This week in wrestling featured a bulid up to Clash Of Champions. Did WWE legends appearances help the shows? Can Raw keep the streak of being a good show up? Will Smackdown Live continue to flounder? Does NXT shine again? The last question is almost a yes every week. Let’s dive in to the week in wrestling!
The Garden is home to this week’s Raw, as we had many great moments from the legendary MSG on 9/9/19 in New York City.
The Rattlesnake arrives.
“The Rattlesnake” Steve Austin fulfilled his social media promise. He successfully mediated the contract signing for the Universal Title match between Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman.
They put pen to paper and were once again interrupted by the OC. US Champion, AJ Styles, probably lived out a lifelong dream as he received a Stone Cold Stunner for his mouthy efforts before Austin got to a couple of cold ones.
He then faced Cedric Alexander in a non-title match which he lost via DQ after interference from the Club. The odds were shockingly evened by The War Raiders of all people. Erik and Ivar took their liberties with the former “Club”, and perhaps we’ll have a match between Gallows and Anderson and the Raiders as early as this Sunday, we shall see.
Four Horsewomen battle.
Sasha Banks and Smackdown Women’s Champion, Bayley, had comments about their opponent this Sunday on PPV, and the team they will face later tonight, Charlotte Flair, and Raw Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch. The latter team was shown getting dressed for their match later.
Roman Reigns made an appearance to promote Children’s Pediatric Cancer awareness month and it was a great segment. He highlighted his own battles with Leukemia, while promoting a great cause in front of New York fans.
Both teams were getting along great until Charlotte escaped the Banks Statement and applied the Figure Eight. Bayley looked for interference and she was about to find herself trapped in the Disarmher, but she threw Lynch into Charlotte. After a break, the end came after Charlotte capitalized on a mistake and pinned Bayley, semi-shocking because it was unexpected.
Smart booking should see Bayley retaining and Banks perhaps dethroning Lynch, but we shall see this Sunday.
A Lucha fan’s dream match. KOR match.
Rey Mysterio and Gran Metallik tore the house down in the veteran’s return to the ring. Mysterio and Metallik gave an honest account of themselves and Mysterio secured the victory with a top rope splash to put away the Lucha House Party star.
Despite an absolutely incredible match, the wind seemed to be sucked out of the “King Of The Ring” sails after Baron Corbin took the victory right out of the grasp of Ricochet’s hands. He had hit the 630 splash on Joe and Corbin tossed Ricochet into the front row and pinned Joe. The match was sensational and all three men put in a hard day’s work inside the squared circle.
Fans had very high hopes for the final, perhaps seeing Joe and Andrade, or Ricochet and Ali, but we’ve got a scenario that’ll see Corbin against either Elias or a Chad Gable that is sensational, but far from ready for a mainstream program, as they look to rebuild his image they’ve ruined in recent months. “King Corbin” seems to be the logical choice for a proper heel, but the crowd was not a fan of this booking decision.
Queen of the Sharshooter. 24/7 title changes. Firefly Funhouse.
Lacey Evans and Natalya did business once again this week and after Evans seized a victory from the veteran following underhanded tactics last week, Natalya made Evans tap out this week with the Sharpshooter.
“Firefly Fun House” comes to us after the break before a ten man tag main event that pits The OC, Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler against Cedric Alexander, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman and The Viking Raiders.
Former NY Knick Enes Kanter defeated R-Truth earlier in the night for the 24/7 title, but was quickly rolled up, proving the big man still can’t play defense, no matter what sport he’s involved with. R-Truth is a fifteen time champion now.
Bray Wyatt fixed a 3:16 clock for Abby The Witch on “Firefly Fun House”, and it said 11:19, which as I learned from a Scrum cohort, is the week before the Survivor Series. He warned Steve Austin before talking about Hell in The Cell and The Fiend again. Pacing is key going forward with his tremendous character.
The main event was a fitting ending to a fine show for New York fans. Every single athlete involved saw their spots utilized and stories progressed as it was Cedric Alexander pinning AJ Styles following the Lumbar Check for the victory to advance their forthcoming US Title feud. “Stone Cold” was back to close the show out with a couple of Steve-weisers for all the faces as the toast ended the night on a high note.–Joel Resser
The second show in Madison Square Garden featured The Undertaker, a brilliant spot for Erick Rowan, the final competitor for KOR, and Kofi/Orton build up.
The Deadman slameth. Shinsuke gold. Bad writing.
Undertaker opens the show and talks about the souls he collected at MSG. The fans wanted The Fiend to show up, but got Sami Zayn. Sami asks Taker to leave and let the new stars like himself shine. The Deadman Chokeslams Zayn. Mind you this took 18mins of TV time and was nothing but a ratings ploy. What a waste.
