Welcome to the first episode of Pat’s Pit, where we discuss some recent goings on in WWE. Dumb responses will get you hit in the head with a coconut. Here’s today’s discussions:
Maybe a few questions in one, but Roman Reigns/Braun Strowman’s booking: WASSUP WIT DAT? When we were at Raw live, I thought it was a Roman/Shield heel turn. Come to find out the next week, Strowman was the one who turned heel. Did they do this right? Should it have been reversed? How would you have done it?
STEVE: I think they’ve built Strowman’s character enough to heel turn successfully, but with Reigns usual crowd response (haters), I think they are appropriately riding the wave of returning superstar joy that inexplicably happens every time a return or reunion happens.
CHRIS: No, they didn’t do this right, but that concept of right booking and wrong booking could lead me down a rabbit hole that, if tamed, would start with the shitty booking at SummerSlam of Braun Strowman. For this question though, I’m avoiding SummerSlam. My proposal is not far and away different from what’s been done up to this point; Drew and Dolph would still be in the conversation and vying for tag team/IC gold, but they wouldn’t be with Braun. Instead, Braun would be on his own for a time, trying to get one over on everyone (sometimes doing so), but ultimately overwhelmed by the Shield and Drew and Dolph. This would culminate to Hell in a Cell where Drew and Dolph would have the tag titles and retain (as they did), but the hell in a cell match with Braun and Roman would run a little differently. I have to play with the idea a little more, but this would be the opportunity for Wyatt 2.0. Not a spooky, supernatural family, just a violent one. The lights would go out, no Wyatt graphic. When they’d come back on, Braun would be holding a black sheep mask, and The Shield and Co. would be cut off by two figures draped in black. Harper and Wyatt emerge and help Braun win the title.
KRYSIA: There were rumors that when Ambrose returns he would be making the move to a heel. I really thought the entire Shield would turn with him. When it turned out to be Strowman going heel, I was a little disappointed especially since he teamed up with Dolph and Drew. They should have just made the Shield/Roman turn. They already have the fans loving to hate Roman, with the “Let’s go Roman” vs “Roman Sucks” chants that fill the arenas. It would have made perfect sense to turn all three heel. Yet again they are teasing on an Ambrose turn. Just making Ambrose turn is no different than when Rollins turned on his brothers. However if they do have Ambrose turn his back on his “brothers” then I would love to see him team up with Drew. Somehow get Ziggler out of the picture, and have Ambrose replace him. Or even just create his own faction with Drew, and another powerful member. Maybe Braun? Or even Bray? That would be cool, because where the hell did Bray Wyatt disappear to? That’s another question within itself.
ADORABLE ADRIAN ADONIS: The company screwed the pooch with this one by making Braun the heel and reforming the Shield to back up Roman as a face. Personally, The Shield does not excite me at all for one very simple reason: they have all been around since Survivor Series 2012, and have all been singles stars hovering around or just beneath the main event since the summer of 2014, with the only breaks due to injuries to Seth and Dean and Roman pissing hot for steroids and missing a month. The staleness on the card, for me, is compounded by the lack of character development. Dean has been a mad man since 2014, but now he and Seth are cool and not mortal enemies. Seth was a slimy heel until he came back from his injury and was a de facto face and won over Dean’s trust again. Roman has been Roman for six years. Put another way, this is like Vince McMahon pushing out the Lex Express in 1997 or 1998. I’m bored by them, and a heel turn for Dean and Roman would have been different and fresh, especially since Braun had fans behind him and brought an aura and excitement with him that could have been doubled by the energy fans could finally unload on a heel Roman. Instead it’s just same old Raws that have me saying “blah”.
PAT: I was thrilled when I thought they turned Roman and The Shield heel. So many different scenarios ran through my head on how they could run with that and make it work. I was really disappointed when it became obvious it was the other way around. Especially since it feels like now Strowman is being set up as just another obstacle for Roman to overcome. I’m still a fan of Roman, but I think a great heel run would have been a better long-term decision if you really want him to get a babyface reaction. Top heels make the best future babyfaces. Carmella has already flipped that switch over on SmackDown.
