Two weeks ago the WWE hit the reset button for the creative side of the company. Things have really started to look up on Smackdown as they have been very positive in recent weeks. The one thing I have been saying is that the WWE has had problem with there formula showing it's age and really needing a shot in the arm to change things a bit. Though there are some mistakes about this reset like in my opinion every feud should've ended and allowed for everything to be given a fresh outlook.
In all honesty I think the one way that Vince Russo does have it right when it comes to booking is that you need to give the fans a reason to come back next week. The ending of Smackdown Live this week did exactly that in my opinion seeing AJ Styles punch out Vince McMahon is really something that could bring fans back wanting to know what happens next. In my opinion one of the ways that the company use this reset to bring a fresh idea into the fold would be to have Vince show up on Smackdown every so often. Vince's has always had his focus on Raw and never really appeared on Smackdown and I'm not saying let's have him pop up every week but seeing him a little more often on Smackdown wouldn't be the worst idea.
Overall looking at Smackdown up and down I think they have ended off 2018 in a lot better position then Raw has with a little more fan interest in the blue brand then red one. I mean really who would've thought that Mustafa Ali would not be a member of Smackdown Live, but have a victory over WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. Also I don't think anyone would've thought that Daniel would have become WWE Champion this year let alone active again.
One thing we have been waiting for since the Revolution event back in October was the appearance of the WWE Women's Tag Titles. Recently with the WWE going through a creative rehab they have seemingly chosen to bring the titles into the picture now which will make the early part of next year all the more interesting as you'd expect a dual branded tournament to crown the first champions. This would also explain all the extra tag team matches that we look at as meaningless as normally they are pretty pointless. However, I think that the creation of tag titles could help give some talent something to work toward or keep busy with other than trying to fight for the World title.
Overall I know there is a few things you could select from this week's edition of Raw like the sudden ascension of Finn Balor. But due to the company still being WWE and me being insecure if the WWE would actually push Balor I chose what I thought to be the more interesting subject of the two. I do think that the Women's tag titles fall into the category of the six man tag titles where a lot of fans expected the titles sooner and may not have the same amount of interest in them right away as they have with other gold.
Either way though I think that now could be a great time to attempt to crown the first Women's Tag Champions in over thirty years. Yes! This isn't the first time the WWE has brought out the Women's Tag Titles and in reality this just shows how much things have changed in recent years to allow the Women's division to gain another championship. I'm mostly excited just to see what happens next for the women's division as they continue to make steps forward in changing the perception of the division in American wrestling.
Now I don't know much about the National Football League, but I do know that most leagues that have attempted to compete with the NFL have failed. The reality is that the first incarnation of XFL was a cluster**** and didn't really workout. First time around the XFL didn't last mostly partially due to the financial issues, but also the partnership with NBC didn't last at all as NBC would back out of the partnership first. The league would officially fold in May of 2001; but now things comeback around.
It has taken a little bit for the teams to be announced, but now it is becoming a reality. After nearly twenty years the new XFL has two years to still prepare for the relaunch and continue to take the steps forward. Currently the teams are announced which include: Dallas, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Tampa, St. Louis, Seattle, and Washington, DC. It will be very interesting to see how the XFL and NFL co-exist considering the fact that some XFL and NFL teams will be sharing home stadiums.
The next step for the football league will be announcing the names of the team and head coaches leading each team. I know that the next big step for the league is finding the players for each teams and how everything will fit in with the NFL. One of the main differences this time around though is that all of the teams will be owned by the league and I think they are doing this a way a way to save money and also fund money back to the league. Overall I think that this is a much better time for the XFL to return as I think that the interest level in the NFL is at a low, but I think they can't really be too different from the NFL as they don't really need to be. Take a look at the team revel video below:
Credit to for XFL information
I thought that it would be fitting to continue the discussion about the creative reset the WWE is currently going through at this point. For the first time that I remember the WWE actually admitted they did something wrong and will begin to start fixing the problems facing the current product. Though nothing will change for the foreseeable future and it will likely be a progression after time. Now I would like to point out that in recent weeks Smackdown Live has been much better then Raw has been in recent weeks.
In recent weeks we have been wondering when the company fix issues that have been plaguing programming, but Smackdown Live has different problems then Raw. One of the main problems that has been hurting Smackdown is the overuse of the tag team division. In recent months the tag team division on Smackdown has really consisted of only three teams that being The Bar, The Uso's and New Day which caused things to get very stale on Tuesday Nights. It is extremely puzzling to think that they have really been ignoring the likes of Anderson & Gallows, Sanity, and even The Colon's for the last few months to focus on just those teams mentioned earlier.
However, with the return of both Anderson & Gallows and Sanity this week it seems like some fresh teams might be entering the title picture. As I mentioned in the predictions for TLC it'd be the best idea to give The Bar a decent run with the gold and have them collide some fresh talent instead of The Uso's or New Day.
