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  • Smackdown Preview
    • Matches
      • Braun Strowman vs Otis
      • Usos vs Brawling Brutes - Men's Smackdown Tag Team Championship
    • Segments
      • Return of Roman Reigns
    Thoughts
    • Braun is now the Monsters of all Monsters, or something.... I preferred the Monster Among Men, but I guess they have their reasons. The new music isn't connecting with me yet either.
    • Liv vs Ronda 3 is no Austin Rock.
    • NXT North American title is no longer in the Bloodline. This is really fascinating to me as it really opens up a few ideas for Solo:
      • Challenging Gunther - likely unsuccessfully, but would still be a good TV angle they can use to headline a Smackdown, and could lead to a face off between the leader of Imperium and the Head of the Table
      • Sami and Solo are on the same page, so they could end up being the Enforcers for the Usos, with interesting possibilities where Solo/Sami end up being a tag team. I highly doubt they'd get a title shot out of it, but it could create interesting TV that leads to other possibilities of Sami vs the Usos
    • Raquel and Shotzi might be becoming a team... I'm not a fan of Aliyah, but I think I preferred the combo of her and Raquel. Shotzi is better than Aliyah and more intriguing as a character/look, but she has n't had a lot of focus on the main roster, and needs something to get me to care.
    • 9:23 - Apparently another installment of the White Rabbit mystery will take place tonight, likely at 9:23, according to the QR Code tease from Raw.
      • I was explaining to my wife just this week about how the original Saw movie viral marketing campaign hooked me in so much, and how wrestling is one of the few venues for that to still work for me. The subtlety of the QR code on Raw is fascinating.

    Comment


    • I really, really liked what they did with Sami this week. There's so much going on in the Bloodline itself, too, the addition of Solo is interesting and opens opportunities, and the fact it seems like specifically Jey but not Jimmy is against Sami being in there is a wrinkle that can be developed.

      Comment


      • The Jey vs Sami stuff is great. It's both at the forefront, but also subtle. It's been really engaging. I have to credit WWE for making me care about uber dork Sami Zayn.

        And the Bloodline will be part of Raw tonight on some capacity.

        Raw Preview
        Matches:
        • AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn
        • Matt Riddle vs Damian Priest
        • Iyo Sky vs Bianca Belair
        • Seth Rollins vs Rey Mysterio
        • Johnny Gargano and Kevin Owens vs Alpha Academy
        Thoughts:
        • White Rabbit - Last Friday's background QR code led people to coordinates for tonight's Raw in Edmonton, and the words Patricide and Coal associated with this viral style campaign. On top of that but the song White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane has been played at TV and live events to empty arenas or between commercials. There were "flyers" left on vehicles at Smackdown's event with the white rabbit and Edmonton coordinates.
          • Whatever the point is (and I know we all have guesses and ideas), it's a good time of year to draw this out a week or two more, as we'll be getting the "Season Premieres" for Raw and Smackdown on Oct 7 and Oct 10
          • I'll unfortunately be missing it live on Oct 7th as it's Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, which aligns with my birthday early the next week, so I never ever get to watch wrestling live as it's just packed with family obligations
        • Loose Brand split rules - I understand that with the titles jumping between brands that we'll see certain people challenging for these titles also jumping from time to time. But when Bayley is on Smackdown, I scratch my head. Sami on Raw is a more egregious bending of the rules. I'm not against it, but I wish it would be addressed somehow to explain why.
        • Not sure if I like the Gargano/Owens team idea. If it's just a TV angle to get Johnny Wrestling over, great. But I am invested in the current KO story, and I am apprehensive that Gargano will bog that down.
        • Judgment Day - I would like them to add another member. It doesn't have to be immediately, but this stable doesn't have the strongest win/loss record and a new member would be a reasonable kayfabe way to turn things around. The Dominic story should be at the forefront, so it doesn't need to be a massive name.
        • Dominic - Nuclear heat for Dom last week. I was explaining elsewhere that this angle wouldn't work with most people, but with Dom it's near perfect. What's strange is that it doesn't feel right because there's no star quality to Dom so far. And yet, no one else could pull this off near as well. The fact that he's not special, and that he possibly only has the job due to nepotism, all factor into how hated he is right now. It's similar to the Rocky Sucks time for Maivia (and NO, I'm not comparing Dom to the Rock), in that Dom is disliked for genuine reasons, and makes him a good heel in how the story uses those factors. I'm not sure where this goes, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is the pinnacle of Dom's career. I hope he makes the most of it.

