It’s been a wild week in WWE. We’ve had new champions, new PPV’s and new attitudes. A very positive week I want to say for all shows. RAW seemed to be a bit of a groundhog day but even then it was more entertaining than last week and obviously we had Steph’s big announcement. Let’s get breaking down these shows.
Evolution now has a new meaning for WWE. Steph started the show, accompanied by her husband and father in the ring, by announcing the first ever WWE women’s only PPV Evolution. This will be a full PPV that will see all women’s titles defended and will feature the finals of the Mae Young Classic. There are already some big names set to take place and with WWE reporting that at least 50 women will be taking place. The event will take place in October in New York. A big and bold way to open the show and some excellent news to hear on the women’s revolution. The only downside is that this feels slightly cynical given the fact we’re still getting over the Greatest Royal Rumble. The other oddity was the fact that the speech seemed more focused on making it about the fans causing this instead of the WWE women’s performers who have worked their asses off for recognition. The announcement is excellent, the way they announced it was a bit broken (and not in the Matt Hardy way.)
Back on the Same Page?
Carrying on the women’s wrestling theme, let’s look at the most confusing feud on WWE Sasha and Bayley. Once again it appears WWE aren’t quite sure how they want to take this feud and this week saw the former best friends teaming up again to squash some jobbers. Both women seemed happy to be teaming and won in fairly short order. They even hugged it out in the ring afterwards. This would be nice had it not felt awkward and had it not come so quickly after their explosive break up and failed therapy. Again it is gonna be interesting to see what they do with this but so far it seems WWE are playing it safe.
Kevin Owens: Ultimate Opportunist
Kevin Owens is still one of the best wrestlers on RAW. He is one of the few people who could be thrown off a cage on PPV and turn it into a perfect opportunity to benefit. After Braun took to the ring to drop a promo about being the monster in the bank, KO interrupts him and talks about the consequences he will face for trying to kill him. This brings out a fun moment where Jinder and Sunil Singh get destroyed by Braun for trying to teach him inner peace and anger control.
Backstage, KO is with Steph and is trying to set up another match with Braun on the condition that if Braun loses, in any way at all, then KO will get his Money in the Bank briefcase. Steph accepts and we face the real possibility that KO could soon be Mr Money in the Bank.
Elias: Live and Interrupted
Elias couldn’t catch a break this week. He has a new album out, which is really good surprisingly, and was debating singing to the audience. Every time he tries to sing, he is interrupted and is left inwardly seething as the people interrupting are way too big to fight with. Either way this seems like an easy way to put him into any feud as he is getting more and more annoyed at being overlooked. Especially since he now has an EP out.
Repetition is the Flavour of the Show
There were so many segments repeated from recent weeks in this week’s RAW. We had another match between Rawley and Breeze, we saw Ember Moon beat Liv Morgan again, AOP and Titus Worldwide got into it again and as much as I would love seeing more between Seth and Finn as a team, there was more funny business between Drew, Dolph and Seth. They put on two excellent matches since Finn and Drew and fought then when Dolph started attacking Finn, Seth made the save. Cue tag match which was a lot of fun to watch but once again just felt like a time killer. The face team get the win and the show goes on.
The other big repeat was the rematch of Bobby and Roman. It is hard to say whether this was a better match than Extreme Rules as both matches were fairly hard to watch. The big problem is Roman got another win. This cancels out all the hype Bobby built up by beating Roman at Extreme Rules. What was the point of giving Bobby a win to take it away again instantly? This means we will now see Reigns vs Brock yet again at Summerslam. Maybe he’ll win this time and we can finally move on to something else.
Tag Team Triumph
The B Team are still your RAW tag team champions. Once again they stumbled into another victory against the former tag team champions. The Deleters of Worlds were on the offensive for a lot of the match and would have probably won the match had Bray not accidentally turned a Matt pin into an Axel pin. This fluke win keeps the belts on the B Team and finally saw Bray and Matt lose their niceties and finally beat down the B Team. This feud isn’t over but it might finally go somewhere since the Deleters of Worlds finally have some fire.
Fan Favourite Killer
Randy Orton is full heel. A jaded, bitter veteran sick of seeing people take fan credit and opportunities from the table he has provided them. He has come back to take out Jeff Hardy, one of the crowd’s favourites, and will make sure he never wrestles again. He also took aim at his legacy, his merch and attacked both current WWE wrestlers and some indie stars. Orton’s delivery was quite chilling, he seemed cold and angry and true to his words. This is a new Orton and he is going to come after the ones the fans love. There wasn’t much more to this, but what we got was very damn good.
Rusev Day to El Idolo
Almas is finally entering the Smackdown big leagues. He took on Styles last week and lost. This week he took on Rusev and won. It was an excellent match and took advantage of another ongoing situation to give Almas a solid win. Zelina Vega used the ongoing arguments between Lana and Aiden English to cause a distraction and throw Rusev off his game. This gave Almas the chance to hit the Hammerlock DDT for the win. This is a very solid win for Almas as he has beaten the man who almost beat AJ Styles. It also adds to the breakup of Rusev Day as both Aiden English and Lana cost Rusev the win.
