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WWEekly: The Top Talking Points of RAW, Smackdown and NXT (10/15 – 10/17)

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WWE TV was dominated by the grandeur of Smackdown 1000 this week. Did it deliver? Well we’ll go into that more, later. On RAW we saw the Brothers of Destruction deliver a promo from Freddy Krueger’s boiler room and the implosion of one big faction. NXT saw the return of multiple big figures and offered an incredibly fun title match. With all that out of the way let’s get on with breaking down this week’s WWE TV.

More World Cup Action

Seth Rollins defeats Drew McIntyre via count out

Dolph Ziggler defeats Dean Ambrose via Superkick

The WWE American cup continues with two more qualifying matches on RAW this week. The potential competitors were taken from the Dogs of War and the Shield. We got Seth and Drew then Dean and Dolph. Both were matches we’ve seen before but once again the talent behind them made them watchable. Once again though the focus was on Ambrose’s alliance to the Shield. He came to the aid of Seth during his match against Drew allowing Seth to hit a Curb Stomp on Drew outside and take the count out. When they were celebrating backstage Dean got annoyed with the world lunatic and stormed off.

Dean’s match wasn’t as successful as he lost. Once again we had more interference from Drew who tried to get into the match as Dean was setting up a top rope move. Dean then dived on Drew and partially took himself out of the match. Seth tries to help Dean back into the ring but in the confusion Dean lashes out and knocks Seth away. After staggering back into the ring, Ambrose eats a Superkick and the loss before getting into it with Seth ahead of the main event.

Kurt Angle was on comedic fire again tonight. He was hanging around RAW in his vacation wear almost taunting GM Baron Corbin. Baron wanted a bit of revenge on the former GM by putting him in a match against the destructive Authors of Pain. Angle clearly isn’t happy with the match but goes along with it. Later in the night we get the match where the jobber, who is clearly not Angle, is dressed as El Conquistador. Conquistador is destroyed incredibly easily and Corbin looks pleased with himself. The golden jobber is unmasked and to nobodies surprised it’s not Kurt Angle. Angle then appears behind Corbin, delivers an Olympic Slam and walks off happy. This is a silly angle but it is funny to see Angle and Corbin going at it.

Rousey can Talk

Wow. So this is what happens when you take the kid gloves off a Rousey promo. After the surprise attack last week, Rousey wanted answers. The Bellas came out and seemed willing to give them, from a safe distance away anyway. After some lines we get the genuine fire. Rousey ripped into the Bellas over their partners, the ripping off of move-sets and eventually in retort to a Nikki line, the only door Nikki had broken down was John Cena’s. This was a merciless assault and led to the Bellas walking down to square up, changing their minds and sending out their security instead. Rousey destroys the security, but in the time she’s taken to dispatch them, the Bellas have vanished.

Another Evolution Feud?

Natalya defeats Ruby Riott via DQ

Natalya was out for payback after the recent attacks from the Riott Squad. She had another match against the leader of the Riott Squad and this time she brought out some new back up. The Queen of Harts was flanked by Sasha Banks and Bayley whilst Riott had the rest of her squad. This was a decent match but the finish was all that really mattered as it may have set up a six woman tag match for Evolution. As the finish approached Riott was caught in the Sharpshooter, the rest of the squad attacked forcing a DQ. Sasha and Bayley jumped in to help Natalya after the squad jump in and once again the faces stood tall.

Battle Royale Blues

Nia Jax and Ember Moon defeat Tamina and Dana Brooke via Eclipse

The reactions to the announcement of the battle royal were more entertaining than this match. Tamina made a return in a pretty dead match. It was standard tag team fair with Ember Moon getting the finish with the Eclipse. After that we had the whole, I’m going to turn on you because it’s a battle royal and so we saw Tamina and Ember throw out Nia Jax and then Ember and Dana try to throw out Tamina. Is it great to see a load of current WWE women announced for the card? Yes. Is it great that they’re in a chaotic battle royal that will probably last all of a few minutes? No. there are so many better things that could be happening with these women. Wasn’t there supposed to be some kind of women’s tag titles in the works?

Lashley’s Next Victim

Bobby Lashley defeats Tyler Breeze via Dominator

Bobby Lashley is being pushed as a monster heel now. He made minced meat of Tyler Breeze this week, punishing him with power moves and dispatching him in quick fashion. Lio Rush seems to have been relegated to buzz words and cheerleading so he’s there chanting intermittently through the match. The more interesting thing about Lashley was the fact that he is probably going to be in a feud with Finn Balor as this was the second week in a row where Lashley has interrupted Finn in some capacity. This week saw a stare down between the two after Lashley ruined Balor’s celebration at beating Jinder again.

