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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Monday, July 18, 2016

LIVE Raw thoughts - July 18, 2016

11:14 - According to online reports, Dean Ambrose is OFFICIALLY still the WWE champion.  I can buy that Steph has so much faith in Rollins that she'd pick him as her #1 draft pick, with the assumption that he'll win the title on Sunday, but Ambrose just HAS to be pick #2 (and #1 for Smackdown), doesn't he?  Otherwise he and the GM's look like a fool.

11:07 - That was a great match -- definitely the best of Dean's title run -- and pretty much the ending we expected (and the one we needed to remove the WWE Championship from the Draft storyline).  I was fine with it as both guys looked good and worthy of being champion.  I do think they could have done a better job of getting across that Rollins didn't legitimately win the championship and that Steph was acting in her heelish ways.

And man, it's so strange that Shane gets completely emasculated by his little sister in pretty much every segment.

10:51 - I liked the analysis of Steph's relationship with Seth and Foley's relationship with Ambrose and how that might impact their working relationship right now.  Well done, Cole.

10:40 - Oh yeah and he beat him to win the damn title.

10:38 - That's blatantly not true.  Dean Ambrose beat Seth Rollins one-on-one to get into the four way title match last year and beat him by DQ at Money in the Bank.

10:32 - Fun and effective segment with Bryan and Foley (which did a better job of effectively building the tension between the brands than Shane or Steph ever did).  I don't love that Ambrose came out first for his match, though, and was quickly rushed to commercial.  The Champion (particularly a popular face one) deserves better than that.

10:27 - Sorry, WWE, but John Cena hosting the ESPYs is not the thing the sports and entertainment world are talking about.

10:14 - I'm a sucker for when Superstars wear other Superstars' t-shirts.  And then there's the #ZRvsDZ sticker, which I once placed on a Rutgers grease truck.

10:06 - The Ambrose promo was good but not great.  I liked the allusion to the early Shield promos (they typically did the hand held cam stuff back in the day) but it felt too rushed.  He didn't get the time Rollins did, and he didn't get to speak as confidently either.  He kinda gave an "eh" response to whether he would even retain the title.  Ambrose clearly has the ability to deliver a strong promo -- last week was evidence of that -- I wish he was given the material to put himself (and the title matches) over strong here.

9:59 - This company has slowly become terrible at filming entrances.  For ALL of AJ's face run, they'd focus on the Titan Tron during "I Am...." and then cut away so you barely see "Phenomenal."  And now during Sasha's fun entrance, they focus on friggin Lillian Garcia?

9:54 - Now THAT'S how you get people excited about that Cruiserweight division!

9:45 - Fun Seth Rollins promo with the allusions to the Shield entrance.  Again, though:  Hoping they don't have Ambrose outright lose the title.

9:35 - Really great and fun match that showed that their individual Battleground tag matches have the potential to deliver.  I do have to wonder, though.....why was John Cena even in the ring?

9:10 - I actually really liked that segment as it diverted from the traditional format of having one team come out, and then another.  Cena had his moment, interrupted by his partners Enzo and Cass.  They had their moment, interrupted by their opponents the Club.  They had their moment.  Enzo, Cass, and Cena chimed in.  Then the New Day came out, and they had their moment.  Then the Wyatts came out to get the match moving.  It was good stuff, and I think each person/team got their moment in the sun.

Also, a rare time that Big E wasn't one of the New Day to wear the championship belt.

9:03 - Enzo is a lot more fun when they let him riff and go beyond the typical punchlines.  I thought this was good.

8:58 - It's funny how, after a couple of years out of the spotlight and some badddddddd attempted replacements (Reigns), there's a new level of appreciation for Cena.....even from those who traditionally boo him.  The place exploded last week when he shockingly appeared after the ESPY rehearsals.  And I don't think it was necessarily because they loved seeing him.....I think part of it was genuine respect for the fact that the guy was willing to fly to Raw just to make a quick run in.

8:41 - Wait, is that what Stephanie McMahon thinks Child's Play is about?

8:31 - It would be cool if they actually did something with the Cruiserweight division storyline.  Have guys like Sin Cara, Kalisto, Neville, and so on try to negotiate with Stephanie to get her to draft them to Raw.  Have somebody create some dissension between Cass and Enzo -- what if they get drafted to Smackdown as a team, yet Enzo would qualify for some personal glory on Raw as a Cruiserweight.  Or have Shane leverage for Stephanie to give up the 3:2 pick ratio one or two rounds or else he'll nab some Cruiserweights, ruining her division.

8:21 - That Shield triple threat video was pretty awesome (made cooler with the battle flags) but it echoes my earlier feeling about how they "wasted" a big time match by not doing it right, with Roman's suspension.  It's a really great story and culminated in the perfect way (the WWE Championship).  I wish they just waited -- even if it was years -- so that they could do it right.

8:13 - Daniel Bryan is a nice addition but didn't feel like a huge surprise (WWE's own fault).  I hope he does a better job of Shane at selling the Smackdown brand.  Stephanie made Raw seem like a million bucks with them getting the first overall pick, getting more picks AND getting the Cruiserweight division.  Shane got no response whatsoever.

8:10 - Is Stephanie blatantly feeding Mick lines during this segment?

8:07 - I'm a tad disappointed in the Foley reveal, only because we've seen him in that role before.  Also, this segment is weird.  Every time Shane begins to speak, he loses focus and Steph takes over.  But not in a positive way.

8:02 - Odd that Shane and Steph are announced as Commissioners of Smackdown and Raw, yet during the teaser they were announced as COO's.

I do hope they make some logical sense out of Shane or Steph only picking one part of a tag team.  Logistically, why wouldn't you take the "free" pick?

7:50 - Some quick pre-Raw thoughts before the start of the show.  What I'm hoping for:  Some unexpected GM's that can actually contribute to something to the show.  What I'd prefer not to see:  Kane filling the role.  I'm also hoping we see Ambrose retain the title (at Battleground, too) although I would be okay with some sort of angle that vacated the title altogether in order to do some course correction for the brand split.  But I don't want Ambrose to lose it outright.  Also, I'm basically hoping the show doesn't drag on endlessly.

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