Bloody hell it’s been a good week for WWE. All three shows delivered good showings and we saw excellent matches, excellent storytelling and well just excellent TV. It wasn’t all great but there was a lot to enjoy. Well without further ado let’s get into the talking points of this week’s WWE programming.
Attempting to Turn a Lunatic
The Shield defeat Baron Corbin and AOP via Spear
It must suck to be Baron Corbin right now. The current GM for RAW has had several mounting issues the Shield that have not gone unnoticed.
As Stephanie McMahon returned to RAW this week, she gave Corbin a mouthful for his incompetence and threatened to remove him from the job if he couldn’t get his house in order. He would set up a match between himself and some tag partners against the Shield for the main event after defusing another tense situation between the Dogs of War and the Hounds of Justice. The crowd weren’t happy about this as there had just been a war of words over the loyalties of one Shield member, that being Dean Ambrose.
The Dogs of War were laying down some hard truths about Dean’s lack of gold and the reliance the Shield may have on him. They would spend much of the night trying to recruit him with Dolph and Drew both having separate conversations with him. However Seth tried to do some recruiting of his own by trying to get into Drew’s head. This mainly backfired though as it give Drew more ammunition in his Ambrose turning arsenal.
The main event comes around and Baron Corbin has selected the Authors of Pain as his tag partners. This is a big step up for the former NXT Tag champs and is well-earned after their recent performances. They held their own well against the Shield and they should receive a nice rub from taking part in the main event scene. Inevitably they do eventually fall as the match turns chaotic and Corbin ends up eating a Spear to finish the match.
After the match is over, Dean is outside and caught in the middle of the two warring factions. Braun was in full on leader mode, his arms out at his sides, welcoming Dean and his Shield mates waiting in the ring. He would dramatically switch between the two before running into the ring and joining Reigns and Rollins. They pose and the show ends. Ambrose may not have switched sides but there must be some seeds sown of doubt after the hard truths coming from the Dogs of War.
An Unfortunate Accident
The Riott Squad defeat The Bellas & Natalya via Riott Kick
Accidents happen in wrestling. It is a constant risk in matches and they can happen to anyone. That is exactly what happened on RAW this week as Brie Bella accidentally concussed Liv Morgan with a botched yes kick.
This occurred during a six woman tag match to set up the Super Show Down match. This mishap happened early on so the middle of the match had to be improvised since Morgan clearly could not continue. She came back for one spot but was kept out of the rest of the match for her own sake. The eventual end saw Natalya miss a tag between Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott. She would lock the Sharpshooter on Logan, who was not the legal person, only to eat a kick to the face from Riott. The Riott Kick would be hit and the match would be another win for the Riott Club. This was a solid match overshadowed by the accident that happened early on.
It isn’t cool to dogpile on Brie Bella but this is the third time now where Brie Bella has been involved in some kind of stiff offense incident or botch. There have been the Suicide dives, the stiff shots on Miz and Riott and now this accident. Hopefully it is just ring rust and she will soon get back into the swing of things and perform to her old level.
It’s Still Going
Konnor defeats Chad Gable via Gutwrench Facecrusher
Yes, you did read that right. This week saw Konnor, of the Ascension; get a singles win over the man who has royally kicked his and Viktor’s asses over the past three weeks. It was a fairly throwaway match purely to continue this makeshift feud between a makeshift team and a team no one has cared about since the Fashion Files. The team of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable has gone nowhere so far and if that doesn’t change soon, no one is going to care when they do try to do something. It may have been nice to see Konnor win a match and to do it with an actually finish but this accomplished nothing but kill time with a dead feud.
Finally the Deserved Title Shot
Dolph & Drew defeat The Revival via Claymore/Zig Zag combo
Oh look, The Revival do exist. After weeks of inaction they were finally given their title shot after being screwed out of their first one by Dolph and Drew. This was probably the match of the night as it delivered everything you could want from these teams. The Revival were up to their old tricks utilising their usual tactics to get one up on their opponents. Dolph ate practically all the offense from the Top Guys, eating double team moves and only just managing to survive. After Drew was tagged in he would take out both guys and eventually win the match with their double team finisher. It was a valiant effort from The Revival but they just couldn’t get it done. Drew and Dolph have put in another dominating performance meaning they will probably hold those belts for a while yet. However if that means we get more matches like this daily, I am all for them keeping those belts.
Lio Rush Runs Again
Bobby Lashley defeats Elias via DQ
Lio Rush is one of the greatest things to happen to RAW in a long time. He is a breath of fresh air and another top talker to get into it. He has helped make Lashley more over and has stolen the show both times he has been in Lashley’s corner. This time he was at ringside whilst Lashley and Elias are fighting. KO was in the corner for Elias after having the Drifter on as his guest on the Kevin Owens Show. They would rip into Rush, even producing a booster seat for the diminutive mouthpiece.
