Here we pick up my fantasy booking of the SmackDown men’s division through to Wrestlemania 34. Read part 1 here for the stories so far and the general ground rules underpinning this whole thing, but here’s a brief summary of where we got to:
- Shinsuke Nakamura is WWE Champion, with Baron Corbin owed a rematch
- Kevin Owens is United States Champion, with AJ Styles never getting a US Title match against him again
- Randy Orton has had a poor six months, with questions over whether he can still win a big match, and will address his future on the next SmackDown
- Team SmackDown just lost the Raw vs SD 5on-5 elimination match at Survivor Series
And so we pick up two nights after Survivor Series. Strap in, it’s a long ride!
November 21st, SmackDown
Results: Baron Corbin defeats Sin Cara by pinfall, Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger defeat Jinder Mahal & Rusev by pinfall (Dillinger pins Rusev), AJ Styles defeats Mike Kanellis by pinfall
Promos: – Post-victory, Baron Corbin demands his WWE Title rematch. (Danel Bryan later grants this for the next PPV, Roadblock.)
– Backstage post-victory, AJ Styles says in an interview that the reason Team SmackDown lost at Survivor Series was Baron Corbin. Styles challenges Corbin to a match next week on SmackDown, saying Corbin isn’t the only one who want to be WWE Champion.
– Randy Orton makes his way to the ring for the main event segment. Orton says he knows he let people down at Survivor Series. It was embarrasing, and it was one of the lower points of his career. 2017 started out so well, but it’s turned into a trainwreck. He’s starting to wonder if he’s still cut out to be a player on SmackDown. Continue reading
I’m quite often coming up with booking ideas in my columns – x can work with y, z should turn face/heel. But it’s easy to be an armchair booker like that without giving much thought to the details of the feud, and how it impacts the rest of the roster. So with a couple of ideas in mind, I set myself the challenge of booking SmackDown’s men’s division from now through to Wrestlemania 34 – detailing each week what I would actually do, how I would have storylines progress, giving an idea as to what would be said in promos, that kind of thing. I’m going to set it out by giving the night’s match results plainly, explaining what would be said in promos, then giving further storyline context or justification if I feel it’s warranted. Continue reading
And here we are at the end of Wrestlemania season! We’ve had six straight nights of content from WWE alone with the Hall of Fame, TakeOver: Orlando, Wrestlemania 33, Raw, SmackDown and NXT. It almost feels strange not having more wrestling to look forward to tonight. BUT, we can look back at all the awesome stuff that’s happened in the last week, and look ahead by asking the question “where do we go from here?”
We saw Kurt Angle return to the company, first as a Hall of Famer then as the Raw General Manager. We saw what looks like a full on heel turn from Asuka. We saw Matt and Jeff Hardy return to the WWE and become the Raw Tag Team Champions. We saw the career of The Undertaker likely come to a close. We saw The Revival debut on the main roster on Monday night, and Shinsuke Nakamura and Tye Dillinger get the call up on Tuesday night. And crucially, we also saw Vince McMahon announce that next week we would shake up the rosters.
And that’s what I want to focus on here. Who is most likely to switch brands, or maybe rather who needs to switch brands the most? Here I lay out six picks, three from each show, who could really benefit from a shake up of their surroundings.
As we head into Wrestlemania, all eyes are on the ultimate thrill ride, and rightfully so. It’s not WWE’s pinnacle for no reason. But, as ever with WWE storylines, a big part of the excitement around Mania is the possibility for what will come next. So I’ve put my fantasy booking hat on (I mean come on, I don’t really ever take it off) and come up with eight rivalries I want to see on SmackDown coming out of Wrestlemania season. In case you’re wondering, I’m only doing SmackDown because I’m too uncertain about who will be in what spots and roles on Raw, and I’m doing eight feuds because there are eight segments in a typical SmackDown broadcast. And the roster isn’t really big enough for more. Got that? Let’s go!
WWE Championship – Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt ©
Hear us previewing Wrestlemania weekend here!
So in the last two years, for some reason I’ve tasked myself with watching every single Royal Rumble match in the build up to the next one. And in the process, I’ve kept track of some statistics that have interested me. WWE always come up with their annual Royal Rumble statistical packages at this time of year, and here I’ve tried to include some stats that aren’t included in them. Without further ado!
The last three Royal Rumble winners have walked out of Wrestlemania without a world championship, though last year Triple H did win the WWE Championship in the Rumble match itself. The Rumble winner has only been guaranteed a title match at Wrestlemania since 1993 (in 1992 Ric Flair won the WWE Title in the match, in 1991 Hulk Hogan went on to challenge for the title after winning the Rumble match but it wasn’t a stipulation of the match, and in 1990 the WWE Champion Hulk Hogan actually entered the Rumble and won), and the winners’ record is fairly even.
Making predictions is something all wrestling fans love to do. Whether it’s predicting something as immediate as PPV results, predicting what the next Wrestlemania card will look like or who the next Royal Rumble winner will be, or as cataclysmic as who the next face of the industry will be. So when I start this column by making a prediction with an incredible number of variables, and that I wouldn’t have dreamed of making this time last year, it may surprise you to find it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Road to Wrestlemania. Instead I’m saying The Miz will win a Money In The Bank Ladder match in 2017.
When I say there are variables, we know there’s going to be a Money In The Bank PPV next year. We don’t know if it’s going to be dual branded, and if it’s not we don’t know whether Raw superstars will compete or SmackDown. On top of that, we don’t know which show Miz will be on because there could very well be a draft before then, and even if there isn’t Miz’s ongoing storyline with Daniel Bryan could see him traded to Raw at some point. We don’t know where on the card he will be, if he will still be Intercontinental or any other champion, and – crucially – we don’t know if he will be in the Money In The Bank Ladder match itself. Continue reading
Tonight we have WWE Battleground, which means it’s time for my PPV Spotlight. We have a few interesting matches, with the WWE Championship triple threat featuring all three former members of The Shield, a tag team match with Charlotte and Dana Brooke against Sasha Banks and a mystery partner, and two 6-man-tag matches involving The New Day and The Wyatt Family, and John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass and The Club.
Here I’m perhaps surprisingly not writing about any of those. There’s plenty to be said about them all, but I feel like there isn’t all that much new to say about any of them. Instead, the match I’m focusing on is between the Queen of Harts Natalya, and the Irish Lass Kicker Becky Lynch.
It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve been trying to think of what I could write, and I have a few ideas, but nothing that really seems plausible for a decent length article on its own. So instead of letting them go to waste, I’ve put them together as a collection of shorter thoughts that could become a recurring article.
First off, The New Day. There have been signs in recent weeks that the WWE World Tag Team Champions may be about to split, and with the draft on Tuesday anything is possible. I would like to think that if the trio aren’t kept together then the two that do end up on the same show continue teaming. So if they are separated, who should go solo? Continue reading
One year ago today, the women’s division in WWE changed. It had been an under-appreciated part of WWE TV, an afterthought. You were lucky if you saw five minutes of women’s wrestling on a weekly basis. And the fans were getting sick of it. They rebelled on social media, with #GiveDivasAChance trending. WWE brass took notice. One year ago today, the “Divas Revolution” started.