Well it’s certainly been an interesting week in the world of WWE. We’ve had returns, betrayals and delusional promos to name but a few of the weird and wonderful talking points to cover. Once again we had a dragging three-hour RAW, a superb Smackdown and NXT will usually always kill it. Let’s not drag this out any longer and get on with it.
Is Brock Coming Out to Play?
The whole crux of RAW this week was if Brock Lesnar would bother to walk out to the ring or not. He was sat backstage reading magazines and bullying Paul Heyman for most of the show. He wasn’t meant to be doing this and his constant carefree attitude was getting to Kurt Angle. He issued an ultimatum to Heyman, get your client to the ring to address the universe or you’re fired. This would cause Paul to beg and plead with Brock. He would try to use money, story and eventually try to use their friendship to his advantage. This just infuriated Brock who reminded Heyman that they aren’t friends and criticised Heyman for leeching off him.
Eventually we get to the end of the show and Heyman hasn’t delivered. Kurt and Corbin are in the ring ready to fire him. Heyman goes through all the dramatics, begging for his job and clutching to Angle like a scolded child. All this eventually brings out Brock who basically lays out Kurt Angle with an F-5, stares down Corbin and then out of nowhere, tries to choke out Heyman. This was a shocking turn of events but could be foreshadowing to a Heyman betrayal and Brock being done with his mouth piece.
Burying the Product
One line can mean a lot. During one of Brock’s tantrum segments we hear him bury the WWE by saying he doesn’t watch the show. This seems harmless enough and is mainly just to make fans hate him more but is it really a good idea to sell disinterest to disinterested fans? If Brock can’t sit through three hours of RAW each week, despite being the champ, then why should we? It’s a big gamble for the sake of a story and could backfire. Especially since it will only really be used as a means of getting Roman over when he finally beats Brock. But hey at least we’ll get to see the red belt and the champion on a regular basis. Actually since we’ve mentioned him, he was really good this week. He seemed relaxed and his attitude worked well with the tense feel to the whole show. He also got an excellent shot on Baron Corbin as he left the arena.
Ronda Rousey was finally back from suspension. She wasn’t competing on the show but instead at ringside for a match between Natalya and Alicia Fox. She was in Natalya’s corner whilst Fox had Alexa Bliss watching her back. This would come to aid Fox as after a bit of surprisingly competitive action, Fox would lash out a Ronda and get a reaction. Bliss would then attack Natalya and help Fox get the win. Rousey then attacks Fox and lays her out. She tries to attack Bliss and is then beaten down by Fox. Now I get it was set up for Rousey’s first RAW match but it is really hard to believe that Alicia Fox could beat down the baddest woman on the planet, even attacking from behind. Ronda should have shaken off the attack and laid her out again.
Roode to Rawley
A small part of a large show set up one of the sadder feuds on Monday night RAW. We start with a shot of the backstage with Mojo Rawley running down the members of the roster in the locker room. This raises the ire of Bobby Roode who is still wound up about being name dropped last week. Bobby gets in Rawley’s face and the two start brawling. It was a short segment but it was effective at setting up a feud between the two. I just hope this doesn’t result in Rawley beating Roode as it would further cement Roode’s descent down the pecking order of RAW.
KO – Count Out Artist
KO was working to prove his point this week on RAW. What started as a match between Braun and Jinder breakdown into a chase sequence between Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman. KO ran out during the match and stole the MITB briefcase. This distracted Braun who left the ring in pursuit of the guy who had stolen his case. This lead to him getting counted out and losing to Jinder Mahal. It also goes to show one of the many ways KO can best Brock at their match for the MITB briefcase. It may have done very few favours for Braun but is a solid step forwards in the set up for their match at Summerslam.
A Revival of Sorts
The RAW tag team division isn’t as strong as it used to be. Despite having a wealth of talent it cannot seem to hold the levels of engagement the Smackdown tag team division can. One of the best teams on the division finally got some further recognition as the Revival got another win. This time over the former tag team champions. It was a good enough match but it all came about because both teams want to beat the B Team for the belts. It looks like the Deleter of Worlds are taking a back seat to the Revival. Hopefully we see the top guys take the belts and start getting the recognition they deserve.
AOP Doing the Job?
