Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bullet points: Week one of the brand extension

A few more bullet points, this time focused on the highlights of this week's Raw and Smackdown.

Finn Balor looked amazing while Roman Reigns' wellness policy
punishment streak got underway. Image credit this page:
  • The Raw roster is infinitely deeper than the Smackdown roster. Even without the incoming cruiserweight division (I assume in September), the roster already feels bloated. The brand certainly doesn't need the influx of classic talent that the Smackdown roster is already getting.
  • WWE has been wise so far in their additions from the past on Smackdown. Rhyno is a guy that
    Rhyno still has a lot he can give
    to the blue brand. 
    never got a real shot to shine in WWE for any significant period of time. He's got all the tools he needs to be a credible upper midcarder for years to come and hopefully he'll get that chance. Shelton Benjamin is honestly one of the most talented WWE stars to never be a World champion. While I don't see him ever getting to that plateau with his return, he should continue to bring great matches. And if WWE can lure Charlie Haas back even for a few weeks, American Alpha versus the World's Greatest Tag Team is a definite dream match.
  • Nia Jax isn't ready for the main roster. Dana Brooke got a lot of flack when she was called up, but in my opinion, Nia is worse. She's going to get a huge push and she simply doesn't have the seasoning she needs for it to work. I could be proven wrong, but she has no place anywhere near Charlotte, Paige or new champion Sasha Banks yet.
  • The Miz should have been in the battle royal, not sitting on the sidelines to get beat by Randy Orton. Ditto for American Alpha. I get you don't want them to debut in a battle royal they lose, but it makes no sense when the heads of the brand say "everyone has a chance" and three talents not booked for Summer Slam yet don't get a chance. 
  • I'm excited to see new talents rise to the top of the rosters, but it very much feels like the writing is already on the wall about the placement of title matches on Summer Slam. Either Orton versus Lesnar or Styles versus Cena will almost certainly get the main event spot on the pay-per-view while Dolph Ziggler and Finn Balor get their chances farther down the card. 
  • I really hope WWE uses a Dean Ambrose / Dolph Ziggler feud to turn Ziggler heel. In the perfect world, they would team Ziggler with his now respected rival Baron Corbin and let the two have a strong Michaels / Diesel style run with the title before the inevitable breakdown. 
  • Enzo and Big Cass need to find a storyline quickly. The two Certified Gs are far too important to The New Era to have them beating up jobbers on Raw without any real purpose. 
  • I expect next week's Smackdown will give us the start of at least one title tournament. I suspect we will see some kind of tag team title as well as a second women's belt (which I'm guessing will be called the Revolution title.) If the blue brand really is the show to go for solid wrestling, they would be foolhardy not to book solid tournaments as opposed to the fatal four way setup Raw gave on Monday night. 
  • I'm personally more excited about WWE's weekly shows than I have been for months. I'm back to watching them regularly after over a year of pay-per-view only viewing. If they can keep up the quality, I can seriously see the brand extension pulling in a lot of new or lapsed viewers.
Could Becky Lynch be the face of a new title on Smackdown?
Both shows looked solid and if this is truly the beginning of a New Era of dual brands, WWE is off to a great start. Hopefully the momentum can continue in the weeks ahead as both shows prepare their matches for the four hour Summer Slam spectacle.

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