It was a week of change in the build up to Wrestlemania as Smackdown’s final PPV before the big event saw 2 major title changes, and RAW also saw a title change and the breakup of a wonderful relationship. We’ve still got one more PPV to go before Mania, with RAW’s exclusive Fastlane PPV set to see KO without his best friend take on Goldberg. Triple H seems to have been on a recruitment drive as of late with Samoa Joe and a KO seemingly destined to be part of something he’s working on. For now we just have to make do with Smackdown and RAW.
Festival of Friendship
When this was announced on last week’s RAW, I was highly anticipating the event. I didn’t foresee it turning out the way it did though. The KO and Y2J split has been teased and was definitely coming, but I didn’t expect it to come around this week. It was a great segment that hinted at a few different things to come and also appeared to be a very sincere and legitimate confession from Y2J about how much he’s enjoyed his latest run.
During Jericho’s love statement to KO, he listed all the people that he’d helped Owen’s beat and saying he had his back at all his previous title defenses. It was a slight hint that perhaps the rumours of Goldberg squashing Owens in a quicker time than Lesnar could be true as Y2J won’t be around to help Owen’s retain again. It’ll give a bit of ammo for Y2J to mock Owen’s about in their buildup to their assumed match at Mania.
The parts where Y2J was saying that this was one of the best years of his life within WWE and that’s most part due to working with KO seemed rather genuine. It’s no secret that this has been one of Y2J’s best runs within the WWE in terms of his character. And I can only assume that his buddy gimmick with KO was damn good fun too.
And following on from this, the way the segment went it ensured that KO instantly became the top heel on RAW. This is what he needed. People have criticized his title run and while I’ve loved the JeriKO relationship, Owen’s intensity from his NXT and main roster debut has decreased. He’s gone from the aggressive threat to a bit of a comedic champion. Which while good, he need’s to have that aggression part too. So hopefully this is a forward step to a more intense, aggressive and dominant champion, even if he does only hold the title for another week before dropping it to Goldberg. On that note, KO’s turn here and the heel heat he’ll now have will also be needed in his match against Goldberg. He’s come back to the company as the face and super hero for the kids, so Owens generating so much heat will help in creating cheers for Goldberg. Probably?
Samoa Joe + Kevin Owens + Triple H = ???
So Samoa Joe has had an impact-full main roster debut. He’s put Seth Rollins on the shelf, taken the Big Dog on and won, and had a strong showing in an interview on the latest RAW, following this up with an attack on Sami Zayn. His booking since his debut after Royal Rumble has been perfect. Just before the Festival of Friendship (RIP JeriKO), Triple H took Kevin Owen’s away for a discussion which we couldn’t hear. Shortly after this we saw the snapping of KO and the betrayal of his best friend. So can only assume that HHH whispered sweet somethings to KO before the festival segment. And the appearance of KO during this attack he seemed more focused and aggressive than before.
Could we be on the verge of a new authority stable featuring 2 of the most punishing performers of the RAW roster? Joe and KO together would be a pretty damn dominant force and it’s exciting the prospect of seeing them destroy the RAW roster. I can only assume that they will both without a title though, unless Joe has some say in the Fastlane main event? What is this potential big man stable being built for though? Who is Triple H planning on sending these 2 guys after? Seth’s gone, Roman’s not really on Triple H’s radar, Sami Zayn hasn’t done anything to HHH? It’s a building story in RAW in which we’ll need to stay tuned into, to see where it goes, if it even materializes at all?
Bray Wyatt’s Rocket
Bray Wyatt finally has his first singles WWE title, and it’s the biggest prize of them all. The WWE Championship. But let’s rewind a bit to the end of last year and when we can start to notice the shift in fortunes for Bray Wyatt. Survivor Series wasn’t a great PPV for Smackdown. Their tag division and Women’s division lost to RAW. It was down to the men’s match to ensure Smackdown got some pride back. The final parts of this epic match was down to a 2 vs 2 with Rollins and Reigns left representing RAW, and Orton and Bray representing Smackdown. Rollins and Reigns, perhaps to of the most protected wrestlers currently in WWE. If they take a pin, it’s not going to be against any smhuck, they’ll only take pins against pivotal roster members. Bray Wyatt pinned both Rollins and then remarkably pinned Reigns, eliminating the final 2 members of the RAW team and 2 people who you’d never have expected to take a pin from Bray before. So one of the Big 4 PPV’s of the year closes with Bray winning the biggest match of the PPV for his brand while pinning 2 of RAW’s elite roster members.
Royal Rumble saw Bray Wyatt as part of the final 3 in the Rumble, lasting 24 minutes. Okay annoyingly he did get eliminated by number 30 Roman Reigns, but still he was very much part of the final moments of the Rumble and was still in the spot light as his stable mate Orton took the Royal Rumble victory.
Elimination Chamber comes around and Bray Wyatt pins John Cena clean, then follows this up with pinning AJ Styles to win his first WWE Championship. 48 hours later in a triple threat match against Cena and AJ in a main event that could have been on a PPV, he again pinned John Cena clean to retain his championship.
What a chain of events to happen for someone who couldn’t get a PPV win in 2 years of trying. 2016 saw Bray win his first WWE title with the Tag titles, and then to follow it up with the biggest prize in 2017. It’s great to see Bray getting the title that he deserves. Can only hope that he can keep this title for a good run now. There’s potential for some great matches with him against the likes of AJ, Baron, Ambrose and what’s looking likely to happen is against Randy and Luke Harper.
Book it Vince
Well, it’s getting damn tasty in the final stages of season one of Book it Vince, just Fastlane, Takeover: Orlando and Wrestlemania remain for us to get our points. Here’s how we looked before Elimination Chamber:
Here’s how our predictions went:
And the standings with 3 PPV’s to collect scores from: