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WWEekly: The Top Talking Points of RAW, Smackdown and NXT (3.25 -3.27.19)

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It’s been a rollercoaster of a week for WWE fans. It started off slow with another painless RAW that offered some fun but nothing substantial. Smackdown was a mix of the really good and the really bad and NXT was NXT. We have heart-warming wins, heart breaking losses and some in between moments, oh and Elias got robbed touring New York City. Let’s get into it.

Clock Stopping

The Riott Squad are defeated by Ronda Rousey, Charlotte and Becky Lynch

The main event of Wrestlemania needed a bit more teasing this week. Ronda Rousey decided to trash talk her opponents in the ring and her opponents decided to make a trip to RAW to shut her up. After some verbal back and forth an odd beat the clock challenge was set up for the three where they would individually fight members of the Riott Squad. Ronda put Sarah Logan down in one minute twenty-seven seconds, Charlotte was unable to dispatch Ruby Riott in that time so failed to complete the challenge but it would be Becky Lynch who set the best time putting Liv Morgan away in less time with a roll up. She even managed to beat the time after Charlotte threw a hissy fit after losing. It was an entertaining little segment that once again made Becky look like a badass.

Thorn in Bobby’s Side

Finn Balor defeats Bobby Lashley & Jinder Mahal via Coup de Grace on Mahal

The next evolution of the endless Balor/Bobby feud was to stack the odds against Balor once again. If he wanted an IC Title shot at Mania he would have to defeat the team of Bobby and Jinder Mahal in a handicap match. Jinder was in the match because Lio Rush was not medically cleared to compete after being mauled by Strowman last week. Now given Balor’s in ring quality this would seem an easy task and he pretty much did make it look easy by beating Jinder. Even the Singhs couldn’t stop Balor hitting the Coup de Grace on their leader. After the match they earned themselves a beating from an angry Bobby who will now have to probably deal with the demon on the grandest stage of them all. May it finally be the last time.

Last Drew Standing

Drew McIntyre defeats Dean Ambrose via Claymore Kick

Drew is the busiest man in WWE not named Baron Corbin. He is making challenges to Roman, breaking down the Shield members and having hardcore matches with Dean Ambrose. This week he had his challenge accepted by Roman Reigns then basically got battered by him to make sure everyone knew this challenge was going to be hot. Unfortunately for Roman, Drew isn’t afraid to be dirty and neutered the Big Dog with a low blow.

Later in the show he then squashed Dean Ambrose in a ten minute or so last man standing match. It wasn’t much of a match, more a brawl with weapons. It was fast, furious and ended with another crushing loss for Ambrose. This feels like the herald of his exit and the proof he really is done with WWE as he puts Drew over like a pro and takes his leave.

A Revival or Not

Ricochet & Black defeat The Revival via 630 Splash

The Revival are in an odd position right now. They are RAW Tag Team Champions yet they don’t really seem to win any matches. They’ve been beaten by the NXT teams on multiple occasions now and this week was no different. They had a fun match with Ricochet and Black that saw them get some offense but ultimately they ate both finishers of the NXT Alumni team. It was fun enough and hopefully sets up a Mania match for both teams. It’ll be nice to see those belts defended in a proper match for once on PPV. The Revival are sticking true to their word, the RAW tag scene has definitely improved with them at the helm.

All Comers Welcome

Natalya vs Sasha Banks ends in no contest

This felt more like a showcase for three of the teams in the Women’s Tag Title match at Mania. Sasha and Natalya had another one on one match that ended with interference from the Samoa Slaughterhouse. This time though Beth Phoenix flattened Tamina with a Glam Slam. She also issued a show of challenge to the champs by stepping on their belts as they tried to leave the fustercluck. It’s now been revealed that the Boss and Hug Connection will take on all comers resulting in a fatal four way between themselves, Natalya and Beth, The Samoan Slaughterhouse and the IIconics. This should be a fun match and this segment whilst repetitive did show that Beth Phoenix can still go.

