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Strong start ends with a weak finish for Stomping Grounds

WWE’s Stomping Grounds had a weak build up, but manage to pull off a better than expected PPV. Title changes, big pop for hometown favorite, innovating escape, and a predictable main event. See what went down on our recap of Stomping Grounds from Tacoma, Washington! 

Pre Show greatness. A bland start. A match we didn’t know we wanted.

Drew Gulak vs Akira Tozowa vs Tony Nese for the Cruiserweight Title. Drew Gulak wins via Torture Rack Neck Breaker  pin fall.

Wow what a way to start off a PPV, but alas it’s on the pre-show. Both Nese and Akira played to their strengths as the quick high flyer’s and Gulak as the bigger, stronger opponent. With a combination of acrobatics and stiff style shots the trio put on a clinic great wrestling. The spots were great. Like Tozowa hitting a Senton off the ropes breaking Gulak’s submission hold on Nese and Drew using Tozowa as a weapon to take out Nese. In the end, Gulak hits the Rack to Neck Breaker combo on Akira Tozowa to become the newest Cruiserweight Champion. Great match!


Becky Lynch vs Lacey Evans for the Raw Women’s Championship. Becky Lynch wins via Dis-Arm-Her submission.

In a match that has later implications, The Man takes it to Lacey Evans. With the crowd bored and knowing the outcome, we are treated with a paint by numbers match. While Lacey is great on the Mic, she needs to have more experience in the ring. Becky did well in carrying the match and Lacey provided a spot that solidifies her entertainment angle. As she takes a sweat soaked handkerchief and tosses in Becky’s face. But Lynch catches it and applies the Mandible Claw (Mankind/Nick Foley shout out), then taps her out with the Dis-Arm-Her. Lacey immediately tapped Super John Cena style, like his Super days with the STFO.

Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn vs New Day’s Big E/Xavier Wood. Zayn/Owens win via KO Stunner pin fall.

I honestly thought this match was going to be phoned in. However, Big E looked like he couldn’t wait to get the ring following his injury and it showed. The match started with the heels totally Woods. The New Day member ate multiple Super Kicks, a Frog Splash, and  Zayn’s Blue Thunder Bomb. Eventually Woods hot tags Big E and it was a was fiery as The muscle of New Day goes off.  Xavier gets on the using your friend as a weapon theme and Electric Chair Drops Big E on Sami! Later, Big E hits a Spear on Zayn though the ropes taking them both out. Woods on the top rope is knocked off by Owens and Kevin hits the KO Stunner for the pin fall. Solid match.

New Champion. Hometown hero pop. A Fiery Hugger.

Ricochet vs Samoa Joe for the U.S Championship. Ricochet wins via 630 SPlash pin fall.

Huh? Samoa Joe loses the title right after he got it? Well, yep that’s what happened and it seems that Joe was just a transition champ due to Rey Mysterio’s injury. The performance was just as expected, Joe beating Ricochet from turnbuckle to turnbuckle. Ricochet utilizes his superhero like agility to keep in the match. Escaping the Coquina Clutch and flipping out of a massive clothesline from Joe like a jungle cat. Ricochet then lands his 630 Splash and scores his first main roster title.

After the match, Ricochet is congratulated back stage by the locker room. The camera then pans to HHH and the fan favorite to run WWE gives a hug to one his proteges. Ricochet then his obligatory photo shoot with the title and in walks Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson aka The Club. AJ Styles follows in and tells Ricochet he and The Club will see him on Monday Night Raw.

Daniel Bryan/Rowan vs Heavy Machinery for the SDL Tag Team Championship. Daniel Bryan wins via Small Package roll up.

The crowd was hot for their hometown boy, even booing babyface Otis as he took on Bryan. After propping Bryan in a Stalling Suplex. Tucker is tagged in and the duo swap duties in suspending Daniel in the air, Tucker finally drops him. After Rowan is tagged in and works over Tucker, who displayed amazing athleticism for a guy his size. Tucker attempt Moonsaults and over the top rop splashes, even Otis shined catching Rowan in mid air and a Power Slam. With Heavy Machinary now in charge, Otis hits a Caterpillar and after Tucker taking out Rowan. Daniel Bryan seizes the moment rolls up Tucker in the Small Package.

