and has never gotten the opportunity to show it on the big stage. Hopefully with both Heyman & Bischoff in control now things might finally be looking up for Harper.
As for Mickie James, she has been the veteran of the division since her return to the WWE in a way took over the role that Nattie had as the veteran who occasionally wins but normally doesn't. James recently had surgery to repair her ACL and will miss the remainder of the year. In my opinion, upon her return she should be given one more chance to run for the Women's title just as a thank you run for all she's given to the company over the years. The reason for this would be it is possible she doesn't have too many years left as an active competitor and it's also possible she might not even return, but let's try and be optimistic. Get well soon Mickie!! We hope to see you in time for the Women's Royal Rumble next year and maybe you'll win.
Extreme Rules 2019
At this point no matches have officially been announced for the pre-show but I am sure something will be on the show.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship:
(c) Drew Gulack vs Tony Nese
These two are two of the most gifted men in the division and more than likely could be the next two that the company chooses to move up to either Raw or Smackdown like they have done with Buddy Murphy, Ali, and Cedric Alexander. I have loved the skills both men have in the ring for a long time as they are both two totally different competitors. However, Gulack has worked for to long to get to this point and will not be dropping the title just yet.
Aleister Black vs Cesaro
No doubting that this will be the match of the night and might peak at one of the best matches of the entire year. It is unfortunate what happen to Sheamus, but this is now Cesaro's opportunity to break out and show exactly damn good he is. In my opinion, Black was the most underrated NXT World Champion for the brand and this will be his chance to finally show what he can do. This is one of the only matches on this show that I am actually interested in at all. I would like to see a series of matches between these two capping off at Summerslam and for that I'd want the youngster Black to get the fist win.
Raw Tag Team Championship:
(c) The Revival vs The Uso's
I am going to make this easy if the company ever wants to look at one of the main reasons the ratings were sinking then look no further than how they were booking The Revival. Nobody wants to see pointless comedy as it isn't entertaining at all, comedy does have a place but only if it's entertaining. With that being said I want them to book this like an old school match because that plays to the strengths of Dash & Dawson who are an old school tag team. Neither team should get the win I want a draw finish in this match to give the feud a different feel. I know this won't happen, but it would be something different so I'm sticking with it.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship:
(c) Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs New Day vs Heavy Machinery
In my opinion, this is best way the company could've chosen to book Daniel after he lost the WWE Title at Wrestlemania. This way he stays on television and gets to be a champion that makes sense and it gives us a break from seeing him in the title picture. Bryan and Rowan have been a welcome addition to the tag team division on Smackdown that needed a face lift, but now they have competition. Normally it's Kofi & Big E as the team for the New Day so seeing Woods and Big E will be something a little different for the trio and this is the biggest test yet for Otis and Tucker since they arrived on the main roster. The benefit of a match like this is someone doesn't have to be pinned which then allows for the feud to continue and another match to happen. With Summerslam right around the corner WWE will likely hold off on some title changes till then and this will be one of them. Bryan and Rowan retain with Woods taking the fall allowing Otis and Tucker to be the challengers at Summerslam to continue their push.
Smackdown Women's Championship:
(c) Bayley vs Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
First off I am extremely happy to see Alexa getting back in the ring and seemingly having a clean bill of health after such a long time on the IR list. Bayley as champion has been a welcomed surprise since her win at Money in the Bank and Nikki being involved has been a breath of fresh air for a lacking division. I know that some think Sasha will return during this match, but I don't see that yet. I do see her coming back to even the odds, but just not yet. Bliss will get the win tonight and will begin to have a reign with Nikki as her lackey and an eventual challenger.
Last Man Standing Match:
Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman
I don't get it!! Braun was at one point the hottest wrestler in the company and they let it all drift away in one fell swoop. Now he is on par with Bray Wyatt as someone who could've been a bigger star then they are currently. Unfortunately that's something he has in common with his opponent as it seems like any time Lashley gets momentum it's gone within a few weeks. Right now Lashley deserves the win, because we need a break from the unbeatable Braun Strowman and Lashley would be someone new for Rollins to fight against.
United States Championship:
(c) Ricochet vs AJ Styles
Considering the fact that AJ has become a heel once again and realigned with Anderson and Gallows like someone should've been. This brings up the question will Styles continue to garner momentum or will this be another stop start feud. In my opinion, either a DQ finish with Anderson & Gallows getting involved or Styles winning tainted should be what happens. Either way though a post match beat down is a must this way we can keep feeling bad for the underdog. Styles gets the win this way Ricochet can go on the chase for the US Title.
No Holds Barred:
Roman Reigns & The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre
First off who thought giving Shane McMahon such a big push as oppose an active wrestler was a good idea should be put under evaluation. Second off I was just as shocked as everyone else when The Undertaker of all people was the one to save Roman Reigns from Drew and Shane a few weeks ago on Raw. Then again it's possible that Undertaker wants to redeem himself after the match he had with Goldberg last month. Now I am not sure where they are going with Taker for Summerslam, because there are some options. I'd give Roman and Taker the win tonight with a little assistance from Kevin Owens to protect Drew McIntyre. Undertaker vs McIntyre at Summerslam is my guess!