Overall though seeing Mustafa Ali arrive on Smackdown entering into a feud seemingly with Daniel Bryan is amazing as Ali is one of the most underrated talents in the company. With the spotlight that the WWE has been giving to the cruiserweight division this year has increased the status of the extremely talented lightweights that didn't really have a place in the company this time last year. The one thing I don't understand is exactly why they chose to move Ali over to the blue brand. I do like the idea of giving some crusierweights the opportunity to stick out like they are doing with Ali and maybe will do more depending on how this experiment goes.
Following Survivor Series the WWE have hit a wall creatively with ratings dropping drastically and Raw hitting a record low. Fact is the WWE's formula has become outdated and needed an upgrade. I mentioned a few times in a the last few weeks that fixing the problems isn't that easy and it will take time for them to fix the issues. Now I didn't think that the announcement Vince McMahon would make would be them hitting a creative reset like it was. I can't believe that the WWE actually admitted they made a mistake and will attempt to fix things.
In my opinion, I disagree with the idea of the WWE insisting that they will be listening to the fans more, because they should to a point, but also they should be careful. Now the company has seemingly ignored the crowd reactions for some talent in the last year look at Asuka for that example. Reality is that Rusev is the main example of WWE missing the boat on a talent with a ton of momentum.
Honestly I really don't know what to expect from the reset, but I am excited to see what happens with the reset in the next month. The promo video for the upcoming NXT talent I think that the arrival of the fresh faces will help the main roster bringing together new feuds in 2019. Overall I think that Nikki Cross should've been on the main roster already and I really thought that EC3 would have come up after Takeover: Brooklyn, but it never came. But next year EC3 & Nikki will be among the names of future stars arriving on the main roster. Take a look below at the other talent coming to the main roster next year:
I couldn't find what matches would be on the kickoff show tonight so I just picked the match I thought would be most likely to appear on the kickoff show out of the listed matches. Also two matches I didn't see listed that I thought were going to happen on the show were Samoa Joe vs Jeff Hardy & Rusev vs Shinsuke Nakamura. I'm not sure if these matches will be added or are the kickoff show matches for tonight's event. Reality is I think it'd be better to not have the matches rather than putting them on the kickoff show as it could weaken the importance of those feuds having them on the pre-show instead of the main card. If they do happen though Rusev over Nakamura and Hardy over Joe with Joe getting the heat back post match beat down.
WWE TLC 2018
Tables Match: Natalya vs Ruby Riot
Finn Balor vs Drew McIntyre
I haven't heard much about this match being off, but I do know that Finn has been struggling with an illness in recent weeks so it is possible this match may have be rescheduled. If it does happen though I would think not only could this be a glimpse into next years Universal Title picture, but it also shows how much could change in a year. I think Finn would need the win more just help give him good momentum to build on in 2019.
Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin
A few weeks ago we saw Strowman get beaten down by Corbin, Lashley, and McIntyre as a way to write him off television for a few weeks with an elbow injury. Braun needed some time away after becoming the focal point of the show, but also after losing to Brock in such one sided fashion at Crown Jewel. I am aware that this was suppose to be his revenge and when the build would comeback to another match with Brock, but it doesn't seem like Braun is cleared so they need a replacement. Enter the returning Bray Wyatt, the former "Eater of Worlds" has been gone since the summer and this would be the perfect time for him to return and get a solid win over Corbin.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match:
(c) Buddy Murphy vs Cedric Alexander
Though in a recent discussion video I really didn't know who the champion was or even if the title was on the line, because I don't pay attention to 205 Live. With that being said it doesn't take away from Buddy's title reign as I think he's been a good champion for the brand. The reality is though I don't think the cruiserweight's should have their own brand and I think they should just be on Raw or Smackdown. This will be a rematch from the title match earlier this year in the Australia when Murphy won the title from Alexander. They showed chemistry in Australia and I think they will do it again tonight but with a different result. Alexander gets the win and becomes champion again.
WWE Raw Women's Championship Match:
(c) Ronda Rousey vs Nia Jax
At first I was okay with Nia being the number one contender for Ronda's title as there match earlier this year wasn't horrible. However, after the Nia heel turn and the lackluster build I have lost a lot of interest in this feud and wonder exactly why WWE even picked Nia to fight Ronda. I think they could've made a better selection as a number one contender, but this also makes the match easy to pick. The WWE isn't dumb enough to let Ronda lose to Nia Jax I'd hope and that's why Ronda will keep her title.
