Tuesday, April 17, 2018

LIVE Smackdown Superstar ShakeUp thoughts - April 17, 2018

9:58 - FINALLY!  That Big Cass/Daniel Bryan feud we've all been asking for!

Anyway, fairly inoffensive trades this year that -- my initial gut feeling says -- worked out better for Smackdown than Raw (then again, I said the same thing last year, and I was dead wrong).  I'm just happy that Smackdown's main event scene wasn't completely decimated.

9:36 - So wait, R-Truth is or is not on Smackdown?  I thought the joke was that he got the night wrong and went to the wrong show?  But I guess this means he is on the show, then?

9:33 - Wow, the Bar is heading to Smackdown!  I did not see that coming.  Exciting move, though!

9:27 - I'd hate to say it, but I don't like the idea of the Good Brothers moving to Smackdown.  They developed a good thing with Finn that seems to be (kinda) working, and now they have that lingering issue of whether or not they should align with AJ (who is doing fine alone).  Revival would've been a better move, especially since Smackdown is heavy on the babyface tag team side anyway.

9:25 - Asuka is an even better move than Sasha Banks.  But now -- seriously -- they need to turn Sasha heel.  And end this "will they or won't they" storyline with Bayley.

9:13 - I'm glad they kept Charlotte -- arguably the biggest star of the Women's division -- on Smackdown as well.  The inclination is always "if you're a big star, you belong on Raw."  It definitely adds legitimacy to the Smackdown brand.  Also, I enjoy her babyface run on the blue show.  And remember what I said about AJ being a constant on Smackdown?  Becky is the same way.

Still guessing we see the Sasha -- or perhaps Bayley -- show up tonight, perhaps in this segment.

8:59 - So there you have it!  Big Cass is on the Smackdown.  With a subtle transition to Carmella.  They were a thing, right?

8:53 - I totally get why WWE needs to explain that PPV's are co-branded -- you need them to know that they're getting the best of both worlds every month now -- but it irks me that they feel the need to act like this is historic.  There are literally four PPV's a year that are co-branded, what makes Backlash any different?  Do all your fancy promotion to get the news out, but they're just coming across as stupid here.

8:44 - Joe is an awesome addition to Smackdown and I would have predicted him, but I kept hearing rumors that he's your top contender against Roman should he ever win the title.  But yeah, this makes total sense.

8:40 - It's always strange to me when real life couples seem so unnatural on screen together.

8:36 - So there you go -- Absolution are heading to Smackdown as predicted.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Revival make a run in during this match, as they desperately need a change of scenery.

8:19 - See, to me this seems like a logic gap.  Why would Smackdown give up their US title without getting the IC title in return?  As in, a pre-determined agreement.  And further, why would Raw give up the United States title AND one of their Superstars when they seemingly had no obligation to do so?

8:18 - Is WWE under the impression that we were emotionally invested in Gable and Benjamin?

8:07 - For what it's worth, I love that AJ Styles has been on Smackdown since the beginning, without being traded.  I have a soft spot for when certain people are immediately identifiable with a certain brand (like Edge and Undertaker with Smackdown, or Shawn Michaels and Triple H with Raw).  It adds a little credibility to the whole brand extension thing.

7:40 - So, who's going to Smackdown?  We know the Miz is.  My other guesses, leading into the show....

The Revival
Seth Rollins
Titus Worldwide
Sasha Banks
Absolution
Big Cass
Goldust
Braun Strowman
R-Truth

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Monday, April 16, 2018

LIVE Raw Superstar Shakeup thoughts - April 16, 2018

10:48 - As far as my predictions to go to Smackdown, my guesses are:

  • Miz (already confirmed)
  • Seth Rollins
  • Sasha Banks
  • Revival
  • Goldust
  • R-Truth
  • Absolution


Potential moves but might not:

  • Braun
  • Titus Worldwide
  • Elias
  • Big Cass


10:44 - Well, it's Bobby Roode, which is fine.  He should do well on Raw (heel turn would be good).  On social media, we've learned that Mike and Maria Kanellis are also coming to Raw.

10:42 - Both Cole and Graves going after Coach (who I'm not sure I even enjoy) regardless of what he says is borderline uncomfortable. Like, Balor wears black, blue, red, gray......I wouldn't say he wears blue "every night."

10:38 - If not Orton, I go with Roode.  Unless they do something massive like switch AJ over, and then swap the World titles.  I just don't see them doing that, though.

10:37 - Final guess.  Orton is the final trade to Raw from Smackdown.

10:18 - Looks like Natalya is the token person who switches shows and turns, which is a good thing.  People need to freshen up their characters.

Also, according to WWE's social media, Ascension is now on Raw.  I STILL can't get over how they bungled these two.  Let's hope they have an honest shot on a new show (though I doubt it).

And, as predicted, Corbin switches as well.

10:02 - Did Cole just refer to Backlash as "the first co-branded Pay-Per-View"?  A week after WrestleMania?

9:53 - Why on earth would they think it would be good for McIntyre to pair him up with Ziggler?

And hey, we have all of 3MB back on Raw together.....

9:49 - Funny thing is, I've always said I thought Ziggler and Paige would make a great heel pair (similar to Ziggler and Vickie or Ziggler and AJ), but I guess that's not going to happen.  Can't imagine Ziggler makes a big impact here.

9:41 - Mickie James did an awesome job with that finisher.  Made it look like a killer move.

9:36 - Ember Moon may very well have the best theme music in WWE right now.

Also, I kinda hate that they turned Nia Jax into this super smiley, happy, friendly babyface.  Why does WWE do this with every monster who turns face?

9:27 - "There's no theme.  Everything just clashes."  It's not as if the Fashion Police were doing anything of substance on Smackdown, but I see this as another Slater and Rhyno situation.  They had a nice little place on Smackdown but will now just job a whole lot on Raw.

9:18 - Yeah, I definitely see the Revival going to Smackdown, then.  Nothing for them on Raw.

9:17 - To be fair, "we don't set the bar, we are the bar" is a fairly basic catch phrase that should be easy to understand.

9:10 - For what it's worth, I think I see the losers of this match going to Smackdown.

Also, according to WWE's social media pages, Zack Ryder has been traded to Raw.  With that in mind, I see Mojo staying on Smackdown.

9:04 - So there you have it, Miz is going to Smackdown (good move), Bryan is staying on Smackdown (also good), and Miztourage stays on Raw (bad for them).  So again, aside from Riott Squad, every single person traded is somebody who swapped brands the year prior.

So a big babyface is heading to Raw.....I'm guessing it's Orton.

8:58 - Also, for what it's worth, I'm guessing Miz and the Miztourage get traded to Smackdown to give closure to the Bryan/Miz storyline.

