It’s that time of the week again. WWE have given us another week of television and we are slowly setting up what will be happening at Hell In a Cell. We’ve seen some excellent matches, some more heat has been added to feuds and we’ve seen what happens when Baron Corbin gets given the reigns of RAW. Let’s get into it.
A Cash In at Hell in A Cell
So after two failed attempts at cashing in, Braun has finally gone for the smarter option. He was brought out by Roman Reigns at the start of RAW and would set the date of his cash in for a place they’ve never fought before. Braun has probably just set the main event for Hell in a Cell by making that his cash in location. Other than that it was a mostly standard promo from Roman once again setting out how he is a fighting champion and will not be like Brock Lesnar. This narrative is going to get old sooner or later but for now it seems to be working in stopping crowds from completely drowning him out. He did put over his Shield mates as work horses and continued the narrative of the Shield reunion.
Corbin Makes All the Rules
Baron Corbin defeats Finn Balor via End of Days
At first glance, you will see that this is another match between these two and will probably groan. It does make sense though. Corbin is now the standing GM, he can make matches and that power is obviously going to go to his head. His first course of action, regaining his pride after a crushing loss to the Demon. Corbin makes the match where Balor is banned from using the Demon and Corbin can set whatever rules he wants. This mainly just played out as an excuse for Corbin to beat down Finn again and show how he will make matches that favour him. After originally being DQ’d, Corbin restarted the match under no DQ rules and continued fighting so he won. Does it suck for Finn? Yes. Does it show us what Corbin is going to do with his new found power? Also yes. The downside is we now have to go through the feud again until Corbin is beating by none demon Finn.
Dana Brooke has Evolved?
Sasha Banks defeats Dana Brooke via Bank Statement
This is the first time Dana Brooke has wrestled on WWE TV in what feels like forever. The Titus Worldwide statistician was in action against Sasha Banks. This should have been a fairly one-sided fight as Sasha is a fully accomplished superstar whereas Dana has been questionable at best when it comes to in ring skill. Not anymore, as she gave Sasha a fight. She was pulling out new moves, keeping up and even had a decent reversal game. She didn’t win and was easily countered into the Bank Statement but what matters here is that she has improved and that means we should hopefully start seeing more of her in ring.
The other thing of note was the continued interactions between Apollo Crews and Dana Brooke. After the match, the Boss and Hug Connection strolled off and Apollo rushed into the ring to check up on Brooke’s condition. This is only a small action but it furthers the rumoured storyline of Apollo and Dana leaving Titus Worldwide. That could be interesting to see, I guess.
Kevin Owens Quits
Seth Rollins defeats Kevin Owens via Curb Stomp
This was the highlight of the show. What started as a Seth open challenge ended in the best match RAW has seen in a while. Putting KO in the ring with Seth is a licence to print stars. Both men are more than capable of putting on excellent matches. Seth’s promo brought out KO who talked about his recent hardships, the loss of his friend to injury and his inability to get the briefcase from Braun. He was seriously fed up with how WWE has gone for him and even took some digs at the Canadian crowd, speaking French at them.
The match would start and both men would take each other to hell and back. There was plenty of back and forth, plenty of reversals and some excessive high-flying as Seth would try and hit three Suicide Dives in a row. KO also delivered another Stunner and attempted a Moonsault that took him out of the match. Seth took advantage and finished KO of with the Stomp.
The last part of this trilogy of tragedy was after the match. KO was sat in the ring on a chair looking broken. He had just lost another title opportunity and his career is starting to falter in his eyes. He toys with speaking into a microphone and eventually utters two words, “I quit,” and walks out of the ring and out of the arena. The crowd tries to console him and he ignores every audience member that tries to hold a hand out to him. This is definitely going to be interesting as it is impossible to predict what KO will do.
B Team Beaten
The Revival defeat The B Team via Shatter Machine
Finally. It may not have been a title match but the Revival ended the dumb undefeated streak the B Team has been stumbling through for the past few months. It annoys me that the titles weren’t on the line because it means they probably won’t capture the belts when it counts. The Revival dominated the B Team, would then rundown how much of a joke the division actually is and then delivered a Shatter Machine to Bo Dallas just because they could. The Top Guys actually looked like dominant top guys and actually look primed to take those belts. WWE please make it happen.
A Stratusfying Return
Natalya defeats Alicia Fox via Sharpshooter
This is how you do a return. The ring goes dark and Elias is in there ready to play. He has an epiphany about how Drake meant Toronto when he was talking about starting from the bottom. He would continue running down Toronto until Trish Stratus’s music hits and she comes down to the ring. She tries to compliment Elias’ music but admonishes him for insulting her hometown. The two hit each other with some pretty rough barbs including Elias referencing the old divas era and Trish using Elias’ own catch phrase against him. Elias eventually insults Stratus by claiming she is in her sixties and earns a slap for his trouble. He flees and the next segment bleeds in.
