It is always surprising or borderline shocking when the WWE runs a feud for more than a few months and actually let's the talent talk instead overdoing it with matches. Normally we get sick of seeing some parings of talent after a few weeks, but this feud with Rusev and Lashley has developed into a feud that cannot be missed on a week to week basis. I don't really know what the difference between this feud and when Rusev, Lana, Dolph Ziggler, and Summer Rae had a similar rivalry a few years ago other than chemistry. Lashley has been a man without a direction since his return to WWE last year and then he turned heel and got Lio Rush on his side but that tapered out real quick and never really went anywhere to big with.
As for Rusev there was time when they had the opportunity to give him a spot as top heel and face, but didn't follow through with it either occasion. Upon his arrival on the main roster Rusev was one of the top heels in the company and had all the momentum in the world then enter his lackluster feud with Cena, and poof it disappeared. Fast forward to the debut of Rusev Day and suddenly Rusev has become the hottest face in WWE and he has another chance to be a top star, but the company kills it for whatever reason. Now after slowly building this long arch and building sympathy for Rusev after he spent weeks being embarrassed by Lana & Lashley things finally started to change.
Overall this is how a proper long term feud is built starts slow and then adds a reason to hate someone and sympathize with someone else then you're off from there. Even though this feud has it's critics and I'm still unsure about it, but I can put that aside in favor of some long term booking from WWE for once with Rusev & Lashley both bound to benefit from this feud in the long term. I just hope they know when to call it a day and move forward and then have some new planned for both guys after this feud has ran it's course.
Now with the last of the big four PPV's out of the way we now can look forward to the new year and the start of the hottest time of year for WWE. After catching up on the action and seeing who came out the winners and losers from Survivor Series there are somethings we need to question. At first I didn't understand the ending of the Women's Tag Match, but then I saw it and still have questions. Specifically about how pointless it was to have Io Shiari and Candice LeRae get "injured" mid-match only to return at the end to give Rhea an advantage against Sasha Banks. Number one Sasha is the heel and one of the top heels in the Smackdown division for that matter Io is a heel on NXT and Candice and Rhea are faces so it was really questionable booking. Now NXT winning did make the division look strong, but it could've done a lot cleaner and they didn't need to protect Sasha at all.
Other than that Survivor Series seemed like a very solid event, but is a little to repetitive in the match types and there has to be another way to battle for brand supremacy and build matches with actual depth & story to them rather than leaning on a concept a lot of fans don't care about. Mind you about a month ago both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were able to appear on either Raw or Smackdown, but now after the draft in October they are insanely loyal to Raw and Smackdown respectively and we are suppose to believe that without question? I don't understand it as it makes fans think that WWE thinks they are stupid. That point aside if WWE wants to make brand loyalty such a big deal then keep the brands a part from now until Survivor Series next year with no interaction between them and build off this years event have a feud or two about brand loyalty.
Overall it seems like they have finally caved in a turned Seth Rollins to the other side officially embracing the recent course of boos he had been receiving from the audience and will be one of the top heels on Raw. This could open the door for a new face to rise to the top of the red brand which could make for some interesting television the next few months. After Raw it is pretty clear that Seth Rollins could end up feuding with just about anyone after his address to the Raw roster. Later on in the week I will looking at Smackdown and NXT the same way I reasoned things out with Raw.
Survivor Series 2019
NXT Cruiserweight Championship:
(C) Lio Rush vs Angel Garza
(C) Adam Cole vs Pete Dunne
Dunne netted this chance last night winning a triple threat match against Killian Dain and Damian Priest. This is one of if not Pete's first chance at the NXT title and we won't be seeing a real finish as this will likely be the start of things to come for Pete. With that being said Adam will take the win tonight.
