This week featured the first shows in WWE of both brands for 2017. Most of these shows are build up shows to the Royal Rumble on January 27th. Let’s take a look at what each show did good, bad, and who won this week in terms of delivery of a good product.
For Raw, anytime you bring back Goldberg, it will be a good for the show. Goldberg is one of the most over characters in WWE currently and anytime he makes an appearance now, the WWE fans absolutely love every second of it. It was great to see him come back and discuss the Royal Rumble and preview what would happen if he wins it all by getting in Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns’ faces. This really helped build up the hype to the Royal Rumble match and let the fans have endless possibilities of matchups they could see in the match.
For Smackdown, basically everything was good. From American Alpha vs. the Wyatt Family, to AJ Styles vs. John Cena, to Dean Ambrose vs. the Miz, to Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch, Smackdown has been doing a very efficient job of building up rivalries and stories throughout the show since the brand split.
A great example of this was what they did with The Miz and Dean Ambrose, who fought for the Intercontinental Championship in the main event. They started off the show by The Miz calling out Renee Young with insults, which angered Dean Ambrose (because he is currently dating the WWE Journalist) and made him storm to the ring, only to be slapped by Maryse. Then, midway through the show, we have a backstage promo where Maryse slaps Renee Young because of how Renee slapped the Miz a few weeks back. Then, the match delivered a classic and we had the Intercontinental championship change hands, which will definitely lead to a rematch and create another chapter in this rivalry. Brilliant story telling by Smackdown.
For Raw, the whole JeriKO and Mini-Shield (Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) rivalry is really starting to overstay its welcome and it seems to be the focal point of the show every week with no new plots in the story.
A prime example is having a match between Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens (for the 40th time since the brand split) where the loser was banned from ringside in the Chris Jericho vs. Roman Reigns United States Championship match. Rollins won the match via DQ from Kevin Owens, and then when the title match happened between Reigns and Jericho, Seth Rollins didn’t even make an appearance and basically made that original match totally pointless.
For Smackdown, the only bad thing I saw out of this show was Baron Corbin’s microphone skills. While the words he said on the microphone were efficient, his delivery of it was very poor and you can tell that he still needs work with that. It will develop though because WWE is pushing him to be a top star in the future and he will adjust over time to sound better.
The Final Verdict
Overall, it seems that Smackdown is making the most of the time slot given to them, while Raw just tries to find anything to help kill time. Smackdown has done a much better job at building up matches to the point where fans are excited to see these matches and what could happen next. While on Raw, they just throw names together and put no real effort into building the rivalry so that the fans aren’t excited to see the matches, there just seeing them just to see them. Hopefully, Raw can redeem themselves next week when they have the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels make appearances, but for now, Smackdown won this week and we will see if they can keep the trend going forward.