Braun’s Celebrity Guests

So Braun is in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale this year. That sounds bad on it’s own but let’s add in the fact he will be feuding with two SNL comedians in that match as his Mania storyline. Is Braun capable of comedy? Yes, yes he is. Should he be in a comedy match on the biggest show of the year? No, no he shouldn’t. He’s one of WWE’s most popular stars and a natural born main eventer so why is he languishing on the undercard with what will most likely be a bunch of jobbers? Michael Che and Colin Jost will add some star power and interest to the match but still couldn’t this have been done with someone else? Someone with less to lose. I mean why can’t Bobby Roode teach them to be glorious or something?

The Retirement Tour Continues

Kurt Angle defeats Samoa Joe via pinfall

Kurt Angle vs AJ Styles ends in a no contest

The Kurt Angle retirement tour continued this week with two matches. Both of which were with TNA rivals of a bygone era. One was Samoa Joe which he fought on RAW and won with an Olympic Slam like pinfall attempt whilst Joe had him locked in the Coquina Clutch. It was a little bit of fun and offered Angle another win on his tour of the cities. The second match wasn’t really a match as it ended quickly and disappointingly.

His second opponent was AJ Styles on the show Angle made famous, Smackdown. Angle and Styles had an intense couple of minutes where he hit a German on Styles, then AJ trapped Angle in the Calf Crusher before finishing with an extended Ankle Lock segment. The match would then end as Randy Orton hit an RKO on Styles and the match got thrown out. Orton tries to beat on AJ some more but Angle puts a stop to it with the Olympic Slam. Orton scarpers and Angle tends to a beaten Styles. I get why this happened but couldn’t we get a bit more match first?

Stipul-H-tion

This is mainly here for me to say that HHH vs Batista will now have HHH’s career on the line. This was apparently the only way to get Batista to show up to Mania. H also made sure to drag it out a lot and made a very funny Spice Girls reference. It was an odd promo but it was rather fun and let’s face it we all have a passing interest in this match at least. We all know HHH is going to win this but hey it’s fun to overbook this mess sometimes. It should be a fun match between two former friends now vicious rivals.

Miz-zing the Ring

The stipulation train continues as Miz adds a falls count anywhere stipulation to their Mania match. He delivers a strong promo detailing how he wants to destroy Shane all around the arena so everyone can see it. Shane comes out, with a security detail and a team of Sanity, Shelton Benjamin and Primo. He drops a very dark promo about the euphoria of beating up Miz and attacking George Mizanin before insisting Miz was the biggest Miz-take his parents ever made. Miz goes nuts and trashes the security then starts beating up the jobber squad sent after him. Now I can’t say that I still like Sanity. Either way we have another match variation for the world’s longest Mania and it’s going to get messy. I just hope we see George get a smack in on Shane O Mac.

An Empress Falls

Charlotte defeats Asuka via Figure 8

Now comes the lowest point on Smackdown. Charlotte had now inexplicably replaced the Fatal Four Way as Asuka’s challenger and defeated the Empress of Tomorrow to steal the Smackdown Women’s Title two weeks before Mania. This now means Asuka currently has no place on Mania and has had one of the most meaningless title reigns in recent history. It was an excellent match, featured a lot of awesome spots and character work but it was awful to see Asuka’s title reign end like this. She deserved better than this as did the rest of the Smackdown women’s division who lost TV time and a chance at a Mania match. I’d love to say this adds to the story going into the Mania main event but it doesn’t. It just means Charlotte has a belt again… yay.

Brothers in Arms

From the lowest low to the highest high as Kofi Kingston is going to Wrestlemania. Kofimania is alive and kicking. Kofi’s stablemates managed to secure his position by winning a tag team gauntlet. It was Big E and Xavier Woods versus five teams. First they got rid of Gallows and Anderson in about a minute by hitting the Up Up Down Down. Next they got rid of Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev in the same way after a much longer match where the heels actually got some meaningful offense in. Next were the Bar who brutally worked over Big E’s knee and nearly toppled the crusading New Day but got caught in a Roll Up. They attacked after the loss was signalled and things were looking bleak.

