In the week after Clash of Champions, NXT goes live and for two hours!
Let’s dive in to the week in wrestling!
Held in Madison Square Garden for over a week now, I feel like NY would be tiring of WWE but it doesn’t look like the case!
Seth Rollins Celebrates
Seth Rollins kicks off RAW, announced as The Monster Slayer. Stop relabeling the man, this one won’t stick! The promo was doing ok but as soon as he mentioned Bray Wyatt, the crowd showed their feelings on the subject. Wyatt came on the Titantron and gave a nice freaky Funhouse segment, Rollins didn’t sell this well though.
Promos and Weirdness
We get a graphic for the King of the Ring finals that is upside down, I’m assuming this was meant to be Wyatt’s doing but the announce team didn’t milk this at all. Next Strowman is backstage saying he will beat up whoever goes to the ring next. We get it, he’s a monster and he’s upset about losing!
The Tag Team Summit
Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler met with The Revival for a Tag Team Summit, assumed to be a meeting of the minds between the RAW and Smackdown Tag Team Champions, but Braun Strowman showed up and did exactly what he said he would, shoulder checking everyone except for Bobby Roode, who fled the ring. This kept Strowman looking strong but bad form to have the tag team champions act as jobbers.
Backstage with Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss
Backstage, Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss talk about how they will beat Sasha and Bailey. As much as I enjoy Bayley as a heel, I don’t see why I can’t have heel vs heel here. Alexa is a great heel and Nikki could still work in this scenario.
Six Man Tag Cedric Alexander and The Viking Raiders vs The O.C.
At sixteen minutes into the program, we get our first match. This was a pretty good match but mostly due to the legend and veteran AJ Styles. I feel weird calling him that, since he’s still young, but the man made the match for me. He and The O.C. really sold it for The Viking Raiders until AJ and team got some momentum and Styles Clashed Cedric for the win. Not a great match but kept everyone looking good. Best part honestly was post-match, seeing Ivar hit a slow swanton to the outside, they referred to this as The Hindenburg but I honestly don’t remember this being named.
Tour of Knockville
We get a backstage discussion between R-Truth and Carmella before Glen Jacobs shows up, Mayor Kane himself, to offer to show them around town. A nice shameless integration since we are in Knockville.
King of the Ring finals – Gable vs Baron Corbin
Gable is great but this was never gonna go his way, not the first time around at least. Baron keeps strong here and honestly looks better than he has in a long time. I will say this match seemed to go a bit long but thankfully ended in Corbin wins by countering Gable into an End of Days. A nice heel win for King of the Ring. Hope he milks this for all its worth in the next month or so as he needs to evolve and push as the only good thing he’s done in the past few years is shave his head.
The Baby Reveal
Backstage we find Maria Kanellis with The Street Profits and many others. Maria announces that its a boy but the baby isn’t Mike Kanellis’ child. It is Ricochet’s! Oooooohhhh what an amazing old-school setup! Kanellis tells Ricochet to meet him in the ring!
Maria Kanellis vs Ricochet and the Baby Drama
Great setup to a surprisingly short match. Ricochet wins with a Recoil easily. I thought this was too short BUT it all made sense eventually…
Post-match interruption by The Funhouse! Bray is arranging pictures of his defeated foes which he calls his “Wall of Friendship.” He then says we may need a new picture, maybe Seth Rollins
Back to the Kanellis scandal with Kanellis on the ring apron. Maria tells Mike that she was dissapointed and that he isn’t motivated. She the says she was lying and that the baby is actually Rusev’s! I have so many things to say about this. Rusev is in the best of his career and sporting a new moustache, which I’m loving. It looks like Rusev will be pushed in this return!
Tour of Knockville
Back to Mayor Kane giving R-Truth a tour, we see they are on the University of Tennessee football field and Kane had a secret referee ready! R-Truth ran himself into the goalpost trying to run away from the situation and Kane was there to pin him and become the 24/7 champion. Now this is podracing!
Rey Mysterio vs. Cesaro
Historically, these are two of my favorite wrestlers snf it really doesn’t matter who wins. Cesaro is one of the strongest men pound-for-pound and Mysterio has been amazing fans for twenty five years or so. It was great seeing how Cesaro’s strength could make Mysterio’s moves look so good, giving Rey and amazing win. Rey may look young but, as the announce team keeps bringing up, he’s has been talking about retirement. I think it’s time for Mysterio to either retire or reinvent his style to keep up with his age, as the high flying stunts aren’t as easy the older you get. I’d like to see Mysterio become a manager or a heel who fights dirty to make up for this small size. Maybe we get a Cartel-style NWO situation? We can dream.
