WWE Evolution made history, and made wrestling fans very happy. Unfortunately for everyone, the next night had to happen.
One of the best things about any major event that a wrestling company runs is the show that runs right afterwards. How many times did Tony Schiavone end a WCW PPV with TUNE IN INTO NITRO TOMORROW NIGHT? We made fun of it at the time, but it was great business for a wrestling company that relied on PPV buyrates & TV ratings. Things always need to keep moving constantly.
I’ve attended indy wrestling shows in my area with horrendous finishes for pretty much all of their matches. I would ask the bookers what the heck they were thinking, and they would tell me that it was the best way to keep people coming back. Sure enough, people would keep coming back. Why? Even if the finishes were terrible, they would be addressed one way or another on the next show. This seemed completely insane to me at the time, but the company that specialized in these constantly infuriating results will be running a 23rd anniversary show next month. So what the hell do I know, right?
I loved WWE Evolution. It was the first WWE PPV event, or any event in general that featured all women. People that are familiar with my work won’t be surprised, bur I’m a big fan of women’s wrestling. Some will complain about botches that result from time to time because they’re looking for reasons to complain anyway, but to me it’s wrestling at its purest form. The women working that show certainly took it as seriously as I did, and they went balls to the wall. I can’t knock the effort from a single performer on that show. In my opinion, I would rank the show with any 2018 WWE event from top to bottom. I did a glowing review for 411mania.com, and I’ll stand by loving the show no matter what any other critic wants to say.
I knew I would be met with some disagreement, which is fine. Not everybody would agree with my assessment of the workrate. One criticism that stuck out with me was people complaining about the setup. Honestly, to me, the set didn’t matter. I thought the minimalistic approach helped the show. They didn’t have the crazy HD setup that Raw & SmackDown had every week, and I thought it was a good change of pace. I yearn for the days where shows looked different. Evolution looked different from the typical WWE Network event, and I thought it helped the presentation.
Then reports came out about the attendance at the Nassau Coliseum. It might not have been a sellout like Michael Cole claimed. I can’t report anything about that, but what I heard from the crowd was more positive than I expected from a crowd at the Nassau Coliseum. As far back as I can remember, people have been whining & moaning about the crowd in that market, which is notoriously hard to impress. Even ROH shows in smaller venues in that area have had a tough time.
Maybe people living on Long Island just hate life…I dunno.
The fans that did come out to Evolution were loud, proud & not embarrassing. A friend that went to the show said there were more women & families in the crowd than usual in that area of the country…in that case, I say that every show needs more women & families in the crowd, because those folks did their job. They cheered for Becky Lynch more than I might have preferred, but the smarky chants were at a minimum. Even Nikki Bella got a respectful reaction.
I might have had some issues with the booking heading into the show, but everything that happened that night made sense. There were plenty of issues to build off of out of the event, whether it involved people on Raw or people on SmackDown Live.
I obviously haven’t seen SmackDown Live this week. But I can tell you that Raw was a tremendous disappointment as a follow-up. Ronda Rousey came out on top over Nikki Bella for the Raw Women’s Championship in the main event of the show. Some folks whined & complained about the placement, but I thought they delivered a fine main event. Where were they the next night? You tell me, I have no idea since neither woman was seen on Raw.
Nia Jax won a battle royal to get a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship…she ended up a little better off than Ronda or Nikki, as she actually did appear on Raw. She was on long enough to squash Ember Moon in a little more than 3 minutes. Ember was almost on the verge of impressing people at Evolution, so it’s understandable that WWE would want to cut that off.
Raw did feature a 10-woman tag team match with Lita & Trish Stratus. I can only assume they were trying to get lightning in a bottle the same way they did when Ricky Steamboat worked a 10-man tag the night after WrestleMania XXV. I’ve probably put more thought into it than they did. It seemed like something to fill time more than anything else.
I had people telling me that WWE obviously didn’t care about the show due to the set. They went on and on about this past the point where I cared…but it sure seems like they may have been right. Any thought of an immediate follow-up has been derailed by the Saudis’ Crown Jewel. Which is odd enough since the whole idea behind an all women’s show seems to have been inspired by the Saudi shows where women aren’t allowed to wrestle or even travel with the company. Any idea of fighting off the Saudi demands of no women & nobody that wasn’t famous before 2000 seems to have been fought off by that sweet blood money. Good ol’ Jim Ross has already told us how tempting that is, and he refuses to judge anybody based off it because of how much he got paid, so we shouldn’t either!
I never fault people for getting paid. If the Saudis were shoving money into my pockets right now, I might be able to sell my soul depending on how much is involved. JR said it was one of the largest paydays of his career. Based off the money I’ve heard involved, I’d assume most if not all of his peers that appeared on the show got something similar. That kind of payment for bad announcing would be tough to turn down. Now, if I was expected to sacrifice my body…that would take more payment. They already wrote John Cena out on Monday, and Daniel Bryan will likely be written out Tuesday night. Everybody else has had their price met, as far as we know.
