MITB has come and gone and this week saw shows dealing with the fallout. RAW and Smackdown had some of their strongest shows in recent weeks. Both brands brought the fire to put on a post PPV shows worth watching. NXT however did the usual where it was mostly recaps with a couple of pre-taped matches. Without further ado let’s get breaking down this week of TV.
Rousey Loses It
Ronda Rousey was not happy at the start of this week’s RAW. Alexa Bliss was celebrating her new title coronation which brought out a very angry Ronda Rousey. Bliss had screwed Rousey out of her title win and Bliss had no problem letting Rousey know. After some sharp jabs at being an overhyped rookie, Ronda snapped and attacked Bliss with her MITB briefcase. When Kurt tried to stop her, he also got a flurry of briefcase shots and some nasty verbal barbs thrown in for good measure. She had finally had enough and destroyed the set, the stars and the celebration table by throwing Bliss through it with a powerbomb.
She did suffer some consequences for this though. Later in the show, Kurt approached her and with clear sadness had to suspend Ronda for 30 days. This takes Ronda off TV until after Extreme Rules. She has been credibly written off TV to probably let Alexa feud with Jax up to the next PPV.
Seth Also Loses It
Seth Rollins is certainly a fighting champ. After only just beating Elias on Sunday, he was back out on RAW issuing an open challenge for the IC belt. This time the call was answered by Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. It would be Dolph who goes for the challenge and starts to fight Seth. It was a good enough match but the interesting part came near the end where Seth tried for another tights roll up but was out heeled by Ziggler who reversed it into his own roll up. Seth lost his belt after some interference and the failed roll up attempt. He was beaten by his own cheating ways. Ziggler got to celebrate having another IC win and this could be the start of bigger things for Dolph and Drew. Seth didn’t take this lying down, he will be having his rematch next week on RAW.
Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman – Best Friends and the Further Fall of Finn Balor
Kevin Owens is amazing. After being almost killed by Braun at MITB, he comes out during Braun’s celebration/calling out to congratulate Braun on his win and to offer the olive branch. He wanted to form a partnership with Braun where he would help Braun cash in so he could receive a title shot. He was really hamming up his dialogue, clearly afraid of the monster he was addressing. This was a nice segment that once again shows Kevin Owens is one of the best mic workers in WWE. Everything he does sounds genuine and his comedic timing is excellent.
Anyway Braun doesn’t accept and Kevin Owens scarpers. This leads to a match later in the night where Finn and Braun take on Kevin Owens and the “Constable” Baron Corbin. Finn gets no real offense in here at all. He pulls off one move where Braun uses him as a weapon and is mainly just on the outside. Braun gets to be Braun which is always fun to watch but the surprise was the ending where Corbin gets the pin with the End of Days on Balor. Who knew Corbin would still wrestle with his new gimmick? Who knew it would be at the expense of Finn Balor?
The Sick Puppy
Finally! Bobby Lashley showed some attitude. Roman came out to once again bitch about how he should be the champion and how that makes him the number one contender. This was interrupted by Bobby Lashley. He came out to demand a title shot since he would actually be able to get it done. Lashley didn’t mince words, he let Roman have it. Considering he is 0-4 and title shots against Brock, Lashley has a point. Kurt decided to placate both men by announcing that there will be a multi-man match at Extreme Rules to decide a number one contender. So far we know that it’s Lashley and Roman with more to be announced.
The main event for RAW was Lashley and Roman vs The Revival. This played out as most rivals as tag partner matches, with both men failing to work as a team. They both tried to one up each other. Lashley got the pin by hitting a better version of the spear to win. He then knowingly looked at Roman who looked like a sick puppy. So we have two things here, Lashley is acting more like the Bobby Lashley I saw in Impact and Roman is still in the main event scene where he belongs but WWE are not afraid to overshadow him.
Bayley Needs a Hug
So an angle that was expected to play out months ago finally happened. The Boss and the Hugger finally fell out. After failing to win a tag match against the Riott Squad, the former friends started squabbling and fell out in the ring. Cameras picked up backstage where they were still arguing and Sasha clearly said to Bayley, “I’m done being your friend.” Bayley would then attack Sasha and the two fought it out in the backstage area. Sasha won the exchange and Bayley was left upset and licking her wounds. The last shot of them that night was Bayley still trying to talk to Sasha as she drove away from the arena.
Carmella Still isn’t ready for Asuka
Smackdown opened with Carmella being Carmella. She tried to swerve the audience with a fake face promo before falling back into screechy heel. We then had Ellsworth dressed as Asuka come out and talk some more smack, hyping up his princess even further. This eventually brought out the real Asuka, who was not ready to play around. She was ready to fight so Asuka stepped in to protect Carmella. He eats a kick for his troubles and is taken out. Carmella then hits Asuka with a superkick and flees before retaliation can occur. The final shot is of Carmella running away and Asuka leaning against the ropes smiling at her prey.
Becky Still has Fire/ IIconic Failure
So the IIconics are really aren’t over with the crowd right now. They tried to cut a promo on Becky Lynch losing but the crowd gave them absolutely nothing. It was incredibly quiet and mercifully ended when Becky came out for a match against Billie Kay. Becky wins by tapping out Kay with the Disarm-her. It was a solid enough match where there were some fun spots and it proves that WWE are not quite ready to give up on Becky Lynch just yet.
