WWE Raw and Smackdown Thoughts – February 20th & 21st, 2017
Another week and another featured filled with my thoughts on WWE programming for the week! The excitement on my site never stops, does it?
Raw was a tad boring last night, so I won’t be writing a lot on it. I think the main things that I enjoyed the most were the build-up of the heels.
Kevin Owens’ opening promo was great and the way he carried himself in and out of the ring was top notch. I like this aggressive, mean SOB version of Owens more than the humorous one. Not acknowledging his actions against Chris Jericho was the right move and so was keeping Jericho off TV this week. Owens needs to win against Goldberg somehow to keep this mean streak alive.
Samoa Joe once again attacked Sami Zayn from behind and delivered another massive beat-down. It keeps Joe’s violent persona in the limelight as it should be with his character.
Brawn Stroman got to shine in a longer than expected match against The Big Show. I think Strowman getting much of the offense on Show elevated him in the eyes of many. He needed this build-up to have fans believe he could potentially get the job done against Roman Reigns at Fastlane (and I think he will).
Paul Heyman also delivered with the backstage interview with Brock Lesnar, continuing to make Lesnar seem like he’s going to be out for blood at Wrestlemania when he’s back in the ring against Goldberg.
So while many heels got the nod this week, some didn’t. Can someone tell me why Charlotte can always be beaten with little effort on Raw but during a PPV she always wins?
Why are Gallows and Anderson still being booked to look anything like the powerhouse team they should be? There is no reason that they should be booked two weeks in a row to face Roman Reigns not take him out. These are the tag champs and they should be decimating people and not being beat down by one person. If they wanted Reigns to look strong, they could have used any other team – hell, job out The Shining Stars. I’m sure they need something to do.
How in the hell do you explain Enzo and Cass beating Sheamus and Cesaro to become the new number one contenders for the tag team titles? I just don’t buy it. I loved hearing the crowd chant “Thank you, Sheamus!” when Sheamus booted Enzo in the face after the match. I think may be getting tired of their shtick and I could see these two being good heels if provided the opportunity.
All the women on the show this week sounded so scripted, it was below B-movie grade. The whole segment with Bayley, Stephanie McMahon, and Sasha Banks was excruciating and too long (although Nia Jax’s small promo after her squash match was worse). The whole build of Bayley’s character being someone to “do the right thing” only to keep the belt after last week and not even acknowledge the assist from Sasha at first was weird. As well, Bayley stated that there was “nothing anyone can do about it” when referring to her not relinquishing the title but Stephanie didn’t react to that. Stephanie McMahon’s character is all about showing she’s in powers and I’m surprised that she didn’t strip her of the belt right then and there.
The battle royal to determine a new number one contender was OK. I kept yelling at the TV for half of it because this was the first one I’ve seen where the participants spent more time on the ring aprons instead of doing their damnest to get back in the ring or sitting down around the inside perimeter of the ring while two people fought in the middle.
There were a few storylines that came out (or progressed) from this match. Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin as well as John Cena and The Miz are all on their collision courses for Wrestlemania (or potentially earlier). I have no idea how the refs or WWE can justify Ambrose or Cena being eliminated by Corbin or The Miz, respectively. Those guys weren’t in the match anymore and therefore should have no effect on it after their feet hit the floor. I know it’s all in the name of storytelling but it defies logic.
Another storyline progression that came out of this battle royal is one between Luke Harper and AJ Styles. The refs and announcers were trying their best to play up confusion about who the winner actually was when it was clear as day that Styles ended up hitting the floor before Harper. There will be a match between the two next week between Harper and Styles to decide who is going to Wrestlemania to face Bray Wyatt for the WWE Heavyweight championship.
I just still can’t fathom Luke Harper vs. Bray Wyatt as a main event even if Randy Orton is involved. I’m wondering if Styles will win and then Orton will interject himself in the championship match at Wrestlemania (or Wyatt asks him to be in it) to place the odds of keeping the championship in the Wyatt Family’s favour. That would make more sense but then I don’t know where that puts Harper. Perhaps Harper interfere in the main event after participating in the probably IC Championship ladder match. Thing will hopefully become clearer next week.
The segment where Naomi had to give up the Smackdown Women’s Championship was emotional, but it went a tad too long. Alexa Bliss coming out right after and mocking the whole thing was great and her retorts and aggression to the audience giving her the “what?” chants was gold. She continues to shine and I think it was a wise decision to put the belt back on her by winning the match against Becky Lynch.
I think Lynch would be a great champ again as she’s a great talent in the ring and on the mic but she has been booked to look so dumb lately. She constantly loses due to cheap tactics and distractions. She had admitted she needs to step up her game and fix that on Talking Smack, but WWE Creative has to stop having her losing like this before it damages her character even more.
The Falls Count Anywhere match between Nikki Bella and Natalya was really good. There were more crazy spots here than I expected and some of the bumps Nikki took made me gasp because I just kept thinking about what they were doing to her repaired neck. Props to Natalya for getting her head bashed through the prop mirror, too. It looked brutal.
As soon as Maryse got knocked down by Natalya inadvertently throwing Nikki into her, you knew how the match was going to end. Maryse came out and gave some poor looking shots to Nikki with what seemed to be a plastic pipe that Nikki sold like it was a baseball bat. Natalya got the pin on Nikki while The Miz carried a crazed Maryse to the back. Even before the main event, you saw the seeds planted that The Miz and John Cena would not be winning the battle royal.
With Bliss holding the Smackdown Women’s championship, Mickie James and Natalya being heels (and a heel Carmella absent from TV this week), and Nikki now involved Maryse, who in the hell is next in line for a championship match?
Lastly, I’m anxious to see The Usos and American Alpha in a long and technical WRESTLING match. One thing, though: when did The Usos start screaming and start acting/talking all gangsta on the mic? It’s all quite odd.