By RJ Marceau
2016 was a great year for the WWE and they still have a few more weeks. The WWE thrived with up-and-comers, rising stars and great matches.
Coming down the stretch however the WWE has failed to make the transition into 2017 compelling from a storyline stand point.
Monday Night Raw
On Raw, it’s a huge cluster of awful storylines. Enzo & Cass vs. Rusev has been booked so wrong it may give the love angle from last year with Rusev, Lana, Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae a run as the worst angle of the year. The logic is so wrong it literally is insulting to fans that know what is actually going on. Rusev is the bad guy for beating up Enzo for exposing himself in front of his wife and teasing adulatory. Yup, he is the bad guy for protecting his wife and we should feel bad for Enzo. Rusev is great in the protector role but he shouldn’t be booked as a heel. It makes zero sense. I can only hope they end this awful feud at Roadblock but who knows with this company.
The tag team division is an absolute joke with all the tag teams being inferior to The New Day. That is the one issue with a dominating reign over a year because they have beaten everyone. If they lose the belts it should be to The Revival because they have beaten everyone multiple times. The act of The New Day for me has gone stale and they should have dropped the belts months ago to The Club when they weren’t losers.
Women’s division has been Sasha vs. Charlotte basically since WrestleMania. They have had good matches but in flip-flopping the title, it has come to a point where I just don’t care anymore. The only other feud they have is Bayley vs. Alicia Fox over a teddy bear so I don’t even have to explain how putrid this feud is. Emmalina doesn’t seem like she will be “premiering” any time soon so I could only imagine where they go from here and I am praying Charlotte doesn’t win on Sunday.
The Cruiserweights have zero storylines and only fight over the championship. Alexander, Swann, Perkins and Dar are the only ones in my opinion that have any chance of success but they zero characters. They are good wrestlers but have nothing that will get them a constant fan following. I heard on #AskGSM someone say that people under 205 pounds can’t draw or something along those lines and I was disappointed GSM didn’t mention Rey Mysterio. He was one of the highest merch sellers in his time of the company so it’s not the size it’s the character development that is hurting these guys.
SmackDown Live is actually in the process of developing new feuds other than the women’s division that has been a staple on the blue brand. AJ Styles will have a new challenger going into the Royal Rumble, the same with The Miz and The Wyatt Family. The Rumble isn’t till late January so they should have some transition feuds leading into the Rumble to stay busy instead of meaningless feuds.
SmackDown’s feuds without the titles being involved have been intriguing with Carmella vs. Nikki and Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin to end out the year. The one complaint I have is how they are overexposing James Ellsworth and I can’t stand him. They put so much effort in getting him over but Apollo Crews can’t get on the show. Ellsworth isn’t even a good wrestler so it’s an insult to the other good talent that this dweeb is getting more airtime than them.
This isn’t much of a complaint but they need to find actual feuds for the tag teams not in the title picture instead of weekly tag team matches that mean nothing. They never really followed up on The Usos vs. American Alpha so that is a feud they can do without the belts.
SmackDown Live has been great since the brand extension and are definitely the premier brand. 2017 will be a good year for WWE but I hope they can fix the problems that are making Raw hard to watch.
SEE ALSO: "RJ's Two Cents - Who Has Flourished and Who Has Fallen Since WWE's Brand Extension?"