Back to Bray Wyatt’s Funhouse with Bray putting up a picture of Seth, cementing and foreshadowing Rollins’ future loss! We also get confirmation that the draft will happen in October. I still believe we should trim some fat and go back to one large roster. One more package before going back to the in-ring action, we see The Authors of Pain and I’m genuinely excited!
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks
A mediocre match with Sasha tapping Cross with the Bank Statement. The best part of this was the post-match, seeing all out carnage and an attitude era chair duel! Charllote Flair came in and booted Bayley and Becky attacks Sasha. You would think this would be leading up to Becky Lynch v Charllote Flair at Hell in a Cell but NO! Sasha challenges Lynch to a match at Hell in a Cell but Lynch says she wants Sasha IN the Hell in a Cell! After Sasha’s last time in the cell with Charllote Flair, you’d think she had enough!
A Surprise Referee
Back to the Knoxville tour, R-Truth rolls up Kane and gets his championship back. There’s a nice back and forth, where Kane says he’ll have to let the demon out, to which R-Truth says he can’t be Mayor while being champion. This just angers Jacobs, who grabs R-Truth and says he’ll take this to the ring.
Lacey Evans vs. Dana Brooke
Brooke is looking better than before and Lacey Evans wasn’t bad but this was mostly weak as they stumbled through the match. Lacey Evans gets the win, dedicating it to her father who passed away before she got her tryout. I don’t know why this match was put so high in the card but maybe it’s just me.
Seth Rollins vs. Robert Roode
Champion vs Champion matches are always nice but this felt a little odd right after Clash of Champions. Ziggler came out for some ringside distraction and fun, eventually causing a disqualification when he broke up Seth Rollins’ pin. Not a bad match for a post-PPV showing.
After the match, while Ziggler and The OC all start brawling, Kane came to the ring in full demon attire! Kane smashes everyone in the ring and, when he’s about to celebrate with his pyro, The Fiend appears in the ring and puts Kane in the mandible claw!
While this wasn’t a perfect show, I was really impressed by the storylines here and glad to see The Fiend Bray Wyatt getting the push he deserves. I loved the stupid baby reveal and Kane getting some 24/7 action. It felt like something out of the attitude era, maybe not the stronger stuff from the era but it was refreshing after the WWE’s ultra-reality push of trying to be UFC. Give them this freedom all the time!-Patrick S.
The newest King Of The Ring, Baron Corbin receives his coronation, will it be crashed? Is the feud between Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton finally over? If so, who will step up to Kofi next? Erick Rowan speaks out and a $25 million lawsuit. Let’s get started.
Big start, The New Day vs Randy Orton and The Revival. New Day wins via Trouble In Paradise pin fall.
Well, this was a great start to SDL as all six men put on a great match. Revival putting on classic heel tactics and targeting Woods previously injured knee. The baby faces New Day over coming the beatings for the win. It was a classic solid match. Even though the fans seemed to be over saturated with this feud, it was solid. The next time these men face off…. Huh? Well now..
The BEAST ARRIVES!!
Just when you thought you could plan another rematch between Kofi and Orton, Brock Lesnar has other plans. As the New Day walk up the ramp celebrating their victory, Kofi ushers out his New Day brothers and wants to face Brock Lesnar alone. Not smart Kofi if you value.. you know your spine and other body parts. Paul Heyman does Heyman things and announces Lesnar will challenge Kofi for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Not at Hell In A Cell, not tonight, but on the first episode of SmackDown Live on FOX.
Kofi extends his hand for a handshake, the Bearded Beast, which is an awesome look for Brock, F-5’s him in return. Yeah, we could’ve seen this coming with FOX wanting a more sports like show from WWE. But two things came to my mind. 1) No matter how I, myself kinda saw this coming, I was still kind of shocked. 2) SDL now has Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, and New Day. Which is some of WWE’s biggest stars, does this mean that SDL will shaking off the “B show” moniker that has plagued it for awhile? We will see when it heads to FOX.
Erick Rowan puts the WWE universe on notice.
