For Raw, the segment between Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and Samoa Joe was some of WWE’s best work this year. All of these guys are established on the microphone and the segment these guys put on was awesome. They all felt like they deserved to be there to discuss the main event scene and you could tell that they were all fully invested in this. This promo led to determine who will face Brock Lesnar at Summerslam, which will either be Samoa Joe or Roman Reigns when they face each other next week. But, since there was no Braun Strowman this week, he could have to say something about that. This segment felt realistic, which is something you don’t get in WWE now-a-days and this was awesome.
For Smackdown, anytime you have AJ Styles and John Cena in the same ring, magic is destined to happen. Now, these two teased a United States Championship match to start off the show because AJ Styles was having an open challenge, which Cena gladly accepted. But, then the heels that these men are facing off against at Battleground, Kevin Owens and Rusev, disrupted the match and beat them up. This led to a tag team main event, which was a great match and it really helped turn up the intensity in those rivalries going into the PPV.
For Raw, while they do have a Cruiserweight program going with Neville and Akira Tozawa, it just doesn’t feel as important as it should. They had a tag team match with the Cruiserweights and it just felt like filler for the show instead of building up a big program for the Cruiserweight championship. Anyway, Tozawa ended up pinning Neville during this tag match, which means he will get his rematch, its just a matter of when.
For Smackdown, it looks like they are back to just throwing all the women in a match to determine who the number one contender is for the championship again. Not only that, but they are determining who the number one contender is in a match at Battleground, instead of hosting the match during an episode of Smackdown and then having a women’s championship match at Battleground. This leaves Naomi without an opponent until Summerslam, which is inconvenient because they could’ve helped build up something into Battleground and help make the championship feel more prestigious and help build a good rivalry.
The Final Verdict
Both of these shows put on great shows this week. Raw is full steam ahead in developing programs going into Summerslam and Smackdown is less than two weeks away from their PPV, Battleground. Both of these shows did a great job of laying out new programs as well as helping build up current ones. This week, I will have to go with Smackdown though because they have all the programs laid out for Battleground now and they helped intensify some of the rivalries very well this week. They built up two new matches for the PPV (possibly a 3rd) with Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn and the newly acquired Mike Kanellis, as well as the women’s division elimination match. Along with that, they helped build up the main programs they have going for the show with Styles vs. Owens, Cena vs. Rusev, and Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton more, which makes these matches feel more and more important each week and that is great going into a PPV. In conclusion, while both shows were great this week, Smackdown laid out a better plan as they head into their PPV while things are starting to heat up for what’s ahead for Raw going into Summerslam!