In case you missed it this past Wednesday night NXT officially made the move to network television as they are now on USA Network every Wednesday. For the first couple of weeks as USA makes room in their line-up NXT will only have an hour every week on USA with the second hour being on the WWE Network. The change in time slot will take place in early October following the ending of USA Network original series Suits. Either way though the first episode of NXT on USA happened and it lived up to the expectations. Now with a lot more time to showcase the talent of the future the WWE has the ability to give talent in NXT the opportunity to become known by it's fan base before a talent gets the call to move to Raw or Smackdown.
One thing that everyone has been hoping for since the Smackdown deal with Fox was announced was that Smackdown would move from being a B-Show to an equal of Raw. I don't expect NXT to become equal to Raw or Smackdown right away, but what I hope for is that underutilized talent on the main roster will finally be able to make the move to NXT as a way to freshen them up. Even though NXT will be on national television now it is still going to be a different audience at least early on then the one that watches the other two brands.
Overall with the infusion of talent from 205 Live and now possibility of some NXT UK talent joining the party from time to time the WWE is doing everything they can to make sure NXT has depth on their roster. I love the idea of allowing the NXT UK World Champion to appear on the brand, because it gives more exposure to the World Champion which is exactly what they should be trying to do. I don't know a lot about Walter or his stablemates, but what I do know is I'm interested and Kushida is definitely an interesting selection as an early opponent for Walter on NXT. So far WWE is starting high and the stage is set for Smackdown to make the move to Fox on October 4!
Clash of Champions 2019
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
(c) Drew Gulack vs Humberto Carrillo vs Lince Dorado
With now the future set for 205 Live this will be the start of the next chapter for the underrated cruiserweight division. Even though we have recently seen Murphy, Ali, and Cedric Alexander get pushed up from 205 Live to Raw and Smackdown. Drew is extremely underrated and has been the leader of the cruiserweight division for most of this year and will hopefully find a higher level when they finally begin to be featured in prominent way on NXT. As for Carrillo and Dorado there isn't much to say as both men have flown under the radar and even though Dorado has been around since the beginning he has never gotten the opportunity to stand out. Honestly, I don't think that Gulack will drop the title at this point and even though we could see them switch up very soon, but now isn't the time.
WWE Women's Tag Team Championship:
(c) Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs Fire and Desire
Since the debut of the unexpected Women's Tag titles earlier this year the new title has struggled to find it's place in WWE. However, it is good to see they've started to try and not only integrate the title into a bigger picture, but allowing women that aren't ready to be feature on top of the division. Rose & Deville have been a solid team since they arrived on the main roster. I don't think that Alexa & Nikki will lose tonight and they will stay a top the division.
WWE Intercontinental Championship:
(c) Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Sami Zayn vs The Miz
Two months ago Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Finn Balor to capture the title and hasn't really done much with it so far, but now that he has Sami Zayn as a moth piece it's a start. Also feuding with The Miz gives two guys that weren't doing much something to do and at this point Miz is also closing in on Jericho's record for most title reigns with Miz being one behind him. I'd like to see Miz win, but I think they'll save this title change for after Smackdown moves to Fox as this feud isn't ending tonight it'll likely keep going. Nakamura wins with help from Sami to keep the gold for now.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship:
(c) New Day vs The Revival
This has been a untapped feud for a variety of reasons including a number of injuries to both teams and the brand split stopping them from interacting again. It is impossible to accurately put into words the impact that New Day has had on the WWE and tag team wrestling in general. But I am glad they have, because it has been a wild ride with the New Day in WWE. Now with The Revival getting a real chance to show what they can do and associating with Randy Orton this is WWE's chance to put them in the position that they could've been in from the start and that is to bring some credibility back to tag team wrestling in WWE.
WWE United States Championship:
(c) AJ Styles vs Cedric Alexander
This is a switch from his last reign as champion when he was in a never ending loop with Kevin Owens. I admit I don't normally like when Main Event talent win titles designed for mid-card stars, but when it's clear that a reign will be use to elevate someone new that's when it is okay cause it's for a purpose. So far Styles has done wonders with his matches against Ricochet and now will hopefully help elevate Cedric Alexander to position in the company that he deserves, because he has earned everything. Though Cedric has earned his spot on Monday Night's it isn't the right time for AJ Styles to drop the United States title. At this point we need to have stability to those titles which haven't had a direction in years.
