It’s that time of the week again. It’s time to talk about the big three WWE shows. This week was another mix of good, bad and weird as RAW managed to drag again, Smackdown provided an excellent main event and NXT was NXT. So without further ado let’s get on with breaking down these shows.
Constable Corbin Clobbered
Who doesn’t like seeing Baron Corbin getting smacked around a bit? He is one of my favourite parts of RAW but it was so satisfying to see his smug face beaten in by a combination of Roman Reigns and Finn Balor. He was put into a match with “the Big Dog” after running his mouth in the opening segment and once again insulting Kurt Angle. The match was fine but after taking a bit of punishment, Corbin tries to walk away. Finn appears on the ramp, causing Corbin to back off into a Superman Punch and Spear from Roman. Finn takes the ring after the match and delivers a Coup De Gras. It’s nice to see the constable getting some punishment after all his trash talking and his attitude backstage.
It’s also interesting to note that this is the second week in a row where the crowd appears to be more accepting of Roman. It may not last very long and it certainly has the potential to plummet back to boo-plex city if he gets the belt, but for now he seems to be finally winning the crowd. He has finally received booking and direction that is fitting of someone who should be “the guy.” If WWE stay on this path, he may finally get the reception the company so desperately wants.
A Roode Lesson for Rawley
Bobby Roode deserves better than this. The former NXT champion is floundering on RAW and has yet to reach the levels anyone had expected him to reach. This week saw him picking up a win over Mojo Rawley. This match was set up after weeks of Rawley disrespect and last week’s brawl. It was a decent enough match, Roode could put on a decent match with anyone, which saw Roode going over and teaching the brash and overconfident Rawley a lesson. This makes a nice point for Rawley’s character to either get bitter about the defeat and up the ante or accept defeat humbly and return to the undercard. Since both need something to do, it wouldn’t be too awful to see this feud continue.
Lashley won’t walk with Elias
So this is what a win over Roman Reigns nets you, a feud with Elias. Now there is nothing wrong with Elias, he is a fun and dependable heel capable of generating heat and putting on excellent matches. The problem is that this is a massive downgrade compared to being the honourable number one contender for the universal title. He had a fun segment with Elias this week, interrupting Elias’ documentary filming and using the crew to mock Elias. Elias tries to sneak attack Bobby but gets overpowered and is filmed eating the Stalling Suplex. This was another week of build up to an inevitable Summerslam match between the two.
Authors of Pain go 50/50
Why is this feud still continuing? It feels weird to see a team that picked up two straight and dominant wins suddenly go 50/50 in singles competition. This is the situation with the Authors of Pain and Titus Worldwide. Titus O Neil was in-ring this time fighting Rezar and ended up losing after a distraction from Akam and a spinebuster to finish him off. I guess Rezar’s singles finisher is a Spinebuster? Either way this felt like a filler match for a filler feud and not a strong showing for either team.
Lucky Jinder Strikes Again
WWE have attempted to imitate Jaws now. I say this as Braun toppled the stage with KO and Jinder from underneath after a couple of tension building pushes. This all happened because KO wanted to host the Kevin Owens show and brag about his and Jinder’s wins over Braun. KO wanted to remind the audience of all the ways he can beat Braun at Summerslam. This then descended into trying to get Jinder to fight Braun again. KO had somehow set up the match but Braun didn’t show up when his music played. Cue, the stage being thrown and Jinder being forced into another fight.
The fight itself wasn’t much of a fight as once again KO tried to interject himself. He once again stole the briefcase from the ring and tried to get Braun counted out. This backfired as Braun retrieved it and met the count. KO would try again and this time made it as far as the ramp where he started a tug of war. Jinder would try to get involved only to get clocked with the briefcase earning him a DQ win. Once again Braun loses and KO gets to further show how easy it is to steal Braun’s case.
Heyman deserves an Oscar
Wow, Paul Heyman can really act. This was a masterful promo done in such a different style to what we’re used to seeing from Heyman. He was in an interview with Renee Young where he looked dishevelled and depressed. He was expressing his sadness at Brock ignoring him and selling the shell-shock of the attack he suffered last week. He was in tears and seemed uncomfortable to be there, showing hostility towards Renee because he thought she was enjoying his state. During this section he would drop hints towards a potential turn as he put over how little hope Roman has of victory. This was until he said one word, “unless” then quickly left.
Still Don’t Care About the Tag Teams
RAW’s tag division is the worst. Not even the Revival can save it at the moment as it is hard to care about any team. There is so much talent in the division but it is purely an undercard at this point. Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy were excellent editions but even their spark is going out. The Deleters of Worlds remained relevant by replacing Dash Wilder and Curtis Axel on the apron near the end of a relatively entertaining match. It just doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to the interest levels. This whole feud reeks of pre-show and I am yet to see anything to bring it up.
This is just a little note to welcome back Ruby Riott from injury. She returned to help the Riott Squad pick up the win over the Boss and Hug Connection. It’s nice to see her back and hopefully she get to enter a high profile feud or potentially a title shot in the near future please.
Yet More Numbers Games
I love Seth Rollins, I love Drew McIntyre and yes I even love Dolph Ziggler but my god am I getting tired of the same match types now. The numbers game is apparent. The fact it’s always two on one is apparent. It’s been hammered into us time after time after time. Now they will always put on a good match and this was no exception but it’s getting too much. It’s the same week after week after week. The sad thing is that it is almost obviously leading to a predictable return. That return is Dean Ambrose coming back to even the odds. It may end up getting Seth the title or and I prefer this choice really, it’s a swerve and Dean joins in and attacks Seth for a DQ. Either way this is leading to Dean’s return which is something to be happy about.
Rousey on RAW
That main event of RAW was Ronda Rousey’s RAW debut. It was a short sweet affair where Ronda Rousey brutally beat up Alicia Fox. It didn’t need to be anything else really. This looked like it hurt at points but it was still entertaining to watch. Rousey is an amazing talent for her skill level. We still had the obligatory Alexa Bliss interference but this rarely had an impact on the match. After winning in dominant fashion, Rousey was being interviewed when Alexa tried to attack. This was easily countered and Bliss was sent scampering up the ramp with Rousey shouting a threat to her.
Definitely a Legend Killer
Randy Orton is on fire at the moment. His promos and actions have been some of the best we’ve seen from the Viper in years. He is dripping venom and intensity and the bitterness is clear to see. This feels like the veteran level evolution for the Legend Killer. He once again told the crowd he would kill their superheroes and their hope. He made sure to let the fans know that his actions were their fault. That the lack of respect he was being shown was the catalyst to his actions. it was another promo week that clearly showed more of Orton’s intentions and shone more light on his killer intentions.
Aiden Screws Up Again
Aiden English is a bad luck charm for Rusev day. He can’t seem to do anything right at the moment no matter what his intentions are. He was forgiven by Rusev and Lana but was barred from accompanying them to the ring for Lana’s rematch with Zelina Vega. Rusev was there to deal with Almas but couldn’t keep up with the interference. The two men brawl, bringing English out to try and help. The problem is he pushes the brawling pair into Lana as she tries to climb the turnbuckle. This causes Lana to fall and Vega to hit the double knees. She picks up another win and Aiden English messes up once again.
Seemingly on the same Page
So after her insertion into the Smackdown women’s title match, it was safe to say tensions were high between Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Flair has made the match a triple threat and may have actually cost Lynch the title. The two were tagging on the show against the IIconics and the big story going into it was if they’d turn on each other. They didn’t and after a bit of clunky tagging got the win after Charlotte hits the Figure Eight on Royce. They celebrate together and later make a half-hearted reference to Sasha and Bayley. This is going to break sooner or later. They will soon be at each other’s throats and no amount of tea will keep them together.
R-Truth is the Best
I never thought I’d be happy to see R Truth back in WWE. He is currently one of the funniest performers on Smackdown. He wanted to get a US Title match against Nakamura so challenged him during an interview. The problem was he thought he would have to pin Carmella to get it. Tye Dillenger was there to correct him and Nakamura insulted R Truth in Japanese. Truth somehow understood it (he didn’t) and demanded a match tonight. Nakamura obliged and it started quite competitively. R Truth got a flurry of offense and seemed to get the better of Nakamura for a bit. This was soon cancelled and Nakamura won the match with a Kinshasa. You tried R Truth and I hope to see a bit more of you on TV as you are hilarious.
AJ Fires Back
AJ Styles was back in his house this week. He came back to retort Joe’s statements and fire back. He brought his A game and was fuming about Joe making it personal. He tore into Joe and vowed that he wouldn’t walk out the champion and if he isn’t lucky, won’t walk out at all. It was a standard promo but the personality and fire carried it to the next level. All the while Joe just watches and laughs back stage. Even without lines, Joe can be menacing as hell to watch.
The Miz/Bryan just got hotter. The Miz was being interviewed from his Miz and Mrs set about Daniel Bryan. Once again Miz was tearing into Bryan over his attachment to Miz. He was also hyping up the Summerslam match between him and Bryan. Miz ran his mouth until Bryan attacks. He beats up the set security, attacks Miz and tries to keep beating on the security. Miz gets up and breaks a vase over Daniel Bryan. They walk out and Bryan is left in a pile of broken glass until he two gets up and walks off, once again beaten by the Miz.
