WWE Raw & Smackdown Thoughts – February 6th & 7th, 2017
I’m surprised with all of the developments that happened on Raw this week. It was actually a decent show the whole way through!
We see the Wrestlemania match between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar is now official and with that, it brings some different scenarios to the mix.
With it being so HEAVILY teased that Owens and Jericho’s friendship will be ending soon, it’s almost written in stone that Goldberg will face Brock for the title at Wrestlemania. That is unless Brock interferes in the Goldberg/Owens match. I truly believe that Goldberg or Lesnar don’t need the belt and their match at Wrestlemania doesn’t need to be a championship match either.
If Owens or Jericho have a belt and the other one doesn’t come Wrestlemania, the jealously of one having a title and not the other and/or anger stemming from one of them not truly having the other’s back (either back accident or on purpose) that causes one of them to drop a title is enough to fuel their inevitable showdown at Wrestlemania.
It was great to see Samoa Joe finally on the main roster and his rationale behind why he sided with HHH and Stephanie (finally being given a chance in WWE after 18 years) is a legit enough reason. I was wondering if they were going to make mention of Joe and Foley’s encounters in TNA, but they stayed away from it.
Joe having a main event match against Roman Reigns worked for me because it shows a) Joe is worthy enough of the main event already on Raw and b) he’s good enough to work with Vince’s golden-boy. Joe got great offense in, but I hated the notion that unless Braun Strowman interfered, Reigns may have beat Joe, even after his usual match-long beatdown. At first I thought it was insane they didn’t promote this and were rushing into it, but after the show I think it was a great decision.
You knew Strowman was going to interfere as soon as it was announced that Reigns and Strowman would face off at the Fastlane PPV in March. I’m just actually surprised, that with four weeks until the the PPV, they’ve already set up two matches. It’ll be interesting to see how they keep Raw exciting until then.
It’s so funny to see WWE pan to the kids in the audience to try and make it seem like Reigns is over. The boos for Roman for this show were loud, the fans were chanting for Joe and Strowman during the matches, and one fan had a sign that had “Blowman Reigns” on it that got too much TV time. I’m sure Vince probably blew a gasket over it in the back.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Bayley/Nia Jax match. I didn’t think they flowed well and I think Nia Jax is too limited in the ring. At least the distraction from Charlotte at Bayley adds fuel to their championship match next week, protects Bayley’s loss, and gives Jax the win.
The tag team championship match also had some booking that allowed the champs to retain while protecting Sheamus and Cesaro. I’m just not sure why Enzo and Cass were at ringside to begin with. I wonder if this will lead to a triple threat tag team championship match at Fastlane. I just don’t understand why WWE just can’t let the two teams have an actual wrestling match with a decisive winner. The talent can actually DO this. Instead we are getting the same crap over and over again.
Lastly, I think this week was the best yet for the Cruiserweights on Raw. Their time on Raw showcased the talent, introduced the viewers to the newest member on the roster, and set up the fatal 5-way match for 205 Live. I’m sure the division will get there. (Edit – just watch 205 Live after writing this and Jack Gallagher won the match and he’s next in line for Neville’s belt. I have no clue how Gallagher’s antics will blend with Neville’s aggressive heel persona in a feud).
I’m not going to go in depth too much about Smackdown because I’ll touch upon more in my prediction column for the Elimination Chamber PPV that happens this Sunday.
I enjoyed the banter between all the women on the show to get people hyped for the THREE women’s matches on the PPV. They all expressed why they have issues with each other and the matches really do seem to have the purpose of settling feuds, so I’m excited for all three.
The huge, multi-team tag match was ho-hum for me. I don’t know why they all need to be in one match. I know it was all for promoting the tag-team turmoil match for Sunday’s show, but it’s just too much. The Ascension picking up the win for their team was surprising because, well, the Ascension hasn’t won anything for so long.
Dolph Ziggler’s heel turn has gone nowhere and we’re seeing the same thing every week. No one cares enough about Kalisto or Apollo Crews (hell, the guy didn’t even have his ring entrance shown on TV) to give Ziggler’s heel persona any growth.
Baron Corbin getting the pin on AJ Styles in the fatal four-way match (that also featured The Miz and Dean Ambrose) was also a surprise. It makes the audience believe that Corbin will be an actual threat in the Elimination Chamber match. Styles won’t be hurt at all by the pin because they crowd won’t remember this match and besides, the crowd was too busy chanting his name at the beginning of the show. I think there are many people out there wanting AJ Styles to reclaim the belt on Sunday.
WWE gave away the “potential” main event of Wrestlemania last night on TV. That shows there’s no way in hell these two are squaring off at Wrestlemania. There are so many things that could happen between now and then where we may not even see Randy Orton in the main event, but I’ll touch upon that in a few days in my predictions column. Orton lost this match via pinfall, tapped out earlier in in the match (but the ref didn’t see it), and is featured in a mid-card match vs. Luke Harper on the PPV. Orton just doesn’t seem like he’s being set up as a viable main event threat for WWE’s biggest show of the year.
Luke Harper coming out in the match to help John Cena score the win on Randy Orton did bring more questions than answers, especially when Harper nailed Bray Wyatt. Harper’s promo earlier in the show was good, but his line about Orton stealing his family was very cryptic. Does Harper want the Wyatt family to reunite or not? I’m curious to see where this all goes, but I just don’t see it being a main event worth feud/story line for the Smackdown “brand” Wrestlemania main event, especially with AJ Styles on the roster.