19 April 2024

Six Things We Learned From Raw and SmackDown This Week

Monday Night Raw continued to set the ball in motion for what should be an historic TLC pay-per view. Braun Strowman continued his dominance, Roman Reigns was at his destructive best, and the promise of a Shield reunion intensified. The show was an enjoyable one, albeit not a monumental or even a memorable one. The TLC PPV will be the place where The Shield finally reunite to take on The Miz, Cesaro & Sheamus. I just hope for Cesaro’s sake that it’s not a ladder match because that guy can’t afford to lose any more teeth.

Mickie James looked incredibly strong against Nia Jax, perhaps too strong some would say. However, it’s all to set up the veteran’s title opportunity against Alexa Bliss at TLC. Mickie has always been good in the ring, but her comeback to WWE has been poorly handled. Let’s hope that changes with this rivalry. Matt Hardy continued his metamorphosis into his Broken character with his new cropped hair. The character seems like a low-budget version of Mankind if you ask this writer. Also the insane facial expressions he keeps pulling is doing no favours to the notion that wrestlers don’t take drugs.

Over on SmackDown, a half-empty arena played host to the go-home show for Hell in a Cell. Shane McMahon was his usual fearless self, but this time he may have met his match in Kevin Owens. Randy Orton continued his seemingly endless run of matches with Simon Gotch. Seriously, what the hell is this? If this is Road Dogg’s style of wrestling then he’s as outdated as The New Age Outlaws comeback a few years back.

The New Day and The Usos promised to steal the show this Sunday, and who would bet against them? They have continually done that every time they have wrestled one another. They have amazing chemistry together. Their match should be something very special indeed. And the SmackDown’s women’s division continued to lag behind the Raw group. The blue brand have really dropped the ball with them this year. Here’s hoping for a positive change soon.

So what did we learn from both shows this week? Well, read on and find out.

Cesaro & Sheamus Will Team With The Miz To Face The Shield

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly confirmed on Raw, but it’s a sure bet. It’s like putting money on Liverpool
to concede a goal. Just because it hasn’t been confirmed you still know it’s going to happen. Cesaro
and Sheamus looked strong on Raw for the first time in awhile as they left all three members of The
Shield laying in two separate attacks.

Having Roman Reigns take out the Miztourage was smart because they posed no threat whatsoever to a reformation of the most dominating faction in recent memory. Adding The Bar to the mix at least poses a challenge to The Hounds of Justice, but they will still come up short.

This writer would have liked to have seen The Shield take on AJ Styles and The Club instead. Maybe we still will. For now, this should be a classic on the stage that The Shield actually made their in-ring pay-per-view debut on.

Some will argue that it is being rushed, but WWE don’t care. They will do everything they can to make Roman popular in time for him to topple Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. A reunion with The Shield may just do that.

Mickie James Is Credible Once Again

It’s taken WWE awhile, but finally Mickie James is a credible superstar and looks a real threat to
the Raw Women’s Championship, which is currently being held by the brilliant Alexa Bliss.

Okay, so Mickie took a pasting for much of the match against Nia Jax, but the closing stages had James on top and closing in on a sure-fire victory only for Alexa to interfere and bring an abrupt end to proceedings. It also seems as if Alexa and Jax are back on the same page. That’s some messed up book they’re reading.

There is one concern about this rivalry however, and that is WWE’s insistence on painting anyone over 35 as a superstar clinging onto their status with only a few matches left in them. This is the narrative WWE used with Brian Kendrick, Randy Orton, John Cena and now Mickie James. It dilutes the product and does nothing for anyone involved.

If an “over the hill” Mickie James topples Alexa Bliss, what does that say for the division? Likewise if Bliss defeats Mickie, what has she proved exactly? That she is able to defeat a hasbeen? Bravo. WWE need to stop this and just create a compelling rivalry not based on age, but dislike for one another. Just keep it simple.

The Cruiserweights Are The Real Draw

It really does seem that way. For the second week in a row the Cruiserweights have headlined WWE’s flagship show. And fans thought Enzo Amore being champion would be bad for the division.

It’s just a shame he’s so rubbish when the bell actually rings. It is still baffling to see WWE put Roman Reigns at the top of the second hour as opposed to the main event. Maybe they know no one bothers staying up for the final hour so they try and get everything out of the way in the first two. It’s just odd.

If WWE actually built a compelling narrative that weaved throughout the night, then fans would stick around. Look back to the Kevin Owens and Mr. McMahon angle from SmackDown a few weeks ago to see how effective this formula can be.

One thing is for sure, no one is going to stick around to watch the Cruiserweights, just look at 205’s attendance figures for proof of that.

Hell In A Cell Will Be Falls Count Anywhere

Yes, you read that right. The very match type that gets booked in order to make sure the combatants
cannot exit the structure and more importantly wrestlers cannot get into, will now be falls count anywhere. That begs the question why they’re bothering with the Cell match in the first place.

Oh yes, it’s October so we must have at least one contest inside Hell in a Cell. All of this is just an
excuse for Shane McMahon to dive off something once again, which will be undeniably awesome of course. Kevin Owens needs a ruthless victory here, but rumours suggest he will get help. It was originally claimed that help would come in the form of Triple H but those plans have now been seemingly scrapped.

It now seems like WWE are ready to turn Sami Zayn and have him help his former best friend secure the win. This writer doesn’t believe that will happen. Shane will push Owens to his limit, just like he did to The Undertaker, before eventually succumbing to The Prizefighter.

Whether we like this angle or not, Shane always delivers in the ring and this should be his best effort in years. The outcome will occur on top of the structure too which is always a great visual.

Baron Corbin Is The Next United States Champion

Whoever Baron Corbin has angered in management, he needs to go and apologise before his career
winds up on the scrap heap.

Ever since he had a rumoured backstage argument with a certain someone in power, it has been all downhill for The Lone Wolf. He went on a losing streak, lost his Money in the Brief contract, got humiliated at SummerSlam by John Cena, and has been the butt of everyone’s jokes ever since. Is he even a challenge to AJ Styles?

Recent booking would suggest not…. To the untrained eye that is. We all know different of course. This bad run can only mean shock value for WWE when Corbin dethrones Styles this Sunday. And if it doesn’t happen, we can all assume Corbin will be getting his marching orders soon.

Jinder Mahal Is The Worst WWE Champion Of All Time

Okay, so we knew this to be true a long time ago. But it really has been staring us in the face lately.

Ever since Mahal has been paired with Shinsuke Nakamura his flaws have been even more evident. Randy Orton was the ultimate professional during their feud and hid all of Mahal’s weaknesses, and
there’s a lot of them, but Nakamura seems unwilling to do the same.

This has resulted in the worst feud in recent memory. The sooner Mahal drops the title the better. It has to happen this Sunday even if Nakamura is not the right choice to replace him. WWE have to admit making Mahal champion in order to break into the Indian market was a mistake.

Hell, if they want more revenue just raise the WWE Network fee. Anything is better than seeing Mahal reign as champion again.


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