The Raw after WrestleMania had many surprise returns and developmental debuts. Ember Moon, Authors of Pain, No Way Jose, Jeff Hardy and Bobby Lashley all came into the foray to kick off the new year in WWE programming. Although these debuts and returns are extremely exciting, is WWE equipped to give everyone TV time accordingly? I don’t think so. Let’s take a look at who this is currently affecting and the implications for the new crop of stars.
A Range of Examples
Although they’ve sustained injuries that plagued their first few main roster outings, The Revival and their booking have been quite inconsistent since the duo returned full time. Even though Raw spans three hours, there is clearly not enough time on the show to attach a meaningful storyline to them as they’ve been fodder for Braun Strowman, DX and The Club (at Raw 25) since their return.
The Club also fell into a similar trajectory. Though most of the issue can be attributed to shoddy booking and misuse, the Raw program clearly just does not have the time to give this team the proper air time they deserve. The only times that The Club has been in the spotlight is with AJ Styles or Finn Balor who were themselves immersed in proper storylines. Since their debut, the Club only got a brief feud with New Day, which clearly did not convince management of their exceptional abilities. Without air time, there is no way for fans to get invested. And if fans don’t get invested then the signing of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson was for naught.
Even stars on SmackDown are not getting proper exposure as Tye Dillinger has yet to be given much at all in the way of a feud or TV time beyond a losing effort now and then. Plainly, WWE may just be too talent-saturated on both their live TV broadcasts.
The New and Returning Recruits
Since WWE is already strapped for time on both shows, they clearly need to move some stars around and stop featuring a collection of talent. With the superstar shakeup looming, one can imagine that WWE would try to spread the top talents across to SmackDown, the show that got rather short sided in last year’s shakeup.
Moving over stars like Finn Balor, Jeff Hardy, Asuka and The Bar could open up Raw for the likes of AOP, Lashley, etc. to make an impression. SmackDown will then need to stifle some other stars though in the wake of this influx of talent.
SmackDown talents such as Mojo Rawley, Zack Ryder, Tye Dillinger, Primo & Epico, Baron Corbin and more may have to be lost in the shuffle and wait their turn for a chance to shine. Sadly, not everyone can get their moment on the main roster.
From the whole influx of talent and returns, many talents will continue to wait in the wings. With an over-saturated mid-card on both shows, expect either releases to be granted or a whole lot of battle royals and multi man matches. WWE is not able to push everyone at the same time, and therefore should try to only bring up talent from NXT when there is truly a need.
The WWE machine may have a tough time over the rest of 2018 with juggling talent, but we will have to wait and see both the results of the impending superstar shakeup, and if they can plain pull off having too many wrestlers and not enough time.
WWE: I Believe WrestleMania 35 Comes Short
Will the “Granddaddy of Them All” fall short in April?
Shawn takes a closer look at WWE WrestleMania 35 and the reasons he thinks it will come short.
It is very rare for me to discuss World Wrestling Entertainment. However, with the gunslinging bookings for the promotion’s grandest show of the year something needs to be said. There are a lot of opinions regarding the expectations of WrestleMania 35. There will always be fans that completely love every aspect and that is ok. However, just as many wrestling fans would agree with myself that WrestleMania 35 is set up to fall short of WrestleMania standards.
Why do I believe WrestleMania will be a disappointment? Historically, WWE begins their road to WrestleMania between two shows 1. Survivor Series and 2. Royal Rumble. Both of these big events begin multiple storylines that play out and build leading into the Main show of the year WrestleMania. Now, I do not deny that there are going to be some great matches on the show. If all you want as a fan is a great match, you should enjoy the event. I would say that you can find great matches without background depth at most independent promotions as well. I believe that having a logical and properly marketed story leading into the main conflict makes each match much more fulfilling.
Imagine attending one of Shakespeare’s best plays Macbeth. The show begins and the curtain raises. The first scene fans see is ‘Macbeth’s guards slaughter Banquo and his family’. First Who is Banquo? Why did the guards kill him? Why did the guards murder his family? There was nothing about Macbeth’s treason in assassinating the king to take the throne. No evidence that Banquo knew enough to risk Macbeth’s status. No prophecies by the three witches.
Now, let us look at a few of the matches we know of:
Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch
Becky wants a title and Rousey has it, but why did Becky choose Rousey? The story is Becky wanting to prove her legacy, overcoming injury, overcoming doubters and the system. Now she must face her arch-rival as well as the champion. I believe it was important to include Charlotte into the match 1. Flair/Lynch have had 2 matches against each other recently. 2. Lynch already lost to Asuka so her claim at being the best are weakened. 3. Rousey’s recent MMA all out assault on people either it won’t be logical if Rousey can’t do that 1 on 1 with Becky or the main event is a very long butt kicking that fans won’t get into. 4. In the 3 way match Becky can win without defeating Rousey. And 5. Flair can work cheap heat during the match.
Seriously, what other match has been planned out and developed? Whoever in the WWE creative writing department has a GREAT storyline with a war between WWE products vs Independent products, but this is the ‘Macbeth without the story around it’. Imagine, the storylines that could have been.
