That time of week has come once again. The time to recap and reflect on yet another hectic week of WWE programming. All three shows may have been differing in quality but all three were packed with juicy bits to talk about. It’s about time we get talking about these juicy bits so let’s get on with it.
Roman, Roman and more Roman
There was a lot of Roman Reigns on this episode of RAW. He appeared in two matches and the opening for the show. If you hate Roman, you might want to skip a lot of this episode. Anyway Roman part one saw him talking some trash about losing to the Revival and then going on to turn his vitriol against Bobby Lashley. He is then interrupted by Dolph and Drew who decide to run him and Seth down. They enter the ring and after a few more words initiate a beatdown on Reigns. Seth comes out to save the day and the segment ends.
Roman part two sees Seth and Roman tag teaming against Dolph and Drew. This match was fine both teams are excellent at working together and working against each other. The match goes on for a bit until it is eventually broken up by interference from the Revival. They emerge from the crowd and start attacking Roman Reigns ahead of their match later in the night. They throw some hands, ram him against the barricade and throw him into the steps. At the same time Drew and Dolph are beating down Seth, eventually hitting the Claymore/Zig Zag combo.
Roman Part three is the other tag match he was scheduled for. The third match between Roman and Lashley and the Revival. The heels were still riding high off their victory last week and Lashley and Reigns could not get on the same page. Roman just wants to fight Lashley and basically refuses to tag him in at all. All Lashley gets off is a couple of spine busters. We see some excellent double team moves from the Revival during and after this match. After the Revival get disqualified for ignoring the five count and then destroying Roman. Lashley didn’t bother trying to help Roman; he just turned his back on him and walked away. This is further fuel for their match at Extreme Rules.
The Woeful Return of Dr Shelby
Let me just say I loved Dr Shelby when he was featured in the Team Hell No angle. Usually seeing him return would be a good thing but not for this feud. Bayley surprised everyone last week with her brutal attack on Sasha last week. Their feud was set alight by that attack and it really added an extra layer of intensity. How do WWE follow that up the next week? With a comedy segment. Why of all feuds did they make this one comedic?
There were all the typical comedy tropes, elevator music, crappy names for things and impressions. It started with both Bayley and Sasha realising they were in the same session. Dr Shelby welcomed the two former friends to what he called the Friend Zone where he tried to introduce them to a lot of friendly terms printed on cards. There was also some role reversal where Bayley would act as Sasha and Sasha would act as Bayley. They both ripped into each other and then started arguing eventually drawing the ire of Dr Shelby. This really doesn’t do the feud any favours but for some it’ll be an entertaining segment. To me and others it was a step back for a feud that needed all the fire it could get.
The Tag Team Round-up
So two little bits of tag team related news. Firstly we saw Curtis Axel get another win over Matt Hardy. This came about as Bo distracted Hardy as he was about to hit the Twist of Fate. Axel took advantage of the distraction and hit his finisher to get the pin. This is the second week of wins for the B Team against the tag champs in singles contests. This probably means they are not winning the belts at Extreme Rules.
The other news was that the Authors of Pain obliterated Titus Worldwide in pretty decisive fashion. They completely destroyed O’neil and Crews with very little effort. This is the first step in establishing AOP as a dominant force in the tag division. I imagine this will take them on a path towards the Tag titles where they should have won against the Deleters of Worlds.
So Extreme Rules finally has an announced extreme rules match. Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss’ rematch will contain the title gimmick. In the next step of build up to that match, we saw Nia Jax and Mickie James fight it out. James tried to play it smart by taking out Nia’s leg and knee. This would work for a while but eventually Nia would bounce back and win with a Samoan Drop. The post-match sees Alexa knocked down and Nia Jax and Natalya standing tall in the ring. Natalya even has an extra bit of swagger to her. It’s gonna be interesting to see how her and Ronda factor into the title scene either during or after Extreme Rules.
KO and the porta-potty
Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman are constant gold. They have some of the most juvenile segments that seem to be funny purely because of both men’s chemistry. This week KO and Braun had a match as the main event. KO arrived to the arena in a rented car and didn’t give the valet his keys. He tries to get out of the match originally but after some Zen training with Jinder he is relaxed and ready for the match.
