This week in pro wrestling proved to be WWE’s darkest week. A monumental change in the landscape of pro wrestling. The pandemic of COVID-19 has finally reached a point that the biggest pro wrestling promotion had to purge. A most up to date list of WWE releases will be at the bottom of this article. This was a sad week for the performers and backstage workers that sacrificed a lot to get into the business. There was some wrestling too.
The WWE Performance Center once again hosts this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw.
Coming to us from Orlando, FL on 4/13/20, we come off the Wrestlemania fallout with new stories as the road to Money In The Bank begins tonight.
The new world’s champion, Drew McIntyre, comes out and recaps his week, saying that after winning the title, this was anything but the norm. He was prepared for a different interaction with the fans, but during these trying times, he’s going to be a proper champion and he’s ready to lead the charge.
This brings out Zelina Vega, and her primary client, the United States Champion, Andrade. They have a back and forth, and we end up with a solid main event in a champion vs. champion non-title match.
We come back with our first qualifying match for the MITB match and it’s Asuka vs. Ruby Riott.
Asuka defeats Ruby Riott via submission with the Asuka Lock to qualify for MITB.
These two put on a competitive effort and Riott gets in plenty of offense. Asuka is taking her character to dizzying new heights at this point and it’s just fun to watch. She eventually puts Riott away via submission with the Asuka Lock and she moves on for a chance at the briefcase.
MVP presents the MVP Lounge after a break and we find out in the coming weeks, we’ll have Rey Mysterio vs. Murphy, Aleister Black vs. Austin Theory and MVP himself competing against Apollo Crews. Those should be some quality matches to say the least.
Aleister Black defeats Oney Lorcan via pin fall with the Black Mass.
Lorcan is a quality hand and is always a factor in NXT in tag team wars with his partner, Danny Burch.
Black has to be considered the odds-on favorite to secure the briefcase in the men’s match. His stock is rising, he’s a great promo and a tremendous talent in the ring. At some point during the year, they could draw a ton of money if they book him and McIntyre in some way, shape or form.
Lorcan gave it all his got, showcasing his tremendous facial expressions, but in the end, he succumbed to the Black Mass, selling it like he’s been shot in the face with a cannon and as he collapsed in the ring. Black hooked the leg for the three count and the victory.
Shayna Baszler is interviewed backstage before her qualifying match about Ronda Rousey’s recent comments where she had disparaging comments about the fans and how they reacted to her time in the ring. Baszler walks off and heads to the ring.
Shayna Baszler defeats Sarah Logan via referee stoppage to qualify for MITB.
This was a very unique, albeit brief, end to a match. They barely locked up and they did a spot where Baszler put Logan’s arm in a precarious positions and she stomped it, causing Logan to cry out in pain.
The referee called for the stoppage and after a bit of confusion, they awarded Baszler the victory, giving a sense of realism to what Baszler can actually do when employing “real” damage to a body part.
A unique way to book things and sadly later, we’d find out this was Logan’s last match on WWE TV due to the recent cuts and we certainly wish her well moving forward.
“The Monday Night Messiah” Seth Rollins cuts several brooding promos throughout the night about being martyred to Kevin Owens. He states his career has once again been crucified and he’ll take the necessary steps to recover tonight.
Austin Theory defeats Akira Tozawa via pin fall with the ATL.
Theory was a major player in Evolve and was getting his feet wet in NXT when they called him up during the crisis to compete and fill a necessary role with Zelina Vega’s new stable.
Tozawa is a fine hand and he actually would put on a quality showing later in the week against Isiah “Swerve” Scott in the NXT Interim title tournament and his in-ring ability was on full display here against Theory.
Austin is young and still has plenty to learn, but with Vega calling for him to inflict pain on Tozawa from the outside, he was able to give Raw fans a good look at his ability before putting Tozawa away with a TKO finisher to gain needed momentum on the red brand.
After the match, Andrade and Angel Garza join him in a vicious attack on Tozawa that culminated with Andrade hitting his patented Hammerlock DDT on Tozawa, making a statement for this new faction.
Rey Mysterio cuts a promo backstage about never winning MITB and he gets many fans believing that he has a real shot. He even references Kane winning the world title at his expense a few years back. Mysterio is so great and it really would be something to see the veteran come away with the briefcase, but it’s gotta be Aleister Black’s to lose.
Angel Garza defeats Tehuti Miles via pin fall with the Wing Clipper.