Oh how the kind of mighty have fallen. When AOP debuted it seemed like they might be used as competitors to the RAW tag team titles. They had been successful in NXT and were the type of guys the RAW roster was missing. A monster tag team that could obliterate people. The sad thing is they’re now losing to the likes of Apollo Crews. Now this isn’t a knock on Crews. He is incredibly talented and deserves the chance to go solo but right now he is borderline undercard and shouldn’t be picking wins up over the monsters that are AOP. Considering they’ve lost to AOP twice in tag team competition, why are they suddenly getting wins in singles competition?
Rollins vs the Numbers
We saw the continuation of Rollins vs Drew and Dolph this week. We got another match between Rollins and Drew that was once again broken up by Dolph interference. They both try to attack after the bell rings and Seth manages to beat the numbers. Later down the line, Seth is being interviewed and is jumped by them once again and laid out by them. The segment finishes with Seth beaten down and the deadly duo avenging the failed assault that happened earlier.
Return of the Queen
This week’s Smackdown was focused mainly on the Women’s title scene. It started with Becky Lynch delivering an impassioned promo about fighting to become a champion again and how she plans on being a champion again. This fired up the crowd and brought out Carmella who much like Becky delivered a promo of her own about not being considered as good as Becky and being jealous. She tries to offer a hand after saying she will do her best to burn the house down at Summerslam. We are then hit by Ellsworth’s music and Becky is ready to kick his ass. Carmella then attacks Becky from behind proving the promo was a ruse. This attack brings out Charlotte who makes the save and ends up setting a match against Carmella for the main event.
The main event itself was an excellent match. Carmella can put on a good match when she doesn’t have to rely on gimmicks. She was trying to use cheating tactics to get the upper hand and after it started to work she got overconfident. She would mockingly attempt the Figure Four on Charlotte only to have it reversed into the Figure Eight. Charlotte won and will now be added into the Summerslam match against Becky Lynch. She has come back and may potentially cost Becky her chance to be champion again.
Usos Barred From Entry
The Bar finally returned to action this week and got a win over the former tag champs to progress in the tournament. They had a fast paced, competitive match that was a lot of fun to watch. Despite not being seen on TV for what feels like forever, the Bar were still working well together and kept making the saves after one or the other was in a pin attempt. They eventually won after the Usos went for the double splash. Cesaro managed to hit an uppercut on one of the Usos before they could land and Sheamus would roll up the other for the win. That means we have the Bar vs The New Day next in the tag team tournament. The two teams got into a bit of a verbal altercation after the bell.
Lana Day Falls to Vega
Much like Rusev fell to Almas last week after a distraction, Lana fell the same way this week. After a somewhat clumsy match between the two, Almas would start trying to interject himself in the match and distract Lana. He would hop onto the apron multiple times as Lana would go for a big move. This brought out Aiden English who attacked Almas. Unfortunately this would backfire on English as this also distracted Lana allowing Vega to get a rollup and handful of tights for the win.
Later in the night English would once again try to apologise for his actions backfiring but Lana was having none of it and English would flee before Rusev could also get involved. Lana would then admonish Rusev for not being in her corner when she needed him. The breakup of Rusev day is now starting to seem inevitable as English seems to be costing both Lana and Rusev wins.
The Power of the Promo
This week’s Smackdown saw two amazing promos. The first was Samoa Joe cutting into AJ Styles. He would start by respecting AJ for his hard work and the prestige he has brought to the belt. He would then however shift gears and talk about how AJ’s hard work was making him a terrible father and how he never sees his kids. Joe then said that when he takes the belt from AJ his family would finally see him again as he would no longer have to defend the belt. Joe is one of the best guys on the mic and this was another example of that. His delivery is the most intimidating and intense out of anyone else on the mic.
The second saw Miz and Bryan attack one another verbally. Bryan was in the ring talking about Miz needing a safety net to avoid fighting Bryan. He was attacking his cowardly nature and the situation that happened last week. Miz of course wasn’t in the arena and appeared on the titantron to retort. He attacked Bryan for riding on Miz’s coattails since their days in NXT. He advised Bryan to let his contract run out and stop trying to fight him because Bryan is no longer relevant. Bryan laid down the gauntlet to Miz for Summerslam but no match was confirmed just yet. These two have amazing chemistry and I can’t wait to see them meet in ring.
