The post-SummerSlam season of WWE has been surprisingly strong, with the Raw brand loading up No Mercy on September 24 and Smackdown running some big angles of their own heading into Hell in a Cell on October 8. With that in mind, instead of focusing on just one topic, I thought it would be better to cover six different WWE related topics rather than focus on something singular.
I’m calling this the WWE Friday Six-Pack because at the end of a work week, sitting on your couch with a six-pack sounds like a great idea, so here’s my look at six WWE related topics.
1. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns Benefits Both Men
I’ve really enjoyed the promos between John Cena and Roman Reigns over the last three weeks of Raw. The reason for that is because it doesn’t feel like a traditional wrestling feud where Wrestler A rips on Wrestler B because of how that person acts. This feels personal. If you read my August 28 Raw review here on The Comeback, then you know
When Cena says that he’s still there because Reigns isn’t good enough at his job, that comes off like a shoot. Fans want to buy into rivalries being “real” because we get tired of the same old wrestling storylines. Remember when John Cena and The Rock ripped each other heavily from 2011 to 2013? It felt real. Some of it may have been based on real feelings, but they were also doing it to sell tickets. I don’t know if there’s a personal friendship between John and Roman. Does it really matter? No. They are two main event performers trying to draw up interest in their rivalry, and I think it’s working very well.
One of the complaints I’ve got from people regarding this rivalry is that they believe it is too soon to do this match, and I agree to a certain extent. There’s a business side of things too, though. The expectation is that it will be Reigns vs. Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, so this may be the only time they can do this match, considering Cena is probably filming movies the rest of this year and rumor is he’ll go back to Smackdown in 2018.
You got me on this one Roman, should've played it safer. Next time I'll put my tweet in a padded vest to protect it. https://t.co/aNIvzEs90x
— John Cena (@JohnCena) September 8, 2017
The reason I say this feud benefits both men is because Cena has reminded us of how great he can be when he has a hot storyline. Cena’s rivalries with Rusev and Baron Corbin on Smackdown were not interesting. This one is. As for Reigns, he has wrestled Braun Strowman so many times that I got sick of their matches. This feels fresh and I think Reigns is going to be a better performer after working with Cena. I also think Reigns will win, but I’ll talk about that more next week in the No Mercy Preview.
Instead of complaining that Cena vs. Reigns isn’t a WrestleMania main event match or even a PPV main event, just enjoy it for the theatrics of it and a potentially great match.
On a final Cena/Reigns note, Cena might not be at Raw this coming Monday because he’s working a Sunday live event in China with the Smackdown brand. There likely won’t be enough time for him to get back to the US for Raw, so they will probably just have a video package to set up their No Mercy match.
2. Vince McMahon Getting Beat Up By Kevin Owens Was Great Television
I thought Smackdown was a boring show this week aside from the Tag Team Title match, which was outstanding. The other two title matches were predictable and they were fine, but neither got enough time to stand out. Then the main event happened, and I felt myself amazed at the performance of WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon.
The Youtube video of Kevin Owens attacking Vince in the main event of Smackdown has over 2.5 million views as of this writing. It’s rare for any WWE video to hit that mark in three days, which shows people were interested in seeing what happened to Vince. There was also a ratings spike for Smackdown as they did their highest viewership number in five months. How many times are you going to see a 72-year-old man get beat up like that? It’s rare and I don’t blame people for wanting to see it.
There was a report in Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via subscription at wrestlingobserver.com) where he wrote that the reason Vince bled is because he cut himself backstage before the segment and they covered his head with makeup. When Owens hit him with the headbutt, that led to the cut to open back up. It’s some trick they use in wrestling. I think it’s brilliant because it put Owens over as a cold-hearted heel that is willing to do anything to get attention. I hope WWE follows it up with Owens mentioning how he made Vince McMahon bleed repeatedly over the next few months. He should brag about it all the time.
It also sets up Shane McMahon vs. Owens at Hell in a Cell on October 8. The build for this match has been very good. Owens is one of the best true heels in WWE. He is way more entertaining than the WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, who has average matches and delivers the most stale promos for a main eventer in WWE.
There’s no reason for Shane to win the Hell in a Cell match. I think Owens will win in dominating fashion and I hope this leads to him getting into the WWE Title picture within the next few months.
3. Braun Strowman Continues To Impress
When you watch how well WWE has booked Braun Strowman as the “Monster Among Men” that rarely shows weakness, you should feel encouraged that the WWE Creative team knows what they are doing. However, there are so many talents that get lost in the shuffle, which reminds us that WWE’s Creative team is good at booking a few key guys, but not the entire roster.
The key thing with Strowman is he dominates everybody, he doesn’t lose matches and he looks like a badass while doing everything. Easy to book, right? It is, but Strowman is also a guy that gets better all the time. In terms of promos, they tend to keep it simple with him where he isn’t out there talking for a long time. Strowman simply wants to beat people up and is happy to tell us that.
When it comes to his work in the ring, think about this fact. He main evented Raw three times this year with Big Show and every match was above average. It’s not easy for two guys over 350 pounds to have a great match, but they did it three times. I have a lot of respect for both men after they did that.
The main event of SummerSlam was a four way with Brock Lesnar retaining the WWE Title against Roman Reigns (who took the loss), Samoa Joe, and Strowman. While Lesnar left the match as the victor, it was Strowman who looked like the biggest star. I watched the match three times and was amazed at the reaction Strowman received.