I’ve addressed this in past blog posts with what my opinion on this, but do you think Raw or SmackDown is better, or do you like them equally? If one is better, why?
STEVE: I like Raw and SmackDown equally, the ads are a bit overkill, I know they need to make money but damn, and as a bit of a purist I’ll say less talking more wrasslin’.
CHRIS: Currently, I like SmackDown far more. It is the show with the superior matches, and more importantly, the superior, fleshed out characters. The motivations for everyone on the show (save Bobby Roode and Chad Gable) is known, and they do not feel afraid about giving a little more stink on the promo work that goes into building the story. Two hours of must see TV right there. Raw is good, but the show has managed to hold every belt on the show hostage to The Shield and Shield related stories, to the point that no one else can flourish. If you’re not Dolph, Drew, or Braun, you have no story leading to a title, and the same goes for the women’s division. As much as I love Ronda and her fantastic work so far, you know she isn’t losing that belt anytime soon, making the what if factor that keeps the show alive in the dirt. It bores me to be honest; this level of predictability in their booking doesn’t draw me. SmackDown doesn’t have that; I feel like the belts could change hands (especially AJ’s once the damn game comes out), and that alone is intriguing.
KRYSIA: I like/dislike both of them equally. There are pros and cons for each brand. I do not like how long Raw is. There are times that the show just drags, and staying up till 11 after working a full day can be a little much at times. Each brand has certain superstars that I enjoy watching, so it’s hard to say I like one over the other. A lot of the times they tend to have the same story line going, which can be a little annoying. I enjoy the commentators in the Raw brand better than SmackDown. I admire that Renee is commentator on Raw. Women have come such a long way for brand as a whole. I really wish they would make a women’s division tag title.
ADORABLE ADRIAN ADONIS: RAW is hard to get through for two reasons. First, it is three hours, and not a an action packed three hours like you would get with a sports event, and not a good three hours of creativity that you could find in a movie of the same length. The way the shows are laid out is rote, opening with a long winded promo by someone that sets up that night’s main event, a few three-star matches that are recycled each week in single and tag forms, and creative that is based solely on people trading wins each week. It’s boring, predictable, and far too long. Secondly, like I said previously, The Shield is all over these shows, adding to the monotony.
Meanwhile, SmackDown is a far different show, based on logical storytelling, better matches, and the energy on the show is more urgent and exciting, a lot of it due to the two-hour run time. Pros like Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, and Shinsuke Nakamura are veterans and show how good wrestling can be when people who know more than just “WWE style” of working, and even details like facial expressions, are running the shows. Even characters like R-Truth, Carmella, and Randy Orton have blossomed on this show for some reason. Perhaps writers and producers? I really don’t know why it is, but it’s just better. Lastly, a major thing that helps SmackDown is the last of an overwhelming Authority Figure, which drags down RAW each and every week. I wish the entire archetype would be scrubbed, but I know that is asking too much.
PAT: Raw is centered around six guys and their one big feud, and that one feud seems to be what the majority of the three hours is focused on. On SmackDown, each feud has it’s time on the show, then they move on. Of course they’ll use an opening segment to set up something later, but that opening segment generally doesn’t lead to three more matches that take up the whole show. It also depends on the audience. Raw often draws in the casual fans and has a larger, more diverse audience to entertain. If you ask kids which show is better, they’ll probably say Raw by far. SmackDown is more for me and the people who are participating in and reading this post, “smart” fans who want to see more in-depth storylines, underdog/indie-type wrestlers, and faster-paced matches. But any way you slice it, throughout the entire summer, it’s been blatantly obvious that SmackDown has kicked Raw’s ass.
What do you think of these Saudi Arabia/Australia super shows?
STEVE: I like the super shows, it seems like they took shows that would have normally been a simple house show and turned it into something huge, which is nothing but beneficial for them, but, my intrinsic problem is I feel like they are almost surpassing WrestleMania level with some of the matches on these cards which kind of downplays Mania, making it harder for it to be the biggest show of the year.
