WWE Raw & Smackdown Thoughts – August 15 & 16, 2016
I’m going to compress both shows into one rant this week seeing how I’ll be doing my Summerslam prediction piece in the next day or so and I’ll be discussing if the lead-up to each match has been effective. Plus after Raw, I didn’t have that much to say about it as I thought it was a lackluster “go-home” show before the big PPV.
I’ll start off saying that I’m confused with Roman Reigns being pushed as the main guy, but with a mid-level belt. Mind you, having the focus on the US Championship really lifts the belt in the eyes of the audience. I suppose I’m even more confused with Reigns beeing pushed as the good guy in this feud because he’s been the asshole here against Rusev. Why?
- Reigns interrupted the (awful) wedding celebration last week.
- He insulted both of them and questioned Rusev’s, um, manhood
- He attacked Rusev blindly last week.
Rusev was standing up for Lana this week and wanted respect as the only singles champion currently on Raw, but he’s the bad guy here? Why? Because American’s hate people that aren’t American? Geez.
I also don’t know why they gave away the Summerslam match (although it wasn’t for the title) and made it the main event. The audience looked drained and while people were reporting Reigns was over, I bet on Sunday he won’t be in Brooklyn. I don’t really know why anyone would want to see a rematch between them.
I loved Heath Slater’s passion and guts entering the ring to prove himself against Brock Lesnar. It gave us a rare glimpse of Lesnar on the mic as well. I didn’t think Heyman wasn’t as on as usual in this segment and I wasn’t excited seeing Lesnar’s suplexes because Slater’s promo and heart actually had me rooting for him. I think Slater has been one of the most entertaining parts of both Raw and Smackdown since the roster split.
Nice to see The New Day actually show some aggression towards The Club, but this is all over Big E’s injury to his balls? Gallows and Anderson being put into these vignettes dressed up as doctors with dick and balls puns is cringe worthy. Would they have jumped from NJPW if they knew this is what they’d be doing instead of just being a dominant tag-team? Can’t WWE Creative and Vince do better? Sure they can’t but they’re just lazy and out of touch.
I’m surprised they showed the Demon version of Finn Balor on Raw instead of debuting it at Summerslam. I do see the pro: exposing this to a potentially greater audience, BUT they could have used a few quick clips flashing on the Titantron to tease what the audience would see if they tuned in and have Rollins show absolute disbelief. That’s what I would have done. I also hate the term “Demon King” as it sounds too close to “Demon Kane,” and I actually thought that’s what Rollins was saying a couple of times (especially the first time he said it).
Charlotte continues to be one of the best heels on both programs. I love her approach to the audience and her opponents and I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Charlotte walked away with the belt. Unfortunately, they have Nia Jax squashing jobbers (which I hate – it’s pointless) and they need Banks to have the belt to gun for her – unless Jax costs Banks the title at the PPV and start a feud with her and have Bayley show up on Raw the next night for a program with Charlotte.
Smackdown Live Thoughts
I thought WWE has done a great job hyping up Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE championship over the past few weeks. Their promo exchange at the beginning of the show on Miz TV was phenomenal. Ziggler really looks like he’s out for blood. The superkick by Ziggler on Ambrose was a great touch and I’m wondering if it foreshadows a heel turn if he loses. While I like Ambrose, I’m actually rooting for Ziggler.
Speaking of Miz TV, there’s been no hype for The Miz vs. Apollo Crews for Summerslam. The crowd (and I) still don’t know him or anything about him (besides him being in NXT). Why do we care besides many people’s dislike for The Miz. And for them to have an encounter during the commercial break and show us it after it boggles my mind. It shows that this feud and the IC Championship isn’t on WWE Creative’s radar – or that they just didn’t have time for it as they had to write dick and balls jokes for The Club on Raw. F me.
Naomi’s new entrance is AWESOME and it’s something that totally breaths new life into her character and presentation. F’n right! As for Eva Marie, I didn’t think it was possible to dislike a wrestling character this much.
I still have no interest in the Randy Orton/Brock Lesnar match. I really don’t care who wins. I can’t believe for a live show, they showed another taped “story” getting people to care for this match. There is a two hour preshow leading into Summerslam, wwe.com, their YouTube channel, their Superstars show, and other means to show this instead of wasting time during a live broadcast.
Poor Heath Slater once again – but he’s still entertaining me! I’m sure they’ll do something big when he gets a contract and I’m sure you’ll see Raw and Smackdown fighting over him. I think the crowd is really starting to get behind Slater.
The women’s tag match and the eight team tag match did nothing for me. Too many people in too little time to showcase talents or to get the crowd to find something to like dislike about them.
Have we seen Bray Wyatt finally go on his own?
I don’t think there’s been enough of a build up or enough on the line for the AJ Styles/John Cena match, so I’m glad there was a bit more physicality and words thrown around at the end of the show. I just hate Super Cena mode – once again Cena gets the best of someone fresh right after he competed in a match. I hope this is foreshadowing Cena finally giving up a win for someone who would really benefit from it. It could send Styles right into the title picture against whoever wins the WWE Championship on Sunday.
Overall, I think Smackdown was the stronger show this week, but I think the build-up for a bunch of matches for this year’s Summerslam has been lacking. If anything, I’m most excited for Ambrose/Ziggler as it’s been given the best build, although I know that Cena/Styles should deliver.