For Raw, we got to see Dean Ambrose return to in ring action against Dolph Ziggler this week and he looked great. He presented some new moves, showed that he has more strength this time around, and was really smooth in his return to the ring. The ongoing rivalry between Ambrose and Rollins vs. Ziggler and McIntyre is still going strong and it will be interesting to see where they go from there, especially now that the Shield has formed back together.
For Smackdown, there were so many good things Smackdown presented this week, but the ongoing rivalry between Samoa Joe and AJ Styles is really starting to get intense and stuck out this week. After Styles got himself DQ’d at Summerslam for attacking Joe with a steel chair after Joe’s comments to Styles’ family at ringside, Smackdown decided to have an interview with Styles to explain his actions. While Styles was getting fired up talking about the situation, Joe snuck up behind Styles and attacked him. Then, Joe proceeded to throw more insults towards Styles’ family while Styles laid there unconscious. This rivalry has heated up and gotten really good these past few weeks and WWE fans should look forward to this rivalry going into Hell in a Cell.
For Raw, they decided to have repeat matches this week and it is starting to make these rivalries feel stale. The matches Raw decided to have for what feels like the 5th week in a row are the AOP vs. Titus Worldwide and the Riot Squad vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks. WWE does realize there are other tag teams in their division that either of these teams could face? At least with the Titus Worldwide storyline, they are hinting that Apollo Crews may go on his own. But, as far as the Riot Squad vs. Bayley and Banks, its been the same story for the past few weeks and it seems like no progress is being made.
For Smackdown, they only had one match that didn’t really entertain much and that was Peyton Royce vs. Naomi. It just felt like filler this week but maybe they are trying to lay out something with the IIconics going forward.
The Final Verdict
Overall, WWE had to move forward from Summerslam and show what the layout is going to be for the rest of 2018. Raw was more about the aftermath from Summerslam while Smackdown went right towards building up Hell in a Cell. Due to that, I will have to say that Smackdown had the better show this week. Honestly, this was one of the best Smackdowns of the year. They already had a match prepared and built up with Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse and they did a really great job of building up some matches that we will more than likely see on the PPV (AJ Stlyes vs. Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton, Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch). Raw will lay out some matches going forward for this PPV, but Smackdown is already off to a great start post Summerslam and fans should look forward to the constant build up for Hell in a Cell.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? January 7, 2019
For Raw, the main event between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental championship was a great match and a good way to end this rivalry and move forward with both competitors. Ambrose ended up winning after Bobby Lashley interfered and attacked Rollins. This made sense as the show opened with Rollins and Lashley brawling and these two have been at each other for the past few weeks. What’s really good to take out of this is now Rollins can focus on the Royal Rumble and Ambrose can focus on who is next contender is for his championship.
For Smackdown, the push for Shane McMahon and The Miz to go for the tag team championship was an entertaining way to help build this match up at the Royal Rumble. After Shane expressed aggressiveness and prove worthiness to earn a championship match, the Miz tried to impress him by going out there and challenging the Bar to that match by himself. The challenge was accepted and even though that isn’t what Shane meant, they are getting the match that wanted when they first formed.
For Raw, the Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar “face to face” segment fell flat. Strowman struggled on his delivery of insults to Lesnar, and the “face to face” was more of just Lesnar walking around the ring over and over again without getting in Strowman’s face. At this point, anybody but Brock Lesnar needs to hold the Universal championship in order to give it a more important feel.
For Smackdown, there was nothing they had that was really too bad. Smackdown was able to give proper time for all the rivalries they are building up.
The Final Verdict
Smackdown has been hitting on all the right cylinders with their shows for a while now. Once they establish a championship match for the PPV, they give proper buildup and interesting scenarios for each one. Along with that, when Smackdown wants to build up a rivalry just for their show, they are able to do that effectively as well. While Raw does try to do the same, there segments and matches just don’t have the spark that Smackdown is able to deliver. So, with that said, Smackdown had the better show this week. In conclusion, the Royal Rumble is one of the big 4 PPV’s for the year of 2019 for WWE, and so far it looks like everything is going right for Smackdown while Raw is still trying to find their footing.
McKenzie Mitchell Announces Impact Wrestling Exit
Impact Wrestling backstage interviewer McKenzie Mitchell has officially announced her departure from the promotion.
Mitchell, who has been with the company since 2016, made the announcement in a lengthy post on her Instagram page:
Grateful. Changed. IMPACTed. Undoubtedly the most exhilarating and exciting experience of my life thus far. Words can’t describe my appreciation for @impactwrestling and company and all that I’ve learned with this experience. To my friends, family, and fans- you guys rock and are the reason why I love doing what I do each and every day. 2019 is a year of change and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
A post shared by McKenzie Mitchell (@mckenzienmitchell) on Jan 8, 2019 at 2:49pm PST
NXT Takeover: Blackpool Card
WWE is preparing for their upcoming NXT event, NXT Takeover: Blackpool, and after the airing of this week’s NXT, the full card is now in focus.
NXT UK’s first Takeover event hits the WWE Network, live from Blackpool, England, this Saturday.
Here is the card, at the time of this writing:
NXT UK Women’s Championship Match – Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Toni Storm
NXT UK Tag Team Championship Match – Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)
WWE United Kingdom Championship Match – Pete Dunne (c) vs. Joe Coffey
No DQ Match – Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis
Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin
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