Women's Survivor Series Elimination Match
Raw (Charlotte Flair, Natalya, The Kabuki Warriors & Sarah Logan) vs. SmackDown (Sasha Banks, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans & Nikki Cross) vs. NXT (Rhea Ripley, Candice LaRae, Biance Belair, Io Shirai, Toni Storm)
I am going to use the same prediction for both of these matches because I think it's a big mistake having these type of matches as they never work and are nothing more then rushed clusterf***. In my opinion it would be better to have a triple threat tag match to cut down on the amount of people in the match and allow more time to showcase the talent involved especially for the debuting NXT stars. I believe that the fans will likely turn on both matches if they go for too long. Team NXT gets the win, because I think they'll let them win one of the matches and it is more likely they let them win the win this one instead of the men's match.
Men's Survivor Series Elimination Match -- Raw (Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre & Ricochet) vs. SmackDown (Roman Reigns, King Corbin, Ali, Shorty G, and Braun Strowman) vs. NXT (TBA)
I am going to use the same prediction for both of these matches because I think it's a big mistake having these type of matches as they never work and are nothing more then rushed clusterf***. In my opinion it would be better to have a triple threat tag match to cut down on the amount of people in the match and allow more time to showcase the talent involved especially for the debuting NXT stars. I believe that the fans will likely turn on both matches if they go for too long. It is kinda pointless to have Shawn Michaels announce the men's team for NXT on the day of the show, because knowing the team ahead of time would allow fans to anticipate the moments they will see in the match tonight. Either way I'm going to take Team Raw as I think the tension will be too much for Smackdown to overcome.
Champion vs Champion vs Champion
(c) New Day vs (c) Undisputed Era vs (c) Viking Raiders
WWE has a tendency to try and pack all the talent they possibly can on the big shows which always negatively effects the big shows. I know I mentioned that the Traditional Survivor Series elimination match should be a triple threat match instead of a 15 man triple threat tag match, but seeing to many multi-person matches is a bit of overkill and brings up the question of why not give more singles matches and squeeze so many people into one show. I would like to see Undisputed Era win this one as it is their main roster debut, but they don't need a win and could just give a solid performance especially if they aren't going up to the main roster for a while. New Day could get the win as they are still fresh as champions at this point.
Champion vs Champion vs Champion
(c) Roderick Strong vs (c) AJ Styles vs (c) Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Sami Zayn
So here is another problem with matches like this because everyone in this match is a bad guy and it will be interesting to see who if anyone is cheered by the Chicago crowd. Interestingly enough the North American Title is the most prestigious championship in the match which offers an indication of poorly the main roster championships are taken care of yearly. Considering nobody really gains anything from this match even though they really should as wins should matter, but they don't either way though. Nakamura gets the win as a surprise cause I think most people expect Styles to win.
Champion vs Champion vs Champion
(c) Becky Lynch vs (c) Bayley vs (c) Shayna Baszler
This is a major test for Baszler against two of the best from the main roster's women's division much like Roddy is getting his test with AJ and Nakamura. Baszler has been a dominate force since winning the Women's title on NXT getting through every test and I have a feeling a friend of hers could give her a hand tonight, but that's just me. Baszler will get the win shocking everyone.
WWE Universal Championship Match:
(c) "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt vs Daniel Bryan
This is the match that we should've seen five years ago when Bryan's "Yes Movement" kicked off following his departure from the Wyatt Family. My how things have changed in the last few years for both men with Bryan coming out of retirement and Wyatt finally finding his footing. In my opinion, early on in a new champions reign there are suppose to be some get me over feuds aka short feuds just to get the reign going. I disagree with Wyatt having a short feud with Bryan especially considering the two men's previous history. Either way though Wyatt will get the win as they continue to build The Fiend.
WWE Championship Match:
(c) Brock Lesnar vs Rey Mysterio
This by far has been the most unexpected feud in recent memory as I never thought that Mysterio & Lesnar would have a feud or end up main eventing Survivor Series. I can honestly say that this has been a solid feud and a great way to introduce Mysterio's son onto WWE programming if this is there way of bringing the kid in as an active competitor. At this point I have given up thinking much about Brock matches, because I believe that they have things planned out with Brock months in advance. With that being said they know where they want Brock for Mania at this point and it likely is with him holding the WWE Championship. Brock wins a solid match and retains the gold.
