WWE Raw & Smackdown Thoughts (December 19th & 20th, 2016)

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Source: wwe.com

I wasn’t expecting too much from either program this week seeing how we’re leading into the holidays for many people (and maybe next week will be total slacker shows), but there were a few surprising developments on both shows. Both weren’t more than average shows, mind you, but I got more out of them than expected.

RAW

The intro between Owens, Jericho, and Foley had some amusing moments but went on too long. I guess it’s almost official that Owens will face Reigns in another title match at the Royal Rumble with Jericho hanging above them in a cage. I wonder what Jericho will throw down to Owens.

What’s odd about this segment Owens didn’t demand for Reigns to have his US Championship on the line (hell, I would if I had to face him again) and Reigns didn’t come out to say anything about being screwed over in the match. For many, though, that last part was probably a blessing.

I’m glad to see that we’re setting up some new feuds in the women’s division. I like Nia Jax taking it to an injured Sasha Banks and I’d like to see if Banks can carry Jax to a decent match.

It’s no surprise that Bayley is next in line for Charlotte, but I question them having a match between them so soon again, without any build, and have Bayley go over on Charlotte again. Yes, it fuels Charlotte’s anger and the ending of the match gave Charlotte an out with her shoulder being up more than it should (and the three count shouldn’t have happened), but isn’t it better when the babyface goes though all odds and obstacles and finally wins the big one after a long chase? Here, she’s won over Charlotte a few times already, so what story is there?

I liked Neville’s heel promo as this new direction is something he needs and I think it will elevate him and the division. Seeing more than two Crusierweights with purpose on this week’s show was a big welcome!

Well, well…Braun Strowman looks like he’s in for a hell of a push and more than I expected. If he’s closing the show and attacking two of Raw’s biggest good guys, you know it’ll be sooner than later that he’ll be wearing some gold. Perhaps this foreshadows how Owens will walk out as champ at the Rumble with Strowman feuding with Reigns to take the US Championship.

Lastly, I don’t know how it got the OK (well, I do – Vince) but this whole sensitivity training stuff was absolutely cringe worthy and makes a mockery of why it happens in organizations. The ONLY good thing to come out of it is seeing Jinder Mahal have some purpose and hopefully getting some time on TV teaming up with Rusev, you know, because they’re foreign and Vince loves foreign heels.

Smackdown

On the blue show, it was nice to see James Ellsworth probably written off TV for the next little while. He was good in small doses, but I think he overstayed his welcome – especially when it came to the WWE Championship picture.

It looks like Baron Corbin is getting a little love, just like Strowman over on Raw, and entering a little program with the big boys. That’s nice to see and gives us some new dynamics, but holy shit, Corbin needs to work on his mic skills.

Speaking of mic skills, c’mon, Natalya…you’ve been with the company how long and that’s the best delivery you can do? I can’t believe we sat through a few weeks of Carmella ratting Nattie out and seeing Nattie deny it (and even losing a match because of it) only to reveal it was her all along? Guh? I was hoping for a different payoff but at least it gives Nattie and Nikki something to do on TV for a bit.

Zack Ryder is off TV for at least 6 months and his tag team partner, Mojo Rawley, is a singles competitor now. I was happy they were giving some TV time to Curt Hawkings, but they’ve done nothing but bury the guy since his vignette stopped and just fed him to Rawley. I don’t know why as I’d rather watch Hawkings in the ring and on the mic.

John Cena is back on TV next week and where he will fit in. Does he challenge the winner of next week’s triple threat to a match at the Rumble (cough, AJ Styles), or does The Undertaker fit in somewhere after not hearing from him since just before the Survivor Series? Smackdown sure seems like the can’t miss show next week out of the two brands.

Lastly, while I know we need some fuel for The Miz and Dean Ambrose feud, having The Miz come right out and talk about Rene Young sleeping with Dean Ambrose (because they are dating in real life, for those of you who don’t know) is just tasteless. She doesn’t need to be involved in the angle and should just be left to her announcing/interviewing duties. Ambrose should retaliate something fierce next week after this and after the attack on him while he was beaten down by The Wyatt family and then The Miz.

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