Next up were the Usos who came to the ring and forfeited the match as they respect Kofi and respect the New Day. At this point Big E is hurt and Xavier is cradling him so the relief could be felt around the arena. Last is the team of Daniel Bryan and Rowan. They come to the ring after trashing the backstage area and try to decimate the New Day. Instead the underdogs pull out the win when Big E traps Rowan under the announcer table and gets him counted out. The New Day have won and secured Kofi’s title match against Daniel Bryan at Mania. Even Vince McMahon had to admit that Kofi would be going to Mania. It was the biggest feel good moment of the year so far.

Shock the Gargano

NXT opened with a long promo war between Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano. It was exactly what you’d expect only Johnny spoke for the most part. He stood there and listened as Johnny ran off his previous Takeover failures and how he would fight and scratch and claw to ensure he would become NXT Champion. Adam didn’t have too much to say until he reached the ramp and basically reminded Johnny that he had an insurance policy, the rest of the Undisputed Era. This did exactly what it said on the tin. Both men delivered excellent promos that hyped up and already hot match.

Disposable Teams

Lacey Lane & Kacy Catanzaro defeat Vanessa Borne & Aliyah via DQ

They’re disposable teams, they’re disposable teams, they’re disposable.

This was a nothing match. It slightly showed more of Aliyah and Borne’s chemistry then abruptly ended by having Shayna come out and beat everyone up like the big meanie she is. The heel team scarpers and Baszler and her cronies enter the ring to bully the new NXT debutants. Lacey gets knocked out but Kacy tries to fight back and actually rocks the Horsewomen before being caught in the Kirifuda Clutch out of a wheelbarrow move. It was a throwaway segment where Shayna continues to brutalise the NXT women’s division to prove a point.

Bro No Kona

Matt Riddle defeats Kona Reeves via Bro-mission

Don’t slap Matt Riddle. This was the first thought I had as their match started and Reeves delivered a slap to the face of Riddle. He didn’t suffer for it immediately but he certainly left hurting. Reeves dominated the early match but was soon knocked down. Even a distraction by Velveteen Dream entering the scene on a sofa couldn’t get Reeves back into the match. He ate some brutal strikes, a Ripcord Knee then was finished off with a series of seated elbows into the Bro-mission. After the match he steals Dream’s wine cup, takes a drink, spills the rest and throws it away. He then issues his Takeover challenge and walks off leaving the Dream shocked. My god is that match going to be fun.

Your Dusty Cup Winners

Ricochet & Aleister Black defeat the Forgotten Sons via 630 Splash

You know what? The Forgotten Sons will not be forgotten after this performance. They played the perfect foils to the fast and furious team. After a brawling stalemate that didn’t go the Forgotten Sons way, they made use of their third man to take control of the match. Jaxson Ryker delivered a Hammer to the back of Ricochet that gave the Sons an opening and a target. They worked over the back of Ricochet for a large portion of the match then only faltered when they accidentally launched Ricochet into a hot tag with Black. Black then came in, kicked some ass then also got targeted by some double team moves. He was nearly pinned following a Backstabber/Elbow Drop combo but Ricochet saved the day.

The duo of Black and Ricochet would then come back; see Ryker thrown out for interfering with a pinfall after Blake’s Powerbomb/Double Knees finisher and eventually winning with a Black Mass and 630 Splash combo. They celebrated their win with the trophy then ended the show with a stare down against the War Raiders. It was an excellent final and a nice show off match for the Forgotten Sons, though they’re probably kicking themselves for not having Ryker on their finals team.

In Conclusion

So there you have it, the rollercoaster has ended and hopefully you didn’t get motion sick. It was a mixed week with Kofi making it to Mania, Asuka seemingly being thrown out of Mania and Paul Heyman having a mic dropped in his face (thanks Seth.) whilst the highs were high the stain of disrespect to Asuka corrupted a lot of the feel good moments. We now know who will be at Takeover and that Riddle and Dream may just be a “dream” match. We’re close to Mania now so hopefully WWE pull out the stops for go home week.

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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