Welcome to a new season of WWEekly. As RAW, SmackDown and NXT have changed so too has this article. Okay, not really, but look — we’re on Saturdays now. Isn’t that fun? Back on topic, we have three huge shows to dismantle as we had shock returns, shock debuts and not so shocking match finishes. Throw in new sets, music and pyro returning and you have a recipe for some at the very least entertaining shows. Did SmackDown make a smooth transition to FOX? Did NXT’s Night of Champions go as planned and did RAW mean anything amongst this mess? Let’s get into it and find out.
– The show opened with a happy Mysterio celebrating his Universal Title opportunity and dedicating it to his son. This celebration would be ruined though as Brock comes out and destroys Rey Mysterio. Dominick is in the crowd watch the carnage and is then targeted by Brock and completely destroyed. It is merciless as Brock deliberately tries to break the back of Dominick. He is stretchered out with his dad profusely apologising for what has happened. Both men are taken to a medical facility. Later in the show, Paul Heyman blames Vince McMahon for Lesnar’s actions.
– Sasha Banks takes on Alexa Bliss whilst Becky watches with the new commentary team of Jerry the King Lawler, Dio Maddin and Vic Joseph. Sasha fakes an injury to get a tights pulling roll up on Alexa. Following the match Sasha and Becky brawl but the Boss decides it would be better to run away. Becky promises utter destruction in the cell. “You made it personal, I’m going to make it painful.”
– It’s tag team Title action next as Heavy Machinery get a chance to win the RAW Tag Team Titles. They heavily dominate the match but Dolph Ziggler ruins the Compactor allowing Roode to set up the Glorious DDT on Tucker to retain. A nice showing for Heavy Machinery.
– Miz TV comes next with Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan as special guests. Their purpose on the segment is to tease a match then reveal that it’s all a ploy to set up Team Flair vs Team Hogan at Crown Jewel on Halloween. Nostalgia sells and the crowd was buying. They announce their captains as Seth Rollins for Team Hogan and Randy Orton for Team Flair. They decide to have a captain’s match until King Corbin makes an appearance to set up a cheap shot on Rollins. Rusev comes out to his first real pop to make the save for Seth.
– AOP continue their videos of horror by reinforcing what they’ve already said before. They basically talk about loving violence in a long winded but nicely worded manner. Can we please get them on TV to kill Roode and Ziggler please?
– Next we get a proper tag feud as we see The O.C. and The Viking Raiders have another exciting tag bout. These are the two teams I want in the title scene. NOT ROODE AND ZIGGLER. The Viking Raiders get the win with a “305 Live” Splash for Ivar (Hanson).
– A short but sweet match between Ricochet and Cesaro followed that with Ricochet getting the win with a springboard Dragonrana. Ricochet was honouring Mysterio after the attack that happened earlier in the night.
– Everyone is scared in the Firefly Funhouse. Rambling Rabbit is dead due to the fear he had over what the Fiend plans to do to Seth in Hell in a Cell. Bray tries to reassure them all that the Fiend will still protect them and the Funhouse but he doesn’t think Seth will make it back. Once again, outstanding video and outstanding promo. Thank God for Bray Wyatt.
– Cedric Alexander loses another US Title match to AJ Styles. He gives it his all but the Lumbar Check is countered into the Style’s Clash. Fun match but can we get a new US Title feud please?
– Lacey Evans and Natalya finally have a match which Evans wins with Roll Up. She continues to attack after the match with the Women’s Right as she enjoys her victory. Not a compelling storyline but the match was solid enough. Evans is a solid heel with a solid character, she just needs the right storyline to blow up.
– Lastly was the kiss cringed at around the world as Bobby Lashley returned to ruin Rusev’s Universal Title match by making out with his wife Lana right in front of him. What is it with WWE and cuckholding at the moment? Is it some kind of untapped market? Is Mike Kanellis going to be made a champion to bring in the cuck bucks? Anyway, the main event was saved by The Fiend appearing to choke the life out of Seth Rollins with the Mandible Claw.
– Things start off fun as, after a new awesome opener featuring AC/DC, King Corbin tries to make the opening segment all about him. Instead it goes against him as The Rock and Becky Lynch roast him mercilessly for a good few minutes. There are several, “stop he’s already dead moments” in this segment but my god is it fun to see Corbin humbled in such a manner. The pair work together to eliminate Corbin with the People’s Elbow and Rock Bottom. Nostalgia used right.
– Becky Lynch and Charlotte get one over on Banks and Bayley ahead of their respective title matches at Hell in a Cell. Good chaotic fun with little else to add. Though I will say, the new set looks absolutely amazing.
– Firefly Funhouse is back again with another episode targeting Seth Rollins. This time Wyatt is introducing his friends to the new FOX audience. Pleasantly, Rambling Rabbit is alive and dressed up as Seth Rollins since he’s his biggest fan. As a way of showing Seth what will happen at Hell in a Cell, he puts Rambling Rabbit in a cage with Mercy the Buzzard, who then tears Rabbit apart. As if that message wasn’t enough, the Fiend gate crashed a match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Seth Rollins, choking him out once again.