Ok, Rowan had a fantastic past few weeks. Being a lackey (like most of his career), turning in to a scapegoat, then becoming a King of Carnage and beating Roman Reigns at Clash of Champions. Sounds great for a guy that’s barely used, right? What stop this giant’s big hot streak? Give him a mic.. we know that Rowan’s promo skills are not the best, so you would think Creative would’ve had something great, nope, no, sorry. He tells Michael Cole that he is not a puppet, he’s been over looked, and the entire WWE is going to learn to not disrespect him again. Not great, but I guess good enough for him.
The Forgotten feud. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Ali, Nakamura wins via Kinsasha pin fall.
Remember when Ali was originally going to have Kofi’s spot at the top, then got injured? How about when WWE teased a feud with Shinsuke, and then WWE had The Miz take Ali’s spot. Yeah, WWE Creative forgot too, so what did they do? They made a match between Shin and Ali! This going to be good… oh, it’s already over. Shin wins.. Um, I guess WWE already forgot about Ali.. again.
Before the break Shane McMahon got served! No, not a dance off, he got legally served papers. From Kevin Owens for wrongful termination, at a cool $25 million. What da hell happened to the Prize Fighter? I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but KO was THE HOTTEST worker there a month ago. Now he legally battling Shane, get TV right?! When I thought Creative couldn’t get worse for KO, it does. This is a world of Sports Entertainment, where the fans pay to see death defying acts of athleticism, not Law and Order or the trade wars in Star Wars.
Surprise save. Charlotte Flair vs Sasha Banks. Flair wins via disqualification.
This has a impromptu booking feel all over it. The ladies put on a good show, as they always can do. However, the over selling of Bayley Heel is what I’m questioning. Bayley goes out to save her BFF Banks, but in a more surprisingly save, Carmella saves Flair. Huh? Ok fine, WWE is saving Becky Lynch for something. Then Flair takes out Bayley, while commentary is telling how Carmella is Bayley’s pal. Well, this can be interesting, only if didn’t seemed rushed.
Hail to the King.
I know I’ve joked about Corbin’s mid card level, but darn it Baron is an excellent heel. The crown looks good on his smarky face, and it can lead to putting over baby faces that need that push. Enter Chad Gable, King Corbin again makes small jokes to Gable. However, this time Chad erupts and destroys the entire coronation set and crown to a huge pop from the crowd. If WWE does this right, they will have a natural good guy on their hands. Nice job Gable and Corbin.
More Heavy Machinery, less clothes. Heavy Machinery vs B-Team. Heavy MAchery wins via Compactor pin fall.
Well, remember when I was talking about Heavy Machinery beating up jobbers? WWE has heard me out! Not really, but I like to think they did, and has them face the B-Team! Yeah, WWE jobbers that have a contract. So.. an improvement? The one thing WWE seemingly wanted for you to know is Otis is now wearing short trunks. The ring attire was mentioned so much during the match,you would’ve thought Byron Saxton made it for Otis. Either way, it’s nice to see Heavy Machinery even though they have nothing going on.
Daniel Bryan and carnage ends the show.
Bryan came out to mixed jeers and cheers. He tells the crowd that never lied to them and didn’t attack Roman. Rowan comes out and feels disrespected by Captain Planet, so Bryan say “Do something about it”. Luke Harper attacks Bryan, Roman Reigns comes out for the save. However, it isn’t enough as broken tables, bodies, and chairs are left on the ground. With Rowan and Harper standing tall over something you would see at Universal Studios stunt show.
This is a great story for the four guys, I have no clue on where it is going and that’s a good thing. All I know is, no titles can mean a long build, Rowan and Harper are getting a much deserved push, and we may get weekly carnage on our tv… that’s a good thing.-David G
The often loved but never seen show had the usual matches and outcomes. However, there is ways to fix it before it disappears.
Ariya Daivari vs Lince Dorado square off, Dorado getting the pin fall over Daivari. I am going to admit that I didn’t have much invested in to 205 Live until I had to recap it. So, after catching up with the story, I was hyped for this match. It was ok.. the aggression between the two was alright. I guess I was expecting more of a chaotic feel to the match. Considering the great story between the two.
Full heel turn.
Brian Kendrick faced off against Jack Gallagher and the end result may make you smile. The two went on as if it was a normal match, but something happened. Kendrick went full on heel as teased. Akira Tozowa distracted Jack, which led to Brian pulling out a Kendo stick and beating down Gallagher. After a DQ call, a surprised Akira attempted to stop the onslaught, Kendrick backed away only to attack Tozowa. Completing his full heel turn and I loved every second of it. What could top that? Keep reading.
Match of the night.
