Hello and welcome to this week's Slammer Jabber. It's been a relatively quiet week, but we still have a new TV show, Raw, Smackdown, and a PPV to preview, so lets get right into things.
I know I said a few weeks back that I hoped to never see the combination of Sasha Banks and Charlotte again for the Women's title, but I have to admit their match this week was excellent. I especially enjoyed the finish, and you really don't see a falls count anywhere match these days so it was quite refreshing. That being said they really do need to give this pairing a rest now. I also don't know how I feel about Ric Flair endorsing Banks over his daughter, it makes very little sense and seems like a fairly big logic hole. I suspect, given the name of the next PPV is Roadblock: End of the Line we are getting a final match between these two, with Charlotte going over thanks to help from her Dad, again presumably with the stipulation that this is their last match. Still, a good main event.
Another big talking point from Raw this week was the tease for the break up of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. They've had a falling out, but between now and the end of next week's show you have to expect they will sort it out. The big blow off is surely destined for Wrestlemania now, but this is masterful storytelling from WWE, and they have really hit gold with these two. I also liked that this all played into the Owens vs Roman Reigns match which set up their title bout at Roadblock. Speaking of Jericho I enjoyed his brawl with Seth Rollins very much, and the pedigree from Rollins on the car looked absolutely brutal. Everything felt a bit more organic and natural on this show, which is a rarity on Raw, so this was very welcome indeed.
Paul Heyman is excellent. No, this is not news, but he once again reinforced this on Raw with a superb promo on the Brock Lesnar/Goldberg situation. He was on top form and absolutely got across how big a deal it was for Godlberg to beat Lesnar in the fashion he did, and almost immediately rehabbed Lesnar without him even having to turn up. Bravo Heyman.
The Sami Zayn - Mick Foley situation interests me. I enjoyed that Braun Strowman is still getting the monster push, and looks really strong here, but the underdog story with Zayn is something they are finally pushing and he is the perfect guy for this. Foley has seen better days on the mic, but he has occasional flashes of brilliance and this looks to be going more in that direction, so I'm certainly interested to see how this develops.
Finally, onto my favourite part of Raw this week, Sheamus and Cesaro having a drink and getting into a massive bar fight. This is right out of the attitude era school of booking, and I loved every minute of it. Sheamus and Cesaro have really grown into the odd couple role, and are quickly proving a highlight every week, which means WWE are likely going to ruin their good work imminently. This was a really good show, and any time you can say that about a three hour Raw, that has to be a plus.
Smackdown this week was a very busy show. With TLC just around the corner, there was much to do to set everything up. The most interesting match on this week's show was certainly Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton vs American Alpha. I'd hoped for AA getting the win and pushing on here, as they looked to start gaining some traction over the past few weeks. However, it was not to be, and Wyatt and Orton advanced to the tag title match at the PPV in what was an excellent match. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan have so much upside, and I just hope WWE don't wait too long to pull the trigger on these two.
Elsewhere we got more build for the Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles match on Sunday, with the involvement of James Ellsworth too. The Ambrose Asylum stuff was a bit goofy, and I thought I was very much ready for this feud to be over, but the brawl to end the show was surprisingly heated and actually gave me some sense of excitement for their match on Sunday.
The rest of the show was a mixed bag, with Carmella and Nikki Bella having a good segment, Alexa Bliss heeling it up brilliantly in the build to her match with Becky Lynch, and in general a good push for TLC. A good show, if not a bit rushed.
With the cruiserweight divsion struggling a bit on Raw, it was interesting to see how WWE handled the launch of 205 Live, but on first impressions I'm very pleased with how it panned out. Rich Swann vs THE Brian Kendrick was a really well executed match and I like Swann as the champion moving forward. He is a excellent, and his charisma is infectious so I am very excited to see if this injects some life into the division. It was also great to see Jack Gallagher make his debut and look superb in the process. At 45 minutes a throw I can see this being a really fun watch every week and potentially a great addition to the WWE roster of programming.
This Sunday is the TLC PPV, which is a very quick turnaround from Survivor Series, and should mark the end of most current feuds on the blue brand. In the main event I imagine AJ Styles will retain the WWE Title, although it could be the case that Ambrose wins and feuds with The Undertaker after he almost cost Smackdown the elimination match at Survivor Series, although I hope not. I suspect Ellsworth gets involved, either accidentally costing Ambrose, or turning heel somehow. Either way I think Styles retains. Similarly, I believe The Miz will retain against Dolph Ziggler for the IC title especially as he only recently regained the title, and given Ziggler has cooled off over the past few weeks I think that makes sense. Baron Corbin vs Kalisto could be fun, or awful depending how they work it but I imagine Kalisto is going over. The other men's match on the card is Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton vs Rhyno and Heath Slater for the tag titles and I can see nothing but a dominant Wyatt win. They have been pushed really hard recently and Slater and Rhyno seem to have lost that initial momentum, so again this is likely a sensible move.
On the women's side of things we have Carmella and Nikki Bella which I think will be brawl with Bella getting the win in a so-so affair. However, the women's title match between Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss should be a lot of fun, with both at the top of their game right now, and although I think Becky will retain, a title change here would not shock me especially as Bliss has been brilliant since being drafted.
This should be a good show, if not one that flies under the radar a bit for most people. However as usual, Smackdown will probably put on a good show, even if it does feel a bit like a stop-gap.
Well that's it from me this week, join me next week for all the biggest news from WWE, a full run down of TLC, and whatever else happens in the crazy world of pro wrestling. In the meantime keep it locked to Screenjabber for all the biggest news, reviews, opinions, competitions and more. Until then, so long folks.