– SHANE MCMAHON IS GONE. Oh, happy day. This was a mental match that I loved every second off. Ladder induced carnage all round as Shane went full daredevil mode and took more brutal bumps than he probably should be. KO won with a Powerbomb onto a ladder then managed to climb and win. Getting himself re-instated and firing Shane McMahon from the company. This was the best type of spot fest. Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, Shane, goodbye!
– Eight-man tag action ends in with Strowman destroying Ziggler with a Powerslam whilst taking the time to jaw jack with Tyson Fury. We may have our next wrestler vs other sports person/celebrity match in the making.
– Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns work together to help Roman Reigns pick up a win over Rowan in a Lumberjack match. Harper comes out to aid Rowan forcing Bryan into action. Fun match and a nice stipulation to see brought back for TV.
– Cain Velasquez is in WWE! He came out with Rey Mysterio after Brock destroyed Kofi in a matter of seconds. It wasn’t a pretty sight at all but the payoff means we now have another MMA fighter turned wrestler in WWE and he’s gunning for Brock. Cain defeated Brock in the UFC, can he do it again now in WWE? Velasquez has actually done quite well in his wrestling career so far with matches outside the WWE so hopefully he does well here too. It’ll be interesting to see how him and Brock collide in the coming weeks.
NXT: Night of Champions
– The NXT Title match opens the show with the Original Bro looking to silence Adam Cole and pick up the top title. He’d bested the Beast of Belfast and already sent Cole a message last week, now he just had to pick up the win once more. Adam Cole managed to retain his title but took one hell of a beating from Riddle. Both men had to kick out of finishers, strikes and more for a solid 15-20 minutes of brutality. There were clever counters and massive amounts of shocking kick outs, with Cole’s cast being the decider. Excellent match and an excellent opening to the show. He couldn’t celebrate though as an all too familiar music hit… Finn Balor is back in NXT and he seems very interested in Cole’s title.
– The sofa was back as Velveteen Dream made his intentions at the North American Title known. He wants the belt back and he plans to get it. He attacked Roddy for staying in the shadow of the Undisputed Era and threatened to end Strong’s dream.
– Io Shirai took on Mia Yim next in a kind of rematch from the fatal four-way qualifier. Since both of them had come up short in that match, one of them needed some momentum. Shirai is still probably the top female heel outside of Baszler and is set to break out soon. Yim started strong knocking Shirai about with vicious strikes. Shirai’s lack of popularity worked against her as the crowd egged on Yim to strike. However, Shirai came back into it and came back hard, bludgeoning Yim and aiming attacks at her legs. In the end both women nearly killed each other but Shirai got the win with the Moonsault. Could we be looking at the next contender after tonight’s title match?
– Johnny Gargano was up next taking on the outspoken Shane Thorne. The Mighty member and newly dubbed “black swan” has been on a tear lately, crushing breakout talent. Could he best NXT’s golden boy? The answer is no, he did use his veteran instincts and smash mouth style to give Gargano a fight but came up short. Gargano bested him with a Superkick.
– The NXT Women’s title was up for grabs next as Candice LeRae tried to do what no one else had done yet, dethrone Shayna Baszler. Baszler may have been surprised early on but she soon targeted Candice’s arm and sadistically worked away at her, savouring the pain of LeRae. Candice tried her best but for all her fight, she too succumbed to the Kirifuda Clutch in the end.
– It was a battle of the British as Pete Dunne took on Danny Burch. Fun little match with Damien Priest setting his sights on Pete done after the match.
– We cut backstage to an interview with Cole who is refuting claims that he only won with the use of his cast. The Era came to him to complain about Balor but Cole told them to stay focused on keeping their gold. Their title match against the Street Profits was next. No one expected them to win so no one was surprised when they lost. This was a really nice match though. Both teams have a lot of chemistry together and The Undisputed Era are the masters of pacing things. They were the perfect foils to the fun-loving Profits once again. There were the added stakes that the prophecy of gold was on the line should the UE lose. The Street Profits did well as it took some interference to keep their titles. The moment was lost for them though as another man made his return to Full Sail, Tomasso Ciampa! Goldie is coming home. It was so good to hear No one Will Survive once again.
So, there you have it, the first chaotic week of WWE’s new schedule. It was a mostly positive week with everything bar that god awful Lashley return being serviceable at the least. The highs were incredibly high though as NXT was full of awesome moments and matches, SmackDown had a successful debut with Velasquez being a big shock and helped build up to Hell in a Cell. RAW was RAW. It was mostly good but it wasn’t all that special. If anything, the biggest loser in all this was Kofi Kingston, getting flattened so easily. Let’s see how things move on next week. It’s an exciting time to be a wrestling fan as if you didn’t like WWE there is always an alternative and it’s reviewed on this very site!
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