8:57 - I like that Cole is bringing up the logic gap here.  Another pair of people that switched brands last year.

8:52 - Since Miz is making the announcement and it's being built up as a big thing, I think there's an unfortunately good chance that Daniel Bryan gets traded to Raw.  If that happens, be prepared for a long rant.

Unfortunately, who else is there on Smackdown that could be considered a big deal?  AJ Styles, of course, but that means they trade Brock (or Roman) to Smackdown to get the Universal title there.....and I don't see them doing that.  Who else dose that leave?  Orton?

Unless this is a heel tease, and it's a midcarder like Roode or Rusev.

8:41 - As predicted, the Riott Squad moves to Raw (which means -- for now anyway -- both Alexa Bliss and Liv Morgan are on the same brand.....which makes me a happy man -- give them a segment together!)  I'm guessing Absolution moves to Smackdown.

8:20 - I could conceivably see Hardy get traded to Smackdown to bring the US title back there (and keep IC on Raw), but it would create one of two logistical issues:  Either the trades were already agreed upon and Hardy was already selected to go to Smackdown.....but then why would Smackdown give up their US title without getting something in return?  Or the trades are still ongoing....in which case, why would Raw give up their US champion?

Oh yeah, and either Bayley or Sasha (probably Sasha) is totally going to Smackdown.

8:16 - Two years in a row they've swapped the US and IC titles (presumably).  And for that matter, two years in a row Mahal has switched brands.  To his credit, he went from a post-show trade last year to the opening trade this year.

8:07 - For what it's worth,  I was going to predict Jeff Hardy to move to Smackdown.  I could see him winning the title tonight.  If he doesn't, I still see him going to Smackdown, I think.

8:03 - If Mahal is coming to Raw, I'm guessing Rollins is going to Smackdown (which would be a good thing).  Logistically speaking, it wouldn't make sense for one show to give up their champion without the other.  With that in mind, I can imagine Orton moving to Raw as well.

7:36 - Okay, so the Superstar Shakeup is starting in about twenty minutes.  Let me tell you what I think we'll see, what I hope we'll see, and what I hope we DON'T see.  Let me also just say how much more I like the Superstar Shakeup than the Draft Lottery, because there's a logical reason why certain swaps happen (the year that the WWE and World Heavyweight Champion both just so happened to switch was a stretch, but it's easy to buy that the Intercontinental and United States Champions were traded for each other).

I'm HOPING this year we see Smackdown get some love.  Last year I incorrectly stated that I thought Smackdown got the better of the two sides.  I was way off on that.  Here are the trades I could see happening, which I do hope happen:

Since tonight focuses on people from Smackdown moving to Raw, here's what I could see happening:

Baron Corbin to Raw:  Seems kinda lost in the shuffle over on Smackdown.  Needs some new scenery.

The Usos to Raw:  They've gone through pretty much everybody on Smackdown, and the Raw division needs some fresh faces.  For what it's worth, this would sort of disappoint me.  I like that they found their own identity on Smackdown.

Mojo Rawley to Raw:  He's doing next to nothing on Smackdown.

Charlotte to Raw:  Sadly.  Very, very, sadly.  I'm of the mindset that you keep her and Ronda far, far away from each other.  But I see Charlotte as the "big name" they take from Smackdown.

Naomi to Raw:  Just to keep her and the Usos together.

I could also potentially see:

Bobby Roode to Raw:  He's seemingly been written out of the United States Championship storyline, so he's got nothing holding him to Smackdown.

Riott Squad to Raw:  To move Absolution to Smackdown to reunite with Paige, perhaps?  If nothing else, it would make sense from a kayfabe perspective.

What I could see them doing, but I really don't want them to:

Daniel Bryan to Raw:  They stripped him of his General Manager status.  They gave us the match against AJ.  It does FEEL like they're getting everything out of the way to move him to Raw (plus, Smackdown ALWAYS loses a big name.....and I don't see it being AJ -- as champ -- or Nakamura).  I just see no benefit to moving Bryan to Raw.

More than anything, this just shows how depleted Smackdown's roster is.  When you consider AJ is champ (and likely not moving), Nakamura is probably staying because they just made that feud interesting, and Orton is probably staying because he's feuding for the US title, there really are NO big names for them to even lose other than Bryan.  Very sad.

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

LIVE WrestleMania 34 thoughts - April 8, 2018

12:03 - Wow, I gotta say I'm surprised.  I'm overall pleased, because I thought they went a little overboard with the Roman overcoming everything story.

But honestly, Lesnar HAS to lose the title, though.  The year long reign where he barely appeared wasn't all that enjoyable, in my view.  So who takes it from him?

11:45 - So this is the first WrestleMania that is main evented with the Universal Championship.  Kinda monumental, I guess.  This is also Reigns' fourth WrestleMania main event in a row.....has anybody done that since Hogan?

11:42 -  Modified gear for Reigns (new top).  Looks kinda cool.  Obviously, I'm guessing Reigns wins this one.

11:34 - They literally could have done that same exact angle with Ellsworth but it would have called back to their history and the audience would have probably been more invested.

11:26 - Do they know it's 11:30 pm?  And they have this guy spending 5 minutes walking the arena?  I don't know if there's still a surprise coming, but this seems like a lame payoff.

11:21 - My prediction for Braun's partner is, I don't know, James Ellsworth?  Rey Mysterio is also a popular suspicion.  I'm betting guessing Braun takes home the titles.

11:19 - Those are bad ass jackets that the Bar has on there.

11:15 - A really good match, although I'm not 100% sure it met my (admittedly very high) expectations.  I'm disappointed Nakamura didn't win, BUT I did love the post match beat down.  I think a heel turn could be a very good thing for Nakamura (which will ultimately lead him to the WWE Championship), although I do find some level of irony hat they will turn an already very popular Nakamura heel as they refuse to do anything with Reigns.

10:47 - Anyone else catch them referring to AJ Styles as the Universal Champion?

10:44 - Very cool entrance for Nakamura.  Any time there's a live performance of his music, it sounds so cool.

10:39 - I do hope these two get a nice amount of time.  Also, call me old fashioned, but the fact that this match is so late in the night does make it feel more prestigious.  If I were a betting man, I'd bet on AJ.  But I want Nakamura to win, so I'm going to go with him.

At the very least, here's hoping we get that big, breakout performance from Nakamura that we've been waiting for.

10:36 - Bravo to Alexa Bliss who took some nasty looking bumps.  I don't know why they insist upon making big monsters cry, though.

10:27 - How tiny is Mickie James if she wears giant heels and is still barely taller than Alexa Bliss?

10:22 - Love that both Women's Champions made elaborate entrances -- that doesn't typically happen.  I've got Nia winning this one, but Alexa is my favorite woman on the roster so I'd be happy if she retains.

10:15 - They only debuted this clip from "Fighting With My Family" two days ago and I've seen it no less than 38 times.  I will personally finance for them to cut a second video if they insist on showing it so often.

And that intro from Paige could not be more awkward.  Again, why not edit it so there's not an awkward 5 seconds of silence before she starts speaking?

10:12 - They painted themselves in a corner with that stipulation, but they ultimately went with the right winners.  Enjoyable match, but it's still somewhat uncomfortable watching Bryan doing some of those risky and high impact moves.  Then again, I went through the same thing when HBK first returned.

10:09 - So it seems clear that Daniel Bryan isn't slowing down at all.....

10:01 - So wait, does Bryan re-emerge in the new blue gear?  Or is that too subtle of a message that he's a new man?  I remember people thought Angle would do something similar (when he returned in the Shield gear and was removed from the match) and that didn't end up happening.

9:53 - I liked the "Yes Movement" video to kick off Bryan's entrance.  Also, Bryan went with the black/maroon trunks, but oddly went with a blue t-shirt.....

9:45 - My prediction:  Bryan wears his blue ring gear and he and Shane win.  Owens and Zayn either go to Raw or there's some hijinx that gets them rehired.

9:33 - Cena has got to be the most selfless top guy in the history of wrestling -- and I think that does include Rock.  Dude just got completely squashed -- did he even get in more than one move?

9:31 - They replaced the Smackdown referee with a Raw one.....

9:25 - That was a really well done and fun introduction to this match.  The assumption that it's going to happen from Cena, the tease with the lights going off and Elias showing up.  The appearance that things won't happen after the Elias segment completed, and then the bit with the hat and gloves in the ring appearing and then disappearing.  Fun stuff.

Let's hope this match is better than the Reigns one was last year.  I have Undertaker winning this one (but kinda want Cena to win).

9:16 - At least it appears to be a Smackdown referee.

9:15 - It frustrates me that this is being pushed as a Raw match since neither guy is affiliated with a brand.

9:11 - Not shocked to see the Bludgeon Brothers win here.  I'm atualy a little surprised they didn't just go for a pure squash when they eliminated everybody and the Uso was still just lying in the ring from the Trouble in Paradise.

9:01 - Fun entrance and new gear for the New Day.  But yeah, really not feeling these Snapchat filter-esque WrestleMania entrances.

Smart money is on the Bludgeon Brothers winning here, but I'm going to go with the Usos as I expect to see the remaining titles to change.

8:56 - That match was a lot of fun, actually!  I thought Angle and Ronda BOTH exceeded expectations.  Awesome intensity from Ronda -- who has struggled to show that intensity in her promos and segments.  Fun stuff.

8:29 - Triple H and Stephanie's entrance has gotta diminish the possibility that the Undertaker returns as the American Badass, right?

This is going to be an interesting match, if only because it's very unclear whether or not both Kurt and Ronda can really perform to a great level.  Who carries the match, the men or the women?

8:23 - Surprised to see this match so early in the show.  I'm guessing that Roman/Lesnar DOES end the show, then.

I'm guessing Rousey and Angle win this.  I performed well with my predictions during the pre-show, but haven't been right since!

8:18 - So they had the guy people least wanted to see win get the victory by pinning the person that most people wanted to see win.  That's one way to do it, I guess.  Rusev should've won this one.

8:05 - My heart wants Rusev to win, I suspect Orton will win, I fear Mahal will win.  I'm going with my heart -- let's see Rusev win this!

8:04 - Did Aiden English get a haircut since the battle royal?

7:58 - I really don't mind Asuka losing -- it had to happen SOMETIME, and why not to an established person at a huge stage? -- but it came sorta out of no where.  Did Charlotte even work the knee?  There really wasn't much drama....I never thought Asuka was going to tap, because they never built up to it.  Therefore, the moment was more shocking than impactful.

7:57 - Wow.....  Legitimately shocked.....

7:51 - Very cool spot with the moonsault into the choke hold.  Also, that suplex onto the outside spot would have looked a lot more impactful if we hadn't seen the same move last night.  While NXT tends to have stronger overall performances, they should refrain from using actual big moves that will appear on a bigger show.

7:41 - I'm not really loving these CGI enhancements to people's entrances (we've now seen it for Asuka and Miz).  It feels a little hokey.  Also, I'm disappointed they didn't do the mask montage for Asuka's entrance.  Her entrance felt rushed.

7:39 - Really, really, really liked Charlotte's entrance -- with the preamble referencing her father's theme and the whole queen motif, before leading into her standard entrance.  She feels like a big deal here.

7:33 - Surprised to see this match on so early in the night, especially after a title change.  I am going with the obvious pick here -- Asuka wins the title.  I don't think we'll see a successful cash in, but it may be teased.

Actually, I wouldn't be shocked to see Carmella attempt to cash in for this match, fail to cash in at all, and then successfully cash in against Bliss later in the night.

7:29 - Well, I was wrong about Balor winning but right about Miz losing.  And hey, now all three members of the Shield are Grand Slam Champions!

7:20 - I see a lot of people on Twitter predicting a Miz win.  I feel like they need to get the title off of him so that he can take a little time off and (more importantly) so they can move him to Smackdown to finally pay off the multiyear Daniel Bryan feud.  Plus, they typically go with a babyface win in the opening match.

7:12 - I guess not -- but still a nice message.

7:09 - Cool contacts for Rollins.  At least unique.  I like Miz's entrance too, actually. I like anything that feels special.

PS - If Balor is coming out last, we're seeing the Demon....

7:07 - Looks like I'm wrong an that the Intercontinental Championship match will kick off the show.  I have Balor winning this.  The question is -- do we see the Demon?

7:06 - That was an unusual opening video as it didn't really have anything to do with wrestling or any of the matches happening.  I will say this, though:  I'm glad that they seem to be over their whole "anti Hogan" stance, because he appeared in three separate major moments -- more than anybody else in that video.

6:47 - Alright, I'm now 2/3 on my predictions.  I did like the swerve where Bayley turned on Sasha instead of the other way around, but they need to crap or get off the pot with these two.  One needs to go heel (it should be Sasha, although Bayley was obviously heelish in her actions tonight) and they need to have a proper feud.

6:37 - I'm guessing they mistimed that commercial and that it was supposed to play during the 17 woman entrance and not cut off Sasha's individual entrance.

Also, is there anything more stereotypically female than a group of women singling out one person and completely ganging up on them.

6:32 - I totally get the time constraints and why they can't do 20 televised entrances, but the decision to air Lynch's individual entrance, and then having about 15 people walk out to generic music, and then have Bayley and Sasha each make individual entrances was an odd decision.  Totally get why you need to do it -- maybe just don't air it.

