So the first episodes of RAW and SmackDown under this so-called "New Era" are now on the books.
Both shows were good but, which one did better than the other? Who were the ones that shined in each show?
Well let's find out and share my thoughts and opinions about this new beginning for the WWE!
WWE Universal Championship Announcement
So let's start with RAW and we kicked things off with Stephanie and Mick Foley announcing the new title for RAW which is called the "WWE Universal Championship" named after the WWE Universe (the fans!)
Now a lot of people don't like the name but me personally, I don't mind it. As long as it looks cool and will he be held by rightful wrestlers then I'm all aboard for it!
Since he was the No. 1 Draft Pick for RAW, Seth Rollins immediately gets to be one of the contenders for the title. Now his opponent will be determined on this episode, how? Well RAW had two big Fatal 4 Way matches, winners of each of those matches gets to face-off in the main event and the winner faces Rollins at SummerSlam for the Universal Title.
Balor vs Owens vs Cesaro vs Rusev
So the first of the two Fatal 4 Way matches we got, the debuting Finn Balor taking on Kevin Owens,Cesaro,and current US Champion: Rusev. It's amazing how four of these men made a name for themselves in NXT and now they are having successful runs in the main roster!
You get exactly what you can expect from four of these men, just a great Fatal 4 Way match. Each of them managed to take the momentum and overall I think this is a better match than the other one in my opinion.
Finn Balor takes the victory after pinning Rusev with the Coup de Grace!
Nia Jax vs Britt Baker
So after that awesome match we got another debuting wrestler in the form of Nia Jax. Squash matches are back it seems like. Jax just destroyed local jobber: Britt Baker in minutes!
I'm not the biggest fan of Nia Jax but hey I don't mind her at all. She definitely has that Awesome Kong vibe in her and I won't be surprised if she goes after the Women's Title in a short period of time.
Reigns vs Zayn vs Sheamus vs Y2J
We got the second Fatal 4 Way qualifier. Like I said, while I preferred the first one this was still a good match. Even though the result is obvious that Reigns is going to win, I still enjoyed the match.
Nothing really else to say other than Reigns winning this one to advance and face Finn Balor later on in the night. I got no complaints whatsoever. Everybody involved did their parts well.
Neville vs Curtis Axel
The next match we got to see Neville back in the ring after months of hiatus due to a knee injury. He faced-off Curtis Axel with his new gimmick where he is nicknamed "Mr. Irrelevant."
Apparently this has something to do with him being drafted last, I don't know it's an American Football reference which I don't watch but hey there's that.
As you might expect, Neville beats Axel via the Red Arrow. I'm just glad to see Neville back, he'll definitely have a good future ahead of him since the Cruiserweight Division is going to be on RAW.
As for Curtis Axel, it's sad how low his career went. From being a former Intercontinental Champion to being called Mr. Irrelevant, Mr. Perfect is facepalming right now!
Gallows & Anderson attacked The New Day
So The New Day came out in the ring and celebrate the fact that they are now the longest reigning WWE Tag-Team Champions in history! Which is of course not true, the record still belongs to Demolition but since they are currently suing the company WWE would want us to forget about that!
Anyway we had a guy named "Sonny Boy" who was an "honorary member" of The New Day and you know they did New Day things like twerking and all that shit. Oh and yeah before I forget they also announced that Booty-O's is now a legit cereal so there you go.
While they are doing their thing, Gallows & Anderson attacked them outta nowhere! Definitely going to be an interesting feud and as much as I love The New Day, I think it's finally time to drop those belts to another equally good team of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson at SummerSlam I'm assuming where it will take place!
WWE Women's Championship: Charlotte (c) vs Sasha Banks
After an impressive performance at BattleGround where the team of Sasha and Bayley beats Charlotte and Dana Brooke, The Boss had another chance for the WWE Women's Championship at RAW as announced by the higher-ups earlier in the show.
As you can expect from these two, Charlotte & Sasha had an amazing match! Definitely one of the best women's matches in wrestling history, not even kidding!
Sasha did a tribute to her idol, the late great Eddie Guerrero by pretending to got hit by Dana Brooke with the belt allowing the referee to get rid of Charlotte's "protege."
Sasha made Charlotte tap out AGAIN using the Banks Statement to finally get her hands at the WWE Women's Championship, a dream she had since she was 10 and what an inspiring story indeed!
It's also an interesting fact that Sasha defeated Charlotte for the NXT Women's Title, and now she beat her for the WWE Women's Title! I for sure thought they were gonna save this title victory for SummerSlam but hey I don't mind seeing Sasha finally winning it at RAW and it is certainly the highlight of the whole show itself!
Definitely a moment all of us fans will never forget. Congrats Sasha, as the crowd chanted "You Deserve It!"