Tony Neese faces off against a very angry Oney Lorcan. Here is the thing, I never saw an unresistant Oney. However, in this match this what we got and took me by surprise. Oney just unleashed on Neese, but Tony knew how to fight back. Which lead to Drew Gulak to interfere and Neese getting the pin fall via roll up. What is more interesting in more than the fight, is how the story will progress.
There is so many variables that can happen. A new stable, a new but old stable, all out insanity, or all the above while integrated in to NXT or the other shows. 205 Live remains the best kept secret in WWE. However, it might too best kept as these stars deserve recognition.--David G
This batch of episodes taped in Cardiff the day after TakeOver feels like mostly filler. Some of it is part of a rebuilding phase as new rivalries emerge and fresh talent gets built up. However the rest feels like perhaps they were taking their time, waiting to see what NXT (prime) had going on before choosing a new direction. That said, they are doing their best to keep things entertaining even if they are holding back a little.
Rhea Ripley squashes.
Travis Banks defeated Tyson T Bone in a match I would describe as underdog babyface booking 101. Rhea Ripley squashed a newcomer called Debbie Keitel, and after the match began a program with Jinny & Jazzy Gabbert. Joseph Conners picked up another victory in what seems to be a momentum building cycle. This week his opponent was a not-so-lucky Kenny Williams.
Oliver Carter, who lost his debut match against the aforementioned Joseph Conners, will be back in action next week. A parking lot scene continued building tension between Trent Seven and Noam Dar. They finally get physical in next week’s main event. Coming up in two weeks a confident Kay Lee Ray defends her UK Women’s Title against hometown girl Tegan Nox.
The main event this week was the introduction of a gimmick known as a British Rounds Match. Assistant to the general manager Sid Scala will be taking on the much larger Kassius Ohno in 6 three minute rounds of action. There’s a rest period between each round, and any combination of 2 pins, 2 submissions, or 1 knockout wins the match.
- Round 1: no falls
- Round 2: no falls
- Round 3: pinfall for Ohno
- Round 4: no falls
- Round 5: no falls
- Round 6: no falls
Scala nearly tied things up with a round 6 pinfall, but the bell rang at the count of 2. Thus, by a score of 1-0, Ohno was victorious in this match. Clearly they have plans for Scala, or at least I hope they do, because on paper this should not have been anywhere near as close as it was between these two men.
NXT is LIVE on USA!
Papa Hunter is the first face we see and the first voice we hear as he introduces his child to the world. It’s a short but effective moment to kick off this new era for the brand, and based on what is to come during the show it will indeed be a new era for all of HHH’s children. We didn’t just get the best of NXT on this debut show but also the incorporation of talent from both 205 Live and NXT UK.
NXT is in two-parts… for now.
It’s also worth noting, that I now understand why the 1st two episodes of this era are being split between USA and WWE Network. The long-running USA show Suits has just two episodes remaining in their final season, and those were already set for the Wednesday 9pm slot before the NXT deal was complete. After that show wraps up its run next week we’ll get all both hours of NXT on USA.
After the intro from HHH, they got right into the action with the women’s number one contender match. Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, Mia Yim, and Candice LeRae met in a fantastic fatal 4 way that was fast paced and action packed. All 4 women looked great, and while the match felt a little short I understand that they were trying to fit a lot into this episode to hook potential new viewers. LeRae, the only woman in this match who has not yet gotten a shot at the belt, emerged the winner by pinning Yim. The celebration didn’t last long though, because the champ and her Horsewomen strolled onto the stage to begin trying to intimidate the new #1 contender to the NXT Women’s Title.
USA hype package.
They filled the remainder of the 1st half hour setting up the future. A video package detailed the history between Dominik Dijakovic and Keith Lee. They’ll meet for their 3 battle next week. Breakout Tournament runner up Cameron Grimes picked up a quick squash on Sean Maluta that only lasted long enough for a single strike and the 3 count. Finally, a hype video introduced new viewers to the Archer of Infamy Damian Priest.
They gave the entire 2nd half of USA’s broadcast to the marquee match of the night, Velveteen Dream defending the North American Title against Roderick Strong. It’s a worthy spotlight for 2 of the most consistently great performers on the roster.
Perhaps I over hyped this match in my mind. Perhaps it was the inevitability of the finish in my mind. I’m not really sure what it was to be honest, but I found myself a bit underwhelmed. Yes, I know I’m in the minority here, but that was my impression.
