After a lackluster episode of Raw on Monday it's now time to look back at Tuesday's episode of Smackdown Live. Last week we focused on the fantastic promo from WWE champion Daniel Bryan & though we didn't see the WWE Champion this week we did get a fresh start with some new feuds for Smackdown or at least that's what I am hoping for based on what we saw. It is amazing to think that Jeff Hardy is celebrating 20 years in the WWE and the segment was a lot better then I am sure most people thought especially based on the Samoa Joe promo. Seeing Joe & Hardy feud is one of things that a lot of fans never thought they'd see in the WWE, but in that case it is something fresh for both talent to do. Joe has really hit the prime of his career being absolute gold almost every single time he is on television.
Adding to that is the surprising segment with Nakamura & Rusev where Shinsuke attacked the former "Bulgarian Brute" before their match got going. It is surprising based on the fact that Nakamura really hasn't feuded with anyone since he won the United States title from Jeff Hardy & the same could be said for Rusev. Though I would like to see Rusev in a better position, because he has been getting the reactions to warrant that type of push it doesn't seem like he ever will and at least the US Title is something. For the better part of the last two years the US Title has really been an afterthought as far as booking is concerned and it needs to change; if the company wants the fans to care about the title they need to show that they care first. Hopefully this feud combined with the Joe vs Hardy feud can continue to highlight exactly why Smackdown is the superior brand in WWE.
After this last episode of Monday Night Raw it has become clear that the WWE has a formula problem, a talent problem, and booking problem. Recently things have hit tough spot with injuries playing a major part in the current booking situation of the WWE. From Braun Strowman to Roman Reigns to Alexa Bliss to Kevin Owens and various others are unfortunately on the shelf leaving very little depth on the WWE roster. Now some might think that the problems of Raw would be easy to fix, but I completely disagree. A few weeks ago I attempted to book the WWE including Survivor Series and I have to say it was a clusterf***. I honestly don't know how I was able to put up with it in this concept series.
Well where does this leave us you might ask and if it isn't an easy fix then what's point or some lame convoluted complaint. Simmer down and just listen for a minute! In my opinion the WWE has a problem and the problem they have is over complicating everything. Wrestling is suppose to be simple and easy to follow which is why a lot of people like it as much like a movie it best when you can break it down easy and keep the fans attention. I know a lot of people may disagree, but the truth is wrestling is simple when you just keep good guy vs bad guy and have an easy to follow reason they are feuding. Giving the fans a reason to root for the good guy and root against the bad guy. I mean I also disagree with the formula WWE uses, because they clearly don't have a long term plan; but either way they have the bigger issue of over complicating.
The best way I can think of to leave you is by using an analogy which is if your driving down the street and see two people fighting. One is big and the other is on the smaller side, which guy are you going to be rooting for? The big or small, you'll root for the underdog; same was true in Rocky nobody rooted for Thunderlips everyone wanted to see Rocky overcome the monster and win. The best way to book wrestling is when you don't over complicate it and just keep things simple and smart. Just think about it WWE, and though I know you won't it was worth a shot to try!
It is hard to believe that it has been almost three years since AJ Styles arrival in the WWE and now his contract is coming to it's expiration date. Since his arrival in the WWE the former Impact Wrestling has become a worldwide household name for the company he was worked against. During his stay so far we have seen him defeat John Cena, become WWE champion twice, and have a reign as WWE champion that lasted over a year. To say that anyone expected his career to go like this in the WWE they would be lying as before AJ's arrival most former Impact stars had to deal with a stigma of not being WWE creations. However, upon his arrival at the Royal Rumble and the reaction he got I feel like that helped change everything. Styles has had a career so far in the WWE that nobody could have expected.
Though this also means that Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, and Shinsuke Nakamura likely also have expiring contracts in early 2019. It is clear at this point that only AJ is being negotiated with by the company or at least that is only person who sites are reporting is being negotiated with. At this point it is almost definite that Styles will remain with the WWE, but his contract will be a little different this time around. This time AJ will have the chance to appear at less house show's similar to Randy Orton's contract this way AJ could have more time with his family which is something that he wants according to news reports.