        Comment


        • Smackdown Preview
          Matches
          • Shotzi vs Bayley
          • Sami Zayn / Solo Sikoa vs Madcap Moss / Ricochet
          • Hit Row vs Los Lotharios

          Thoughts
          • Hurricane - I didn't click on the headline, but apparently there are travel issues and the roster will be reduced tonight. My guess is WWE will front the bills to get the advertised people to the show, and then use whoever else is able to make it.
          • Sami in the Bloodline - the story that's has the internet talking. I'm still not a fan of Sami as a babyface, and other than a smarmy annoying twat heel, I think he's an El Generico indy worker. Despite his charisma, he's never had a character I cared about. All that being said, this story is connecting because Sami is great in his role. So is Jey and everyone in the Bloodline, but Sami is the perfect balance of heel who is being used and doesn't deserve his spot in the faction, and babyface who will be cheered if/when the obvious turn occurs.
          • Imperium vs Brutes - Not sure if they'll have a spot on SD tonight, but the 6 man tag Donnybrook is booked for Extreme Rules next Saturday. I'm still impressed at how seamless the transition was for the Brutes to turn face after Clash at the Castle. We all knew that match would be the brawl it ended up being, but the Stone Cold loss into face turn for Sheamus (and therefore his stable) wasn't really discussed or predicted. I don't even know if it was planned by WWE creative, but no matter what, it's created a great dynamic on the show, and I think they have potential to milk this faction feud for great ring action whenever they need to get the crowd into the show (**like needing to wake them up after a Liv Morgan match).
          • Hit Row - I want to like them, and all 3 of the current members have shown the ability to get over and stay enjoyable. But this run isn't doing it for me at all. I think Top Dolla needs a bit more focus, and Adonis needs to have some competitive matches.
          • Bayley - I'm probably going to upset a couple of people here, but Bayley is really overrated by online fans. Always has been. Her innocent baby face character was great, and perfect for her abilities. She was solid in the ring, and didn't need to do a lot of mic work to stay relevant. But since turning heel (and no, not just since returning from injury), she's average in almost every way. I knwo she has fans, so I'm not saying anyone is wrong for enjoying her DING DONG HELLO Karen haircut run, but it didn't connect with me. She was annoying without it being engaging. I didn't want to watch her get beat up, I just didn't want to watch her. Sasha, despite my criticisms, was the star of their team. Damage CTRL is a bit more interesting because the stablemates are more interesting. But Bayley being the focal point isn't. There may be a ring rust issue, but I don't think it's a major drop from the pre-injury Bayley because she wasn't that high caliber in the first place. And unfortunately Shotzi is more hit than miss, especially in the ring. So I don't expect this match to be very good.


          ** immature PEN underhanded insult

          Comment


          • Go home Raw for Extreme Rules Preview
            Matches:
            • AJ Styles/Rey Mysterio vs Judgment Day
            • Braun Strowman vs Chad Gable
            • Otis vs Johnny Gargano
            • Candice LaRae vs Dakota Kai
            Segments:
            • Contract Signing for Bianca vs Bayley
            • Face Off between Riddle and Rollins with a No Contact Clause