6:29 - This is somewhat tough to call.  I think I'm going with Sasha Banks winning.  Next pick would be Bayley or Becky.

6:19 - And that's two for two!  Fun, energetic match that highlighted the skills of these Cruiserweights.  I also liked the ongoing story of it being 205 Live's heart and soul against each other.

6:06 - Very cool ring gear for Mustafa Ali.

It also occurs to me that the Superdome may not be open (I can't quite tell), so I may be off about all those comments I made about certain matches having to happen when it gets dark.

6:04 - That Sam Roberts segment was very uncomfortable.  I have Cedric Alexander winning this one.

5:56 - So that's one correct prediction!  I like the swerve with Wyatt, although the delayed announcement that Hardy won made it a bit uncomfortable.  Also, they need to start giving Cena a heads up when the camera is on him.  His "authentic" reactions are always delayed.

5:45 - Gotta admit, I loved the Ryder/Ziggler/Mojo sequence.  It just played off of so much history -- the ongoing WrestleMania match story between Ryder and Ziggler, and then the ongoing feud between Ryder and Mojo.  Ryder goes for a big move against Ziggler, but is blindsided by Mojo and eliminated as a result.  And visually, it looked pretty cool.

5:43 - Speaking of which, the lack of seeing any entrances really makes it difficult to get invested in this.  I feel like I barely know who is in there and nobody feels particularly important.

5:39 - It looks like Ascension has some new green gear.  I like Goldust's Dusty dots attire as well.  Twitter indicates that Ryder has a cool cape for his entrance.....which wasn't televised.

5:37 - Alright, we're getting things started with the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.  My money is on Matt Hardy, for what it's worth.

5:23 - For what it's worth, I'm guessing the US title match opens the show.  I'm thinking we MAY see a Demon appearance, which means the IC title needs to wait until it's dark out as well.

5:20 - I REALLY hope that AJ/Nakamura doesn't open up the show.  I understand that a lot of people want this match to go on early so that the fans aren't burnt, but I still think having the title match that fans already view as the "less important" match open the show sends a very negative message.  Plus, I think they can have a lot of fun with Nakamura's entrance when it's dark out.

5:10 - People on Twitter are noting that Cena is, in fact, sitting in the audience as a fan.  Very cool touch.  Hopefully he's dressed in street clothes and not his wrestling gear (which is basically street clothes, I know....) as well.

5:05 - If anybody has been watching the videos on WWE.com, Bryan is teasing some potential new ring gear for tonight.  He said he had two pieces of gear made -- one for the classic Bryan (black and maroon) -- and one that honors the Seahawks (blue and green).  I predict he goes with the blue gear, as it's a new beginning and it goes with the whole Smackdown thing.

5:01 - Has that WrestleMania logo always had a green swoosh WWE logo?  How have I never noticed that?

4:56 - We are minutes away from the WrestleMania pre-show.  Check back for my live thoughts of the big show, which I will keep updating for as long as I can before retreating to my bed.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

LIVE Smackdown...er....Live thoughts - April 11, 2017

9:59 - Pardon the pun, but what a phenomenal match that was!  These three had amazing chemistry together.  Everything looked so crisp and perfect.  And bravo to Baron Corbin, who totally hung with two amazing performers.  Excellent showing for all involved and really strong show.  I prefer the "Shake Up" format over the Draft any day.

9:47 - As we enjoy this truly fantastic match, I once again make a gentle plea to you to donate to my Man of the Year campaign.  I'm looking to raise $50,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and, thanks in part to the research this organization has done, survival rate for people with blood cancers has QUADRUPLED in some cases.  Yet, despite this, believe it or not somebody in the US dies every nine minutes of blood cancer.  Scary stuff.  Please consider making a donation -- honestly, any amount (even $5) helps:    http://www.mwoy.org/pages/nj/nnj17/mbasilo

9:36 - The New Day is heading to Smackdown!  I have to say, for the first time ever, Smackdown MAY have gotten the better out of a WWE Draft.  At the very least, they broke even.  And in almost every case, the move seemed to make sense -- either the person needed new scenery or they were struggling in their current environment.  Not bad.

I still think we may see one more draft pick.

9:28 - Really cool and effective use of Nakamura there.  Plus, Ziggler is SO MUCH better as a heel.  He needs a good valet to work off of, though (Paige would've been great.  Or Alexa Bliss).  His career was never more successful than when he had a female to work with (Vickie, AJ).

9:13 - I'm actually pretty disappointed that Vaudevillains didn't work out (ditto for Ascension).  It reeks of WWE's writers not being able to write outside of their comfort zone.

9:09 - I was mostly right.  It was Charlotte and a return.  And hey, Rusev is coming to Smackdown!

8:52 - I'm guessing we get at least two women in this trade.  Easy money is on Charlotte, but I'm expecting a return as well.  Maybe Summer.  If not, I say Emma.

8:41 - You gotta wonder what trades were necessary that got Smackdown Jinder Mahal and Primo/Epico.

8:21 - It was an odd decision moving Bray to Raw when, ideally, he should still be connected to Rowan and kept away from Braun.  Would've made more sense to move Harper.  Sidenote:  I am a sucker for Rowan's crazy masks.  Maintaining the sheep but doing weird things with it.  I especially liked the clown version.

8:08 - Sigh.  If there were two people who desperately needed to be kept separate, it's Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.  This feud does nothing for either of them at this point and it's a crutch they keep relying on.

8:06 - I'm fairly impartial to Baron Corbin, but I must admit that my guilty pleasure is his entrace.  I love how the black smoke takes it over.

8:02 - I like this.  Start off with the obvious pick, since we all knew it was coming.

7:40 - It's Part II of the Superstar Shake Up, Smackdown version!  Last night we saw some pretty big moves (although, not as big as I had feared) with Dean Ambrose, Miz, and Bray Wyatt moving over to Raw.  Who's going from Raw to Smackdown, though?

My guesses:  Kevin Owens (and potentially Chris Jericho, to guarantee that the US Title goes to Smackdown).  I'm thinking perhaps Finn Balor.  Maybe Braun Strowman.  Roman Reigns has been heavily rumored, but I can't see that happening now since he won't actually be appearing on the show.  I don't know.

Anyway, follow the blog tonight and catch my thoughts on what happens.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

LIVE Raw thoughts - April 10, 2017

11:07 - Not a bad ending, but certainly not the one I expected.  One must wonder why they didn't just wait until after Payback before doing this Superstar Shake Up.  It would've avoided issues (like if Owens is being moved to Smackdown) and allowed them to close out some feuds.

But hey!  This means AJ is sticking to Smackdown!