- Tag Teams split: Such as Bobby Roode (indies) and Chuck Gable (WWE), Rusev (WWE) and Shinsuke Nakamura (Indies), Sheamus (WWE) and Cesaro (Indie), Xavier Woods (Indie) breaks with Big E and Kofi (WWE).
- New Teams bond: Lashley/Corbin, Strowman/Harper, Balor/Roode, and the Rotundas (Bray Wyatt & Bo Dallas)
- New Rivalries: Roode(Indies) vs Gable (WWE), MIZ (WWE) vs Kevin Owens (Indies), USOs (WWE) vs Anderson/Gallows (Indies), EC3 (WWE) vs Sami Zayn (Indies), amd Bray Wyatt (WWE) vs Kevin Owens (Indies).
- This storyline could have bled over with NXT as stars on both sides began a ‘My path is superior’, ‘WWE only brings in cream of the crop rookies’ vs ‘WWE rookies had help from retired legends’ debate. Main Roster stars invading NXT events and vice versa.
- It would get the women’s division shaken up and more talent involved. The women’s division has never been as talented as it is today.
Things To Fix
The WWE needs to stop with a few things:
- Stop booking Shane, Stephenie, and Triple H in Wrestlemania. I can understand their victory lap following the end of the Monday Night Wars, but their time is past and their jobs are supposed to be running the company. Keep it that way. This doesn’t mean they can’t be booked in other events, but should never again be included on the biggest show of the year.
- Celebrity night should be practiced at SummerSlam, TLC, and FastLane. Stop booking them on the biggest show.
- WWE needs to stop cutting talent at the knees when the talent begins to ‘get over’ or ‘make cheap heat’ with the fans. Start working with it, even if you would like to see something else, the fans are what pay the bills.
- WrestleMania 35 has matches such as Triple H vs Batista, Shane vs Miz, Samoa Joe vs Rey Mysterio, Buddy Murphy vs Tony Nese, Angle vs Corbin, There are even rumors floating about Undertaker vs Finn Balor, and Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre. While many of these matches might be great to watch, does anyone honestly believe they should be played out on WrestleMania? Cesaro vs EC3 would make a better performance than most on this list.
- The list above is a result of WWE realizing they didn’t prepare correctly and are rushing to fill matches. Problem was that they were so busy filling matches that until this past weekend, they didn’t realize they booked too many matches.
There are so many great options available to the WWE, no promotion can claim the surplus number of superstar talent and yet many of these talents have been buried in mediocrity. Creative writing needs to begin pushing young talent throughout the year and adjust their stories according to fan reactions. If they are able to learn from WrestleMania 35 than next years event could be through the roof spectacular.
WWE WrestleMania: The Last Stand For Ronda Rousey?
What do the betting odds tell us about Ronda’s potential departure?
Greg DeMarco takes a look at the odds for Ronda Rousey moving away from WWE after WrestleMania 35.
WrestleMania season is upon is, and with that comes a plethora of wrestling news that is hard to decipher. Is it true? You’ve got fans upset because Charlotte Flair got added to the Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey match, when Charlotte was the original plan anyway. No one knows what’s happening with Dean Ambrose. Vince McMahon is using Kofi Kingston to take fans on a ride that they aren’t sure they like, but will probably love in the end. Kurt Angle is wrestling Baron Corbin, yet Jinder Mahal doesn’t have a match. (Okay, that last part is just me!)
Not lost in all of this is the fact that Ronda Rousey might be going away—short term, long term, or forever, after vaulting women into the main event of WrestleMania.
How real is the possibility of Ronda disappearing? Sports Betting Dime, which reports on the betting odds of every major sport and more, also has odds on WWE. According to SBD’s odds, Rousey is unlikely to really quit WWE following WrestleMania 35. Odds of her quitting is +350 while odds of her staying is +300. Although she may not be quitting, it won’t be surprising to see her taking some time off seeing as she isn’t advertised for any events past WrestleMania 35.
What does this mean? It means that you stand to win slightly more by betting on Ronda to quit—but the key word there is slightly. It also means that if you were to place a bet, betting on Ronda Rousey to stay in WWE past WrestleMania 35 is the safer bet.
Ronda Rousey made her WWE in-ring debut at WrestleMania 34, teaming with Kurt Angle to defeat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Ronda’s performance captured the imagination of fans everywhere, leading to Ronda eventually dethroning Alexa Bliss to become Raw Women’s Champion, and working the main event of Evolution, WWE’s first ever all-women’s pay-per-view event. Since that result, Ronda has seen her character shift into a UFC fighter that half-despises the worked nature of the wrestling business, and she has become a heat-magnet in the process.
I think the most likely scenario is indeed Ronda taking time off, but still staying in the company in the long run. Her character has been taken through the ringer during this WrestleMania build, which can do a number on a veteran—let along someone with a year of experience in the business. Plus, the topic of an off-season has been hotly discussed, including our own Rob Bonnette developing the framework for a plan to give talent time off.
What say you? Do you believe that Ronda staying should be a slight favorite over her leaving? Sound off in the comments or on social media!