By JOEY WILLIAMSON – HOLLYWOOD’s WORLD OF SPORTS – SEPT 5, 2018
The WWE recently announced that the second season of WWE Mixed Match Challenge will start on September 18th, and it will air on Facebook Live after Smackdown.
I think the Mixed Match Challenge is a great concept with a ton of potential, but in this day and age, fans want reality based stories, and the not made-up fantasy ones we get most of the time. Anytime WWE has acknowledged the reality of certain stories, it drew a lot of big ratings.
Lets look back to 2005, and the rivalry between Edge and Matt Hardy. Lita had been in a relationship with Matt for quite a few years, and when Matt got injured, she ended up cheating on him with Edge. Hardy got fired and then unleashed a series of verbal attacks on both Edge and Lita. Mr. McMahon eventually re-hired Hardy which resulted in some of the best matches in WWE during that time period. Even though they kept it professional in the ring you could feel the tension and animosity between the two. There was a Street Fight, Steel Cage and a Ladder Match all within two month of each other. I believe these matches elevated both men to a whole different level, but its’ not the only time reality has made WWE programming a lot of fun to watch.
Lets fast forward to 2009, and the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania 25. Randy Orton had brutally attacked Mr. McMahon and Shane McMahon on multiple occasions. On an episode of Monday Raw he delivered the RKO to Stephanie McMahon which prompted Triple H to run to the ring to chase Orton’s stable Legacy away. The buildup to Wrestlemania 25 after that night was incredible with Triple H invading Orton’s home, Orton kissing Stephanie, and the McMahons fighting Legacy. In years past when Triple H was teaming Shawn Michaels they always poked fun of Stephanie being pregnant and staying away from the fact that he and Stephanie were married. Even though I loved DX in 2006, it was corny to insult the fans’ intelligence – when everyone knew they got married in 2003. When Triple H and Stephanie were running as The Authority, I bought into it, because they are a real life married couple who were power hungry and wanted to control everything. It made whoever went up against them that more important and special.
When WWE acknowledges reality within their company I think the stories are more organic and personal. Even in the last couple of years when real-life couples clash or team together, I am invested in that. Last year, I loved the skits that The Miz and Maryse did on John Cena and Nikki Bella. Those skits were comedy gold and made their story so entertaining leading up to Wrestlemania. Now you have The Miz and Maryse in a feud with Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella which is the a story that intrigues me the most. I also love that Rusev and Lana are together again or the times Jimmy Uso and Naomi have interaction together. Those stories are make me a believer, make me invest in whats going on and make me want to watch what happens next. I personally feel with all the real life couples in WWE there should be an Inter-Gender Tag Team Championship that is defended across all brands.
The WWE Mixed Match Challenge has had some fun teams like Braun Strowman/Alexa Bliss, and Bobby Roode/Charlotte Flair but I have come up with 12 teams within the WWE system that would make WWE Mixed Match Challenge something to watch and invest in. Here are those teams:
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
The Miz and Maryse
Rusev and Lana
Jimmy Uso and Naomi
Rowe of War Raiders and Sarah Logan
Johnny Gargano and Candice Larae
Buddy Murphy and Alexa Bliss
Roderick Strong and Marina Shafir
Kassius Ohno and Rachael Ellering
Tye Dillinger and Peyton Royce
Montez Ford and Bianca Belair
Mandy Rose and Tino Sabbatelli
I believe in reality and if this is the reality era then give the fans a dose of it. I think WWE could pull this off while still maintaining everyone’s characters on Raw, Smackdown, 205 Live and NXT. It could also create some new stories depending on if its successful or not. As I said before, the Mixed Match Challenge is an awesome concept with tons of potential but the only way the see the full potential is to use real life couples. On September 18th, the Mixed Match Challenge returns and I will be curious to see how the viewership for is for this unique concept.
Joey Williamson is the Editor of Hollywood’s World of Sports. He can be followed on Twitter @HWoodWorldSport , and on Facebook at Hollywood’s World of Sports