WWE Raw and Smackdown Thoughts – April 9th & 10th, 2018
If you thought a packed Wrestlemania weekend wasn’t enough WWE product for the masses, we also had two nights of crazy TV to follow it all. Like usual, WWE gave us Raw and Smackdown Live after Wrestlemania episodes that featured the debut of new stars and returning faces. It’s been a while since I’ve done a Raw/SD Live column (no time) but I had to for these two big shows (no pun intended)! I’m going to run down my thoughts on the new stars that joined the main roster, those that returned, and a few other little points from each show.
Before I start, I’m still dumbfounded about the Brock Lesnar situation. According to numerous sources (especially Slice Wrestling on Twitter – check it out), Vince held secret meetings last week to secure a deal for Brock Lesnar that would allow him once again to compete in both WWE and UFC. Only Vince’s inner circle knew and Roman Reigns was only told he was losing when he was in the ring as Lesnar was coming down the ramp. The ref was told in his earpiece to communicate the news to Reigns (hence Roman’s speech on Raw). I find this to be such a dick move by Vince and I actually feel sorry for Reigns. It’s not like I want to see him as a champ at this point but, to tell you the truth, I don’t want it on Brock Lazy.
If you’ve followed my write-ups, you know my feeling on Lesnar and if you don’t, go back and read my some predictions or write-ups of the shows he’s been on. The Raw after Wrestlemania is one of the biggest of the years and the f’n guy can’t even be bothered to show up? You’re kidding me. It’s absolutely mind-blowing. It’s unacceptable. It’s total bullshit. Perhaps this all leads to Reigns winning in a more accepting arena in Saudi Arabia in less than three weeks. This shit just boggles my mind.
As well, Corey Graves stating at the beginning of each show that, for these two episodes, the fans boo who they usually cheer for and cheer for those they usually boo for is nothing more than WWE PR Spin bullshit. The people at these Raw and Smackdown shows are some of the most rabid and dedicated fans that have paid thousands of dollars to attend 2-5 days of WWE Wrestling. They are being vocal about the product and are not the typical “casual” fan or children who don’t have critical thinking skills yet (I suppose that goes for adults, too). Don’t demean those (us) fans that don’t drink the Kool-Aid, WWE.
Now that I got all that off my chest, here’s my rundown of the talent that returned/debuted on each show.
Ember Moon – A great talent that I hope isn’t damage by Vince and his main roster writers. I’m actually surprised that she made the jump before asking for her rematch against Shana Baszler, but I welcome the newest edition.
No Way Jose – No thank you. Any time a wrestler has a dancing gimmick, I’m changing the channel on him/her. This will be no different. I know he’s a great athlete but I don’t buy this gimmick.
Samoa Joe – I’m glad to see him back and so many people are behind this guy including me. He was a big reason I used to watch TNA back in the day. It’s time for WWE Creative to give Joe the ball and run with it. This guy is what a superstar should be.
Bobby Lashley – Damn! Is there an ounce of fat on this guy? Lashley hasn’t had a match in WWE since 2007 (he got released in 2008). I didn’t follow him in TNA as I couldn’t get the show when he went back for his second run and didn’t really care for the product at that point to search it out online. Supposedly he’s excellent on the mic now and has been great as both a heel and babyface. Can’t wait to see what’s gonna happen here.
Bray Wyatt and “Woken” Matt Hardy as a tag team – I’m cool with this as the Woken one builds his cult. Not sure if WWE Creative will drop the ball with any of this, but I’ll remain hopeful.
Jeff Hardy – You know he’ll shine wherever they put him. I curious if he’ll be inserted into the Intercontinental Championship picture seeing how he teamed up with Rollins and Balor in a match. Perhaps there will be a fatal fourway at the Greatest Royal Rumble event?
The Authors of Pain – Great debut! Although they could be a team that will squash a few jobbers for a bit before getting involved with more established teams, I think these guys should get involved with main players right away and dominate. WWE needs to make them the monsters they should be seen as by taking no prisoners.
While Raw had some good pacing of matches and surprises, I can’t say the same for the RoadDogg led SD Live. An hour went by before we got anything surprising or different (except for the GM announcement).
Paige – As fast as she retired from the ring (a very unfortunate thing that I’m saddened about), it’s so great to see WWE put her in this role. She’ll be a great babyface GM and she’ll also be a great heel GM when the show needs it. I think this is a great decision.
(An hour into the show….) Peyton Royce and Billie Kay: The Iconics – Well, the show just got hotter now that these two have arrived! These two egotistical women are going to bring some great heel tactics to the show and made their presence felt with attacking Charlotte, allowing Carmella to cash in her MITB briefcase to win the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship. Great debut and major heat from this!
Carmella obtaining the Women’s Championship – I’m not on board because she has done nothing since being on the main roster to make me care one way or another. Any time she’s been in the ring, I have not been impressed and she hasn’t been featured on the mic enough. I hope she takes the ball and runs with it because here’s what Hillbilly Jim talked about at the Hall of Fame ceremony: opportunity. Prove me wrong, Carmella!
Orton vs. Mahal again at Backlash? Are you f’n nuts? PASS! WHY? Give the shot to Rusev and get Orton the hell off TV!
Smackdown was obviously the weaker show. We didn’t have any real surprises until the one hour mark, a “fantasy” match (not a “dream” one because they already used that adjective) that was clearly going to get interrupted, and the same-old, same-old SD Live matches we’ve seen (and heading towards Orton/Mahal throw-away garbage). I just can’t believe this is what we got and it shows the focus on Raw over SD.
The Superstar Shake-Up is next week and I’m thinking I’ll have to do another Raw and Smackdown Write-Up next week, too, after not doing these for a long time (due to time constraints and working on other features). Hopefully they’ll change the creative team for Smackdown so it can go back to how good it was during the first year it came back live.
Just before going live with this piece, I see this morning that The Undertaker vs. Rusev in a casket match has been announced. I wonder if this will another quick match where the intros are longer than the actual match.
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