Pleased Monday, TJRWrestling trustworthy! Welcome to the Week In Preview – what there’s of the week, plus another bits – for World Wrestling Leisure, December 24th 2018.
Provided that this week’s episodes of each Uncooked and SmackDown have already been taped, we’ve already coated the outcomes from these tapings right here at TJRWrestling and far of WWE’s audience within the Western Hemisphere can be on vacation, there’s restricted use in a conventional preview for many of this week. As such, let’s run via some temporary notes on Uncooked, SmackDown and every part else earlier than a fast look forward at a few ideas on 2019.
Uncooked (Golden 1 Middle, Sacramento CA)
Introduced: Ronda Rousey (c) vs Natalya for the Uncooked Ladies’s Championship, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) vs The Revival for the Uncooked Tag Workforce Championships, Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin, Finn Balor vs Dolph Ziggler vs Drew McIntyre, Elias vs Bobby Lashley in a ‘Miracle on 34th Street Fight’ and Paul Heyman may also seem.
Common Ideas: John coated full spoilers for this episode of Uncooked final week on the location, so somewhat than the standard hypothesis on what may occur (which is barely pointless) I’ll simply add some notes on the above introduced segments.
A few championship matches arrange by individuals profitable current contender matches is all the time a good primary reserving plan, because it provides the challengers credibility that’s recent within the reminiscence. Normalizing routine Ronda Rousey championship matches and correct competitors within the tag division are noble objectives too. Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin appears ready-made to ship individuals house completely satisfied at Christmas, although what Corbin’s speedy future on WWE programming will seem like is tough to see. The three-way between Balor, Ziggler and McIntyre is sensible given the previous couple of weeks. In the event you’ve ever watched WWE in December earlier than, you’ll already know what to anticipate from the Christmas-themed road struggle between Elias and Bobby Lashley. Lastly, anticipate Paul Heyman to deal with Brock Lesnar’s Common Championship match towards Braun Strowman on the Royal Rumble in January.
SmackDown Reside (Save Mart Middle, Fresno CA)
Introduced: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Rusev for america Championship, Jeff Hardy vs Samoa Joe and The Miz will welcome Shane McMahon as a visitor on Miz TV.
Common Ideas: As with Uncooked, you’ll be able to learn John’s report on SmackDown spoilers for the complete run-down of what to anticipate. Once more, I’ll depart a lot of the particulars to that article, when you’ve no drawback getting spoiled.
It’s fascinating that the presumed climaxes of the 2 packages operating on the SmackDown undercard that didn’t get the nod for TLC – Nakamura/Rusev over the USA Title and Hardy/Joe – are rolled out right here within the graveyard slot on Christmas Day. With out giving something away (there’s a hyperlink above for that, in any case) each packages might very conceivably proceed, though what number of short-term plans have modified because of final week’s upheaval stay to be seen. The opposite introduced phase for this week’s SmackDown – Shane McMahon on Miz TV – is in a comparable state of flux; regardless of the reserving plan was behind Shane profitable the ‘World Cup’ event in Saudi Arabia, the brand new authority determine story might have modified issues. On the similar time, the storyline of The Miz sucking as much as Shane is clearly persevering with as earlier than. Any progress right here on clarifying what this story’s about can be welcome.
Additionally This Week
NXT (Wednesday) options Undisputed Period defending their Tag Workforce Championships towards Heavy Equipment – which, even for those who’ve managed to keep away from NXT taping spoilers, has in all probability misplaced what rigidity it had as a result of final week’s announcement that Heavy Equipment are major roster-bound. The recent twist this week is provided by a primary contender’s match for the NXT Ladies’s Championship between Bianca Belair, Mia Yim, Lacey Evans and Io Shirai.
The Ladies’s Championship in NXT UK (Wednesday) might be defended by Rhea Ripley towards Deonna Purrazzo in the primary introduced match for this week’s double-header of episodes. In the meantime, 205 Reside (Wednesday) is a ‘best of’ compilation present – which successfully means this week it’s not stay, twice over.
Spotlight on 2019
Simply briefly, a few ideas from the Week In Preview on what 2019 may maintain for us.
WWE’s ‘new era’ angle on the primary roster: We famous right here final week that the first function of selling Vince McMahon prematurely for Uncooked was to arrest the slide in scores for Monday nights. To a giant extent, the announcement he made – that each Uncooked and SmackDown would function as many McMahons as potential, on a regular basis – is a continuation of that plan, although the obvious response to current unfavorable essential response to Uncooked additionally bears taking a look at individually.
Sure, a few of the modifications we’ve seen up to now could be dismissed as beauty window-dressing, the kind of tinkering that might be put right down to one in every of Vince’s whims – reminiscent of all of the sudden deciding rematch clauses are out of style. A number of the modifications (e.g. “you are The Authority”) may be dismissed as empty advertising speak. There’ll, nevertheless, be an expectation on WWE to ship significant short-to-medium-term change and the choice to subvert the on-screen energy construction and guidelines of engagement on each most important roster exhibits (when SmackDown, as we noticed at TLC, hasn’t been having something like the identical issues as Uncooked) does at the very least recommend the corporate believes it has a new recipe for fulfillment.
