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WWEekly: The Top Talking Points of RAW, Smackdown and NXT (3.18 – 3.20.19)

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Baron Corbin basically killed everyone’s momentum this week. RAW on the whole was a slog that made everything after it seem better by just not being a RAW moment. The flagship show was 80% filler and 20% killer at best. Other than that we had the results of Kofi’s gauntlet match, some shocking developments on NXT and a former superstar coming out of retirement. Let’s try to remain positive and get into it.

McIntyre’s Rampage

Drew McIntyre defeats Seth Rollins via Claymore Kick

Drew McIntyre had a busy night on RAW this week. He appeared at the start of the show to interrupt Heyman and Lesnar, was pummelled repeatedly with chair shots from an angry Rollins, made a Wrestlemania challenge to an absent Roman Reigns and competed in a match against said angry Rollins. Want to know what’s more impressive, he did all this while being incredibly ill. This news came out later in the week so it was a shock to read since you’d have never guessed watching the show. Drew is a total pro. He put on a fun match against Rollins that he won because of a distraction from the current Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. He also punched his ticket to Wrestlemania by calling out the Big Dog to a match to settle the argument over whose yard RAW is now. He won’t defeat Reigns but the fact the challenge is there is awesome. Drew is set to be a big player throughout RAW’s future so it’s nice to see he can put in the effort even when ill.

Bobby Merciless

Finn Balor & Braun Strowman defeat Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush via Running Powerslam

Bobby Lashley and Finn Balor in a match together, why does that sound familiar? Maybe because it happens almost every week. Balor and Lashley have been stuck in a seemingly endless feud over the IC title so it was groan worthy to see them at it again. Both men need a change of scenery and opponents. Even Braun couldn’t really freshen up the formula as he brutalised Lio Rush. The match was fun enough but it’s hard to shake off how many times we’ve seen it. In the end it would be Rush eating the pin fall as Braun hit him with a Running Powerslam. Bobby did nothing to help and just walked off. This must sting since Rush is the whole reason Bobby has the IC title to begin with. Can this just end now please? Give them one more match at Mania for the belt and then move them both on to bigger and better things.

Also, since he’s been mentioned Braun isn’t even in a big match this Mania, he’s just in the Battle Royale where he’ll crush a load of jobbers or nobodies until he wins or gets teamed up on.

Is This a Feud?

Elias defeats No Way Jose via Drift Away

So is this a feud then? For two weeks straight Elias and No Way Jose have been hostile towards each other. Last week Jose interrupted Elias during a performance so Elias beat him up. This week the conga line came out whilst Elias was being interviewed on a Moment of Bliss. Elias promised that he would put on the performance of a lifetime at Mania when the conga line comes out of nowhere led by a very happy Otis Dozervic. Bliss scolds the line for coming out too early and tries to apologise to Elias. He is attacked by a member of the conga line that turns out to be Jose in disguise. They have a match that is fine and Elias beats him. My one guess is that this was to bring No Way Jose back to relevance. If it was though it hasn’t really worked as he had his ass kicked twice.

Angle Slammed

Kurt Angle defeats Chad Gable via Ankle Lock

How do you deflate the crowd faster than a balloon with a hole in it? By announcing that your retirement is Baron Corbin. Now I love Baron Corbin, I think he’s an excellent character and a heat magnet. However as a retirement opponent for Kurt Angle well he just kind of falls short. People were hoping it would be someone with more clout or more history. A lot of people thought it would be Cena or Shelton Benjamin as they have actual history with Angle. Corbin makes sense from a story sense as Corbin made Angle’s life hell after becoming Constable. The two have a story to finish so who knows it could be fun. After the announcement he has a match against Chad Gable. This could have been an amazing match a few years ago but age has taken its toll on Angle. It was still fun to watch and Gable was clearly thrilled to be in the ring with one of his idols. He ended up tapping to the Ankle Lock.

On the Corbin thread, it should also be noted that he lost a match to Apollo Crews later in the night.

Phoenix Rising

Natalya vs Sasha Banks ends in no contest

Well this was a bit of a surprise. With Mania on the horizon and a new set of women’s belts to go for, it appears Beth Phoenix has come out of retirement. She has reformed an old team with her former partner with Natalya and laid a challenge to Sasha and Bayley. The challenge goes south and they end up brawling for a bit and a match happens. That match is a singles match between Natalya and Banks that has no solid conclusion. Instead Natalya gets the upper hand but can’t capitalise as Nia Jax derails the match and Tamina attacks everyone. It seems those two just can’t leave the tag division alone. I wonder if this will culminate in a massive multi-team match at Mania? Either welcome back to the ring Beth Phoenix.

Too Much Filler

So my biggest complaint with RAW this week was that there was a lot of pointless or filler content on the show. The highlights of the show were the Rollins match and the sight of Batista dressed like Tony Montana. But apart from that it was all kind of dull. The matches were fine but there was not really a lot of meaty content. There was too much throwaway content and not a lot of things to write about. Ricochet had a match against Jinder Mahal, Ronda Rousey hurt some more people and we got more of Mojo Rawley screaming at a mirror.