Out comes Natalya and Ronda to set up for the next match. Trish is still in the ring so the trio are hanging in the ring when Alexa accompanies Alicia Fox to the ring. She has a mic so is running down her Evolution opponent. She also claims she too has a legendary friend, someone Trish should be well aware of. Cue the return of Mickie James and the match eventually starts. It’s a quick affair with Alicia Fox being tapped out in really quick fashion. The faces celebrate in the ring and the segment ends.
Lashley beats the Numbers
Bobby Lashley defeats The Ascension via Dominator
Here was the other example of Baron Corbin using his power to avenge losses. After being beaten by Lashley last week he uses his new-found position to set up a match he thinks Bobby can’t win. Unfortunately for Corbin, Lashley makes fairly light work of both members of the Ascension and picks up the win with the Dominator. Hopefully this means that Lashley will stop winning matches with the Stalling Suplex. It’s nice to see Bobby still appearing on TV but it would be nice to see him in a title scene or in any kind of feud.
An Eye for an Eye
So this segment seriously divided opinions. So during the opening promo, Baron Corbin made a tag match between Drew and Dolph and Roman and Braun. It was made since Drew and Dolph interrupted the opening segment. The match itself mainly saw Roman being beaten down until eventually making the tag to Braun. At this point Braun just stands there and keeps watching as Roman takes more punishment. Braun gets into the ring, grabs Roman and screams, “I told you, I’m not finished with you,” and delivers a crushing headbutt. The Shield try to make the save, Ambrose comes out first and is laid out, and then Seth comes out and also is destroyed. All three Shield members take a Powerslam and the three heels stand tall.
The issue here is, did Braun actually turn heel or was this just simple payback? Let’s not forget that Braun ate a triple Powerbomb last week at the hands of the Shield. This could just be his way of settling the score. It’s easy to get cynical with this as WWE love giving Roman simple heel opponents so he can go over in strong manner. If that’s the case then hopes of Braun leaving as Universal Champion have just gotten even lower. I’d much rather have Braun be Braun without the need for him being completely heel.
The Fun of the Five Timers Club
This segment was fun. It wasn’t anything fulfilling but it was nice to see King Booker return as a vector of reminding fans of the fact the New Day has entered the Five Time Champs Club. It was a comedic segment that let The New Day members perform spinaroonies and saw Big E dare to question King Booker. It was a filler segment but at least it wasn’t boring.
The First to Qualify
The Bar defeat The Colons and Gallows and Anderson via sneak pin
Smackdown’s tag division is leagues above that of what we see on RAW. The first of two multi team matches to crown new number one contenders for the Tag Titles saw The Colons take on Gallows and Anderson and The Bar. All three teams were shown strong and it was interesting to see the Colons back on WWE TV. They got to be dominant for a lot of the match, even hitting a double Backbreaker on Luke Gallows to set up the finish. The Bar used the confusion to their advantage by tagging in after the double team move and stealing the finish to secure their place.
The next match will see Rusev Day competing as a unit again against Sanity and the Usos and hopefully stealing the other place in this contendership tournament.
Hardy will be in a Cell
Jeff Hardy likes to jump off large structures. Jeff Hardy likes to put himself in harm’s way all the time. Now Jeff Hardy is going to be in a Hell in a Cell match. This was a fairly standard promo that saw Jeff call out Orton again, thanking Orton for breaking him and wanting to kick his ass again. Orton would come to the ramp but came no further, thanking Hardy for the acknowledgement and claimed he wasn’t done with Hardy yet as he wants to destroy this version of Hardy. After that line, Hardy revealed that their Hell in a Cell match will be in the steel structure. This is going to be madness as we know what Hardy’s wrestling style demands and how the cell will benefit it.
Another IIconic Win
Billie Kay defeats Naomi via roll up
So Naomi has suffered another loss at the hands of the IIconics. This week it was Billie Kay taking on the former champion. The match wasn’t anything special. It was really clumsy and some spots were unfortunately timed but it is nice to see the IIconics getting some wins. They have paid their dues as the Heel jobber team and so they deserve some wins. This time Naomi was rolled up after Billie threw her into the ropes and Peyton kicked her in the head. It was basic heel tactics but it looks good to see the IIconics working as a successful duo.
Almas Targets Bryan
Daniel Bryan defeats Andrade Cien Almas via DQ
So this match was amazing. Andrade Cien Almas injecting himself into the Miz and Bryan feud. Bryan and Brie were in the ring running down the Miz and Maryse. Bryan was celebrating his wife’s punch to Miz’s face and they were talking more about their upcoming match. They were interrupted by Andrade and Vega. Vega was introducing Almas and his accomplishments and laid down a challenge to Bryan. Paige makes the match a thing and it goes ahead.
The match itself was excellent. These two work well together and both men are more than capable of carrying a match. It was physical and vicious but now I just want more. This would have been a main event level match if not for the Miz and Maryse entering the fray to cost Almas the victory. The Miz came out of the crowd and attacked Bryan and Maryse attacked Brie after she stopped Vega getting involved. After the match is thrown out, Almas hits the Hammerlock DDT and Miz locks in the Yes lock on Bryan. Brie is thrown into the ring, eats a Double Knees from Vega and then a DDT from Maryse. The IT Couple tortured Bryan and Brie in quite brutal fashion, once again added more heat to an already burning feud.