This is how you do Tag Team Wrestling
RAW needs to watch this main event and take notes. The main event for Smackdown was the final of the tag team tournament. The bar and the New Day put on one of the best TV matches of the year. It was fast, fun and full of surprises. There was plenty of back and forth to give both teams a chance to shine. It was all being observed by the Bludgeon Brothers who had already squashed three jobbers that night. The New Day went over eventually winning with the Midnight Hour. It may be a shame to some to see the New Day get another title shot but we know we’re in for another exciting match. The Bar will get their time, maybe they’ll feud with Sanity for now?
Cross another One Out
I stole this from Mauro Ranallo. NXT opened with a match between Nikki Cross and a new face called Amber Nova. Nova appeared to be a jobber but actually got a lot of offense in and pushed Nikki to the limit. She was soon on the receiving end though as Nikki snapped and launched into her own offense. She would eventually hit the Purge and get the win. It is hard to say what is planned for Nikki Cross in the near future but they seem to be keeping her relevant to the NXT audience. It is hard not to expect a call up to the main roster in the near future though, she has appeared on Smackdown before and it makes sense for her to join her stablemates.
Ohno is not Impressed
Kassius Ohno came out to fight another new talent called Adrian Jaoude. This was another week of Ohno fighting and beating jobbers. Every time he does this he seems more and more annoyed and gets more and more aggressive. It is only a matter of time before he actually fully snaps and devastates someone. He is clearly feeling overlooked and is fed up with the lack of proper attention he is getting. This is a real slow burn story but it is ticking on and it is going to be exciting to see who he turns on and when. Ohno is a great talent and it is hard not to see him languishing in the roster even if it is intentional.
The Dream Experience
This was an odd segment. It was filmed like a reality show and was mostly a conversation between the Dream and ECIII. The segment took place in what was meant to be the Dream’s backyard. He had a pool and a bunch of sun loungers. ECIII appears and the two start semi trash talking. Tensions escalate and the segment ends with Dream being dunked in his own pool. This wasn’t an orthodox promo but it was fun to watch and I would not be averse to seeing more like this. it was certainly just a piece to push towards the Takeover match but it certainly was an effective way to do so. It’ll also be interesting to see what happens next week as the Dream is in action.
A Limitless Performer
Keith Lee made his NXT debut and it was excellent. He took on another debuting talent, Marcel Barthel. Marcel was a typical German heel but he got in some good offense and ended up accidentally starting a “nien” chant. This was a competitive match where both men ended up getting to show off with Keith revealing just a little bit of what he could do. He executed some strong forearms, a devastating double hand chop and ended the match with a thunderous Jack Hammer. It was a nice showing for both men and Keith Lee was popular with the Full Sail crowd. I can’t wait to see more of the Limitless one, especially when he busts out the high-flying moves.
Into the Classic
Vanessa Borne and Taynara Conti had a match to earn the last spot in the Mae Young Classic. This was a bit of a messy match but again it was relatively enjoyable. Both women were meant to be friends but seemed to have no problems tearing into each other. Borne seemed to have the upper hand for a lot of the match until Conti fired back and eventually won by reversing a crucifix into a kind of Black Hole/Boss Man slam type of move. It was an interesting finish and it’ll be nice to see if Conti goes very far in the tournament.
The Villain’s Plan Backfires
Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano would have had an unbelievable match. From the few minutes we got to see, the match was fast, furious and personal. It wasn’t allowed to go for long though as the Blackheart, Tomasso Ciampa, would come out to attack both men. This lead to a massive brawl between all three which seemed to have no end in sight. Ciampa once again earned his heel card as he cost the fans an excellent main event and gleefully loved dismantling Gargano and Black. The problem was, this brawl brought out William Regal who is sick of the fighting and made the Takeover title match a triple threat. Ciampa will now have to fight two competitors at Takeover meaning his plan here backfired. He now has to deal with the angry former champ and enter into another grudge match with his former tag partner. It’s going to be interesting to see the chaos unfold at Takeover.
It’s been another hit or miss week for WWE. NXT as always hits it out of the park with more match teasing and excellent matches to watch. Smackdown managed to stay strong putting on an excellent main event and delivering more build up to Summerslam. RAW once again is the weakest show. I don’t know if it is down to the length making it harder to watch or it’s the glaring faults in it’s divisions. The tag division is a sad joke and I want to see more people in the IC title scene. Drew, Dolph and Seth have clogged the belt for too long. All three men need something new. All we can do now is wait and see what next week brings.
image credit – WWE.com
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