WWE Raw & Smackdown Live Thoughts – August 21st & 22nd, 2017
SummerSlam (click HERE if you missed my thoughts on the show) had it’s ups and downs and usually the Raw and Smackdown after the show tends to be a bit of a reset for people on the roster and new story lines get started. For many wrestlers, it’s needed. Let’s see if WWE delivered.
On Raw, the show kicked off with Braun Strowman manhandling Brock Lesnar again. I love how WWE is foreshadowing that the next one on one encounter for Lesnar is not going to be a walk in the park and it makes me more excited to see it. I’m surprised that WWE is actually giving us the match between these two at the next PPV, No Mercy. I think I’m even more surprised that Lesnar is working two PPVs in a row!
Before I talk about anything else from Raw, I’m going to address the whole beach ball situation. I’m not cool with this. It’s totally disrespectful to the performers. You have to remember, people, that the wrestlers are bound by the direction and story lines from WWE Creative. It is not their fault they are booked how they are (for the most part). They don’t have creative control. I know some are doing this as a revolt to what is being presented and I can understand that but there are better ways to demonstrate your dissatisfaction with the product like not paying your money to go and not watching the program.
I may come across as hypocritical as I write about the good and bad I find in the program. I write about what I would do if I was a member of creative and I use harsh words at the people writing the show in some cases because sometimes their decisions are illogical to me (and to many). I would not, though, show up to a show and disrespect the performers in such a manner. It’s not funny.
I also did not appreciate John Cena (during the show or after it) trying to appease the crowd by feeding into it or encouraging the crowd. What I did appreciate was Cesaro’s actions at SummerSlam where he went out into the crowd, grabbed the beach ball, and destroyed it.
Moving on, is it just me or is Booker T getting worse on commentary? I thought he couldn’t get any worse but he has. The stuff I’ve heard over the last two weeks has made me cringe and it seems Corey Graves is covering up for his incomprehensible diatribes constantly.
Speaking of the announcers, the only thing I could really concentrate on during the Rollins/Ambrose vs. The Hardy Boys match was the announce team making it seem like the Hardy Boys are really old. It was such a weird thing to bring so much attention to. I hope they knock it off.
I have to applaud The Miz for coming out to the ring and saying what he did in front of John Cena and Roman Reigns and it seems like the majority of the crowed was behind his rant about being left off the SummerSlam card, not being able to defend the belt, and not having his moment. I totally agree, too. So what happens? He gets put in a tag team match with Samoa Joe (probably one of the most over performers of the night) against Cena and Reigns in the main event only to be the one to take the pin.
I know some people are excited for a Cena vs. Reigns match and I’m sure we’ll see it at No Mercy but I’m only interested to see who is going to be more “super” during the match and how the crowd will react. I’m sure the only way one of them will not kick out of a pin is if they are shot somewhere. Hopefully you realize I really don’t want one of them to be shot – I’m using hyperbole here.
I feel sorry for Big Cass who injured his knee on the program. I’m gonna guess he’s going to be out for at least three months. At least the Enzo/Cass program is now over and Enzo appeared on 205 Live last night to begin feuding with Neville, so we are indeed moving on.
I also feel bad for Jason Jordan. Going against Finn Balor on Raw may have seemed like a good idea to showcase his wrestling ability, but it just didn’t translate well on TV because no one cared about two baby faces going against each other for no reason. I hope WWE is realizing they shouldn’t have broken up American Alpha (more on that later).
On Smackdown, the big news was the arrival of Bobby Roode and the return of Shelton Benjamin to WWE.
I found it odd that Bobby Roode had his debut against Aiden English and they actually had English get in a bunch of offense. I think Roode should have won without much effort. Instead, they had English look like he was about to pin Roode on a few occasions. Not wise. I think this whole debut and match, though, was for McMahon and Dunn to see what the crowd response would be like and that’s why Roode didn’t present himself as a baby face or heel during the interview after he won his match.
Shelton Benjamin’s return happened in a backstage segment where Chad Gable was still being portrayed as the lowly wrestler that lost his big tag team partner. Daniel Bryan introduced him to his new partner, Shelton Benjamin, and said they would be in action next week. I’m up for seeing this but if they are making the duo a team, I question why they broke up American Alpha. I also wonder why Benjamin would come back just to be put into a tag team. I have a feeling that this partnership won’t get off the ground but then again, it could be great seeing how the Smackdown tag team division needs more.
I was totally surprised we got yet another match between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens. I know it is all probably leading to a match between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon. I just didn’t think last night’s match needed to happen although it did add more fuel to Owen’s fire and disdain for McMahon. With the next Smackdown PPV, Hell in the Cell, not happening until the beginning of October, they do have a lot to stretch out.
Interwoven into the Styles/Owens match was Corbin taking on the role as the special guest referee. I’m guessing we’re going to see a Corbin/Styles feud next.
The women on Smackdown are immediately put back into tag team matches. Sigh. At least they were showing the distrust between Carmella and Natalya teaming up because not only did Natayla have to keep the focus on her opponents, she had Carmella ready to pounce on her championship.
To end, I’m going to say one thing: The Usos are so money. They are awesome. Thank goodness for their heel turn.