The match lasts about twenty seconds as Braun pushes KO to the mat and that’s it. Owens has had enough and he decides to leave, running away again. Braun waits around for the refs ten count then gives chase. We see Kevin has hidden in a porta-potty (or porta-loo for us brits) and is desperately hoping Braun doesn’t find him. Braun stalks the backstage area and happens across the porta-loo. He puts on a surprisingly decent girly voice to see if anyone is in there. Owens regrettably answers the call and Braun tapes him in the loo. He then drags it back to the entrance ramp. The crowd wills him on to take a run up and knocks the loo off the stages to the floor. The door opens and KO is covered in blue chemical equipment but thankfully no faeces. This closes out the show and although there was no proper main event match, it was an incredibly entertaining segment to close the show.
It’s Still a Hell Yes
So the main thread of Smackdown was the reformation of Team Hell No and the previous problems the team had in the past, namely the assaults Kane had administered to Daniel Bryan. They opened the show in a promo segment discussing this when they are interrupted by the Usos. They aren’t too happy with the fact that Team Hell No have just been handed a title shot. They try to stake their claim and receive a match with Hell No for their troubles.
If they win the title match at Extreme Rules will now be a triple threat. There is also a skit with Kane being pestered by Bryan for an apology for all the previous crimes Kane has committed against him. This was also going on through the opening. Both times Kane’s comedic timing and acting were excellent. He was funny and genuinely seemed to care about Bryan. They hug it out backstage before their match.
The main event was that tag match and it was a lot of fun to watch. This is Team Hell No’s first match in several years so everyone was expecting some miscommunication and team troubles. They still worked together well and put on an excellent match. The Usos certainly got their own licks in before eventually succumbing to the team finisher of Hell No. So as of now there is no triple threat at Extreme Rules, but there is the possibility the Usos will get another chance to enter that match.
Jeff Hardy was at it again with his US title open challenge. After besting Eric Young and SaniTY last week, he would have to battle the Miz this week. These two are always going to put on amazing matches together. Yet again we had a competitive match with Hardy getting to showcase more of his high-flying offense and Miz being his usual technical skill set and heelish tactics. Miz nearly won after a leverage pin but was caught by the referee. After realising he hadn’t won he would eat a Twist of Fate from Hardy and be finished off with the Swanton Bomb.
We also have the US title match for Extreme Rules. Jeff Hardy will have to battle Shinsuke Nakamura in a little less than two weeks. There was a promo from Nakamura later in the night taunting Hardy on how he was going to take everything from him. It was a simple build but it is effective as there is certainly some bad blood between the two superstars. This should see Nakamura get a belt and give Hardy a chance to recover from any injuries he may have.
Ellsworth the Marathon Runner
Asuka vs James Ellsworth should have been a one-sided beatdown to let Asuka get her own back for being made to look like an idiot. Instead we got some awful Ellsworth promo, with him trying and failing to brag about how much better and stronger he is. I get that he is meant to be unlikeable and annoying so it’s working well. What wasn’t working was the fact that once again Asuka was made to look an idiot. She started attacking Ellsworth so he ran out the ring. Carmella, who was on commentary, would force him back into the ring. He would take a few more hits before running away permanently. This led to both competitors getting counted out. As Asuka was getting back into the ringside area to maul Ellsworth, she gets blindsided by Carmella and once again is left looking angry and hurt by the heelish duo.
A New Day For Chaos
So Sanity may have their first proper feud set up now. They absolutely devastated the New Day this week by interrupting their 3rd of July pancake eating contest. Every member of Sanity wrecked every member of the New Day in dominant fashion. They brutalised the New Day and ended the segment with an elbow drop through a table on Xavier Woods. It is just what Sanity needed to establish themselves as a threat after their loss to the Usos last week. It also gives the New Day a new feud with a new team. Let chaos commence.