WWE Championship Match:
(c) Kofi Kingston vs Samoa Joe
That is one match I never thought I'd write especially with Kofi being the defending champion which makes this match even more surreal. I know that last year Joe fought Styles in a lackluster feud for the gold but they burned threw that one like the Dudley's use to burn threw tables. Though this feud is only a few weeks old it seems like they have a lot of tension that needs to keep building as like I said in another article this could be a career making feud for both men. Kofi needs a feud as champion to make his reign a success and Joe needs a top feud to make him legitimate. Even though the ratings have been down it seems like Joe is consistently one of the only bright spots weekly for the company and he should be rewarded. Now I know what I would do, but I am not WWE and even though they do have options there is only one way to end this match. Joe wins via submission and Kofi doesn't tap he passes out. This opens the door for a new story that being how Kofi can conquer Joe.
Winners Take All for the Universal and Raw Women's Championship:
(c) Becky Lynch & Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans
I don't mind that they are allowing life to imitate art with Rollins and Becky's relationship being included in the feuds. But that type of booking has a shelf life and won't last long term eventually they will need to have separate identities once again. For now though it's an interesting way to give their respective feuds a twist to keep them going. I also think a tag team match would be the best way to cover for Lacey being extremely green and needing of more time before she moves up to the top of the division. As for Corbin I think he is one of the best if not the best heel in WWE right now and has been the perfect foil for Seth since winning the title. However, it's time for them to move onto new challengers and that's what will happen tonight with Becky likely getting win this way Lacey can take the fall. That does leave it open for Rollins to fight Corbin again, but like I mentioned earlier if Lashley does win he should be #1 contender for Rollins heading into Summerslam.
At this point I have really had somewhat of a falling out with the WWE, but with the sudden change adding a new creative direction to the company has peaked my interest. In my opinion, since the ratings issues started last year Smackdown has still found a way to have some good shows during a lackluster period for the company. Comparing Kofi's feuds with Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Samoa Joe to AJ Styles feuds with Shinsuke Nakamura and Joe last year it's like the polar opposite as it seems the company remembered how to book. Now don't get me wrong the intensity was there with AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, but the booking was way to one sided and thus far Joe has seemed more like a bad ass and less like a stalker in his feud with Kofi.
I know this feud is still fresh and developing, but this WWE's chance to really set the right foot forward and focus on long term booking as oppose to continuing to burn through opponents like firewood. In my opinion, Dolph is an ideal early challenger for Kofi because of his status in the company and could be a victory to establish the reign. But with Samoa Joe the feud needs depth and a direction or it's wasting a golden opportunity for what could be a career making feud for both men. I know it might be a streach but just think about what having a competitive good feud could do for both Kofi and Joe at this point.
Overall I could see this feud going past Summerslam if done for the long term and it should allow Joe to become WWE Champion for at least some time even if it means Kofi getting the title back to keep things going. These guys could lead the company into the Fox generation and make for some very interesting television and could help lead the way for Smackdown becoming a brand on par with Raw.
At this point everyone knows about the creative woes that WWE has been suffering from since the fall of last year. We know that last year's didn't come to fruition for one reason another, but knowing what we know about those what the company be in any better shape then they are right now. It's hard to say one way or the other, but we do know is that they have tried everything to bring fans back and regain even a shred of positive but seemingly has worked. Over the last few weeks I have gone through somethings that I feel like WWE could do to help themselves regenerate interest in the product, but they did a complete 180 from what I expected.
I never thought that I'd see the day when Eric Bischoff would be working for the WWE in a creative capacity, but that day is here. A few days ago the news broke that Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman have been named executive directors of both Smackdown and Raw respectively which is something nobody expected. The main thing to note about the position for both Paul and Eric is that they report directly to Vince which in my mind means they have a similar position to that of a head booker. Clearly this is a direction nobody expected WWE to go in and in my book is a welcomed sight because of that and in all honesty I am very interested to see what comes of this massive change.
During his first stint with the company we saw Eric Bischoff become one of if not the most hated person on WWE programming. However, he was just a talent and had zero say or impact on the creative direction of the company. Heyman on the other hand has been a member of WWE creative in the past specifically during the early years of the first brand split and with WWECW until he left the company. Recently, Paul had been helping Ronda with her segments as well as doing his work with Brock and this is the reason I am not surprised that Paul moved to a creative role of some kind. In my opinion, I would've expected Paul to move down to NXT and Triple H take control on the main roster rather than what we got, but it is a welcomed sight either way like I said. The infusion of fresh ideas from two of the smartest wrestling minds still active is something that could really help WWE, but only time will tell.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present