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 Fact is the WWE's formula has become outdated and needed an upgrade.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