COMMENTARY – What in the world did we witness on Tuesday night? The final segment of SmackDown Live has me wondering what is WWE thinking in terms of booking the main event at WrestleMania 33. Will they include Luke Harper?
The battle royal for the No. 1 contender to face Bray Wyatt in Orlando wasn’t without controversy and certainly not without confusion. The two final wrestlers – AJ Styles and Luke Harper – allegedly went over the top rope and fell to the floor at the same time. However, it clearly showed that Styles, the former WWE World Champion, fell to the ground first.
Holy screw-up, Batman! This is Harper’s time to shine, to get the push he deserves. The ending of Tuesday night took a bit of wind out of the sails of the blue team’s effort of late in proving to be a better brand than Monday Night Raw. Who deserves the pink slip on this one?
If Braun Strowman is the big man the company wants to push on Raw, it would appear Harper is the performer who will rise in the ranks after walking away from the Wyatt Family. A clash between the current WWE World Champion, Bray Wyatt, and the Bruiser Brody look-a-like is eminent. The only thing stopping the clash is the company – that does not seem to be sold on giving Harper carte blanche as a fan favorite.
Next Tuesday night will determine who goes on to WrestleMania 33, in Orlando to face Wyatt in the main event. I suspect Wyatt, Harper and Randy Orton will all have a say in who wins that match. As someone said to me before SmackDown Live started, it’s not a reunion of The Shield in the ring, but it has potential to be a very good program for the company.
SmackDown Live cannot get in the habit of messing up storylines and feeling comfortable with its booking options. The foundation for WrestleMania 33 matches has been set. New performers are rising from the ashes, claiming their spots. There should be a few surprises, especially with how the company plans to use Styles and the potential for Nakamura to possibly jump to the main roster. Harper’s ascent to the top of the mountain and if booked properly, he could be one of the better big men on either red or blue roster. I’m sure WWE will figure this out (don’t they always?) so Harper and Wyatt headline Orlando and Orton swerves everyone and reclaims his Royal Rumble win. It’s too good a storyline for WWE to let slip away.
John Cena was quick to put Wyatt over after the Rumble match where he won his 16th world title. It speaks volumes of how the company needs new blood in the title picture. He, Styles and Orton are all selling for him as the top star on the blue roster. That success could help make Harper an even bigger singles success. WWE has to let it happen. More important than that, WWE must not pull the trigger on ending the potential run just because they don’t get the initial response they hoped for.
Luke Harper has been in the business too long and is a solid performer. The company needs to remain steadfast in its commitment to letting this happen.