Some would say that Cena & Bryan would be making a mistake based on the dollar amount. I think Cena knows he can make more elsewhere untainted from becking to the call of the Saudis, and I don’t think Bryan cares about such things, as it’s more of a moral argument for him. So both are making the right decision for them, in my opinion.
All I know for sure is that WWE has successfully done two things this week. They’ve promoted the most interesting show of 2018. They’ve also done the most to make sure that a show doesn’t matter.
And you wonder why I want competition.
Greg DeMarco’s YouTube Performance Report: WWE Raw (4/22/19)
You shouldn’t be surprised at the video that topped Raw on YouTube this week.
A look at the YouTube performance for the April 22nd edition of WWE RAW!
As we all know, social media and other outlets have become a huge means of drawing in interaction and viewers for WWE. Most people will point to television ratings like they did during the Monday Night Wars in the late 1990’s, however that can be skewed with so many various means of watching today that do not include cable television. As such, YouTube has joined social media as a metric as important to WWE as television ratings (if not more).
As you’ve become accustomed to, here is this week’s RAW YouTube Report, compiled Wednesday morning, for the 4/22/19 edition of WWE Raw:
- Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House – 2 million views
- Seth Rollins’ challengers emerge – 1.58m views
- AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin – 904k views
- The Miz vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Baron Corbin – 815k views
- AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe – 775k views
- Becky Lynch & Lacey Evans promo – 450k views
- Robert Roode vs. Ricochet – 440k views
- Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox – 395k views
- Naomi vs. Billie Kay – 332k views
- Cedric Alexander vs. Cesaro – 325k views
- The Revival and The Usos Backstage – 292k views
- Sami Zayn runs down the WWE Universe – 282k views
- The Viking Raiders decimate The Lucha House Party – 225k views
- Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins discuss The Viking Raiders – 126k views
Ratings analysis appears after the ad – buy a shirt!
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Greg DeMarco’s WWE Raw YouTube Ratings Analysis
It should be no surprise that Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse comes in at #1 for the week, surpassing 2 million views. We are in the post-Easter week, so numbers are down overall (only 2 videos over 1 million views), but this one definitely has people talking. It’s also the #18 trend on all of YouTube.
Seth Rollins also topped a 1.5 million, as we had the show opening multi-man promo scheme designed to set up the matches for later. The set-up and those matches were the major focus on Raw on YouTube this week, ranking #2-#5 in terms of views.
Becky Lynch didn’t deliver this week, as she might be suffering from a bit of overexposure. The Raw women’s division continues to rebuild, making me wonder why they broke up The Riott Squad. The division occupied spots #6, #8, and #9, and cumulatively they barely broke a million views. But let’s be honest, the less people that see Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox, the better.
Also bad news for the tag team division, as they occupied 3 of the four bottom videos.
My favorite video…the Robert Roode pornstache!
What did the YouTube results for this week tell you?
Andrew’s WWE Raw and SmackDown Live Ratings & Analysis (4/22 + 4/23/2019)
More changes after the Shakeup! It’s like we get an extended draft before the NFL Draft! How did WWE’s main roster shows pan out?
More changes after the Shakeup! It’s like we get an extended draft before the NFL Draft! How did WWE’s main roster shows pan out?
Shortly before Raw went live, there were reports of some Superstars being moved again even though the Shakeup was last week. We also heard some rumblings that our favorite Experience was getting a different name.
So were we happy with the shows? Were they just a mess? Let’s find out!
- Samoa Joe vs Rey Mysterio vs AJ Styles: Styles wins via Styles Clash – *** ¼
- Billie Kay vs Naomi: Naomi wins via Roll-Up – N/A
- The Miz vs Baron Corbin vs Drew McIntyre: Corbin wins via Claymore – *** ½
- Cesaro vs Cedric Alexander: Cesaro wins via Swiss Death Uppercut – ***
- Alicia Fox vs Becky Lynch: Lynch wins via DisArm-Her – * ½
- Ricochet vs Robert Roode: Roode wins via Glorious DDT – ** ½
- AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin: Styles wins via Phenomenal Forearm – *** ¼
So this opening segment was generally worthless. Triple H was added to the proceedings purely because…well…he can be? Seth is a travesty on the microphone and the others march out like we weren’t just told there was going to be 2 Triple Threats. So it was just messy. Unless this is the first hint towards Seth rejoining with Hunter, this dynamic was almost as worthless as the word salad they threw at ass.