Charlotte defeats Carmella via Figure Eight
The main event of Smackdown saw Carmella trying to reclaim her lost women’s title. Carmella once again tried to beat Charlotte by launching her off the turnbuckle to the outside and hitting her with a Suicide Dive to gain an advantage. The match would go on until Charlotte reverses a Superkick, hits a Spear that sets up for Natural Selection. She hits the finisher, locks in the Figure Eight and after a bit of a struggle, Carmella eventually taps out.
Charlotte is celebrating in the ring when she is attacked from behind by Becky. She lays into Charlotte with punches and kicks and demands a mic from the outside. The crowd still cheers her but once again she has upped her heelish intensity. She makes a threat to take the belt from her at Hell in a Cell and calls Charlotte a bitch. Becky raises the title above her head and the segment ends. Even if the crowd isn’t ready to boo Becky, she is certainly giving this everything she has. She is intense, threatening and more explosive than ever.
Gargano is Lost
So NXT opened with a mix of the Who Attacked Black Investigation and a Gargano promo. Gargano limps to the stage, leaning on a crutch and tries to address the crowd. This is one of the first times the crowd has really been conflicted on Gargano and he completely owns it. He talks about not deserving their praise and how he broke his promise to take the belt. He claims that Ciampa is in his head and he can’t exorcize him.
William Regal comes out to question Gargano about Black being attacked and Gargano doesn’t give a straight answer. All this fanfare brings out the Velveteen Dream who wants some of this spotlight and ends up nearly brawling with Gargano. Regal stops this by setting up a match for next week. He tells Gargano to leave and Dream to come to his office for questioning.
Just focusing on this investigation storyline we also saw the likes of Nikki Cross being questioned where she set up a match with Bianca Belair and trashed Regal’s office. He also made a match for Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler as he interviewed them on their whereabouts during the attack.
Dakota Kai defeats Aliyah via Flip Backcracker
It’s always great to see Dakota Kai in an NXT ring. You are nearly always guaranteed to get an excellent match and she is a natural underdog. This week she was fighting against Aliyah, who was trying to regroup after losing to Kairi Sane. Aliyah was using a much more aggressive style than usual and seemed to be relishing the supposed lessons she had learned from Baszler before her bout with Sane. She was stiff and utilising submissions to keep Kai down. Kai would make a comeback however and hit the Flip Backcracker for the win. This felt like a throwaway match but it was fun to watch and gives Kai another win.
Return of the Leviathan
Lars Sullivan is back. He made his presence felt by taking out EC3 backstage before coming to the ring to destroy Raul Mendoza. He ruined a match that was supposed to happen and probably took Raul Mendoza out of action. He would club him with strikes, hit him with a pop up Powerslam and then finish him with the Freak Accident. It was quick, brutal and successfully delivered the message that Sullivan is back and he is coming for everyone. He seems to be the prime suspect in the Aleister Black attack since he suffered a broken jaw at the hands of Black and was present at the scene.
Keith Lee Keeps Dominating
Keith Lee defeats Luke Menzies via Sit-Out Powerbomb
So Keith Lee is glorious to watch. The man has had two matches and both have managed to put him and his opponent over. Both times Lee has fought newly debuting superstars and both times he has made them look special. This time he was against Luke Menzies, a former rugby player who was making his NXT debut. Menzies was able to take advantage of Lee’s showboating but eventually fell to his speed and power game. Lee would floor Menzies with a double handed chop and finish him with a Sit out Powerbomb for the win. Lee is slowly making a name for himself and it must only be a matter of time before we see him mixing it up with some bigger names. I personally want to see him getting into it with Ricochet for the North American Title.
Communication costs Dunne
The Undisputed Era defeat Ricochet and Dunne via Last Shot
So once again a main event featuring the Undisputed Era is amazing. They always seem to bring out the best in their opponents and when they have grudges things are bound to get interesting. Ricochet and Dunne were the uneasy team, thrown together to battle some current enemies. Adam Cole replaced Kyle O’Reilly as he wanted another shot at Ricochet. A large portion of the match saw the Undisputed Era cut the ring in half and work over Ricochet. Cole was taking it to him, clearly still bitter after losing the belt. Eventually Dunne was brought in as the hot tag and would start taking it to the Era. When both of them ended up outside, Dunne would hit a moonsault then everyone would end up in position for a Ricochet Suicide Dive. The Undisputed Era members moved out of the way so Dunne takes the dive, is rolled into the ring and eats the Last Shot for the three count. The clear miscommunication has caused tension between the two already uneasy teammates and gives the Era another win.
So it has been another week without NXT call ups but it has been a mostly enjoyable week. Some good matches make up for the more generic and typical moments of RAW and Smackdown. Both shows were enjoyable enough there’s just some implications to consider. Braun is now technically a heel but how does this really play out in his war against Reigns? Who will win next week’s tag bout on Smackdown and just who did attack Aleister Black? All these questions may get answered next week; we’ll just have to see.
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