Last week RAW secured their second win in a row but SmackDown was nipping at their heels. Did the red brand keep the streak going or did SmackDown finally get their first victory? Let’s take a look.
Monday Night RAW
Pros of the Show
- Braun Squashman- Once again loving this, possibly a little too much. His opponent this week gave the best promo yet by saying nothing and just conveying with his facial expression that he had made the worst decision of his life. Good stuff.
- Kevin Owens- As long as he is a part of RAW, KO will consistently be a pro of the show as he adds entertainment value to anything he’s involved in. Him and Jericho celebrating after Jericho’s DQ victory was just great.
- Brock being Brock- Always appreciate these sit downs of Brock way more than him standing in the ring while Paul jabbers. The entire video package here was pretty good.
- Stakes for Sasha- Really enjoyed them setting up a match with stakes to build towards the Women’s Championship Match rather than just pointless tag matches and the like. It gives you a reason to care about Sasha vs Dana Brooke when without the stakes, no one really wants to see it.
- Make Darren Young Cheat Again- Just some plain fun here with Young using the same cheating tactics Titus O’Neil used last week that made Bob Backlund flip out, only Bob Backlund wasn’t looking so he thinks Darren won cleanly. Can’t wait to see how Life Coach Backlund responds when he sees the footage.
- Ringpostitis- Unnecessary testicle jokes aside, Gallows and Anderson playing doctors talking about ringpostitis was just hilarious.
Cons of the Show
- Too Much Mick- After the first two weeks doing a great job of keeping the focus off of Stephanie and Mick, this week seemed to go way in the opposite direction and it was only Mick. I like Mick, but I did not need to see this much of the GM.
- Where’s the Wrestling?- Maybe it’s just me but with a drawn out opening segment and then a drawn out wedding celebration segment, and Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan’s segment, and with the two video packages, it just seemed like there was a wasted opportunity to get some more wrestling in the show.
- Creepiest Guys in the Room- Enzo and Cass talking about how Enzo was so close to scoring with Sasha wasn’t funny or entertaining, it just felt sleazy and made me uncomfortable. Enzo and Cass don’t need to lower themselves to that level to be entertaining, so stop it.
- New Era Attitude- In keeping with the above con, there seems to be a willingness in this new era by WWE to start testing the limits of what they can get away with. Unfortunately they’re doing so by going the route of sex and penis jokes, rather than say more brutality. It’s the worst parts of the Attitude Era coming back and it’s not good.
- What’s Going On? The whole segment with Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan that led into a US title match was just confusing. What was the whole point of Mick and Daniel meeting if it was just to serve a completely separate angle.
- Why?– Why did they book that US title match for this show, especially just to have Sheamus interfere and serve that feud instead? It was just another slap in the face to Cesaro fans. No one is all too excited for Sheamus vs Cesaro again. The title match was further hurt by the fact that we had already seen Cesaro compete in a lengthy match earlier in the show and Rusev was in a long segment. Just very poorly booked.
- Take the Cake- Speaking of Rusev, the whole wedding celebration was just bad. It was too long, and the WWE trope of someone getting cake in the face is just overdone and not funny anymore. Also, this was an actual wedding with two people who are actually in love and the photo montage just didn’t mesh with the vibe they were going for the rest of the segment, which was supposed to be derisive of their love. Just an all around dud of a segment.
Pros of the Show
- Shifting Focus- The previous two weeks had the show opening with the camera on Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon and the heavy focus on the two of them was a major con. This week they were not in the open and took a backseat to the rest of the show which was much appreciated.
- Alphas on Top- Much like Kevin Owens on RAW (though for much different reasons) American Alpha are going to be entertaining in whatever they’re involved in. They’re the true rulers of Suplex City… Jason Jordan vs Brock Lesnar needs to happen one day.
- Dolph’s on Fire- I didn’t think I would but I’m really enjoying the build for the WWE Championship match. Dean showing that being champion has made him a little more calculated than he was before is great character development. Before winning the title Dean was act first, think later because he had nothing to lose. It’s a subtle thing but crucial for the story. Dolph coming out and jumping in the ring with Wyatt and Rowan after Dean stood there contemplating it was a perfect addition to this new side of Ziggler we’re seeing. Now he’s the one with nothing to lose and no fear. Sure, the PPV opponents forced to team together as part of the build with the inevitable post match attack is a bit of a tired act but everything else is so satisfying that I don’t mind it.
- All Red Ooops!- This is just great. WWE has come up with the perfect game plan for rolling out the Red Queen. They know that fans are just waiting to eat her alive the moment the bell rings so you can’t effectively build her up with jobbers but you can’t expose her in the ring by putting her in TV match against quality opponents. So dragging this out, finding new ways for her to avoid the match, throwing in the wrinkle this time of her causing Becky to lose, is great because it gets her heat, and actually makes you want to see an Eva Marie match. I’m assuming they’re setting it up for a match at SummerSlam and thanks to the fact that they’re teasing the match so much it won’t matter that she’s terrible in the ring because all you’ll cate about is finally seeing her get her ass kicked by Becky. Imagine that, a build to a PPV match that keeps the match up fresh, makes you want to see it, and avoids the 50-50 build that makes the eventual winner of the PPV match seem meaningless. It’s wrestling 101 folks, more of this.
- Heath Slater’s Poor 19 Kids- Might be unfair to give SmackDown this pro as the Heath Slater angle has been part of both shows but tonight’s chapter in the ongoing saga was the best yet. Feel bad that Heath’s 23 kids might lose that pool.
Cons of the Show
- Tag Teams on Parade- Much like the roll call of all the SmackDown women on the first show, all the tag teams coming out was just not good. It lacked any point, sure this time around the announce team alluded to SmackDown creating a new tag team championship and the teams jockeying for position but there’s a better way to set that up. The brawl was fun but I could have done without the whole thing and instead just enjoy American Alpha doing their thing in the ring.
- Something Strange About Renee- I’m not even sure exactly why but I’m still not feeling Renee’s interview set. I think it might be the way they’re in a seemingly remote location but the audio sounds like it’s coming through an arena PA system. In any event she should just go back to backstage interviews.
- Scooby Don’t- Look I get it. WWE partners with a lot of other entertainment brands, it’s just part of the business and they have to promote that. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a con, especially when they already did it on RAW.
- Obvious Otunga- David Otunga as an announcer just isn’t working out. He doesn’t seem to add much in the way of anslysis, seeming to just state the obvious and he’s not playing foil to JBL. I know he’s new to the table but it detracts from the enjoyment of the show.
Winner: SmackDown LIVE
SmackDown picks up their first win of the Brand Extension era. After week one I was worried the blue brand might be badly outmatched but they offered an entertaining two hour show this week. Was it an A+ show? No, but it was enjoyable. The same could not be said about RAW whose three hours were a slog to get through. The mess of a main event angle and the feel that they could have used more time for matches were what really brought RAW down this week. We’ll see how they respond next week.