This was very brief and in a similar fashion to Austin Theory’s earlier match, was just an opportunity for the fans to familiarize themselves with Garza. He toyed with Miles before putting him away with his Wing Clipper finish.
Once again after the match, Vega’s trio entered the ring and began the assault, leading to Andrade hitting Miles with the Hammerlock DDT once again.
Kairi Sane is interviewed backstage about her forthcoming qualifier with the returning Nia Jax. Sane cut a light-hearted heel promo, and it was fantastic.
Drew McIntyre is interviewed about the rampant destruction Vega’s trio has caused and the champ shows us the scar on his arm where surgery was required after Andrade beat him back in NXT with the Hammerlock DDT and took the world title from him. McIntyre is ready to hit a Claymore and right a wrong from some time ago.
Nia Jax defeats Kairi Sane via pin fall with a Samoan drop.
Last week, during Jax’s return, we saw her use the Rampage DDT that Paige allowed her to borrow. This week, she made rather short work of the former Women’s tag team champion in a glorified squash match, which was disappointing.
There are many that are happy to see Jax’s return and she surely has to be a favorite in the MITB match, but she still hasn’t shown much as far as her progression in the ring and it’s somewhat disappointing.
Heck, last week in her return, her match consisted of four clotheslines, the Samoan drop and the finish. It would be devastating, if it wasn’t formulaic for her entire career. She has a great look and a ton of charisma and she’s a damn good promo. If she can polish her skills in the ring, she might be a factor for years to come. We shall see. Kairi Sane deserved better than this to be honest though.
New NXT Women’s champion, Charlotte Flair, cut a great promo and even set the table for her forthcoming title match with the great Io Shirai. I don’t expect Flair to have more than a cup of coffee in NXT, so Shirai might have a real shot at the belt, especially if Rhea Ripley intercedes and costs her the title, maybe allowing them to take their feud to the red brand.
Bobby Lashley defeats No Way Jose via pin fall with the spear.
This would also be the last time we’d see Jose in action due to the cuts and we wish him the best as well. Lashley made short work of Jose, but the highlight of this contest was Lana calling for Lashley to inflict further pain, and Lashley left the ring to tell her to be quiet.
They will eventually split and hopefully, Lashley can get back to dominating without a bad story. Lana is a question mark, especially with her husband, Rusev, being released from his contract.
The Viking Raiders defeated Cedric Alexander/Ricochet via pin fall with the Viking Experience on Alexander.
This match gave me hope for the Raw tag team division.
We’ve seen Ricochet and Alexander putting on a clinic in recent weeks and this week, we saw the return of the Viking Raiders and these two teams put on a quality bout.
We saw high spots from both teams in a solid back and forth contest. In the end, it was Alexander who made the mistake, finding himself caught in mid-air by Erik, and after Ricochet was cleared from the ring, they hit their finish and called it a day.
The OC would have fit perfectly in this equation, but we’d find out that Gallows and Anderson were victims of the budget cuts too. What a tough day to say the least.
We don’t deserve the Street Profits. The world tag team champions cut a heck of a promo as they often do and the EST of Raw, Bianca Belair, came in and told them to quit playing games and to get the smoke. She mentions that they’ve never beaten the Viking Raiders and we just saw Erik and Ivar making their mark once again so they surely have to be coming for the champs.
Drew McIntyre defeats Andrade via pin fall with the Claymore Kick.
There was plenty of outside interference from the Vega stable, but it wasn’t enough to deter the dominating world’s champion as after a fantastic bout, McIntyre got a measure of revenge in the main event by putting away Andrade with the Claymore Kick.
Andrade got plenty of offense in and the end came when he went for the Hammerlock DDT, but McIntyre countered in into the Alabama Slam, and then set himself up for the devastating finish.
Before the champ had proper time to celebrate, we hear the “Monday Night Messiah”‘s music hit and he catches Drew with a devastating superkick before grounding him with not one, but two Blackout Stomps as the show goes off the air.
We now have set the table for our next world title match and it should be a good one!
A welcomed break from the huge and sad news at the WWE side. Tonight’s featured another round for the TNT championship title. There was a lot of squash matches as well. The Inner Circle become “The Bubbly Bunch”. Jake Hager squares off with AEW champion Jon Moxley for the title. Let’s dive in, because this is Dynamite!
Latest round for the TNT title. The Dr is in. Suge D debuts against Sammy G.
Lance Archer vs Colt Cabana. Archer wins via Blackout pin fall.