Randy Orton vs Rey Mysterio
This is by far the one of the worst stipulations the WWE has ever come up with in my opinion behind the stairs match of course. In my opinion they don't need a gimmick to make this match more interesting the feud between these two is enough to carry the interest for the match. Especially considering this feud hasn't happened in about 12 years which makes it fresh and something different for the fans which helps things. I've liked the booking of Randy Orton since his heel turn, but I think it's time for Rey to get his revenge with a win tonight.
Mixed Match Challenge Finals:
Fabulous Truth vs Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox w/ Singh Brothers
I am going to keep this short, because I think this match will be pretty much filler between the bigger matches on the show. From what I remember the winners of the MMC will get a trip anywhere they want in the world & will be automatically entered into the Royal Rumble at number 30. It would be interesting to see R-Truth win and become number 30 in the Royal Rumble, but I think they will let Jinder get the win a regain a little bit of momentum.
Lashley w/ Lio Rush vs Elias
I have said it before and will say it again Elias has proven a lot of people wrong including me who thought he wasn't ready for the main roster. In the last two years Elias has become not just a rising star, but one of the top talents in the company based on they have booked him. As for Lashley though his return hasn't been very good and I'd hope 2019 will be better for him, but I don't think a win tonight is needed. Elias needs the win a little more tonight to help him take a step forward heading into the new year.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match:
(c) The Bar vs The Uso's vs The New Day
There is no doubt that this will be a match of the night candidate with three of the best tag teams in the world competing against each other. The only problem I have though is that the WWE only seems to give the spotlight to these three teams on the blue brand even though they have other capable teams on the brand. I hope that this will end things tonight and we can start a new in 2019 with some fresh talent challenging for the titles. To do that I think The Bar keeps the titles heading into the new year and this way they can have a new feud.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
(c) Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose
Even though I think the feud has been a little lackluster between these two former members of The Shield there is no doubt that the match will be fantastic. These two men have great chemistry with one another almost on the same level as Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. The reason I think the feud has been lackluster is due to the WWE over complicating it instead of just letting be a simple feud around jealousy or resentment. Either way though I'm thinking Rollins will come up short tonight against his former friend to open him up for a Universal Title program next year. Ambrose wins and become IC Champion.
WWE Smackdown Women's Championship Match: TLC 1
(c) Becky Lynch vs Askuka vs Charlotte
I will keep this short, because I don't know what to expect from this match as women have never competed in TLC. This match is another step in the right direction for the company to help continue changing the perception for women in the company as there has never been a women's TLC match ever before. In my opinion I think these three are the best possible picks to match the match a great first TLC match. But it is a little difficult to select the winner, I think Becky or Asuka could win. I will go with "The Man" Becky Lynch keeps the title.
WWE Championship Match:
(c) Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles
I for one think that Daniel's heel turn has given his character a much needed shot in the arm and casts him in a new light from where he was before. Though some fans might not like it and that's fine it wasn't the WWE who decided it was Bryan who asked for it to happen and look what it gave him. For the last year AJ Styles has been nothing but consistent as WWE Champion, but I think they need to keep the title away from him a little bit longer and that's why Bryan will retain the championship tonight.
The final PPV of 2018 is on the horizon and this is the last stop on the calendar before our "Road to Wrestlemania" begins. Thus far Raw has really fallen flat in recent weeks, but in the time we have seen Smackdown pick up the slack. Since the turn of Daniel Bryan and the return of Becky Lynch the world of Smackdown has been must see most weeks. Unlike most weeks though I found something positive to write about Raw and will be negative about Smackdown this week.
One minor problem I saw watching Smackdown was the lack of investment in the United States title feud with Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura. Adding to that is the misstep with the Jeff Hardy & Samoa Joe feud as it felt like they were just filler this week even though their feud has been tapping into a lot of emotion. Recently the company has made a bad habit out of not really giving time or investment into Shinsuke Nakamura or the United States title. Rusev, Samoa Joe, and Jeff Hardy all have been lost in the shuffle for months and though this really could have been the way to give these guys purpose, but WWE doesn't seem interested in that.
I know this me being nit picky, but I am thinking in general that they aren't spending time to make the US Title seem like it means something or they rely too much on in ring action to continue a feud. In my opinion they could've saved the first meeting for Sunday between Joe & Hardy and let a highlight package run this week to accomplish the same hype for their match on Sunday. As for the United States title an Open Challenge match for Nakamura would've helped more then having the random tag team match. Either way though the PPV problem continues for me that has plagued every PPV this year pretty much it hasn't changed, but maybe it will for 2019.
There is no doubting that the few weeks of Raw have been hard to watch with the company really over complicating everything from week to week. It is nuts to me that the WWE has seemingly struggled so much since Survivor Series to put together a show worth watching. I was one of the fans that believed that Ambrose desperately needed to turn heel and though I don't think anyone would've expected things to go the way they have so far. I feel like a feud between Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose with the roles reversed should've been able to carry the load for the WWE with so many names on the injured reserved at the moment. However, things haven't gone that way so far and I for one think the first time around was a lot better then this time even so early on.
