Welcome to the weekly blog post The War Report! I will break down both shows and award one of the shows with the victory for the week. Let’s start off first with the Red Brand.
What Raw Did Right
This will be a short section as Raw struggled mightily this week. Spoiler alert for the end of the post. Neville was a high point for me as I have really enjoyed his heel turn and his “Sith Lord” character spin. Neville defeated Lince Dorado and won with the Rings of Saturn which was cool to see that move resurrected. Neville pounded on Dorado and Rich Swann made the save. Swann was made to look serious and I felt the segment made both guys look great.
Rusev was especially hysterical in his segment with Shawn Michaels, Enzo, and Cass. Rusev saying he is the Bulgarian George Clooney was particularly amusing. Rusev, to me, looked the best in this otherwise mess of a segment.
What Raw Did Wrong
Raw swung and missed wildly on Monday unfortunately. Stephanie McMahon was involved too heavily on this show. I found myself laughing every time she came out – by the time she came out after teasing Undertaker Twitterverse was exploding in anger. Shane McMahon only appears on Smackdown when absolutely necessary, Stephanie seems to get shoved into as many storylines as possible.
Mick Foley was also particularly terrible on Monday. His promo begging Undertaker to come out was odd. He was over acting and then began crying when Undertaker actually came out. Mick Foley has been a massive disappointment as RAW GM ever since the brand split.
The Club continue to get shit on every single week. An obvious talented tag team that could be branded as a tough and aggressive team, routinely gets pounded. Luke Gallows jobbed to Sheamus and I feel that this is all building toward a Sheamus/Cesaro win as The Club continue to lose in every big match they are in. They need a better direction and stronger booking.
The New Day segment with Titus was pure filler and was pure trash. They have been pushing this storyline for a few weeks where Titus desperately is trying to join the New Day. New Day made fun of Titus from his previous NXT appearance and he went on to job to Kofi.
The main event was a complete clusterfuck. The handicap match of Roman Reigns vs. JeriKo successfully made Jericho and Owens look like complete garbage. Roman Reigns spent most of the match fighting both guys off and nearly won the match at times. This is fairly inexcusable as Owens and Jericho are the two top heels on the show. Combined, they should slaughter one guy. Owens managed to apron powerbomb Reigns which led to Jericho finishing off Reigns with the codebreaker and winning the U.S. title. This is a perfect example of a good end, but terrible means. This segment telegraphed Reigns winning over Owens because how could Owens possibly win without Jericho being involved at all in the match? If Owens wins cleanly it would kill continuity. Raw’s booking at this point seems like a crash test of segments where the writers are just throwing things against the wall.
What Smackdown Did Right
On the opposite end of the spectrum was Smackdown’s booking which was cohesive and competent. Dolph Ziggler continued his heel turn as he lost a match to Kalisto and absolutely snapped on him with a chair. Apollo Crews came out to make the save – continuing Ziggler and Crews’ storyline from last week – and met the same fate as his friend, Kalisto. Ziggler went from apprehensive to punishing Kalisto with the chair to full on rage and aggression as he went back and forth hitting them with the chair. I am extremely interested to see where this heel turn is going.
Nikki Bella was jumped during the typical “play music and have a wrestler walk backstage before a commercial break.” They even killed the music as Natalya made her attack. I thought that was a nice touch. The two brawled and I found myself invested in this feud. It feels gritty and real.
I was hoping the Wyatt’s would reclaim their titles, but WWE decided to go ahead and get the implosion storyline going last night. This was an absolutely great match with a nice twist ending. Luke Harper jumped on the apron and distracted Randy Orton – seemingly payback for the night they lost the tag titles. Alpha pick up the win after this distraction and all three members of the family have a confrontation. Harper went to kick Orton, but missed and hit Bray instead. After an intense staredown with both men, Bray left them both in the ring. I am interested to see where this angle goes next week.
What Smackdown Did Wrong
Honestly, the only part of the show that I did not enjoy at all was the Carmella match with the ugly jobber. I am not entirely sure where this Carmella/Ellsworth storyline is going, but this match was pretty dreadful. Both wrestlers seemed off and I was entirely puzzled why they would stick a wrestler in there that looked like that and proceed to have JBL spend the entire match making fun of her. This was just a terrible segment.
Smackdown Wins the Battle
I made it pretty easy to figure out, but Smackdown won this week. I spent most of last night smiling and really getting into the show and the storylines. I spent most of Monday bitching about various angles on Twitter. It was unfortunately the kind of week we are accustomed to. Raw was an absolute dumpster fire of a show while Smackdown continued to prove they are the best weekly wrestling show on television – and yes that includes NXT. Tune in next week to see who wins on the next War Report!