Roman Reigns vs Rowan
In all honesty this was a misstep and I believe that WWE have even admitted that they shouldn't have went with Rowan and should've gone after Daniel or another semi established talent. It's not that Rowan doesn't deserve a shot, it seems a little too familiar to Jinder Mahal's push in 2017. It's not possible that WWE forgot how to correctly push talent slowly and get them over the right way. Had the company wanted Rowan to be a believable opponent for Roman Reigns then they should have pushed Rowan a little harder recently then they have. I think there is no doubt that Reigns takes the win tonight and this might be the end of this one or you can expect it to turn to someone else being the mastermind.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship:
(c) Braun Strowman & Seth Rollins vs Dolph Ziggler & Bobby Roode
Honestly I love the idea of Roode & Ziggler being a team, because the WWE always needs fresh tag team and these two guys haven't exactly had the best direction recently so this gives them something. Also it interesting that for once tag team partner will team together in one match for the tag titles and then fight each other for the World Title. At this point, I prefer Strowman and Rollins competing against thrown together teams while they are established as a tandem. Don't get me wrong I know Rollins and Braun will not stay together as a team, but while they are I'd rather them hold off on real teams and letting them feud together when they do. Based on what I think is going to happen in the main event I think Strowman & Rollins will retain the titles as they still need to figure out what they want to do Dolph & Roode.
WWE Smackdown Women's Championship:
(c) Bayley vs Charlotte Flair
Though the roles have been reversed at this point and I for one am still getting use to the idea of Bayley being a heel for the first time. Due to the heel turn being very recent it has provided limited build for this match, but I am sure that similarly to the Intercontinental Championship it will not end tonight and will continue for the future. Bayley will get the win via DQ after Flair will attempt to her revenge on Bayley for her previous attack a few weeks ago.
WWE Raw Women's Championship:
(c) Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks
This has been one of the most anticipated matches in a long time with it being possible that this match has never happening before I don't think. Honestly this is an easy choice, because Banks has just returned and has a ton of momentum on her side right now. To avoid some of the shine fading away from Becky she needs to be humanized to be able to continue her white hot run. Banks gets the win to grab the Women's Championship.
(c) Kofi Kingston vs Randy Orton
I think I was the only person that wasn't disappointed by the match they had back at Summerslam even though it ended the way it did. If I was booking this feud I would follow what I chose earlier in the predictions. With that being said Randy Orton will become WWE Champion tonight allowing The Revival and Orton to hold all the gold and setting up a possible six man tag match heading into Hell in a Cell next month or next months event. To be clear Orton will get the win giving him what could be his last title reign.
WWE Universal Championship:
(c) Seth Rollins vs Braun Strowman
I am going to keep this one short, because I don't like the idea of hot shooting the World Title ever. Again the company has painted themselves into a corner with Strowman's booking, because Seth just won the title last month. In my opinion, if Rollins drops the title then it needs to be to Bray Wyatt and nobody else. Whenever that match happens hopefully it would give both Rollins & Wyatt long reigns as champion. Wyatt is by far the top talent in the company right now and should eventually be recognized for his success. Either way though Rollins gets the win and questions will come up what happens next for Braun Strowman.
In the coming weeks a lot of talk will center around how the WWE will change after the upcoming draft in October. Since they signed the deal last year there has been a ton of talk about how high the expectations for WWE and especially for Smackdown with them moving to Fox. At this point everyone is aware of the ratings drop off the WWE has been having since late fall last year, and they have tried a lot of different things to fix and though they may have numbed the problem they need to move Fox to fix the problem. Right now the WWE need to be working on plans to change the identities of Raw and Smackdown following October 2nd when Smckdown is done on USA Network and moves to Fox.
