So we’re at go home week. This Sunday will be Extreme Rules. We have the full card now and some pre-show matches set. Not a lot really happened on RAW or Smackdown leading into the PPV. That being said we still had some great shows. Let’s start breaking it down.
Beginning with a Brawl
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley opened the show again this week. The show opened with Reigns walking backstage and Lashley challenging him to call him out. Once Reigns is in the ring, Roman wastes no time bringing Lashley out. Kurt and Corbin come to the ramp and warn the two not to fight. Fighting quickly ensues and before long almost all the locker room is out trying and failing to break the two up. It was an exceptionally fun brawl and we saw Roman dive onto the whole locker room. We even saw Finn and Corbin get a spot as Finn lashes out at Corbin. After a while Roman walks away and the segment ends with a lot of intensity going into the fight.
A Touch of the Extreme
Next was a tag match between Alexa and Mickie vs Nia and Natalya. This was a pretty quick affair with Natalya starting strong and eventually bring in Nia to finish the job in strong fashion. She hit the leg drop and got the pin. After the match Alexa attacked Nia with a kendo stick. She gets a few good shots across Nia’s back before Nia eventually grabs the stick and snaps it across her knee. She gets to look strong heading into Extreme Rules and gets to show she can handle the extreme. Since this is one of the only extreme rules matches on the card we needed to see some semblance of anything weapons based.
Even More Mojo
No Way Jose finally got his rematch. This week saw him and Mojo Rawley fight once again and in predictable fashion ate another loss. After a decent match Rawely picked up the win with an Alabama Slam. He would later mock Jose in an interview whilst also praising him for his perseverance. It was an odd interview and an even odder finish. Isn’t Mojo Rawley’s finisher a running forearm?
Braun and Kevin Now in a Cage
So there were no comedic antics this week for these two. In fact there was very little of the two at all. They featured in a section to set up their Extreme Rules match. They will be in a cage match as Kurt is sick of Kevin Owens running away from Braun whenever they are in conflict. This match was made whilst Kevin was hiding in Kurt’s office as he wasn’t medically cleared to fight that night. Braun comes into the office and taunts Owens for being scared and spraying him with some sort of spray for his “fear smell.”
Corbin Lays Down the Law
Baron Corbin and Elias were teaming against Finn Balor and Bobby Roode this week as a build up to Corbin and Finn’s match for Sunday. It was an exciting enough match with plenty of back and forth offense and an excellent comedy section beforehand with Elias and Corbin in a sing along. The point to take away though is that this match made Corbin look crafty and capable against the face team. He took advantage of several opportunities and would eventually win by hitting the End of Days on Bobby Roode for the win. He gets some momentum heading into Extreme Rules and will hopefully put on a decent match with Finn. This Constable character has surprisingly boosted Corbin to new levels and is giving him consistently good material to work with.
Burning Down the Main Event
So the obvious highlight of the night was the main event between Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins. The match was brought about as a means of deciding whether Drew will be banned from ringside for the iron man match on Sunday. Seth had been dropping a promo in the ring and was starting to insult Drew by insinuating that he likes to get intimate with sheep. This infuriated Drew and he was ready to throw down. Seth runs away and a match is set for later in the show.
The match itself was amazing. The two killed it in the ring and seemingly wanted to kill each other at the same time. Both men had great chemistry together and wanted to burn the house down. There was plenty of intensity and plenty at stake. McIntyre was manhandling Seth for a lot of the match and was unleashing some devastating power moves. The finish saw Dolph get hit by a Curb Stomp as he tried to interfere and Drew hits the Claymore on the distracted Seth for the win. This means that Drew can be at ringside for the match on Sunday and will provide another threat to Seth regaining his title.
The Smackdown tag team division is electric at the moment. The show opened with a Miz TV segment. The special guests for the night’s show were Team Hell No. Miz was ripping into the team and trying to sow dissent by talking about how Kane will no doubt betray Bryan again. Kane was in comedic mode again and it was excellent. He was trying to stop Bryan from punching Miz in the face and dropping NSYNC references after Miz name dropped them. The Bludgeon Brothers then appeared at the ramp and started to approach the ring. Before they could reach the ring though, Sanity’s music dropped and they attacked Team Hell No from behind. They were destroying them when New Day comes out to aid Kane and Bryan. After some more fighting, Paige comes out and makes a ten man tag match for the main event.
There was another fun comedy section where the New Day and Hell No were trying to plan for the chaotic opponents. Kane was dropping more NSYNC lyrics and the faces eventually get on the same page.
After an understandably chaotic match where everyone hits everyone we eventually reach the finish where Daniel Bryan and Eric Young are left in the ring alone after everyone else is taken out. Daniel Bryan then takes out Young with the running knee and gets the pin. We see Team Hell No celebrate up the ramp and Daniel Bryan seems more excitable than normal. All of a sudden, PYRO, there is Kane’s pyro at the stage. Like seriously how rare is pyro these days?
Anyone Ready For Ellsworth?
What happened to Asuka? WWE have severely softened the Empress of Tomorrow. She was an unstoppable force in NXT. Now she can be outsmarted by a glorified lackey to Carmella. At least she got some modicum of revenge against the chinless one this week. Since Ellsworth has a habit of running away, their match was a lumberjack match. This didn’t work to well though as the lumberjacks spent more time fighting each other than stopping Ellsworth. Anyway the finish saw Carmella try to aid Ellsworth by giving him a can of hairspray to use. He fumbles this and gets trapped in the Asuka Lock and taps almost instantly. After the match Asuka does get sprayed and eats another Superkick. It feels like they’re trying to build Asuka up for a title win but its hard not to think Ellsworth might impact that result. Oh wait, he won’t be able to as Paige will have him locked in a shark cage for the women’s title match.
