For Raw, the main event between Braun Strowman and the Big Show definitely exceeded expectations. Usually when you see a match between two giants, it is slow paced and usually the match only lasts, at most, about 10 minutes. But, these two put on a great match that was over 10 minutes and this match definitely proved that Braun Strowman is ready for the main event scene. He showed his entire arsenal in this match (his size, his speed, and his athleticism) and proved that he can handle the role of a monster for years to come. Also, now that the Big Show has slimmed down, he looked a lot better in the ring too and was able to keep up with the younger Strowman the entire time. Great performance by both of these big men and it will be exciting to see what Strowman’s role will be in the future.
For Smackdown, the match between Nikki Bella and Natalya was an awesome match. The falls count anywhere stipulation was taken full advantage of between these two and they fought everywhere around the arena. Lots of weapons were used too and this ended up being a great way to end this rivalry, and start up a new one in the process. Maryse helped Natalya win this match by interfering, which helped prove that the rumors going around are true; John Cena and Nikki Bella will be facing off against the Miz and Maryse at WrestleMania.
For Raw, the entire Brock Lesnar interview was something else, and not in a good way. The interview was just the camera zoomed in on Lesnar’s face while Paul Heyman speaks. This whole segment felt awkward if you are the viewer because you feel like Lesnar was going to say something, but instead Heyman just spoke the entire time while the viewers are stuck looking at Brock Lesnar’s face. I recognize Paul Heyman being a great promoter for fights like this, but since they have built up this rivalry to be so personal, they need to integrate Brock Lesnar speaking more. Lesnar is not bad on the microphone either so Raw should’ve used this time to let Lesnar speak his mind on what he thinks of what is going to happen between him and Goldberg at WrestleMania.
For Smackdown, the ending of the Battle Royal main event should’ve been played out differently. The show decided to go with a draw and that AJ Styles and Luke Harper will face off 1-on-1 next week instead of just restarting the match and determining the winner then. I understand wanting to draw in viewers next week by hyping up this match because of what is on the line (winner faces Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania), but you also need time to develop a great WrestleMania storyline. Overall, Smackdown is doing a great job of pushing Luke Harper and helping him develop into a main event type caliber wrestler, but I thought that the show should’ve pulled the trigger on him this week on getting into the Main Event of WrestleMania.
The Final Verdict
Both shows had solid shows this week and both of them are doing great jobs in building up rivalries. Raw has done this by building up their matches for their upcoming PPV, Fastlane, and Smackdown built up rivalries for WrestleMania. Overall though, I will have to give this week to Smackdown. The main reason why is because Raw thought it would be a good idea to have us watch Roman Reigns versus Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson for a second week in a row, which is frustrating as a viewer and ultimately, was the deciding factor in determining who won this week. Raw did everything else right in their show, but the fact that they decided to run the same exact match two weeks in a row, lacks creativity. Smackdown also crowned a New Women’s Champion on their show and even though I wasn’t a fan of the ending of the show with a draw, they gave me a reason to tune in next week to see who will face Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania. In conclusion, both shows are really moving forward towards the road to WrestleMania, but Smackdown has a head start considering they do not have an upcoming PPV.