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.
After last week's episode of Monday Night Raw most fans viewed the WWE's flagship show as the worst episode of the show in twenty years. In reality this would mean that the company would really need to change things around to freshen things up a little bit after a rough show. From week to week the WWE normally starts off every episode of main roster programming with a promo segment and this segment often goes over ten minutes. However, this gets old and on occasion doesn't always get the show off on the right foot. This is one of the reasons that charisma and the ability to carry a promo and keep fans just as interested in segments as they can be with in-ring action. This one of the main reasons why some people get to the top in WWE while others don't, because most of the time those who don't meet one of the main qualifications or the other.
One thing I feel like Impact Wrestling does well is not being afraid to change things up at the start of the show whether it meant going through a brawl, a match or a segment. Unlike Impact though the WWE never really changes the formula for the programming no matter if it was Raw or Smackdown. This does hamper things though as things could old really quick and make fans beg for something different on their television screens.
For the first time in a very long time WWE changed the start of the show with Raw actually not starting with a promo segment and kicking off with a brawl. It was a very interesting sight seeing the match descend into two separate fights one in the ring with Nia, Tamina, and Ronda and the other outside between Nattie & the Riot Squad. Though I might not be alone in the idea of not liking the feud between Nia Jax & Ronda just based around the fact that these two ladies are like oil and water they just don't mix. I do think that the Riot Squad & Nattie's feud is interesting if they take the approach of the new generation trying to make waves. However, it is getting old after the amount of months that they have been fighting each other.
Overall I think Raw needs some new faces for the division and that the draft can't come soon enough as the division needs a shot in the arm. But the best way the company can fix this problem is I think that Nattie should move into a feud with Alexa Bliss and her back-up having Sasha & Bayley side with her. This leaving the Riot Squad to go against Women's champion Ronda Rousey and I think that having a stable going against Ronda would be a very interesting narrative.
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.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present