Braun Strowman vs James Ellsworth
After that great match between Sasha & Charlotte we got another squash match where Braun Strowman who is now on his own destroyed a local jobber by the name of James Ellsworth.
Poor Ellsworth was just made fun of by the entire commentary crew, you know it's bad when even Byron Saxton is roasting your ass! Also the guy is now a living meme among the IWC so I guess that will help him get more bookings in indy events? Who knows!
Anyway Strowman looked strong here as you might expect. He's got a new haircut and theme song and seems like he will be having Ryback's old gimmick for a while where he will be destroying unknown jobbers for a few weeks before setting his sights on much well known wrestlers in the roster.
I'm not a fan of Strowman but he definitely does a good job at his character which is being a big brute. You should not expect Bret Hart-esque technicality of wrestling from this guy! Yes he is still a little green but there's definitely room for improvement, he is already better than The Great Khali.
Enzo & Cass vs Shining Stars
Nothing too special here, just your typical tag-team match showcasing more of the tag-teams for RAW.
Enzo & Cass beats Primo & Epico, The Shining Stars after Epico got destructed by Golden Truth who were catching Pokemon in the middle of the ring via the Pokemon Go app! Big Cass gave Epico a Big Boot straight to the face for the win.
This is just another momentum booster for the team of Enzo and Cass. As for the Shining Stars, I don't even know if WWE has future plans for them. Their new gimmick is clearly a failure.
Main Event: Finn Balor vs Roman Reigns
So here it is, the main event for RAW we got former NXT Champion Finn Balor taking on 3x WWE Champion Roman Reigns! Both men showed a great performance, yes hate Reigns all you want but he certainly managed to keep up with a lot of great wrestlers like AJ Styles and now Balor!
Both men kicked out of each other's finishers and signatures moves which wasn't shocking, I mean this is the new norm in WWE these days. But in the end it was Balor who got the victory after destroying Reigns by hitting him with the Coup de Grace in the back!
So at SummerSlam we will have a match between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins to crown the inaugural WWE Universal Championship! Another Match of the Year candidate is upon us!
Also can you believe it? Reigns loss clean three times in a row, first at MITB,then at BattleGround,and now at RAW! All the marks are filled with joy, and so am I to be quite honest!
Does this mean his push is dead? I don't think so. If it is he won't win the Fatal 4 Way to begin with, but his momentum clearly has faded away for now.
Here are a few things I wanna point out before I end my review for RAW.
The commentary team was great! Corey Graves is such a great addition and he worked well with Cole and Byron. Although as CMPuls3 said I am getting tired of the other commentators picking on poor Byron! It just seems pointless to me and as for a company who supports an "Anti-Bullying" charity it has to stop!
It was so refreshing to not hear JBL's awful commentary on RAW, although the unfortunate thing is he is on the SmackDown commentary team, which I will get on to later.
We had few new things for RAW as well. The commentary table is now moved near the ramp just like before in the mid 90's which was cool. Also I'm liking these post match interviews they're doing. Small things like those definitely helps for a good show.
Overall this was a great episode of RAW, possibly the greatest episode in 2016! It's been a while since we really had an episode of RAW where it got the attention by a lot of the fans! Hopefully WWE can keep this up.
Shane & Daniel Announced the 6 Pack Challenge
We started off SmackDown with Shane O'Mac and Daniel Bryan welcoming the fans and announcing a "6 Pack Challenge Match" for the main event where the winner gets to face-off Dean Ambrose for the WWE Title at SummerSlam!
They already announced 5 of the participants at the beginning which are: John Cena,Bray Wyatt,Dolph Ziggler,Baron Corbin,and AJ Styles. The 6th man will be determined in a Battle Royal which was next.
So the Battle Royal begins, Simon Gotch got eliminated first in a matter of seconds. Apparently he had a backstage fight with Sin Cara, if you look closely he has a black eye and due to this fight he is getting punished.
Nothing really special here, it's just your typical battle royal. The final four were of the match were: Kalisto,Apollo Crews,Zack Ryder,and Kane. I would've been fine with anybody BUT Kane which I was glad he didn't win.
Anyway Ryder was attempting a move from the top rope but he slipped, there's a Botchamania moment for you! The commentators tried to cover it up but it was pretty damn obvious that he messed up. If they were in Philly, I'm sure the fans are not scared to chant "You Fucked Up!" to the Long Island Iced Z himself.
Ryder eliminates Kalisto, he then got eliminated by Kane. After that Kane chokeslammed Crews but he was able to counter it by doing a backflip which was amazing! Crews managed to eliminate Kane, securing him a spot for the main event later on the night!