It's been five years since CM Punk walked out the door and left us with so many freaking questions and clamoring for his return. I will admit that it got to the point for me that I moved on and didn't care if he came back or not. First off CM Punk is not an active wrestler at this point and isn't even a WWE employee and is just Fox employee that's all. As he mentions he has no desire to enter the ring right now, but it could take to long to rehab and find that interest again. Basically I think one of the reasons Punk returned is that isn't a WWE opportunity and is something he hadn't done before.
Watching him get introduced on WWE Backstage gave me goosebumps. I do have to agree with Punk's opinion that wrestling could be much better and hasn't changed much since he left in 2014. Knowing that Punk had butterflies before his return meant that this is something he is excited to be able to do and that this was the right time for his return. Knowing that he isn't a WWE employee and can freely speak his opinion on the product and be as open as he wants is a great thing for the new program and could only help catch fans attention.
Last year Survivor Series celebrated thirty years as a PPV which matched it up nicely with the other big four events making it to the thirty year mark. Now as this years installment approaches again we look back like always at the events from the past. Since the return of the brand split in 2016 the company has raised the expectations yearly for the traditional Survivor Series normally garnering "This is Awesome" chants from the crowd. We got about a week before the event which means only a little bit of time to look back at the past in anticipation for this years event. Jumping in the wrestling time machine we move back to one of the most underrated traditional Survivor Series matches. Overall the traditional Survivor Series match was one of the best WWE matches of the year!
Six years ago soon after the Royal Rumble something took place that we never saw coming at the time CM Punk would walk away from WWE. For the next six years rumors of a return plagued the internet and some fans never let go of Punk returning to the ring. A few months after Punk's departure we finally got the reason behind his departure when he sat down with Colt Cabana on the Art of Wrestling podcast. At first I thought that Punk was burnt out after being active and staying healthy for the most part during his career. Even though that's a good thing it doesn't allow for any time off to be able to recharge and get energized again.
I for one never thought that CM Punk would ever be seen on a WWE program again and I was perfectly fine with that, because Punk wanted to do other things and stay away from wrestling. Hearing the CM Punk chants and being the one who always said get over it he's gone cheer for someone who still works for WWE. I know that Punk is likely only going to appear on WWE Backstage for the time being, but seeing him back on a WWE program is still extremely surreal and might've given me a reason to watch WWE Backstage.
If you go back to the start of the WWE in 1963 the company was very simple back then with Bruno Sammartino leading the charge as the "Franchise of WWE." Through the years WWE has had a number of stars that would be able to punch their tickets to the mount rushmore of wrestling for one reason or another. But like a lot of things it seems like the "Franchise" has been lost to the passage of time. In the days of Hogan, Austin, Cena, Rock, and others they were the difference makers and helped bring business forward or elevate a weak period of time.
In modern WWE that doesn't seem like something anyone can do it's like the drawing power that the top guys once had is gone. I know a lot of reasons could be thought of as the culprit, but I think the business has changed and because it changed the booking changed and Vince or others forgot the way they use to make a franchise player look like the best guy in the company. Think about it compare Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins to Steve Austin and The Rock there is no comparison though they might seem semi equal if Austin & Rock were limited like Rollins & Reigns are they wouldn't have become as big.
Overall in my opinion, a problem in WWE is they forgot that sometimes simple works and that they ignore the emotion that only the person behind the character can tap into. All I am saying is that Austin, Rock, Hogan, Cena, and other franchises had the ability to have some form of freedom to create and integrate a bit of themselves into their on screen characters. Today it's more the writers write and the wrestlers repeat what the writers say and there is little creativity or the same feeling that existed back in the day. We don't need a superhero anymore, but I think someone like Austin or Rock is what the company needs to help them figure things out. In periods of weakness finding what worked in the past normally helps.
Following the WWE draft it seems like Raw will be branded as the up comer show and Smackdown will have the established stars like Roman & Brock. However, I think another why Raw might've lacked some star power following the draft is that Raw's executive director Paul Heyman has his eyes on making new talent stars. Recently it has been passed around that names such as Andrade, Drew McIntyre, Cedric Alexander, Ricochet, Murphy and others have been talked about as future stars.
