This week in pro wrestling, big announcements! From the huge news from Becky Lynch, to AEW revamping a match, to NXT dusting off a forgotten WWE PPV. The was news at almost every angle this week. Let’s not delay and get this started!
The Man becomes the Mother in a momentous Monday Night Raw moment, leading to new champions and new adventures.
The WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL once again hosted this week’s Raw during the Covid crisis on 5/11/20.
“The Man” Becky Lynch, having recently attained iconic status with her lengthy championship reign, came out with the Money In The Bank briefcase for a major announcement.
The winner of the briefcase, Asuka, would come out, clamoring as to why Lynch had her briefcase and what it all meant.
Lynch would inform Asuka that winning last night, wasn’t just for the briefcase, it was for so much mor. She unlatched the briefcase and handed Asuka the Raw Women’s title, which led to Asuka celebrating as only Asuka can. We definitely aren’t ready for Asuka and nobody deserves it more, in this humble writer’s opinion. What a talent.
“The Man” says that Asuka needs to go be a warrior, because she’s going to be a mother. This leads to a great moment between Lynch and Asuka, rivalries set aside, to celebrate this momentous occasion. Lynch leaves the ring, teary-eyed and she tells us how much she’ll miss us. She then celebrates with the talent backstage and takes her leave.
We at the Scrum wish Becky the very best in this new chapter of her life and we’re very excited for her to celebrate the miracle of birth with Seth Rollins. More on that later.
Bobby Lashley defeats Humberto Carrillo via submission with a full nelson in a No DQ match.
This was dominance. Last week I spoke about Lashley getting fresh stories and getting into the title scene and this was perfect. Carrillo, still without a character, is a great hand and they sold chair shots, high risk and power maneuvers and overall, they told a story.
Lashley applied a good old fashioned full nelson submission and he tossed Humberto around like a rag doll for the submission. This was executed to perfection and surely, Lashley has to figure into the Raw title scene soon.
Throughout the night, there was a game of basketball where the Street Profits bested the Viking Raiders. There were plenty of hijinx, but it feel flat. This wasn’t a smart way to use two very talented teams building a feud together.
Angel Garza defeated Akira Tozawa via pin fall with the Wing Clipper.
The story here wasn’t so much the match, Garza handled his business, but the rivalry between Garza and Theory developing in Zelina Vega’s stable.
Garza basically put on a clinic for Theory to watch, saying he could do this all day. He won with the Wing Clipper.
Both men ultimately lost the war as world champion, Drew McIntyre, came out and handed Claymore’s out to everybody. This led to a champion vs. champion non-title match with Andrade.
Drew McIntyre defeated Andrade via pin fall with a Claymore Kick.
These two worked well together once again and the US Champ got in plenty of offence. McIntyre eventually hit his reverse Alabama slam and then a Claymore to put the match away.
The bigger story was the “brand to brand invitation” which was rumored earlier in the week as a way to boost ratings during the crisis.
McIntyre stated that talent chose him and next week, he’ll be competing against “King” Corbin on Raw, restarting that story from some time back. Apparently the talent can move to a brand up to four times a year or something. They are flying by the seat of their pants, but Charlotte was on Smackdown, and AJ Styles will be next week. We’ll see how this plays out.
They hyped the Undertaker’s “Last Ride” series throughout the show and we saw AJ Styles seated, eating popcorn, watching the broadcast. A rematch between those two seems imminent.
Bobby Lashley is backstage and MVP approaches him, asking when the last time he had a title shot was. MVP cuts him off and says it’s when he debuted. He says if Lashley wants to make a change, he’s the man for the job.
MVP runs into Lana and says that if Lashley wants to make a change, they should holler. She overacts the hell out of the segment, frantically screaming how dare he. The MVP/Lashley alliance makes sense and maybe it’s opportunity to give Lana fresh opportunities elsewhere. That story has run its course.
“A Moment Of Bliss” presents the Women’s tag team champions, and Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross have some fun before ushering in the returns of the “Iiconics”. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are back! This leads to a non-title match.
The Iiconics defeat Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross via pin fall after a tandem maneuver.
A throat strike to Cross really sealed the deal heel and a double team maneuver led to Royce and Kay getting back to the pay window after months off the air. It’s great to see the two of them back.
