Developing Storylines on Raw and SmackDown Live - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

Developing Storylines on Raw and SmackDown Live - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Jonathan Maldonado Thursday, June 28, 2018
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Jonathan Maldonado, Robert Defelice and Callum Wiggins will share their thoughts on the developing storylines on Raw and SmackDown Live.

Let's discuss...

Question 1: Paul Heyman shared a lengthy, incendiary Facebook post regarding Brock Lesnar's future title defences, his apparently inferior selection of challengers and WWE as a whole. Heyman claims Brock will look for more "Ultimate" competition. What do you make of this going forward? Is Brock going to enter the octagon before he defends the Universal Championship again?

MALDONADO: I love and hate when things like this happen. Heyman is so good at playing with kayfabe and creating this aura around Lesnar that makes him truly feel like he can do whatever he wants, when he wants. Lesnar really wants to fight in the UFC, and is a legitimate favorite against most fighters. The fact that he can float this around while a WWE Champion is pretty cool, until it isn't. Storyline intrigue aside, his UFC status and top guy billing (sorry Roman) helps keep him away from TV. More importantly, it keeps the title off TV, giving a whole host of main eventers nothing to do. WWE hasn't done a perfect job at keeping everyone occupied until the belt is back, and it's getting boring.

As for when the title gets defended again, it has to be at SummerSlam. It's WWE's second biggest show of the year and really the home of the Universal Championship. It was at SummerSlam, in the same Barclays Center, that the Universal Championship was born with the inaugural champion, Finn Balor. There's no way WWE keeps this title off the show. And if that's the case, that show is next month and a UFC fight won't happen before then. Hopefully the title is dropped and Lesnar can go off to the UFC all he wants.


DEFELICE: I don't think it's a smart idea for Brock Lesnar to walk into the UFC with that Universal Championship. UFC fans have shown time and again that they don't give a damn about WWE. I really just wish that Brock Lesnar would have dropped the title at WrestleMania. Let me be clear, this isn't like me investing into the story and wanting Brock to lose, this is sheer apathy at this point. I'm not invested, I just want it to be over. As far as what's next, I think we get a triple threat at SummerSlam with Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and Bobby Lashley.

WIGGINS: This whole incident with the Paul Heyman Facebook post and Brock Lesnar supposedly nixing the multi-man match at Extreme Rules reeks of another desperate attempt by WWE to get people to cheer Roman Reigns by making his opponent as unlikable as possible. I personally don't believe Lesnar is not intentionally holding the Universal Championship hostage until he returns to the UFC, but is under clear instructions by WWE to not show up. In the end, this will simply add to the apathy and negativity that overshadowed their match at WrestleMania 34, as the majority of the New York crowd will not be invested and spend the entire duration entertaining themselves, booing or bemoaning WWE's creative direction.

Question 2: Team Hell No reunited on SmackDown Live this week and will challenge the Bludgeon Brothers for the SDL Tag Team Championship at Extreme Rules. Is this the right move for Daniel Bryan?

MALDONADO: For sure, this is the best thing to do. Bryan has been wrestling for a few months now and that initial excitement has largely subsided. He went through the motions in a boring follow-up to Mania feud with Big Cass, has got his rythm back, but now needs real direction to keep the fans invested. Not that fans will ever get tired of Bryan, we just don't want to see him directionless for any length of time.

This nostalgia act will keep Bryan hot with lots of pops, probably a brief tag team title run and an eventual feud with Kane. This is the best way to kill time and keep the Miz feud on ice until WrestleMania season.

DEFELICE: Yes! Yes! Yes! Daniel Bryan is in the second phase of his come back. Let’s have some fun. Admittedly, I don’t care about the Kane character anymore. They’ve acknowledged too much realism and with the recent downgrade of production quality, all of Kane’s mystique has been rendered obsolete. However, I think team Hell No will have a lot of fun and it's a great move for Bryan at this stage in his career.

WIGGINS: It's a nice nostalgia pop for Daniel Bryan, and there is no question the tag team scene as a whole in WWE required a shot in the arm. Team Hell No is one of the most popular and successful odd couple teams in modern history, and with Bryan likely carrying the bulk of this match, it should be a fun spectacle. Of course, I would prefer WWE bite the bullet and start pushing Bryan towards the WWE Championship or the long-awaited feud with the Miz, but it's fine to bide some time to allow names like Samoa Joe to have their time in the spotlight heading towards SummerSlam. So this is good for now, but I do hope it's only temporary.

Question 3: Asuka will take on James Ellsworth next week on SDL, Sasha Banks' and Bayley's rivalry is finally heating up and Natalya picked up a win over Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss with a little help from Nia Jax. Which is the hottest feud in the women's division right now and does the already cashed in MITB briefcase take away from intrigue in the division?

MALDONADO: Anything that Ronda Rousey touches is instant fire. I mean she's the second coming of the Hot Rod, right? Seriously, she's been nothing short of wonderful since she entered the ring at WrestleMania. Yes, she leaves much to be desired on the mic and in the acting department, but all of that goes out the window when she's in fight mode. It sucks that she's absent for a bit which kills the high a bit, but on the flip side the suspense for her next bout is palpable.

I'm a little sour on the Sasha Banks and Bayley story. Counseling? Seriously? That's the type of shit to keep the women's division back a decade or two. The men are out here settling feud's in the ring, backstage, flipping cars and generally causing mayhem. But two of the biggest stars of the women's division take their years-long rivalry to a therapist? No one ever believed these two were friends from the beginning. News flash main roster writers, we watched NXT. We all know the history. We all watched Brooklyn. By the way, we're heading back there next month. Make it happen WWE!

As for the MITB briefcase, I wish it were still out there. It felt like a real part of the show with Carmella, and it lurking around her would bring some sweet karma and add some spice to a somewhat entertaining feud with Asuka.

DEFELICE: Sasha Banks and Bayley is definitely the hottest thing in the women's division. I think that these women could literally fight forever and as long as it's got the right story it'll always be interesting. I can't wait to see the inevitable pay off and I hope that before it's over they interject the championship into it as well.

WIGGINS: The hottest feud in WWE's women's division is undoubtedly Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss. Even with Rousey out of the picture in the short-term to serve out her suspension, when she returns to hunt down Bliss I believe the heat will be extraordinary. With the right build and attention devoted to it, I could easily see that match main eventing SummerSlam over anything else WWE can put together right now.

As for the other feuds, I'm really not enjoying Carmella's feud with Asuka or the SmackDown Women's Champion's reign overall, and as for Sasha Banks and Bayley their "feud" has meandered for what feels like years at this point. They definitely captured lightning in a bottle on Raw this past week with Bayley's attack, the best thing she's done since joining the main roster, but the subsequent announcement that she and Banks will be taking counseling next week just completely killed that momentum for me. Far from being the hottest feud in WWE right now, Sasha Banks vs. Bayley is a high contender for me for Worst Storyline of the Year.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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THIS POST WRITTEN BY: JONATHAN MALDONADO

Jonathan Maldonado is a lifelong wrestling fan from the Bronx, NY. He grew up during the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era and is a sucker for the flippy stuff and a good wrestling tee. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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