A little bit of SanITy
Sanity finally made their Smackdown Live debut. They were announced to take on the Usos that night on the show. Before the match the Usos come out and drop a promo on Sanity, warning them of their stay in the Uso penitentiary. Sanity clearly didn’t care as they still made their entrance and strolled to the ring. They then got into a pre-match fight with the Usos and through numbers overcome the brothers and destroy them both. Killian Dane hits a Vader Bomb on one of them and the other eats a double team neckbreaker. Both times, Sanity members forced the Uso not taking a move to watch their brother eat a move. It was brutal and heelish and brilliant. After holding them off forever, Sanity finally got to make their first appearance and in incredibly strong fashion to, destroying one of Smackdown’s best teams.
In further tag team action, Gallows and Anderson lost their rematch to the Bludgeon Brothers. It was a bit more competitive this time as Gallows had to deal without a teammate for most of the match as Anderson was obliterated on the outside. Eventually he got some fight back and Anderson did mount some comeback but again they were overpowered and beaten. As the Bludgeon brothers left the ring, they were interrupted by Daniel Bryan’s entrance. They stare him down before eventually carrying on out of the ring.
A New Jeff
Jeff Hardy is redesigned again. He can see again after a Kinshasa opened his eyes. He wants payback on Shinsuke Nakamura and has brought out a mishmash of all his previous personas to do so. It looks like in the short-term Hardy and Nakamura may feud over the US title. Since there is evidence that Hardy may be injured then it is possible that Nakamura may get the US belt from Hardy. If that is the case then it’ll be great to watch the match they put on and if it goes how I think it will, Nakamura with a main roster belt.
The Gauntlet of Gold – The Greatest Rusev Day
So the main event of Smackdown was a five man gauntlet match to determine who would be the new number one contender for AJ Styles title. The first match was Daniel Bryan vs Big E. Big E was basically proving he can still wrestle a singles match. This was basically the best match of the gauntlet. Big E used his power to overwhelm Bryan after failing to keep up with him at submission wrestling. He had some excellent spots against Bryan including a splash on the apron, a Big Ending position backbreaker and his spear through the ropes. Bryan eventually wins with the knee.
Next was Samoa Joe vs Bryan. The brutality factor on show was immense. These two beat the hell out of each other. Each strike and kick was exceptionally hard and the power moves ranged from strong to deadly. Both men put on a clinic. Joe tried to win by choking Bryan out on the outside and taking the count out but Bryan was able to reverse it by running up the barrier. He would just make the count and Joe got counted out.
The next match was supposed to be The Miz vs Bryan. This was the match everyone was waiting for. Bryan could finally get some revenge after all the mocking Miz has done since Talking Smack. Unfortunately the Bludgeon Brothers had other ideas. They came out to hit Bryan with their double team powerbomb. This took the last bits of energy out of Bryan and of course, cues the Miz’s music. He then runs down the ramp, hits the Skull Crushing Finale and gets the pin. Miz escapes having to fight Daniel Bryan once again.
The last match was Rusev vs The Miz. Rusev was definitely a face for this match. The crowd was firmly behind him the entire match. The Miz was playing up his heelish antics too which no doubt helped the reaction. This again was an excellent match as both men engaged in excellent back and forth offense. The grand finale saw The Miz attempt to go for Daniel Bryan’s running knee, which was reversed by Rusev who hit a superkick and locked in the Accolade. Miz tapped and Rusev is now number one contender for the WWE World Title. I can’t believe I’m saying that. Rusev is number one contender. He even showed respect to AJ Styles after the match.
Bianca Belair Shines Again
Bianca Belair is certainly starting to impress. She has gone from rookie to a potential main eventer in a relatively short amount of time. She put on a convincing match against Dakota Kai to open up this week’s NXT. She was a credible heel and seemed to enjoy out-matching Dakota in the power game. This is not to take away from Dakota either. She has come a long way since joining NXT. After being bullied by Shayna she has come leaps and bounds in connecting with the audience. This unfortunately would not help her win here as her comeback wasn’t enough for the win. She would dodge the braid whip but her retaliation kick was reversed, Belair hits a forearm and her finisher for the win. So it may be reasonable to expect a showdown between Belair and Baszler soon given her momentum boost.
The Mighty Fall Again
I’ll be the first to say the image change for the former TM61 is an excellent shake-up. The Aussie lads looked way more menacing in their new attire and it fit their new bad guy attitude. Challenging the War Raiders however, was not a good idea. They got the most offense we’ve seen a team get against the former War Machine but were not strong enough to get the win. They tried to double team their much larger opponents but it would be Hanson and Rowe who prevail. After trying to attack Hanson with a running kick, Hanson scares them off and Rowe makes a comeback. They eventually start hitting their own double team moves and eventually hit Fallout to take the victory. War Raiders defeat another team and the Mighty learn a hard lesson about trying to pick a fight with those much bigger than you.
After the Shows – Extra News to Mention
Big Cass is Gone
Big Cass was released this week. After putting on his best match yet against Bryan at MITB, it’s quite shocking to read. There were reports of him going into business for himself and having backstage heat but were they really enough to warrant his release. The other interesting thing about his release statement was there was no “we wish him the best with his future endeavours” message from WWE. Perhaps there was some bad blood between Cass and WWE?
We also learnt of the passing of Vader this week. Real name Leon White, he passed away on Monday after a battle with congestive heart failure. This is incredibly sad news as he had recently undergone open heart surgery. He was a legendary wrestler who redefined how big men could wrestle. I offer my thoughts and condolences to his family and friends. You’ll always be remembered for your amazing contributions to the wrestling world.
Though there has been some incredibly sad news this week, it is still worth noting that once again there has been another week of excellent WWE programming. Not everything was worth mentioning. We got reminded that Mojo Rawley is on the RAW roster and Kurt Hawkins lost again. Hopefully we get to learn more about Extreme Rules and the Hardy/Nakamura feud begins. We’ll find out next week I guess.
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