This is one of those weeks where SmackDown carried on where RAW left off. Of course it was a good show, it was in Newark, New Jersey! Yes, cheap pop. Served well for hometown favorite AJ Lee who soundly defeated Eva Marie. Paige on commentary, so my initial thought of her demotion back to NXT was premature. Perhaps a feud is under construction. It has been a slow road for the Divas division, but there are signs of life returning. As of now, I can see AJ Lee, Paige, Naomi, Alicia Fox, Layla, Natalya, and when she returns from injury, Tamina Snuka. By the way, Snuka will be in her first Hollywood film, Hercules, which is starring The Rock. I will be the first to say we may never have an exciting Divas division like during the post-Attitude Era with the likes of Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly, Mickie James, and Victoria, but WWE has some young ladies honing their skills in NXT, so in a year or two we might get something close to it.
Right where RAW left off, we have Dean Ambrose chasing Seth Rollins all over the place while Roman Reigns continues to be a thorn in the side of Triple H as he lays out Randy Orton in the main event. Further storyline continuations include Damien Sandow doing his best Bruce Springsteen impersonation, getting a huge pop of course. However, as the USA chants rocked, Alexander Rusev and Lana arrived to put a halt to the patriotic tune. Luckily, the freshly faced Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger arrived to put the interrupting Russians in their place. Going back to Sandow for a moment, perhaps his time of recognition is nearing. The Battleground Battle Royal may be the perfect opportunity for the Intellectual Savior of the Masses to strike gold and perhaps become another target of The Authority. Based on his hilarious, yet accurate portrayal of Vince McMahon which earned the ire of Stephanie, the days of Sandow as the comedy act may be coming to an end, and the emergence of the Sandow we want to see. The verbally dominating and respect-commanding figure we know he can be, should the masterminds behind the WWE scripts allow it.
Chris Jericho is back, baby! Promo work is still in prime shape, he lost the joking jive fast and immediately issued a threatening challenge to Bray Wyatt. Instead of the cult leader, we got a Hollywood hipster as The Miz came out, but Jericho locked his jaw up with a Codebreaker. Jericho may go one-on-one with The Miz, but the bigger feud to look forward to will be Bray Wyatt. With three weeks to Battleground, I see Jericho/Miz as the likely match, with Jericho facing the Wyatt boss at SummerSlam.
I do wonder, who this feud benefits, besides the fans. Clearly WWE wants to continue to keep the Wyatt Family elevated in the eyes of the fans, and a marquee feud with Y2J is certainly the way to go. If you scrutinize the booking however, it seems Jericho has not one, but two feuds running concurrently. The Miz will continue to antagonize Jericho while Bray is lurking around, striking at every opportunity. Once this feud is over, I imagine by SummerSlam, what will be next for all parties? Miz, I have no idea. The main event scene is so heavily clogged I just cannot see him contending for any major titles in the near future. Jericho on the other hand, I can see going after the WWE World Championship at least once before he scurries off to go on tour again. When Bray lost his feud with John Cena, most paid no attention simply because it was expected for Super-Cena to emerge victorious. However, should Jericho gain victory over the Wyatts, many will question whether the Wyatts are merely jobbers to main eventers. Time indeed, will tell.
All this, and Emma is hired and fired faster than Billy Martin. She “accidentally” shoplifted. Those pesky self-checkouts. How dare a machine make a mistake and not ring something up. It’s a computer! Machines are perfect, aren’t they? Gave birth to the internet and all that…
Another match in the works, whenever Daniel Bryan returns, will be against Bo Dallas. Both on Raw, and on SmackDown the former NXT Champion took to mocking Bryan and is injury, the latest blow on SmackDown has all but made this feud a lock. Whenever Daniel Bryan comes back, he will start off putting the Bo-Liever in his place, and then plow forward towards the WWE World Championship. I see a long road, but a well built one. I think it would be a mistake to have Bryan go from trouncing Dallas to facing the titleholder. Bryan does not need to be built back up as a force, we know he is main event material, but he will have to climb the ladder, likely stacked by Authority-placed opponents. I just do not think WWE would be smart to immediately put him back in the WWE Title picture, they just need a few months of build up. Face off with Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, hell, even Roman Reigns. Perhaps, if the timing is right, a Royal Rumble victory to solidify his place at WrestleMania 31.
Speaking of the WWE Championship, John Cena. Yeah, John Cena. 15-time title holder. I really wonder where WWE is going with this. Will they say “Alright, enough of that for you” or will they really book Cena to tie, and possibly surpass record held by the 16-time World Champion, Ric Flair. Sorry, maybe it is the old school in me, but John Cena is NOT Ric Flair. When you think of legendary promos, careers, stables, matches, you cannot compare John Cena and Ric Flair (hey, that rhymes!). Flair has faced off with Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Bret Hart, Ricky Steamboat, Kerry von Erich, Sting, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, and other greats from the 80’s through just years ago. Cena, sure, faced off with a couple of those guys, a few legends class people such as The Rock, Brock Lesnar and even The Undertaker, but this is a different time, and a different era.
Perhaps I have to accept this. Years from now, my generation will cherish and immortalize the career of Ric Flair. This generation only knows him as “one of those WWE Hall of Famers who we cheer when they call is name because we are suppose to” and not as an innovator of promo-cutting and was a cheater and stealer long before Eddie Guerrero. Oh geez, most of this generation probably had no idea who Eddie was until mentioned on RAW last week and had to look his name up on Wikipedia. Well, at least the internet is useful for something. The point being, this generation, this younger generation will not know of the greatness that is Ric Flair.
Makes me a bit sad.