Jeff Hardy is the most unlucky man on Smackdown at the moment (well besides Aiden English.) He is always being attacked by someone. He called out Orton after his attacks on him and wanted to fight. Orton obliges slowly sauntering down the ramp but then the camera cuts to behind Jeff and Nakamura attacks. He levels Jeff with strikes and about to hit the Kinshasa when Orton stands in front of him preventing the move. He would stare down Nakamura and eventually move allowing Nakamura to hit the move and then leave the ring. After that Orton once again went to beating the ever loving hell out of Hardy. We have hangman DDT’s, strikes and it all ends with Orton washing off Hardy’s face paint and stealing his pendent. This has to either go somewhere or write Hardy out. He has been obliterated for the past few weeks now.
Heavy Vengeance with some Help
The Mighty are not particularly popular in the NXT locker room. They’ve been beaten by War Raiders, now they’ve also been beaten by Heavy Machinery. They were against the steaks and weights enthusiasts to open NXT this week and they were going strong. As the Mighty appeared to have the upper hand, the Street Profits appear in the crowd and start a party. This throws the Mighty off and allows Heavy Machinery to hit their finisher for the win. They finally get revenge and we look to be heading into a Mighty vs Street Profits programme.
Returning to the Top of the Mountain
Moustache Mountain were also in action last night. They destroyed a couple of unfortunate looking jobbers and took to the mics to throw down their rematch clause for the next Takeover. They were fired up and the crowd were behind them. Trent Seven was especially vicious during the match, possibly feeling he has something to prove after Tyler had to throw in the towel for their title defence. The other MM news was them encountering War Raiders later on in the show and having a minor confrontation where they reminded Moustache Mountain of their title intentions. Before things could get too intense War Raiders walked off and Moustache Mountain went back to focusing on Undisputed Era.
Not the Finest
Kona Reeves got knocked down a peg last night. After challenging EC3 last week to a match, he had a one on one encounter with the one percenter and lost. Even after some Velveteen Dream interference Reeves couldn’t finish EC3. It looked like he would be in charge of the fight until EC3 came back, got interrupted and then kicked out of the Hawaiian Drop. He would hit his finish and win. It was later announced that EC3 will be fighting Velveteen Dream at Takeover. It should also be noted that the Dream’s interference was to invite EC3 to experience the dream and talk about the Albert Hall problems. Regal addressed this during his announcement saying that even if EC3 doesn’t accept Dream’s invitation the match will go ahead.
Almost an Upset
Candice LeRae almost beat Shayna Baszler this week. She took the champion to her limits, avoiding the Kirifuda Clutch multiple times and mounting one of the best comebacks seen since Dakota Kai’s. This was a rematch from the Mae Young classic after she lost to Baszler and was attacked after the match. This could be seen at multiple times as there was a personal feel to the match and multiple spots that were done again to show LeRae had learned from the previous match. Once again LeRae lost and was attacked after the match. Kairi Sane came out for the save, got attacked too and was held back by some refs after trying to fight back. Shayna certainly has a lot of enemies and her bullying persona is really making crowds root against her.
Ciampa the Delusional
Speaking of excellent heels, Ciampa closed the show this week. He came out to a chorus of boos, insults and multiple agitated fans. He just drank it up and smiled at them all. He had the belt; he didn’t care what anyone thought. He would then talk to the belt and address himself as the best sports entertainer on the WWE. He was acting like a power mad king even they he only won through Gargano’s interference. After a bit more trash talking, Aleister Black came out to the ring. Before he is even halfway down the ramp though, Gargano runs past him and attacks Ciampa, driving him out of the ring and into the unfriendly territory of the crowd. Gargano grabs a mic and reminds Ciampa he only has the belt because of him. By now Black is in the ring and as Gargano finishes speaking, Black hits him with the Black Mass knocking him out. He sits down next to him, picks up the mic and repeats what Gargano just said. Aleister Black is clearly not happy with how his match ended.
It’s been a big week for WWE. We were reminded Brock existed and saw him turn on his only ally in the company. We learned of new Takeover matches, with EC3 getting a shot at Velveteen Dream and Ricochet getting a shot at the North American Title. We have excitement to look forward to next week too as we’ll finally see Keith Lee debut on NXT which is guaranteed to be amazing. The one criticism I have is that we really need to see the RAW tag division improve; it’s the low point of a long show. The Revival are the saviours of that division and they are still treated like a comedy act. We’ll see next week if it’s better
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