All that aside though I finally wanted to touch on something positive that I could takeaway from this weeks edition of Raw. The best thing to takeaway from this show is the company finally taking steps to build for the future. Coming out of the show it seems clear that the WWE has big plans for Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre going into 2019. Now part of this might be based on the unfortunate side effects of Roman's illness, but either way that doesn't change how deserving both these men are of their positions.
Since his return to the WWE's main roster it is clear that some management in WWE love Drew McIntyre and see a very bright future for the former "Chosen One." Rollins has had an up and down run as a good guy, but has seemingly found his footing on the good side of the roster and could become the top baby face in the company. In my opinion nobody has done more to help the Intercontinental Championship then The Miz, but after this year it is clear that Seth Rollins has done just as much to help the IC Title as the "A-Lister" has and that speaks to the talent Rollins has and how well the company has booked him.
Overall I think as we head toward 2019 and another Wrestlemania season it seems to me that on the heel side Drew McIntyre is number one and on the baby face side their is no doubt that Seth Rollins has taken the top spot in that regard. As far as what we can expect for the remainder of the year that remains to be seen, but if this is any indication maybe things have started to turn around for the Monday Night brand, I mean things couldn't have gotten much worse.
For those that might not be aware early last week it was announced that NXT would had switched days from the normal Saturday to Friday. Unlike most editions of Takeover the WWE actually have competition for the event. Over the course of Wrestlemania weekend wrestling has it's most profitable weekend of the year by far for not just the WWE, but wrestling in general. With the WWE heading to the Tri-State area again for the event they will be holding Takeover in Brooklyn once again. However, they will have competition in Manhattan with Ring of Honor & New Japan holding a joint event in the Garden on Saturday.
In the last twenty years I have been watching wrestling I have never seen any other wrestling promotion hold an event in the Garden. There is a reason for that and that is no other wrestling promotion has been in Madison Square Garden in almost sixty years. Now the WWE had tried to put up a fight, but for the first time not will we see a New Japan show running on Wrestlemania weekend, but it will also be in the same area as Wrestlemania. One thing that shocked a lot of people is that NJPW & ROH were able to sell-out Madison Square Garden and in my opinion that shows just how much fans in this area want to see these companies succeed.
Overall though I think the reason that the WWE switched the day they hold NXT is for two reasons and of them may not be something most fans think about. But think about this what if the WWE changed the day of NXT to give fans more of a buffer for wrestling and let them relax ahead of the big event. In previous years some fans that attend both Wrestlemania and Takeover had to digest eight hours of wrestling in two days. That statistic in my book is freaking ridiculous and is a very legitimate reason why WWE could've moved NXT up a day to Friday. The other reason I think is that the WWE didn't expect the NJPW/ROH event to sell-out and they are worried about going head to head with the sold out event thinking fans might chose the other show.
Either way though now fans can attend wrestling every day during Wrestlemania weekend or have the nice buffer of the Hall of Fame in between Takeover & Wrestlemania. I have said it before and will say it again next year will be a very interesting year for pro-wrestling as whole and I for one am extremely excited.
Recently the WWE has had an extreme problem with over complicating some of their top storylines making it somewhat difficult to get invested in the stories as much as we should be. Now don't get me wrong in my opinion it was it was easier to put aside the extra they tried to include in the Daniel Bryan story, but they are really overplaying the unneeded extra in the Rollins vs Ambrose feud. In reality there is no reason to have added Ambrose having become a health nut totally consumed with being up to date on his shots. The amount of time that Ambrose has spent talking about how he doesn't want to get ill from the fans had he turned on the fans this would've made sense, but I feel like he needs to make clear his reasons for turning on Rollins first.
In my opinion the main difference between the Bryan vs Styles feud & Rollins vs Ambrose feud is I feel like the feud for the WWE title is more simple. Bryan has made it completely clear why he turned against the fans and though some his reasoning was ludicrous much like Ambrose they haven't overplayed it as much as they have with Dean. Realistically I hate that Dean doesn't have the momentum he should have after he turned heel. But now shifting to Smackdown since his heel turn Daniel Bryan & Becky Lynch being on the show and making it something to watch every single week. As Raw gets worse Smackdown seems to be well above the Monday night show which is a good thing for WWE at one show is still on the right track.
There is no doubt a rebuild might be needed in the future or at least a shift in focus for the company, but I don't think the future shift is coming anytime soon. With Wrestlemania season on the horizon I think the WWE will change their programming anyway, but for the wrong reasons. I don't see anything changing for the time being the real question is can WWE drop the over complicating in favor of just simple, cut and dry stories that are easy to follow.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present