Miz vs Andrade. Miz wins via Skull Crushing Finale pin fall.
This match was ok, but what really made it entertaining was not the in ring action. It was Shinsuke Nakamura commenting at ring side. Yes, you read that right. Shinsuke only spoke in his native language. Answering Byron Saxton’s questions in Japanese while Corey Graves agreeing with Nakamura blindly was hilarious. It also proves that Shinsuke can work without a mouthpiece like Sami Zayn. After the match Nakamura hits two Kinshasas leading up to their match on Sunday.
Nikki Cross vs Mandy Rose. Cross wins via roll up.
Ok, WWE you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have an anti-bullying campaign and write a feud that is strictly based on someone’s looks. Yet, here we are with Rose’s basis of fighting Cross is that Nikki is “ugly”. Whoa, great strides there WWE. *sigh* Cross quickly pins Rose with the help of BFF Alexa Bliss. Moving on..
Heavy Machinery squashes. Erick Rowan is becoming amazing. Ember Moon Can’t catch a break. Kofi repeats statement move.
Heavy Machinery comes out and lays out local talent. While it is fun to see the charismatic duo, I hope that taking out jobbers will be their only story in the future. They deserve a title run and WWE Tag division has been lacking for awhile now.
New King of Carnage.
Let’s get this straight, no one bought in to the whole Rowan is a monster that tried to murder Roman Reigns. However in the past couple of weeks, the fans are now buying it. Especially when Erick displays his new found love of carnage. The fans were actually cheering when Rowan Powerbombed a fan (yes most likely local talent) on to Roman. Then the Big Redwood slings a camera rig, crashing it on to Reigns.
That’s how you build a threat to The Big Dog and now their match at Clash of Champions may be the show stealer. Side note, have you ever wonder that no matter who is put against Roman, they shine? This may be due to the creative control Roman is given and has earned. Hint, hint Vince.. let the boys do their stuff and we all win.
Bayley vs Ember Moon. Bayley wins via Bayley to Belly Suplex pin fall.
Poor Ember Moon, she just keeps being treated as an afterthought. While both Bayley and Moon prove that hey have chemistry and go at it, Moon always comes up short. Not in wins but in character progression. Charlotte Flair was at ring side and was taunted to enter the ring. But when she did, Bayley just retreated. I’m loving the fact Bayley is a heel, but trying to grasp Flair as a face. Whatever the storyline is, we can be sure that these two will have a fantastic match this Sunday.
Kofi’s deja vu moment.
Kofi comes out to reminisce about overcoming the Viper at MSG in 2009. Orton interrupts and tells him to stop holding on the few things he accomplished. Kingston then goes in to the crowd after Orton. Randy hits him with a steel chair, but Kofi sends Orton through a table with a Boom Drop, like 10 years ago. Every time I get a tired of this feud, the two men bring it back full circle and make entertaining.
The only thing I would’ve changed was to have The Revival come out and beat Kofi down, only to have The New Day come out to save the day. New Day does have a match with The Revival, right? Well, it isn’t going to have a build. In which is a shame, because the two factions are a sight to behold in the ring.
Best In The World wants to be King. Final KOR match set. Family man fired and oh, that crowd chant.
Chad Gable vs Shane McMahon. Chad Gable wins… twice.
With Elias out with a real injury, Shane decides he wants to be King and inserts himself against Gable. McMahon also appoints Kevin Owens as special guest referee and tells KO that he better officiate correctly. We all know what this means.
Chad Gable quickly hits a German Suplex on Shane for a pin. But wait… there’s more. Shane being a McMahon quickly makes a best out 3 fall match. The 2nd win for Gable took a bit longer, with KO fast counting for Shane and slow counting for Gable. However, Gable figures out he just needs to make McMahon tap and that’s what he does. Gable cinches in an Ankle Lock that would’ve made Kurt Angle proud.
After the match Shane attacks KO and then fires him on the spot. What? Owens did what he was told to do and still got fired. That promptly made the MSG crowd chant”AEW! AEW! AWE!”. Oh boy, I bet Vince popped a few blood vessels with that. I wouldn’t be surprised if some one does really get fired for that.
The story was almost done right, we got a huge baby face over coming the Evil McMahon. Setting up a showdown against another well hated hell, Baron Corbin. But this whole Keven Owens debacle is frustrating. Owens was the hottest thing a month ago, showing shades of the Rattlesnake. BUt now seems to be a neutered puppy against Shane. This is totally the wrong angle to use for a supposed corporate wrecker. Hopefully, with Owens being fired will allow him to go to NXT and shine again.
