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WWEekly: The Top Talking Points of RAW, Smackdown and NXT (8/20 – 8/22)

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Well that’s another week done and dusted in the world of WWE TV. It was post Summerslam week and we were dealing with the fallout of Takeover and Summerslam. There were new champions making their marks, new champions crowned and more R Truth goodness as he once again tried to get his match with Carmella. It’s been a wild week for matches and once again NXT delivers even though it’s a post Takeover episode. Let’s get into it.

Fighting Champ/Return of the Shield

Well it certainly was nice to see the Universal Title on RAW again. To some fans it might be strange to see the big red belt again since it’s been missing in action for so long. Roman Reigns may not be everyone’s dream champion but he’s certainly going to be a fighting champion. He demonstrated this on RAW by giving Finn Balor a long overdue title shot. Finn accepted and the match was set with a handshake despite Corbin trying to veto the match.

It was the main event of the show and genuinely had a big fight feel. The new champ was taking on the old champ in a fight for supremacy. There was plenty of back and forth with Reigns seeming more vulnerable than ever. His selling of Finn’s offense was exceptional. It was one of Roman’s best matches in months. Finn would eventually fall to a Spear after trying to capitalise on Braun making a cash in entrance. His Coup de Gras was dodged and a Spear would cut Balor in half.

The other point here relates to Braun trying to cash in. Before the match could start, he was distracted by an all too familiar theme. The Shield had come to stop Braun from cashing in and to protect the new champ. Braun was pummelled by all three men and eventually took enough punishment to be hit by a triple Powerbomb through the announce table. Braun hasn’t lost the case just yet so this could happen again if he tries to cash in. It may not have been a full on heel turn for Roman but there was certainly an attitude in how he acted after his Shield stablemates made the save. It’s going to be fun to watch this storyline progress.

Bobby Beats up Corbin

As punishment for trying to break up the main event match, Corbin was forced into an impromptu match with Bobby Lashley. Now Lashley started out strong but Corbin starting giving as good as he got after pushing Lashley through the ropes onto the floor. He would continue beating down Lashley even reversing a top rope Forearm into a Chokeslam Backbreaker. Lashley would soon take advantage after Corbin tried another running lariat, only to be reversed into the Dominator for the three count. It was a solid, if slightly un-exciting match but at least it gets both men on TV. Corbin is a heat magnet so he is the perfect opposite to someone like Lashley who needs more crowd support. Hopefully Lashley tries to push for the Universal Title as he has a legitimate win over Reigns and needs something more high-profile than beating down the Constable.

Dean Ambrose is better than Ever

Dean Ambrose made his in ring return this week by dispatching the former IC champ in a highly competitive match. Instead of having a squash match against a jobber or giving him a smaller opponent, Dean got to take it to Ziggler. He wasn’t wrestling his old style either, it seem Ambrose’s new physique also gives him a new move-set. He was showcasing more power moves and much more impactful reversals. Ziggler was no slouch either as he got his offense in and kept Ambrose on his toes. The finish saw Ziggler try to hit a DDT only to have it reversed into the Dirty Deeds for the win. We also saw more of the feud between Seth and Dolph/Drew as they attacked Seth during the match. Drew and Seth would start brawling on the outside, Dolph would also get involved to try and keep Seth out of the match. He would end up taking Drew out with a Suicide Dive whilst Dean was reversing Dolph. Both duos clearly still have unfinished business so we may as well go for a duos dynamic instead of continuously singles matches.

Curt Hawkins’ best Segment Yet

I never thought I’d write a talking point about Curt Hawkins. The man’s gimmick is that he has a losing streak longer than most people’s title reigns. He is there to lose whilst retaining the love of the crowd. It’s not the most fulfilling thing to do but it keeps you going. The next loss was to Elias after Hawkins interrupted an Elias performance. Hawkins claimed he was feeling lucky and enlisted Elias as an opponent to end his losing streak. Elias responded as you’d expect, by running Hawkins and Brooklyn down. The match was made and Hawkins actually looked like he may win. He was fired up, had the crowd behind him and managed to get Elias on the ropes. The problem was Elias was smarter and left the ring, drew Hawkins out, then attacked him as he got back in. He would eat a knee then the Drift Away for the 219th loss. Can we get Elias something to do? I thought he was meant to be fighting Bobby Lashley.