Overall I do think that AJ still has a few years left in the WWE before he will hang up the boots for good and that means I think a few more dream matches can happen and maybe even some more title reigns. Either way the future for AJ Styles is still very bright in the WWE for the near future. As for his former New Japan cohorts I am not to sure what there futures may hold as far as there place in the WWE.
Earlier this year the wrestling world was turned upside down when Daniel Bryan shockingly was cleared to return to the ring after three years on the shelf. Bryan had been to that point the General Manager of Smackdown, but was removed from the post in favor of returning to the ring full time. At Wrestlemania we saw a sight that we never thought we'd see again and that was Bryan back in the ring on the biggest of them all no less. Even though his early run wasn't the best starting a feud with Big Cass after Wrestlemania and then moving to a very good feud with The Miz, but nobody expected what would happen next.
Last week Daniel Bryan ended AJ Styles year long reign with the WWE Championship and if I was a betting man I would have never bet on this happening. Plus if you wanted to add the odds of him turning heel in the same match it would be something that nobody could've predicted. In reality the WWE really needed something to change things up as the product had been struggling recently more Raw then Smackdown, but this does help non the less. During his run in the WWE Bryan has only been a heel for a very short time which makes this run all the more interesting.
Overall during his promo on Smackdown this week Bryan gave off a vibe similar to fellow Washington resident Kurt Cobain. Dressed in flannel and doing his best Morgan Freeman narration of his last three years. The smugness, and directness of his delivery made the promo unlike anything that Bryan has done since he arrived in the WWE in my opinion and I think that this brings about an interesting narrative for Smackdown as 2018 comes to a close partially due to the fact that the brand hasn't had a heel champion in a while. Check out his promo below:
For a little more than the last year the WWE has booked certain people better than others. The stronger booked people have always been in NXT with just simply better and more logical booking with that brand then on the main roster. Names like Undisputed Era, Tomasso Ciampa, and Lars Sullivan had been booked extremely well over the last twelve months. Though looking at Lars Sullivan's stay in NXT one would wonder how Lars's booking could be thought of as strong, but think about how many bad loses he had or convincing defeats.
Overall I know a lot of fans look at Lars and believe that he fits the Vince McMahon idea of what makes a perfect marketable wrestler. However, the reality is that Vince has actually never seen NXT and wouldn't really know Lars from any other star on the roster. I do think that Lars will have the normal start to his main roster career like a lot of other do and that is an undefeated streak that might actually last longer then normally, but I just hope it isn't the only thing that separates him from other talent on the roster. For one I am looking at Andre Alams and the ppor booking he has had to suffer through since his arrival on the main roster. I do think that Lars status will likely help his position and abilty to get a push upon arrival and the main reason for that is because the company really needs top talent right now and I think Lars would be a perfect person for that spot.
Survivor Series 2018
Tag Team Survivor Series Elimination Match:
Team Raw (Bobby Roode, Chad Gable, The Ascension, Lucha House Party, The Revival and The B-Team) vs Team Smackdown (Good Brothers, The Uso's, New Day, The Colon's, and Sanity)
Charlotte vs Ronda Rousey
The I picked this match first is because after the injury to Becky Lynch on Monday this match in a way becomes the most intriguing. With most fans having their minds made up as far as Becky & Ronda now everything shifts gears to Charlotte. I know this could be planting the seeds for something bigger down the line, but at this point it is too early to tell considering Rousey's is still in NXT and half of them are still far off. Either way this will be one of Ronda's top matches since joining the WWE as Charlotte has become one of the better female competitors the company. However, I don't think Charlotte is the right choice to defeat Ronda which means Rousey gets the win here for Raw.