Becky Lynch vs Natalya
Next up we got a re-match between Becky and Natalya. It was Nattie who won their match at BattleGround but this time Becky took the victory and I'm glad for her since she is my favorite women's wrestler right now!
After the match we got the rest of the women's roster for SmackDown come out and basically insult each other, we had Alexa Bliss,Naomi,and Carmella show up and talk trash. Then all of a sudden, Eva Marie came out and she didn't even talk, she had this voice or announcer putting her over and shit. This whole segment was just weird and out of place, it's just basically a way of showcasing the women of SmackDown I guess.
Speaking of, is there going to be a version of the Women's Championship for SmackDown? Cause if not then all of these women fighting just for the sake of fighting would really become pointless. We need answers dammit!!!
Randy Orton vs The Miz
We got a Miz TV segment which was fine and all, Randy Orton was the guest and he insulted Miz which then presumed Maryse to accept Orton's challenge on Miz's behalf and then we got this match! Hooray!
In the match Miz quickly attacked Orton's injured shoulder and for a moment I thought he got legit hurt again but thank goodness it was just that The Viper is good at selling!
Miz got RKO'd twice and Orton got a win over the Intercontinental Champion. Quick note, this was a non title match so yeah. Just a momentum booster for Orton in his upcoming match against Brock at SummerSlam.
Rhyno Returns and GORES Heath Slater
So the next segment we got Heath Slater in casual outfit and shit attacked an unknown jobber in the ring. As ya'll might remember Slater wasn't drafted by either RAW or SmackDown so he's demanding Shane O'Mac to get signed and be added on the main event later in the night!
This might be only me but I wouldn't mind seeing Slater in the main event, why the fuck not?! He doesn't got a chance of winning it but just seeing him there would be funny.
As he was chanting "Sign Heath Slater!" Rhyno came out of nowhere and GORES Slater because... he is requesting for a job? Okay... I won't be surprised if Slater does the same thing on RAW next week and gets attacked by another returning wrestler.
Also Shane just called Rhyno the "hottest free agent in wrestling today." Wait what? But yeah Rhyno will be on SmackDown which is cool I guess. He still looks the same he did years ago! Does the dude age?
Main Event - 6 Pack Challenge:
Cena vs Styles vs Ziggler vs Corbin vs Wyatt vs Crews
The main event is here and a lot of people expected this to be a clusterfuck of a match but hey it turned out to be great! All six men delivered a good match and while I wasn't a big fan of the result, I'm not angry over it.
Fast forward a bit to the end, as John Cena was giving free Attitude Adjustments to everybody (like he does) AJ Styles gave him an amazing Phenomenal Forearm! And then outta nowhere Dolph Ziggler gave Styles a Superkick which managed to get him the victory!
I was actually shocked by this, the way AJ sold the Superkick too was a thing of beauty! Usually it is Dolph who does the selling but this time it's the other way around I suppose.
I was rooting for Bray Wyatt to actually win this one, but I'm fine with Ziggler for now I guess. We all know Cena & Styles are not gonna win it since they have their own feud going on.
I think Corbin and Crews will have their own feud too since they faced-off in this match quite often, maybe a feud to become No. 1 Contender for the IC Title? I won't mind seeing either men beat The Miz for it.
After the match Dean Ambrose came out and confronted Ziggler, so the WWE Championship match is set as Ambrose and Ziggler will go at it on SummerSlam! My early prediction, I think Ambrose will retain. It will be a good match, that's for sure though!
I feel so bad for Mauro for having to carry the SmackDown commentary team in his back! David Otunga is okay but JBL, ugh he is just so awful! As if that wasn't known by everyone already anyway. One of the mistakes he did on this show was he called Kalisto, "Sin Cara" like come on dude! Do you even know the roster for your show?
Like I said before in the Draft Review, I would take Booker T any day than JBL! Hell, give us Tom Phillips!
I had low expectations for SmackDown especially on how bad they looked on the draft but hey I actually enjoyed this show! I can understand why some people didn't like it but hey to each their own.
Also next week might be a better episode since we're going to have the return of Shelton Benjamin and the debut of American Alpha! Definitely an episode I won't miss for sure!
It was also announced that after SummerSlam we will have the first SmackDown exclusive PPV which will be: Backlash on September 11,2016.
I think it is obvious on who had the better show this week and that goes to RAW. Just Sasha Banks winning the Women's Title alone was already enough for me to know that SmackDown won't be able to top that!
While yes SmackDown wasn't able to top what RAW did, they still delivered a good show for us. Hopefully more good episodes like these will come out as we go through the weeks.
Which one did you like better? What were your favorite moments/matches? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Thanks For Reading.
All photos used in this post are from WWE.com
The name is Super Mastodon. Been a wrestling fan throughout my life, and I share my interest with you here, at the MWC Blog.
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