Once again, I would like to request that you consider donating to my campaign as I attempt to raise $50,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (it's a lot of money and I'm going to need some help hitting that number!)  Here's the link:  http://www.mwoy.org/pages/nj/nnj17/mbasilo

I'll try to do this again tomorrow night for Smackdown.  Thanks for following along tonight.

10:58 - I'm guessing the ending here is a cluster.  Joe runs in to assist Owens and Rollins comes in for the save.  Show ends with a mini Shield reunion, with Dean and Seth standing tall.

10:42 - Well, since I have some attention on the blog tonight, I really do want you to consider donating to my Man of the Year campaign, with 100% of the money raised going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  It's scary to think about somebody dies of a blood cancer EVERY 9 MINUTES.  That is catastrophic.  Yet we have also come so far.  It is often said "any amount helps," but it truly does apply here.  If you're willing to contribute $5....$10....$20....whatever.  I'll take it and I will be so incredibly grateful.  Please just consider it.  You can donate at the link below:

http://www.mwoy.org/pages/nj/nnj17/mbasilo

10:39 - Love that Sasha and Alexa are on the same brand (have we ever seen them fight with Sasha as the face and Alexa as the heel), but man, snagging Mickie really depletes the Smackdown women's roster.

10:38 - Kinda thrilled.

10:36 - So Sasha pretty much has to turn on her tonight, right?

10:34 - I don't know why, but I really want Sasha and Alexa to end up on the same roster.  So here's hoping one of them gets drafted to the other show.

10:28 - Why fight something that works here?  Does anybody (at this point in time) want to see Dana as a standalone act?  Probably not.  She worked with Emma....why not just pair them back together and get both of them a little more over?

10:18 - There is a lot of red happening in this match.

Also, I can't wrap my head around how Meltzer always insists that Vince doesn't favor Raw over Smackdown.  For about 15 years worth of evidence that shows that Raw almost always gets the best out of the draft, almost always gets the big stars, almost always gets the featured match at big shows.  These are not isolated incidents.

10:07 - I don't know what's more comedic, the fact that Braun is a super hero for killing their biggest babyface or the editing of that segment.  First, Roman's stretcher completely changed location and position and secondly, Braun never closed the rear ambulance door.

10:04 - Look at the reaction Strownman gets for murdering your top babyface.  That isn't right or normal.  This big Undertaker win was the perfect moment to do something different with Roman's character.  It's terrible that they decided not to do that, because he's right back to square one right now.

Also, that is totally not where the stretcher landed.

10:00 - After some heelish behavior last week (which was intriguing) Reigns is back to his babyface ways AND now getting attacked by Strowman.  Clearly this company is unwilling to do anything to change up Roman's act.  This is highly disappointing.

9:36 - So Smackdown lost Bray, Ambrose and Miz.  Two recent WWE Champions and one of their hottest acts.  Reigns presumably moving to Smackdown is no doubt a big "name," but it's not a great act.  Based on what we've seen so far, my hope is that Smackdown keeps AJ, gains Balor AND the Club.  Owens seems like an obvious move.  I would also throw Braun Strowman to Smackdown as well.  He's gone through the big names on Raw, throw him to Smackdown and keep him away from Bray.  And maybe Rusev as well?

9:31 - I have to believe that AJ and Balor end up on separate rosters -- UNLESS they intend on reuniting the Club.  Also, I love how Balor has distinct entrances and videos depending on whether he's Balor Club or the Demon.

9:21 - I hate when Charlotte does that top rope moonsault to the outside.  Visually, it's amazing.  But there is just so much room for error and a serious injury.  Not to mention it's a throwaway Raw match.  Same that stuff for WrestleMania.

9:11 - Since they're giving us Nia vs. Charlotte tonight -- which could be a big match -- I wouldn't be surprised to see one of them heading to Smackdown.  I have to assume either Charlotte or Sasha is going to Smackdown.

9:06 - Rollins is sticking on Raw, so I assume that means Reigns is going to Smackdown.  Hope they give us a mini Shield reunion tonight, at least.

I say send Samoa Joe to Smackdown, along with Owens.

8:50 - I'm really torn on the whole presentation Cruiserweight Division.  On the one hand, I really appreciated the fact that the CWC went out of their way to tell us "Cruiserweights aren't about flying and bouncing around, it's about a weight class."  These athletes can be strikers, they can be technical wrestlers, and they can be high flyers.  And I think that was a really important message.  But within the context of Raw or Smackdown -- where everybody on the roster does the same thing -- they just look like smaller, less developed versions of the "main" Superstars.  I think, at least to get some attention of reaction, they kinda need to be high flyers and bounce around.  Otherwise, what's the point of them being a separate division with a different color scheme?  It's not like the women or tag team division get that.

8:37 - I don't know what it is, but skinny Big Show always seems so unhappy.  Not angry.  Just unhappy.

8:28 - I gotta admit, those Revival t-shirts were pretty cool.

8:15 - Logic would dictate that Owens is going to Raw.  At least with Bryan and Angle making trades (vs. a lottery system), they can logically make arrangements for title trades instead of it being a matter of convenience.

8:06 - And now Smackdown just lost their #1 draft pick.

8:03 - Annnnnnnd right off the back, Smackdown loses the person who was completely reinvigorated on Smackdown.

7:52 - It's a Superstar Shakeup and I'm bringing back my LIVE thoughts for the occasion.  What do I hope will happen?  Basically, that Smackdown doesn't get the bum end of this deal.  Can you think of a single WWE Draft where Raw didn't make out like a champ and people were left asking "so, what's going to happen to Smackdown?"
'
Honestly, I don't really want ANY of the top guys to leave Smackdown.  Cena will be safe regardless, but he adds a level of credibility to Smackdown.  And guys like AJ, Dean, Miz, Orton, and Wyatt won't really be better off on Raw.

So really, I hope Smackdown gets some desperately needed top talent and that their main event scene isn't completely shattered.

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Friday, April 7, 2017

IMPORTANT POST: Everybody wins when cancer loses

Did you know that every 3 minutes, someone in the US is diagnosed with a blood cancer?  And that every 9 minutes, someone in the US dies of a blood cancer?

When I was approached early last summer by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) about being nominated for the 2017 Man & Woman of the Year campaign, I was both honored (I was the first male nominee!) and intimidated (2015’s Man of the Year was only the host of CNBC’s Fast Money).  But ultimately, I knew I wanted to do whatever I could to help and accepting this nomination was the first step – through programs like Man & Woman of the Year, LLS has invested more than $1 billion in research to advance breakthrough therapies that have doubled, tripled, and in some cases quadrupled the survival rate for some blood cancers.  And as a team member of last year’s campaign, I got a glimpse of the individuals and families that have been impacted by this terrible disease.  It was heartbreaking, but also inspiring.

