This is the last day of the first week of these updates. I won’t be doing them on Saturday or Sunday. It’s a Monday to Friday thing, so back for more on Monday. Thanks for the feedback so far. I try to respond to all. It’s always welcome.
The Raw crew is in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for two shows over there (Thursday and Friday) before heading to India for a show on Saturday. During the Abu Dhabi event, there was a history making match as Alexa Bliss wrestled Sasha Banks. The reason it made history is because it’s the first time two women wrestled at an event in Abu Dhabi. It’s a different world over there. Due to it being different, Banks and Bliss had to wear outfits where they had to cover up without showing any skin aside from their heads and hands.
If you’re wondering, Bliss won the match of course since she’s the WWE Raw Women’s Champion, but that’s not the story. It was all about making progress and hopefully leading to more women’s wrestling in United Arab Emirates in the future. The story was covered by TMZ and will likely get picked up by other media outlets.
Vince McMahon, WWE’s Chairman and CEO, tweeted out a congrats to the ladies on having the match while also sharing a two minute video of Banks getting emotional talking about it because she wants to empower women by doing stuff like this.
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) December 8, 2017
I think it’s awesome. You can tell how much it meant to Banks. Glad she got to experience that.
If you’re thinking that Banks’ outfit looks similar to former WWE star MVP, you’re not the only one. The outfit was made by Banks’ husband Mikaze, who is a former indy wrestler (that’s how they met) that works for WWE in designing outfits for the talent.
I was informed by others that there was a Dragon Ball Z similarity too. I never watched it, so I’ll take their word for it.
Here’s a clip of Sasha Banks’ entrance at the event in Abu Dhabi.
— OSN Sports (@OSNSports) December 7, 2017
The @WWEUniverse starting chanting “ThisIsHope” during the first ever women’s match in Abu Dhabi and all the UAE. Thank you @SashaBanksWWE and @AlexaBliss_WWE and all of the people who helped make history last night! There are no words…#WomensEvolution https://t.co/kxud3kOypm
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) December 8, 2017
Here’s a clip of Triple H confronting The Shield. It ended with Triple H telling Roman Reigns he’s going to take the Intercontinental Title from him when they do their next show on Friday in Abu Dhabi and Reigns replied that it’s his yard.
Spoiler: Reigns wins.
An Australia PPV May Air On WWE Network In 2018
It was reported by Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet that WWE is considering an Australian pay-per-view event in 2018. Satin notes that there have been “serious internal discussions” about it. There are apparently some big plans for it because in 2002 WWE ran a show called “WWE Global Warming Tour” in 2002 headlined by The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (Rock won) in front of over 56,000 people. Satin claims that WWE wants to top that number.
If it does happen, the show would run in October at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which can hold around 100,000 people. That would make it similar to AT&T Stadium in Dallas that had over 100,000 fans in attendance (or so WWE says) at WrestleMania 32. I was there that night and it sure looked like 100,000 people or close to it.
The show will be broadcast on WWE Network. If it started at 7pm Melbourne time, that would mean it would air in the Eastern time zone in the United States and Canada at 3am. That would be 12am Pacific Time. In England, it would be a morning show at 8am. I think I got all the time zones right.
TJR Thoughts: I assume that if it happens it will mostly be a live event that gets televised. There may not be any major angles, but it’s possible they try to make it special by doing a title change or adding stipulations to the matches.
It sounds like a cool idea and the fans in Australia would likely come out in full force to support a huge event like that because they are so rare.
Raw Adds Three More Matches
Three big matches were announced for Raw on Monday in Cleveland. We already know that they are going to do Braun Strowman vs. Kane and Rich Swann vs. Drew Gulak. Here’s what was added on Thursday:
Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro. It is not for Reigns’ IC TItle at least as of right now, but perhaps that will change since Reigns has defended it the last two weeks.
Dean Ambrose vs. Samoa Joe
Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus
I’ll offer up predictions for all five matches when I do the Monday news update. I like that they have advertised five matches. That’s pretty rare. It’s probably because USA Network is doing WWE Week next week, so WWE wants to set up some big matches in advance.
I’m skipping “In Other News” because I already did the three stories and also no “The Video Section” since there isn’t much. Not much else going on.
The Plug Zone
– I wrote a DELIGHTFUL column about “Woken” Matt Hardy and his really bright white teeth for The Comeback. Covered his history a bit, why I loved Monday’s segment so much and why his character could help him get to that next level. Check it out and let me know your thoughts about his future. Here’s an excerpt:
“Give Matt Hardy a lot of credit. If he was just regular Matt Hardy who we have seen on television for 20 years, he might have a tough time getting huge reactions. By creating this new and completely different persona, he’s a much bigger star. At 43 years of age, he might not be wrestling full-time for that much longer. However, as “Woken” Matt, he has a new final chapter that could propel him to greater heights than he’s ever seen in WWE.”
For the rest of my column on Matt Hardy, go check it out at The Comeback now.
– Our news guy Mark McAllen has you covered with all the details for WWE Week on USA Network next week including the first time NXT is on USA Network and the details on Tribute to the Troops as well.
– Here’s Kurt Zamora with the NXT Review for this week featuring an awesome main event match between Kassius Ohno and Johnny Gargano. There was also a celebration for new NXT Champion Andrade Almas worth checking out.
– There’s a new column from Mike Sanchez looking at Jason Jordan’s booking on Raw and how he might do as a heel in the near future.
– This isn’t WWE related, but I write a NFL picks column for UPROXX every week that you can read right here. I got the Saints game wrong last night, but I have had a really good year picking games, so please check it out if you’re into the NFL. Go Rams. Of course I pick them over the Eagles! Excited for Sunday.
I’ll end with this video that was one of my favorite Raw angles ever. Brian Pillman was dealing with injuries and not wrestling much, so “Stone Cold” Steve Austin took advantage of it and destroyed him. This led to the phrase of “Pillmanizing” an ankle when somebody uses a chair to injure another guy’s ankle. If you don’t know your Austin history, he was a tag team partner with Pillman in WCW called the Hollywood Blondes. Great heel team that had awesome chemistry. This took place in the lead up to Survivor Series 1996 when Austin faced Bret Hart, so the idea was if he would do this to a guy that was his friend then what would be do to Bret? It was an incredible angle in 1996 and it still holds up well 21 years later.
That’s all for now. Comment below with any thoughts/questions and I will reply or hit me up on Twitter @johnreport as well. Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Monday for more.