Craig Wilson and Brian Damage
It’s Saturday so time for the latest instalment of ’This Week in Wrestling’. Today, in part 30, Craig talks X while Brian shares all the best viral content he’s stumbled upon this week.
In recent weeks and months, Smackdown Live has gone from one of the most enjoyable and accessible WWE shows of the weekly watch to, once again, a poor version of a poor Raw.
Initially, it was the show which benefited most from the brand split. It’s not solely to do with the length of the show, although being only two hours heled, it was to do with an almost return to basics approach. The matches were quick-fire, the segments strong and the focus on advancing storylines rather than merely padding things out.
And you know what? It worked.
Add in the impression that it was the land of opportunity, Smackdown became almost unmissable while, at the same times, those watching Raw hovered their fingers over the fast forward button to the cut to the chase on a Monday night.
It was the place where the women’s revolution became mainstream, where AJ Styles became the face that ran the place and allowed Heath Slater to pay for his outdoor pool. It was a land of glory.
But something changed, didn’t it.
Was it the removal of Ryan Ward, from his role as Smackdown head-writer, after a successful spell at NXT, and his departure to Raw Or, in a related event, the promotion of Road Dogg to the position of head writer at the Tuesday night show?
Not being privy to the internals at the WWE, it’s tough to say but it’s clear to everyone that something dramatic has changed.
Over the last few months, the previously tight writing has given way to sloppy, lazy and poor booking. Why have a 1-on-1 match when a multi-person bout would do? Why not take the super -hot Shinsuke ‘king of strong style’ Nakamura and force a rock star gimmick on him? Sure, Daniel Bryan referred to Mike Kanellis as someone he watched on the indies, but let’s pretend he didn’t have a wrestling background.
All lazy, all ill-thought out and all garbage.
Battleground was a particular low point. It was arguably one of, if not the, worst WWE PPVs in memory.
But this week’s Smackdown showed some progress. Sure, we still don’t have the resolution to the Fashion Police stuff, but we had the return of Chris Jericho, AJ Styles regained his title – after the referee botch and Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger look like a perfectly serviceable tag team.
Are we back to where we were? Absolutely not. But this week’s Smackdown was the best in a long, long time. As the poll below shows, a third readers gave it a 3-star rating while a quarter gave it a 4-star rating. That’s the strongest it’s been in a while.
Hopefully Smackdown is on an upward trajectory and isn’t just solely filler. I’m hoping for more killer.
This Week’s Live WWE ratings
How would you rate this week’s NXT
3-star – 50
2-star – 25
5-star – 12.5
1-star – 12.5
4-star – 0
How would you rate this week’s 205 Live
1-star – 50
4-star – 16.67
3-star – 16.67
2-star – 16.66
5-star – 0
How would you rate this week’s Smackdown
3-star – 37.5
4-star – 25
1-star – 25
2-star – 12.5
5-star – 0
How would you rate this week’s Raw
1-star – 38.1
3-star – 33.33
4-star – 14.29
2-star – 14.28
5-star – 0
Best match at Battleground 2017
The Usos vs New Day – 45.95
AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens – 21.62
Fatal 5-way women’s match – 13.51
Jinder Mahal vs Randy Orton – 8.11
Sami Zayn vs Mike Kanellis – 5.41
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Crobin – 2.7
John Cena vs Rusev – 2.7
Aiden English vs Tye Dillinger – 0
How would you rate Battleground 2017?
1-star – 37.5
2-star – 33.33
3-star – 16.67
4-star – 8.33
5-star – 4.17
When one Kamala just won’t do…
So the Rock, Chris Rock and Kid Rock walk into a bar…
P.S. doesn’t Chris Rock look like a wax statue?
The WWE women’s revolution has now produced WWE barbie dolls…
An endorsed check to both the Rock’s parents from Jerry Jarrett…
An official corporate memo from WCW that lists some pro wrestlers by their gimmick names…
A rather “interesting” Bayley tattoo…
Sasha Banks almost popping out of her top this past Monday night…
I don’t know what wrestler played that “security guard”, but that bump! Sign that man!
A Kurt Angle pizza commercial
Last Week on the Blog
In last week’s Sunday Sermon we looked at the Kurt Angle and Jason Jordan reveal; on Monday we had part 29 of ‘Meanwhile, in WCW‘; on Tuesday we had part 124 of our ‘Wrestling with Sin‘ series; Wednesday’s piece asked whether the WWE were right to cook Austin Aries; on Thursday we had part 17 of ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions Revisited‘ looking at Clash of the Champion 17 and we rounded off the week looking at the original WWE female referee.
Next Week on the Blog
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.