Bonus SDL, THE FIEND!!
After SDL went off air, The B-Team arrive for a dark match. Against THE FIEND!! YOWIE ZOWIE! The most I took for this was, The Fiend got to enter the ring uncensored, meaning he had his decapitated head lamp. Does this mean WWE will not try to censor The Fiend? Does Bray have the trust of Vince to carry out his vision, or was it a one off for an untelevised match? As long as the Fiend is portrayed correctly, I don’t care.
SDL was a let down after Raw. Spending too much time with The Undertaker, having matches that won’t progress story lines, and the KO debacle ending with an AEW chant. All that out shined the good stuff like Gable winning, Rowan going beast mode, and Shinsuke Nakamura providing golden commentary. WWE needs to get in gear with SDL or no one will watch it.-David G
Before getting to the action this week we were introduced to a new announcer. With NXT going live starting next week they are apparently sparing Nigel the crazy travel schedule and have replaced him at the 205 announce table. In his place is Dio Madden (real name Brennan Williams), a former NFL player and trainee of Booker T. Madden has been at the PC since 2016. He made a pretty good first impression, appearing to be both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the show.
The Brian Kendrick & Akira Tozawa vs Gentleman Jack Gallagher & Kushida
Tensions have been brewing between Gallagher and Kendrick for a few weeks now. Originally Kendrick appeared to have knocked Gallagher’s foot off the rope in order to help Tozawa win a match. They agreed to have a match, but with Jack out due to injury the last couple of weeks Kendrick claimed the gentleman was avoiding the showdown. He’s back this week in MSG and he’s brought an exciting partner along for the ride. Kushida makes his 205 (and main roster) debut!
It was a solid match as should be expected from such talents. Kendrick and Tozawa being the more established tandem display a lot more chemistry as a team. Kushida is a massive star though and there’s no way he’s losing in his debut match. Kushida and Gallagher pick up the win, and Tozawa shows signs he may be fully joining his friend Kendrick on the dark side.
I still don’t understand the story they’re trying to tell with Mike and Maria Kanellis…
Humberto Carrillo, Lince Dorado, & Gran metalik vs Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, & Ayria Daivari
This was originally scheduled to be a two on two match pitting the two challengers to the title against Gulak and Nese. Alas, the heel trio jumped them before they could even get to the ring. Once Metalik showed up to even the odds the bought was changed to 3 on 3.
I would love to talk about the actual match, but I was distracted by the crowd for most of it. Clearly they were more interested in entertaining themselves than in being entertained by the action in the ring. This is why I personally think 205 should be paired with NXT and broadcast from Full Sail on Wednesdays. The Full Sail fans would show this division the respect it deserves.
When all was said and done, the faces won when Dorado pinned Gulak. Clearly this gives the LHP member some momentum going into the title match in a few days.-Jason Moore
Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner vs Danny Jones & Harry Green
All 4 members of Imperium kicked off the show with their standard promo about superiority and dominance. The local enhancement talent was no match for Barthel and Aichner of course. Following the match UK Champion Walter decided to add a little insult to injury (or is it the other way round) by further decimating one of the local boys.
Jordan Devlin vs Ashton Smith
Although Smith is a full-time roster member, he’s essentially been used as in house enhancement in all of his NXT Uk appearances. Try as they might to put him over as having the potential to be more than that, the announcers never truly manage to convince anyone that he stands a real chance of upsetting the Irish Ace.
Following up on their impromptu match from last week, Sid Scala and Kassius Ohno will meet again next week in what they’re calling a British Rounds Match. British wrestling legends Johnny Saint, William Regal, and Robbie Brookside participated in a video that broke down what this means:
- There will be 6 three minute rounds.
- Competitors get a 30 second break between each round.
- The Winner must gain 2 pinfalls, 2 submissions, 1 knockout, or be ahead on falls at the end of the final round.
Tegan Nox vs Shax
It’s been nearly a year since Nox suffered her devastating 2nd knee injury during the Mae young Classic. She made her television return here in front of her Welsh countrymen to a strong “welcome home” chant. She made extremely short work of Shax, quickly hitting one of her trademark Shiniest Wizards for the victory. Post match the newly crowned UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray hit the ramp to complain that Nox’s debut was taking too much attention away from her title win. Tegan responded by challenging the champ “anytime, anywhere.”
NXT UK Tag Title Match: South Wales Subculture© vs Grizzled Young Veterans
The majority of the show this week was about enhancing and rebuilding in the aftermath of the Cardiff TakeOver event, so it was nice to get a main event featuring two of the top tag teams the brand has to offer. This rematch saw Drake and Gibson aggressively trying to regain the belts they lost 2 weeks ago while Webster and Andrews were out to prove their win was not a fluke. Both teams looked great, but a miscue lead to Drake hitting his own partner with a super kick. The Welshmen were able to capitalize by hitting Drake with a 450 splash for the pin.
