Weekly Wrasslin' Wrounduo (May 23-26)

There's a lot to talk about in the WWE this week, but we need to talk about the impending brand split first, because that shadow is going to hang over everything for the next couple of months.

In July, Smackdown moves Tuesday's, will be presented live, and have a separate roster from Raw. The last brand split ended about five years ago, and there's definitely an argument to be made for it right now, since there aren't enough belts and good stories for the current talent on the roster to fight over. Which is how Tyler Breeze ends up paired with Fandango as "Breezango" and feuding with Goldust and R-Truth. Or how we end up with everything Dolphins Ziggler's been up to in 2016.

The problem with the brand split is that ultimately, the thing keeping all the talent from having good stories and meaningful matches isn't the number of belts, it's the number of hours of TV to fill and the general lackluster scripting in WWE. The split will help with some of this - the Raw brand will have to fill two fewer hours each week, the Smackdown brand three. Which should mean less filler. We'll see how it goes.

We're also gearing up for Shittier Gift Of The Gods, I mean Money In The Bank, and we had nearly all our qualifying matches this week. The MitB match will feature Sami Zayn (defeated Sheamus, sending the latter on a new Beat Up The New Era quest which is just like his Beat Up Little Fellas quest last year )., Kevin Owens (defeated AJ Styles in a hell of a match), Chris Jericho (who didn't eat thumbtacks at Extreme Rules so he could lose to Apollow Crews), Dean Ambrose (who beat Dolph Ziggler because Dolph Ziggler), Cesaro (defeated The Miz to restore a small amount of justice to the universe) and Alberto Del Rio (defeated Zack Ryder on Smackdown).

Jericho's the biggest problem so far. His match with Ambrose at Extreme Rules was slow and boring until the end, and that's all on Jericho, because none of his matches since his last return have lived up to the awesome promo work he does to build up to them. Del Rio is the second biggest load in the bunch, but the remaining four are solid. Who will #7 be? The pacing is weird - why have six matches in one week, have five on Raw and one on Smackown? John Cena makes his big return Monday, so maybe he'll be involved in at least a qualifier. I'd have thought he'd have beef with Rusev, but Titus O'Neil (sigh) came out during Smackdown to confront Rusev, so I guess we're getting that. Sorry, United States belt.

In other news, Seth Rollins is back after graciously waiting for Roman Reigns to win his Extreme Rules match clean with a spear out of nowhere (this is why people boo Reigns, WWE. It's not "passion") before giving Reigns a Pedigree. He's going super-heel and facing Reigns at MitB, but good luck getting fans to boo him during the actual match when he's not openly insulting them constantly like he did on Raw.

Speaking of going super-heel, Charlotte aligned herself with Dana b/rookie and brutally, if not quite masterfully, turned on her father on Raw, laying into him for way too long and forcing him to leave the ring in tears. This might be what it takes to make the crowd care about someone beating a heel champ Charlotte, but they also need a super-popular opponent who can hold her own with Charlotte in the ring, and they only have three and a half of those. And otwo are in NXT.

Enzo's back! Nothing more to say there.

As is usually the case, Money in the Bank is filled with all the likely Intercontinental Title contenders, so even though Cesaro lost a title match on Smackdown due to Miznanigans, expect the belt to live in the background for the next few weeks and not change hands.

Who knows what's going on in the tag division. The New Day had a run-in with the Social Outcasts on Raw, but that can't mean anything, can it? Other than they need some more heel tag teams before the brand split.


Meanwhile, NXT is actually telling stories and gearing up for Takeover: The End in two weeks. Which is kind of an ominous title. Anyway, we've got Joe-Balor Televized III in a steel cage. Baylor could lose it that week and then show up on the main roster to help AJ Styles with the former Bullet Club members he spurned on Raw, or help them against AJ, or be his mystery partner in a tag match at MitB.

American Alpha's rematch with the Revival is still a thing that is happening.

Asoka will be facing and beating Nia Jax for the title. Bayley's doing an injury angle to dodge the rematch clause questions, and Jax beat Carmella and Alexa Bliss to become the #1 contender. The NXT women's division is shallow as hell right now, and it's long past time they gave some of their more promising jobbers wins over their less promising ones.

No Way Jose continues to fail to live up to his intro.

And Austin Aries is wrestling Shinsuke Nakamura over the best reason of all - who's getting the most attention and who's mad about it. I on't think it'll be as good as Zayn-Nakamura, but it'll be the best opportunity Aries has had to put on the kind of match I know he's arable of since he debuted.