So, Battleground is in the books, and we’re entering the dog days of summer. You know, those long weeks between the last PPV before SummerSlam, and the biggest show of the summer. WWE has a few matches on the books for the Biggest Show of the Summer, but much of the card is still up in the air.
As we move through these few weeks, there will be a lot happening on Raw and SmackDown. Here are some things that occurred to me as I contemplated the state of WWE headed into SummerSlam in August.
Random Thoughts from the Professor
Battleground was a bad show – It looked good on paper. Unfortunately, the blue brand couldn’t match the outstanding GBOF event Raw put on a few weeks ago. There should never (EEEEEVER) be another Punjabi Prison match. Matches between two guys being sold as legitimate badasses (like Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura) shouldn’t end with a kick to the groin, and Mike Kanellis shouldn’t go back on TV until creative has some idea what to do with him. Overall, it didn’t feel like anything was solved at Battleground. All we know for sure is that Aiden English might never win a match.
Is Chris Jericho back for a while? What about Great Khali? – The return of Great Khali at Battleground was truly a cringe-worthy moment. Seeing him lumber down the ramp during the Punjabi Prison match brought flashbacks to his earlier WWE run. Khali might be a great guy, but he can’t wrestle. Hell, he can’t even walk. He can’t cut a promo, either. Keep him off of TV. I was encouraged that he didn’t appear on SmackDown on Tuesday. Jericho’s return was a total shock to just about everyone – in a good way. If Y2J is sticking around for a SummerSlam feud, it opens the door for a lot of excellent booking options.
Why did WWE book Cena vs. Shinsuke? – I’m all for this match, just not on SmackDown. I know this is to determine the No. 1 contender to face Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, but it seems like too big a showdown to put on regular TV. Since I don’t think WWE really wants either guy to lose, I suspect there will be shenanigans here. I predict that Baron Corbin will get involved in the match, probably by attacking Cena. That would get Shinsuke disqualified and keep that feud alive for the big show in August. That also allows Cena to face Jinder without Nakamura losing face.
Is KO on a collision course with Shane McMahon? – The feud between Owens and AJ Styles over the United States championship has been a good one, but it has to end at some point. Owens’ comments to McMahon about his lack of respect for the SmackDown commissioner seem like a clue. Also, Shane has been involved in just about every major PPV since he returned to the company. This could be a great match. The only problem is that it leaves Styles without a rival heading into SummerSlam.
Lana is awful – Lana was a good mouthpiece for Rusev. She’s a horrible wrestler. She’s even bad at being a bad wrestler. WWE is teasing some relationship between Lana and Tamina Snuka. The problem is that they’re trying to drum up interest in a partnership between a woman who can’t wrestle and one that the crowd doesn’t care about. Tamina might eventually get over with the WWE Universe, but not if she has to drag Lana around behind her.
There needs to be resolution for the Fashion Police – At Battleground, we discovered that The Ascension didn’t destroy Breezango’s office. This is a fact that we already knew. We also found out that…oh, right. We didn’t find anything else out. The last we saw of the Fashion Police was when they were knocked out and dragged out of their office at Battleground. Hmmmm – beat down your opponent and drag them off into the darkness. Sounds like the Wyatt Family to me. Has anyone seen Luke Harper or Erick Rowan lately? This would be a great feud and a major boost to the SD tag team division.
Brock Lesnar needs to lose the Universal Championship at SummerSlam – Lesnar is a legit beast. There’s no disputing it. However, he’s just as much of a beast without the title as he is with it. People will tune in to WWE to see Lesnar any time. According to the ratings, they won’t tune in to see a bunch of other guys jockey for position to become the next one to get fed to Lesnar. Taking the title off Brock in Fatal Four-Way achieves several things. First, Lesnar can drop the belt without being pinned or submitted. This gives him a legit claim to a rematch whenever he comes back to WWE TV. Second, taking the title from Lesnar gives immediate legitimacy to the man who walks out with the belt. Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman are all worthy champions. Finally, no matter which of the three take the title, the belt would be on Raw every Monday night. That hasn’t been the case since FastLane. There are a lot of great workers at the top of the Raw card. Giving them a belt to battle over will make the show appointment television once again.
That’s it for this week. Next time, I’ll take a look at how things are shaping up for SummerSlam and give some thoughts about the happenings in NXT. For now, enjoy your summer vacation.