RANDOM THOUGHTS: 2016 Dream Matches for Kurt Angle, Jericho vs. Owens last night, Smackdown ratings “rebound”

-The WWE house show in Edmonton last night was a little stronger in terms of star power depth than last weekend’s shows. Seth Rollins defended against Roman Reigns in the main event; the match got a mixed review from our correspondent (link to detailed PWTorch.com report). Chris Jericho was a special attraction, beating Kevin Owens in what was called “easily the best match of the night.” The New Day defended against The Prime Time Players in a tag team title match in the semi-final. Still, it didn’t feel like a loaded show, with the fourth-biggest match being Cesaro vs. Luke Harper. The undercard was again filled with wrestlers who don’t get any kind of serious presentation or much TV time on Raw – R-Truth, Natalya, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Bo Dallas, and The Ascension. House shows don’t need to be loaded top to bottom with main event stars, but the dropoff in star power after the first two or three matches is drastic, and acts as a symbol of what’s not right with WWE’s presentation of its roster on its top TV show. As an aside, why is Jericho beating Owens at this point in their careers? Even if it’s “just a house show” and they want fans to be “happy” with their favorites winning, it seems like it’s more important to give Owens more of a push and a rub than make a few 11 year olds who love Jericho happy.

-The Smackdown ratings eeked out a rating above 1.5, but barely this week  (1.54) after dipping to a 1.42. That has to be a relief since it went against the New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers NFL opener. That could be a promising sign for Raw’s ratings on Monday. Even though it’s going up against the NFL, so many more people are watching TV when the NFL is on that some of them float over to sample wrestling if they lose interest in the game or are just flipping around out of habit. As James Caldwell pointed out in his report at PWTorch.com, last year on Friday nights, Smackdown occasionally reached 3.0 million viewers, but this year on Thursday nights it’s trying to just stay above 2.0 million viewers.

-On the Bruce Mitchell Audio Show (a VIP-exclusive weekly staple of PWTorch Audio Shows), Bruce and I talked about potential dream match-ups for Kurt Angle if he were truly healthy enough to work a few of them in 2016, freed from a TNA contract. Daniel Bryan, of course, comes to mind, as Bryan has talked about his desire to wrestle Angle, even if it was outside of WWE. Atop my list was another match with Brock Lesnar, but the 2015 version of Brock, along with Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, and the early-2015 version of Rusev. Earlier in 2015, Rusev was a rising villain receiving industry praise for carrying Roman Reigns to good house show matches, which was more of an achievement than we realized back then. Now Rusev is playing an ambiguous jilted boyfriend who rarely shows off his ring skills anymore. Speaking of Roman, if he were to turn heel, I’d be interest to see what Angle in his prime would be able to do with him in the ring. In the Reader Comments area below or via email (wadekellerdotcom@gmail.com), let me know which opponents you’d like to see Angle wrestle if he were truly healthy enough to do so without risk to his well-being in 2016. (Not VIP? Sign up here: www.pwtorch.com/govip)

-If you haven’t yet, check out the new site we launched this week – www.PWPodcasts.com. It features an array of in-depth reports and evaluations of the top pro wrestling podcasts. Tonight’s latest post is a review of ROH announcer Kevin Kelly’s latest show. You can also get reviews of PWTorch Livecast episodes. We have our new team of reporters working diligently this weekend to add more reports, so keep checking back, but in the mean time, check out the first dozen or so reports.

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