We’re Still Doing This

The tag team division is still in dire need of improvement. This RAW saw both Revival members beat the B Team in singles matches. Once again the 50/50 booking curse strikes as The Revival get wins as long as it doesn’t get them the belts. They could beat the B Team relatively easily in singles contest so why can’t they avoid the bumbling way the B Team wins? It’s just a bad joke that WWE seem to keep telling. The only way this will be worthwhile is if it ends in the Revival getting the belts. Though given the momentum the B Team has, this is highly unlikely.

The other groan worthy tag segment was the continuation of this Titus Worldwide/AOP feud that seems to be going absolutely nowhere. The main reason they were fighting this time was because they seem to want to break up Titus Worldwide. They were trying to sell some dissent between the team leading to their loss. This must be leading to an Apollo Crews solo run, which would be interesting to see but probably won’t get very far as no one will care if he feuds with Titus O Neil.

Stephanie McMahon is Still Delusional

Stephanie McMahon is a great heel. She is almost universally hated and her constant want to take credit for the Women’s Revolution. Here she wanted to crown Ronda Rousey as the champ and had most of the women’s division at ringside. She tried to talk up how she had taught Ronda and that she was the reason Ronda was champ. This was instantly blocked by Ronda who stonewalled the entire thing and celebrated the women’s division. Eventually Ronda had heard enough and trapped Steph in an armbar again. Steph would flee with Alexa Bliss and The Riott Squad as the heels stick with heels. Once again, Ronda is at odds with the Authority and who knows how Steph will retaliate, especially with a development later in the show.

So Kurt Angle hasn’t had the best time as GM. He’s had to deal with problem champions, constables and just a general ineffectiveness when it comes to dealing with RAW. He was now been given a vacation and the Constable Baron Corbin has been given the position of stand in GM by Stephanie McMahon. She was furious with Kurt after letting Ronda try to break her arm. She was backed up by Alexa Bliss who also criticised Angle for being useless too. We now have a heel GM who has a grudge against Balor and will no doubt go out of his way to sabotage some of the popular faces on RAW. Who knows what he has planned for RAW?

Hardy Loses It

So Randy Orton had a match with Jeff Hardy this week on Smackdown. Everyone expected this to get physical but no one probably expected this. Jeff snapped during the match, stomping Orton’s groin and getting disqualified. He would then proceed to smash Orton around ringside and would even take it into the crowd. Hardy was unhinged and merciless as he threw Orton into everything he could, including a guard rail that collapsed with him. The ending to this segment saw a defenceless Orton put through a table by Jeff hitting a Swanton Bomb off some road cases. This adds new heat to the feud as Hardy has sunk to Orton’s level after weeks of abuse.

Mixing it up

Miz was definitely gloating this week. He had secured a win over Daniel Bryan and opened his segment by aping Bryan’s retirement speech. He would talk about beating Bryan and being done with having to carry him. He was celebrating with Maryse who was basically the reason he won. His taunting brought out Bryan who called Miz a coward again and rebutted his comments, mocking him for being a façade. Maryse would get involved mocking Bryan and telling him to retire again. She even told him to change his name to Daniel Bella. That comment brought out Brie Bella who ran in and punched Miz in the face as Maryse had already been helped out of the ring by Miz. After Bryan wipes out Miz, he announces that there will be a match at Hell in a Cell. But it won’t be a singles match, it will be a mixed tag match with Brie and Maryse mixed in as well. This will certainly be an interesting watch as it will be Brie’s first match since retiring. It’s also hard to predict who will win at this early stage, but I’m hoping it leads to more Miz parodies of Total Bellas.

Peyton gets a win

This was quite a surprise to see on Smackdown. Peyton Roice and Billie Kay have been relegated to jobbers since being called up from NXT. They are brought out to wind up the crowd or eat the pin for face tag teams, which is a shame as in NXT they genuinely would pull off some excellent heel wins. This week saw Naomi call out Roice for smack talking on social media. The match was made and Roice would pick up the win in sneaky fashion. It wasn’t the most convincing win, being heavily reliant on interference from Kay, but it is the first step in establishing the duo as a threat again. It is worth noting however that this could just be a token win after Roice received some awful comments from Dave Meltzer. That may seem cynical but let’s face it, it’s the WWE. Let’s hope they actual use this win to do something big with the IIconics.

Becky’s Reasoning

So Becky is definitely a heel now. She didn’t receive a heel’s response as the crowd is still behind her and her points were valid. She feels dejected and jaded because she always busts her ass for nothing. She ran down her former best friend and just seemed fed up with her situation. She was betrayed and if anything the crowd sympathised despite her running them down. Her comments did bring out Charlotte and the two would brawl. Paige would notice this and bring out the women’s division to split them up. Both women tore into each other but the crowd still refuses to boo Becky. She is incredibly sincere and it seems that Becky is in a much more sympathetic place than Charlotte. Either way, it’s going to be fun to see how Becky embraces this heelish new side she has and if she can maintain this level of intensity.

