Grappler’s Choice #6: WWE Raw & Smackdown – 04.04.16 & 07.04.16

smackdown-6 WWE-RAW

© WWE

RAW (After Wrestlemania!) – (04/04/16)

The Raw after Wrestlemania always draws a brilliant crowd (particularly if it’s somewhere like Chicago), this time it’s coming live from Dallas, Texas.

Entertainment

Discussion:

  • Vince & Shane McMahon Segment

Straight away we see Vince Mcmahon receive resounding boos all round, but then they start singing his theme tune (No chance in hell) – this was a delight to see! It was great to see a different dynamic to Vince’s character, with a little bit of compassion from him. He really knows how to sway the crowd between cheering and booing (what a pro!). Shane O Mac comes out to interrupt him and it’s amazing to see him, bruised up and injured, but still walking and getting the full support from the crowd.

We hear a huge (Thank You Shane) from the crowd and it genuinely stirs up some emotion. Shane O Mac launches right into his father saying ”Since I’m the only man in the family….” – ouch!

Shane thanks the crowd and seemingly breaks kayfabe for a minute to sincerely express his gratitude, you can hear him perhaps feeling emotional and wanting to cry, but he holds it together and it’s all very humble.

A (You still got it) chant from the fans in response, it was really awesome. Vince McMahon lays out a challenge to Shane, since he feels like his son was trying to upstage him. This crowd is very switched on and knows exactly what it wants (and perhaps what’s good for business too!) – we get a huge (Let him run it chant) from the crowd now!

Vince lets Shane run raw for the night and it’s a genuinely exciting announcement.

  • The New Day vs The League Of Nations (World Tag Team Championship match)

The crowd is crazy (eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhh it’s time for new day chant) or something along those lines.

It’s incredible how The New Day can get a crowd going with just absolute madness, they were literally singing to a giant cereal prop.

A little bit confusing why the titles weren’t on the line at Wrestlemania to be honest, I said this before, but still. Some booking decisions make no sense to me with WWE. There were several major confusing things about WM32 that simply didn’t make sense in that regard.

If I remember correctly, this is the seventh match between these two stables. Of course there have been a mixture of singles and tag team matches. But every time, both teams were ringside. It’s really starting to get boring, I wish we would see both teams challenge other teams. It would be awesome to see the League Of Nations take on The Dudley Boys or The Usos for example. A four on four match of some description would be particularly special (e.g. an option for survivor series perhaps?)

This match plays out like you would expect it would. High flying action from Kofi, running rings around all the members of the League Of Nations (In particular Sheamus I’ve noticed). Beatdowns from the League Of Nations, largely brawling moves or powerslams.

I’ve commented on these matches so many times now, there really isn’t much else to say. The New Day use ‘Francesca’ well though. It’s played in perfect timing with certain moves. The New Day retain as usual and we see something shocking – finally!

The League Of Nations turn on Wade Barrett, claiming him to be the ”weakest link” in their team. The Wyatt family then assault the League Of Nations out of nowhere. This is fantastic!, they show their dominance and make League Of Nations look weak.

The crowd cheer and chant (Thank you Wyatts), perhaps signaling the discontentment felt from fans toward the League Of Nations. Perhaps it’s time to just get rid of that stable? The Wyatts clearly look like the dominant force in the WWE. I mean, Brock Lesnar still hasn’t gotten revenge for what they did to him at the Royal Rumble, so perhaps this storyline has some major implications coming down the road!

The match itself wasn’t anything special, but the the segment afterward and its potential rammifications were definitely exciting. I’ll give it 6/10.

  • Summer Rae vs Sasha Banks

”I’m Sasha Banks and I’m still the boss” *Slaps Summer Rae* – says it all really!

Sasha is definitely going to become Women’s champion. It should have been at Wrestlemania in all honesty. It seems as though most people in the WWE universe were unhappy that Charlotte became champion.

It’s just a matter of time until Sasha gets her chance. This was an extremely quick match, with Sasha making Summer Rae tap out. She demonstrated her power and brutality in this match. The match was ok, better than the previous match.

7/10 for this one. Very exciting times for Sasha Banks.

  • Tyler Breeze vs Apollo Crews

A very ”current” gimmick from Tyler Breeze. A giant over-the-top mockery of people using social media these days. He plays the gimmick to perfection – I love it! (It’s especially great that he lays across the turnbuckle and ropes before match, the ultimate egotist!)

This is also a very exciting match as it marks the debut of NXT star ‘Apollo Crews’ to the main roster – great booking shane!

