Russo is joined on today’s show by Stevie Richards, Bin Hamin and his co-host, Jeff Lane.
Russo didn’t understand the opening segment of this week’s RAW at all. He points out that in the first segment of the show WWE told their fans that Brock Lesnar would not be appearing, and shortly thereafter Roman Reigns was suspended as well, meaning he wouldn’t be on the rest of the show. From a writer’s perspective he thought this was terrible, because a lot of viewers may have turned off the show right away.
Richards liked that WWE showed Reigns approaching Vince McMahon in the Gorilla position. He thought this was neat, but he wishes WWE would have taken a page out of the attitude era’s book by having Reigns act like Steve Austin, running rampant over the arena throughout the entire show which would have led to McMahon finally having to suspend him at the end of the show.
Hamin points out that Finn Balor has already killed his character through his own social media and although the women love him, Hamin’s not sure if that love is reciprocal. He has no issue whatsoever if WWE wants to transition Balor into an empowered gay character, noting that perhaps Balor would be more comfortable in that role.
Russo says he enjoyed John Cena’s promo on RAW this week, and that was probably the only thing he liked on the show. However, if Cena takes on Undertaker at WrestleMania, this will just be another year of WWE stacking the top of the card with talents that have been around forever. This continues to prove that WWE is unable to make new stars.
Richards wonders if we’ll see Undertaker return as the American Badass, pointing out that perhaps Kid Rock – who was recently announced to be entering the WWE Hall of Fame this year – will play Undertaker’s entrance music live. Hamin points out John Cena’s promo was different than the normal “Deadman” stuff this week, so the return of the American Badass might not be out of the question.
Russo likes that concept a lot, saying it wouldn’t be a bad idea at all in his opinion. Undertaker returning as the American Badass also allows WWE to get around the whole retirement ceremony for the Deadman that took place at the end of WrestleMania last year.
Lane wonders what Elias will be doing at WrestleMania this year. Hamin thinks WWE needs to do a spot with Elias and Jarrett, but Russo and Richards both think Elias will be teaming with Braun Strowman to win the RAW Tag Team Titles.
Russo doesn’t think this will do much for either competitor. He thinks Strowman should definitely be in a better spot on the WrestleMania card, perhaps issuing an open challenge that could be answered by Bobby Lashley for example. Hamin has heard that Lashley’s debut could either come at the end of WrestleMania after the main event ends, or on the following night’s episode of RAW.
Speaking about the upcoming Ultimate Deletion match, Lane thinks it’s strange that WWE is rushing to this right away, rather than building it up for a few weeks and then having the match at WrestleMania. Richards and Hamin both agree that this should have been saved for WrestleMania, or at least as part of the Kickoff show.
Russo says he has a hard time watching Smackdown Live without falling asleep. Lane says that’s because there are no captivating storylines for fans to follow on a weekly basis. Russo points out that WWE is a business, and they should be more concerned about their dwindling viewership. He thinks WWE should be reaching out to the fans that are leaving the product in an attempt to find out why they’re leaving.
Speaking again about the upcoming Ultimate Deletion match, Russo thinks it’d be weird to have Bray Wyatt show up on the Hardy Compound on his own, knowing full well that he’s walking into a situation where he’s facing Matt, Jeff, Reby, Vanguard One and more. If Russo was writing, he’d have the Bludgeon Brothers and Sister Abigail show up to help Wyatt demolish the Hardy Compound.
Lane thinks that Charlotte really needs to be a heel in her program against Asuka. Fans are behind Asuka as a babyface, and he thinks there’s money in Charlotte as a nasty, dirty heel in this feud. Russo says it’s incredible how much Charlotte has improved on the mic since she debuted on the main roster. He also thinks Alexa Bliss is very good on the mic.
Russo thought the beatdown on Shane McMahon by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn was overblown, and he points out that he would have been able to buy this more if it wasn’t Owens and Zayn. If two bigger guys like the Bludgeon Brothers would have attacked Shane in this manner then this would make more sense to him logically.
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 next week for another recap!