Our first Triple Threat is the work rate match. There’s really no story here aside from both Rey and AJ have had issues with Samoa Joe, but it wasn’t conveyed in the match well. Joe’s Avalanche Double Mountain Bomb was a spot, but really just took too long to set up and looked too cooperative. This match is fine, but I doubt it stopped anyone who still flips through channels at 8:30 est looking for something to watch.
Now I love the IIconics, and I know the corny/cringe worthy promos are part of their gimmick…but can we stop? The crowd didn’t react to anything and came off forced and trying waaaay too hard, like Mauro Ranallo’s pop culture references. Billie got made a fool of in this match, and then the promo the IIconics had in the back was much better than their walking down the ramp crap. Do more of the backstage dynamic and less of the really bad comedy.
Most people might right off this second Triple Threat, but hey, this was the better pro wrestling match. We saw an easy to follow storyline for people who have watched somewhat recently, we saw progression when Baron took cheap shots on McIntyre and Miz was a wonderful babyface in peril. I really enjoyed everything about this, including Corbin taking advantage of McIntyre laying out Miz with the Claymore, dumping Drew to the outside and stealing the pinfall. Great story telling.
Sami Sami Sami. I have to admit, I like this concept of running down the IWC and it seems like he genuinely enjoys cutting the promos, or his a great actor. I’m still not 100% on board with this, since it can fall apart at any moment given WWE’s track record. But for now, it’s fun, it’s smarmy and I like it.
Ahh now here we get a paradox. Both Cesaro and Cedric are making their official post Shakeup returns/debuts, so someone has to lose. This was a nice match in the regard that it proved Cedric can go toe to toe with someone the pedigree of Cesaro. Cedric will need time adjusting to the size difference since he was one of the bigger Cruiserweights, now he’s a little below average. As long as this is an actual building block and not just a throw away match, this could go somewhere for Cedric. OH! Cesaro picked up the win! Weird…right?
Usos backstage, Jey takes a small jab at Jimmy and then start going through the tag team roster. The Revival show up to try and check the Uce Troop, but the brothers pretend to fall asleep and just clown The Revival. It was good stuff and that should be a great match whenever it happens.
Oh God no! Lucha House Party against the Viking Exp…wait…Viking Raiders? So will Asuka and Kairi be known as the Steeler Buccaneers? Anyway, we all know my rule, if the Lucha House Party are on I drop the show score a half point. Oh-WAIT! The Vikings destroy all three, the match doesn’t begin and they just beat the hell out of the Mexican Masked Geeks? I retract my statement about dropping a half point. Hell this might raise it. Though I’m not a fan of Thor’s Hammer being renamed The Viking Experience, but I guess Vince just wanted it in there somewhere.
Lacey is wonderful. I love the character, I love her look…just…ahh. Okay that’s bad English, especially when written out, but did you expect me to talk about the match? At this point I’m not sure if Alicia is a bad wrestler or if she’s just told to go be a spazz on purpose. However Lacey getting in two Woman’s Rights, was nice. Again…Lacey Evans.
Ricochet fights his dad! Erm, I mean Robert Roode. I really do like him going back to the full name. It sounds more like an adult since, what 40 year old man is known as Bobby? The match was okay, but honestly you have a theme song with a porn stache facing a superball with no personality. So…don’t expect anyone to care, but Robert gets a win!
It’s been a pretty okay show so far, but since Corbin closes out the show, it’s gonna end with a wet fart right?
WAIT- FIREFLY FUN HOUSE?
This is…pure genius! I loved every second of this demented dark comedic children’s show. I want Bo Dallas to show up as a Mailman or Curtis Axel as a Cowboy (Cowboy Curtis reference). I literally can’t stop snickering from how random, but beautiful this vignette was. Just…I think a tear is coming to my eye.
MORE STORYTELLING IN THE RING!! YAY! Styles tweaked something in his Triple Threat and it effects how he throws his offense. Corbin tries to take every advantage possible, but Styles’ resolve is proving troublesome. Styles tries for a Styles Clash, but can’t do it, Corbin looks like he’s going to win, but AJ Styles is Phenomenal after all. Fights through everything and hits the Forearm for the surprise pinfall. I say surprise mainly because it’s a pretty big angle, fairly quick. But with MITB and then Saudi Arabia, Styles could always be slated for both of them. That carries immensely more star power than anything involving Corbin.
Overall Score: 8/10
Great show! Extra points for Lucha House Party destruction, Firefly Fun House being fantastic, not knowing if Alicia Fox does that on purpose and…Corbin, being involved in the best story matches of the night.
The show started off questionably, but yeah I can’t be mad. I was entertained for most of the show and even the down points were partially expected, so it didn’t leave the lingering taste of disappointment in my mouth. It’s gonna be hard for SmackDown to top Raw!
