Hello again and welcome to this week's Slammer Jabber. It's been a slightly less busy week in the grappling world after the excitement of Battleground, the Draft, and the first Raw and Smackdown shows of the brand extension. However, as always we have this week's TV to discuss, a big guest host for next week's Raw, and of a little look at the Crusierweight Classic thus far.
This week was very much about building towards Summerslam, and the main event as far as this show presented, was certainly Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton. The segment at the end of Raw was excellent, and made Orton look relevant as he’s been in years, while Lesnar looked his usual beastly self. I said a few weeks ago that I would prefer a more sports-style build for this feud, but I am enjoying what we have been given so far. Interestingly nothing was really made of Orton’s dig at Lesnar at Battleground, but this certainly set it up nicely for Smackdown
Outside of the Lesnar-Orton build, we also got treated to a couple of really strong segments with Enzo Amore & Sasha Banks (a smart move considering how over both are) as well as the ever-brilliant Chris Jericho, and Kevin Owens. I like that they are teasing an alliance between Owens and Jericho as this could be comedy gold as well as creating a great odd-couple relationship. Enzo Amore is on fire at the moment, and while the company obviously see big things in Big Cass, it's great to see them showing a little faith in Amore. Also bonus points for Mick Foley describing himself as a "Certified GM", well done that man. As for Sasha, well just watch her, you don't need me to tell you how awesome she is.
As well as all these great interactions we got a cracking match between Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn, to the surprise of no-one I'm sure. Zayn seems to have been forgotten somewhat over the past week or so, and a back-and-forth match with Rollins here will have done him no end of good. Speaking of Rollins, it was great to see some development between him Finn Balor on this show. Balor is still finding his feet on the main roster but he has been built well and Rollins made him look like a big star. I am ecstatic we are getting this match at Summerslam and I just hope we don't see a Balor loss and him falling down the card.
Finally a couple of minor notes on Raw. Firstly, I was glad to see the return of enhancement talent was not just a one-week deal. It makes sense to promote your more limited workers in this fashion to avoid exposing them too soon and this has worked wonders thus far for Braun Strowman and Nix Jax respectively. Secondly, I am loving the unpredictable nature of the show where anyone can turn up, inluding Heath Slater. The undrafted superstar was back on Raw looking for a spot on the roster, which heralded the return of Jinder Mahal. While I don't rate either too highly it's nice to see WWE doing something with them, and this story-line with Slater has been tremendous fun thus far.
Onwards towards Smackdown. As with last week this was a good show but couldn't quite match Raw in terms of impact. It's shame but Raw already feels like the superior show and Smackdown has settled into being the B show. Perhaps we will see a change in this in the coming weeks, but for now it's very much in Raw's shadow.
On the positive side we had a cracking segment between WWE Champion Dean Ambrose and his Summerslam challenger Dolph Ziggler. Both were excellent with Ziggler impressing and seeming like a genuine threat to Ambrose, which I cannot believe I am typing. I have made no secret of my dislike and general apathy towards Ziggler, but if he keeps this up I will be very happy.
The other standout on the show for me was of course the Randy Orton/Brock Lesnar build. After the shenanigans on Raw we were treated to more interaction here as Lesnar tried to break into the arena. They have gone for a very attitude-esque build here and I am really enjoying it so far. As with Raw both men looked relevant and like a big deal and if anyone was in any doubt over what the main event of Summerslam is, this should be answer that question deifnitely.
That's right P Diddy, Puff Daddy, Diddy or whatever name Sean Coombs is currently going by, will be guest hosting Raw next week. Famously Raw had a series of guest hosts a few years back who varied from good to god-awful, so it'll be intriguing to see whether this is a one-time happening or a long term thing. I'm certainly hoping for the former. It's very possible Diddy is just doing some promotion and having a relationship with WWE already (he played at Wrestlemania 29 in New Jersey, which i attended), so it might just be a bit of cross-promotion, but I can't see much of a bump in the ratings forthcoming from his appearance.
CWC: It's Awesome
Finally, I wanted to touch on the CWC. As someone who was reared on the heady days of the Monday night wars, I have something of a love for cruiserweights. Be it from a high flying, acrobatic angle like Rey Mysterio Jnr, Psychosis, Juventud Guererra, or the more ground based style of a Dean Malenko, Cruiserweights showed skills that the larger guys couldn't pull off. However, WWE has never really fully, and wholeheartedly adopted the cruiserweight as a viable entity. The old adage of the "land of the giants" was still very much a thing until recently. However, the times they are a changing and smaller guys seem to be getting a much bigger spotlight. As such the CWC has been a breath of fresh air with its pure-sports style and use of unsigned competitors from all over the world including many from the UK. I won't spoil anything, but the tournament thus far has been phenomenal, and if you are not watching get yourself on the network and get watching before the second round starts, trust me it's worth it.
That's your lot for this week, but join me again next Thursday for more news, views, and thoughts from the world of pro wrestling. In the meantime, as always Screenjabber is your one-stop shop for all things movies, games, Blu-rays and DVDs. Until next time...