WWE Raw and Smackdown Live Thoughts – June 5th & 6th, 2017
This was one of those odd weeks where I actually enjoyed Raw more than Smackdown! Both programs had their ups and downs, like usual, but I think there were more positives for the most part.
Coming off the Extreme Rules PPV, WWE needed a hot show to start building up to the Great Balls of Fire PPV, especially the build to the main event featuring Samoa Joe facing Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship.
Samoa Joe’s promo was great and Paul Heyman interrupting, like usual, help make the segment even more of a hit. Joe’s demeanor was calm and collected while he explained to the audience everything he wanted from Brock Lesnar. When Heyman was added to the mix, he hyped up how both men were fearless of each other.
The icing on the cake came when Samoa Joe cornered Heyman in the ring and, without a mic, told him that he was going to be put in the Coquina Clutch so he could tell Brock Lesnar in detail what he’s going to be going up against. From there, Joe choked Heyman out. It was a brutal and unnecessary attack and made for great TV. It showed Joe should be feared.
Building Joe up like that was great but then why did WWE have Seth confront Joe in the back and remind him and the audience that he has beaten Joe before? As well, why did we have a match between the two where Joe wasn’t as dominate as he should have been? Joe should be in matches leading up to his encounter with Lesnar where he does nothing but destroy his opponents, not almost getting pinned by anyone like we saw in his match with Rollins. Not only that, Joe got the win due to a distraction by Bray Wyatt, not because he was dominant. What the hell is wrong with WWE Creative?
Speaking of not being dominant, why in the hell were Rhyno & Heath Slater and Gallows & Anderson all jobbed out this week? There’s barely a tag division anymore on Raw and they take two teams and literally bury them? Ridiculous.
The Bray Wyatt/Roman Reigns match was decent at the beginning of the show and it was nice to see a long match to open the program. Too bad it was Wyatt facing Reigns because you knew the outcome right away. Reigns doesn’t stay down for anything because of the horrible booking of his character and Wyatt always loses. Wyatt said he was going after all the four other men in the Fatal Five Way match but then he lost to Reigns right away so what’s it matter for the others? I shake my head. It wouldn’t hurt Reigns to take a pin here and there, WWE.
I’m saying it now: Elias Samson is going to be huge. The heat this guy gets from his awful songs (with lyrics to antagonize the crowd and his opponents) is going to continue to grow and once he has an established heel run, if he continues working certain phrases into his songs, the crowed will be behind him when or if they turn him face in a couple of years. Think about the “Rock concerts” The Rock used to put on, but of course, not on that level.
The Nia Jax/Bliss “match” was good for a teaser. I’m glad it ended like it did but are Mickie James and Dana Brooke that idiotic? Why on Earth would they get back in the ring with Jax after she attacked them both on the outside of the ring? The segment really didn’t do anything for anyone except get Bliss out of her commitment.
There wasn’t much follow up to the texts/emails regarding Kurt Angle. We saw that Angle ask Cory Graves something at ringside and was totally obsessed about it all show but it continued to be nothing more than a tease for something bigger.
Where were the Hardys? They lost the Tag Team Championship and they were nowhere to be found? Same goes with Finn Balor. You’re telling me WWE couldn’t find anything to do with him on this program??
After two weeks of Enzo being attacked, this week Big Cass was found unconscious after an attack. The Revival was seen in the background when Kurt Angle left the building but people are speculating one of the two in this team is the culprit of the attacks. Right now I still don’t know what to think about it all.
To wrap up my thoughts on Raw, I thought The Miz’s segment was done well. His retort to the crowd when they were chanting, “you deserve it” with “that would mean something if you didn’t chant it for every other superstar” was gold. We all know these celebrations get interrupted so it was nice to see The Miz being paranoid about it.
When the crowd realized that the camera man was Dean Ambrose, I really liked how The Miz noticed it on the Titantron instead of turning a blind eye to it like many wrestlers do. That was a good touch. I hope they book the rematch for next week or Angle tells Ambrose he’s lost his rematch because he didn’t listen because these two need fresh opponents to feud with.
I found this week’s Smackdown program to have way too much crammed into a two hour show and the matches had no time whatsoever to breathe and that’s unfortunate seeing how one has been hyped all week.
The show started with all the women who will be in the first ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match all bickering with each other again; the same thing we’ve seen numerous times on the show and Talking Smack. It was nice to see Naomi finally come down and get her voice heard but I think she still has a long way to go getting over on the mic.
The surprising part of the whole segment was the debut of Lana on Smackdown. The crowd was chanting for her and I’m sure that’s just because she’s eye-candy. Lana asked for a spot in the Money in the Bank match while all the women scoffed. Hell, the camera kept featuring Charlotte and Becky Lynch being buddy-buddy miming that Lana must be high as they pretended to take hits off a joint. That’s odd for PG TV, don’t you think?
Lana said she could beat Naomi and she just laughed it off and Shane McMahon dismissed Lana to the back. Lana took off, throwing a fit, only to unsurprisingly return to interfere in the three on three women’s tag match, costing Naomi and her team the match. From there Naomi demanded she face Lana at the Money in the Bank PPV for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. I wonder if that will be a train wreck.
AJ Syles got his 50/50 booking win over Dolph Ziggler in a short, uninspired match in which half of it was interrupted by commercials.
The Fashion Files and The New Day bore me to tears. I don’t find it, or any of them, funny or engaging. It makes me want to change the channel. At least The Usos are a bit edgy and take a feud more seriously (even if their insults are a tad juvenile as well).
There was serious hype for the Kevin Owens/Shinsuke Nakamura match and I couldn’t believe that the match started with about 12 minutes left in the show. For a match promoted this seriously, I don’t understand why WWE barley gave the match the room to get going. The match seemed like it really didn’t go anywhere. Add the necessary commercial break and you knew nothing would really get going in the match until after the break.
Nakamura got the win over Kevin Owens which leads me to believe that these two will be feuding over the US Championship after the Money in the Bank PPV. After the win, Baron Corbin laid Nakamura out with the End of Days to end the show.
Lastly, does it say something when WWE puts their WWE champion, Jinder Mahal, in an unannounced match in the middle of the show instead of headlining it? Does it also say something when WWE reminded their viewers that Mojo Rawley was someone who beat Mahal a few weeks before Mahal won the WWE championship? All of that really didn’t the perception of Mahal’s current reign. At least we know he’ll be champion until John Cena comes back. I’ll discuss where I think Smackdown will be heading when I do my predictions for the Money in the Bank PPV next week.