They might not be Trish Stratus and Lita in the ring, but they are very entertaining characters and getting better as in-ring hands with each outing. This should help bolster Raw’s Women’s division with Lynch taking time off.
Rey Mysterio is backstage and talks about how he and Aleister Black landed on a second roof when Corbin tossed them off during the MITB match, but how it was too late to get back towards the ladder.
Seth Rollins enters the shot and Mysterio congratulates him on being a father. He looks disheveled and distraught, both after losing the title match and now, with finding out this joyous news. Mysterio calls him some choice words since he doesn’t react and he leaves.
Ricochet/R-Truth/Cedric Alexander defeat MVP/Brendan Vink/Shane Thorne via pin fall after Truth pins MVP.
Oh boy, where to start. Look, the action was fast paced, furious and fantastic. You’d expect that from Ricochet and Alexander and Vink and Thorne are rising stars.
R-Truth debuted his “Pretty Ricky” gimmick in the ring, which has to be seen to be believed. He bested MVP after hitting his finish and had there been a crowd there, they’d have eaten this up. It was terrific. Go find this clip.
After the match, Bobby Lashley comes out and spears R-Truth. He leaves the ring with MVP. There you have it and here we go.
Holy crap, Shayna Baszler is a true heel. Charly Caruso asks her about Becky Lynch’s incredible announcement. Baszler states that Lynch is stupid for getting “knocked up” while champion and after breaking a record. She gave it all away to house some miserable parasite and to sit at home, barefoot, eating bon bon’s.
She then says the kid is gonna suck, because we all know who the father is. Damn. That was fantastic.
Rey Mysterio/Aleister Black defeat Seth Rollins/Murphy via DQ after Rollins yanks Mysterio out of the ring.
The story here wasn’t the match, it’s what happened after the match. Don’t get me wrong, the action was intense and especially considering the four very capable hands involved with the story.
Mysterio was setting up for the 619 and Rollins yanked him through the ropes, before a ferocious attack, causing the ref to signal for the bell.
Rollins was yelling that “it wasn’t Rey’s fault” before shoving Rey face first into the corner of the steel ring steps. Mysterio was bleeding from the eye and the trainers had to go so far as to remove his mask. Mysterio was writhing in pain as they covered his face with a towel.
Rollins was emotionless in his reaction, but he eventually shuts his eyes, gratified with what he’s done.
After a break, Rollins is backstage, calling out for “Rey”. He doesn’t know what happened out there. Aleister Black enters the fray and they come to blows. Murphy intercedes and takes a vicious beating as Rollins leaves his partner high and dry, a martyr for crimes he himself committed.
The commentary team sells this beautifully, calling it reprehensible and the like.
Shayna Baszler defeats Natalya via pin fall with a knee strike.
Nattie had called out Baszler’s questionable comments about Becky Lynch and these two did business together very quickly in the ring.
The veteran was no match for Baszler, who quickly disposed of Nattie after a running knee strike. A program between Baszler and Asuka seems ripe for the picking here in short order.
The returning Edge and Randy Orton close the show with a brilliant interview segment.
They rehash their Wrestlemania brawl and Orton says that despite everything that happened, that was a fight. He wants a rematch at the next PPV and he wants it with a classic wrestling match. he says he’s in better ring shape, better peak physical condition and he knows that Edge will be winded and can’t hang.
Does he accept? Edge says nothing as the show goes off the air, taking heart with Orton’s comments about his conditioning. Charly Caruso has a doozy of a line. Forget HBK/Bret Hart in an iron man match, forget any Okada/Omega classic, because apparently this will be the “greatest wrestling match of all time”. There are many scripted lines. That one was horrible and these are two of my favorite hands. Oh boy. This was a decent show this week. They needed it.
This week on Dynamite the newest member of The Inner Circle commits destroys a member of The Elite! Brodie Lee has a new title, Jon Moxley wants his back! Cody Rhodes goes “Stone Cold” on Lance Archer. A boxing legend is ALL ELITE! Big return during a friendly match. The ladies have one more fatal four-way to decide who will face Nyla Rose. Pineapple Pete faces off against Le Champion! Let’s dive in, because this DYNAMITE!
Battle brawl. Friendly fight. The top contender for the women’s AEW title.
