SK Exclusive: This is how WWE is planning to book Raw after Wrestlemania
A look at the plans for Raw after WrestleMania 33. Despite the return of Finn Balor, things look pretty stale and repetitive.
What’s the story?
Raw will seemingly struggle for fresh and interesting matches after WrestleMania 33, especially if their April house show plans are anything to go by.
In case you didn’t know...
Most of the projected matches for WrestleMania 33 are from the Raw brand, however, they feature many part-time talents, working at the top of the card. All these part-time talents will be departing after WrestleMania and do not figure in WWE’s house show plans.
However, Brock may figure into their TV plans and certainly their PPV plans, as he is said to be pencilled in to make some WWE Universal Title defences between WrestleMania 33 and SummerSlam 2017. Brock is currently slated to win the WWE Universal Title at WrestleMania 33 from Goldberg, who will win it from Kevin Owens next month at Fastlane.
The projected WrestleMania 33 card currently has 14 matches and looks like this:
1. Goldberg (Champion) vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Title Match )
2. Bray Wyatt (Champion) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship Match)
3. The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
4. Triple H vs. Seth Rollins
5. Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles
6. Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho (United States Title Match )
7. John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. Miz & Maryse
8. Ambrose vs. Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler vs. TBA vs. TBA vs. TBA (WWE Intercontinental Ladder Match )
9. Big Show vs. Shaq
10. Charlotte vs. Nia Jaxx vs Bayley vs Sasha Banks (WWE Raw Women’s Title Match )
11. The Andre the Giant Battle Royal
12. Gallows & Anderson vs. Enzo & Cass (WWE RAW Tag Team Titles )
13. Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James (WWE Smackdown Women’s Title Match)
14. American Alpha vs. TBC (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title Match)
The heart of the matter
With Goldberg, The Undertaker, Triple H and Chris Jericho not sticking around after WrestleMania, and with Brock Lesnar being on a part-time contract, the WWE Raw brand will be without 5 of its main talents on the projected WrestleMania 33 card.
According to my sources, the promotional material set to go out next month to promote the UK houseshows, will consist of the following matches:
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Charlotte vs. Bayley
Gallows & Anderson vs. Enzo & Cass
Also featuring, Finn Balor, Sasha Banks, Sheamus and The New Day
It’s interesting that the card says “also featuring Finn Balor,” all but confirming his return to the WWE is imminent. The card also says “also featuring Sheamus,” but no mention of Cesaro. I would not anticipate this as Cesaro moving to Smackdown, but rather that Sheamus is simply considered a bigger star, especially here in the UK.
The problem with the card is the number of repeat matches, three of which are currently on the houseshows at the time of this article. It will be four if Sasha Banks is simply programmed with Nia Jaxx. The fact that she is not, leads me to speculate that she is turning heel sooner rather than later.
I don’t want to be the stereotypical wrestling writer who complains about the lack of top talent or the use of part-timers during WrestleMania season. I don’t believe there is a lack of talent.
The current roster are way more talented in the ring than the crop of talents who wrestled during the glorified “attitude era.” WWE houseshows won’t suffer from lack of storylines or bad scripted promos, the way a three-hour Raw suffers every week.
I also fully understand the use of part-timers and nostalgia acts for WrestleMania, as 90% of the fans (which isn’t you if you’re reading this, as you are one of the 10% who are considered smart fans) want to see these older acts perform, although I acknowledge, many of them are now coming to the end of the line.
I simply feel there is a lack of creativity within the WWE, that leads to a lack of star-power, stale houseshow line ups and quite often many hours of stale TV. A 3-hour edition of Raw often only contains 30-40 memorable minutes.
As I will be attending one of these shows, I really hope that things are re-shuffled somewhat. I don’t mind seeing Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe, but it would be interesting to see Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens, rather than Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the 100th time.
I am lost as to what you do about Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman or the women. With only 4 viable women on the Raw brand, they have seemingly run out of combinations. Emmalina needs to come in fairly soon and the WWE need to sort out its situation with Paige, whom WWE have a lot invested in.
Despite having Charlotte and Sasha Banks, who would have been considered to be the two elite female picks in the Brand Extension draft, the Raw brand’s women’s division is nowhere near as interesting as the Smackdown women’s division, which has come as a huge surprise to many.
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