            Thoughts:
            • Out of every story going, Judgment Day "need" a win most. Not only is there a lot of potential for the stable, and a lot of future potential for all involved, but the aura of the group becomes harder to take seriously with every loss. I never agree with the concept that someone or some group is buried or irreparably damaged, but it does become more and more challenging for a top level concept like this group to reach their potential with the win/loss record TJD has. This isn't to say Priest should have defeated Edge in Toronto a few weeks back, because Priest isn't on the level of defeating a Hall of Famer. But if Finn also loses to Edge, the men in the stable might be better off aiming for midcard dominance. A random Raw tag match isn't life or death, but I still suspect a win for Finn and Damian as they head towards Extreme Rules. This match will likely get the most time of all the matches currently announced, and will likely be the best of the night.
            • I'm sure the former Shorty G might have a few tricks of his sleeve, but the Braun push will continue tonight. I think the big news will be how Omos will get involved. I think we're headed for a Crown Jewel match between the giants. The return of Braun almost makes Omos obsolete. While Omos is taller and more imposing in some ways, Braun's athleticism is much more impressive when you compare the two. As online workrate fans, we tend to jumble all the big men in one swooping 1star rating group. But Braun is not only huge, but very quick and athletic for his size. In terms of personality, face or heel, Braun wins as well. All is not lost for Omos, but this might be his ceiling in singles action.
            • Gargano is already starting to lose my interest. Too white bread babyface for me, and the undersized indy guy gimmick only works if they add something to the roster that isn't found elsewhere, like Daniel Bryan Danielson once did. Teaming with Owens feels like a step down for KO. I don't think this duo is meant to be a full time thing, and just a way to get Gargano elevated, so I can't say I'm upset, but there is a time limit to how long I will be invested in the combo.
            • Candice vs Dakota will be a solid women's match. Both are good, but neither have been on the Raw roster for very long. This will need some involvement from Damage Ctrl and perhaps any combination of Asuka/Bliss/Belair to get the live audience invested.
            • Contract signings never go as planned, so we shall see how Bayley and Bianca change things up. I'm guessing a brawl involving the "stables", maybe a reveal as to who might side with the Damage Ctrl for the rumored War Games match between both sides
            • Rollins and Riddle have had a enough brawls and attacks that the no contact clause is smart here. I don't know if Daniel Cormier will be part of anything tonight, maybe a recorded "promo" of some kind.

            Comment


            • Two things that come out of Raw for me:

              1. Is this Braun stuff working? I know he's only just come back, I know any of his 'matches' to date have been somewhat deliberately short and punchy, but I'm already seeing that this approach has a ceiling and it might not exceed that. It's early days, but I already don't really see where you go with Braun off the back of this mini-feud with Alpha Academy and, what seems to be a feud with Omos in the offing. I think he needs something a bit more emphatic than either of these to push him on, and while I suspect he'll have a good Rumble showing. I went from thinking he'd be a good challenge to Roman immediately after his return to now thinking he's not going to get there - or at least not very quickly.

              2. On the flip side, this is feud is really working for Chad Gable. I think he's getting chances to shine even in defeat, and not just in the ring but also on the microphone. I've long been a fan of his but I think this is something that could turn him into a bigger deal in the midcard if they capitalised on his work here. I'd very easily see him as a viable challenger to Lashley, for example, in singles competition if he went from this Braun stuff to get a few wins to build him up to it.

              Comment


              • Where did you get the impression that Braun would challenge Roman so soon? It doesn't make a lot of sense to rush him into a feud with the top guy and obviously lose.

                It's also another reason why the Logan Paul title shot is smart, as the loss to Roman won't stall his momentum, unlike most of Roman's failed challengers.

                Braun, like Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre, and Seth Rollins, is getting on track for a strong 2023. When Roman drops the title(s), the new Champ will need opponents ready to go. If Roman crushed everyone between now and Wrestlemania, and then lost to Cody, Cody's next set of challengers won't have nearly as much strength in their push after their recent losses to Reigns.


