With the Summer Olympics just a few days away, WWE seems to be having games of its own in regards to the second week of the WWE brand extension. Last week, Raw came out swinging with a phenomenal show from top to bottom. While Smackdown seemed not ready for prime time in the eyes of many. Well, I think the tables have turned this week as the blue crew may put on the better show.

Do not get me wrong. Raw was great for a variety of reasons. Some of which include the establishing of villains as it was a very heel heavy episode. Whether it be Chris Jericho, Charlotte, Kevin Owens, Titus O’Neil, Braun Stroman and others. The bad guys were definitely dominant in the ATL on Monday. WWE had to do it this way to start establishing stories they can tell on Raw. And there was a level of experimentation with what WWE usually presents. Whether it be a mixed tag match to open the show to trying tag team stalwarts away from the partners. And having new fresh match ups definitely livened up proceedings.

Roman Reigns versus Rusev intrigues me a lot. It will be interesting to see if putting Reigns in this mid-card position will more endear him to the rather raucous crowd.

Overall, I thought Raw was building block for the future and what could be coming to the franchise of WWE.

Whereas, I felt The Blue Crew had the better overall show in my opinion. And that was because of the story being told about Dolph Ziggler. It was the overall thread of the night as The Show Off proved to himself and the audience that things would be different under this new regime. Dean Ambrose and Dolph had a great promo to open the show. And the writers did well to show that the ambitious DZ had to do this for himself leading in the SummerSlam. Everything worked well here. Bray Wyatt is being established as a top of the card guy on Tuesday night

Smackdown did well in establishing its mid-card for the Intercontinental Title. Apollo Crews will be challenging the Miz at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for SummerSlam. While it seems Baron Corbin and the highflying Kalisto are in the hunt as well. This will lead to a series of great tag matches and single matches in the weeks to come

AJ Styles and John Cena had an excellent promo establishing a new layer to the feud that was started back at Money in the Bank. Since titles are scarce this has been established as a fight for respect. Both men gave very impassioned promos and it should be interesting to see where they go with the two top superstars.

American Alpha made their debut against The Vaudevillians. As expected, Chad Gable and Jason Jordan did not disappoint with some amazing energy and skill. The question is what exactly is up with the Tag Team Division on Smackdown? And for that matter that can be said for The Women’s Division.

Unfortunately for the Blue Crew, the women did not get a good chance to shine in the ring like I would hope after last week’s introduction segment. You had to really non-matches for the ladies. I personally think that was a mistake. I don’t mind doing this with Eva Marie as it gets over her prima donna attitude but it felt like a copout to get the women on the show. It doesn’t give you confidence that these women are seen on the same plane as Raw. But we will see what comes in future episodes.

Of course you had the fallout between Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar that was intriguing and a nice hook to leave fans from Monday to Tuesday. I don’t really like the idea of WWE not reprimanding Brock at all for his drug violation because it sends a bad message to the locker room that it’s not a fair playing field for some.

Overall I think the MVP so far of WWE’s brand extension is none other than Heath Slater. He takes whatever they give him and makes it fun to watch. He actually have a match next week on Smackdown live against possible Michigan state representative and Man Beast Rhyno. Can Slater get a contract and end the madness? I hope not. Because this is kind of fun.

I think WWE is really trying to establish Smackdown as the more Internet friendly brand of the two. It felt like they were trying to connect more with the smart fan then Raw. But that is just my opinion. As I said last week I love the production elements that there are starting to incorporate.

I overall love the feel of the new Smackdown post show Smack Talk with Daniel Bryan and Renée Young. I think it’s a new way to try to do interviews in the sports like manner. Raw had postmatch interviews ringside but they also did traditional standup behind-the-scenes interviews. Which last week I praised him for getting away from but it seems like each brand is still struggling to find the identity of their particular show. That being said if you haven’t watched Smack Talk I highly suggest you do.

One thing’s for sure, WWE has a lot going for it right now. Just looking at the card as it stands for Summer Slam I don’t think there’s going to be a bad match on it. It may be one of the best in WWE’s 28 year history.

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.