The holiday weekend and the new college football season took chunks out of Raw’s viewership this week, as the show started with a strong number, but shed viewers throughout the evening, dropping the average and finishing the evening well under the 3 million mark. Overall, the show, which started well with the Kevin Owens victory celebration and excellent matches involving Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, Bayley, and WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte, before seeing a sharp drop-off in quality (then rebounding with a strong main event that, clearly, nobody saw), finished with an average of 3.07 million viewers, down significantly from the 3.31 million it brought in last week. The show also drew a 1.07 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which was also down somewhat, and put Raw at #4 for the evening among original cable programming, behind Love and Hip-Hop on VH-1, and a college football game (and post-game show) on ESPN.
With the WWE Brand Extension once again in full swing, it’s time for the next hurdle in the road, the very first brand-exclusive Pay Per View. Smackdown gets the first kick at the can with Backlash, a PPV name that actually has a long history due to formerly being WWE’s first post-Mania PPV that dealt with the fallout from the largest show of the year (hence the name). Can Smackdown maintain the legacy of Backlash? Well, they’ve actually got a pretty big hill to climb, thanks to a small roster, a show that doesn’t seem to have enough matches announced to fill three hours, and having to introduce two major titles on the same show with only a few weeks of build-up. The talent is there, however, so the show could actually be quite good. And if you want some more thoughts and predictions to get you prepared for Backlash, well, then just keep reading.
Whether you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea for CM Punk to be trying to make his mark in UFC probably, at least partially, revolves around the fact that he is basically a completely untrained 37-year-old trying to break into a sport full of professionals who have been training in that particular discipline for their entire lives. Even if he works really hard, as he clearly has, the odds of success are not in his favor, and he may ultimately end up horribly outmatched. It turns out, the Ohio Athletic Commission, which is overseeing UFC 203, would normally agree with that sentiment, and in fact, they actually have a rule that states that any fighter must have a winning amateur record consisting of at least five fights before they will sanction a professional match. In case you didn’t know, CM Punk has never competed any MMA discipline as either an amateur or a professional, and thus would not qualify. In fact, Punk’s opponent, Mickey Gall, would also fall under this ruling, as he only has a 3-0 record as an amateur (and is 2-0 as a pro), although obviously he has slightly more wiggle room than Punk.
The very first Smackdown-exclusive Pay Per View of the new Brand Extension is this Sunday, and as of the final Smackdown Live! before the show, there are six official matches announced. At Backlash, two new titles will be introduced, as the Smackdown Women’s Title will be awarded to the winner of a Six-Pack Challenge Match, and the Smackdown Tag Team titles will be determined in the finals of an eight-team tournament. In case you needed a refresher on what to expect at Backlash, here are all the matches that you will see this Sunday!
With Backlash just a few days away, this week’s Smackdown Live! was the final chance for competitors to get their shots in before the Pay Per View. In addition, the final four teams faced off for the right to compete for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles at Backlash. Here’s everything that went down at the last Smackdown before Backlash!
You may have heard that WWE Superstar Rhyno, recently seen teaming with Heath Slater on Smackdown Live, is also running for a seat on the Michigan House of Representatives in the upcoming elections, as the Republican candidate for his district. And it seems that the Man-Beast, who is running under his real name, Terrence Guido Gerin, has enlisted the help of an old friend for his most recent campaign ad. Yes, that’s Olympic gold medalist and multiple-time World Champion Kurt Angle, threatening to break the ankle of an undecided voter. We might question his methods for getting people to vote for Rhyno, but we can’t argue with the results.
It’s the first week of the new Kevin Owens show, and one would imagine that all sorts of people were looking for revenge against the man who basically had the Universal Title handed to him by Triple H last week! We’ve got all the results of this week’s Raw right here!
The great thing about The Rock is that you can always count on him to keep you updated on what he’s up to on a daily basis, whether it’s his exercise routine, his eating habits, his adorable puppies, or whichever of the six dozen movie projects he’s currently working on. This time, he’s provided his fans with a first look at the concept art for his starring role in the “reimagining” of the family film Jumanji, where he apparently plays a character named Dr. Bravestone. Really stretched your creativity on that one, people. Anyway, have a look, and just like The Rock, wonder where the heck his upper body disappeared to.
Just announced this morning by Triple H on social media, the next highly anticipated NXT live special will take place in the Great White North, as it will air live on the WWE Network the day before Survivor Series in November from Toronto, (dramatic pause) Ontario, Canada. The announcement advertises matches involving NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, NXT Women’s Champion Asuka, and NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival, among others.
Much like the NFL holds its own scouting combine to test the various skills of potential draft picks, the WWE Performance Center held its own physical training showcase this week in Orlando. It was an opportunity for both newer trainees and NXT veterans to show off their physical skills in a series of grueling challenges. There’s even a video of some of the highlights of the event, which you can see right here, just in case you ever asked yourself “how hard can it be to become a pro wrestler, anyway?”