This has been a fun month to be in the WWE coverage game. WrestleMania week is always loaded, as is the following Raw and Smackdown shows. With the WWE Superstar Shakeup and Greatest Royal Rumble trailing not far behind, it's been an action packed one.
However, WWE could have painted themselves into a corner. In addition to this huge Greatest Royal Rumble show on April 27, they've also promoted WWE Backlash for just over a week later. With the Superstar Shakeup happening, this put them in a really unique scenario.
They'd already set matches like Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns. Based on matches that were booked prior or the same time, both men could walk in with titles...but then Samoa Joe switched brands.
Randy Orton gained a United States title match against Jinder Mahal...but then Jinder Mahal switched brands. On top of that, Mahal lost his title to Jeff Hardy...but then Jeff Hardy switched brands.
Oh yeah, there's the situation of Cesaro & Sheamus of The Bar getting a Raw Tag Team Championship match... but then they switched brands.
That's hardly all of it.
I, for one, love it. For a ten-day period, we have a plethora of Raw vs. Smackdown matchups. Despite WWE pay-per-views being co-branded moving forward, I don't expect this to be the norm. But for the sake of booking, and understanding that Superstars, creative and the company itself had sorting out to do, I'm happy to throw caution to the wind.
Universal Title- Raw's top championship will be decided at the Greatest Royal Rumble. If Roman Reigns wins, he has new Smackdown Live star Samoa Joe waiting in the wings at Backlash, who said he would "rip the title from Reigns' waist."
Intercontinental Championship- At the Greatest Royal Rumble, Seth Rollins will defend his title against Finn Balor, and two Smackdown Superstars in the aforementioned Samoa Joe and The Miz. If Joe wins this match, he could very well opt to defend his championship against Roman Reigns, and possibly lose it back to the Raw brand. If the Miz wins, he has to turn right back around and face Rollins for it at Backlash, in a contest that is actually the Miz's contractually mandated re-match. Nevermind the subsequent rematches that will come of multiple title switches.
Raw Tag Team Titles- The Bar were defeated for the titles at WrestleMania 34, but those were later vacated. With Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy earning a championship opportunity via a tournament, Cesaro and Sheamus will have one last crack at the titles before resuming their Smackdown careers.
United States Championship- Jinder Mahal and his WWE United States Title were drafted to Raw last Monday, but he was beaten by Jeff Hardy, who in turn was then sent to Smackdown Live the following night. Their rematch will take place at the Greatest Royal Rumble, and pending the outcome, could also face Randy Orton. "The Viper" is owed a championship rematch after dropping the title at WrestleMania 34, and was planned to face Mahal at Backlash.
This feels an awful lot like the NBA playoff scenario of a few weeks ago. I'm not really sure if WWE intended for things to go this way or they just lucked into it, but the results of both Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash are in doubt. That's part of what I love about professional wrestling.
A tip of the hat, WWE.