Smackdown and Raw hosted their final shows before one of their biggest PPV’s of the year, the Royal Rumble. Let’s check to see how each show did this week in order to help make the Rumble one of the more anticipated PPV’s of the year.
For Raw, that moment where Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, and the Undertaker were all in the ring at the same time was truly incredible. This was a moment that all wrestling (new and old) fans could cherish and it just got us that much more excited for the Royal Rumble this Sunday. Even though all of these guys are part-timers, the hype for that moment was incredible and hopefully we get to see all three of these men in the ring again during the Rumble.
Raw also held a fantastic match between Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn. A stipulation was added as well where the winner would be in the Royal Rumble, while the loser wouldn’t be featured in the Rumble. The match was fast paced, back and forth, and really gave us a tease for the road towards WrestleMania. Triple H’s music hit when it looked like Rollins was about to win, then got Rollins distracted by this and it ended up costing him the match because Zayn rolled him up for the victory. This moment is definitely going to help build up the Seth Rollins-Triple H match at WrestleMania and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
For Smackdown, the build-up for the John Cena and AJ Styles Championship match at the Royal Rumble is as hype as it has ever been between these two. These guys have exchanged words for the past few weeks and both of these guys are great at delivering promos to help build up the hype. Both of these guys have been doing it for years and nothing has changed, and they showed it again this week when they were face-to-face. The match at the Royal Rumble between these two has so much build and anticipation because we all know that whoever wins this match will more than likely be the champion going into WrestleMania.
Smackdown also hosted a fantastic main event. The match was between Dean Ambrose and The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship in a Lumberjack match. This was very entertaining because the superstars used the Lumberjacks to their advantage and they really did play a huge part in the outcome of the match. I truly can’t remember the last time the WWE had a Lumberjack match where the Lumberjacks actually made a difference. This was a nice change of scenery and it was an exciting finish as a brawl broke out between the lumberjacks and then Dean finished the match by hitting a Dirty Deeds on the Miz for the win. Overall, this match was a solid main event and a great way to carry over into the Royal Rumble.
For Raw, really anything with the Cruiserweights. Reports are that the Cruiserweights’ own show, 205 live, has been struggling and it is easy to see why. Raw doesn’t really give the time and effort that it should to help build the Cruiserweights so every week, we see a guy in the ring from the division that we have never heard of before. Along with that, the crowds are always absolutely dead for their matches and it doesn’t help that the acrobatic moves that made the Cruiserweights so popular are nowhere to be found. Hopefully, the WWE puts the Cruiserweight championship on Neville so that it the division can build some credibility and really give the championship some meaning knowing it is on the hands of a popular superstar like Neville.
For Smackdown, the whole James Ellsworth and Carmella shopping segment. Some may find it funny; others may find it as a waste of time. Even though it helped build the relationship between the two and it gave a sense of where this will be going, I just didn’t get that much enjoyment out of it. It seemed to play the role of filler this week and while it did help get a story across, it just didn’t really grasp my attention.
The Final Verdict
Overall, both shows did a really good job to build up the excitement going into the Royal Rumble. Raw did a really good job at constructing up all the star power that is going to be featured in the Rumble, while Smackdown did a great job at building up some of their superstars who will be representing them in the Rumble as well as building up their WWE Championship match between Styles and Cena.
I will have to give the edge to Raw this week though because they really did a fantastic job at building up future plans as well as current ones. They finally decided to take another step in building up the Seth Rollins-Triple H feud, but they also helped build the rivalry of Goldberg-Brock Lesnar and it always helps when you have a surprise appearance by the Undertaker. Either way, the Royal Rumble is this Sunday and I feel like this is the most unpredictable it has been in a very long time.