Jake the Snake Roberts came out with Lance Archer and cut a promo. Jake is just down right creepy to me now, not in a good way. Roberts has a misogynistic rant about women and their place and how watching Lance wrestle gets him “excited”. Yeah, creepy stuff. Not too long we hear an engine rev up. That engine is from Cody and his expensive truck. Rhodes then pulls his best Stone Cold impression and rams the barrier to the arena. Lance and Cody brawl it out, with a few nice moves. After a few counters to each others signature moves, the heel Archer retreats.
I wanted more for some reason and the quicker Lance can distance himself from Jake, the better. The emotional checklist was present, but it felt a little flat to me. We may be in store a classic showdown at Double or Nothing, but this didn’t give a must watch feel.
Best Friends w Orange Cassidy vs Jurassic Express w/ Marko Stunt. Best Friends win via Awful Waffle pin fall.
Now on to a non-stop action match! The long awaited return of Jurassic Express felt great, even if they had to battle fellow baby faces, Best Friends. The two teams provide great action at breakneck speed. All the tropes were present, Best Friends using their size over Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus displaying absurd ability for his size, and Jungle Boy never giving up. After many good spots, the closing moments had one more surprise.
Orange Cassidy wanted to pose on the stage ramp. However, Cassidy didn’t expect his head to be almost decapitated from Fenix’s foot. It looked vicious and a lot were stunned. Then MJF attacks Jungle Boy, throwing him into the ring post. Stuff is going sideways here. Chuck Taylor wanting to end the match as soon as possible, hits the Awful Waffle on Jungle Boy to end the match. Now MJF’s henchman, Wardlow slings Marko Stunt into the barriers. Luchasaurus runs to his rescue and confronts Wardlow. Umm, Luchasaurus vs Wardlow? YES, PLEASE! TAKE MY MONEY!!
Hikaru Shida vs Dr Britt Baker vs Penelope Ford vs Kris Statlander. Shida wins via Running Knee Strike on Ford for the pin fall.
These ladies left it all out there. While there was some concerning botches, this match was nitro fueled. One of the stories was Britt looking for redemption for Shida breaking her nose. Another was how a war general Penelope Ford is, and lastly how out of this world Statlander is. All the stories merged cohesively, it was just some of the execution. Penelope was very cerebral in her approach, finding opportunities and taking them. Kris was just a power beast, laying waste to any who would cross her. Shida a striking machine, and Britt conniving heel.
They had great spots like Baker with a Canadian Destroyer on Statlander. Vicious strikes from Shida and a Handspring Cutter from Ford. One of the scary moments was when Penelope goes for the Poisonrana and barely gets hits on Statlander. Our favorite alien looked to hit the mat very hard and on her head. We hope she will be OK. In the closing moments, Baker cinches in the Lockjaw on Kris. However, Statlander is refusing to give up and in the background, Shida hits a Running Knee Strike on Ford for the win.
Great match! Later on, Nyla Rose strikes Shida in her head with a kendo stick. The AEW women’s title will be defended at Double or Nothing. Nyla Rose vs Hikura Shida… FINALLY! All kidding aside, this was a great match. All looked great, even Ford. Despite that worrisome Poisonrana, her approach to the fight made her character looked different from the rest. Ford will fin an opening and pounce.
Fantastic tag team match! MJF returns in ring! The Inner Circle destroys a member of The Elite!
Kenny Omega/Matt Hardy vs Santana/Ortiz. Hardy wins via Twist of Fate pin fall.
If last weeks no holds barred match wasn’t your cup of tea, then this one may be it. This was a classic tag match and displayed all the strengths of the four men. My personal favorite match of the night. We get Santana and Ortiz being the heelish characters that they are and a vicious Hardy, in the form of Damascus. Before the match could begin, Santana and Ortiz attack Omega. This is all before Matt could arrive, once Hardy did, the newest persona took over. Damascus turned to biting anything Ortiz had available, all syncing to pyro.
The match finally gets started and it is a banger! The heels took control after the break, working over Omega. However, Kenny fights back with Snapdragon Suplexes and hot tags Matt in. Damascus then locks Santana in a Butterfly Lock and a crippled Sammy Guevara hobbles in with a steel chair. Not being able to assist, Hardy just kicks the chair out of Sammy’s hands. Omega hits a V-Trigger, leading into a Twist of Fate for the win. This was a great match and Sammy hobbling out there was gold. This duo now has a win under their belt. Yet, there is more to come.