And with that, meet Shauna:


She’s a 12-year-old survivor of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and the LLS Girl of the Year.  In her own words, “I was diagnosed with ALL in June 2009.  I received intense chemo treatments but am happy to say I am cured of cancer and granted my happily ever after!”  I had the pleasure of meeting Shauna in February and her story is truly moving.  As a Man of the Year nominee, it is my privilege to compete in her honor during this campaign and it is my goal to raise over $50,000 for those battling blood cancers all around the world.

As a tribute to those who have gone through this ordeal, I will be competing in this campaign under the “Team Strength” banner – working with an incredible team.  Over the next 10 weeks (beginning today and concluding June 15), we will be hosting many great events, sharing fun projects and doing what we can to help raise awareness.  I know that raising $50,000 in 10 weeks will not be easy, but I truly believe we can do it!

There are so many ways you can help:


  • Please visit http://www.mwoy.org/pages/nj/nnj17/mbasilo to make your generous donation to support this journey.  Trust me when I say that ANY donation helps, as every dollar raised counts as one vote and the titles are awarded to the man and woman with the most votes at the end of the campaign.
  • You can also mail a check payable to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with the name “Matt Basilo” in the memo line.  Email me for address information.
  • “Like” our Facebook page to stay up-to-date and excited on our progress at www.facebook.com/LLSMWOTY.  Be the first to know about our events, raffles and auctions!
  • There are incredible sponsorship opportunities available for this nation-wide campaign as well.  Please reach out to me for more information!

     Through your generosity and assistance, I am confident that we can surpass my goal of $50,000 and that we can come one step closer to curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.  And until then, we can help to improve the quality of life of patients and their family.


The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is currently funding hundreds of researchers in over 15 countries. I want to make that number grow. My goal is to raise over $50,000 to support additional research. We invite you to believe by supporting our campaign.  Remember:  Everybody wins when cancer loses.


Thank you in advance for all of your support,

Matt

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

LIVE Survivor Series thoughts - November 20, 2016

10:28 - I kept waiting for something else to happen....but I guess the show is over.

Nothing was outwardly bad.  Some of the matches were actually quite good.  But it was just a strange show overall.

10:24 - Wait, did that just happen?

10:23 - As a general rule, I'm a sucker for matches that begin with a finishing move.

10:17 - I am curious about this match.  Goldberg hasn't really wrestled in over a decade.  And how will Brock perform against somebody he can't just toss around a bunch of times?  This is going to be unlike any Brock match we've seen in years.

10:08 - The right team won but overall very, very strange booking.  Well Smackdown was already the more "favored" brand amongst a lot of fans, why set up the match to make Raw the faces and Smackdown the heels?  Especially when Smackdown was going to be swept?  Further, since the Wyatts haven't done particularly anything, why make them the winners?  Overall pretty strange.

10:05 - That WAS a really cool looking RKO.

10:01 - I'm a pro-Smackdown guy but I have to admit, I did love the moment of unspoken revelation when Rollins and Reigns decided that they would save Ambrose.  And then the three of them coming together to take out AJ.  After TEARING APART Reigns all night, the fans were yelling alongside him prior to that powerbomb.

This does create an odd dynamic, though, with the face Ambrose now seemingly being at odds with the face Bryan and face Shane.

9:49 - Again, odd booking here in this match.  Leading up to tonight, Raw has primarily been the "heel" team.  The captains are Jericho and Owens (top heels) and they're championed by Stephanie McMahon.  Meanwhile at the helm of Smackdown has been Ambrose and Ellsworth, with the support of Shane and Bryan.  Let the closing moments of this match has underdog Reigns and Rollins (top faces AND a Shield reunion) against mostly heels (Orton, Wyatt, and Styles....plus Shane).

9:38 - The last 20 minutes hasn't even been a match.  It's just been one action spot after the next.

9:33 - How did AJ not die just then?

9:31 - Wow, Ambrose is the FIRST elimination?  And they didn't even do a Shield showdown?  Very, very surprising.

9:21 - I liked the callback to Ambrose destroying Jericho's jacket.  Well done, Jericho.

9:17 - The one really nice thing about having Goldberg vs. Brock is that they could actually put all of their top stars into this match.

Also, I'm wondering if we're seeing egos at play here.  The biggest Raw vs. Smackdown match of the night, yet the least amount of Raw and Smackdown (or even red and blue) gear.

9:11 - Surprised they didn't have Rollins come out first to get a bigger reaction.  Also, I personally like his half Raw/half Rollins shirt.

Also strange that Reigns HAS a red trim version of his gear, but didn't wear it tonight.

9:06 - How can you be a sole survivor but not the winner?  Anyway, I'm guessing that Bray, Orton, and Braun all get eliminated together.

Also, I get that proudly wearing a Smackdown shirt is totally against Wyatt's character, but they already pulled the trigger on that on Monday.  Might as well go through with it tonight.

9:03 - I actually have really high hopes for this match.  There are a lot of fun opportunities:  Seeing Reigns and Rollins teaming together, Rollins and Reigns going up against Ambrose, Bray and Braun against each other.  I think we all agree that Smackdown NEEDS to win this one.  My guess is that Ambrose and AJ survive.

8:56 - Well, that was an ending.

I'll continue to give Survivor Series a chance and will watch The Walking Dead tomorrow.  Now, to just avoid spoilers.

8:49 - While I hate seeing anybody risk injury, I do appreciate that they're at least doing some high flying things.  I do like that the CWC established that Cruiserweight is just that -- a weight limit, it's not a particular style.  But I do think the casual audience needs to see that, yes, the division does do some really exciting things.

8:40 - You know what?  I'm going to take a risk and say that Kalisto wins here.  The Cruiserweight division already needs to be at the Smackdown arena for 205 Live, so why not just do the sensible thing and move them to Smackdown?  Plus, it's not like having the division is doing anything for Raw.

Having said that, I do really, really like the Brian Kendrick character.

8:31 - Unusual booking that only did make sense because of the people who won.  I did ultimately like the story -- the match came down to the one non-team (Sheamus and Cesaro) and the one team not totally committed to the cause (Usos).  I understood needing the Usos to be the last team in there (Sheamus wouldn't have gotten cheered against any other team).  But similar to the Women's match, there seemed to be A LOT of awkwardly timed and blown spots.

8:24 - Are the Usos still in this?

8:13 - Nevermind.

8:12 - Conventional wisdom says that Smackdown wins to make the final match the "rubber match," however if we view the singles matches we're already tied at 1-1.  I do think Raw wins this as they have more established and more (overall) over teams.