Champion vs Champion
(c) Seth Rollins vs (c) Shinsuke Nakamura
When the company chose to downplay the importance of this match I was extremely disappointed as this is a first time ever dream match situation in some regards. Nakamura & Rollins are two of the best wrestlers in the company and are meeting for the first time in match with very little build or without any feeling of importance. Something is wrong! I mean I get that Rollins has started with Ambrose, but I think more could've been accomplished by downplaying the Ambrose feud for a week or two to focus on this match. Here is where I think Smackdown gets their win back as Ambrose will get involved in some fashion allowing Nakamura to get the win.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
(c) Buddy Murphy vs Mustafa Ali
It is amazing to see the changes that this division has gone through in the last twelve months going from an after thought to being featured on the main show of one of the big four PPV's. This is a testament to what happens when the company actually to strengths as oppose to booking in a bubble. There is no doubt that Murphy & Ali have incredible chemistry together as they showed it earlier this year and will show it tonight. The road to redemption continues tonight for the crusierweights and there is nobody to continue the rebuilding then the "Heart of 205 Live" I think Ali finally gets his chance.
Champion vs Champion
(c) AOP w/ Drake Maverick vs (c) The Bar
I am going to keep this one short, because I don't really know what to expect from this match due to who is involved. The last year has been anything but kind to the Raw Tag Division with it becoming a joke and the home of thrown together tag teams. With that being said I think AOP need the win to add credibility to both them and Raw's tag division.
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Women's Division
Team Raw (Nia Jax, Tamina, Natalya, Ruby Riot, & Mickie James) vs Team Smackdown (Carmella, Asuka, Naomi, Sonya Deville, and ???)
As I mentioned earlier Becky's unfortunate injury brought some intrigue to Charlotte vs Ronda. Well considering Charlotte was once a member of Team Smackdown when she was announced as Becky's replacement an aura of intrigue fell on this match as well. The question on everyone's mind is who will replace Charlotte on Team Smackdown. My guess is that it will likely be someone from NXT namely Nikki Cross who made her unofficial main roster debut a few weeks ago. Based on looking at the teams I believe Team Smackdown should win as they will co-exist better then Team Raw.
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Men's
Team Smackdown (The Miz, Shane McMahon, Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio, and Jeff Hardy) vs Team Raw (Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley)
It is interesting and kind of puzzling to me why the WWE mismatched both Raw teams putting a lot of heels with only one face on the Women's team and putting together folks that were or are feuding on Raw's team. I know this is suppose add an aura of intrigue like how are they going to co exist since they hate each other, but in my opinion it lacks a little logic especially when you look at Smackdown's team and I feel like it is better constructed. As I mentioned in the "How I Would Book Survivor Series" article I believe the elimination match can lead to a star making performance and two people in the match need it more than anyone. Those two are Samoa Joe & Finn Balor who have been the victims of bad and or one sided booking in recent months. Many thought after his performance in the Rumble that Balor would have a good 2018 well that didn't happen. Overall though I think Team Smackdown gets the win with Joe either being sole survivor or surviving with Miz or Mysterio.
Champion vs Champion
(c) Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs (c) Daniel Bryan
All the rumors aside about how well liked Brock is backstage, because when it comes down to it that doesn't matter in the ring. In reality nobody expected or even thought that anyone else who've been across the ring from Brock Lesnar in this situation other than AJ Styles. However, that all changed five days ago on Smackdown when Daniel pulled an AJ Styles and won the title ending AJ's year long reign as champion. Fact is that it is insane to know that Daniel is World Champion after just returning to the ring earlier in the year. The one question on everyone's mind though is can Bryan really pick up the win. Answer in my opinion it would make Bryan and the company look bad if doesn't as just won the World Title. It would make it seem like they didn't want AJ to loose to Brock so they Bryan do it instead which isn't exactly what you want. Which means I think the company go with another shocking victory for Bryan with him beating Lesnar.
Back at Summerslam Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar fought for the WWE Universal Championship and we finally saw Roman dethrone Brock and become Universal Champion. However, due to a tragic turn of events the title would be vacated from Roman and put on the line between Braun Strowman & Brock at Crown Jewel. This where Brock became the first two time Universal Champion and it left many fans wondering why exactly the WWE can't seem to shed the dependency on the "Beast." First all of all Brock would return to the company during the Hell in a Cell match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman a month ago and this left many fans wondering what was going on as most thought Brock was done with the WWE.
