Disclaimer: I was in a bad mood when I wrote this so reader discretion advised. Read at your own risk.
Our constant readers may have noticed that the F2H family failed to post their usual live review articles about Smackdown Live’s No Mercy and last night’s Monday Night Raw. Have we lost faith in Vince McMahon’s promotion? Are we bored with the product? I’ll answer your question with a question: does a bear shit in the woods? In this instance, the bear is Sean Waltman and the woods is Rena Lesnar’s luggage; and the answer is an emphatic yes.
While on the surface the No Mercy pay-per-view seemed like a solid venture, when you scrutinize it even a little bit, the entire show folds like a wet house of cards. Here is a short list of some of the more cringe-worthy moments of the show. The pre-show featured Jerry Lawler awkwardly flirting and eye-fucking Nikki Bella, a 4-team tag match (overkill in any scenario) that included The Acesnsion, and Curt Hawkins big debut that was only a declaration by him that he would have a match on Tuesday.
Prior to the show, WWE announced the “main event” triple-threat would go on first to start the show, essentially confirming WWE’s lack of confidence in their own product, being fearful that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would pull viewers and bomb their PPV. Although the triple-threat was a decent match, it still featured yet another John Cena title attempt, grasping for the coveted Ric Flair record; and Dean Ambrose in the main event picture, a man with no charism, character evolution, or ability to carry a promotion as either a heel or babyface. And while AJ Styles put on a great outing, I am still watching him on NJPW every week on AXS-TV and his crimped style with WWE is nowhere near his best work in a ring.
No Mercy also featured Nikki Bella utilizing the antiquated 50/50 booking style of WWE in order to beat Carmella. Speaking of the women, Becky Lynch was suddenly injured and not competing. So we saw Naomi not only wrestle but defeat Alexa Bliss. Both finishes were weak and did nothing at all for the losers while barely giving a boost to the winners. The third women’s match of the night was between Jack Swagger and Baron Corbin. Yeah, I said it. Why is this on a pay-per-view? Nobody cares!
The highlight of the night was Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. This was an excellent match and the best on the entire card. Nothing to complain about here. The main event was Randy Orton taking on Bray Wyatt. Oh great, two of the weakest in-between heel/face chimeras in the entire company. Wyatt has strewn together infinitely more losses than wins. And Orton has been a watered down version of himself ever since returning from injury. The build to this match was terribly dis-interesting. And the big “twist” finish was a Luke Harper run in. This ended a pay-per-view in 2016.
Skip ahead to Monday Night Raw and now we’re really swimming out to the deep end with no life preservers. We’re talking about a show that surprisingly opened with Sasha Banks and Charlotte declaring they were having a rematch INSIDE Hell in a Cell. This was a groundbreaking moment…that was immediately cut short by Rusev interrupting. He insults both of them, along with all women’s wrestling (as does Lana) and hijacks what should have been an epic segment. Then Roman Reigns comes out and further buries the angle. Then, in all of Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley’s jaded wisdom, they put Charlotte on a team with Rusev against the team of Banks and Reigns. Despite Rusev belittling Charlotte, she now gets the “honor” of being his tag team partner.
Do you know why this segment happened? Because Kevin Dunn (a guy that probably has twenty Donald Trump signs in his yard) objectifies women and probably doesn’t think they can carry a moment on their own. They needed big, strong men to come out and bolster their credibility. “Nobody is going to buy women in the Cell! We need men to put it over!” Nevermind the fact that when you have a match with Roman Reigns, Rusev, Charlotte, Lana, and Sasha Banks, the only goddamn babyface in the entire thing is Banks. Reigns is not a face! But WWE continues to try and pair him with any one in order to try and persuade the crowd to oh and ah over him.
Then we have a match between Kofi Kingston and Cesaro. The big angle here is Sheamus sits ringside and tweets during the match. Oh, just brilliant fucking television. Really helps sell Cesaro and Sheamus as a team and absolutely helps make New Day look strong. *vomits in mouth, down onto Ultimate Warrior t-shirt*
Bayley comes out and wrestles Cami Fields. Who? Exactly. She beats a jobber and then gets attacked from behind by Dana Brooke (wearing a way-too-tight outfit) and then Brooke just stands there awkwardly like Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights when he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. Brilliant. There were four horsewomen in NXT. Becky has the Smackdown Women’s Title. Sasha and Charlotte are breaking new ground fighting for the Raw Women’s Title. Meanwhile, Bayley is given about two minutes against someone named Cami Fields. Just a real career booster for her. Good job, Vince!
The newly formed Cruiserweight Division continues to get its legs cut out from underneath it as WWE, despite having three hours of television, just keeps hitting us with Cruiserweight tag-team matches. We get Tony Nese and Drew Gulak against Sin Cara and Lince Dorado. Without fanfare, Sin Cara is now suddenly in the division. Dorado spends the whole match carrying Sin Cara before picking up the win. According to Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon, there are only two Cruiserweights named T.J. Perkins and Brian Kendrick. Anybody who isn’t them will just be the bathroom break match on Raw.
