If you saw the first WWE Monday Night Raw of 2017 you will know that there was a step up from the final Raw of 2016. As was reported in the Inquisitr the Raw team continued the buildup to the 2017 Royal Rumble with Braun Strowman running amok. The Abominable Strowman even attacked his vanquished opponent, Sami Zayn, as he was being carted away on a stretcher. We then saw Strowman hit, in a double spear attack, by Roman Reigns and Goldberg. There seems to be little doubt that these three protagonists will have a major role to play at Royal Rumble 2017.
There is no doubt that the first edition of Monday Night Raw was an improvement on recent weeks. As many observers have noted the wrestling has remained of good quality, but the storylines are all a little stale. The WWE creative team will doubtless have noticed that, for the first time ever, the TV audience for last week’s SmackDown Live eclipsed the audience for Monday Night Raw. The Official WWE website has even advertised that blue team superhero The Undertaker, will be invading next Mondays edition of Raw, presumably to ramp up the excitement ahead of the Royal Rumble 2017 and Wrestlemania 33.
Where Monday Night Raw has been a little stale of late WWE SmackDown Live continues to offer top entertainment, and last night’s edition saw some interesting new developments. We saw a new champion, an exciting contract signing for Royal Rumble and even a new heel turn.
John Cena And AJ Styles Sign Their ‘Royal Rumble’ Contract
The big news about Royal Rumble in recent weeks has been the fact that 2016 sensation AJ Styles will face 15-time world champion John Cena with the championship on the line. According to Forbes, the first SmackDown of 2017 saw Cena and Styles sit down to sign their contract in an almost civilized fashion. Of course, this is WWE wrestling, and no contract signing is allowed to pass without a brawl.
It seems that Styles was not prepared to offer WWE legend Cena any respect. Styles called Cena a “has been” and told Cena that the current crop of WWE stars don’t need Cena to return. Cena sat quietly through Styles verbal attack, and when Styles was done Cena hit back with a few “put-downs” of his own.
“You walk that ramp because you have to. I walk that ramp because I want to.”
“You’re no different than anyone who has ever chanted: Cena Sucks or Has Been. On their best day, they could never be me.”
As the segment drew to a close Baron Corbin joined the party, announcing that he wasn’t just entering the Royal Rumble madness, he intended to win it. Corbin and Cena got into a verbal spat and while Cena was distracted AJ Styles “sucker-punched” him. Corbin and Styles left the ring, leaving Cena on the canvas. You can be that Cena will be looking for his revenge in the weeks to come.
Dolph Ziggler To Take A Heel Turn?
The SmackDown Live excitement didn’t end there. Corbin had come out on top against Dolph Ziggler in the evening’s first bout. Kalisto intervened to stop Corbin beating Ziggler with a chair. You would expect Ziggler to be thankful for the intervention, but Dolph showed his appreciation by yelling that he didn’t need any help from Kalisto before hitting him with a superkick.
It looks like the Ziggler of old is back and the crowd seemed happy to see Ziggler taking another heel turn. Ziggler’s heel turn continued in the locker room as he attacked members of the crew.
The first SmackDown Live of 2017 had so much excitement, and that’s before we even mention the evening’s main event. SmackDown saw Dean Ambrose defeat The Miz to snatch back the Intercontinental Championship. Ambrose began the match with a series of furious attacks both inside and outside the ring. Miz hit back when his wife Maryse distracted Ambrose, and the two stars put on a brutal display that kept the WWE Universe enthralled.
Ambrose landed Dirty Deeds and got the pin to become a two-time IC champion.
The first WWE SmackDown Live of 2017 saw the blue team hit the ground running. Monday Night Raw has some catching up to do.
[Featured Image by Joachim Sielski/Bongarts/Getty Images]