Face Miz makes a Statement

By now we know the story of Miz and Shane McMahon. The fairy tale of two men’s dream to be tag team champions cut short by misfortune and the Usos. The Co-Besties fell apart and Shane beat Miz down in front of his own dad. Now they have a match at Mania and will most likely kick the crap out of each other. Miz dropped a promo ahead of the match citing his fury at Shane’s actions and once again doubling down on his work ethic. He promised to make Shane pay for what he did. Miz works surprisingly well as a face and the crowd loves him. I hated this story for a while because I figured I would not care when it broke up. I am happy to be wrong. The Miz has seriously won me over with his sympathetic character and I can’t wait to see him topple THE BEST WRESTLER IN THE WORLD.

Crossing to IIconic Territory

The IIconics defeat the Boss & Hug Connection via Assisted Roll Up

For weeks now the IIconics have been throwing challenges and jabs at Banks and Bayley for not coming to Smackdown to defend those titles. Unfortunately you have to be careful what you wish for as not only did they show up, they had a match. Now the IIconics are a good team, they know how to work together and know how to annoy their opponents. Unfortunately they couldn’t quite stand up to Banks and Bayley. Instead they were able to break the rules to their advantage. There was a distraction from Lacey Evans but this had no real effect on the match. She just walked the catwalk like she normally does. In the end the IIconics win with a Roll Up and may have earned themselves a title match, furthering the theory that this may be a multi-team match at Mania.

A Set to Destroy

Kevin Owens acted like a master sh*t stirrer this week as he tried and succeeded to get Becky and Charlotte to fight it out on his show. He referenced his fallout with Sami Zayn and used that as a way to stoke the flames for Becky and Charlotte. The two obliged by brawling across the whole set of the show knocking over signs and fighting across the table. Charlotte tried to run her mouth, Becky just punched her in the face. Once the brawl broke out Owens scampered and the two had to be pulled apart by referees. It was a fun little segment carrying on the B story to the RAW women’s title match.

The Long Road to Kofimania

Daniel Bryan defeats Kofi Kingston via Running Knee after Kingston defeated Rowan, Samoa Joe, Randy Orton, Sheamus & Cesaro

Kofi Kingston is the hardest working man on Smackdown. For years he has been overlooked and now that opportunity has come knocking he is scratching and clawing to make the most of it. The crowd love him and want him to succeed. It was mad as he bested five opponents on this week’s Smackdown to cement his match. He beat Sheamus and Cesaro with finishers, Rowan (In a Kreator shirt this week) got himself DQ’ed by using a chair on Kofi and both Orton and Joe fell to roll ups. The gauntlet went for an hour and every time he won, there would be a shot to the crowd watching backstage as he succeeded. Unfortunately five men still wasn’t enough as after the gruelling gauntlet Vince McMahon made Kofi fight Daniel Bryan or he would lose the match. Kofi was drained and was unable to beat this last opponent. Kofi has been screwed again and has to make it to Mania now right? Kofi deserves it more than ever and the crowd will love it.

And Goldie goes to…

Adam Cole defeats Aleister Black, Velveteen Dream, Matt Riddle & Ricochet via Last Shot on Ricochet

NXT mainly focused on one thing this week, the road to crowning a new NXT Champion. It had been vacated by the Blackheart Tomasso Ciampa as he has had to undergo neck surgery. Goldie needs a new person to look after them. That person would have to win a fatal five way then beat Johnny Gargano at Takeover New York in a two out of three falls match. The five who would go to war were Ricochet, Aleister Black, Adam Cole, Velveteen Dream and Matt Riddle. It was a battle of four former or current champs and one of NXT’s hottest stars in Riddle.

Everyone shone here but the match tried to put as much attention on Dream, Cole and Black as they are the ones who are still full-time members of the NXT roster. Riddle was probably the MVP as he took on everyone, trapped people in the Bromission and probably got the most offense in the match. Dream and Ricochet managed to pull of more flashy moves and Black was there to attack anyone in his way as well as working alongside Ricochet. Cole would be the winner though as he would opportunistically pick his moments and stole the victory from Ricochet with the Last Shot. That was the revenge for Ricochet ending his title reign. Cole will take on Gargano at Takeover and could easily become NXT Champion.

In Conclusion

So RAW might have been lacking this week but Smackdown and NXT managed to pick up the slack and put on excellent shows. NXT may have one match but that was still better than 90% of the stuff on RAW. Kofi has become the most popular man in WWE and Corbin now has a Mania match that has made him one of the most hated. Meanwhile we got more Mania developments, such as Rey challenging Joe and the addition of new matches. The road goes on and we must keep travelling down it. I just hope we don’t run into another awful RAW.

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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