MJF vs Lee Johnson. MJF wins via Fujiwara Armbar submission.
This is what you would expect, a squash match so MJF can talk. This was quick and MJF did talk his talk afterwards. The trash talking was that MJF challenged Marko Stunt next week. Can Stunt upset this brash wrestler? Umm… no. Stunt is going to lose badly. Unless AEW surprises us and give a returning MJF a loss before a PPV.. and against another smaller opponent. The concept was expected.
Chris Jericho vs Pineapple Pete. Jericho wind via Judas Elbow pin fall. The Inner Circle’s newest member destroys an Elite member!!
Yeah, we all saw this coming… Pineapple Pete facing off against Le Champion. After weeks of quarantine bashing, Suge D..now Pineapple Pete gets to fight the man that despises him. Pete came out super strong, lashing out on Jericho for every bashing he said. That lasted about 60 seconds, until Jericho unleashed the Judas Effect for the win.
Now what happens afterwards is not for the faint of heart. The Pain Maker and his crew introduces a new match for The Elite. Since Blood and Guts may not happen in time for their feud, Jericho proposes a “Stadium Stampede” match. This match will take place in the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium. I really can not wait for the debauchery the Inner Circle and the Elite can come up with in this match! Vanguard-1 arrives with the stolen baby t-shirt and replies to Jericho’s proposal. It is a yes!
Jericho then still tries to recruit Vanguard, but it is a trap. Le Champion introduces the newest member of The Inner Circle. It is Floyd, the baseball bat that Jericho carries with him now. All of the sudden, Jericho smashes Vanguard-1 with Floyd! The rest of The Inner Circle takes turn smashing the beloved drone into pieces. While this was depicting a homicide to an extent, the commentators made sure this is a toy from grown men. Matt Hardy runs out too late to save one of his most loyal Broken Family members. Distraught, I will not like to be The Inner Circle and feel the wrath of Matt Hardy. Well played to all that was involved in this story line!
A boxing legend is All Elite! The main event!
Iron Mike Tyson is All Elite!
Later in the show it was announced that boxing legend, Mike Tyson will present the TNT championship to the inaugural winner. So.. you say? There has been footage of Mike Tyson thinking of a comeback and having him this environment invokes WWE’s Attitude Era nostalgia. Whether it be a quick cameo or something that is planned later, it has my interest. I mean who can forget Mike Tyson and Stone Cold Steve Austin staring each other down?! Not this guy.
Mr Brodie Lee vs Christopher Daniels. Lee wins via Discus Lariat pin fall.
Ladies and gentlemen, Christopher Daniels again put on a clinic. Not only did he sell Brodie’s moves, he also provided fantastic in ring story. Before Brodie, aka Luke Harper signed with AEW, it was rumored that Daniels was The Exalted One. Times have changed and it is in fact that Lee is The Exalted One. With this match, it kind of serves as a closure to the rumors. However, Christopher ain’t going out like that! While Lee pretty much had the match in hand, Daniels showed his experience and took advantage of it.
With his SCU alum at ringside and a distraction. Daniels hits Brodie with a steel chair, a Flatliner, and Koji Clutch! A brawl breaks out with more Dark Order members, SCU, anf Colt Cabana. Christopher hits the Angel’s Wings on the huge Lee, but only gets a two count. Daniels attempts a top rope dive, but is caught by Lee, a Powerbomb and a Discus lariat for the Brodie seals the win.
Afterwards, Jon Moxley came in and raised hell. Dispatching every Dark Order Lee literally threw at him. When Jon was done, he cut a short and sweet promo on getting his belt back. Then beatdown the remaining Dark Order members as Ten and Lee escape. This was a CLINIC of a match, that was downplayed by the Dark Order’s shenanigans.
This was a really good show. My anticipation for the Stadium Stampede is perked, the Shida vs Nyla has me intrigued, and the TNT championship match has me going bonkers. The one thing I would change is the creep factor of Jake the Snake Roberts. I get that he may be dialing it to eleven, but this has been coming off as weird lately. Jake’s first couple of promos were fine, if not great. However, it has delved into the shock for shock sake’s lately.-David G.