Apollo

Did this really happen? Did we actually see Apollo Crews get something to do on RAW? Yes. Apollo came out to be the obligatory Elias interruption this week and basically stated his reasoning as being sick of doing nothing. Apollo talks about his time languishing backstage and now he wants to grab opportunity by the balls. Elias isn’t too thrilled at this and decided to try and attack. Apollo hits Elias with an enziguiri and Gorilla Press Slam before leaving. This may have meant very little in the grand scheme of things but it is nice to see that Apollo Crews actually had something to do where he wasn’t lumbered with Titus. He became very self-referential and honest before giving the audience a small taste of what he can do offensively.

The Pack Tears Itself Apart

The Shield defeat The Dogs of War via Triple Powerbomb

Another week, another Shield/Dogs of War match. This match acted as a vehicle to tease more Seth and Dean tension and bring us another Dogs of War loss. The match itself was fine but what was interesting was the breakdown of the heel faction. Since Ziggler has been bullied by Braun for always losing, it was obvious the second Ziggler ate the pin, he was eating a Powerslam. This happens then Drew instantly retaliates with a Claymore to Braun. The faction is dead and Drew stood tall. Just the way it should have been.

Styles Clash

The Usos defeat Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles via Double Superkick

Styles and Bryan have mostly shown respect and enthusiasm in the build to their impending title match. One of the best ways to break this goodwill is to put them in a tag match together. This may have worked out fine if they were against a bottom rung team. That didn’t happen though as they would have to try and best the Usos. Despite Bryan and Styles working together rather welling and gelling with multiple tag showcases, they fell to some unfortunate miscommunication. The Usos used their experience to stay ahead of their opponents and cause Bryan to catch AJ with a forearm. Styles didn’t take this well, pushing Bryan aside and eating a Superkick. Bryan turns around and eats a Double Superkick. The match was fun and didn’t feel too forced in its approach to souring Bryan and Styles.

Batista’s Big Hint

The Evolution reunion was a lot of fun. What could have turned into a circle jerk of self-gratification was instead a series of promos trying to one up the other. Flair seemed happy to be there, HHH was trying to put over the group and Orton was purely trying to put over himself whilst mocking his former stablemates. The star of this segment though was Batista. Now Batista has never been shy about voicing his opinions on his return to the ring and who he would face if such a thing came to pass. That may have been teased here as Batista also took some swings at the group and when it came round to HHH, Batista stated that he hadn’t beaten him. We know HHH likes to think he’s done it all so a feud with Batista may just be on the cards. If that happens then I will be over the moon. Batista is still in great shape and hasn’t been overly nostalgically pushed. Fans still want to see him go and having a star of his calibre back in the squared circle would be good for everyone.

World Cup Miz-ness

The Miz defeats Rusev via Roll Up

The two-minute Miz beat Rusev in about 45 seconds. Without context that is a really sad line to read. However we need to add that Rusev dominated the Miz, was distracted by Aiden English and then rolled up by Miz to lose his spot in the WWE US Cup. This gives Miz some redemption and dumps more fire on Aiden English who was then used as a rag doll by Rusev after the match. It was short, it was bittersweet and it did its job.

Cutting Edge

Bringing Edge back to be verbally bitch slapped by Becky Lynch was a great idea. The R Rated Superstar designed the blueprint Becky is using now. To have him return, deliver an amazing promo and then try to warn Becky off the heel path was great. Edge was dripping sincerity and seemed to be reaching Becky only for her to shut it down with some arrogance. Becky revelled in her delusional self-obsession. Eventually Charlotte comes out and starts fighting with Becky. She was dominant in the brawl. She is still pissed Becky chose the title over her. Becky was still the star here though as the crowd popped huge for her verbal barbs. Charlotte still got some time to stand tall ahead of Evolution.

New Champions

The Bar defeat The New Day via Brogue Kick

Here was a moment that Smackdown 1000 became meta. There was another excellent match between the two teams. We had a pancake table that was commentated by Booker T and Jerry the King Lawler and a heel turn no one was surprised to see. The match was ended by Kofi Kingston was chokeslammed through the pancake table by Big Show. Kofi was in position for this after breaking up a dirty pin. Big E is furious with Big Show’s actions, distracting him enough to eat a Brogue kick. New tag titles and a newly heel Big Show. A Big Show heel turn is a perfect celebration for Smackdown as he is known for flipping more times than a light switch. The Bar have the titles and we got a celebration of silliness.