                As for Gable, this is something WWE has done really well with over the last few months. There are a lot of people looking better in losing. Mustafa Ali this past week, Ciampa losing to Lashley, Sheamus after losing to Gunther...
                Last edited by PEN15v2; 10-05-2022, 08:10 AM. Reason: Typo

                Comment


                • Smackdown Preview
                  Matches:
                  • LA Knight vs. mån.sôör
                  • Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn​
                  Segments:
                  • Roxanne Perez appears to pick opponent for Cora Jade on next week’s WWE NXT
                  • Bray Wyatt returns to SmackDown

                  Thoughts:
                  • Bray - The big news is obviously how Wyatt will return to SD. No idea what he'll do or who he'll aim his attention on, but he won't be wrestling yet. I sense this will be a lot like his original debut (or even the Fiend debut) where WWE was very patient with teasing it, and then it happened on PPV. So I don't think Bray will wrestle until Survivor Series. Perhaps Crown Jewel, but I think it'll be too rushed for that.
                  • Kross / McIntyre - Kross defeated Drew in a brutal big man strap match. It's possible this feud continues, but I'm interested to see if HHH's vision is to not book continuous rematches. I have a hunch this isn't exactly over, but they'll move in different directions for now.
                  • Ronda / Liv - Ronda is the new women's champ on SD, and I couldn't be happier. That being said, the ending to the match had be genuinely interested in where Liv goes from here. What did that smile mean? I hope it's not another match between them, but the way Liv passed out definitely leaves the door open. We haven't seen Shayna much, but there were teases with her and ronda, so I'm sensing she'll get involved with Ronda somehow. Team or feud? We shall see.
                  • Brutes / Imperium - Stables have been discussed in the Survivor Series thread, and it's entirely possible this continues into Survivor Series and possibly War Games. I can see Sheamus moving into a title shot vs Roman with his recent work and face turn success. It hasn't been hinted at, so I may be way off the mark. But I can't think of a better challenger at this moment for after Crown Jewel. He can be protected in a loss, give a great match, and would feel pretty fresh compared to a lot of the other people who've been calling out for a title shot.
                    • This would lead GUNTHER and Imperium needing a new direction, and the world is wide open for them.
                  • LA Knight / MMM - I'm glad Knight is back, and I still like the potential for MMM as a team. Knight has the mic skills to really get himself over quickly, so lots of potential here. MMM could end up being a jobber team, but I like how many of the teams have been rebuilt to create some depth to the division on both brands. On Raw, Alpha Academy is relevant again. On SD, Viking Raiders had the strong heel turn and win over New Day, Lotharios got some direction with Hit Row, and MMM are in the mix as well. I'm not calling for MMM to win the titles from Usos, and I know the gimmick bugs a lot of people. But we've seen success stories with annoying heels, especially in teams, and how they can be moved up and down the card when needed.
                    • I'm kind of surprised that Knight hasn't been given more mic time. Once he's in the ring with a mic with this gimmick, I predict magic will happen.
                  • NXT Pick Your Poison - Crossing over between the 3 brands is smart, as long as it's kept logical. This is a good gimmick. Cora has history with Natalya, so there might be something there, but the entire roster is open for Perez to choose someone.

                  Comment


                  • HHH having a dressing room is great. I don't think there needs to be a consistent authority figure, but letting him be presented like Vince with his office is a smart way to bridge the regimes.

                    ​​​I'm liking Omos vs Braun, though I know the match will be average at best and hated online. Not sure if it'll be for Crown Jewel or Survivor Series.

                    I see a lot of praise for Roxanne Perez, and I can see why, but she's among the many women that work a style that's overly choreographed, influenced by the Adam Coles of the wrestling world. Anyways, I'm not yet a fan.

                    I'm surprised that they turned LA knight heel. Smackdown feels heel heavy already, and I don't see MMM turning face.