As the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament begins to wind down, we get two more matches in block action. The NXT Tag Team Championships are defended, Finn Balor gets his answers, DX is here with a HUGE announcement, and a falling out leads to the main event. Let’s get to the action on the Black & Gold Brand!
Bros no more. The Shiniest Wizard. Cruiserweight action.
NXT Tag Team Championship – Matt Riddle & Timothy Thatcher vs. Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel). Imperium wins with the European Bomb.
Does this feel rushed? It feels rushed. I liked the dynamic of Riddle and Thatcher as a team, but they never really gelled in the ring like Riddle and Pete Dunne, mainly because Thatcher seemed much more intolerant of Riddle’s antics. Riddle and Dunne have that perfect “odd couple” chemistry, and Thatcher doesn’t work as that placeholder. When they were focused, they were solid, but the chemistry beyond that lacked big time, and that led to what happens tonight.
Throughout the match, Thatcher and Riddle were never on the same page. When Thatcher was reaching for the tag, Riddle had been taken out by Marcel Barthel, but Timothy blamed it on Matt not being a good partner, and the frustration built. Later in the match, Riddle repeatedly tries to get to his corner to tag in the fresh Thatcher, but is slowed down every time, leading to Thatcher becoming incensed. As Thatcher’s emotions start to boil over on the apron, Riddle breaks free of Barthel with a monkey flip that inadvertently takes out his partner. Thatcher is furious, and he storms out of the arena, leaving Riddle to fend for himself.
Riddle fights valiantly, but is no match for the numbers advantage, as Imperium take down the King of Bros with the European Bomb to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions. After the commercial break, Riddle confronts Thatcher backstage, and the former partners brawl until security breaks them up. Riddle later has a FaceTime conversation with NXT GM William Regal. This leads to the main event being announced as Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher. Like I said…it was rushed. Would’ve been a lot easier to believe if they drew it out over a few weeks.
Tegan Nox vs. Indi Hartwell – Nox wins with the Shiniest Wizard.
Nox seems to have finally separated herself from Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez, as she locks up with fellow Aussie Indi Hartwell. I really enjoy the amount of offense that Hartwell gets in during this match, as she has a lot of potential to become another rising star in the NXT Women’s Division. And God bless Tegan Nox for fighting bigger than she is, but seeing someone of her stature hit a chokeslam on Hartwell does little to “suspend disbelief” for me, and it’s a laughable spot. Outside of that minor gripe, it’s a good match to get Tegan back some momentum, and to let Indi show what she can do in the ring.
Quick recap of the NXT Women’s Championship match from last week, with Charlotte getting DQ’ed and Rhea Ripley making the save for Io Shirai. Rhea cuts a promo talking about the sleepless nights since dropping the title to Flair at Wrestlemania. Ripley proclaims that the person to bring the title back to NXT will be her, and if she has to beat Io on the way, so be it.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Match – Jake Atlas vs. Tony Nese. Atlas wins with the Rainbow DDT.
Prior to the match, Atlas is asked about the pressure of having to win this week to stay alive in the tournament. He says that he knows the challenges ahead, and that he is pulling for Drake Maverick to beat Kushida next week to force a tie. Atlas is playing the biggest supporter of Maverick, after Drake was released weeks ago. It’s an interesting story that has a multitude of possible endings.
Everything I said about last week’s matches in the Cruiserweight Championship tournament last week was the exact opposite from this week. Atlas and Nese put on a solid, competitive match, with Nese playing the angry veteran, being winless in the tourney. Atlas showed his resilience, standing toe to toe with the former Cruiserweight Champion, taking stiff punches and kicks and still pushing forward.
Nese’s frustration starts to get the best of him, and he slips up when he has Atlas down, allowing the newcomer to fight off a corner attack to hit the Rainbow DDT and pin the Premiere Athlete. Now this story has some juiciness to it. If Maverick manages to beat Kushida next week, that would force a three-way tie at the top of the group, and would force Regal to come up with a tiebreaker to see who comes out of the group to vie for the title.
Promos and tidbits. The Archer takes his shot. More Cruiserweight action.
