Hello, everyone. We are just a few days away from Summerslam and in the words of the Beastie Boys, there is no sleep till Brooklyn. Both WWE brands really brought their own with their go-home shows for a very stacked event on Sunday. I thought overall Raw and Smackdown both had their merits. Raw brought the aggression. While Smackdown brought character building for the future. What were some of the highlights? What are some of the rougher points?

Monday’s Raw from Corpus Christi was an interesting show on a couple of levels. First of which, I thought they did a nicer job with the pacing of in-ring segments as opposed to talking. Everything felt turned up couple notches on the aggression meter. Competitors were not afraid to fight from the opening segment to the final bell.

The matches themselves were solid in getting talent over for the matches at the Barclays Center. Cesaro cost Sheamus getting a victory over Sami Zayn. That set up the first of the best seven matches on Sunday. Great idea. That way the feud can continue for an obvious reason. But they need to make the stakes of what they’re going for to make it all the more special. Perhaps, the winner of the best-of-seven will be the next challenger for the new WWE Universal Champion.

Speaking of which, I loved the segment with Seth and Finn Balor/The Demon King. Seth’s portrayal during the whole thing was great and that entrance makes the former Prince Devitt look like a superstar although I do wish you would change the design somewhat every so often. I know you can’t do the copyrighted characters that he used in New Japan. But I would love to see The Demon go through a metamorphosis. Cannot wait to see the match they put together on Sunday.

However, without a Heavyweight Champion on the roster the US Title once again took the main event spot where they had a really solid back and forth match between The Bulgarian Brute Rusev and his challenger Roman Reigns. If WWE’s intention with this feud is to rehab Roman to win over his detractors I think they did the wrong finish here. They should’ve had Rusev go over in this match to show his dominance after all he did damage to the ribs and the arm of Reigns so It makes sense to have the US champion go over here to put Roman at a detriment this Sunday. You can create real sympathy for him. With another loss at the pay-per-view and you could tell an interesting story. The Samoan superstar is vulnerable and has been so since he returned from suspension. You can do a major refresh with his character if you wanted to. But it doesn’t seem like WWE cares to go in that direction.

I will be very interested to see what happens this Sunday. WWE still wants to push Reigns But at least it’s in a mid-card feud. These two can put together a really solid match.

There was a great deal to write home about in the tag team division this week. All there was was a war of words between New Day and Gallows and Anderson with a few matches interspersed. The Dudleys getting jobbed out again while The Golden Truth got in a little more offense in before getting decimated.

New Day, in particular, was much more aggressive in their showcase. While Gallows and Anderson are finally starting to find a personality beyond being just The Club. I’m surprised they can get away with a lot of those jokes on television in a PG environment. Will The New Day make it to the one-year mark as Tag Team Champions this upcoming Monday? I’m not sure, I think if you’re going to make Gallows and Anderson legitimate in the eyes of casual fans you’re going to have to do it soon. If not Sunday.

Speaking of legitimate, Darren Young and Titus O’Neil had a reunion as The Primetime Players that were short-lived. I know they didn’t want to do another match between the two but it seems rather forced and unbelievable. How is this making Darren Young great again?

Juxtaposed, Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens are making each other great again. I could definitely see them going over Enzo and Cass continuing the feud going into the fall. The interactions between Jeri-KO, as they deem themselves, is what good tag teams are made out of. I think the draft has done both of these men wonders. I will be interesting to see where they go from here.

The Women’s Division had two matches one being a squash with Nia Jax and the other being Charlotte defeating Alicia Fox. Nia decimated her opponent in record time. While Charlotte used her match to prove she can do it on her own. That led to calling out Sasha Banks on commentary , leading to a double team by Dana Brooke and Natural Girl. They both the damage to the WWE Women’s Champion knee so they can use that in the match to tell a great story. I have high hopes for Charlotte versus Sasha this Sunday. The Raw match from last month was phenomenal. And I have no doubt that they will deliver on pay-per-view.

It’s amazing to see how far they come in a year competing in a three-way tag team elimination match at Summerslam to a one-on-one encounter with a lot of juice behind it.

Brock Lesnar faced off with an unlikely opponent in Heath Slater. This draft has certainly made for some interesting pairings. But without a doubt, this has to be the most peculiar. As I said in recent weeks, The One-Man Band is without a doubt the MVP thus far of The New Era. Having him go undrafted by either Raw or Smackdown was probably the best thing for his character.

Once again, WWE did a great job in carrying over a storyline from Monday to Tuesday as he’s beaten up from his encounter with The Beast on Raw, then-then faces the wrath of Orton on Smackdown Live. Great way to get both those guys over without having them interact with each other before the show. There’s an aura there that should not be messed with. And WWE’s done a really good job booking this all the way through in my opinion.

I do wonder how long the Heath Slater storyline will go on for? Is it possible that they can go on until the Royal Rumble? For right now I’m enjoying being Slater’s attempts to get a contract and failing miserably. He was so close last night on Smackdown Live but once again opened his big mouth and ruined it for himself, thinking that Daniel Bryan and Shane were Stephanie and Mick.

Honestly, other than that on Smackdown there really wasn’t much to write home about. Don’t get me wrong they did a lot of great stuff but it was just them continuing the build their roster as stars. Eva Marie did her thing. The tag team division showcased themselves in a 12 man tag. Baron Corbin once again beat up Kalisto, Dolph Ziggler once again had words with Dean Ambrose that ended in a super kick and Alberto del Rio once again did the job in the main event against John Cena.

Other than the re-debut of Naomi with her rave style entrance that looks like something from the 90s, and Bray Wyatt walking out on Erick Rowan there wasn’t much to talk about.

Hopefully, as we get closer to the first Smackdown exclusive show Backlash, the title situation will be addressed and things will be more structured. Because right now with no women’s and tag team titles, Tuesday’s brand still feels under construction.

Raw definitely felt like the stronger show this week as Smackdown look to be just running in place as they don’t have certain things set up yet for tag teams and the women on the show. I will say this for the Blue Crew, though. I like the use of the commercial breaks to do angles, so Mauro Ranallo and company have something new to show you coming back from commercial. Plus with Smackdown’s more limited time window, it allows you to get more storyline development on the two-hour broadcast.

It seems like they really set up some interactions for down the road with Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton and had Apollo Crews better the Miz before his IC title match this Sunday. Everything is a growing process with the brand as they continue to try to find its own identity post brand extension.

One thing’s for sure, Summerslam 2016 is perhaps one of the most stacked cards in the WWE spectacular’s almost 30-year history. It should be a fun show and have some memorable moments.

There is a ton going on this weekend. I will try to keep as up-to-date as I can.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.