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Smackdown: Paige GM, Iconic Debut, Carmella Cashes, Heel Nakamura

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The episode of Smackdown Live after Wrestlemania is always exciting, but this year’s edition of the Blue Brand post-Wrestlemania had fans cheering.

The episode kicked off with the announcement of Paige replacing Daniel Bryan as General Manager. It was only a day earlier she had announced her in-ring retirement due to injuries.

During the segment, she didn’t rule out a come back in the future and has recently thanked Bryan for giving her hope. Bryan was recently cleared to return to in-ring competition after a two-year brief retirement from competition due to concussion issues.

Having Paige become the Smackdown GM is a good day to have her appear in a prominent role on television. Fans love Paige and while they want to see her perform in the ring, people are happy to see her continue working in WWE.

While Raw had several NXT superstars make their debut, Smackdown Live had a couple of call-ups as well – specifically the Iconic Duo of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Now dubbed as the IIconics, Royce and Kay mocked Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair before proceeding to attack her.  

Royce’s and Kay’s call up to the main roster has been long overdue. The two have grown as performers and characters during their time in NXT.

WWE changing their team name from the Iconic Duo to IIconics is going to take some time to digest for fans. The name change is similar to how creative renamed Ruby Riott – or in some cases had superstars like Neville, Big E and Cesaro only use one name. While it was difficult for fans to like those names at first, now you can’t imagine them going by any other name.

After their attack on Flair, the IIconics put the women’s division on notice. It’s cool to see something like this from debuting talent – the IIconics aren’t just stopping with Flair, they’re going after everyone.

The IIconics’ attack on Flair set up the other big moment of the night when Carmella finally cashed in her Money in the Bank contract to pin the Queen and win the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

Carmella held her Money in the Bank contract for 287, longer than any previous MITB briefcase. She had previously attempted to cash in her contract on a couple of occasions, but the matches never started.

Fans who have watched Carmella since her NXT days are no doubt excited to see her win her first championship and take the next step in her career. Although Carmella hasn’t been in the wrestling business for long, she has paid her dues in life – which she goes into detail about on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast.

Carmella is also good at generating heel heat with her cheating and antics – and that will be a good foil to Flair and other babyfaces in the women’s division.

Putting the title on Carmella, as well as having the Iconics debut also gives the Smackdown women’s division a new chapter.

And of course came the biggest blow of the night. While fans were salivating for the dream match between Bryan and A.J. Styles – Shinsuke Nakamura took matters into his own hands and denied the crowd the finish of the match. The King of Strong Style kneed Bryan in the back of the head and attack Styles.

Nakamura’s heel turn came at Wrestlemania after he lost to Styles at Wrestlemania. The heel turn came at the height of Nakamura being one of the top babyfaces on Smackdown Live. The question would be how to generate more heel heat for Namakura – have him ruin the dream match between Styles and Bryan.

The Smackdown after Wrestlemania wasn’t perfect, but the debuts and major announcements outshined the low and mediocre moments. It also opened the doors for some big things on Smackdown in the months ahead.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? May 7, 2019

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The Good

For Raw, the main event between Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan in a Wrestlemania rematch was a good way to end their show. With this new “Wildcard Rule” being introduced at the beginning of Raw, this led to two Smackdown superstars main eventing a Raw show. While we will look into the “Wildcard Rule” later, the match between these two was back and forth and ended with Kingston retaining his championship. Kofi has all the momentum going into the Money in the Bank PPV, which is great considering he is the WWE Champion.

For Smackdown, after the Hardy Boyz had to forfeit their tag team championships due to injury, the match to determine the new champions was great. After Shane McMahon originally was going to give the titles to Daniel Bryan and Rowan, the Usos interrupted and stated that they should at least get the opportunity to earn them. Daniel Bryan and Rowan ended up winning, which is a positive sight moving forward because it will bring more attention to the division with these two as champions.

The Bad

For Raw, even though things were good for the Usos on Smackdown, they were really bad on Raw. They came out during the Revival’s match and told them that they put Icey Hot on their ring attire. This led to bad acting and just an attempt at humor, which didn’t go well.

For Smackdown, while the Aleister Black promos have been good so far, they are starting to over welcome their stay. This has been going on for about a month, so hopefully we see him in the ring before he loses all momentum.