Another Proud Rusev Day
So Nakamura and Styles had another decent match this week. They had a lengthy battle that led to another tag match between faces and heels. Rusev was on commentary for Style’s match and he had Aiden English in tow. English tries to distract Styles and eats a fist, then an accidental Kinshasa from Nakamura. Rusev has enough and gets Nakamura disqualified by attacking AJ Styles.
After a two-man beatdown, Jeff Hardy makes the save and a tag match is made. It is fairly short and Rusev gets the win over Jeff Hardy with a Machka kick and gets to stand tall over another big opponent.
Why can’t we have more matches like this? Andrade Cien Almas and Sin Cara had the match of the night. It was a short, sweet and action packed match that felt like it could have been much longer. Sin Cara looked amazing. He was busting out some insane lucha inspired moves like a top rope reverse rana and a whole load of other fast paced offense. Almas gave as much back and would eventually beat Cara with a turnbuckle double knee. This has the potential to be a much longer feud that could keep both men busy. If this is what they can do with a few minutes, imagine them with twenty.
Adam Cole is a top-tier wrestler. He put on an excellent opening bout against Danny Burch. It was a relatively short, hard-hitting affair with all the bitterness of a grudge match. Cole was trash talking every time he had the upper hand. He would even manage to kick out of a Tower of London from Burch. The match featured rapid successions of back and forth with Cole eventually getting the victory with a Superkick then hitting the Last Shot for the three count. He would stand tall after vanquishing the other half of their recent tag team rivals.
The Hunt for the Next Women’s Competitor
So there was a lot of attention on the hunt for Shayna Baszler’s next opponent. We saw Baszler get into a brawl with Candice LeRae near the start of the show after throwing shade at her. We would then get an interview segment later in the show with Dakota Kai talking about coming back for the belt only to be cut off and ridiculed by the Lady of NXT Lacey Evans.
Later still saw the match between Vanessa Borne and Kairi Sane. Borne had new ring gear and a new entrance theme. She was also much better in the ring showing off some new moves and a more aggressive attitude. Despite all the improvements and new additions it just wasn’t enough to best Sane and she pays for her trash talking. She reverses an Elbow Drop attempt but eventually has to tap out to Sane’s submission finisher the Anchor. She grabs a mic after finishing her off and puts forth her case to Shayna’s challenge and brings up the fact she has beaten Baszler before.
Lastly came the announcement of a fatal four way match for the number one contender to Baszler’s title between Bianca Belair, Nikki Cross, Kairi Sane and Candice LeRae. These are our potential contenders and it is difficult to decide who will win. My money is either on Belair given all the hype she has received lately or Candice as she needs to show off what she is capable of without the Gargano/Ciampa feud.
Is it just me or is Aleister Black incredibly susceptible to attack now he has the belt. Nearly every time it is announced that he is going to appear live, he gets attacked. This week he was walking through the car park towards the arena where he is stopped by Gargano. He is manic and keeps telling Black that Ciampa can’t win. Black dismisses this and carries on inside… and is jumped by Tommaso Ciampa. The backstage attack ends with Black being hit by a draping DDT of a cart/seat type thing onto the floor. Black is left knocked out and is taken away to a local medical facility for further checks.
Wow. This was one of the best tag matches of the year. Both teams came out with tonnes of momentum. Moustache Mountain took the advantage early on, double teaming the heel team and showing them up. This would soon change as Trent Seven was dropped injured knee first onto the ring steps. What would then follow was a vicious assault on Seven’s knee until he could finally make the hot tag and it wold temporarily turn into a two on one match. Bate was trying to hold back both O Reilly and Strong so his partner wouldn’t have to fight anymore. He was eventually overwhelmed and the injured Seven tags himself back in. He again tries to hold the fort and keep their belts but is eventually trapped by O Reilly in some vicious looking submissions. He is unable to escape the holds, fight out of them or get to the ropes. He struggles on, refusing to tap as Bate looks on. He is desperately stretching for the tap whilst also holding a towel. Seven begs for Bate to not give up on his behalf but Bate can’t watch anymore and the Undisputed Era gets the win and their belts back. Bate and Seven are heartbroken in the ring. This was a masterclass in drama, story-telling and vicious wrestling. Certainly one of the best NXT TV matches this year. The main question is, will the Undisputed Era hold the belts until Lorcan and Burch can fight again or will the War Raiders get their chance to pillage the belts?
– Matt Hardy eats another solo loss to the B Team, this week to Bo Dallas.
– Bayley and Sasha have another therapy session with no match announced for Extreme Rules.
– Ember Moon gets another victory over Liv Morgan, this time via roll up.
– Samoa Joe cancels his match with Tye Dillenger by destroying him before the match.
– Sanity and New Day have a tables match on the Extreme Rules Pre-Show.
So it was a rather inconsequential week for the main shows. NXT makes changes to it’s title scene and provides one of the best WWE tag matches of the year. RAW and Smackdown seemed to be mainly fun segments with little meaning. As an extra I’d like to sign off by wishing the best to Hiromu Takahashi after his recent injury during his excellent match against Dragon Lee. It was a horrible accident that looked like it hurt. Though it has been revealed he doesn’t need surgery. I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery. Let’s hope Extreme Rules impresses even if it is seeming a bit tame for the gimmick heavy PPV. We’ll find out pretty soon.
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