This seemed to be a tricky match. On one hand you want Archer to be as dominant as possible, in the other you don’t want to pummel Colt Cabana. The match did well in balancing the two, as Lance hits power moves and Colt uses ingenuity to survive. However, the Murder Hawk is just too powerful and hit the Blackout for the win. The Blackout is like a reverse Razor’s Edge, if you want an idea. Lance has looked great in his first two matches and pairing him up with a vet like Colt is good booking. Cabana can make the greenest worker look decent, not to say Lance is green though. Archer has finely tuned his craft in NJPW and now is bringing pain to AEW.
Dr Britt Baker vs Cassandra Golden. Baker wins via bottom rope Curb Stomp pin fall.
Before the match, Britt had a video package in which a board in the back says “never cheat. It’s hilarious that Baker is one of those delusional heels that don’t think that they’re a heel. Baker has found the perfect character for her. As for the match, it was pretty good, a tad short, but entertaining. Golden debuted against Hikaru Shida and lost, so that’s a way of tying Shida and Baker together. Cassandra did not fair well against Baker as well. Speaking of Baker, you can still see her nose slightly crooked from the break last week. Britt gained a win that is quickly becoming her signature move, Curb Stomping her opponent that has a mouthful of rope. It was a quick match, but kept Baker’s character going.
Sammy Guevara vs Suge D. Sammy wins via Torture Knee pin fall.
Suge D’s first AEW match or if you listened to Chris Jericho, it was Pineapple Jack. None the less, Suge D is a really talented worker from overseas. In his AEW debut, Suge was a jobber for Sammy. This went one a bit too long, since this was basically a squash match. It’s nice to see Sammy get some wins again and bolster his moniker, but that is what all this match was about. Sammy hit the Torture Knee, a modify G.T.S for the win. Moving on…
Tune up match. Squash, squash. The main event!
Kip Sabian w/Penelope Ford vs Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy. Kip wins via Roll Up pin fall.
Well, this ended being a better match than expected, but not by much. Kip faces off against Chucky T for what I assume is a tune up before Kip’s tournament fight. The duo did well and Chuck again shines that he can be a singles star. If Best Friends w/ Orange Cassidy ever break up, I am staging a protest.. just saying. On to the match, it was good but kind of standard for Kip. Back and forth fighting, then Ford interrupts. However, Chucky T does not fall for Penelope’s flirtatious plans and take it to Sabian. Orange Cassidy then attempts his version of an interruption. However, it backfires on Chuck T. Jimmy Havoc attacks Cassidy from ringside and Kip rolls up Chuck for the win. I really hope there is a hardcore match between Orange Cassidy and Jimmy Havoc in the near future!!
Shawn Spears vs Justin Law. Shawn Spears wins via C4 pin fall.
Another squash.. but I get it… all of this and future shows were filmed at a marathon’s pace to ensure AEW had content. So these matches may be the norm until the pandemic is slowed down. We have Shawn Spears facing a developmental talent, Justin Law. Spears showed no respect to the youngster, as he never took his shirt off. This may have been one of Spears training partners, but I am just speculating. Young Law did get a chance to win as the over confident Shawn gave him a amateur wrestling spot. Justin took advantage and almost rolled up Spears! Alas, it was only for two. The Chairman quickly regain control and decimated Law and hit the C4 for the win.
Jon Moxley vs Jake Hager, in a No Holds Barred match for the AEW Championship. Moxley wins via Paradigm Shift on a steel chair pin fall.
OK, this was a polarizing match. The match played out on different levels, at first it was a MMA-type match. Then it shifted in to a somewhat hardcore match and back to pro wrestling. While this was stated as a “No Holds Barred” match, the duo barely took advantage of it and the rules were not clearly stated. So it just seemed like a mess of a main event. However, both Moxley and Hager still pulled it off… they made an in-ring story from what they were given. I have stated this before and do not want to sound like a broken record. Yet, a crowd would’ve elevated this match from what was shown.
The commercial breaks seemed to hurt the match as well. Good Ol’ Jim Ross was the only commentator for the match, giving much more evidence that this may have been prerecorded awhile back. JR did very well, but there were times that it seemed that he needed someone to bounce off of. There were two times that JR did not call Moxley’s Paradigm Shift and called it something else. Ross is a Hall Of Famer.. so he still gets a pass. The match delved to standard tropes of Moxley using every bit he was to over take Hager. It ends with Moxley hitting a third Paradigm Shift on Jake, onto a steel chair, retaining the AWE championship.
