For Raw, they did a good job of setting up the layout of their upcoming PPV, Fastlane. They already have three matches prepared for the event and one of them is the Main Event. One of the matches set up for Fastlane is between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, which was long overdue after Strowman helped Kevin Owens defeat Reigns at the Royal Rumble for the Universal Championship and then Reigns got payback the next night and interfered to cost Strowman his Universal Championship opportunity. These two have been going back and forth for the past few weeks so it’ll be great to see this rivalry come to an end at this PPV.
Also, Raw has the main event prepared for their PPV as Kevin Owens will defend his Universal Championship against Goldberg. Goldberg made an appearance on Monday to accept Brock Lesnar’s invitation to a match at WrestleMania, but also challenged Owens to a match at Fastlane, in which Jericho accepted on Owens’ behalf! Not only does this match get us excited for Fastlane, but also sets up and helps build two rivalries (Lesnar vs. Goldberg, Owens vs. Jericho) going into WrestleMania!
For Smackdown, they also did a good job of getting the fans prepared for the Elimination Chamber PPV this Sunday. They helped build up the current matches they already had planned for the show as well as helped build up matches they made that night!
An example of this included the buildup between Luke Harper and Randy Orton. Harper cut a promo earlier in the show before Orton’s match, and then proceeded to interfere to cost Randy Orton his match against Cena in the main event. The tension between those two has built up more and more as the weeks have gone by and it will have fans excited to see how this will come to an end at the PPV.
Another good example of helping build up the matches was the dual contract signings between the Smackdown women’s superstars. They each had their own share of microphone time to help state why they would win, and then a brawl breaks out! All in all, Smackdown also did a great job of getting fans excited for what is going to happen this Sunday at Elimination Chamber.
For Raw, while I am seeing progress in it, the Crusierweight division is still a thing that needs work on Monday Night Raw. While interviewing the Champion Neville in the ring, they announced that on 205 Live that there would be a Fatal 5 Way match to determine who would face Neville at Fastlane. Where this promo went wrong though was after the announcement was made, each of the five competitors proceeded to come out and say a few words before a tag match was made. The promo just felt forced and didn’t really accomplish much since we wouldn’t know who would actually be challenging Neville until the next day.
For Smackdown, things in the tag team division need to get sorted out. American Alpha is defending their tag team championship in a Tag Team Turmoil match at Elimination Chamber against multiple teams. On the show, they just threw all the teams together in a tag match and it looked unorganized. While I do enjoy the brawls that usually break out between multiple tag teams, it is better to provide more of a story behind why these teams do not like each other instead of just assuming they don’t because one team gets cheered while the other gets booed.
The Final Verdict
Both shows have upcoming PPV’s on their Road to Wrestlemania and they both did a great job in building those PPV’s up this week. Raw created two big time matches for theirs while Smackdown helped get fans ready for theirs this Sunday.
This week I will give to Raw but barely. I will give it to Raw because they did debut Samoa Joe, which in itself was amazing to see, and helped establish a few matches to get us ready for their upcoming PPV. In conclusion, fans should be eager to see the upcoming PPV’s from both shows as well as see what is in store for the Road to WrestleMania!