It’s a big week for WWE. We are past Stomping Grounds and NXT has the first round of its Breakout Tournament to start. On paper it should be a fun week, in practice not so much. The more time passes the more things stay the same apparently so buckle up for more Dolph Ziggler and an excess of 2 out of 3 falls matches. However, NXT may have saved the week. Let’s get into it.
– The show opens with Roman Reigns being saved by Undertaker after Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre beat him down. They now have a tag match at Extreme Rules. This should be in aid of a Taker/Drew programme.
– Corbin and Evans are now a team set to take on Rollins and Lynch in a mixed tag match at Extreme Rules match following this segment where both pairs mixed it up in ring and decided to fight it out under winner takes all rules.
– New Day & The Usos defeat Rowan, Daniel Bryan & The Revival via Uso Splash.
– R Truth defeats a begging Drake Maverick then during a match between Mojo Rawley and Heath Slater the 24/7 belt changes hands multiple times as Heath Slater, Cedric Alexander and EC3 have also had 24/7 title reigns. R Truth gets the belt back from EC3 and flees.
– The Viking Raiders defeat Gallows & Anderson via Thor’s Hammer.
– Braun Strowman defeats Bobby Lashley in a tug of war, then the two brawl for a bit.
– Kofi Kingston defeats Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in separate matches winning by Roll Up and Count out. He can’t celebrate though as Samoa Joe attacks him from behind, laying him out. He now has a title match at Extreme Rules.
– Alexa Bliss defeats Naomi via DDT.
– AJ Styles defeats Ricochet via Phenomenal Forearm. It’s not exactly a good look for the US Champ to lose the night after he wins the title but since it’s Styles I will give it a pass. This is probably to make AJ look good ahead of the Japan shows.
– Dolph Ziggler complains about losing again. He continues to try and state why he should be champion then lays out that he and Kofi will have a 2 out of 3 falls match that will get him into the title match at Extreme Rules if he wins. Kofi wins the match and Ziggler is finally out of the title scene for now. I can’t be too harsh as the main event match was relatively fun and held a lot of tension since a Ziggler win would mean there’d be yet another title match with him in. That thought should scare almost everyone. Ziggler is a great wrestler but his bitter heel persona comes of as whiny and no one wants to see him wrestle like this.
– Miz and Elias have a 2 out of 3 falls match to determine if Miz gets another shot at Shane. He loses because of Shane interference. That is all. I’m happy Elias is getting wins but I hate that it’s as a Shane McMahon’s lackey.
– The New Day vs Daniel Bryan and Rowan sees New Day win with Midnight Hour but interference from Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn sees a new match made. It’s now Heavy Machinery & New Day taking on Bryan & Rowan and Owens & Zayn. Heavy Machinery win the match with a Compactor to Zayn. It seems that win at Stomping Grounds meant nothing.
– Shinsuke Nakamura confronts Finn Balor. They will most likely have a match in Japan.
– Sonya Deville defeats Ember Moon via Ring post Shot due to distraction. They then tease some “tension” between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. I’m all for this type of angle as long as it’s tastefully done and maturely handled. LGBTQ themes are always welcome as long as they aren’t done as stereotypes. Since Sonya Deville is WWE’s first open lesbian star, I expect she’ll see the storyline done well if it actually happens.
– Nikki Cross defeats Bayley via Roll Up earning her friend Alexa Bliss another shot at the SmackDown Women’s title. I would just like to clarify that Alexa is a RAW superstar. Why is she getting two shots at the SmackDown title? Shouldn’t she be trying to muscle in on Becky’s territory.
– Angel Garza (Garza Jr) defeats Joaquin Wilde (DJZ) via Butterfly Stunner after an excellent fast and fun match. Both men looked like stars in their first televised NXT match.
– Street Profits defeat Forgotten Sons via DQ. They make the match a title match and are saved by Lorcan and Burch when the Forgotten Sons try to attack and Ryker gets involved. Lorcan and Burch deliberate on giving back the titles after making the save and Burch says “you owe us.” Title match will no doubt happen soon.
– Keith Lee defeats Nykos Rikos via Limit Breaker. This match was over in a minute.
– Shayna Baszler defeats Io Shirai via fall out of the cage door. An insane match here as both women went all out with a little help from their friends, well former friends. After the match Shirai went full on heel, turning on Candice LeRae and levelling her with strikes and appearing to come to her senses. That didn’t last as she then laid waste to LeRae with a steel chair. This was completely unprovoked as Baszler only won because Shirai hit her with the cage door. Shirai left to a chorus of boos as she shouted back in Japanese, claiming she didn’t need friends.
So that is that, another week summarised. There are some signs of improvement from WWE but the reliance on the same tired storylines means that the product feels like it’s going wrong. They seem to be doubling down on Shane McMahon, ignoring a lot of the main roster members and making the 24/7 division more entertaining by default. NXT was excellent since it is introducing new stars and giving us interesting match ups or adding stakes to existing feuds. I know the 2 out of 3 falls stipulation is being rolled out more to suit Vince’s no wrestling during ad breaks rule but it’s already failing as no one wants to see those kinds of matches multiple times a week. I look forward to more from NXT as the Breakout Tournament continues and we see what comes of Shirai’s heel turn. As for the main roster, it needs to work harder to keep me interested, which hurts me to say.