Crews is a superstar who defies his size in terms of his athleticism. We see him flying around the ring performing backflips, whilst simultaneously beating down his opponent. You don’t often see superstars of his size (guessing between 225 – 285 if I had to make a guess) performing these types of moves, but he performs them with expert precision.

Crews performs a standing moonsault on Breeze, followed by a spinout powerbomb. Athleticity meets power, picking up the win thereafter. What an exciting prospect he is! Even the commentators agreed with me on that!

7/10 for this one. It was so nice seeing genuine joy in Crew’s face. He loved every bit of that match, and it was equally enjoyable to watch him.

  • Roman Reigns segment

*Sigh* Yep, more boos as usual. It’s not even this guy’s fault, he deserves to be champion. It just shouldn’t have been booked in the way that it has, and he should definitely be booked differently (we want a heel turn!!!). I’m not going to stop talking about it until they change it. It’s ridiculous that they ignore the boos all the time. Their only response seems to be the fact that John Cena gets split reactions. But even John Cena was booked well initially and won the fans over legitimately, the booking for him has perhaps not been favourable for WWE fans in recent years (all debatable and I’m not gonna get involved in that one…) in the sense that he had a good run for the United States Championship and midcarder action in general, before progressing to the main event matches and eventually the WWE championship at Wrestlemania 21. But John Cena was pushed in the right way, and Roman Reigns simply isn’t.

”Awwww come on, I’m not a bad guy, I’m not a good guy, I’m the guy” I have to say, his mic skills are getting better. He’s showing more confidence and it comes across better now I think.

Roman Reigns puts out an open challenge and who has the biggest ego of all time right now who would challenge him? (Chris Jericho of course!). Interesting mix here considering the fans hate both men right now.

This was brilliant to watch, Chris Jericho ripped shreds out of Roman. He demands a title shot and AJ styles interrupts to join in the action and demands a shot, and then Kevin Owens comes out and demands one too. It’s all too much to keep up with, Sami Zayn then comes out looking for a shot. It seems everyone wants to be the champion right now! (It was particularly incredible hearing the WWE crowd sing Zayn’s theme tune, he must have loved that inside, because he definitely didn’t show it aha!)

All men were brawling and it was particularly amusing to see Reigns laughing at all of them. His response was perfect. He ends the segment by spearing Jericho and it was genuinely awesome to watch.

8/10 for this one.

  • Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler

Baron Corbin is an exciting prospect from NXT. He won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania and I have to say, it could be a brilliant push for him if WWE get it right. Baron Corbin is fearsome, he has a brilliant presence and is great on the mic. Even his look is fantastic!

This is a good match and these two work well with eachother. The match ends with both men being counted out. Corbin destroys Ziggler and looks very strong. This is very promising!!!, I wish they wouldn’t keep burying Ziggler though, he deserves much more than this.

I’ll give this 7/10.

  • Zack Ryder vs The Miz (Intercontinental Championship Match)

Really, really nice seeing Zack with the championship, A well deserved champion. It appears the fans agree too with a (You deserve it) chant. This develops in a massive (You deserve it/Woo Woo Woo chant). This is a guy who definitely deserves a big push in WWE.

The Miz interrupts the heartfelt speech from Zack Ryder to be a complete jackass. He plays the role so well aha. The trash talking from The Miz earns him another shot at the title. Well done Miz!

Some fantastic high flying moves in this match from Ryder including a hurracarrana from the top rope, as well as a dropkick through the ropes. Ryder performs lots of reversals and impressive counters throughout, demonstrating his prowess and strength as a champion.

The Miz wins the championship because of a distraction from Maryse. It was an awful way for Zack Ryder to lose the championship and it sucked considering it was right after Wrestlemania. I have mixed feelings about this one. If it’s a storyline intention and Ryder will win again, it will be fantastic. However, I have a really bad feeling that The Miz has just been asked to bury Ryder, and this is how it might be left. If this is the case, it would be a real shame.

I’ll give this 7/10.

  • Presentation of the New Women’s championship

I don’t really understand this, I initially stated in my Wrestlemania post that they should save this announcement for Raw anyway. But now they’ve presented it twice. This was labelled as a ”formal” announcement by women’s legend ‘Lita’. I was gutted to see Becky Lynch with a heavily bruised eye. That was a tough match at WM 32.

Charlotte appeared to be breaking her heel character in order to state how much the women’s division means to her, how important all the divas who are currently on the roster are in terms of facilitating that, and generally what it means to her to be the champion. It was a touching moment.

