Monday Night Raw – 09/19/2016
• Cruiserweight Division
I had high hopes for the Cruiserweights heading in to this week’s Raw, I should have known better. A total wasted opportunity to introduce the new acquisitions to the Raw roster, to not even introduce TJ Perkins as the champion of the division, in my eyes was criminal. The average viewer will not have a clue who this guy is and he should have been showcased in a decisive match against a worthy opponent. Perkins is a good looking guy who is extremely marketable, he’s a good speaker and has a great back story. Why would you not showcase him?
That’s right I’m calling shenanigans! As has been reported in the Wrestling Observer and PW Torch in the past there are divisions building up backstage between Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn’s inner circle and Triple H and his circle. They both have total different views on how wrestling should be presented, you just need to see how NXT and CWC frame their products as a sporting competition to how Raw and a to a lesser extent Smackdown are a version of the Muppet Show. My opinion on this is someone had a ‘great’ idea and sold it to Vince.
The way the commentators talked about all of the competitors as one single entity (The Cruiserwieghts are coming!) it goes back to the carny days and talking about the ‘midgets’. The commentators were obviously being fed classic McMahon/Dunn verbiage about how they may be small but they have heart and how they scrappy pit bulls. Seriously how big of an inferiority complex do some people in this company have!
Also don’t get me started on the Mick Foley promo.
• Kevin Owens Title Reign
The booking of Kevin Owens as the Universal Champion is diabolical! First off he is literally handed the title by Triple H, the next week he wins his match via outside interference, then this week he defeated in a cage match. Seriously who in their right mind would think that would make sense? I could easily go down the sabotage route again but I will wait to see what happens at Clash of champions on Sunday.
I can see why they went down the route they did in handing Owens the title in the four way match (I’m presuming its a metaphor for how Rollins was perceived as the Authority’s champion) last week they booked themselves in to a corner by having Owens facing Reigns, WWE was never going to let Owens pin Reigns clean but Owens needs credible wins at the moment for him to be taken seriously. The booking of the cage match was always made for Rollins benefit to get him over as a face going into Sunday and in WWE’s world a cage match loss isn’t that bad considering its basically who can run away from their opponent quickest! I’m a big fan of Kevin Owens’ work but I really fear he is heading for a late 2015 Sheamus title run.
• Women’s Championship Match Build up
Wow, how many times has the Women’s title match at Clash of Champions changed? First it was Charlotte Vs Bayley then it was Charlotte Vs Sasha Banks then based on the logic of the double pin last week it should have been Charlotte Vs Dana Brooke but now it is Charlotte Vs Bayley Vs Sasha Banks in a triple threat match. I would prefer they keep Bayley away from the title so it can be built up for a huge WrestleMania moment but I understand why they have booked the triple threat match.
By having the three women in the match it takes some of the load off Sasha and allows her to have rest periods during the match. Dana Brooke could have easily been slotted in to Bayley’s spot and they could have Bayley sit in on commentary or in a match on the pre show if it was imperative she wrestles on the network special. WWE has something special with Bayley and if treated right and booked correctly she could be a big ratings mover for them.
• Chris Jericho
I have been so impressed with Chris Jericho’s return this year. Admittedly I was disappointed when he came back as a face because he was trying to roll out his greatest hits as fan favorite from the late 90’s and early 00’s, this turned out to be the prologue for his new character and it has been gold ever since. His interactions with Kevin Owens each week are awesome and I’m guessing we will see the two feud over the holiday season. Jericho has also done a great job with working with up and coming talent in Sami Zayn, Enzo and Big Cass.
• Best of Seven Series
Make it stop. The logic in the booking of the matches and the story the commentators present makes no sense. Cesaro wins by cheating last week and is praised by the face commentators, this week Sheamus attempts the same tactic and is scorned by the same commentators. The matches have been good and Cesaro and Sheamus have done a good job in making each match different but I for one am ready for both guys to move on.
Smackdown Live – 09/20/2016
• Overall Quality of the Show
Smackdown has been fantastic as of late, the booking is solid and they are showcasing multiple feuds in each division. The authority figures aren’t overbearing and don’t outstay their welcome. The most refreshing thing to see on Smackdown is the clear roles they have set and the crowd are following how they want. The best example of this is the crowd cheering for Becky and booing Alexa in the contract signing when the overly aggressive Alexa could have easily been cheered.
• The Ascent of The Miz
The Miz has been amazing since brand split and is clearly climbing the card to being talked about in the WWE title picture. His mic work has never been questionable but he has upped his game so much and even more so in the ring! His match with Dolph Ziggler was a brilliant near fall filled TV match that wouldn’t have looked out of place on one of the network specials.
I really can’t see where they are going with the contract situation but it will either play out with Daniel Bryan choosing an opponent for The Miz or he will end up Raw. I hope he stays on Smackdown, he stands out as a top tier talent but if he goes to Raw he will fall spectacularly down the card.
• The Usos newly found mean streak
I love the Usos as heels, they have shown me personality in these two weeks than they have shown in four years. The new toned down entrance with no Pyro suits the character perfectly. Having Jimmy and Jey feuding with Rhyno and Heath Slater and American Alpha is interesting but its easy to see that the Usos will be the Smackdown tag champs the next time they face off against American Alpha.
• Rematch Mania
How many times do we need to see Baron Corbin take on Apollo Crews? Crews has so much of an upside and was genuinely being discussed by the wrestling media as a future main eventer. I know the roster is thin but why not use jobbers to get over Corbin as a killer?
• Super Cena No More
John Cena has lost two singles matches in a row clean! I never thought I would write that but it is a refreshing change. Cena being vulnerable and being on a losing streak is far more interesting that super Cena beating everyone on the roster. Cena is also getting favorable reactions from the crowd which is also a nice change but I would rather Ambrose went all out heel rather than being a tweener like he is being positioned.
That’s all for this week folks, Agree? Disagree? Give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org
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— Wrestling Chronicle (@WrestlingChron) September 21, 2016