Non-televised WWE live events are curious things. You always want to take them with a grain of salt, as 99% of the time they aren’t “canon” for Raw or SmackDown, but they’re also where the company and wrestlers try new things which eventually do end up on TV, so it’s fun to look for clues.
Big shows - like anything Brock Lesnar is booked for, or the annual Christmastime ones in New York - receive more scrutiny, which may be why WWE has changed up their line-ups for the SmackDown show in Manhattan and the Raw in Brooklyn next week.
Or we could be reading too much into it. Like I said, house shows.
The blue brand show on Monday, Dec. 26 in Madison Square Garden has morphed in a couple ways from the card which first came out back in November, mostly due to juggling the tag matches in the wake of Zack Ryder’s injury, it seems:
- AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE World title
- Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton vs. American Alpha vs. The Usos vs. Breezango vs. Rhyno & Heath Slater vs. The Ascension for Smackdown Tag Team championship
- Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz in a Steel Cage match for the Intercontinental title
- Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s championship
- Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin
- Apollo Crews & Jack Swagger & Mojo Rawley vs. The Vaudevillains & Curt Hawkins
- Carmella vs. Nikki Bella
Wednesday, Dec. 28’s red brand date at Barclays features the more notable change, as officials wisely decided that running Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks for the Women’s title just a week and a half after their “final” showdown at Roadblock probably wasn’t a great idea. Restructuring the ladies lone match on the card (because Raw) also pays off the rumor Liv Morgan would work with the main roster over the holidays, and provides Emmalina with another unofficial debut:
- Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal championship
- Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho in a Street Fight
- New Day vs. Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Gallows & Anderson for the Raw Tag Team championship
- Big Cass vs. Rusev
- Sami Zayn vs. Braun Strowman
- Golden Truth, Sin Cara, Curtis Axel, Rich Swann & Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund) vs. Shining Stars, Titus O’Neill, Jinder Mahal, Neville & Bo Dallas
- Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alicia Fox & Liv Morgan vs. Charlotte, Dana Brooke, Emmalina & Nia Jax
- Also appearing: Big Show
Otherwise, both are pretty much in line with both brand’s last pay-per-view (PPV) line-up. They probably don’t tell us much, except things we already knew, like Styles probably isn’t dropping the title to Dolph or the Lone Wolf next Tuesday.
Anything jump out at you, Cagesiders?