All we know at this point and time is that the broadcast teams will become exclusive to each brand and we might be seeing the return of a two man announce team. In my opinion, this is something that has been extremely missed, because a three man booth on both brands is just too much to handle sometimes. According to reports we could be seeing Michael Cole finally move back to the blue brand after being the voice of Raw since 2008; which will be a welcome sight and extremely fitting knowing the huge step Smackdown will be taking in October. The only other report around at this time is Vic Joseph will be making the massive jump from 205 Live to Monday Night Raw.
Overall this is exactly what Raw needs as Vic will bring a brand new voice and identity to the red brand following the draft in October. I think Corey should move to Smackdown with Michael Cole exclusively keeping a solid team together giving Smackdown a two man booth. As far as Raw is concerned Vic Joseph should be partnered with Tom Phillips and Nigel McGuinness. Nigel should join Vic on Raw to help him ease into a new role with a partner that he had worked with prior and Phillips can be the experienced voice to help keep the pressure off Vic Joseph while he gets a handle on being on Raw rather than 205 Live. I know that keep Raw with a three man team might seem like we are missing the chance to downsize giving Raw three man team would allow Smackdown and Raw to have a different identity and sound.
Note: I didn't forget about Renee Young or Byron Saxton as I believe these two will join the upcoming FS1 recap show that Triple H mentioned a few months back. Clearly, Renee has always been a step above the rest of her workers due to her previous experience and how well she did on Talking Smack and shows along those lines. The reason I chose Byron to be Renee's second is, because I think Byron deserves a chance to show what he can do without Vince McMahon in his ear and if he make it work on different type of show or if he needs the safety that comes on Raw and Smackdown.
Even though some fans might believe that at his height Miz could've and should've been a top challenger for the WWE or Universal Championship. I do agree he should've challenged for the title and would've given Kofi Kingston a more interesting feud for Kofi then he had with Dolph or Kevin Owens. However, I think at this point the WWE isn't willing to get behind The Miz in that way again even though he has become a household name due to Total Divas and Miz & Mrs. It is possible that, because of the filming of the show they do believe in The Miz and know that he is a reliable in ring competitor.
I didn't mind the feud earlier this year between Miz and Shane McMahon, but I feel like Miz hasn't had a direction since the end of the feud. Until now that is a few weeks ago it seemed like a feud has kicked off between Miz and Shinsuke Nakamura. Side note it is alarming that WWE can go weeks or months without having a long term direction for the Intercontinental or United States Champion. In my opinion, someone shouldn't be given the opportunity to become champion if WWE doesn't have a plan for him following the title victory.
At this point, Miz is one victory away from tying Chris Jericho for the most reigns ever as Intercontinental Champion. Every reign Miz has had in recent years has done so much to reset to prestige of the Intercontinental title for them to just losing all the meaning & importance that Miz had established for the title. I am confident that Miz and Nakamura could have go match together, but if they will have chemistry is always the question. As of this writing Nakamura has held the championship for 52 days and I could see them look to crown a new champion next week at Clash of Champions especially with the full draft coming in October.
A few weeks ago Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins defeated The OC (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for the Raw Tag Team Titles. This continues the puzzling way of how the WWE books the tag team division on Raw the company has never really cared about properly giving a hot feud to the tag team division. From The Revival to The OC to the short lived tag team of Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy the division hasn't had a proper direction for years. It is an unfortunate side effect of how little Vince McMahon believes in the tag team division and that he hasn't in nearly two decades. Even though the talent level is just as high as it was back in the early part of the decade but it seems like they aren't believed in as much as they use to be.
The reason for this title is that I think that when two people that have never teamed together before not only defeat the tag team champions, but win the tag team titles from a well respected team. Now don't get me wrong one loss will not kill a tag team but if it happens often enough it could kill a lot of the credibility that a team has. Since they debuted there has been a lot of ups and downs for Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson recently have regained some credibility that they had lost in the past. However, losing to Strowman & Rollins does show just how undervalued the tag team division is, because when a team has chemistry and can work well together that is made such a big deal in matches with The Revival and The Uso's. But then you see Strowman & Rollins team together once and win with no chemistry.