What did I just say? I blame Bray.
SmackDown Live Ratings:
- Andrade vs Finn Balor: Balor wins via Coup de Grace – *** ¼
- Kairi Sane vs Peyton Royce: Kairi wins via Insane Elbow – N/A
- Charlotte Flair vs Bayley: Flair wins via Spear – ** ½
- Kofi Kingston vs Shinsuke Nakamura: Kofi wins via DQ – ** ¾
Shane opens up the show to address Reigns and the actions against Vince last week. He takes the obviously hypocritical stance of “who puts hands on someone’s father”, and it gets a decent reaction of boos from the crowd. Roman comes out to a good pop, confronts Shane, doesn’t speak and just throws the mic down. THIS is the Roman most people love. No talking, just ass beatings.
To Shane’s credit, he squares up, but Elias blind sides Roman and the two on one begins. Elias coming out of two weeks where he was in the same segments with John Cena and The Undertaker, now he’s chosen by Vince and positioned with Roman and Shane…this is all great for Elias. I don’t exactly know where the whole thing plays out to, but starting with a Money in the Bank match, Elias could have a bit of a rocket.
Big O, Xavier and Kofi in the back, have an entertaining mini-interview. This is a very fun grouping.
So WWE validates Andrade and Zelina coming back to SmackDown Live with the fact that Finn ran after he lost to Andrade. So Andrade wasn’t going to let him off the hook. I don’t hate it, it makes enough sense. And much like last week, the match is good, but the problem is they already had Zelina cost Andrade this match. I’m not sure why they would do that unless they’re moving towards breaking them up soon. Andrade is talking more, but he still very definitely needs a manager. Maybe they will position the couples together, that could be the direction. But Zelina and Andrade are so good as a duo, I’d like to see them accomplish something on main roster before splitting apart.
So Paige’s ex-stablemates are jealous of her new friends. So even though Kairi got a very one sided win over Peyton, we may be seeing Fire & Desire face the Pirates of Tomorrow. Could be a fun first feud for Asuka and Kairi to work on some team synergy. Plus Fire & Desire have issues with Asuka as well as Paige, so it all makes enough sense.
Aleister Black saying nothing. But he said it ominously. The last person to speak hollow words now has a Fun House. Just…be mindful.
Jinder Mahal is moved to SmackDown! Chad Gable comes down for a match, but Lar Sullivan wipes him out, goes after Jinder, but plays Fling the Singh instead! Surprisingly, R-Truth’s music hits and he tries to stand up to Lars, but Lars eats him for lunch. I still don’t care, but they’re trying.
Charlotte starts complaining even though she knew the rules to the previous Winner Take All match. Becky says she wants new challengers and puts over a few women in the back. Bayley comes out to much better reception than last week. She thanks Becky for noticing her, and then when Charlotte tries to dismiss her, Bayley snaps back and shows some attitude.
This match was like a lot of Charlotte’s matches, sloppy at different points. Also, Bayley needs to stop the attempted sliding kick through the bottom turnbuckle. It looks awful. Leave those moves to Sami Zayn. Charlotte misses a Moonsault and falls on Bayley, and it’s just weird. I get they haven’t locked up in a while, but there were numerous moments this was a little rough. Sadly, Charlotte wins even though no one wants it. But it could be for the same reason that AJ won on Raw. Saudi Arabia could be driving a few stop gap angles before we get back to normal PPV pacing.
FIREFLY FUN HOUSE!
Dammit, it’s a rerun. Still made me snicker, and I like the fact they’re capitalizing on the viral aspect by showing anyone who may just watch SmackDown or somehow missed it Monday and on the entire internet.
Kofi and Nakamura, I wait with baited breath that we see a small glimmer of 2015 Nakamura and not the last couple years. Honestly, Shinsuke did seem a little more like his old self. Stiff kicks, animated head games, big brothering Kofi with some antagonistic kicks, all classic Shinsuke. Rusev interferes for the DQ, but that’s not the catch!
Kevin and Xavier were on the pancake desk doing alternate commentary, and they were actually pretty good together. But after only 1 week Big O turned into the Big Uh-Oh. Owens turns on Kofi, beats him down a beat and lays his claim to the being the next contender.
We all knew babyface Kevin Owens had a short shelf life. Right?
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Really good show! Very consistent show. Nothing was painfully offensive, but there were no really big highs like on Raw. Plus the fact that Firefly Fun House was a rerun, I have to rank this lower than Raw just because we literally saw a segment yesterday.
Main roster shows pulled off some good stuff. Yes, since we’re all jaded and cynical, I’m fully aware this could all tail spin and explode in no time flat. But for now, I’m taking what’s presented at face value, and it’s all solid entertainment and pretty decent in-ring work too boot.
Good job WWE!
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