Rusev Stands Tall Again
Rusev and Styles turned the heat up a bit as Styles took on Aiden English this week. After dropping a promo on his new opponent, he easily beat English and was then attacked after the bell by Rusev. Rusev knocked him around the outside of the ring and then locked Styles in the Accolade. It was certainly another strong showing for the Bulgarian Brute and is another step in setting him up as a proper threat to Styles’ title. It also gives AJ some underdog points as it isn’t very often we see Styles this vulnerable to an opponent’s attacks.
NXT Women Keep Busy
NXT opened with a women’s match between the plucky Dakota Kai and Santana Garrett. It looked as if Garrett was going to dominate Kai but was eventual cut off by Kai’s comeback and she was eventually beaten by what looked like a flip lungblower. As the match went on the commentary team made several references to smack talk from the Lacey Evans towards Kai potentially setting a matchup between the two.
Next. we saw Shayna drop a promo on how no one can beat her for the NXT women’s title. She was uninterrupted in her trash talk and left the ring unchallenged. It wouldn’t be until later in the night where some competition was teased. Bianca Belair cut a promo from a yacht as she was away from Full Sail on her honeymoon, running down the NXT women’s division and hinting at wanting to fight Shayna.
There was also a match teased between Vanessa Bourne and Kairi Sane, after she challenged Bourne in an interview part way through the show.
The Mighty Didn’t Kneel
The Mighty scored a point on their longstanding feud with Heavy Machinery this week. They took out Tucker Knight earlier in the day by attacking him at the gym. This forced his partner Otis into a two on one handicap match. Otis wouldn’t make it easy for the Aussies though putting up plenty of fight but eventually succumbing to the numbers and heel tactics. This is just what the Mighty need after their loss to War Raiders. If they had lost in a two on one match it would be difficult to take them seriously anymore. They still took a lot of punishment but at least they were smart in their tactics.
Can we get more Chris Dijak on NXT please? The man is an absolute joy to watch. The man is a super athletic giant and both of his televised matches have been amazing. Not to mention you can see way more of his matches from his days on the indie circuit. So seeing him put against the Velveteen Dream was an excellent addition to this week’s card. For the most part Dijak was on top. He would pummel and throw Dream around like he was nothing. He seemed to be able to best Dream at every turn. This forced Dream to play smart. He waited for the perfect moment to take advantage. He would catch Dijak as he tried to climb the turnbuckle and drive him face first into the steel steps. After rolling Dijak into the ring and finishing him with a DDT the Dream eventually got the win.
However Dream couldn’t celebrate as his victory was cut off by EC3 who was coming to the ring for the main event match. He had unfinished business with Dream from the UK Tournament. Dream had walked out on him in a tag match after refusing to share the spotlight. EC3 didn’t attack but he certainly gave the Dream plenty of verbal abuse. I doubt this will be the last we see of the two men attacking each other.
Johnny Wrestling is Dead
So the main event was another brilliant watch. EC3 used his strength to try and slow down a Johnny Gargano who just wanted to pummel and fight. Gargano didn’t seem to be himself, he was more vicious and seemed content to purely strike at EC3. This would carry on throughout the match. There was a point where both men were sat down in the middle of the ring, Gargano took this a mockery of his Ciampa matches and lashed out again. He would almost hit a knee to the face and seemed to be acting more Ciampa like as the match went on. He seemed to start ignoring the rules and finished the match with a rope draped DDT. EC3 has suffered his first loss at the hands of a considerably more black-hearted Johnny Gargano.
Looking on the WWE YouTube channel sees an interview with Gargano after the match. He is clearly distraught still after losing to Ciampa at Chicago. He proclaims Johnny Wrestling is dead and is suffering from an identity crisis. This may mean that we are going to see a more vicious and brutal Gargano over the next few weeks or months until the final chapter of the Gargano and Ciampa feud.
So as you can see, there was plenty to talk about. There were some parts that didn’t really need their own bits. Mojo Rawley is still not fighting No Way Jose and actually lobbed the cheeseburger guy this week; Ember Moon managed to beat Liv Morgan and best the Riott Club (something her usual teammates can’t seem to do) and Becky Lynch carried on her winning ways. Could something big be planned in the near future for Lynch? I certainly hope so. Let’s also hope next week’s RAW is a bit less Roman-centric.
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