NXT Champion Adam Cole and the rest of the Undisputed Era chat with each other in a Zoom video conference. Kyle O’Reilly, who hasn’t been seen on NXT in some time, says he’s “on location” shooting a movie, which explains his absence. They talk about how Cole embarrassed Velveteen Dream, then turn their attention to Dexter Lumis. The group votes Roderick Strong to be the one to take out the enigmatic superstar. Love the decision to put the workhorse of UE against Lumis. Should be a hard-hitting affair, and Lumis’ first showing against the top talent in NXT.
A video package featuring Karrion Kross and Scarlett plays, with the classic Jim Johnston song “The End Is Here” playing in the background. Kross says they are not here to “shock the system”, to save us from our “corrupted black hearts”. It’s time to wake up from the dream before we stay asleep forever. Kross says Tommaso Ciampa was the first, but won’t be the last. More great stuff from Kross and Scarlett. Tick Tock.
Dakota Kai talks about knowing she needed to change after her rehab from knee surgery, and Takeover: War Games was the perfect opportunity. She says Raquel Gonzalez is the only woman to have her back, and that they know what it’s like to be outsiders. Standard stuff to keep the team of Kai and Gonzalez on the radar.
Degeneration X are in the production truck to make their big announcement. Triple H mentions that this year is the 25th anniversary of the first WWF: In Your House pay-per-view, so NXT will take over once again. Road Dogg mentions that he was at the first In Your House PPV, where he took on Razor Ramon. Trips says that since so many people are isolated in their houses, on June 7th, we will have NXT Takeover: In Your House. Kind of a lackluster “major announcement”, but it’s cool that the concept is coming back.
Cameron Grimes vs. Finn Balor. Grimes wins with the Cave In.
Reading that result, you’d have to assume that something crazy happened for The Prince to take a loss against Cameron Grimes, and you would be right. But don’t sell Grimes short; he brought the fight to Balor. This was a highly competitive, stiff match, with both guys trading hard elbows and kicks, and Balor still showing that rage that has fueled him since his attack a few weeks ago. The target of that rage finally showed his face towards the end of the match, in the form of Damian Priest.
After Balor takes Grimes down with a running kick from the apron, Priest emerges from behind the barricade with a sinister smile etched on his face. Balor sees his enemy, and quickly takes him down with a series of elbows followed by a Sling Blade. As Balor goes to get back in the ring, Priest brandishes his signature nightstick and takes out Finn’s knee, weakening Balor enough for Grimes to hit the Cave In stomp and get the huge upset victory.
Priest grabs a chair and slides into the ring, picks up The Prince, and drops him with The Reckoning on the steel chair. He then seats the chair across Finn’s throat and admits he is the attacker, saying that this is how he will live in infamy: by taking out a Prince. This was an unexpected reveal to who attacked Balor three weeks ago, but I am all for this rivalry. My only gripe is that Priest has been on a downward trend quite a bit recently, so I would like to see him get a defining victory over Balor to regain his momentum.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Match – Jack Gallagher vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Gallagher wins with the discus elbow.
Earlier in the evening, Scott is asked about having to face Gallagher in a “win or go home” match. Scott says he is confident that he can beat Gallagher, and that if he couldn’t get a single win in the tournament, he’d quit wrestling. Interesting comment from someone who has already won a tournament match, but when you think about the target of that comment, it makes sense. As does the repercussions.
Scott is attacked by Tony Nese as he is making his entrance, as Nese has taken umbrage at the comments from Swerve. Nese throws Scott into the steel steps, then looks to Jack Gallagher in the ring, offering up a weakened opponent. Scott says he can continue, but it doesn’t take long for Gallagher to dispose of him. Scott tried to make a comeback, even hitting Gallagher with the House Call. Ultimately, the pre-match attack proves too much, as Gallagher locks in a guillotine choke followed by the discus elbow to get his first win in the tournament, playing spoiler to Swerve’s chances.
I like the setup for the rivalry with Nese and Scott, as neither of these guys were favorites to win the tournament. Giving them something to do in the meantime shows that there’s hope that the Cruiserweight division can start to flourish in NXT.
Missed opportunity? Dinner time. Former partners collide.
Kayden Carter vs. Aliyah. Carter wins with a deathlock submission.