Should Smackdown win, I think American Alpha and PERHAPS Slater/Rhyno survive.  If Raw wins, I say Enzo & Kass and probably the New Day survive.

8:08 - Looks like Cesaro was already eliminated by his jacket.

Minus one million points to the New Day for not whipping out their old red gear.

7:58 - Good enough match but lacked some real passion at the end.  At no point did I really think the match was about to end.  I liked what they were going for with the finish, but too much time had passed between the false bell ring and the Miz roll up.  As a result, Zayn looked a little foolish.  It was quite obvious base don the ref's expression that the match hadn't actually ended....why was Zayn still celebrating?

The ending was also not SO complex that it needed that many replays.

7:45 - Zayn always wears red designs on his tights, but Miz at least went with some blue colored trunks.  Nicely done.

7:40 - I sincerely hope that Byron and JBL aren't the constants for tonight.

As noted in my previous post, I see the Intercontinental title remaining on Smackdown.  I previously thought that Zayn may win only to announce that he signed a deal to Smackdown, but after the love fest between him and Foley on the kickoff show, that seems unlikely.  So I guess Miz retains.

7:39 - Haha, fun little throwback to the introduction of Ellsworth there.  Inoffensive fun.

7:31 - The story was right here, with Charlotte referring to Bayley as the weak link of the team and then making the winning pinfall.  Plus Charlotte continues her undefeated PPV streak.  Good way to move on to a feud with Bayley and Charlotte now as well.

7:27 - The girls do not seem entirely on the same page here.  A lot of mistimed spots.

7:22 - I never much cared for the whole routine where you go 15-20 minuets without an elimination, and then there are 5 eliminations in the span of a minute.

7:13 - As noted in my previous post, I see Raw taking this one.  I'm thinking Charlotte, Bayley and Sasha survive.

7:07 - I like how all of the Raw females are wearing red in their attire.  Hopefully the Smackdown ladies follow suit.

7:04 - Wait, after that WWE 2K17 opening, the show isn't even being sponsored by the video game?  If I were Mattel, I'd be asking why they didn't use action figures in its place!

6:58 - Let me just say this:  I don't understand why they continue to put Kane over people they might even remotely be interested in pushing at some point in the near future.  In 2016.

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Pre-Survivor Series thoughts

I'll do my best to post a "LIVE" stream of thoughts for tonight's show, but just in case I don't here are some predictions.

I predict that Team Raw takes the tag team Survivor Series match (since they have a much more established division, all things considered).  I think it's likely that they take the Women's Survivor Series match too, to continue Charlotte's undefeated streak at PPVs.  If that happens, I see Charlotte, Sasha, and Bayley surviving.

I see Smackdown taking the main event Survivor Series match, since Smackdown needs a big win.  Smackdown is also the de factor babyface brand, since Bryan and Shane are both very popular, while Stephanie is usually a heel and Foley's character is, in my opinion, less than likable.  I see Ambrose and AJ surviving.

I also see Smackdown coming up big in the one-on-one matches.  I think Kalisto wins the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, transferring the entire division to Smackdown (the whole roster has to be there anyway for the 205 Live show, so it just makes sense).  Plus Bryan and Kendrick on the same brand has a lot of storyline opportunities.

I also would not be shocked to see Zayn win the Intercontinental title, but to then announce that he's signed a deal with Smackdown.  Regardless, I don't see the title going to Raw.

And I see Brock getting his win back over Goldberg.  More than anything else, I just don't see them using the "big Brock win" on Goldberg.  Very little benefit there.

I'm cautiously optimistic about the show.  But if it living up to expectations, I'm not afraid to switch over to the Walking Dead.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

About That Awkward Ambrose/Austin Interview....


So this past Monday Dean Ambrose appeared on the Stone Cold Podcast in what was anticipated (by me anyway) by many people.  How does Dean Ambrose, the apparent red headed stepchild of the Shield, feel about being WWE Champion and actually winning the first (and thus far only) match between all three Shield members?  Did he resent the initial pushes his former stablemates got?  Does he think his current push is the result of Reigns' suspension?

Unfortunately, we didn't really get any of that.  And while I didn't think it was an overall bad interview, it certainly didn't live up to expectations.  At the very least, it can be described as awkward or uncomfortable.

I searched the #StoneColdPodcast on Twitter to see what the fans thought.  The responses were about 50/50, with half saying "if you liked Ambrose before, you'll love him now!" and the other half saying "was Ambrose high?" or "that was terrible."  Likewise, those that didn't like the interview were split with half blaming Ambrose for his poor interactive skills, and the other half wondering why Austin kept pushing certain questions and issues that didn't really relate to wrestling or Ambrose's career.

So, who is to blame?

I'm sure Ambrose will get a lot of heat for it (the poor performance PLUS insulting the scripted promos PLUS making fun of a producer PLUS badmouthing, pretty harshly, Brock Lesnar) but I after thinking about it for a couple of days, I think most of the blame should fall on Austin who simply didn't do a very good idea interviewing an atypical personality.  Admittedly, I am a big Ambrose fan, but I also appreciate Austin and have enjoyed pretty much every single one of his podcasts.  But honestly, I think if Jericho or Foley had hosted this interview, the result would have been like night and day.

First and foremost, Austin devoted far too much time to Ambrose's childhood and teen years.  And while those topics are the norm and they are important (to an extent), he didn't let Ambrose run with the topic.  If the topic didn't go in the direction that Austin had wished, Austin would cut him off and ask him (almost badger him) about what Austin wanted to hear.  For example, Ambrose didn't seem to want to talk about his father, yet on two separate occasions Austin brought the conversation to Ambrose's relationship with his father.  Ambrose didn't bite either time, but Austin still forced the topic.  I don't know if there's a story there, but nonetheless Ambrose wasn't making it an interesting discussion.  And again, when Ambrose mentioned dropping out of school, Austin cut him off -- twice -- to see how his parents reacted.  Again, Ambrose brushed off the topic.  Austin again cut him off to say that his parents would have kicked his ass.  Ambrose didn't bite, so why force it?  What impact does it have on anything fans would actually care about?

The real eye opener to me, though, was when Ambrose told the story about receiving the call about being hired by WWE, and Austin literally cut him off to say that he didn't like the way Ambrose told the story.  And Ambrose answered that he's a mellow guy so despite being excited at the time, he's not that expressive in retelling it because of his natural calm demeanor.  That showed me that Austin cares more about responses than what his subject is saying.

And finally, for all the pushing and prodding that Austin did during Ambrose's formidable years, he really didn't ask any of the interesting, hard hitting questions that people actually would have cared about.  He ever so briefly asked about his feelings about the path each member of the Shield took, he didn't really push it as far as he could have.  And that's the sort of thing I think even casual fans would care about.  Not to mention that the censorship made entire portions of the interview unintelligible.