This was just this. The Moxley vs Hager match seemed to overbuilt for what it delivered. AEW had Bellator talent and the Inner Circle putting over Jake, while comedians and faces put over Moxley. They tried for a “prize fight” feel and somewhat delivered. However, the results did not pan out, I guess that is in the same vein of a prize fight. There was a lot of squash matches, and I get it.. AEW has to save footage for future shows. Tonight’s show was just average, but great considering what AEW has to work with. We do not know if AEW just has a bunch of sparring clips that they are just splicing together. It is not like they can air live like some other promotion.-David G.
The Interim Cruiserweight Championship Tournament kicks off this week on NXT! Matt Riddle gets a mystery partner to face off against Undisputed Era for the Tag Titles! Adam Cole teases a face-to-face with Velveteen Dream, Finn Balor looks to continue his dismantling of Imperium, Raquel Gonzalez in her debut match, and more!
Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton are back on the call this week, as we relive the devastation of last week’s encounter between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. We’re left to wonder what’s next for the Sicilian Psychopath as we get a blip of the Doomsday Clock. Tick Tock?
Finn Balor vs. Fabian Aichner
Great back and forth opening match between the Prince and the workhorse of Imperium. Aichner is to Imperium what Roderick Strong is to Undisputed Era: both men are absolute stamina monsters who are highly skilled but lack the promo abilities that their cohorts have. Putting Aichner in Imperium with the likes of Walter and Marcel Barthel works, as it gives him someone to speak for him, while he lets his in-ring work do the talking.
The closing moment of the match see Finn avoid an attack from an interfering Barthel, taking him out of the equation by shotgun dropkicking him through the barricade. Back in the ring, Balor avoids a moonsault attempt from Aichner, allowing Finn to hit the Coup de Grace and 1916 to pick up the win.
Winner – Finn Balor
After the win, Finn stares down the camera and sends a message to NXT UK Champion Walter, “Let that serve as a message, next time we meet…whenever that may be.”
The Queen Addresses The Division
NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair talks about how she has ran through all facets of the women’s division, from the past to the present. She calls out moments such as when she faced Trish Stratus (beat her), Nikki Bella (beat her), Paige (beat her), and Becky Lynch (beat her). Charlotte says she came to NXT to face the future, and to prove that she is the greatest women’s wrestler of all time.
Charlotte calls out names like Rhea Ripley and Candice LeRae as women that she wants to face off, but there’s one name in particular that stands out to her: Mia Yim. I was not aware that Charlotte’s first-ever match in NXT was against Yim, so there’s some history there. Charlotte says she wants to give Mia an opportunity to step up to the Queen, and then she says William Regal can line up all the women in NXT, and she’ll go through every one of them.
This is exactly what I said would happen. Charlotte is back in NXT to help build the next wave of women’s talent. Putting the best woman on any roster in NXT will definitely put eyes not only on the product itself, but it will help make everyone involved look that much better.
Aliyah vs. Xia Li
Man, this match looked bad. I don’t know if it was because the women were afraid of another mishap like what happened the last time they face off, or if there were other factors. Either way, it was hard to watch and get invested in. Xia Li picks up the win with a spinning heel kick to the gut of Aliyah, taking her down and pinning her for three.
Winner – Xia Li
A video package plays for the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament that kicks off tonight. As was pointed out by Drake Maverick, he’s still in the tournament, as WWE will allow him to finish that commitment. Assumption is that the matches have already been filmed, or that they don’t have a viable replacement for him in the tournament, so they’re keeping him around for one last run.
Matt Riddle is on the phone with Stallion Pete Dunne, talking about who his partner will be. Dunne knows, but won’t tell Matt. The mystery continues…
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Akira Tozawa
Before we dive into the match, let’s get a quick recap of the rules for the tournament. It’s a single round-robin tournament, similar to what NJPW does with the Best of Super Juniors and the G1 Classic. Eight men are divided into two groups, Group A and Group B. Each man will face everyone in their respective groups. The men with the best records out of each group will face off in a match to determine the Interim Cruiserweight Champion.
Swerve and Tozawa have a fantastic back and forth match, trading stiff strikes and counters. The chemistry between these two is amazing, as they have worked together on 205 Live. I had picked Scott as my favorite to win the tournament, but unfortunately he gets off to a rocky start. Scott nearly puts away Tozawa with the House Call, but Tozawa kicks out at two. After a German Suplex from Tozawa on Scott, Akira nails Swerve with the top rope senton to pick up the crucial first win in the tournament.