I chastise Chelsea Green almost every week for her poor in-ring talent, but if I had to pick who is the second worst, it would have to be Aliyah. It’s difficult to say that too, as Aliyah had been showing so much promise late last year, but ever since her broken nose, she is way too timid in the ring, and doesn’t sell properly. Obviously I’m not the only one that thinks this, as Robert Stone is out to observe Aliyah after their interaction last week.
Aliyah notices Stone watching, and tries to show off for him, but it comes back to bite her, as Carter takes Aliyah down with a superkick, then locks in the deathlock submission to get Aliyah to tap out. After the match, Stone is clearly unimpressed, but Aliyah begs him to give her another shot, to which Stone brushes her off and walks away. She’s going to have to improve a lot for Robert Stone to invite her into his brand.
Dinner with the Garganos.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae enjoy a lovely meal as they reminisce about their recent victories. Johnny references his match against Dominik Dijakovic, and says if you mention his name, there will be consequences. Candice talks about her contest against Kacy Catanzaro, but then says that very same night, Mia Yim got a match against NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. She says Mia has failed time and time again, but continues to get the world, and why? Because Mia panders to the audience.
Johnny talks about the top talent in NXT, and mentions NXT North American Champion Keith Lee. Gargano says Lee has a terrible theme song, and that he should stop worrying about everyone liking him, and that Lee isn’t emotionally ready to deal with him.
Love the presentation of these videos, as it shows the split personalities of Johnny and Candice in a personal setting. They really believe they can run the world together, and that confidence shows in their promos. Also, it looks like they both have their next targets, as they named Mia Yim and Keith Lee specifically.
Matt Riddle vs. Timothy Thatcher. Riddle wins with a roll up counter.
Admittedly, I completely tuned out during this match, as I expressed earlier that I felt that it was way too soon to get to this point with these guys. But I gave it another chance, and while I didn’t care about the story, the in-ring quality of the match was good. Both guys work a very stiff style, and Thatcher is a brawler that can take the hard shots that Riddle delivers.
They fought tooth and nail from the opening bell, and worked a long series of ground-based offense, which is where Thatcher thrives. After long stretches of deep submissions, Thatcher gets the Fujiwara armbar locked in, only for Riddle to counter and slam his opponent into the mat. Thatcher gets Riddle down again, this time locking in a knee bar. Riddle tries to fight out of it, but Thatcher has it locked deep, so Riddle’s only option is to turn Thatcher onto his back and roll over him. That’s enough for Riddle to get the surprise pin on Thatcher, leaving the grizzled combatant in shock.
Thatcher is irate at the result, and unleashes on Riddle, throwing him shoulder first into the corner turnbuckle, and locking in the Fujiwara armbar again as NXT goes off the air.
It felt like this week’s show fell flat, as it was missing most of the top-tier star power. Thankfully, aside from the Carter/Aliyah match, much of the in-ring content delivered some entertaining TV. There was some good storyline development as well, with the reveal of Damian Priest as Finn Balor’s attacker, and the set up of some solid rivalries with “Swerve” Scott vs. Tony Nese and Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae each calling out opponents. This wasn’t a terrible episode by any means, but it left a lot to be desired. -Josh L.
Friday Night SmackDown:
This week’s SmackDown has a surprise tag team. Will the Queen receive a standing ovation? An Intercontinental Championship tournament begins! Will Naomi fall to Dana Brookes again? A clinic from Drew Gulak and mentor Daniel Bryan! Let’s get started for SmackDown!
Miz disrespects Otis. First match of the Intercontinental Tournament! Can the Glow last?
SmackDown opened up with Miz Tv and guest Mr MITB, Otis. Things quickly took a turn to insult Otis, with childhood pictures of Otis always being big. Otis asks if there is a problem and Miz says yes. In a sharp toothed promo, Miz quickly insults Otis with ferocity. Then challenges Otis to a tag match and with Tucker not there, Otis must find a partner soon. Pretty standard promo, Miz being heel, Otis being face, However, it worked for now. It really seems that Otis will cash in his MITB case for a tag title, something that has NEVER been done before. If that is the case, count on Miz and Morrison to be the title holders when it happens.
Elias vs King Corbin. Eias winsa via Roll Up pin fall.