In my opinion, what is the point of having a division if you are just going to give the tag titles to a non team. I know that this could be win it and lose it right back to The OC. Simply put them having this title change seems like an unnecessary addition to the developing rivalry between Rollins and Strowman. This is lazy booking as there is a division for a reason and this like a slap in the face to the actual teams that the company has. Unless this helps elevate an actual team when they win the titles then I will eat my words, until then I hate this booking style, because it forces WWE to push all the teams in Raw's division to the background which is pointless as you are paying people to sit back instead of just allowing them to do what they are being paid to do.
At this point Randy Orton has been in the ranks of the WWE for the last seventeen years. Unlike some other top stars Randy has had a lot of ups and downs in his career struggling to really keep his stock high in the company at all times. Early it seemed like Randy would be the first person to break through from the 2002 rookie class, but that changed after the flop World Title reign in 2004. Fast forward to modern times when Randy has become the elder statesman it has been a sight really seeing Randy get push to the background in favor of names like Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and others.
However, since the start of his feud with Kofi Kingston it seems like Randy has found his way out of the background and into the foreground once again. Even though their first meeting leaned a bit much on the history these two men have mounted in the last decade and not enough on making the match memorable things have seemingly picked up in recent weeks. Recently a rise in intensity has given the feud some much needed energy. Now with sides even and Randy taking The Revival under his wing similar to the way he took Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase under his wing many years ago things have changed again.
Last week on Raw the trio attacked the New Day and "injured" Xavier Woods and though there is no indication of when we will be seeing Woods again it would help the feud and the new trio if he missed a few weeks. In my opinion, Woods shouldn't be on television this week and instead Kofi & Big E should give us an update on him. Next week he should be selling the injuries, because there is no need to rush through this and the longer Woods is gone the more dangerous it makes Orton and The Revival seem. I love this new combination, because everyone knows how valued Orton is in the company and seeing him with The Revival could mean the team has finally been placed in a spot to succeed like they deserve.
Following Wrestlemania 35 we saw the first title change for the Women's Tag Titles when Billy Kay and Peyton Royce. Though this seems like a simple title change it didn't come without controversy as reports would pop up after Mania that both Sasha and Bailey were extremely angry about the outcome of the match, because they finally hit their breaking points with the terrible booking they had been enduring with the company for the last couple of years. Though Bailey would return to WWE and eventually would become Smackdown Women's Champion it wasn't so easy to bring Sasha back.
With the advent of All Elite Wrestling there were plenty of reports that Sasha would be leaving WWE for the new company due to the bad booking and just generally being fed up with the promotion. Heading to greener pastures in All Elite would've given The Boss a fresh start like she needed, but there was something else she could do. Since her arrival on the main roster Sasha has only been a heel once and that was with Tamina and Naomi collectively known as Team BAD. Take a glance back a few years when Banks was in NXT and she was not only one of the best heels for the brand, but one of the best in the company. Since then though she has never had a chance to be a stand alone heel on the big stage.
Overall Banks has never had the chance to be "The Boss" because she didn't get her nickname from being the nice girl she became "The Boss" by being an intense bitch that did what it took to win. The night after Summerslam we finally got our answer that about what Sasha will do and she came back with blue hair. More importantly though it is official for the first time she is a heel and seemingly jumping right into a feud with Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch. I still believe that Banks is a very special talent and if she is given the ball she will be able to run with it, and I know this because she's proven it before. With Paul taking charge of the Red brand we could be seeing a little bit more of a focus placed on names that haven't been given the spotlight as much as they were before.
Even though at this point it has been almost twenty years since The Rock has been an active full time competitor in the ring. At first The Rock was doing both wrestling and acting; this was the case until his role in The Rundown as he would walk away from a full time schedule in April 2003 following a loss to Goldberg at Backlash. As the years went by we would still occasionally see Rocky pop up from time to time including feuds with John Cena, CM Punk, Evolution and others. Also who could forget the times that we got surprising appearances where he verbally eviscerated his advisories.
By now I think that most fans know the history of Dwayne Johnson in wrestling and the legacy he will now be leaving behind. But I am sure not everyone knows why he has chosen to step away and the simple reason is insurance. With the schedule Rock has been keeping being extremely hectic it has been difficult to bring him in for a match when he's not attached to a movie which means a movie studio would have to insure him to protect their investment. Also according to a Forbes article published on July 19th, 2019, at this time The Rock is the highest paid actor in the world which basically killed any chance of him returning to the ring.