There’s a suspicion that a main driver of final week’s modifications are meant to arrange WrestleMania season; main story arcs involving the McMahons, shifting the likes of Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch on to new angles by the Royal Rumble with out having to tie up unfastened ends – WWE respiration recent life into its programming in time for January occurs to a higher or lesser extent most years, although this time the change of gears has been packaged and branded.
So asides from dropping a few dud angles (corresponding to Drake Maverick peeing and Lucha Home Guidelines) and confirming a batch of NXT call-ups most of which aren’t precisely large surprises (Lars Sullivan was already introduced, Nikki Cross is overdue and EC3 appeared imminent), is there something that we will look ahead to? Properly, it’s straightforward to arrange and promote championship matches prematurely – as for this week – once you’re capturing two episodes on the identical night time, however a little little bit of ahead planning (and reserving matches individuals need to see) on a common foundation can’t harm. That and listening a little nearer to what followers do and don’t need to see can be a good begin. We’ll learn how deep the modifications go in January, and probably once more following WrestleMania in April.
SmackDown’s transfer to Fox: We already know the most important change coming to WWE’s weekly programming in 2019 although, and that’s SmackDown Reside shifting to Fridays on account of a model new five-year tv contract with Fox within the USA, beginning on October 4th. On their very own, the ideas of being broadcast reside and going out on the finish of the week clearly aren’t alien to SmackDown, however the mixture creates a new schedule for the corporate and people who work for it. Greater modifications, extra seen to the viewer, additionally loom.
Fox reportedly has a specific amount of editorial curiosity in SmackDown’s content material when the shift takes place, rumored to vary from a extra sports-oriented presentation type to curiosity in having specific expertise seem on the present. How WWE will strike a stability between accommodating the community’s requests – given the cash and profile alternatives the deal is giving them – and sticking to the McMahon instincts for ‘sports entertainment’ and Uncooked being the corporate’s flagship present can be fascinating to see. Although the change isn’t occurring till late within the coming yr, modifications might begin to grow to be obvious sooner. The promised recent begin for WWE programming, as talked about above, might end in a new tone being set for the blue model that’ll carry via to the Fox period, whereas a Celebrity Shake-up after WrestleMania might place a few of the on-screen expertise the place it must be for October.
Make no mistake, SmackDown’s change to Fridays on Fox could have a huge impression on WWE programming and is likely one of the largest issues to look out for in 2019.
Additional evolution of the ladies’s division: 2018 has been a banner yr for WWE’s ladies’s division. In contrast with most earlier years this may sound like faint reward, whereas the corporate’s Saudi Arabia exhibits left a dangerous style within the mouth for a lot of, however when taken on their very own phrases the ladies of WWE have moved ahead. At first of the yr, speak of creating historical past on the Royal Rumble and shutting the present was dismissed as lip service by some cynics; that they wouldn’t have been in that spot if Ronda Rousey wasn’t turning up. Now, on the finish of the yr, the SmackDown ladies are main-eventing TLC as a result of common recognition that they’re the most well liked angle within the firm – not due to WWE’s token branding of a second. Evolution was in all probability one of the best pay-per-view of the yr. And yeah, it seems Rousey’s a fairly nice professional wrestler too.
Proper now, 2019 seems to be like being the yr when WWE’s ladies obtain one thing many (together with myself) thought can be above the corporate’s glass ceiling, no less than beneath the present regime: WrestleMania principal occasions. It has required expertise to mix with destiny; Ronda Rousey was all the time going to be one a part of the equation, however had Becky Lynch not caught hearth in her program with Charlotte Aptitude – and had Roman Reigns been defending the Common Championship towards a big identify – the probabilities of ladies closing WWE’s largest present of the yr wouldn’t be as excessive as they’re proper now.
If that involves cross, the place does the ladies’s division goal subsequent? A second all-women’s pay-per-view appears sure, whereas the response of different ladies within the firm to the path blazed by Lynch shall be fascinating to see. A 2019 renaissance for Uncooked’s Sasha Banks and Bayley is important, however they’re unlikely to be the one ones who’ll be ready to seize any alternative with each palms. The ladies’s division in 2019 shall be extra aggressive than ever.
Roman Reigns: Lastly, I’d like to finish this yr of the Week In Preview with greatest needs to Roman Reigns and his household, as he continues to battle leukemia in what all of us hope – in distinction to our previous appreciation of him as a professional wrestler – shall be a routine, predictable and uneventful Reigns victory.
Asides from the apparent level that Reigns deserves no matter privateness he wants whereas he offers with this, the uncomfortable fact is that even when we knew the small print (which we don’t) no one might be positive precisely how this stuff will play out and what the longer term holds. That ought to come into focus throughout 2019 although and, if each WWE fan had one want for the approaching yr, it’ll be that we see Roman Reigns again in a ring by the top of it. Joyful Christmas and the most effective of luck Roman. All of us look ahead to seeing you once more quickly.
I’ll be again on January seventh with extra burning inquiries to reply and the primary Week In Preview of 2019. Till then, I want you the happiest of holidays and keep in mind to stay with TJRWrestling.internet in your present recaps and evaluation.