Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. I'm back to provide the weekly outlet for venting for about 3-4 people in the Comments section. Ohhhh, I can feel your anger, gives you focus, makes you stronger... Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the darkside will be complete.
So I look at the RAW ratings... 3,093,000 viewers, down from the previous week's 3,216,000 and we're seeing a downward spiral since Royal Rumble time. There's NO NFL Monday Night Football in the way and DESPITE being in the Royal Rumble to Wrestlemania timeframe, we're barely above 3 million viewers. What will happen after Wrestlemania 33? We'll be back to being permanently under 3 million viewers again unless the WWE finds a way to make other Pay Per Views interesting or somehow find that babyface sensation on RAW. Because as we've seen, notably when he headlines RAW, Roman Reigns by himself is NOT the guy. Reunite the Shield as a babyface trio, now we're talking...
The "Flagship" brand, Monday Night RAW, is in deep trouble folks. This week's show was the "go home" show before the RAW Pay Per View, WWE Fastlane, and it also featured Bill Goldberg. Goldberg has been proven to help boost RAW's viewership anywhere between 200,000 to 400,000 per appearance and if you put him with Brock Lesnar and/or Undertaker, he'll really draw. However, eating mouthfuls of 'Member Berries can provide you a case of diminishing marginal utility, as each successive unit consumed of any good/service declines in satisfaction per unit consumed. For example, go get a large pizza... 1st piece is amazing, 2nd is good but not as good as the first, etc... By the 5th or 6th piece, you're full and sick of eating pizza. The 7th or 8th piece will make you want to barf!
I predict multiple talent swaps to occur after Wrestlemania 33... We'll either see a bunch of "contracts expiring", forced trades, or maybe a brand new DRAFT happening. I can certainly see someone like AJ Styles moved to RAW for say Kevin Owens moved on Smackdown, for example. As I've recommended many times, move Cesaro/Sheamus to Smackdown for Dean Ambrose and #ReuniteTheShield. The Shield was one of the BEST stables of ALL TIME and outside of the Evolution feud during 2014, they weren't allowed to grow as babyface wrestlers. Rollins turned and the MEGA PUSH of Roman Reigns began as Dean Ambrose joined the job squad to lose multiple Pay Per View bouts. I could also see someone like Baron Corbin move to RAW and make RAW the larger wrestler show (Corbin vs. Strowman) while Smackdown has the smaller, leaner wrestlers. You know, much like it was during 2002-2005 and that was perfectly acceptable.
RAW is just BROKEN... Kevin Owens has been champion since August and he's only been allowed to dominate Sami Zayn as champion with some cheap wins over Kevin Owens. However, as I pointed out in the last column, Roman Reigns dominated him and won many, many non-title victories against Owens. I'm sorry, but could someone show me where Ric Flair, the Rock, Honky Tonk Man, or Triple H lost many non-title matches as heel again? Oh yeah, because it doesn't exist... They'd either cheat to win or disqualify themselves to retain the title. Owens has been treated poorly as WWE Universal Champion and we still don't have an answer as to why Triple H backed Owens and turned on Rollins. Never have and between August and January, we heard crickets regarding Owens/Rollins/Triple H.
That's just the main event... Women's Division is all about Charlotte while keeping nobody on the bench strong or in development. If someone could prove to me how she's a draw by being so strong on Pay Per Views and losing multiple times on RAW, I'll give you a high five for your efforts. Despite those multiple title wins, exactly HOW is Sasha Banks doing? Eh... Bayley has been marginalized since her WWE debut and Nia Jax was rushed to the main roster. So you have Main Eventer Charlotte, upper midcarders Sasha/Bayley/Nia... And who else again? Smackdown is actually 7 deep with any of the 7 being able to move in and out of the top spot. Somehow, RAW cannot have a good Tag Team Division despite having some talented big men in that division and the New Day. How did the WWE kill the New Day's heat so fast? Good lord, they were once the most over act on the roster...
BUT... You know who is pretty good, though? Braun Strowman. I cannot lie to you, folks... That guy is legit. Let's give Vince McMahon all of the credit in the world for finding that guy and developing him from scratch. The guy was a participant in strongman competitions before McMahon hired him based on his look. 2 years of development at the Center in Florida and he was able to join the WWE main roster. Green at first but he served as the muscle for the Wyatt Family... On his own now, I swear that he gets better by the week. He's a tremendous athlete for his size and he looks and acts legitimately tough. It's amazing to see him actually learning the business... What if the WWE keeps letting him grow and maybe down the road, turns him babyface? It could happen... You never know.