                    Comment


                    • Raw Preview
                      Matches:
                      • Seth Rollins vs Matt Riddle - US Title
                      • Dexter Lumis vs The Miz - If Lumis wins, he earns a WWE contract
                      • The OC vs Alpha Academy
                      Segments:
                      • Brock Lesnar appearance
                      • Return of Elias
                      Thoughts:
                      • Brock vs Bobby - probably for Crown Jewel, and that's a great attraction match for this kind of show. No matter how much the world of wrestling evolves and changes, WWE is still the best place for giants showcasing their superhuman strength and athleticism. Match probably won't be a technical masterpiece, but it'll be a lot of fun for 5-8 minutes.
                      • I love the Elias character, and I think there's more potential for him than the Ezekial comedy stuff, but I think WWE is going to be lacking levity soon if every character that had a comedy edge to them gets turned serious. So far the balance is working, as there are still people like The Miz and Maryse getting caked for laughs. But I don't think the Ezekial character should just be erased. I don't know what the solution is, but the return of Elias is bittersweet.
                      • Rollins vs Riddle - This is a great modern era feud. It's basically over, and both men will likely move in new directions after this, but you can fill in a random Raw or PPV with a rematch and the heat will be there with little effort. Both men looked good coming out of it, the matches were mostly strong (Fight Pit was the weakest, and the gimmick just didn't work the way everyone had hoped). This match makes sense in the moment, as Riddle got the last win over the new US Champ, but I sense they'll each have new opponents by Crown Jewel or Survivor Series.

                      Comment


                      • Brock vs Bobby confirmed for Crown Jewel and building well, I think. Hopefully it's a 10 minute or so sprint of big men slapping man meat which equates to little more than a brawl. I don't want to see them work an MMA style match, even though I get that that's where a lot of the appeal is in a way, as I think they are both better than that and it won't be as hard hitting as people will want. I think they'll hint at it in the early part of the match and then move past it into something more 'WWE' style hard hitting match.

                        Love them putting a bit of focus on Ali last night with teasing a potential feud with Rollins. He's an ideal opponent for him, in my opinion, and has shown a really good in ring ability that will mesh with Rollins, I believe.

                        Not quite sure the Elias return worked, but I think it's too early to decide it's going one way or another.

                        Was glad to see Corbin back - I think he's actually ideal as a WWE guy, he's never going to be flashy but you know what and who Baron Corbin is and what you're going to get with him. Adding JBL should be a fun move as well, and I think it'll work well with him.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Oliver View Post
                          Not quite sure the Elias return worked, but I think it's too early to decide it's going one way or another.
                          I wonder if the last hour had timing issues. It may have been planned, but both the back to back Miz/Dexter match and the Elias segments gave me blue balls. Hyped segments that didn't deliver. I think had it been just one of those advertised segments that didn't deliver it would have been less noticeable. But to have the Dexter/Miz match cancelled and then have the Elias segment end without any singing was a mistake.


                          Bobby vs Brock might have MMA elements to it. It did involve the kimura lock during the first attack, and that's nto something Brock has brought out often, so it might play into the match. It certainly won't be a Fight Pit or submission match type thing, but I think they'll mix in some MMA into the wild brawl.

                          I'm not sure about the Ali stuff. I felt like ending the show with him as the star of the closing segment felt rushed. I'm not sure what exactly felt off about it, but it had an "out of nowhere" element to it. And I don't mean that there was no story reason, but for someone who's been struggling to get TV time, and hasn't had any momentum in a logn time to suddenly be mixing it up with perennial Home contender to the top titles felt jarring. Overall, it's good, but maybe there should have been a win or story for Ali to raise his stock a bit first.
                          All that being said, Ali vs Rollins will be awesome.

                          Comment


                          • Shit, Elias is back and Corbin isn't happy anymore? Sign me the fuck up. I might start watching regularly again.

                            I wouldn't mind seeing Lashley vs Brock be something a little different than both men's usual matches. Maybe start with some MMA-style stuff before it devolves into the Brock craziness. Then they could get an extra few minutes out of the match, too.
                            https://youtu.be/wue-ZFnEta8
                            My latest (and hopefully last) Covid-Era show

                            Comment


                            • Raw Preview
                              Matches:
                              • Bianca Belair VS Bayley

                              That's it...