Bayley vs Alexa Bliss for the SDL Women’s Championship. Bayley retains via Bayley to Belly Suplex pin fall.

Alexa with Nikki Cross in her corner took control of the match. Fierce slaps and sending Bayley face first into a turnbuckle sends a message to Bayley. However, the Hugger’s new aggression awakens and she gains control. Nikki Cross distracts Bayley long enough for Bliss to send her shoulder first on a ring post. The Goddess then focuses on the shoulder and the two trade Sunset Flip Bombs to each other. Alexa in control goes for the Twisted Bliss after Nikki distracts the ref, giving time for Bayley to raise her knees for a counter. The Hugger then hits the Bayley to Belly Suplex for the pin fall and walks up the ramp talking trash to the duo.

Vince type booking. Steel Cage match. Special Ref announced.

Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre. Roman wins via Spear pin fall.

Stop me if you heard this before. Two big guys slug it out, interference ensues, the hero overcomes. Yep, this is where the show takes a dive. Don’t get me wrong the two displayed impressive spots throughout the match. Including Drew hitting an Alabamaslama on Roman on the annoucer’s table. Shane gets involved and hits his Coast to Coast, but Roman kicks out. The Big Dog rallys with his Superman Punch and Spear for the pin fall. These two deserve better.

Kofi Kingston vs Dolph Ziggler in a Steel Cage for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. Kofi wins via diving cage escape.

Well for the 100th (sarcasm) time Dolph and Kofi face off. This time it’s the era of Kingston, so momentum is on Kofi’s side. The two made best of the recent bout, going back and forth with escape teases early on. Later with Kofi in charge, he goes for the Trouble in Paradise. Ziggler dodges and Kofi tweaks his knee. The Showoff smells blood in the water and targets the injured knee. Kofi escapes the knee bar by climbing the ropes to ease the pressure. Dolph then hits a Super Kick, it connected so hard that Kofi almost rolled out the cage door. Things pick up again as the two trade counters, ending with Dolph hitting the Zig Zag. Dolph crawls towards the door attempting to escape. However, Kofi always being the innovator runs towards the door, soars thru the ropes and over Ziggler to hit the mat first. Well, that was very cool.

Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin with Special Guest Referee for Universal Championship. Rollins retains via Curb Stomp pin fall.

And the special guest ref is…. Lacey Evans. As I groaned initially, the choice actually became clear. Seth wouldn’t bash a lady (with class) with a steel chair and Lacey just lost to Seth’s girlfriend earlier in the night. Evans officiated the match in true old school heel style. Giving Corbin quick counts and Rollins slow counts. When Baron was about to be counted out from a table busting Power Bomb, Lacey changes the rules to “No Count Outs”. Later she does it again to “No Disqualifications” in a attempt to aid Corbin. Lacey then has had enough and delivers a low blow to Rollins and Baron hits the End Of Days.

This prompts Becky Lynch to storm the ring and viciously attack Lacey. Don’t touch Becky’s man is the lesson taught to Evans, as Lynch hits the Beck-sploader on her outside the ring. Baron goes for another End of Days, but Rollins counters with a Supper Kick and follows up with a Curb Stomp to retain. The whole reveal was clever for WWE standards and made the power couple canon in the WWE Universe. Just please don’t give us a Rollins/Lynch vs Corbin/Evans match.

Low expectations made for great results.

Ask anybody, initially no one cared about this PPV. What we got was a nice surprise, even with the sub par main events. The show kicked with straight fire and excitement, I was caught off guard and enjoyed every second of it. But alas, things slowly reverted back to the WWE of present and played it safe. Did WWE finally understand their faults and give us great entertainment? We’ll see, but this PPV was actually refreshing for a change. Let us know what you thought. Were you surprised as I was?

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