English Redeemed

So this was another 50/50 booking match. It was a rematch of their Summerslam match and didn’t necessarily do much different. The point of the match was to bring back English since he kept out of the PPV match. He would save the match by preventing Almas from bringing a steel chair into the ring. This would distract Almas enough for Rusev to hit a Machka Kick and lock Almas in the Accolade for the win. There was a fallout segment on the WWE YouTube channel that showed the stable making up backstage and Rusev hugging English. For the moment it would appear that Rusev Day isn’t going anywhere right now.

Daddy’s Still Here

So no one expected that Summerslam match to be the end of AJ and Joe’s title programme. This week saw the continuation of the feud as AJ was being interviewed by Renee Young about snapping at the PPV. He was apologising for his actions and promising it wouldn’t happen again. As the interview carried on we say a pair of arms appears around AJ’s legs and he is pulled down and attacked by Joe. He is choked out by the Coquina Clutch and once again grabs a mic and makes another Daddy comment towards Wendy Styles and AJ’s family. Although it’s a crude way to fuel this feud it is a lot of fun to see Joe go out of his way to get under the skin of Styles. These comments to his family feel like an Attitude Era throwback. He then drops the mic over Styles and walks off.

It’s a New Day for the Smackdown Tag Titles

Wow. This is how you do a main event. This was the best Bludgeon Brothers match to date. It was engaging, brutal and continuously intense. The team of Kofi and Xavier had to take on the hammer wielding brutes this time though they had the aid of weapons. There was a no DQ stipulation in effect that made this match way more chaotic. There were tables, ladders and even the mallets used during the match. There was a vicious bump where Kofi was Powerbombed onto a ladder. The eventual finish saw Rowan take himself out by running through a barricade forcing Harper to fight solo. He was forced onto a table and restrained by Kofi until Xavier Woods could put him through the table with the leaping Elbow Drop. The New Day gets the belts and Rowan gets to take some time off after suffering an injury. This means we have another exciting team with the belts and there are some teams out for the New Day’s blood so things just got interesting.

The Debut of Deonna Purrazzo

So this was a bit out of left field. It’s understandable to bring Bianca Belair back into relevance as she has been side lined by injury. She opened the show by taking on and beating one of the Mae Young Classic contenders, Deonna Purrazzo. This was her debut on NXT TV and you’d think it would be a smart idea to make her look strong by having her beat a former competitor. Instead she lost to Belair in a semi competitive match. It wasn’t quite a squash match but she didn’t really get to show off much of what she can do. Belair on the other hand has just taken quite a high-profile scalp on the journey to re-establishing herself as a title contender.

He’s Dunne it Again

The UK Title scene is one of the best in WWE. Pete Dunne is an amazing champion and every match in relation to the belt is of exceptional quality. This match was no exception. A rematch of the United Kingdom Tournament final, we saw Gibson and Dunne once again try to break each other. Both men were focusing on attacking the arm of their opponent. Gibson was trying to soften up the arm for Shankley Gates and Dunne was trying to use joint manipulation to his advantage. The match went from a technical showcase into a brutal strike fest into more technicalities. Both men refused to go down and when Gibson took over he dominated Dunne hitting him with the Ticket to Ride and Helter Skelter. Liverpool’s Number One eventually locked in the Shankley Gates and Dunne would have to power out, using his teeth to latch onto the rope. Gibson would stomp him and the Dunne’s mouth guard would come out. He would forearm the exposed mouth and taunt Dunne by threatening to throw the mouth guard. Dunne intercepts this, breaks the fingers and hits the Bitter End for the win. Gibson’s overconfidence costs him and Dunne is once again driven to his limits to keep his belt.

In Conclusion

So this was an odd week for WWE. There was some new in Roman Reigns as champion and the crowning of New Day but there is still a lot of the old weighing down the shows. NXT still gave us excellent matches despite being a recap show but RAW is still bogged down by a repetitive tag division. There was also a distinct lack of NXT call-ups this week. You’d usually see them after Summerslam but this time there weren’t any despite there being potential candidates ready. That being said there are rumours that there may be some next week. There is definitely the potential for Shayna Baszler and EC3 to appear on either show next week. Let’s just hope it’s worth them coming up.

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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