The crowd were cheering over a very heartfelt moment and that did kind of suck to be honest. You could see Charlotte trying to get the crowd to calm down a little in order to thank them, but it wasn’t quite working. Charlotte quickly switched back to heel and gathered a fantastic negative response from the crowd and it developed eventually into an attack from Natalya. This could be an interesting turn of events, Natalya should have been champion back at Roadblock, so maybe we’ll finally see a new women’s champion.

I’ll give this one 6/10.

  • The Usos vs The Dudley Boyz (Tables Match)

Doesn’t get much better than this. Fantastic booking from Shane O Mac, great to see the Dudley Boyz involved in tables matches again! A nice throwback!

The Dudleys gain a little bit of retribution in this one, considering their loss at WM32. It was a fairly good match, but this matchup is getting quite repetitive, I think we need to see the Dudleys and The Usos face other teams, WWE needs to mix things up a bit more in this regard. And just as I write that last sentence, I find myself eating my own words (I tend to write this blog whilst watching the shows, so this is why). Enzo & Cass from NXT make their main roster debut, they received a huge crowd reaction, with Enzo owning the mic and riling up The Dudley Boyz. This looks like the beginning of even more exciting times in the tag team division.

In light of that debut, I’ll give this 7/10.

  •  Fatal Four Way Number 1 Contender Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn)

So immediately we have a huge return from Cesaro (replacing the injured Sami Zayn who was powerbombed through a table by Kevin Owens earlier in the show). What a fantastic return! with a massive pop from the crowd.

We see an amazing show of speed and athletic ability during the showdown between Cesaro & Styles. The crowd loved every minute of it (even chanting ‘this is awesome’ at one point). Cesaro particularly stood out at one moment in the match where we powerbombed all three competitors from the top rope – incredible!

AJ styles performs an equally impressive cannonball off the top rope onto jericho, it’s incredible watching this guy. But Cesaro steals the show by far, running around the ring giving uppercuts to all three competitors and getting an impressive crowd response as a result. Cesaro absolutely deserves to be number one contender, he is completely over with the crowd.

This match was fantastic, plenty of surprising near falls and so many impressive moves throughout. This is what the Raw main event should be like every Monday night! AJ styles becomes number one contender and it’s absolutely incredible. Roman Reigns and AJ Styles will now go ahead (most likely at WWE Payback according to various sources online) – what a fantastic main event to look forward to! I cannot wait.

10/10 for this one. Well done Shane O Mac

Entertainment Score: 7 /10

Professionalism

Discussion:

Every so often JBL will say something unnecessary and over the top. I don’t particularly enjoy his commentary. At one point I overheard him say ”this crowd is rude” during a segment, I really don’t think he should say unprofessional opinions like this over the mic, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there really is a time and a place for everything. As it goes, I actually agreed with JBL in this particular instance, but I feel that my point still stands in this instance.

One thing I think WWE should change is this style of presenting the upcoming events on the show. I think it spoils the surprise a little, and they could create bigger pops for superstars if they could keep some more secrecy around the events.

Unless I imagined it, I’m pretty sure Lilian Garcia announced the intercontinental championship match before The Miz challenged Zack Ryder. I’m guessing that was a either a mistake, or Zack was definitely going to defend his championship against someone (not necessarily The Miz).

I believe I saw a really bad botch (Botchamania time!) from Bubba Ray Dudley where he received a superkick but didn’t fall correctly. He sort of jumped to mat and rolled out of the ring (which the crowd were laughing at in all fairness).

I saw Kevin Owens limping to the ring prior to the beginning of this match. It didn’t look like a kayfabe injury, it looked very serious. During WM32 Owens took a lot of damage and really and truthfully he should get a rest from competition in my opinion. This is apparently standard practice in the WWE (superstars competing with injuries) if CM Punk’s shoots are anything to go by. Very concerning. This needs to change.

Professionalism Score:  5/10

SMACKDOWN – (07/04/16)

Entertainment

Discussion:

  • Roman Reigns vs AJ Styles segment

Roman Reigns comes out and is greeted with the usual boos. He does get some crowd appreciation, but it’s very minimal support and you can barely hear it over the boos. Gotta say though, on Raw he was brilliant, so maybe things are gonna get better for Reigns.

Again we hear the ”I’m the Guy” speech from Roman. This could definitely turn into something he can use, perhaps a regular quote that he could use.

AJ Styles and Roman Reigns have a great chemistry together on the mic, this could develop into an exciting feud. The crowd were going nuts during this segment. Roman Reigns is really impressing me. He’s embracing the hate from fans and is playing up to it slightly. He’s not pushing a heel turn, but this is somewhere in the middle, and in my opinion – it works!

8/10 for this one.

  • Lucha Dragons vs The Vaudevillians

Lucha! Lucha! Lucha!

Gotta love that chant aha.

