Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Smackdown Files: The Drafting The Night Away Edition (7-19-2016)

Hello everyone and welcome to the debut edition of The Smackdown Files. My name is Keila Cash and I am certified Geek and you can’t teach that. It is an honor being a part of the Geektified family as I bring my wrestling knowledge for the soon-to-be launched website. This is a temporary hub breaking down the latest happenings on Raw and Smackdown as we embark on the brand extension era. Again. Will WWE get it right in 2016? The roster is rich with talent, but the underutilization of some wrestlers has bogged both shows down in recent years. 50/50 booking is the main culprit, but piss poor character development has left fans with little reason to care about what’s happening in the ring as well. Can the creative teams for both brands solve this problem or will the cycle of mid-card hell continue with no end in sight? We shall find out in due time.

The first edition of Smackdown Live! emanated from the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. Did The Draft live up to expectations or did it disappoint? Who got drafted from NXT? The answers to these pressing questions can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of Smackdown Live! in no particular order.

·         The electricity inside the building is insane right now.

·         Raw has selected Seth Rollins, Women’s Champion Charlotte, and Finn Balor thus far.

·         Smackdown selected current WWE Champion Dean Ambrose and The Phenomenal AJ Styles with more picks to come throughout the night.

·         The top five picks for the draft are great picks. I am glad one of the brands was smart enough to select the WWE Champion as a top two draft pick. Any other pick would have been incredibly stupid. Charlotte being the top female pick was nice to see as it is a clear sign that the Powers That Be are taking the Women’s division seriously for a change.

·         Finn Balor’s call up has been long overdue and he should be a top three star on Raw if the creative team has a clue what they’re doing. It is a little disappointing that Balor and Styles have been drafted to different shows due to their passing ships in the night history in New Japan when Balor was heading to NXT while Styles revitalized his career in the Land of the Rising Sun while taking the Bullet Club to new heights. The very same club that Balor led into battle on many occasions. Their paths are bound to cross one day. There is too much money on the table for it not to happen at some point.

·         John Cena defeated Luke Gallows in a decent match. Cena was selling for the most part until Enzo and Big Cass prevented AJ Styles and Karl Anderson from interfering. Cena hit Gallows with an AA to pick up the win. It appears the trio of Cena, Enzo, and Big Cass are back on the same page heading into the Battleground PPV on Sunday.

·         Roman Reigns is heading to Raw. Not a shocker in the slightest.

·         John Cena is heading to Smackdown Live. Savvy pick.

·         Brock Lesnar is Raw bound. I would if USADA plans to sample his urine just for the hell of it to make his life extra miserable.

·         Randy Orton is Smackdown bound as well. Both brands are kicking ass so far with their picks.

·       The New Day is heading to Raw as a package deal. Smart decision.

·      The lone highlight of Darren Young and Zack Ryder vs. Rusev and The Miz was Young making Miz tap out to Bob Backlund’s signature Crossface Chickenwing. The fans popped huge for it and that’s always a good thing. Young’s biggest test of his career will come at Battleground when he faces Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. This may be his last chance to prove his worth as a wrestler. Let’s hope he makes the best of this opportunity.

·         That was a sick high knee by Xavier Woods as he nailed Bray Wyatt square on the chin.

·         That happy moment was cut short when Wyatt spooked Woods and hit him with Sister Abigail to pick up the win. I think The Wyatt Family has the psychological advantage heading into Battleground. Just a theory.

·         Well, that was seriously counterproductive. Kane choke slamming Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn was absolutely pointless and stupid. On the plus side, I didn’t have to see Kane vs. Owens. It’s the small things that count in the grand scheme of things.

·         Sami Zayn is heading to Raw. Let’s hope my favorite ginger thrives on the red brand.

·         Bray Wyatt is taking his fireflies to Smackdown. Will the rest of his family follow suit?

·         Sasha Banks is heading to Raw. That’s a sound pick because she can continue her feud with Charlotte which is bound to come to a head at SummerSlam next month.

·       Becky Lynch has been drafted to Smackdown. Will she still be pulling knives out of her back on the blue brand? The woman deserves a break after Paige, Charlotte, and Natalya betrayed her during her first year on the main roster. Lynch deserves better and hopefully, she will shine on Smackdown against fresh opponents.

·      Chris Jericho and his scarf are heading to Monday Night Raw. He’s a seasoned vet who can add value to the show.

·         Sasha nailing Charlotte with the double knees from outside the ring was pretty damn sweet. Sadly, Dana Brooke drilled The Boss with a sick clothesline to negate the awesomeness.

·         Charlotte dropped Banks with Natural Selection to pick up the win. The 2-on-1 disadvantage didn’t help matters, but the action was solid while it lasted.