Ah, yes.. the deadliest move in all of pro wrestling, the roll up. How did we get ther? Here is how. With a feud that should have been done weeks ago, it becomes the stage for the opening match for the Intercontinental Tournament. A match that was just too long, had Corbin smash Elias’s guitar. When that happen, Elias hulked up and almost got DQ’d . The closing moments had Corbin eating a knee and rebounding off the ropes to get rolled up for the loss. Not a fan of this match at all. While both men looked good, this could’ve been better with 5 minutes shaved off. There was little payoff for the rematch of this feud.
Dana Brookes vs Naomi. Brookes wins via JackKnive pin fall.
Seemingly the push for Brookes is in full order. Naomi is a two time women’s SmackDown champion and Dana beat her to punch her ticket in MITB. So a rematch is order, what happened? Dana again beats Naomi in a short match. This time using a JackKnive Powerbomb pin fall. This was clean as it could get and Naomi took the fall. This makes me wonder on how far WWE is going to push Dana. Maybe Dave Bautista had a say in the matter, I jest. Maybe or maybe not. This wasn’t anything close to groundbreaking, but gave Brookes some forefront notice.
The Queen has words that mince. A total clinic! Otis finds a partner!
Another nail in the Sasha and Bayley friendship.
Charlotte Flair comes out to boast about WWE’s need to have her on all three shows. Bayley and Sasha Banks come out to ruin that party. Bayley goes on about how she beat Flair and is the most dominate SmackDown champion ever. Charlotte agrees, but disagrees and asks why Sasha is contempt in being Bayley’s lackey. When Banks was to speak, the role model interrupts and brings attention back to her. This goes on for a bit and Bayley challenges Flair to a match. A champion vs Champion match, that Fox Network will love.
Flair agrees, but again asks why is “the Boss” is happy in being an afterthought. Wow! I am not usually a fan of Charlotte’s promos, but this was spot on! Flair din’t have to say much, just the points of Banks being a backup character. Guess what? It worked. Whatever happens next week, the next stage to bloom between Bayley and Banks may take place.
Daniel Bryant vs Drew Gulak. Bryant wins via Hell Hook submission.
If this was in a crowd of fans, this would be an instant classic. I can not express the words on how the two men have absurd chemistry in the ring. This can go in my “must watch match to learn” presentation. Yup, that great. The two who are very familiar with each other begin to size up and look for opportunities. It was a long counter as the duo seem to know each other that well. Things took a turn for Bryan as he hit the Dragon Screw on Gulak.
Now, Daniel targets Drew’s leg and Gulak returns the favor with a pounding Powerbomb on Bryan’s surgically repaired neck. Scary stuff there, but Bryan seemed ok afterwards. The closing moments had Daniels roll out off a Dragon Sleeper, cinch in the Yes Lock, but Drew refuses to give up. Bryan hits another Dragon Screw and locks in the Heel Hook, and that was too much for Drew, as he taps out.
I can not express how technically sound this match was. The in ring story, the out ring story, the way the two performed in the ring! It was all great stuff. Again, I do wonder how a red hot crowd would react to this match. I love this stuff, but will a mainstream crowd? This match had NJPW fingerprints like all over it an it was a welcome treat in WWE.
Otis/Braun Strowman vs Miz/Morrison. Braun wins via Whirling Powerslam pin fall.
If Drew Gulak vs Daniel Bryan was a clinic, this was sugar overload. Yes, I still liked it. A hearty dose of the lovable Otis was on display and a viscous Strowman. Let’s get started, Otis starts the match after a surprise agreement with Braun. Otis is strong in the beginning, and the duo hit a double Caterpillar on Morrison, what a sight to behold! Eventually, the Miz takes control of the match and lays into Otis. Grinding locks and “It Kicks” has Otis reeling. After a Double Suplex by Otis, he hot tags in Strowman.
The Monster goes to town on the tag team. Yet things seem to go south after Braun rams his shoulder into the ring post. Not to be a quitter, Braun catches Morrison of the ropes fpr a Whirling Powerslam, for the win! I honestly thought Miz/Morrison were going to win. However, this seemed to be a match to try to prove that Strowman and Otis can carry SmackDown on pure.. whatever. I am not mad about it, I just hope it leads to something worth caring about.-David G.
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