WWE Raw and Smackdown Thoughs May 1st & 2nd, 2017
Both Raw and Smackdown launched some new feuds or added to the heat this week to ones that were teased or are recent. I found both shows to be a really good reset after the Payback PPV and heading into the next Smackdown PPV, Backlash in less than two weeks.
Alexa Bliss. What can I say about her that I haven’t already? When that girl is on the mic, she is gold. Raw not only elevated her (excuse the pun because she used a platform on the show) in terms of her performance on the mic and her dynamics with the other women on the roster, but in the ring as well. For her to get another pin over Bayley is proof WWE has amazing faith in her right now. I’m glad they’re running with it.
While I did think a heel turn for Sasha Banks was happening sometime over the last week or two, it didn’t happen. I guess with Bayley, Sasha and Dana as the faces in the six woman tag on Monday night, Banks won’t be turning any time soon to keep things balanced.
As for Bayley, I know she was playing the part of the sad and defeated wrestler due to her loss of the championship the night before. Bayley standing there sulking and looking like she was about to cry while Bliss was running her mouth until she finally mentioned Bayley’s name did nothing for her. Why would you want to sit and cheers someone like that? Yeah, Bayley finally attacked Bliss at the end of the promo but by that point all I could concentrated on was how ridiculous her sulking and pouting face was.
Continuing on with the promos on the show, I know some people on wrestling sites I read weren’t a fan of the Sheamus and Cesaro promo, but I liked it. They explained their actions well and seem like they’re on their way to becoming a bad-ass team. They’re starting to dress and act like a unit but I think now they really need to deliver vicious beatings or attacks to the Hardy Boys (or other teams) instead of getting cheap heat by leaving the ring. I still stand by my predictions that Sheamus and Cesaro will win the titles sooner than later to bring out the Broken Universe in the Hardys.
The multi-man promo featuring Balor, Rollins, The Miz and Ambrose wasn’t too bad either. It established that Balor and Seth want a shot at Lesnar and the Universal Championship. It also brought into focus the IC Championship is in the spotlight because Lesnar is too lazy to fight, The Miz wants the IC championship because he’s passionate and knows that being a champ is a goal in WWE, and Dean Ambrose is still not the best as a jester character.
Ambrose also stated he’s a fighting champion, so why wasn’t the IC belt defended at the Payback PPV? Why didn’t Ambrose ask Angle to create a four-way for the IC championship instead of a number one contenders match that night on Raw? Why didn’t he issue an open challenge?
The three-way number one contenders match that came to fruition due to all of the in-ring bantering provided some excellent action and left us with a lot to take in: The Miz is now the number one contender for the IC championship, Samoa Joe isn’t finished with Seth Rollins yet, and Bray Wyatt will be talking in tongues to bring out the Demon in Finn Balor for the next few weeks until the Extreme Rules PPV. I’m OK with all of this!
I’m interested to see if the Angle/Wyatt interaction is going to lead to anything bigger between the two or is foreshadowing Wyatt trying to take over Raw in some capacity.
Why is WWE pairing Apollo Crews with Tytus O’Neil? Have they just given up on both? Has WWE also given up on Heath Slater and Rhino? I feel bad for mismanaged talent.
The Cruiserweights did nothing for me this week. I’m starting to think they should either cancel 205 Live and make them an intricate part of Raw without taping the ropes blue and the handshake comradery OR have the Cruiserweights off Raw and make 205 Live feel like must-see TV. I’m not knocking the athletes here – I’m just not happy with the execution with all of this anymore.
For Tuesday night’s show, we saw what many predicted – Kevin Owens regaining the US Championship. I’m OK with the quick title changes between the two because Jericho’s win caught people off guard on Sunday night and was a way to move him over to Smackdown. As well, I think Owens being the one to aggressively attack Jericho, to the point where it seems like Jericho may have a severe neck injury or concussion, was a good way to write him off TV so he can tour for Fozzy’s new album. Who else would have that sort of anger to be able to put Jericho on the shelf? No one. It was the right move.
The beginning of the show also foreshadowed the winner of the match when AJ Styles came out to interrupt Jericho. Styles showing that he was interested in being the US Champion and taking it from Jericho continued to bring importance to the championship. If one of WWE’s hottest superstars wants to be US Champion, that belt must be important, right? I am super pumped to see Owens and Styles square off soon.
While I’m appreciative that WWE is trying to have all the women involved in a central story line like on Raw, I just found this week’s gang mentality verses Charlotte didn’t hit the mark. I think the reason is due to WWE building Charlotte Flair up so well as one of the best heels in the entire company, trying to turn her face on Smackdown all of a sudden just isn’t working and won’t work for a while. They made the same mistake with Rollins. I don’t see Charlotte as a face and don’t want to. She’s just too good as a heel to be a “good-girl” right now. Plus, does the audience really hate Natalya and her cronies enough to put Charlotte in the “good-girl” spotlight to make it work? I don’t think so.
I’m actually surprised that Randy Orton wasn’t on the show last night. Shane McMahon is the one to take Orton’s belt back for him instead of showing up and taking it from Jinder Mahal himself? That’s garbage. Mind you, it was a week without Orton, so I’m actually happy about that.
Tye Dillinger needs more to showcase himself before he gets easily forgotten. Look what happened to American Alpha. Speaking of tag teams, where the hell were the champs again this week? That’s pathetic. It’s as pathetic as the Breezango “fashion police” BS and WWE wanting to have the audience buy into them suddenly being number one contenders after years of jobbing. Yeah, right.
While the match between Sami Zayn and Jinder Mahal was OK, I’m already cringing about how Mahal’s posse is going to always be a factor in his matches for the foreseeable future. I would just like to see Mahal be built to be a threat by himself. I will also say it was interesting to hear JBL really go after Zayn after he lost about how he was stupid for getting caught off guard by all the interference.
Is it just me or has Sin Cara gotten chunky? If they’re positioning Dolph Ziggler to be a big threat to pin Shinsuke Nakamura in his first Smackdown match, there should be no way Sin Cara should have gotten in that much offense against Ziggler.
That’s it for me this week!!