How About That Tag Division? Plus, WWE RAW Recap.
Tag Team Tournament Ignites Interest in Division
One of the biggest complaints that myself and Brandon Reid have had every time we’ve recorded our “Book That!” podcast, which you can download on iTunes and Soundcloud, is the lack of importance placed by the WWE on their tag team division. Introducing a tournament, which incorporates some of the new NXT call-ups as well, immediately sparks intrigue in a division that has been bereft of it. The great thing about these tournaments is that it allows for the potential of feuds to build off of it (I’ve got my eye on the Enzo/Cass and Dudley Boyz feud we’ve all been wanting to see). Oh, and we got the debut of Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows coming over from New Japan. Their attack on The Usos was brutal and convincing, making an instant impact as much-watch going forward. Generating multiple storylines within the tag-team division is the right move from WWE, and could lead to a brighter future for a once great division.
Sami Zayn Continues to Demand the Spotlight
Seeing Sami on RAW is still taking some getting used to, but in the best way possible. After watching him on NXT for all of those years most fans, myself included, thought that he’d be just another lost talent on the main roster. However, it seems like we may have been wrong, as Zayn was involved in World Title discussions for the second straight week. After he was jumped by Kevin Owens last week and taken out of the #1 Contenders Match, Shane gave Sami another opportunity. He faced off against AJ Styles (the current #1 Contender) and a victory would have put Sami in the Payback main event, making it a Triple Threat. The two guys put on the match of the night and, although Sami lost clean, he showed that he can hang in the main event scene. I would’ve preferred interference from Owens again, continuing the slighted-underdog narrative for Zayn, but I can’t complain. It seems like WWE wants Sami in the spotlight, which makes me very happy.
So, what Exactly was that Main Event?
I don’t know if I have an answer for that to be honest, but I must say that I was entertained at the very least. It’s clear that WWE has decided to capitalize on the Bray Wyatt cheers, turning him into as much of a baby face as his character will allow. Plus, having Roman involved with him softened the boos quite a bit, while also reminding us that this guy is supposed to be the cocky jock from high school that no one likes. The tag match, which had Roman team with Bray against the League of Nations, was a good match and giving Bray the pin is the right move. All of a sudden, the World Title picture is crowded with players ranging from Triple H, AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt and more. Re-emphasizing what is supposed to be your company’s biggest prize is obvious, but is something that has been absent for years.
- Hey, guess who’s still around guys? It’s Shane McMahon! Explaining his presence as being the result of popular demand from the fans, WWE kept Shane around for another week and he had his hands in pretty much every match for the entire night. I’m getting the sense more and more that they plan on keeping Shane around for a while, possibly building to a program at Summerslam.
- You know what’s a great way to add legitimacy to the newly formed women’s division? Add Dr. Phil as a focal point for this week’s story and have your champion tap out to someone who hasn’t been involved in anything important for years. Yeah, great job WWE. Thankfully, the match between Natalya and Charlotte was good and taken relatively seriously (sans Dr. Phil), so the choice to have Charlotte tap but keep her title through DQ can just be chalked up to poor booking. We’ve had a lot of that lately.
- Having Cesaro win the right to face The Miz is the right move going forward (sorry Zack Ryder), but I’m worried about how they have repackaged him. His whole James Bond thing is kind of cool right now, but I could see it get old quickly. Feuding with The Miz will work short-term though so I’m willing to ride it out.
- I’m still very disappointed with how Dean Ambrose has been booked, but I have to say that I’m excited about this feud they are developing between him and Chris Jericho. These are two of the best guys that WWE has on the mic right now and the promos will be great each week, much like this one was. It’s not a victory over Brock Lesnar, but a win over Jericho will still be good for Ambrose. At the very least, it’ll be a start in rebuilding Ambrose as a legit top-tier guy.