                              Comment


                              • Raw Preview
                                Matches:
                                • Bianca Belair vs Nikki Cross
                                • Matt Riddle vs Otis - Trick or Street Fight
                                Segments:
                                • Roman Reigns and the Bloodline appearance
                                • Brock Lesnar appearance

                                Thoughts
                                • Trick Or Street Fight - These TV matches are often dumb fun. As long as it's well placed in the show, should be good. Not anything that will be part of a "best of 2022" compilation, but enjoyable enough to help a sometimes long 3 hour show move without feeling like 3 hours.
                                • Bloodline - The Sami/Jey aspect continues to be the biggest story relating to the main event picture, which is odd. Not in a bad way, but when we have huge stars booked for the show like Roman and Brock, and the general anticipation is based on career midcarders in Zayn and the Sober Uce, it speaks to the strength of the story. The way the Smackdown segment went will be remembered for years (I say it might win a Slammy or generic WWE online award, and be held in the same regard as the New Day vs Uso rap battle for online fame), and will obviously continue tonight. I sense we might see some story advancement for Survivor Series in particular. Despite the Sheamus injury angle, I'm still not sold that Wargames will be Brutes vs Bloodline, but I think we'll see some Raw involvement in that story and we'll see who might be part of if tonight. (I still see Kevin Owens being a big part of this)
                                  • Also, if the Wargames will be 4 vs 4 (instead of 5 vs 5, which has happened), then the Bloodline technically has 1 person too many. I suspect we'll see a story about Sami or Jey being asked to sit the match out, further dividing the stable. Hothead Jey might be undependable, or he might be an asset in violence, leaving Sami to be "Coach" on the outside.
                                • Sanity Cross? - A few are wondering if Nikki is reverting to her previous gimmick as the maniacal member of the NXT stable Sanity. It's possible, but I think it'll be closer to new a version of Nikki that happens to tap into her unstable history. Bianca vs Charlotte and Bianca vs Rhea are the top candidates to be the next main event program for the Women's Title (likely for WrestleMania) so Nikki turning fully heel will be a good program to bridge the gap. I can see Nikki joining, or at least aligning with, Damage CTRL to help form the Wargames team for the heel women.
                                • OC / ? vs Judgment Day / Rhea - With all the returns under the HHH creative umbrella, lots of talk about who might come back to help the Good Brothers and AJ Styles in the numbers game. Mia Yim is a candidate, Doudrop being repackaged as Piper Niven has been mentioned, and Beth Phoenix owes Rhea a beatdown. I wouldn't be surprised if Rhea vs Beth ends up being a well hyped match for Survivor Series, or maybe Royal Rumble, so I think we'll see her return sooner rather than later. If the goal is Rhea vs Bianca for WM, then Rhea should get the big win with plenty of time before the LA extravaganza. It might be overbooking if she beats Beth and then wins the Rumble in the same night, but it could also be Beth winning, and Rhea regaining her heat with the Rumble win, leading to a Beth vs Rhea rematch at Elimination Chamber. Lots of possibilities, and no real need to rush. Rhea is easily the most protected non-champion in the women's division, and is golden for whenever they pull the trigger on her challenging for a title.
                                  • All that being said, whoever might help even the odds in this current feud will be fodder, much like Emma was to Ronda on Friday night. Mia Yim or Doudrop can be assets in the division and get a solid pop whenever they confront the Judgment Day, but they won't be derailing the Ripley push anytime soon.
                                • Austin Theory - Online complaints about his losing streak are hilarious to me. No long term MITB contract holder has had a great record before cashing in. Edge, Punk, Dolph, Miz.... they all lost big matches before successfully cashing in. Heels don't need wins to get over. I'm not saying losing can't hurt him, but losing hasn't hurt him so far. He can be booked for a match vs Drew McIntyre tonight, and it would still be a 50/50 bet on who might win. Theory is fine. He's not riding the same push as he was before HHH took over, but the amount of people who have been pushed really well since then more than averages everything out. Plus, he's not hurt by the attention being elsewhere. He's plateaued, or been stagnant. That can be bad, but in this case can be fixed easily. Seriously, one big moment or win on TV rights that ship without issue. That's the gift of a heel's push. He can attack Roman from behind tonight, and run away through the crowd without any promo time, and he's immediately back where he was.
                                Last edited by PEN15v2; 10-31-2022, 01:08 PM. Reason: typo

                                Comment

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