WWE Raw and Smackdown Live Thoughts – September 19 & 20, 2016
Busy week at work and home = another two in one reflection on both shows. Next week’s may also be the same. With the WWE Raw brand having their Clash of Champions PPV on Sunday, I’ll have my prediction column out Thursday or Friday.
I’m going to start about talking about the newly relaunched Cruiserweight Division and how it was introduced to the mainstream Raw audience first. I wasn’t a fan of it. First off, I hate how they’re relaunching it by not acknowledging its past. We know they retired it years ago, but to tell people that TJ Perkins is the first WWE Crusierweight champ? I hate WWE’s revisionist approach.
Speaking of the new champ, he wasn’t on Raw. Why the hell not? They had over three hours to do something with him. The Cruiserweight Championship Tournament that played out over the past few months on the WWE Network was some of the best wrestling I’ve seen in years. Not only that, some of the promos and stories behind them that they told before matches let you know more about them and as some of them advanced, you cared! Not only that, but you just wanted to see the better man win! That’s some good TV and wrestling.
What did WWE do for Raw? They introduced four of the new Cruiserweight Superstars with Foley stumbling through his lines and reading from cards then threw them into a fatal four-way match and announced the winner would face TJ Perkins on the PPV on Sunday. OK…so where’s the story? Who’s the champ again? And why would anyone care who wins? I think having Brian Kendrick win the match was a good choice as there are some people that actually remember him. I think he’s an awesome wrestler and I’m glad he’s back on TV.
Lastly, when did WWE decide to show all of this? During the THIRD hour of the show!!!! The crowd was already getting tired (like usual – as at this point they’ve been at the arena for 4 hours or more) s0 why not kick off at least the second hour with something brand new that has been slightly hyped up? While the CWC Tournament was great, the kickoff off the Cruiserweights on Raw, to me, was not.
The positive in all of this is that the four competitors: Brian Kendrick, Cedric Alexander, Grand Metalik, and Rich Swann put on a great match and showcased their talents well. I’m wondering if Sin Cara will be joining them eventually.
Is it just me or has WWE just not done a good job turning Rollins face? They should have done it when he came back but they engraved it in people’s minds just a few months ago that he’s the number one heel on the show. Now they want Owens to be but many in the crowd dig him. And Reigns is still not getting over and getting his ass booed. I bet on Sunday, Owens will be cheered more than all three.
I know wrestlers turn from good guy to bad guy often, fast and with no reason at all, but Rollins coming down to make the save when Reigns was being beaten down at the end of the show by Owens and Rusev REALLY makes no sense. Why in the HELL would Rollins make the save on someone he was just mocking and laughing at for being suspended a few months ago. Ugh…
Speaking of Reigns, I don’t know why they used something like a steel cage match for a match that didn’t have any high steaks. This is something they should have used for a PPV or to end a feud.
The 10 man tag match was garbage and the time leading up to it with all the people coming out was such a waste of time that could have been used for the Cruiserweights.
I’m looking forward to the triple threat match for the WWE Women’s Championship this Sunday between Charlotte, Sasha, Bayley. I know some people are ticked Bayley got pinned again, but I don’t think it’ll hurt her and the underdog story suits her.
Thank God we only have to watch Cesaro and Sheamus one more time. Foley makes these guys seven times to get a shot at a championship match and Reigns is constantly handed them. Yeah, right.
Good call on having Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss have a contract signing for their upcoming match at the No Mercy PPV in a few weeks as it gives the audience more time to get their hate on for Bliss and her catty, yet aggressive heel persona.
The Usos and American Alpha had a good match. I like that they still played up Gable’s injury as it still gives AA the same kind of story as Bayley on Raw and like they all had at NXT – underdogs climbing their way up the ladder. I’m OK with AA losing here as you know down the road, they’ll probably get their comeuppances.
I think Baron Cobin vs. Jack Swagger could be a good feud if they build it correctly. WWE need to get even more heat on Corbin and the fans behind Swagger again in order for people to be invested in this.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler was pretty good again, but it ended basically the same way it did at Backlash. Then the announcers moved right to advertising the last two matches for the show? Daniel Bryan and The Miz have had issues and Bryan has questioned The Miz’s winning and wrestling ways. So with the Foley and Stephanie restarting matches on Raw so they don’t end in unsatisfying fashions or with cheating/interference, why isn’t Daniel Bryan coming down to the ring and ordering the match to restart or creating matches that if The Miz cheats, he loses the belt? Is Daniel Bryan just not watching the show backstage?
Just like before Backlash, I could care less about Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt. Mind you, as I’ve said before, too, I could care less about Randy Orton in general.
Cena and Ambrose had a decent match to end the night. I am VERY surprised that Ambrose beat Cena clean in the ring. What’s even more surprising is the victory came faster than AJ Style’s AND there wasn’t the trade off of a plethora of finishers and hot spots to kick out of like the Styles/Cena match at Backlash.
Cena did looked in dismay and absolutely shocked that he lost again, so maybe that’s the story that they’re building – Cena questioning whether or not he still has “it.” Too bad Jericho wasn’t on Smackdown as he could help Cena find…..”IT” (You’re not watching wrestling if you don’t get my little joke there).
After AJ Styles quickly attacked Cena and Ambrose after the match, Daniel Bryan came out to announce we’d see Styles vs. Ambrose for the WWE World Championship next week on Smackdown. I’m glad they announced this a week in advance as it’s must see TV! I just don’t get Bryan coming out for this but not for The Miz cheating earlier in the night. Bryan DID hint that something is probably going to happen to The Miz soon because of his constant cheating to win over Dolph Ziggler.
Overall Smackdown, to me, was the better show again this week. We’ll see what happens at Clash of Champions on Sunday and how Raw resets/follows it up the night after.