Winner – Akira Tozawa
Velveteen Dream is shown relaxing on his purple couch, waiting on Adam Cole to show up for their encounter.
A brief hype video plays for NXT’s newest luchador, El Hijo de Fantasma. Having never seen any of the former King Cuerno in CMLL, AAA, Impact, or Lucha Underground, I’m pretty excited to see what he brings to the brand.
Tegan Nox vs. Raquel Gonzalez (w/Dakota Kai)
My feeling for this match exist on two levels. On one hand, I was thoroughly impressed with the development of Gonzalez. She has come a long way in getting her timing and technical prowess to this point, and I applaud how far she has come. She looked impressive and absolutely DOMINANT in this match against the undersized Nox.
Now for the other hand. I do not like the finish AT ALL. I know I’m going to catch a lot of flak for saying that, but I don’t see how you build up someone to be as menacing and dominant as they have done with Raquel, shaping her to be a devastating force in the division, only to have her lose in the fashion that she does against Nox.
There’s some shadiness to the finish, as Dakota Kai attacks Nox while the referee is distracted. Shotzi Blackheart comes out to even the numbers, taking out Kai. The distraction allows Tegan to roll up Gonzalez and pick up the win. Not a fan of that ending at all.
Winner – Tegan Nox
A tweet from Johnny Gargano is shown, simply saying “I can’t wait to see what Tommaso has to say.”
A video package is then show, highlighting the rise of the Limitless One, the NXT North American Champion Keith Lee. In the video, he talks about how he got into wrestling through the shared passion with his grandmother, then he mentions how his family disapproved of the decision to pursue the career. Lee says he even went so far as to steal his own car to drive to a show, which shows his commitment.
We get to relive the meteoric rise of Lee in 2019, from his feud with Dominik Dijakovic, to the pursuit of the North American Championship, through Survivor Series and the showing he put on against Roman Reigns, all the way to standing toe to toe with The Beast, Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Great package giving us an inside look at Lee’s dedication to the craft.
Dexter Lumis vs. Tehuti Miles
Lumis is slowly becoming the most intriguing thing to watch on NXT. His entrance theme, his mannerisms, and his physicality in the ring are all amazing. THE MAN NEVER BLINKS! Miles doesn’t take the act seriously, but is quickly demolished by Lumis, who chokes him out with the arm triangle after a sit-out ura nage. After Miles taps, Lumis slowly releases the grip, and caresses the lifeless body of his victim. Chilling.
Winner – Dexter Lumis
NXT Champion Adam Cole is shown still lounging poolside. Cole says Dream is a fool if he thinks he’s going to show up for Dream, as Dream doesn’t deserve a title shot. Cole is focused on Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong winning the NXT Tag Team Championships and bringing them back to Undisputed Era.
Back in the arena, Velveteen Dream’s music hits and he comes out to address Cole standing him up. Dream says he thinks a lot of Cole, and knows that he is the greatest NXT Champion of all time. Over Dream’s shoulder, we see Finn Balor catch those remarks, and Balor confronts Dream. Balor tells Dream to watch what he says, or he’ll “have a date with the Prince.” Dream replies, “Be a gentleman and pick me up next Wednesday.”
I like the prolonging of Dream vs. Cole by introducing Balor to the feud, having another obstacle for Dream to overcome to prove his worthiness. What’s uncertain is how this will play out, with Dream chasing Cole for the NXT Title, and Balor chasing Walter for the NXT UK Championship. A loss by either man would derail their momentum, so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Malcolm Bivens and Indus Sher issue a challenge to the winner of tonight’s main event, claiming that Rinku and Saurav will take the titles from the winners.
NXT Tag Team Championship – Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Roderick Strong vs. Matt Riddle & Timothy Thatcher)
I have a lot to say about this match, so please bear with me. First off, it’s highly unusual to see Undisputed Era challenging for the titles without Kyle O’Reilly being involved. He is the three-time champion of the group, having held the titles with Fish, Strong, and Cole on separate occasions. The lack of chemistry between Fish and Strong is glaringly apparent in this match. Their fluidity and chemistry are way off, and transitions and double-team moves look sloppy and take a long time to develop.
