The week that become in WWE Smackdown programming saw manufacturers on extraordinary paths popping out of the Royal Rumble pay-in line with-view.
For uncooked, the focal point turned into on building compelling WrestleMania packages and implementing feuds as a way to culminate at Fastlane later in February. The show hinted at dissension amongst Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens, and a heel turn from considered one of the sport’s maximum famous lady stars can be on deck. However it turned into the appearance of Samoa Joe and his attack on Seth Rollins that stole headlines.
Over on SmackDown stay, the sector for the removal Chamber match on Feb. 12 turned into established earlier than Dean Ambrose and AJ patterns waged warfare in a single extra important event for the blue emblem.
John Cena and Randy Orton shared the hoop in tag group action ahead in their most important event on subsequent week’s show.
With one of a kind goals in thoughts and differing levels of urgency in the direction of their respective products, the shows performed various stages of achievement.
But which won the weekly conflict for brand supremacy?
Find out with this recap of uncooked and SmackDown for the week of Feb. 2.
It’s always obvious when WWE is on the Road to WrestleMania because the sense of urgency with which WWE Creative approaches Raw enhances tenfold. The storytelling is much tighter and more sensible, the characters who figure to play a key role in the buildup to the marquee event are pushed to the forefront and angles are hotter than they are at any other point in the year.
Simply put, writers remember how to put together compelling television at this time of year, and that was the case Monday night.
The show culminated with Seth Rollins confronting Triple H, only to be attacked and left lying in a heap by the debuting Samoa Joe. The development made sense, considering Joe worked closely with The King of Kings in NXT, and it provided the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of The Architect and the COO.
Unfortunately, as fans found out 48 hours later, Rollins suffered a real knee injury that threatens his spot on the WrestleMania card. Even with that development, it was still an effective segment that made a star out of Joe from day one.
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar made an unadvertised appearance, with the former calling out Goldberg for his embarrassing elimination of The Beast 24 hours earlier. Heyman laid down a challenge for one last match against the former WCW icon, this time on the grandest stage imaginable at WrestleMania.
Heyman, the best salesman in professional wrestling, was magnificent in putting the issues between the stars over and inciting excitement for their final showdown. While Goldberg has yet to accept, the match already feels like a bona fide main event that could conceivably headline The Showcase of the Immortals.
Even Roman Reigns’ arrival, beatdowns of both Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens and departure enhanced his character. He was not forced into some drawn-out promo about how he was screwed out of the WWE Universal Championship at Royal Rumble, which would have exposed his mediocre mic skills.
Instead, he was portrayed as a frustrated ass-kicker who doled out vengeance to the two men responsible for his anger. It was effective booking that Reigns should have been benefiting from this entire time.
Throw in the subtle hints at a heel turn from Sasha Banks toward Bayley, the culmination of the rivalry between Enzo Amore, Big Cass, Rusev and Jinder Mahal and a strong non-title match that saw Sami Zayn knock off United States champion Chris Jericho, and you have one of the best episodes of Raw in quite some time.
SmackDown was in a different position than Raw this week. While the red brand could recover from Royal Rumble by laying the groundwork for its WrestleMania programs, SmackDown had to shift focus toward Elimination Chamber.
The event, which is less than two weeks away, will be headlined by its namesake match for the WWE Championship. Fans found out at the top of the broadcast that Baron Corbin, Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Bray Wyatt and AJ Styles would challenge John Cena for the title.
The display then proceeded to characteristic all 5 of those Superstars prominently.
Wyatt and Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton teamed as much as battle Cena and Luke Harper in a fit extra approximately story than something. Harper’s devotion to Wyatt, even after being excommunicated from The Wyatt own family, was apparent as he hesitated and outright refused to strike his former chief.
Orton’s pinfall victory over Cena installation a massive television most important occasion for subsequent week and served as a flavor of what fanatics ought to expect from the WrestleMania most important occasion if Cena could make it via removal Chamber with the title intact.
Later in the predominant event, patterns and Ambrose delivered some other great bout in a sequence of them. The outstanding One picked up the victory, getting better after a excessive-profile loss Sunday at Royal Rumble, however the highlight shined on Corbin, who entered the healthy after the bell and flattened The Miz with end of Days earlier than doing the same to Ambrose.
The Lone Wolf has benefited from robust booking in recent weeks, suggesting he may additionally play a substantial function in the emblem’s plans for WrestleMania.
Becky Lynch and Mickie James’ ongoing issues intensified all through a girls’s tag team match that still saw Naomi pin Alexa Bliss to strengthen her argument for a Smackdown ladies’s Championship healthy, and Nikki Bella and Natalya found out they’ll meet every different in singles competition at elimination Chamber.
Throw in Carmella, whose ongoing program with James Ellsworth screams “nonsense,” and you’ve the ongoing devotion to each member of the ladies’s department. Examine that to raw, which seems content material on retaining the spotlight on the same handful of competitors on a weekly basis.
SmackDown won’t had been the explosive display uncooked turned into this week, however it changed into a step by step booked application wherein everything made sense and built to some thing else, that is a trademark of a first rate wrestling product.
The biggest botch of the week goes to SmackDown Live for not following up on John Cena’s monumental 16th world title victory at Royal Rumble.
Love him or hate him, Cena is an instrumental piece of the WWE puzzle, and sweeping such an accomplishment under the rug is disheartening.
Also concerning was the manner in which WWE made Cena look like a fool.
First, he was given the most generic promo to spiel, and then without hesitation, he trusted Luke Harper to be his tag team partner against Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton despite the history Cena has with Harper and The Wyatt Family dating back to 2014.
It was a nonsensical bit of booking, the likes of which should not be reserved for the franchise star.
WWE threw Cena to the wolves and left him to go about his business as usual without celebrating an achievement that would have been touted if Triple H or The Undertaker was in his place.
For the first time in forever, the company’s reluctance to shine a spotlight on Cena hurt more than helped.
Raw began giving enthusiasts a flavor of what WrestleMania could have in store for them at the same time as sooner or later planting the seeds for the matches and rivalries in order to culminate at Fastlane later this month. The debut of Samoa Joe, the fit among Jericho and Zayn and Banks’ subtle tips at a heel flip all helped support a more targeted and quicker-paced display than enthusiasts of the pink logo are used to.
SmackDown stay had to turn its interest to removal Chamber and putting collectively a card because, with most effective one extra episode till the pay-according to-view, it could not waste time.
The spotlight at the Wyatt family changed into a nice contact, mainly given how primary a position it figures to play heading into WrestleMania. Orton is the Rumble winner, and Wyatt has the possibility to win his first WWE Championship at elimination Chamber. Harper is the dark horse—a skilled huge guy who seems destined to warfare The Viper on the Feb. 12 event.
The interactions among The Miz, Corbin and Ambrose look like putting in place a Triple threat suit for the Intercontinental Championship, and styles seems to be the extraordinary man out. He’s in the imminent elimination Chamber fit to try to regain his WWE Championship, but past that, he does not have an obvious feud or opponent who’s ready inside the wings.
The ongoing growth of the girls’s division and even the slightest bit of attempt concerning its floundering tag department helped SmackDown to some other compelling broadcast Tuesday.
With that stated, the urgency and the “larger photograph” technique through uncooked helped the Monday night staple comfortable victory for the second consecutive week.