The match itself was fine but it was once again taken over by Lio Rush running around the ring whilst being chased by Kevin Owens. During the chase, KO ended up running through Lashley, who was resting up after taking Elias through the ropes, getting Elias disqualified. This would go ignored and once again Bobby would save Rush from eating a powerbomb. The inclusion of Rush has made this blossoming feud a lot more worthwhile as we get some entertainment from his shenanigans.
Ember and Nia: BFFs
Nia Jax defeats Alicia Fox via Samoan Drop
So Nia Jax is back and ready to kill. This time her victim was Alicia Fox who had not come alone. She was accompanied by Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. They would get involved for a slight moment when Fox retreated from the ring. This allowed Moon to hit Mickie James with a cannonball off the apron taking her out of the match. Jax would win after taking some offense from Fox and the match would end with Alica flattened by a Samoan Drop. The match again was fine but the talking point is this new friendship between Ember Moon and Nia Jax. They seem to have some chemistry together and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them as a tag team when they inevitably reveal the women’s tag titles.
R Truth Deserves His Own Show
The Miz defeats R Truth via Flying Knee
Can this become a regular thing on Smackdown? R Truth was a surprisingly good host, asking deep questions from his guest, Daniel Bryan and only interrupting to signal a dance break. The spot would normally be reserved for Miz TV but instead was replaced by Truth TV. Obviously, the Miz was not happy about this. He would come out; angry about his show being stolen and expecting it back from the GM Paige. She decides to put the two in a match since R Truth wants to fight Miz for his show space and for wasting so much time complaining that Truth couldn’t do his animal segment.
The match would see Miz once again to cheat, poking R Truth in the eye and hitting the Skull Crushing Finale. He would tease going for a pin only to lock eyes with Bryan. Miz would stop, smirk and start teasing the yes chant. He would hit a Flying Knee, finishing Truth and getting a win with another win with a Daniel Bryan move. He took his win and quickly fled. The match was also peppered by amazing commentary from Bryan who constantly bigged up Truth and got into it with Graves on multiple occasions.
Becky Lynch runs the Division
Becky Lynch defeats Lana via Dis-arm-her
Becky Lynch was on fire again last night. Firstly she would attack Charlotte Flair during a photoshoot, throwing her against a road case multiple times and then stopping to pose. She would get the photographer to take her picture as she stood on Charlotte holding up her title. This was another vicious attack against her former best friend that once again happened when Charlotte was least expecting it.
Secondly, Becky would make a match against Lana after getting in her face backstage. She made it a point to say that anything that happens in the women’s division is her business. Her match against Lana was a lot more competitive than most probably expected. Lana was not going to be made to look a fool by the women’s champ and put up a solid match against Lynch. Unfortunately the Disarmer was locked in and Lana was forced to tap out to the champ. Lynch would win and hold her title over Lana whilst yelling at her to get out of her ring. Lynch is only improving as she further embraces her new heel persona.
One Night In Milwaukee
If losing to Lynch wasn’t bad enough, Lana also received a cryptic threat from Aiden English. He would take to the stage as Rusev and Lana were in the ring. Rusev and Lana were hoping for answers from English as to why he attacked Rusev last week. Instead the audience was left with more questions. English blamed Lana for their problems, reminiscing about how good things were before Lana got involved. Aiden would complement Lana for being honest, but then dropped a hint at something she hadn’t been honest about. Something to do with one night in Milwaukee. Later in the night English would be interviewed backstage. Here he promised that he would reveal video evidence of Lana’s transgressions. This may seem like an odd direction to take from the Rusev Day split but it is best to reserve judgement until we find out what happened in Milwaukee.
Not a Bad Team
Asuka and Naomi defeat Absolution via Dual Kicks
Whilst there is still no real reason for this team to exist, they did put on a fun match against Absolution. Asuka may not seem like the person to have to go for a hot tag but in this match Absolution used the numbers game to take advantage. Naomi was brought in as a hot tag and they finished the match with a cool duel kick. Hopefully a better dynamic develops between these two as they have in ring chemistry; they just need a reason to exist as a team.
Out for 10
Tye Dillinger defeats Shinsuke Nakamura via DQ
Twitter beef can earn you a title shot. That was the entire reason for Tye Dillinger receiving a title shot out of the blue. This was the first match Dillinger had been in for a while and he would make the most of it. He had a perfectly solid bout with Nakamura that ended in him being Randy Orton’s new victim. As he was going to the top rope, Orton attack and beat him down around the ring. After he was done, Nakamura would come back and hit Dillinger with a Kinshasa against the LED board. When Orton was interviewed later on, he didn’t call Dillinger his new victim. The only reason he attacked the perfect 10 was because he had pissed him off. This creates a dangerous new precedent for anyone on Smackdown as there doesn’t have to be any logical reason for Orton to attack them. He is definitely enjoying this new sadistic persona he gets to play.