It wasn’t until the other 3 members of Undisputed Era came to the ringside area that things really picked up. The Undisputed Era proved too much. Ultimately the interference from Adam Cole that led to Dream being pinned. This saves him from looking too weak in defeat, but allows the true Undisputed Era to begin with all 4 men now holding gold. The USA portion of the broadcast ends with them celebrating on the stage.
The Future of NXT
Apparently the company was not quite prepared for the volume of viewers tuning in live as everyone I know reported having difficulty signing in to the Network for hour 2. Personally, it took me about 20 minutes before I was finally able to sign in and begin watching. It was well worth the wait though.
NXT UK royalty.
Former UK Champion Pete Dunne met Brazilian martial artist Arturo Ruas for what I thought would just be a squash in Dunne’s favor. Thankfully it was much more than that. They put on a great display of technical grappling, hard strikes, and great submission work. While Dunne did score the victory this week, Ruas still came off as a talent worthy of keeping an eye on as he continues to develop.
Team Kick will be back in the building next week when Dakota Kai makes her return from injury. Tonight though, the women’s division is presenting Xia Li vs Aliyah (with Vanessa Borne). One of the benefits of going two hours each week is that there’s more time to showcase both the top stars and the developing stars, and that’s what this match was about. It wasn’t great, and Li did have a little botch moment, but she kept going and picked up the win. She has more work to do yet, but I think the Chinese striker has potential.
Denzel Dejournette made his way to the ring for a scheduled match against Kushida, but he was met instead with a beat down from 3/4ths of Imperium. Once Dejournette had been disposed of, UK Champion Walter joined his stable mates and cut one of their standard promos to introduce themselves to the non-UK audience. Kushida didn’t like that they were taking HIS time though, and looks like we’ll be getting the Timesplitter vs the Ring General at some point.
Moving on from the top star of NXT UK, we next get a spotlight match from 205 Live. 205 and NXT regular Oney Lorcan faced a returning Lio Rush in a surprise #1 contenders match for the Cruiserweight Title. When last we saw Rush on TV he was the heel mouthpiece for Bobby Lashley on Raw, but he returned here working as an underdog face. They kept an excellent pace and showed great explosiveness in a match that I actually enjoyed more than the North American Title match from earlier in the show. Rush claimed the victory and now moves on to challenge Drew Gulak. It remains to be seen if that will take place on 205 or NXT.
The final advertised match of the night wound up not being quite what was advertised. Matt Riddle and Killian Dain were supposed to settle their issues in a Street Fight. They started fast and moved the action outside quite early in the match. With plenty of other NXT talent milling about in the area, it wasn’t long before they decided to get involved. By the time Riddle and Dain moved their fight back into the arena, nearly the entire roster was brawling behind them and that too spilled into the arena. Security and officials tried to regain order, but the show went off the air with bodies all over the floor and nothing resolved.
Regal is too forgiving.
After the broadcast ended, General Manager William Regal made showed up, and he was NOT happy. Riddle and Dain get another chance next week. This time, the winner gets a shot at Adam Cole’s NXT Title.-Jason M.
News and Rumors
We still don’t know exactly how it’s all going to shake down, but this week the projected outlook for announce teams is thus:
- Raw-Vic Joseph and Dio Madden (Vic has earned this promotion, but it’s strange to see Madden’s name here considering he only just started calling 205 Live last week)
- Smackdown-Michael Cole and Corey Graves
- NXT-Mauro Renallo, Nigel Mcguiness & Beth Pheonix
- Unnamed FS1 show-Renee Young & Booker T with Cathy Kelly
- 205/NXT UK-presumably 205 will remain the same since they only just added Madden to the existing team of Joseph and Aiden English, but will Joseph give up UK when he takes over Raw?
- Where do SDL’s current announcers Tom Philips and Byron Saxton land?
- UFC 250 June 4, 2020
- Week in pro wrestling 5/25/20 WWE crowds and AEW debuts May 31, 2020
- ‘Dock Talk’ with Killer has hockey community taking notice May 27, 2020
- NHL unveils document detaling protocols for Phase 2 of possible return May 25, 2020
- Brady, Arians an offensive match made in heaven? May 25, 2020
- Week in pro wrestling 5/18/20 The road to Double or Nothing May 24, 2020
- Butherus: Go out and get that paper, Snell. And not a virus. May 18, 2020
- Week in pro wrestling 5/11/20 Big announcements May 17, 2020
- WWE: Money In The Bank 2020 Results May 10, 2020
- Week pro wrestling 5/4/20 AEW is live again, big debuts May 9, 2020