CHRIS: Cash grabs that make normal PPV events seem unimportant and really centralize the reality that WWE has done their absolute best to ensure that no iconic stars have been developed during this era. More importantly, fuck the Saudi Arabia show. You can take that Evolution PPV and shove it right up Vince’s ass; it means nothing if your morality is purchasable.
KRYSIA: think it’s amazing that they have expanded so far, and reach so many people. I feel that those shows should have like really good matches lined up. I also enjoy the fact that they are giving us some of the old school talent that I grew up watching. I was listening to a blog while driving, and the guy was talking about how the Prince of Saudi Arabia wanted the Ultimate Warrior and Yokozuna to be at the show. I guess he didn’t realize that both of those superstars are dead. With that being said there is now a rumor that Hulk Hogan will be making his return at Saudi Arabia. That would be pretty cool if he does return. I look forward to watching the Undertaker vs Triple H match. I grew up watching these two guys and their feud. The fact that the Heartbreak Kid and Kane will be outside the ring is also pretty cool.
ADORABLE ADRIAN ADONIS: Truth be told, I don’t care for these and won’t watch any of them, because the Beast in the East and Greatest Royal Rumble shows have shown that these are glorified house shows to draw money for WWE, and that is great for the business and for the fans in these countries who really don’t get these shows, but it’s useless to me.
PAT: I don’t have much of a problem with the Australia show other than I hope that Triple H vs. Undertaker is NOT the main event, since I feel like that devalues current wrestlers and makes the four guys involved more important than current champions plus the belts they carry. The Saudi Arabia shows… I really want to say fuck the company for doing this, but I am just hanging on by a threat to what Triple H said last year when he said that you can’t just change it overnight. We don’t know how much (or, though hopefully not, how little) of a priority eventually getting women on the card is in Saudi Arabia, so I’m not ready to condemn them for it just yet. I think these shows are exciting and I’m always up for whatever entertainment WWE is willing to give me. Every show is more bang for my $9.99.
It’s April 2021, WrestleMania 37. Who is wrestling for the WWE, Universal, Raw Women’s, and SmackDown Women’s Championships?
Raw Women’s Title: Riott Squad dismantled, Ruby Riott as a heel defends the belt successfully against a face Liv Morgan
SmackDown Women’s Title: Becky Lynch as a heel defends the belt against a face Naomi
Bobby Roode is gonna be WWE Champion and is gonna lose the belt to a heel Nakamura
Tommaso Ciampa is gonna have a heel victory over a face Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Championship
Universal Championship is gonna be Elias as a face winning the belt from a heel Roman Reigns
CHRIS: This post is complete fan service.
WWE Title: Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Finn Balor. Fatal four way. Battle of the darlings.
Finn wins. Finally.
Universal Title: Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns.
Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey vs. Asuka
Don’t ask me how it happens. Asuka wins.
SmackDown women’s title: Bayley, Sasha, Charlotte, Becky. Give me this fucking match.
Bayley or Becky wins.
Raw Tag titles: These ones are hard because the tag titles feel pretty uneventful/unimportant these days. The Revival vs. AOP vs. Dean/Seth.
Dean and Seth are set to do double duty later that night, fighting each other over the IC title, and here is where Dean does the betrayal, setting up for the aftermath to ensue an hour or less later. Revival wins.
Dean vs. Seth for IC title. Dean wins. SmackDown tag titles: New Day vs. a returning American Alpha managed by Kurt Angle
American Alpha wins.
U.S title gets retired.
Universal Championship: Adam Cole vs Dean Ambrose
Raw Women’s Title: Shayna Baszler vs Kari Sane
WWE Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Drew McIntyre
SmackDown Women’s Title: Nikki Cross vs Asuka
ADORABLE ADRIAN ADONIS: I have no idea, but just because Vince will never die and wants to get his way, I say Roman Reigns defeats a Roman Reigns hologram.
Raw Women’s Title: Shayna Baszler w/Marina Shafir vs. Ronda Rousey (c) w/Jessamyn Duke
SmackDown Women’s Title: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Asuka vs. Lacey Evans
Universal Championship: Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman (c)
WWE Championship: Chad Gable vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (c)
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