I know a lot fans have been wondering why Raw was left so weak after the draft and it seems like Paul Heyman wants to bring up new stars and fresh talent. Fans have been hungry for months and in some cases years for new stars on top and with Paul Heyman build for the future Raw is in good hands, but fans need to be patient.
Overall if matches like what we saw last Monday between Humberto & Rollins is an indication of what were going to see in the future on Raw then I am excited for a Paul Heyman ran Raw brand, because WWE's future could be a lot brighter.
The most anticipated month in modern wrestling with the debut of All Elite Wrestling, debut of Smackdown on Fox, and the WWE draft. For the first time the draft was presented in a way similar to sports drafts. The picks were announced by Stephanie & Triple H, but didn't really do much to boost more interest to the way they had presented the draft in the past. I feel like they could've brought back the old way of drafting similarly to the way they use to draw entrants in the Rumble and how they did the draft in 2004 with Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff. I know it was there first time and mistakes were bound to happen, but hopefully it's a learning experience.
Looking at the rosters they need to reset the meaning of brand exclusivity and keep the brands apart for the time being. It is clear that they are trying to change the images of both brands with the Smackdown roster having a lot more entertainers and less skilled in ring wrestlers and Raw being the opposite. With Fox wanting the brand to be presented in a certain way that explains the moves, but how WWE books it will determine if it fits together.
It is questionable why Raw has such a small tag team division with only three teams included in the title picture. Looking at it the opposite way though Raw has a deeper Women's division excluding the Kabuki Warriors who should still be able to appear on both brands as Women's Tag champions. Some of the un-drafted talent also leaves hope that previously underutilized talent can get a little bit more of the spotlight. As far as the unlisted draft picks I didn't even know that The Colons were still members of WWE shows how long they've been gone.
WWE pulled out all the stops on Friday for the first episode of Smackdown on Fox with a shocking debut of Cain Velasquez confronting Brock Lesnar. I was dumbfounded at the sight of Cain appearing on stage with Mysterio to close Smackdown last week. I applaud WWE for playing up the history between Brock and Velasquez as that isn't something they normally like doing if it didn't happen within the walls of WWE. Also want to point out that it does seem pretty clear that Cain has signed with WWE, but the details of his contract are unclear. The only thing that is known about Cain is that he will be fighting Brock Lesnar on October 31, at Crown Jewel.
According to reports the match is rumored to be for the WWE Championship which is alarming to me for a variety of reasons. First off Brock Lesnar just defeated Kofi Kingston and yet they aren't giving Kofi a rematch and a chance to undo the random match they had on Smackdown this past week. Letting Kofi have a rematch against Brock at Crown Jewel would've given their match on Fox a bit more weight, because it would've been looked at as "oh that's why the match on Smackdown was short."
Another reason that the company holding the match so soon is alarming to me is, because Cain Velasquez has never competed in a match in WWE and will be fighting for the title in his first match. I know Cain has competed in a few matches in Mexico since retiring from UFC and MMA, but has a very limited history in wrestling only debuting a few months ago. I understand from a business perspective that Cain Velasquez vs Brock Lesnar is a marquee match and one of the few left, but it doesn't make sense to rush into the match. According to Meltzer, the main reason it seems that the match will be taking place at Crown Jewel instead of down the road is due to the fact that Cain's contract could be short term only for this feud/match which would be disappointing, but understandable.
In my opinion, I really don't like the idea of a wrestler using name value to get a World Title shot even though they have limited experience in the ring. I understand that Cain Velasquez may only be here for a short time, but if the price was right I am sure he'd stay with WWE. Overall if we can hold off a marquee match for the future and give it more build then the excitement for the match should rise to. If I had a part in bringing Velasquez in I would have a few wrestlers set up to fight Cain holding off the next confrontation with Brock Lesnar until Survivor Series. In December then Cain would fight for #1 contender honors to challenge Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble giving the Rumble a massive match for the event.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present