RAW and SmackDown Recap - December 3rd and 4th
After last week’s episode of RAW, the only way to go was up. The show wasn’t particularly impressive, but it was better than last week for sure. The show started out with a 10-bell salute in memory of the 41stPresident George H.W Bush, who passed away last Friday. It was a great show of respect by the WWE in Bush’s home state of Texas. Ronda Rousey and Natalya vs. Nia Jax and Tamina was scheduled to kick off the show, but the Riott Squad made sure that didn’t happen. Natalya was taken out before the match started and the match was scheduled with Rousey choosing her teammate, which ended up being Ember Moon. The next segment was another Sasha Banks and Bayley Q&A which was seemingly another time killer again, as the same thing happened last week. They seemingly plugged the future of the Women’s Tag Team Division, with their aspiration to become Tag Team champs, which I felt was not the right time at all to bring that up. I don’t mind them competing for the title, because they are both obviously talented, but it just was the right moment.
The most pushed tag team in the WWE right now seems to be Lucha House Party. They are talented and an exciting act, but the whole Lucha House Party rules matches are just not working with the fans. It gives the message that they have to have special rules to win, this is not the way to win over a fan base. The next segment was Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night held by Interim GM Baron Corbin. Drew McIntyre cut a promo and it was very well done, until Dolph Ziggler crashed the party. Not that I wouldn’t mind seeing Ziggler and McIntyre have a rivalry, but I feels like it will be another rushed attempt and another failure of building actually heat. The two had a match right after with Ziggler getting the win. This was the first time that McIntyre lost by pinfall since being called up to WWE. Having Finn Bálor interfere with the match wasn’t necessary, but it provided a way to get Ziggler the win after being squashed by McIntyre the whole match. Bálor was used way too much this week, he made three appearances throughout the show. It goes to show that RAW is in serious need of babyfaces that are over.
I’m going to skip ahead to the Ambrose and Rollins spot. This was well done, probably the best interaction that the two superstars have had since the start of their dispute. Dean Ambrose is giving off a Trevor Phillips vibe, from Grand Theft Auto V, which is the direction that he needs to be heading right now. Ambrose comes out on top of the dispute again, but the real question is if he will be victorious at TLC, I personally think he will. Moving on to the next segment of the night, the breakup of Heath Slater and Rhyno and in this match the loser was fired. Rhyno lost the match which was a way to write him off, it is uncertain if he will retire, but after the match, Baron Corbin announce that Heath Slater was going to start a new career as a referee. I don’t understand what they are trying to do with this one, but I hope they actually have a future storyline for Slater. I personally think he is one of the most underrated talents on the roster and it is a shame that he hasn’t been utilized. Like I mentioned earlier, Rousey chose Ember Moon as her tag team partner and they were the victors of the main event. There really wasn’t much to offer in this match.
This episode of SmackDown started off with the contract signing of the upcoming Triple Threat TLC match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Every time Becky Lynch makes an appearance it is pure gold, Charlotte Flair is very comfortable cutting promos and Asuka is a work of art. I’m expecting this to be the match of the night at TLC. I think the title will actually change hands in the PPV. The next match Asuka and Flair teamed up to face Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose with Rose and Deville surprisingly getting the victory. Rose and Deville are getting a push, which is refreshing to see new faces emerging at the top of the women’s division, but it will be interesting to see if one or both actually compete for the title coming up. The next segment was a Triple Threat match between Cesaro, Jey Uso, and Xavier Woods. This was a good match and provided a great insight to the match we might see at TLC.
Miz TV with guest Daniel Bryan was next on the show and this was arguably the best moment of the night again. I really would like to see some more time with the Styles and Bryan rivalry, but it looks like it will be short lived. The New Daniel Bryan is absolutely thriving in the heel role, I don’t know how long he’ll hold the title, but it has been a great reign so far. The next match was Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton. How many times do we need to see Randy Orton squash Jeff Hardy? This was the only low point of the show as far as I’m concerned, but we are seeing the same song and dance from Orton every week, it is becoming very monotonous. Samoa Joe took to opportunity to speak about drinking responsibly during the match, obviously taking a shot at Jeff Hardy, it distracted Hardy and as a result, he lost the match. It wasn’t ideal but it did the trick. The main event was AJ Styles vs. The Miz, this was perfectly booked and was the match of the night, as a main event should be. Styles got the better of The Miz winning the match with his signature Calf Crusher. SmackDown is winning every week. I say this every week, but right now it is almost to the point that SmackDown is the only watchable program each week. RAW had record low viewership this week, for obvious reasons, the product simply is just not good at the moment. Hopefully things will turn around in the near future, but for right now, the red brand is in a bad spot.