You’ve probably heard by now that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had some less-than-complimentary things to say about one of his Fast 8 co-stars after shooting wrapped up, and industry sources revealed that the source of Rock’s ire was mostly likely the star of the franchise, Vin Diesel, who Rock seemed to be accusing of laziness and unprofessionalism. Everyone has an opinion on this, from the other stars of the film, to industry experts, to wrestling fans, and it seems like it’s that last group who might have figured out the angle on this whole thing from the very beginning.
It’s been no secret that legendary wrestler Bret “Hitman” Hart has a serious problem with wrestlers who cause injuries, and perhaps justifiably so, as his career was ended by a reckless move from a poorly trained opponent, while Hart can still lay claim to never injuring somebody in the ring during a match in his career. As a result, Hart has been quite vocal about Seth Rollins and his recent history, where several of his opponents have come away from matches with serious injuries. So, when Finn Balor went on the injured list as a result of a move taken during a match with Rollins, people wanted to know what Hart’s opinion was, and here it is:
Reports have surfaced which suggest that Roman Reigns’ suspension just before the Brand Extension changed more than a few long-term plans for WWE, so just for fun, we decided to see how many of their current issues they could blame on The Guy. According to the Wrestling Observer, the biggest change caused by Reigns’ suspension was the fact that it ended up sending the WWE World Heavyweight Title to Smackdown, with Dean Ambrose as champion, instead of Raw, which was allegedly the original plan. Reigns and Seth Rollins were expected to feud over that title, while the Universal Championship was supposed to be introduced as a Smackdown-exclusive title, and most importantly, won by AJ Styles, likely in the match against John Cena which happened at SummerSlam anyway. In addition, a planned undercard match for SummerSlam was supposed to see Finn Balor fight Chris Jericho, as the two were expected to have an extended feud for Balor’s initial period following his promotion from NXT. Instead, as Reigns was removed from the Universal title picture, Balor was inserted, and ended up winning the title at SummerSlam…and seriously injuring his shoulder, putting him out for roughly 4-6 months.
Smackdown’s ratings had been trending downwards after the Draft episode, but that trend is officially over as of this week. The show, which featured the introduction of the Smackdown Tag Team and Women’s title belts, as well as a main event of AJ Styles vs Dolph Ziggler in order to determine the WWE World Heavyweight Title match at Backlash, scored 2.71 million viewers and 0.98 rating in the 18-49 demographic, the highest rating for the show since the Draft, and the most viewers since the brand extension officially began. While the show was still bringing in numbers higher than pre-Draft episodes, this jump will certainly be seen as a welcome one for WWE and the USA Network, which have both declared a desire to see Smackdown treated as an equivalent show to the flagship, Raw. Smackdown also easily won the night for original cable programming, and most importantly, was a pretty good show!
While we’re certainly thrilled to see Bayley finally get the spot on the WWE main roster she so richly deserved, we can also understand how leaving NXT, a place she was a major part of for several years, would be somewhat bittersweet. What follows is the emotional “Goodbye” message Bayley posted on Instagram for the brand that turned her from a fledgling wrestler into one of the biggest women’s wrestling stars in the world, while NXT simultaneously went from an un-televised developmental show created for training purposes to one of the crown jewels of WWE. Be warned, you will feel things.
We’re still on the fence about whether or not Bobby Roode’s theme song it the greatest accomplishment in human history or the most recent sign of the apocalypse, but either way, it certainly does give us some strong feelings when we hear it. Strong, confusing feelings, that are perhaps best represented by this mash-up involving a popular children’s cartoon.
Frankly, nothing Dwight Howard does or says these days would surprise us, but the embattled NBA star raised a few eyebrows while discussing a projected WrestleMania 33 match between longtime ring veteran The Big Show and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. While Howard was very supportive of Shaq, he felt that Show probably had the advantage (you think?) due to, you know, actually being a pro wrestler. And when asked if he would ever do the same as the retired 4-time NBA Champion, Howard had this to say:
While Intercontinental Champion The Miz didn’t wrestle on Smackdown Live! last night, he made waves in a completely different way after the show. During the new WWE Network post-show Talking Smack, The Miz got into a vicious argument with Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan after he was told he “wrestled like a coward”. Miz accused Bryan of breaking a promise he made to the fans to return from his injuries to compete for the Intercontinental Title, and told Bryan that if he didn’t like it, to quit and “go wrestle in bingo halls”. A visibly shaken Bryan then left the set, while Miz continued to shout insults at him.
The first Raw after an action-packed SummerSlam weekend (and, coincidentally, the first Raw after the end of the Summer Olympics) was very successful for WWE, despite losing the first Universal Champion only a day after he won the title. The show, which focused around a series of matches to determine contenders for the vacant title, as well as the debut of Bayley and the retirement of the Dudley Boyz, averaged 3.32 million viewers and a 1.25 rating in the 18-49 demographics, a significant jump from the last couple of weeks, which have averaged below 3 million viewers, and the highest viewership since June. The show did have its usual third hour nosedive, dropping over 250k viewers, but still did well enough to finish #1 among original cable programming for the evening.
With SummerSlam now in the rear-view mirror, Smackdown Live! has a lot of work ahead of it and not a lot of time, as the first Smackdown-exclusive Pay Per View, Backlash, will take place in just under three weeks! Could the show maintain its run of decent shows? We’ve got all the important results from this week’s show for your convenience!