Secondly…Really? Timothy Thatcher, in his NXT debut, gets put into a tag team title match?!? I know he was the longest reigning Evolve champion of all time, and he’s a highly-touted signing, but even this is too much. His moveset on its own is impressive, as he employs a bevy of transitions and chain wrestling that looks smooth and sharp. However, as with Fish and Strong, the chemistry between Riddle and Thatcher is missing. Thatcher doesn’t even look comfortable in the ring, as is evident by Strong and Fish having to loudly call out spots to him.
On paper, the match looks like it would be a hell of a main event. But just like in football, that’s why they have the matches, and this one lost my interest early on. Even the finish was odd looking, as Strong tapped out to Thatcher’s Fujiwara Armbar almost before Thatcher had it fully locked in.
Winners and STILL NXT Tag Team Champions – Matt Riddle & Timothy Thatcher* (* – placeholder for Pete Dunne)
Before NXT goes off the air, Tommaso Ciampa is shown backstage in seclusion, staring into the camera. Ciampa says he is done with all of this; done with Gargano, done with Candice, done with everything. He says that it was agreed on that when it was over, it was over for good. He looks into the camera and admits he lost. “Congratulations, Johnny. You were the better man.”
All of a sudden, Ciampa is pulled out of his chair from behind, and as the camera falls, we hear the brutal attacks being unleashed. Ciampa falls to the ground in front of the camera, seemingly unconscious. Then we get our answer:
Killer Karrion Kross!
Kross lays next to the fallen Ciampa, and as NXT ends, Kross utters two words: TICK TOCK. -Josh L.
Friday Night Smackdown:
Tonight on Smackdown, there were two qualifying matches for Money In The Bank. Sonya DeVille admits to Mandy Rose on why she did what she did. The SmackDown Tag Team Titles are up for grabs again! A new version of M.I.T.B will take place in an unusual spot and rules. Braun Strowman makes it official. Tamina faces off against Sasha Banks for a chance at Bayley’s title. Let’s get this started.
Moment of Bliss. Tamina seeks Bayley’s title. Sheamus squash and a WWE version of Dark Side of the Ring.
Bray has a gift for Braun.
The show began with the Moment of Bliss show, and today’s guest is the Universal Champion, Braun Strowman. The Monster talked to his Little Big partner about his history with Bray. Then Strowman saw a gift at ringside, thinking it was from Alexa Bliss. Bliss denied it as the Monster opened it up, it was Braun’s mask when he was in the Wyatt Family. Simple and effective promo, was over the moon? Nah, but just when Braun thought he was ready for Bray’s mind games, Bray taught him otherwise. If this ends up being another cinematic match, it could be interesting.
Tamina vs Sasha Banks. Tamina wins via Super Kick pin fall.
Yeah, that wasn’t a typo… Tamina won. As my mind attempts to comprehend the outcome, I looked at the match again. The match consisted of Sasha trying to get Tamina off her feet and the brute just leveling her. That’s it, Sasha worked around Tamina and made her look good. Although this probably the best Tamina has looked in five years, the fact remains that she is just a block in the ring. Expect Bayley to retain her title.
Sheamus vs Denzel DeJournette. Sheamus wins via Brogue Kick pin fall.
Another match to make the Celtic Warrior look unstoppable. To be fair, Denzel almost got a roll up pin fall.. but that just angered Sheamus. The White Lightning just viciously pummeled DeJournette and hit a Brogue Kick to win it. After the win Michael Cole went to promote the Jeff Hardy story and Sheamus lost it. The Celtic Warrior felt disrespected. This most likely will be Jeff Hardy’s first feud and it’s a shame, both can not afford a big loss right now.
The 2nd chapter of the Jeff Hardy story was about his addiction to painkillers and alcohol. It felt like a WWE version of Vice TV’s “Dark Side Of The Ring”. If you haven’t seen it and a wrestling fans, I implore you to watch it. With that being said, I am looking forward to seeing another chapter in the Jeff Hardy story,
Money In The Bank location and rules! Ladies MITB qualifying match. Sonya DeVille tells why she did it. Men’s MITB qualifying match.
Another unique PPV.
This year’s MITB PPV will be just as unique as WrestleMania, if not more so. The competitors for the MITB briefcase will have to duke it out at WWE headquarters. But wait, there’s more! The match will start at the bottom floor of the Connecticut location and will end up ON THE ROOF of the building! That’s right, both MITB matches will have a video game tower fight feel to it. I am very intrigued by this stipulation and the location. Imagine all the Easter Eggs WWE can fit in these matches. The corporate building is littered with WWE memorabilia from throughout its history. A fitting goodbye for when WWE can finally move from the building.