Another NXT debut to the main roster. The Vaudevillians get a very frosty response from the crowd, but this is their first match on smackdown, gotta build your foundations somewhere!

The Vaudevillians physical appearance is synonymous with their wrestling style. It’s classic and unorthodox. A brilliant show of strength and technical ability from this team. They pick up a win on their debut and it looks like they might need to push heel to get over, the crowd did not take to them at all. It was a good match though. Solid.

6/10 for this one.

  • Summer Rae vs Natalya

Not much to comment on here, a very straightforward win from Natalya. She picks up a win with a sharpshooter, making Summer Rae tap out whilst staring down the women’s champion Charlotte.

6/10 for for this one. Cannot wait for the match between Natalya & Charlotte. Nothing has been made official, but I’ll wager we’re gonna have a match between this two at WWE Payback for the women’s championship. Their match at WWE Roadblock was brilliant, so expect big things if that does happen! I do still think that Sasha Banks still deserves to be in this picture in some way though, but perhaps that will have to wait.

  • Zack Ryder vs The Miz (Intercontinental Championship Rematch)

An exciting match up. I desperately wanted Ryder to win. There was one point in the match where he performed three roll up pins on The Miz and kept getting 2 and a half counts. The way Ryder lost the title and the fact that it came straight after WM 32 really makes you feel for Ryder.

Maryse distracts Ryder and causes the same situation as the previous week, screwing Ryder out of the championship once again.

4/10 for this one. It just repeats the events from Raw. What annoys me the most is that the fans have paid good money to see the same thing again. What a waste!

  • Curtis Axel vs Apollo Crews

Apollo was a breathe of fresh air in this match. If you read this blog you’ll know I loathe the social outcasts. Crews brought an exciting element to this match, even performing that standing moonsault again. He’s definitely a big prospect going forward. I think he should be in eventual contention for the United States championship.

I’ll give this one 5/10. I really dislike that social outcasts gimmick, I’m sorry I just can’t comment anything else on them. They don’t bring anything, they don’t seem to have an agenda (e.g. we’re tough, we’re tag team contenders, we want to bring change). They just seem to be here to annoy people. Perhaps I’m being too harsh here, but I think these superstars could be used in a much better way as they are great competitors in their own individual ways.

  • Dean Ambrose vs Tyler Breeze

Ambrose gets a massive pop from the crowd and it’s well deserved, he’s a brilliant competitor – why isn’t he WWE champion?, he should be….

I think a three way shield rivalry for the championship should go again as soon as Seth Rollins returns from injury. Make it happen WWE. Give Ambrose a chance at the title, it’s his time and he’s over with the crowd! I was not expecting Tyler Breeze as Ambrose’s opponent tonight. I thought the WWE might give him a tougher opponent considering he took on Lesnar at WM32 and nearly won!

This was a quick squash match through and through, with Ambrose delivering ‘Dirty Deeds’ and nailing Tyler Breeze in the process. I think they should have given Ambrose more of a challenge here.

Again I find myself eating my words as I write this. Chris Jericho interrupts Ambrose’s victory and completely ignores Ambrose as he walks to the ring. Could this be the start of a feud? That would be a brilliant rivalry if so!

4/10 for this, I’ve never been a fan of squash matches. But a Jericho/Ambrose rivalry would be brilliant.

  • AJ Styles & Cesaro vs Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens

Great booking pitting these guys against eachother in a tag team match after their match on Raw.

One thing I was thinking whilst watching this match is how great it is to see Chris Jericho in regular competition in the WWE again. He’s still very talented. Cesaro sticks out again in this match, he really needs another good push from the WWE, and very soon! Styles had some crazy momentum at times during the match. I literally cannot wait to see how he will work with Reigns, that should make for a really exciting matchup!

AJ Styles pulls off a roll up pin win over Kevin Owens, owing to a distraction from Sami Zayn. These two start feuding like crazy on the outside of the ring, with Zayn being launched into the steel steps. WWE definitely needs to push this rivalry as much as possible. Possible WWE Payback match? – I think so, It makes perfect sense given the nature of their rivalry and the amount of time between now and then (gives them a chance to build it into something big!).

I’ll give this 7/10

Entertainment Score: 6/10

Professionalism

Discussion:

Smackdown needs to be made into a proper show again, not a counterpart/recap show. It used to get big ratings, it can get them again. Come on WWE, turn this around and make Smackdown important again!

Nothing else to comment on otherwise. Commentary seems to be much better on Smackdown compared with Raw.

Professionalism Score:  5/10

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One comment

  1. nitesh · April 9, 2016

    Yeah SmackDown should have more proper

    Like

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