·         Rusev and Lana are heading to Raw. I am sure the International power couple will continue to dominate the mid-card ranks. Rusev is fully capable of being so much more than that if given the chance to prove himself.

·         Smackdown gets IC Champion The Miz and Maryse. The Straight-to-DVD Hollywood couple will continue to annoy the masses on a weekly basis. Oh, joy...

·         Kevin Owens is heading to Raw. The red brand looks stacked.

·       Baron Corbin is going to Smackdown. The silence from the arena said it all. What a bland pick.

·         Enzo and Cass are heading to Raw. I was really scared that WWE was going to break them up. My fears have been squashed. Thank goodness.

·         Cesaro’s Springboard European Uppercut backfired big time when Chris Jericho countered it with a Codebreaker in mid-air. That was a great finish to a good match. Easily the best bout on the show thus far. That’s not high praise, but I appreciate the fact that both men woke the crowd up by entertaining them from bell-to-bell.

·         The Club has been broken up and are heading to Raw. The same brand that Balor just got drafted to. I smell a conspiracy...

·         American Alpha is Smackdown bound. Excellent pick by the blue brand! Jason Jordan and Chad Gable are going to bring so much fire and excitement to Tuesday nights. They are a talented team who have not reached their full potential yet. That is scary in the best possible way.

·         The Big Show has been drafted to Raw. The jeers from the crowd said it all. Bad pick.

·         Dolph Ziggler is heading to Smackdown. Can he revitalize his career? We shall see.

·         Nia Jax is Raw bound. I think she has so much more to learn in NXT, but WWE is ready to give her a push. Let’s hope she is fully prepared for the big stage. Fingers crossed!

·         Neville is heading to Raw. Smart pick.

·         Natalya has been drafted to Smackdown. Decent pick.

·         Cesaro is Raw bound. That is a pick that I can definitely get behind. Let’s hope the Swiss Superman can flourish in his new surroundings.

·         Alberto Del Rio is heading to Smackdown. I like this pick. Maybe he will finally get the opportunity to reach his full potential on another show without so many restraints.

·         Sheamus is the final televised pick as he is headed to Raw. This is an acceptable pick. He needs to re-discover what makes him tick. A thick beard and funky Mohawk is not going to cut it anymore.

·         Are the fans seriously chanting for CM Punk during the WWE Championship match? That is totally disrespectful. The man is gone. It’s time to get over it. Seriously. Officially.

·     Wow. Dean Ambrose actually retained the WWE Championship against Seth Rollins. I am pleasantly surprised. The match was good and the crowd eventually came around down the stretch. Plus, there is no controversy tonight as Ambrose pinned Rollins clean with Dirty Deeds. It should be noted that Smackdown could still be without a major championship if Rollins or Reigns wins the WWE Title at Battleground on Sunday during the Triple Threat Match. I get the sinking feeling that we are getting two World Titles in the very near future. I am all for it as long as both champions are treated as legit stars.

·       Overall, the first episode of Smackdown Live! was solid. The draft picks for Raw and Smackdown ranged from great to what the hell, but I think both brands will do well in the long run if the creative teams can hold up their end of the bargain. They are now working as two separate units. There is no excuse not to put on quality shows every week. Both teams have a point to prove by out-dueling each other for the greater good. The winner in all of this should be the wrestlers and fans. This is the perfect opportunity to shake things up and make sure that Raw and Smackdown is must-see television on back-to-back nights. With branded PPVs to boot, WWE is asking us to watch more content than ever before. It better be worth our time or we will be hitting the DVR button and reading results online to get our wrestling fix if things get out of control. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. I love wrestling too much to become a Bitter Betty.

·         It was a little disheartening seeing the likes of Shinsuke Nakamura and Bayley not getting any love from the respective GMs of Raw and SD, but I have to believe that the company has big plans for them down the road. NXT needs to remain a strong third brand and gutting them completely would have sucked. Therefore, we can wait a little while longer for the big guns to show up. I have a funny feeling that The Hugger might show up at Battleground to help Sasha Banks in her tag team match against Charlotte and Dana Brooke. A girl can dream...

·         Battleground is this Sunday and it should be a good show. The stakes are high and it will be very interesting to see who walks away with the WWE Championship. Most importantly, how will Roman Reigns be received by the live crowd? I don’t think absence will make the heart grow fonder for some fans. To say otherwise would be a lie and this blog is a Lie-Free Zone. 99.9% of the time. At least I am honest about it. I think…

On that note, this wraps up the inaugural edition of The Smackdown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back late Monday Night with the debut of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!

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