However, like always seemingly under the cover of night Brock Lesnar once again resigned with the company with most people being shocked about the happenings. Nobody expected Brock to stick with the company after Wrestlemania and were dumbfounded when he won against Roman at Mania and everyone including me was trying to figure out when Lesnar's contract would be expiring. I for one was surprised that Brock ended up sticking around for as long as he did and was just as surprised to see The "Beast" upon his return at Hell in a Cell. Fact is a few weeks ago I wrote about the WWE's dependency on nostalgia being a hindrance to the current talent in a some ways creating a glass ceiling for talent, Brock is clearly one of those acts.
In my opinion, when Lesnar returned in 2012 after eight years away from the company he had mystique about him that didn't really wear off until around Wrestlemania XXX. At WrestleMania 30 we saw the unthinkable when The Undertaker finally lost at WrestleMania to Brock Lennar which put The "Beast" on a level all his own when compared to others in the locker room. Unfortunately though the WWE never really put the momentum Brock has to good use like they would with anyone else out of fear of having him loose to the wrong person. In reality I think that this may have hurt Brock in the long run, because fans have gotten tired of seeing the same old shit when it came to Lesnar's booking.
Overall according to some news reports it seems that Brock will remain with the company likely until after WrestleMania 35 even though reports due point to the Royal Rumble as a possible end date; it is unlikely they would let go of Lesnar before the biggest show of the year. Based on the reports of his pending UFC return I would point to sometime in January which would allow him to finish in WWE before truly returning to UFC full time later in 2019. Now I will not go one way or the other as I will express that it is my hope that Brock Lesnar's WWE run will be done following Wrestlemania 35 because in my opinion it is time for him to go away.
In place of booking Smackdown Live like I did Raw I decided that I will fast forward to Sunday and show How I Would book Survivor Series 2018: Sit back and enjoy!
Survivor Series 2018:
Highlights of the build to the event & everything that has changed in recent weeks
Tag Team Battle Royal: Winners Get a Tag Team Title Shot
I know this isn't the match listed, but this is what I would do because the match that is planned will be a cluster**** in my opinion. As having that many people involved in one match never works out well because there is just too much going on at one time. I think letting it happen in the form of a battle royal would work a lot better, because it would be more conducive to the amount of people in the ring at one time. Plus a lot of the teams on the Raw side are either thrown together or glorified jobbers at this point this would help supplement that in my opinion. I would Sanity the win because they have the numbers advantage & I think a feud between the three members of Sanity and The Bar would be interesting.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match:
(c) Buddy Murphy over Mustafa Ali in 10:23
I will keep this short Murphy has been a good champion so far and even though Ali will get his moment not sure when it will come. My main focus with this one though is giving them time to show how good they are and show the fans that we care about the cruiserweight division.
Seth Rollins interview where Seth is asked about his focus on Shinsuke Nakamura and how much of his mind is on Ambrose. Seth says "I am trying not to focus on Dean Ambrose tonight and keep all of my attention where it needs to be and that is on Shinsuke Nakamura tonight."
(c) Shinsuke Nakamura defeats (c) Seth Rollins in 19:35 via distraction from Dean Ambrose
Though this will be a first time meeting I would think that Ambrose getting involved be a great way to get him even more heat. Ruining Seth's chance of winning and showing he just doesn't care which also gives Shinsuke a very credible victory.
Highlights of Smackdown Invasion of Raw from Monday
Team Raw def Team Smackdown: Women's Division in 25:21
Fact is the Survivor Series elimination match has always been the match that can make fledgling talent stick out. I would give either Ruby Riot or Sonya Deville the star making performance because the company needs fresh faces on top. Considering I selected Team Raw winning I would let Ruby Riot and Nia Jax be the only survivors.