The Long Road Back
Asuka needs a rebuild. She has been made a joke by the recent feud with Carmella. She was made to look ineffectual, idiotic and easily distracted. Now WWE are in the slow process of trying to regain her credibility. She basically destroyed Billie Kay as a means to gain some of this back. Asuka brutalised Royce and Kay with kicks and knocked out Kay in quick fashion. It may have been short but we got a small glimpse of the Asuka we saw in NXT. Maybe just maybe there is hope for the Empress of Tomorrow.
Ellsworth has Left the Building
He is gone again. James Ellsworth has been fired from WWE again courtesy of Paige. The chinless one was literally kicked out of the building by Paige after he tried to insert himself into the AJ Styles title match. He would then insult Paige when she laughed off his proposition and his credibility as an opponent, even if he does have three wins over the champ. Ellsworth would regret those words though as Paige called security and had him escorted out of the building and out of the company. It is hard to determine if this is the last we’ll see of Ellsworth as he’s returned before and could easily weasel his way back in again.
Becky is going to Summerslam
Since Ellsworth got himself kicked out of the company, Carmella was on her own for her match against Becky Lynch. She tried to pull off every cheating tactic in the book to gain the win but came up short. Becky eventually tapped out Carmella with the Disarm-her to book her ticket to Summerslam and her potential second title reign as the Smackdown Women’s champion. This has been a really nice way to give Becky another shot at the title. She has beaten all competition and now has beaten the champ in a non-title match. Next stop is Summerslam where she should take the title from Mella.
AJ’s Opponent Is…
So we know who AJ’s next opponent is. So after Ellsworth interrupted the contract fanfare, AJ was left in the ring awaiting the announcement of his opponent. It is then that he is attacked from behind by Samoa Joe and choked out with the Coquina Clutch. Joe gets up and signs his name on the contract, making himself the Summerslam opponent of AJ Styles. This is going to be a fun feud to build up as they have done excellent work in the past and we know what Joe and Styles can do in marquee matches. Plus it’s going to be interesting to see how both men interact with each other now they know they are opponents.
So the big thread of Smackdown was the Miz hyping up the premiere of Miz and Mrs. His big moment was later in the night where he was throwing his premiere party and had his baby with him. She was strapped to his chest and Miz was using her as a means to insult Daniel Bryan as he claimed that his baby had done more now than Bryan has since his return. Bryan messes with the promo reel for the show. Bryan comes out and destroys the Miz’s security and gets in the ring. Miz unstraps the baby and throws it at Bryan who in a state of bewilderment catches it. The baby was a doll and Daniel has been fooled. Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale and runs down Bryan some more and runs down Cincinnati. This ends the show and further slowly stokes the fires of Miz vs Bryan.
Surrounded on All Sides
NXT started with Adam Cole vs Sean Maluta. It was a quick affair that saw Cole get the win by hitting a Superkick and the Last Shot. The match ends and Cole starts talking about being an opportunity maker. This brings out Ricochet who runs down Cole, calling him a coward and trying to set up a match for the title at NXT Takeover. Cole refuses and leaves the ring, throwing barbs at Ricochet and is joined by his fellow stablemates. Now that the numbers are in his favour, he makes his way back towards the ring with the intention to hurt Ricochet.
They are then interrupted by War Raiders who clearly want a shot at those NXT Tag Titles. They scare the Undisputed Era who attempt to flee through the side exit near the crowd. As they are backing up towards the exit, they bump into Moustache Mountain who attack them for a bit and send the Undisputed Era running.
So here we saw the setup for two matches. The potential opponents for the Tag Titles in War Raiders, who have blazed a trail through the tag division and Moustache Mountain, who are due a rematch at those belts. This could mean either a triple threat tag match or some form of decider between the two contender teams. The other potential match is Adam Cole vs Ricochet. This would be amazing and is most likely going to be set up as a match by William Regal. These are some amazing prospects for Takeover.
Fade to Blackheart
This was a surprise. In my honest opinion, I didn’t even expect a match. I expected a repeat of how Ciampa cost Gargano his match at the NXT Title by attacking him before the match. Instead we got a full, competitive and well executed match full of tension and near falls. Both men gave the other everything they had. There were ref bumps and eventually Ciampa tried to resort to heel tactics to win but couldn’t keep the champ down. Whilst the ref is down, Gargano tries to interfere and stop Ciampa from using the belt as a weapon. Instead of saving Black, Gargano costs Black the belt by hitting him with it accidentally. Ciampa hits the finisher and is your new champion. The crowd is distraught, shock and horror and outrage span the arena.
So we have the ultimate heel as NXT Champion. Thanks to Johnny Gargano he hasn’t beaten Black and now has the ultimate prize. This also gives Black his first singles loss. He has played a part in a larger overarching feud that now gives Gargano/Ciampa a belt to feud over too. It may be unfortunate to end Black’s reign before a Takeover but again we see the benefits as titles can once again change on NXT TV.
So we have some interesting prospects going forward with WWE TV. We’re starting to see the inklings of a Miz/Bryan feud, we have Joe as the number one contender for the WWE Title and we have an interesting tandem for Finn and Seth that probably won’t last. Black has lost his belt to Ciampa which leads to some tension in the NXT ranks as heels hold all three belts. No one is going to root for the title holder anymore as Ciampa holds it and just how is Black going to react to Gargano? We also have to look forward to another Roman vs Brock match. It is possible that either Bobby or KO will have something to stop this but until next week, we won’t know. Let’s hope something interesting happens in the Universal title scene soon.
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