Russo is absent from today’s show, so Jeff Lane and former WWE Superstars, Bin Hamin and Stevie Richards will handle the RAW25 and Smackdown review show without him.
Beginning with their thoughts on Smackdown, Hamin points out that he has no idea who’s writing the promos on Smackdown Live recently, because they’ve been absolutely brutal. He feels that the creative team has taken great performers such as Kevin Owens and A.J. Styles and turned them into ‘D’ players with some of the content they’ve provided them.
Hamin also wonders what Sami Zayn is supposed to be right now. They’re trying to make him a main-event talent by pairing him with Owens and having him jump up and down during his entrance, but it’s just not working. He says that Zayn is just an annoying heel right now, and not in a good way.
Richards points out that WWE continues to book Nakamura in strange positions. They had him cut another uncomfortable backstage promo during this show, and he wasn’t able to understand a word that Nakamura said. He also didn’t understand Randy Orton attacking Nakamura during his match with Baron Corbin because it was only a couple of weeks ago that those two guys were tagging together.
Moving over to RAW, Hamin thought The Manhattan Center looked great and he had high hopes for the event until roughly 10 minutes into the show. He thought WWE really paid respect to old school programming with how much effort they put into the decoration of The Manhattan Center but after the Austin segment the show took a nose dive rather quickly.
Lane points out that WWE basically promoted this show as if the action would be split between Barclay’s Center and The Manhattan Center when it wasn’t even close to that. Richards thought it was neat to see Undertaker at The Manhattan Center, but his promo was confusing and Richards wondered if he missed something there because he couldn’t pick any sense out of that promo at all.
Hamin thinks WWE has already completely ruined the “Woken” Hardy character. He couldn’t believe they booked Wyatt to pin Hardy on this show, when there was thousands of more entertaining ways Hardy could have been used. It’s obvious to him that WWE doesn’t give a damn about this program because it absolutely sucks right now, and in reality it should be some of their most captivating television.
Hamin thought the DX segment at Manhattan Center was “Weird”. Even though it’s obvious that WWE was trying to get Balor Club over by giving them the “DX rub”, it actually made them look like a bunch of copycats. He points out that if WWE really wanted to get Balor Club over, they would have booked them to leave the legends laid out in the ring.
Lane loved the Austin/McMahon segment and he points out that he never gets tired of seeing this heel McMahon character. Hamin and Richards both liked it as well, but Hamin points out that the climax of that segment was when Austin hit McMahon with the Stunner, and that should have been the end of the segment. Hitting Shane with another Stunner after that was unnecessary and anti-climactic.
Overall, Hamin thought RAW25 provided a few cheap nostalgia spots, but nothing that really paid tribute to old school programming. Richards thought WWE did great job promoting the show, but wonders why they didn’t promote the entire 3rd hour as a “tribute to attitude era with DX”. This could have been very cool in his opinion.
Hamin thought the best part of show was the finish to the Intercontinental Title match between Roman Reigns and The Miz. He thought the missing turnbuckle spot was great, and with The Miz picking up the victory, WWE has created some genuine intrigue now as to whether Reigns will win the Royal Rumble or not.
Richards says that Elias is an absolute star, in spite of the fact that WWE hasn’t been doing him any favours recently. Luckily for Elias, he was put in much more favourable positions last night, interacting with Chris Jericho, Jimmy Fallon and John Cena.
As for the physical interaction between Kane, Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar that closed the show, Richards points out that there’s no anticipation for physical contact on Sunday now because we’ve already seen a shorter version of the match. He doesn’t think these guys should have touched each other prior to the Royal Rumble PPV.
That sums up today’s episode of Vince Russo’s The Brand. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya tomorrow for another recap!