Highlights of Smackdown and Daniel Bryan defeating AJ Styles
Tag Team Champions:
(c) AOP w/ Drake Maverick defeat (c) The Bar in 14:45
Keeping this short it will be hard hitting and the toughest test for AOP yet on the main roster. However, the main problem is that AOP's momentum has just started to develop and even though losing to The Bar wouldn't do much to it Raw's division needs to have the dominate team more than Smackdown's.
Charlotte interviewed about facing Ronda and says "If my father taught me one thing it is to always be ready for fight against anyone." Ronda is interviewed elsewhere and says "Charlotte I will rip you a part like Rowdy Piper did to your father."
Ronda Rousey defeats Charlotte in 18:89
No doubt this will be the best chance that Ronda has had since Wrestlemania to show what she can do as Charlotte is by far the top female competitor in the company. Though the WWE wanted to hold this off till Mania I think Becky and Ronda at Mania is the better option now anyway.
Shane McMahon is attacked backstage by a mystery assailant
Paige arrives before the match begins to announce that Smackdown does have a replacement for Shane and it is the former WWE Champion AJ Styles.
Team Smackdown defeats Team Raw: (Mens) in 45:09
Since the brand split the Smackdown vs Raw Survivor Series match has always been a highlight to watch except maybe last year. As I mentioned earlier the Survivor Series elimination match can make someone into a star with a solid performance. I would give Finn Balor a solid performance, but Samoa Joe deserves the star making performance after his constant losing to AJ Styles in recent months.
Paige and Stephanie are arguing over what happened to Shane as Paige thinks Stephanie had something to do with it.
Paul Heyman promo
WWE Champion vs Universal Champion
(c) Daniel Bryan defeats (c) Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman in 25:23
This is one match I never thought we would see for one reason or another, but now after the shocking title change we are getting it. Either way though my opinion doesn't change I would've have said AJ Styles should beat Lesnar and I am saying the same thing for Daniel Bryan. Brock should take the loss and I think I could reason him into putting over the newly crowned champion as a way to help us build Bryan more.
Monday Night Raw
Raw starts with Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre speaking on the events of the last few weeks with Drew talking about how he will conquer the monster. Dolph talks about his match with Elias from last week and calls Elias the upstart that has learned his place, but Drew will teach him why he doesn't belong in the big leagues. Baron Corbin interrupts & explains to Drew that Braun isn't a problem anymore after the attack at Crown Jewel to that Drew points out that he already beaten down Braun and didn't need a title to do it. Corbin is pissed & makes his match with Elias tonight NO DQ.
Alicia Fox w/ Mickie James & Alexa Bliss defeats Local Talent in 2:34
Though this match might puzzle some people the reality is Foxy isn't exactly the most credible member of the women's division and needs to be allowed some TV wins to gain momentum. Especially taking her association with Alexa Bliss into account.
Following the match Alexa would get the microphone and explain why she is the Team Captain at Survivor Series mentioning her injuries, but also making it clear that she is the best female wrestler in WWE. James & Fox put over Bliss calling Rousey dangerous & that Bliss should be protected because she will lead Team Raw to victory at Survivor Series.
We return from a commercial with Drake Maverick & AOP on the stage and the announcement of the #1 Contender tournament. The B-Team come down glancing over at AOP but walk away quick after getting a menacing looking from the monsters.
Bobby Roode & Chad Gable defeated B-Team in 8:21
In my opinion the Raw Tag division is a crap shoot at this point and really just needs some matches to establish the thrown together tag teams.
Video package looking back to the Money in Bank encounter but it is cut with video package hyping Beck Lynch and all she has accomplished recently.
Curt Hawkins shows up in the ring after the video package talking about his losing streak and how tonight will be different. "Tonight is going to be special, because I will end my losing streak tonight in Kansas City. Cue Lashley's music:
Lashley w/ Lio Rush defeats Curt Hawkins
Lashley's momentum will continue after defeating Finn last week not to say that Finn's won't we just need more time to figure Finn's position out.
Survivor Series hype highlight last years Raw vs Smackdown Elimination Match
The Revival are out talking about a tough last couple of weeks for the team and Dawson points out "We have had a tough time with fluke loss after fluke loss. Things will change, because we are not the same team that was in NXT we lost our way, but things will get back on track."
The Revival defeats Local talents 2:21
Though we might have the tag team tournament starting tonight and I do believe that this team does belong in the tournament. I also think that the former tag team champions need a little bit more momentum on their side before jumping into a tournament like we are having.
Drake Maverick & AOP are back out but now they are talking about the Survivor Series and that facing The Bar will be the toughest test the team has had yet. Drake says "However, this is the same team that dominated NXT for a year and sat under the learning tree of one of the greatest managers ever in Paul Ellering. They are ready for anything the Bar has to through at them."
Highlights of the Dean Ambrose's heel turn & the events that have taken place in recent weeks. I will basically use this week as a buffer to catch fans up and let Seth hype is match with Nakamura instead.
The Ascension over Lucha House Party after distraction from TJP & Mike Kanellis 8:17
This finish would help put over the feud between TJP & Lucha House Party, while also giving The Ascension a needed credible win in the tag team tournament.
Seth Rollins is out next and speaks a little about Ambrose, but says his mind isn't focused on Dean this week and instead has his attention set on Shinsuke Nakamura and their match at Survivor Series. "For years people have spoken about dream matches that could happen one way or the other well this Sunday will be a dream match. I have toppled monsters, defeated assassins, and come Sunday I will defeat an "Artist.""
Apollo Crews defeats No Way Jose
One person that I actually forgot was on Raw was No Way Jose which is unfortunate as I felt like he was a up and comer down in NXT. Either way though he has a positive position being able to further help establishing Apollo Crews to give the fresh talent some more momentum.
Following a commercial we would see Jinder join the conga line & then attempt to get No Way Jose & his posse to mediate. Jose looks at Jinder and says "That's to mellow for me man... it's time to party and not relax." The singh brother jumps in says "But you lost what are you celebrating?" Jose is pissed and walks off. (Feud begins)
Drew McIntyre def. Elias after Dolph interfered at 18:42
The purpose of this match would be to continue Drew's push up the card, but also try and help bring Elias up with him as they could benefit from some new stars on top. Though some might think this kills Elias before it starts in my opinion it doesn't. Think about it Drew gets to look dangerous, Elias puts up a good effort, & both guys are protected due to Dolph's involvement, which also keeps the feud going between Elias & Dolph. It might be hard to believe that one match could do so much, but done right that is exactly what a main event should accomplish.
Raw ends with Team Captain Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler's celebration being cut short by Corbin who is again chased out of the arena by Strowman who actually catches up to Corbin as Raw goes off the air with Cole screaming. "Oh my fans you want to miss this find out next on Monday Night Raw!"
After a very lackluster edition of Monday Night Raw I have decided to try something new with this series and trying to integrate some aspects of the old How I Would Book it series into this one. Recently, I ran a poll on Twitter asking if you'd like to see the way I would book Smackdown Live & Raw. Though not many people expressed their opinions I decided for myself to give the series a try because we could always move things back to the old way later on. I do know scheduling might be a little difficult, but it will just be more about moving everything back a day or two from where I normally schedule things.
One thing I will acknowledge is that I did attempt to book WWE within TEW last year after the travesty that was Summerslam weekend. For those who unaware TEW is a computer simulation wrestling game that allows you to book/run a wrestling company from any era. Things really didn't work out with that series though and instead I called the series very early on. However, with burnout making the Let's Play concept somewhat a thing of the past I decided to try and go back to the roots of the old series.
Now I will not be trying to book Raw until next week considering the fact that this week's episode has past already and even though it could be interesting to show how I would have booked the show in hindsight. However, it is better in my opinion to book for the future rather than looking to the past and trying to compare to what hasn't happened just yet. Overall this will be a test to see if I can go back to recording Let's Play's or not so this could effect the future of Youtube also.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present