And then at the end, Austin begins to criticize Ambrose.  Again, this isn't unusual, he tends to have constructive criticisms for all of his guests (recently telling AJ Styles that he needs to make his offense seem more aggressive).  Except Austin's criticism of Ambrose was either vague or something he has little control over (Ambrose can only push the envelope so far under strict rating limitations).  Ambrose is far from perfect, why couldn't Austin be more specific with the areas where he can improve?  Why couldn't he say that his offense looks weak and that he needs to fight like he's the best wrestling in the company?  That would have been fair and I would have been interested in hearing his response.

Honestly, Ambrose was not the best subject (which is unfortunate), but it ultimately came down to two very differing personalities that weren't working together.  And as the interviewer, I think that responsibility falls on Austin.  Jericho and possibly Foley would have gotten a much better interview out of Ambrose.

What do you think?  How did you see it?

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

LIVE Smackdown....um....LIVE thoughts - July 19, 2016

9:57 - Pretty cool that they gave Ambrose the clean and decisive win going into the title match at Battleground.  At the very least, this adds some legitimacy to Ambrose's reign and he won't look like a lame duck should he lose at Battleground.  Interested in seeing what happens.

Alright, I'll watch the rest of the Draft on WWE Network but won't be doing a play by play.  Enjoy!!

9:43 - Still hoping for the "clear the locker room" ending.  No interest in seeing Ambrose lose tonight.  Or moving the title to Raw for the rest of the week.

9:36 - Who thought it was a good idea to end the draft with Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus????

9:32 - Have six NXT guys even been picked so far?  It's going to be a bit anti-climatic to end it with an NXT pick, unless it's Bayley or Joe, I would think.

9:26 - A bit surprised to see Big Show drafted at all, to be honest.  Nice to see Dolph Ziggler get a little attention.  Surprised to see the Club broken up, but perhaps they'll reunite with Finn Balor?  The crowd completely deflated when they realized Steph wasn't getting Bayley.

I wonder if we'll see any surprise entrants, though.

9:18 - Nobody exceedingly obvious missing right now.  I'm guessing Smackdown selects the Club next (makes sense for the AJ connection, plus they need a "name" pick and numbers).  Obvious wildcards:  Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, Cesaro, the Dudley Boyz, Apollo Crews, Natalya.

9:16 - Really cool ending and it's good to see Jericho get a win....but they've clearly given up on Cesaro's latest push.  He's not being buried or anything, but he's just exchanging wins and losses with people.

9:11 - The overwhelming feeling seems to be that Raw is "winning" the draft.  I don't think it's as much of a blowaway as everybody else does.  Smackdown has Cena, Ambrose, AJ, and guys who elicit a reaction like Wyatt and Miz.  Not terrible.

9:05 - Is there anything more annoying than that inflection Stephanie does with her voice?

9:04 - I'm guessing Smackdown picks Miz now.

8:57 - I am enjoying these Network interviews because the Superstars are clearly just being themselves and having fun.  This is the most entertaining I've seen Chris Jericho in years.

8:50 - Surprised to see Owens picked after Zayn and Jericho.  Pretty cool to see Sasha and Becky picked so early.

8:38 - I'm guessing Bray Wyatt gets drafted next round.  Also, potentially, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (to separate shows).  And at least one more NXT Superstar.

8:32 - Again, great interview with Cena on the WWE Network about him being drafted to Smackdown.  Cena back on Smackdown for the first time in something like 10 years is a great thing for both the show and the Superstar.  I can see his stock with the fans improving significantly.

8:23 - Some obvious big-name picks here that made sense.  As predicted, Reigns to Raw and Cena to Smackdown.  Lesnar and Orton to Raw and Smackdown makes sense too.  New Day to Raw was interesting as well.  Does this mean that Raw gets the Cruiserweight Championship, Women's Championship AND Tag Team Championship?  Women's and Tag Titles aren't being defended at Battleground.

8:17 - I'm kinda hoping the championship match ends in a no contest when the drafted Raw and Smackdown Superstars come in to interfere on behalf of Rollins and Ambrose, respectively.  It's in the best personal interest of the Superstars of each brand to make sure that their show has the WWE Championship.  AJ Styles should want Dean Ambrose to win so that he has an opportunity to challenge for the title.  Maybe each side interferes too often to cause a DQ finish.

8:15 - Really fun and in-depth interview with Charlotte on the WWE Network.  I'm enjoying the Draft Center stuff.

Next round, I'm thinking Reigns to Raw and Cena to Smackdown.

8:10 - Whoa, pretty cool to have the side-by-side screens during the commercials.  Nicely done, USA and WWE.

8:04 - Pretty cool that Charlotte was the third overall pick.  Does this mean that Raw gets the Women's Division AND the Cruiserweight Division?

8:02 - Not surprising and a really cool honor for Seth Rollins.  Guy had an awesome couple years and deserves this.  I'm guessing Smackdown picks Dean Ambrose.

8:00 - Cool seeing everyone (but Bryan) sporting their show's colors and logos.  I'm guessing pick #1 is Seth Rollins.

7:46 - The Top 10 draft shockers brought back some nice memories of when the brand split was taken pretty seriously.  For a LONG time I was a huge proponent of the brand split.  I didn't think guys like Edge, CM Punk, or Daniel Bryan would have gotten a shot at the World Championship.  Arguably, neither would John Cena or even Batista.  Certainly, guys like Christian and probably somebody like the Miz wouldn't have either.  And at those moments, they likely deserved the opportunity as champion.  But once they stopped taking it seriously, anybody associated with the Smackdown brand kinda became tarnished goods and it was doing more harm than good.  I don't think this is the right time to do a brand split, but if they take it seriously and make some smart moves, it could be a good thing after a few months.  Let's see.

7:32 - Lita repeatedly mentioning the Wyatts being drafted together, when they're not, is uncomfortable.

7:04 - So I think this is an absolute first.....I don't think I've ever done a LIVE posting of Smackdown before.  Well, in typical WWE fashion, we're getting an overabundance of something.  We saw Ambrose vs. Rollins last night.  We're seeing Ambrose vs. Rollins (and Reigns) on Sunday.  Well, now we're seeing Ambrose vs. Rollins AGAIN tonight.  Why?  To create further controversy so that they can split the titles?  Can't they just do that Sunday?  And since a triple threat doesn't benefit the champion -- and both of these guys are in the triple threat match -- why even bother resolving the issue?  It literally won't make a difference as both would have to defend Sunday and neither would have a championship advantage.  Seems unnecessary to me.

I've got the Pre-Show playing in the background so I'll comment if anything interesting happens. If not, I'll see you guys in a little less than an hour.

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