In my opinion, The Rock is one of the greatest ever on the microphone and no slouch in the ring, but the hands of time come for us all especially in wrestling. Sometimes though it's for a good reason, after watching for as long as I have I always prefer seeing wrestlers hang it up on their own accord as opposed to being to forced because of injury. Thanks for the memories Rocky you earned chance to sit back and enjoy the legacy you have built.
It's been a while since I've done one of these, but it's also been a while since there has been news like this that share a bit of a connection. With the arrival of All Elite Wrestling there has seemingly been a ton of non-stop discussions about the possibility of various underutilized WWE wrestlers making the jump to the new company and both Mickie James & Luke Harper specifically Harper were at the forefront of the discussion due to his dissatisfaction with the WWE.
Based on recent reports it seems like Luke Harper is officially back on the road with the WWE after a short vacation. Harper was one of a number of WWE stars to ask for their release earlier in the year as AEW prepared for their first event. As we know Harper's request was denied and he was forced remain with the company even though he wanted out. In my opinion, after both he and Rowan ended up on the injured list last year derailing their tag title reign he hasn't done much other than sit at home waiting for something to do. Harper is one of the most gifted big men in the business and has never gotten the opportunity to show it on the big stage. Hopefully with both Heyman & Bischoff in control now things might finally be looking up for Harper.
As for Mickie James, she has been the veteran of the division since her return to the WWE in a way took over the role that Nattie had as the veteran who occasionally wins but normally doesn't. James recently had surgery to repair her ACL and will miss the remainder of the year. In my opinion, upon her return she should be given one more chance to run for the Women's title just as a thank you run for all she's given to the company over the years. The reason for this would be it is possible she doesn't have too many years left as an active competitor and it's also possible she might not even return, but let's try and be optimistic. Get well soon Mickie!! We hope to see you in time for the Women's Royal Rumble next year and maybe you'll win.
Extreme Rules 2019
At this point no matches have officially been announced for the pre-show but I am sure something will be on the show.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship:
(c) Drew Gulack vs Tony Nese
These two are two of the most gifted men in the division and more than likely could be the next two that the company chooses to move up to either Raw or Smackdown like they have done with Buddy Murphy, Ali, and Cedric Alexander. I have loved the skills both men have in the ring for a long time as they are both two totally different competitors. However, Gulack has worked for to long to get to this point and will not be dropping the title just yet.
Aleister Black vs Cesaro
No doubting that this will be the match of the night and might peak at one of the best matches of the entire year. It is unfortunate what happen to Sheamus, but this is now Cesaro's opportunity to break out and show exactly damn good he is. In my opinion, Black was the most underrated NXT World Champion for the brand and this will be his chance to finally show what he can do. This is one of the only matches on this show that I am actually interested in at all. I would like to see a series of matches between these two capping off at Summerslam and for that I'd want the youngster Black to get the fist win.
Raw Tag Team Championship:
(c) The Revival vs The Uso's
I am going to make this easy if the company ever wants to look at one of the main reasons the ratings were sinking then look no further than how they were booking The Revival. Nobody wants to see pointless comedy as it isn't entertaining at all, comedy does have a place but only if it's entertaining. With that being said I want them to book this like an old school match because that plays to the strengths of Dash & Dawson who are an old school tag team. Neither team should get the win I want a draw finish in this match to give the feud a different feel. I know this won't happen, but it would be something different so I'm sticking with it.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship:
(c) Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs New Day vs Heavy Machinery
In my opinion, this is best way the company could've chosen to book Daniel after he lost the WWE Title at Wrestlemania. This way he stays on television and gets to be a champion that makes sense and it gives us a break from seeing him in the title picture. Bryan and Rowan have been a welcome addition to the tag team division on Smackdown that needed a face lift, but now they have competition. Normally it's Kofi & Big E as the team for the New Day so seeing Woods and Big E will be something a little different for the trio and this is the biggest test yet for Otis and Tucker since they arrived on the main roster. The benefit of a match like this is someone doesn't have to be pinned which then allows for the feud to continue and another match to happen. With Summerslam right around the corner WWE will likely hold off on some title changes till then and this will be one of them. Bryan and Rowan retain with Woods taking the fall allowing Otis and Tucker to be the challengers at Summerslam to continue their push.