The Final Verdict

Both brands had interesting shows this week because this new “Wildcard Rule” was introduced.  This “Wildcard Rule” means that four superstars from Raw will be on Smackdown and four Smackdown superstars will be on Raw every week. This idea does seem like a bad one though because it will take time away from superstars in their respective brand. Along with that, this is right after the Superstar Shakeup, which now feels completely pointless. As to who had the better show this week though, Smackdown had better matches and was still able to help put good build towards Money in the Bank. In conclusion, Money in the Bank is still about two weeks away, but proper time has been put into it and all the matches gain momentum in build week by week.

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? April 30, 2019

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The Good

For Raw, the contract signing between AJ Styles and Seth Rollins was a great segment to end their show and continue to build up their match for Money in the Bank. They exchanged insults and eventually came to blows and the final shot we saw was AJ Styles standing over Rollins after he hit him with a phenomenal forearm through a table.

For Smackdown, the build up between Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens got a lot of time featured on their show this week, and it was all really good material. It opened and closed their show and ended with Kofi Kingston getting the upper hand after he brawled with Owens. Overall, this match is getting a lot of attention and it should considering this is for the WWE Championship.

The Bad

For Raw, unfortunately, it looks like the rumors with Lio Rush not getting along with people backstage is true because when Bobby Lashley went on Miz TV, Rush was nowhere to be found. While it is unknown what the future holds for Rush, WWE has to start all over with Bobby Lashley again by himself and he’s not even in the Money in the Bank match either.

For Smackdown, they had a tag match which had Kairi Sane and Asuka versus two local competitors and this match felt like filler. With the main focus being on the women’s ladder match and neither Asuka or Sane being in that match, there really is nothing for those two to do at the moment.

The Final Verdict

Both brands are focusing on the Money in the Bank PPV, but some delivery of the matches have fell flat. Both the men’s and women’s ladder match competitors were just announced instead of each competitor actually earning an opportunity to get in the ladder match. But, as far as their championship matches, both men’s and women’s, have been given plenty of time and those matches do feel more important. As far as who had the better show, Raw has more matches on the PPV, therefore they were able to put more time into them. In conclusion, Money in the Bank is still a few weeks away, but WWE has given a lot of time into it so the fans should be excited for the first PPV since Wrestlemania. 

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? April 23, 2019

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The Good

For Raw, they had a series of matches to determine who would face Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship at Money in the Bank. All of these matches were pretty solid and in the end, AJ Styles ended up winning it all. This has been a dream match WWE fans have asked for ever since Styles came to WWE, so Raw should be able to build this up properly.

For Smackdown, we all knew that Kevin Owens was going to turn on the New Day, it was just a matter of when. Owens decided that this week was the week to do it as he attacked both Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods after Kingston’s match against Shinsuke Nakamura. This is going to lead to a WWE Championship match between Kevin Owens and Kofi Kingston and this is another solid match added to the Money in the Bank PPV.

The Bad

For Raw, after WWE was torn apart by the fans by naming the War Raiders the Viking Experience, they decided to change their name again. This time, the new name is the Viking Raiders. It is a little bit of an improvement, but not to name them the War Raiders to begin with is still baffling. They had a segment on the show this week they felt like filler as well as they attacked Lucha House Party before they could even begin their match with them.

For Smackdown, Becky Lynch is deciding to defend both of her belts at Money in the Bank, but her challenger from Smackdown is a sight WWE fans have seen too many times. Charlotte Flair ended up earning her opportunity by beating Bayley in a number one contender’s match. While WWE wants to show that Charlotte did earn her opportunity, it’s just a match we have seen one too many times.

The Final Verdict

Both brands put on pretty good shows this week. Even though there was some mix up in the superstar shake up (Andrade and Aleister Black going from Smackdown to Raw, then back to Smackdown), WWE was was still able to bounce back from that confusion. Both brands were able to establish number one contenders for their biggest championships, and help put a story behind them too. But, as far as a better show from start to finish, it seems that Raw had the more impactful and better show. A wacky segment with Bray Wyatt, a dream match in the making for the Universal Championship, and proper time given to their women’s championship match helped Raw this week. Overall, both brands are starting to layout the blueprint for what is in store for WWE Money in the Bank, so hopefully WWE is able to capitalize on this moving forward.

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