Dana Brooks vs Naomi. Brooks wins via Sunset Flip pin fall.
This was a better match than I expected. Finally Dana is getting a spotlight to shine, but Naomi takes the fall. That was the surprise for me. The Glow One seemed poised to have a strong shot of regaining the Women’s SmackDown title. Alas, it was Dana’s time to shine and both ladies did a great job making each other look good. The match was littered with counter tactics and near falls. The match as a whole was not the greatest, but I again state it was better than I expected. The closing seconds had Naomi miss a Spring Board Moonsault and Dana hitting the Sunset Flip for the win and a place in this one of a kind MITB match.
Sonya DeVille comes clean.
This was a cookie cutter explanation, but again this is pro wrestling. A sport where its fans devour the soap opera like storyline.. I know I do. So DeVille made this outlandish plan for Mandy Rose, because she is tired of being in her shadow. Yup, that’s pretty much it. However, Sonya did throw some barbs in there. Like how Mandy is a “Dime a dozen bottle blonde.” and ” Mandy, you’re pretty… but you have no talent.” . OUCH!!!!
We all know Mandy is not the best wrestler… yet. However, this was mean-spirited and can effect the way the audience look at Mandy. Dolph comes in and begs for forgiveness, Rose declines and Sonya decks her. Otis runs in to save his new love and the heels retreat. Ziggler then tries a sneak attack on Otis, but the 305 Live star squashes him… literally. This was OK and I should’ve expected this type of story progression. Yet, I think how this story could’ve gone if WWE didn’t fire the writer of this story on Wednesday.
Daniel Bryan vs Cesaro. Bryan wins via Yes-Lock submission.
Wow…. just wow. What do you get when you have two ring tacticians and great sellers meet in a ring? A damn awesome match.. that’s what. Honestly, these two men could headline a big four WWE PPV and I would not be mad. I did not peek at the card tonight, so when I saw this… I grabbed some popcorn and a Steveweiser. This was just fantastic, no this is not the first time the duo fought. However, it felt fresh enough to warrant excitement. Daniel targeted Cesaro’s left arm quickly, and the Swiss Superman sold it like a champ. Throughout the match Cesaro attempted to hit uppercuts with the damaged arm, but recoiled in pain. See kids, it’s the little things that make a match. Daniel Bryan locked on to that left arm like a predator.
Every time there was a chance for Bryan to inflict pain on Cesaro’s arm, Daniel pounced on it like a jungle cat. Yet, the Swiss Cyborg just powered out of any submissions.. that is a great feat. In the closing seconds, Cesaro attempted to catch a Moonsault from Daniel. That attempt led Daniel to counter into a a Yes-Lock. Shinsuke attempted to interfere, for what reason I do not know.. but Drew Gulak stopped him. Daniel Bryan taps out Cesaro for the win, if Shin did get to interfere… Bryan would’ve won by DQ. That is one of the few reasons on why I kind of soured on this match. Also, why can’t we have Cesaro AND Daniel Bryan in this crazy MITB match?! Heck, WWE changed the rules for it… make it that it was 10 contenders! OK, I may be getting overzealous.. but the possibilities are endless.
Again, King Corbin attempts murder. A surprise ending of the show!
Elias is destroyed again.
The Drifter was about to grace the fans at home with an exclusive concert. However, King Corbin decided to attempt to murder him.. again. Before Mania, Corbin gave Elias the “Mufasa” treatment and tossed his body from a perch. King Corbin got his up commence at Mania via guitar bashing. Feud over, right? Nope.. Corbin attacks The Drifter and lays into him. Possibly breaking his strumming hand and slamming his scepter into Elias’s throat.. twice. I am not sure were this is going, but I do know this. King Corbin is somehow always granted a feud that lasts longer then it should.. a la Roman Reigns. Can we please just end this? Thanks.
Big E vs The Miz vs Jey Uso for the SmackDown Tag Team championship. Big E wins via Big Ending pin fall.
