We do a state of the union for Smackdown and lament Braun Strowman’s injury.
It’s great that the UK always gets a Raw and Smackdown shortly after WrestleMania, but they also end up being some of the worst shows of the year. So we’re skipping the rather boring week in WWE and instead taking a hard look at Smackdown for what it is, and what it could be. But first lets lament the injury of the new people’s champion — Braun Strowman.
1) This week on Monday Night Raw we saw Roman Reigns take out Braun Strowman with a chair effectively writing him off tv for a while. In actuality Strowman is having elbow surgery and will be out for 4 to 8 weeks. What do you think will be the new plans for Roman now that his current storyline had to be sidelined?
Corey: Roman is in an interesting place right now. This feud was likely supposed to carry on for a few more weeks and since Brock is the current Universal Champion it’s known that he won’t be on the weekly episodes or on every pay per view either so it’s clear they won’t just throw him back in the main event title scene. All the other top feuds have pretty much been started on Raw so they may either have Roman cut weekly promos further fueling his dominance over his yard or they could drop him in on another feud making it a triple threat. All I hope is that Roman and Braun can pick up where they left off.
Josh: Firstly, I’m crushed Strowman is off tv for any length of time. He is the can’t miss superstar every week because I can’t fathom what they’ll have him do next. He’s a constant source of joy — come back soon Braun! If rumors are to be believed WWE might be taking a second go of the Reigns and Wyatt feud from last year. Those two had some good matches so I don’t hate it, but I also feel like I’ve seen it too recently. I’d rather see him go into a three person feud with Rollins and Balor for the right to face Lesnar. Let that go for a couple weeks, winner gets Lesnar and then the other two can pair off with Wyatt and Strowman respectively. They can still get to the same destination, just muddy the waters a bit beforehand.
2) What are your thoughts on the current Smackdown Tag team division?
Corey: It’s a mess honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of heel Usos being the champions but the fact that Breezango are the number one contenders for the tag titles shows exactly how much depth the division lacks.
Josh: It’s not good, but it’s getting better. Smackdown at least seems recommitted to the division and is giving some teams a bit of time to do stuff. I also love Breezango and the weird comedy bits they’re doing (get outta my house with your disparaging comments Corey!).
3) Smackdown’s Pay Per View Backlash is slowly approaching. Of the announced matches which match are you looking forward to the most? The least?
Corey: The least would be the six-person women’s tag match. I just have a huge feeling it’s going to be, and I’ll take a page out of Jim Ross’ book for a second, bowling shoe ugly. The most would be a tie between AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler vs Shisuke Nakamura. Either of those matches could easily steal the show.
Josh: Definitely looking forward to the AJ Styles and Kevin Owens match. The least would be the Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal match. I’ve been pretty high on the Jinder Mahal mega-heel push because I genuinely think it’s working and Mahal has a good look and cuts a decent promo. The problem is going to be the match. The recent Orton matches are uninspiring and Mahal isn’t really known for his work rate. If this match goes too long the crowd could really turn on it and then goodbye Mahal push, goodbye Orton champion credibility and goodbye to any interest from the fans for the top of the card.
4) Matches for the next NXT Takeover event have been announced and the number one contender for the NXT Title is Hideo Itami. Do you see him capturing the gold?
Corey: Hideo Itami is great. No question about that, but I definitely do not see him capturing the gold from Roode. I feel like the NXT main event scene is going to be built around Bobby for a few months so while I definitely look forward to a great match I don’t see a title changing hands.
Josh: Nope. Roode as champion is good for NXT and he’ll probably carry the gold up through the summer. Besides Itami needs some time to really reestablish himself before leading the pack as champion. He hasn’t really wrestled regularly in nearly two years. That’s a lot of time away.
5) WWE recently did a poll to try and determine which of John Cenas feuds over his 15 year career was his best. What would your choice be?
Corey: Promo wise I would say The Rock. The was something about pitting Cena against the People’s Champion that brought out some of the best promos Cena had ever cut in his entire career. Ring wise I would say Kevin Owens. KOs NXT call up which started with him feuding with Cena was the kickstart of the resurgence of John Cena. Leading up to then I hadn’t really been on the look out for much of what Cena had been doing, but I guess Cena knowing that he was going up against an indie darling he knew he had to bring it in the ring which led to those two having three classic back-to-back matches.
Josh: It has to be JBL right? John Cena’s JBL feud basically put Cena on the map and turned him into the main event superstar we’ve had for the last 15 years. Cena gets his first WWE championship at WrestleMania, then has a follow-up match at Judgement Day that’s probably the single most brutal matches the WWE has ever aired. This was also before the internet fandom really took a disliking to Cena as well. Yes, the spinner belt was awful and stuck around way too long, but at the time it made sense and was part of his character. Early Cena is sometimes forgotten about because of the goofy rap character, but there were a ton of gems in that period that get washed over because of what happened only a few years later.
– Speaking of Cena, earlier this week he did an interview where he spoke on his inevitable match with Roman Reigns. I personally don’t think it’s going to happen for at least another 2 years, but when it does if both men can stay healthy till then I can only imagine at how crazy the crowd will be when those two men finally lock horns.
– Quick shoutout to TJP who has really turned things around the last couple weeks. The heel switch has done some wonders for him and while he’s playing second fiddle to the Neville and Austin Aries storyline it still makes sense and is justified. TJP wants attention and to feel vindicated as the first Cruiserweight Champion of the new era and Neville is offering that to him if he takes care of some dirty work. Motivations are clear and the storyline is generally a success … now if only they could fix the rest of what’s happening on 205 Live.