World Cup Mysterio

Rey Mysterio defeats Shinsuke Nakamura via Frog Splash

Rey Mysterio wins move of the night for Smackdown 1000. That sliding splash to the outside was amazing and shows that Rey can still go. This was a really fun match given the age and conditioning of the people involved. Nakamura and Mysterio had a great clash of styles that lead to Mysterio hitting multiple speed and high-flying moves and Nakamura hit Rey with some pretty stiff strikes. This was the perfect chance to showcase Rey’s move-set with both new moves and old classics. He showcased the 619, showed off that insane Sliding splash and won with the Frog Splash. He progresses to the World Cup and Nakamura had a full match that wasn’t interrupted by Randy Orton. Everyone wins.

Fishy Business

War Raiders defeat Undisputed Era via DQ

When in doubt start with a tag match between the hottest team in the division and the strongest team in the division. War Raiders were the perfect foil to Undisputed Era. Every team the Era faces challenges them in a new way as their heelish tactics fail and they have to use their technical mastery to cut down their opponents. This was realised early on when Rowe basically powered out of their original onslaught. They soon started cutting him down, locking him up and double teaming him. This made Hanson the hottest of hot tags and made all his high-flying spots all the more impressive. It looked like the War Raiders were going to get the win with Fallout until Bobby Fish came in with a steel chair and crushed those hopes. It should be noted that Adam Cole had tried to interfere but ate a straight right and suicide dive for his troubles. Fish was a surprise as it means he is finally back from injury and ready to start fighting again.

Baszler Destroys the Dentist

Shayna Baszler defeats Britt Baker via Arm Breaker (ref stoppage)

Britt Baker made an appearance in NXT. Adam Cole’s bay bay was the unfortunate victim of an angry Shayna Baszler. Baszler didn’t even break a sweat fighting Baker as she grabbed an arm, did a little bit of catch wrestling and joint manipulation before breaking the arm. This ended the match as Baker couldn’t continue. Baszler is never one to leave a match and hit Baker with a running knee after the match. Baker was left crying and Baszler left the match without a scrap of remorse. It was nice to see another top indie women’s wrestler in NXT even if she was just there to be a victim to Baszler.

Burch and Lorcan’s Journey Back

Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan defeat Tian Bing and Rocky via Implant DDT

This felt more like a coming out party for Tian Bing and Rocky rather than a squash match for Lorcan and Burch. Bing and Rocky had a longer entrance and dominated the early part of the match by working over Lorcan. They still ate the loss but got to show off some of the things they can do. It was a short match but both teams got some benefit from it and Lorcan and Burch get to continue looking strong on their way back to the title. Also it should be noted that Bing and Rocky have some really catchy entrance music.

Black is Back

Nikki Cross vs Bianca Belair ends in no contest

Nikki Cross and Bianca Belair have a lot of chemistry together. NXT’s twisted sister is the perfect foil to the cool and calm demeanour of Belair as her craziness treads over Belair’s calculated ways of wrestling. She genuinely looked frustrated and borderline hysterical as Nikki kept kicking out Belair’s offense. Nikki just wouldn’t stay down and kept reversing everything Belair would try to finish her off with. The match took centre stage until both women were down. No one lost as Aleister Black’s music hit and the lights went out. When the lights came back on, Black had materialised in the ring. He sat cross-legged opposite Cross and beckoned her to him. The crowd went wild for this. Black had two words for Nikki, “tell me.” Nikki obliged and the show ended with Black furious over who had been revealed to him. NXT was shorter this week but still seemed full of surprises. Mostly the return of Black and Fish.

In Conclusion

It’s been a mixed bag of WWE TV this week. RAW was a three-hour drag of repeated matches and tiring angles. Smackdown 1000 gave us some enjoyable nostalgia and interesting ideas going forward. The fact Batista may be back for the short-term is an amazing prospect and the return of Rey could lead to some exciting future feuds. NXT did pretty much the same. We had some strong returns that will shake up the title scene on NXT plus Regal is set to address the title scene. RAW needs to do something big next week to make up for the dull showing this week. I can hope right?

John is a UK based wrestling obsessive who still wants to believe the Bullet Club is fine. He is always tearing the business apart and first realised wrestling was for him when he saw Mankind fall from the top of the cell at King of the Ring 1998.

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