Smackdown Women's Championship:
(c) Bayley vs Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
First off I am extremely happy to see Alexa getting back in the ring and seemingly having a clean bill of health after such a long time on the IR list. Bayley as champion has been a welcomed surprise since her win at Money in the Bank and Nikki being involved has been a breath of fresh air for a lacking division. I know that some think Sasha will return during this match, but I don't see that yet. I do see her coming back to even the odds, but just not yet. Bliss will get the win tonight and will begin to have a reign with Nikki as her lackey and an eventual challenger.
Last Man Standing Match:
Bobby Lashley vs Braun Strowman
I don't get it!! Braun was at one point the hottest wrestler in the company and they let it all drift away in one fell swoop. Now he is on par with Bray Wyatt as someone who could've been a bigger star then they are currently. Unfortunately that's something he has in common with his opponent as it seems like any time Lashley gets momentum it's gone within a few weeks. Right now Lashley deserves the win, because we need a break from the unbeatable Braun Strowman and Lashley would be someone new for Rollins to fight against.
United States Championship:
(c) Ricochet vs AJ Styles
Considering the fact that AJ has become a heel once again and realigned with Anderson and Gallows like someone should've been. This brings up the question will Styles continue to garner momentum or will this be another stop start feud. In my opinion, either a DQ finish with Anderson & Gallows getting involved or Styles winning tainted should be what happens. Either way though a post match beat down is a must this way we can keep feeling bad for the underdog. Styles gets the win this way Ricochet can go on the chase for the US Title.
No Holds Barred:
Roman Reigns & The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre
First off who thought giving Shane McMahon such a big push as oppose an active wrestler was a good idea should be put under evaluation. Second off I was just as shocked as everyone else when The Undertaker of all people was the one to save Roman Reigns from Drew and Shane a few weeks ago on Raw. Then again it's possible that Undertaker wants to redeem himself after the match he had with Goldberg last month. Now I am not sure where they are going with Taker for Summerslam, because there are some options. I'd give Roman and Taker the win tonight with a little assistance from Kevin Owens to protect Drew McIntyre. Undertaker vs McIntyre at Summerslam is my guess!
WWE Championship Match:
(c) Kofi Kingston vs Samoa Joe
That is one match I never thought I'd write especially with Kofi being the defending champion which makes this match even more surreal. I know that last year Joe fought Styles in a lackluster feud for the gold but they burned threw that one like the Dudley's use to burn threw tables. Though this feud is only a few weeks old it seems like they have a lot of tension that needs to keep building as like I said in another article this could be a career making feud for both men. Kofi needs a feud as champion to make his reign a success and Joe needs a top feud to make him legitimate. Even though the ratings have been down it seems like Joe is consistently one of the only bright spots weekly for the company and he should be rewarded. Now I know what I would do, but I am not WWE and even though they do have options there is only one way to end this match. Joe wins via submission and Kofi doesn't tap he passes out. This opens the door for a new story that being how Kofi can conquer Joe.
Winners Take All for the Universal and Raw Women's Championship:
(c) Becky Lynch & Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans
I don't mind that they are allowing life to imitate art with Rollins and Becky's relationship being included in the feuds. But that type of booking has a shelf life and won't last long term eventually they will need to have separate identities once again. For now though it's an interesting way to give their respective feuds a twist to keep them going. I also think a tag team match would be the best way to cover for Lacey being extremely green and needing of more time before she moves up to the top of the division. As for Corbin I think he is one of the best if not the best heel in WWE right now and has been the perfect foil for Seth since winning the title. However, it's time for them to move onto new challengers and that's what will happen tonight with Becky likely getting win this way Lacey can take the fall. That does leave it open for Rollins to fight Corbin again, but like I mentioned earlier if Lashley does win he should be #1 contender for Rollins heading into Summerslam.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present