The WWE wants to get Roman Reigns over as the #1 babyface no matter what... They've been forcing it and forcing it... So many resources dumped into Reigns while many other wrestlers had to step aside as Roman got pushed. If you're going to push him, don't halfass it... The late 2015 and early 2016 title reigns and runs for the title were awful. What if Reigns convincingly beats Braun Strowman at WWE Fastlane, Undertaker convincingly at Wrestlemania 33, and then beats Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Title at the following RAW Pay Per View. Then, let Roman Reigns become a dominant WWE Universal Champion for the next year. As the great "JR" Jim Ross would say, you can't be "half pregnant". If Vince McMahon wants to make Reigns as the #1 guy, then let him beat Strowman/Undertaker/Lesnar and let him enjoy a lengthy WWE Universal Title reign. I'm willing to bet that Roman won't lose those darn non-title matches...
I've seen enough Roman Reigns for the last 3 years to know that another World Title reign will fail... If you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig. If you polish a turd, it's still a turd. If you put a bulletproof vest on a wrestler, he's still a wrestler.
I still insist on reuniting the Shield on the RAW brand and push them HARD as a babyface faction. Everyone wins... Vince gets his Roman push, we get to see many great 6 man matches, and you can like the Shield brand because Rollins or Ambrose are there and forgive that Roman is there. Win, win, win. #ReuniteTheShield.
You do realize that I'm NOT going to stop this #ReuniteTheShield stuff until it happens, right? It's THAT good of an idea and the only way Roman Reigns will get over as a babyface.
Rich Swann/Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick/Noam Dar
You know that I'm either a Hulu viewer or that I don't give a damn about the "205" show when I don't recognized 2 out of 4 wrestlers in this match. Seriously. I'll guess that Neville wins later, so to keep the heel/face differential balanced, we'll choose the faces... At least who I think are the babyfaces?
WHO SHOULD WIN: The 1996-1997 WCW Cruiserweight Division, who looks a million times better by comparison. Today's WWE Cruiserweight Division does NOT have wrestlers the caliber of Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio, Psychosis, Chris Jericho, Ultimo Dragon, etc. Oh, and most viewers who don't watch the Pre-Game show to see this match.
WHO WILL WIN: Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa... They are babyfaces, right?
RAW Tag Titles: Anderson/Gallows (c) vs. Enzo/Big Cass
I figure that the WWE wants to try Enzo and Big Cass as champions just once before Big Cass starts a singles wrestler push. Why not Sunday Night?
WHO SHOULD WIN: Anderson & Gallows... Tag Titles need some credibility.
WHO WILL WIN: Enzo & Big Cass
Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks
I'm projecting Charlotte to win later in the show, so thus to balance the Women's Division for the night, babyface wins here. Maybe a disqualification... Who knows? Just no heat here.
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Sasha Banks
Cruiserweight Title: Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Neville
Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn is the RAW roster's "Dolph Ziggler"... Hardworking jobber to the stars! It would be counter-productive to have Samoa Joe lose his 1st Pay Per View unless interference happens like Seth Rollins hitting Joe with a crutch.
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Samoa Joe
Women's Title: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte
Hey, it's a Pay Per View! Guess who is winning this match?
WHO SHOULD WIN: Bayley and get a definitive and convincing win over Charlotte.
WHO WILL WIN: Princess Charlotte because it's a Pay Per View. Maybe Sasha Banks turns on Bayley?
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
One wrestler is going against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33, the other is unbooked... Unless WWE is bold enough to do a Triple Threat with Undertaker, Strowman, and Reigns... Reigns almost has to win this automatically... UNLESS WWE wants to be bold enough to let Strowman beat Reigns, Reigns goes on to defeat Undertaker, and then their rematch is money? I don't know... Odds are strong that WWE wants Reigns to look strong heading into the Undertaker match and then they'll quickly rebuild Strowman for the rematch down the road. I see the 2017 "Andre the Giant" award clearly being won by Strowman unless other plans hatch.
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Roman Reigns
WWE Universal Title: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Bill Goldberg
Most of Dave Meltzer's pre-Royal Rumble insider news about Wrestlemania is coming true and this is one of the last of the rumors to be fulfilled. It's pretty simple how this match will end... I don't believe that WWE wants to expose the 50 year old Bill Goldberg with a long match. They'll save that debacle for Wrestlemania... I expect Chris Jericho to interfere early and do something like hitting Owens with the LIST Clipboard. Goldberg hits the Spear and Jackhammer to become WORLD CHAMPION and that easily sets up Jericho vs. Owens for the US Title. Nothing wrong with that...
WHO SHOULD WIN / WHO WILL WIN: Bill Goldberg. Goldberg vs. Lesnar for a World Title helps Wrestlemania draw *that* much more and ensures that he show has its Main Event. I'd personally like Owens to win, but Goldberg winning is "best for business".
I greatly worry about my productivity following this column... OH MY GOD! MARCH 3rd is almost here!!!!
SO JUST CHILL... UNTIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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