Damian Priest vs Boa
If you erase from your mind the initial debut of the man formerly known as Punishment Martinez, he has thus far been undefeated since redebuting as Damian Priest. This was yet another on his list of fun but brief matches to build that win count. I’m looking forward to the Archer of Infamy finally getting his first taste of a real feud.
What’s next for Johnny Wrestling?
Johnny Gargano came to the ring in street clothes to address his much speculated future. As he soaked up the love of the Full Sail crowd, he thanked them and returned that same love. He toyed with them a bit, teasing that he might be ready to move on, but before he could say the words Shane Thorn hit the stage to essentially say “shut up and leave already.” Johnny responded with a super kick and declared himself NXT 4 Life.
Under different circumstances I would say that it’s way past time for Gargano to move on and make a mark on the main roster. However no one currently represents the heart and soul of the black and gold brand more than Johnny Wrestling. He’s an undeniable star and a leader both in and out of the ring. As NXT becomes a true 3rd brand on USA Gargano’s presence will be invaluable to their success
Pete Dunne vs Angel Garza
The looks of disdain Dunne had for the 3rd generation performer’s cocky pageantry were phenomenal, and the glee with which he picked apart Garza’s body was even better. That said, this was no mere squash match for the Bruiserweight. Both men looked quite good here, and both men are destined to be stars for the company. The former UK Champion picked up the win this day via submission.
Raul Mendoza vs Cameron Grimes
Grimes, runner up in the recent Breakout Tournament, is attempting to build on the character hinted at in backstage videos recently. He’s a mentally unstable guy from the country it would seem. He comes off as dangerous and more than a little bit crazy, but with plenty of impressive skill underneath that show. He wins here to begin his post-tournament momentum boost.
Rhea Ripley vs NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler (nontitle match)
Prior to the main event Candace LeRae confronts General manager William Regal to ask why her nemesis Io Shirai is in next week’s #1 contender match. Mr. Regal responds by adding laRae to the match as well, but that’s not all. He also says that if Ripley beats Shayna tonight that match may have to become a 5 way.
Out in the ring, Ripley and Baszler put on a beautiful display of power and aggression. These are two magnificent beasts (and I mean that as a ginormous compliment) engaged in a brutal battle worthy of their championship pedegrees. We don’t get a clear winner though, because the Horsewomen can’t help getting involved. They introduce a chair to the ring, but when Rhea gets it and uses it 1st she’s the one who gets disqualified.
This is clearly not the end of the story between these women, and even though she didn’t technically win I would not be surprised to see Ripley added to the #1 contender match anyway.
LIVE Next Week
Thus concludes the pretaped era of NXT, and they have a stacked show scheduled for the 2 hour live debut next week:
- North American Title Match: Velveteen Dream© vs Roderick Strong
- Tag Title rematch: Undisputed Era© vs Street Profits
- Women’s #1 Contender Match: Mia Yim vs Bianca Belair vs Io Shirai vs Candace LeRae vs (Possibly) Rhea Ripley
- Street Fight: Matt Riddle vs Killian Dain
Don’t forget that for next week the 1st live hour with be on USA but then you need to switch to WWE Network for the 2nd hour.
News & Notes
- It appears that WWE is tinkering with NXT TakeOver plans for 2020. The 1st sign of this is that instead of the usual Royal Rumble weekend show, that Saturday will instead see a Worlds Collide special. It remains to be seen if all of next year’s TakeOvers will be uncoupled from main roster PPV weekends. On a local note, it will be disappointing if we don’t get a Tampa TakeOver during Wrestlemania week.
- Former UK champions Pete Dunne and Toni Storm are both expected to spend more time on NXT going forward. This would explain why Storm dropped the UK title to Kay lee Ray recently. Both performers have the potential to be major stars anywhere in the WWE landscape.
- As WWE’s shows grow and/or move to new networks the plan is to have brand specific announce teams as well. Michael Cole is rumored to be moving over as the lead voice of SDL on Fox with 205’s Vic Joseph potentially replacing him on Raw. Additionally, former Impact interviewer McKenzie Mitchell and lead House of Hardcore announcer Matt Camp have recently been signed for on-air roles.
- Hall of Famer Kurt Angle is now working full-time as a producer for the Raw brand.
- NJPW contract with AXS TV will end on January 2021. Which leaves the future of NJPW televised in the US uncertain, as Anthem Sports and Entertainment bought AXS earlier this week.
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