I’m going to dive into Lesnar vs. Strowman at No Mercy next week, but as I’ve said for the last month I would have Strowman beat Lesnar for the WWE Title at No Mercy. If WWE is dead set on doing Lesnar vs. Reigns at WrestleMania that’s fine. What they should do is have Strowman win the title at No Mercy, drop it to Lesnar or Reigns at the Royal Rumble, and you can still get to that point. I don’t think Lesnar would be hurt by losing to Strowman at all. Lesnar can go away, sell some injury at the hands of Strowman and come back in January to get back his title at Royal Rumble. Sounds like a good angle to me. Do I think that’s what WWE will do? No. I think Lesnar will win and I think that’s a mistake.
4. The New Day And Usos May “Fight Forever” Over Smackdown’s Tag Team Titles
The Usos won the Smackdown Tag Team Titles on the March 21 edition of Smackdown Live. They lost the titles to The New Day on July 23 at Battleground. That New Day title reign lasted just four weeks as they dropped the titles back to The Usos at SummerSlam in a fantastic match that was on the Kickoff Show. The New Day won the Tag Team Titles back this past Tuesday during “Sin City Smackdown” in a Street Fight that was also an outstanding match. What’s next? Hell in a Cell?
I put a question mark after “Hell in a Cell” because it’s very possible that WWE will book them in a Hell in a Cell tag match. It wouldn’t be the first tag team match inside HIAC, but they are rare. I think what WWE should do is announce the match for HIAC and say that no matter who wins, there is no rematch. The losing team can not get another shot at the winners as long as the winners are still the champions. That way, it makes the HIAC match stand out as being more special because it should provide some finality to this rivalry.
There are probably some fans out there complaining about how many New Day vs. Usos matches there have been because in the past three months I can think of five matches between the teams including one time in a non-title match. I don’t get sick of it, though. They have great chemistry and every match feels different from the others in terms of the style.
They really are the two best WWE tag teams this decade. Enjoy this rivalry while it lasts.
5. The Miz Is A True Heel That Keeps Getting Better
The performance of The Miz in the last 14 months post WWE brand split has been incredible. His feud with Dolph Ziggler in the second half of 2016 was one of the best in the entire company. It was for the Intercontinental Title and it featured two guys that have been around for a decade, yet it provided great theater the entire time. Earlier this year, Miz feuded with Dean Ambrose for too long and it didn’t help either guy. Currently on Raw, Miz is without a feud yet he continues to impress every time they let him talk.
On this week’s Raw, Miz let loose against the annoying little man Enzo Amore by talking about how he had so much potential, yet he throws it all away. Miz talked about how Enzo was thrown off a bus and kicked out of WWE’s locker room at one point, which is all true, but the average fan at home has no idea about that stuff. Some guys may lose the fans when they talk about stuff like that. Not Miz. His promo was done as a heel, yet I also wanted to cheer him because I find Enzo to be one of the most annoying faces in WWE history.
There are moments in life that I will never forget. My wife placing a pregnancy test in front of me saying "congrats daddy" will always be on top. So many emotions are running through me…happiness, excited, afraid, nervous. But one thing is for sure as with everything in my life I always give it my all and I my promise to my wife @marysemizanin and to my unborn child I will give you both my all to be the best father I can be. I have no idea what I'm doing but I will listen, learn and love the best way I know how. Thank you to @wwe for allowing us to break the news on #Raw we wanted to announce to the world where we first met. Maryse, we've come a long way since the #DivaSearch and I'm excited for the next chapter in our lives. I love you. #ItBaby is coming 2018 😎
Also, congrats to The Miz and his wife Maryse on the announcement of their first child. They are great people that will be awesome parents. It will likely mean less Maryse on television as she gets further along in the pregnancy, but Miz should do just fine with the Miztourage at his side.
I hope that in 2018, Miz ascends from the Intercontinental Title level to the WWE or Universal Title picture. He deserves it.
6. Here’s A Reason Why Jinder Mahal May Hold The WWE Title Into 2018
That’s a headline that doesn’t excite me, but it’s likely going to be true. It was announced this week that WWE will be running a show in Abu Dhabi on December 6 and New Delhi, India on December 7 and 8. The tickets aren’t on sale yet, but it’s expected to be a Raw show. Even though it’s a Raw show, I fully expect current WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, who represents India, to be a part of the show along with the Singh Brothers.
Just because Mahal is holding the WWE Title right now, does he have to hold it until they head to India in December? No, he doesn’t, but I think it would be foolish to take the title off the guy and then have him go to India as a former WWE Champion. They might as well keep it on him until then, get as much attention as possible and really try to grow the fanbase over there since they have 1.3 billion people as Jinder mentions in nearly every promo.
Mahal has held the WWE Title since May 21 of this year. Mahal’s next major title defense will be against Shinsuke Nakamura at Hell in a Cell on October 8. It’s not known if that will be a HIAC match. It might not be. I picked Nakamura to beat him at SummerSlam. It didn’t happen. Now that I know WWE is heading to India in three months, it’s going to be hard for me to pick against Mahal the rest of this year.
I’m not sure if Mahal will hold the WWE Title all the way to WrestleMania. I hope not. I want the WWE Title match at WrestleMania to be Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles with one of them holding the WWE Title going into that match. Whether that happens, I don’t know. I just think it’s the best thing WWE could do.
This is the time of year where WWE tends to not do big angles, but that philosophy has changed this year. It’s a welcome change because I’m legitimately excited about the two major matches at No Mercy while Hell in a Cell could be pretty good too.
The reason I didn’t mention the women’s division is because I wrote a big column on the women of WWE last week. This week’s Raw has Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax in a non-title match, so that should be interesting in terms of how they book it.
I’ll be back next week for the reviews of Raw and Smackdown as well as an in-depth preview of Raw’s No Mercy PPV.