Oh yeah… again you read that right. The New Day is an eight-time WWE tag team champion. Why? I really have no answer, I was shocked to see it as well. Now The New Day is one tag team reign away from tying The Dudley Boyz for most tag team title reigns. Was the match good, though? Yes, but did not live up to the Mania match. Big E cockily cleared off the announcers table, but only to get put through it by Miz and Jey. After the commercial break Jey was on fire, destroying Miz and keeping Big E down. Miz regain control and attempted a Skull Crushing Finale on Big E (I would’ve love to see that, only because of physics). The powerhouse of New Day powered out and hit the Big Ending to win the SmackDown Tag Team titles for an eight time. Fast action, but not as good as the Mania match… and why did New Day win the titles? Is Xavier Woods coming back? Is Miz and Morrison breaking up, after a strong showing as tag team? My head hurts thinking about it.
R.I.P the voice of my childhood.
Earlier in the show a video package was shown for the LEGENDARY ring announcer, Howard Finkel. This man was THE FIRST WWF/WWE employee and was the one who pitched WrestleMania to Vince. Known for his “AND NEEEEWWW….” announcement after a title match and for being a beloved friend to many of the WWE talents. Finkel left this world at the age of 69 on April 16, 2020, a day after the darkest day in WWE history. Howard Finkel was like a comforting voice to me. I always could count on him to announce a match when I was a kid. When Howard worked less and less, it was a shock to my system. There was great announcers after him, but none will be The Fink! I can remember in my eyes, that Howard was the FIRST none wrestler to engage comedic segments in WWF/WWE. I will always remember him and be grateful.
I will be honest with you, after the firings by WWE this Wednesday and throughout the week, I really did not want to watch SmackDown. It was like watching workers that could be fired the next day. However, there was a couple of gems in tonight’s show. The Howard Finkel tribute and the Daniel Bryan vs Cesaro match. While watching this I felt a bit numb, not because of the workers and show. It was the fact how this company basically fired people at a horrible time and stated that they had half a billion dollars in reserves. Add that to the List, Le Champion.-David G.
WWE’s darkest week.
This week was a week that has not been witnessed ever for the WWE. Amidst Vince McMahon having to fully close the XFL and file for its bankruptcy. Vince now has to contend with the facts that is golden child, WWE is in financial straits. Vince sent out a conference call around 12 PM eastern time to the board of WWE. The call was to state that the WWE will be making hard decisions, Releasing talent and putting some workers on furlough. Even though the call also stated that the WWE has $500 million in cash reserves, the purge must happen. The talent and workers were notified via text messages in their standing with the company. This was the darkest week in WWE history. We here at the Scrum Sports hope that everyone that has been released during these difficult times will bounce back and help entertain the fans once again. The following list is the ones that the WWE has released and put on furlough as of this writing:
- Drake Maverick – his response on social media was heartbreaking.
- Zack Ryder – the OG of getting himself over on social media.
- Karl Anderson
- Luke Gallows.. no more Club.
- Curt Hawkins
- Heath Slater – one the longest tenured talent at WWE, 16 years.
- Eric Young – formerly of NXT’s SAnity
- Sarah Logan
- No Way Jose
- Mike and Maria Kanellis
- Aiden English
- Lio Rush
- Primo and Epico
- Mike Chioda. Longtime referee and has been with the WWE since 1989!
- Taynara Conti
- Cesar Bononi
- Tino Sabbatelli
- Mars Wang – NXT developmental talent
- Kurt Angle
- Billy Kidman
- Mike Rotunda
- Dave Finlay
- Pat Buck
- Shawn Daivari
- Scott Armstrong
- Sarah Stock
- Shane Helms
- Lance Storm
Note that the ones that were furloughed are all backstage producers or road agents. With WWE not currently doing house shows and minimal training, these names aren’t needed at this time. By being furloughed rather than being released, it keeps them employed with the company; however, they are not currently being paid their salaries, just accruing health benefits. It’s safe to say these guys will be back when things go back to normal.
- The Bucs make history as first team to play Super Bowl at home January 24, 2021
- Championship weekend welcomes back the Buccaneers. Preview of NFC Championship game. January 24, 2021
- Rival Columbus hands Lightning first loss of the season January 23, 2021
- Buccaneers defense stepping up at the right time January 22, 2021
- Tom Brady addition has paid off and then some January 22, 2021
- Point plays hero again as Bolts edge Jackets in OT January 21, 2021
- Devin White comes up huge, Bucs move on January 17, 2021
- NFL Playoffs Divisional Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans January 16, 2021
- Offense overwhelms Chicago as Bolts sweep opening series January 15, 2021
- A Divisional round preview of Brady, Brees and Bucs vs Saints January 15, 2021