Samoa Joe: Home Invader
This feud would not work with anyone but Joe and AJ. Joe has now gone full on psycho now as he paid a visit to AJ Styles’ house. He was sending video from his phone as he stood outside the house taunting AJ with his presence. Joe even had a doll for AJ’s daughter. The segment wouldn’t work at all without both men putting on convincing performances to make us forget how contrived the whole thing is. We are entering bad attitude era angle now and if this carries on the way it seems to be then no one will take it seriously anymore. They closed the show on a cliff hanger so we don’t know what happened after Joe rang the doorbell. Styles’ genuine panic and Joe’s intensity saved this segment from being too corny this time but it may not save it next time.
Undisputed Era Messed with the Wrong GM
When in doubt open the show with William Regal. He came to the ring with the intention of talking about the Aleister Black case but was interrupted by the Undisputed Era before he could get a sentence out. They tried to call out Regal for not protecting his champions and ignoring Adam Cole’s title shot. Regal was having none of this and made two matches for the upcoming weeks. The first being a triple threat for the North American Title between Adam Cole, Ricochet and Pete Dunne. The second was a tag title match between The Undisputed Era and the War Raiders. Luck was not on the Era’s side as they went out to complain and ended up with more to complain about.
Lars Sullivan Strikes Again
Lars Sullivan defeats Victor Orchant via DQ
What started out as a Lars Sullivan squash match ended up being so much more. Lars destroyed the jobber opponent he had but instead of getting to finish him with a Freak Accident, he was interrupted by someone he’d attacked previously. The match was thrown out due to interference from a vengeful EC3. The 1%er knocked Sullivan out of the ring and tried to challenge the Leviathan to a fight. Sullivan just smirked at the attack and walked off. We now know what’s next for EC3 as he seems to have a death wish. He may want to get revenge for Lars Sullivan attacking him backstage and a win over NXT’s monster would certainly give him a boost in his win column. The big question though is will this be a TV feud or will it burn out on TV?
A Mighty Victory
The Mighty defeat Street Profits via Pinfall
Ever since going heel, the Mighty have had a hard time establishing themselves as a dominant team. They resort to cheating tactics but seem to be more mischievous pranksters than sinister heels. This week saw them gain back some credibility. The match was a response to the Mighty stealing the cup and chain from the Street Profits. This theft had a lit a fire under the Profits and they came out swinging dominating the early parts of the match. They were soon cut off though as the heelish ring tactics led to a hot tag that was once again cut out. They ended up targeting Montez Ford, crippling his leg with the ring steps and using that to win. The finish saw a Figure Four turned into a jack knife pin and Ford taking the loss. The Mighty needed this win as they have not had the best win record and they got to show off some of their killer instinct.
Third Time Isn’t the Charm
Kairi Sane defeats Vanessa Borne via Insane Elbow
I’m sure this is the third time Vanessa Borne has been re-branded. Now she is known as the vision and seemed all in on being an arrogant heel. She has always played the arrogant heel but now she seems to be amping it up to another level. She tried to mock Sane before the match but only earned herself a shoving. Borne would get some offense in, hitting a twisting Suplex and a few other moves before getting stopped by a DDT. Sane would dominate the rest of the match, winning with the Insane Elbow.
Sane couldn’t celebrate though as Shayna Baszler came out to alert the champ to the fact she was invoking her rematch clause. Sane accepted and said the match would happen at Evolution. This will be interesting as we get a rematch of the Mae Young Classic Final on the same show as this year’s Mae Young Classic Final. This is definitely going to be amazing showcase for those less in the know about NXT as these two women will burn the house down.
Tommaso Ciampa defeats Otis Dozovic via Draping DDT
Wow. This match was way better than it had any right to be. Otis Dozovic proved here that he can hang in the big leagues and put on a compelling singles match. Although it may not have been a title match, Dozovic treated the match as a proving ground and seemed to take great pleasure in throwing the champ around. This was also the most I have seen a crowd rally behind Otis with chants for him echoing every time he came back.
They really did play up the size and strength advantage as Ciampa struggled to deal with the power game of Otis. Most of his moves were countered and he had to resort to using the entrance ramp and other quick strikes to chop down Otis. Both men also kicked out of multiple moves that should have put them down. Otis managed to kick out of two running knees and tried to get up after a Draping DDT onto the apron. This set him up for a second that put him away for good. This was a great show of heart from Otis and who knows maybe one day he’ll branch out as a singles competitor. If he keeps putting on matches like that then I’ll support him.
So there we have it, another enjoyable week of WWE programming. NXT teased a lot of big upcoming matches and RAW has certainly built a lot of intrigue around what Dean Ambrose may do in the coming weeks. Story was definitely at the forefront of RAW and it was refreshing to have a thread to follow and something unpredictable for once. Smackdown has the MVP at the moment though in Becky Lynch. She has taken the heelish persona and run with it, turning herself into a brutal and cruel bully. Now we have to wait until next week to see what she’ll do next, whether Corbin will still have his job and the most important question of all… Just what happened on that one night in Milwaukee?
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