Then we come back from commercial to find Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas in the ring. Oh boy! That’ll really boost the ratings! Luckily we are saved by Enzo Amore and Big Cass. But before we can even see them wrestle, they are attacked by The Club. So let me get this straight. Cesaro and Sheamus, a team thrown together two weeks ago get to face New Day, but two of the top three tag teams on Raw have a segment with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel? Then WWE hits us with a bullshit 4-team tag at a PPV the night before? Why not save the multi-team matches for actual talent? I’d definitely watch New Day vs Enzo and Cass vs The Club any day.
Oh, but that segment isn’t even over. After The Club and Enzo and Cass leave, Axel and Dallas are still competing! They demand a team! So we have to suffer through not only them in a match, but a hastily thrown together Sami Zayn and Neville tag-team. Is Teddy Long running creative all of a sudden? We’ve had five matches so far and four of them have featured tag teams! Brilliant! I’m just as baffled as Vince as to why the ratings continue to tank. Fuck you, McMahon.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, we then are “treated” to a match between R-Truth and Titus O’Neal thrown together, on the premise, and I shit you not, of Truth trying to give O’Neal’s favorite candy bar to another wrestler. Now, while I can appreciate both men as they have skill and could be great if pushed properly (yeah right, as if that would ever happen), they certainly should not be in a match facing each other. Why, you might ask? Because they have a combined age of fucking 83. R-Truth is in his mid-forties and Titus is 39. This is not a live-TV match. This is not something you expose people to and then try to laugh off the sliding ratings to the board of directors. In simple terms, this is not a match you put on TV if you want people to take what you do seriously.
Backstage segment with Perkins and Kendrick showcasing the 50/50 booking again. I won’t even elaborate on any of that. Braun Strowman then squashes the “Splash Brothers” (who look like a Sheamus and Xavier Woods cosplay couple) and then asks Foley for stronger competition. If only Braun could be what he’s asking for: better talent. He has become a spectacle much like Big Show, Kane, and The Great Kahli before him. Vince will take a giant, twist and contort them, and turn them into a traveling freakshow.
And then the inter-gender match. Holy shit what a waste of time. Rusev and Charlotte against Reigns and Banks. The big creative ending here was Sasha making Charlotte tap to the Bank Statement timed perfectly with Reigns hitting Rusev with a spear. Been there, done that, played all the way out. Then Reigns and Banks stand with their arms in the air, smiling. As if Reigns was suddenly a good guy. Then T.J. Perkins defeated Jinder Mahal. Oh wait, that was Ariya Daivari. Another useless squash match doing nothing for anybody, including the viewers.
The main event was Seth Rollins versus Chris Jericho. Alright, I really can’t complain about this if I’m being fair and unbiased. It was a great match, highlight of the night for me. My only real gripe is that Jericho has main-evented a shit ton of Raw’s this year and did so again last night. Yes, Jericho is awesome. And his work these past few weeks with Kevin Owens has really been the crutch that has saved Raw from swirling into a black hole from wince there is no return. That being said, Jericho is older than both R-Truth and Titus O’Neal. Is the best WWE can do is to have a 45-year-old in the main event? Does that sound bonkers to anyone else? It says a lot about how incredibly talented and what great shape Y2J is in; but it also speaks volumes about how weak WWE thinks their own product is.
They don’t trust their youngers guys to do the job. They don’t have faith or confidence in their roster. And this is true across the board. Both Raw and Smackdown suffer from this inability to pull the trigger on younger talent. The result is getting a 39-year-old John Cena in a main event trying to get another world title. When is WWE going to move on? They speak of a new era and yet continue hitting us with out-to-pasture talent. Now the big hyped up sell is a potential match between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, a match about fifteen years too late between two men with a combined age of 88. Granted, both men are genetic anomalies (Lesnar more so on the chemically enhanced side) and will probably look great. But the point being is that WWE continues to live in the past. And the WWE Universe seems nostalgic to days gone by.
That’s why Sasha Banks gets a pop for mentioning Eddie Guerrero. That’s why Charlotte gets a “Woooooooooo!” every single time she mentions her dad. WWE doesn’t do anything to make their current talent relevant. They are censored and limited and forced to get over by mentioning long since retired or dead Superstars. It’s a vicious cycle all the way around. Fear, uncertainty, doubt; it all mixes together to make WWE unsure of their talent, the talent unsure of their place, and the fans unsure of why they should even give two shits about any of it. There are so many problems to list but I’m just one man and this article is already absurdly long. I have a love/hate relationship with WWE. It’s a frustrating partnership because I see the potential of what this company could be. As a kid I watched wrestling. Then I grew up. But wrestling never did. It plateaued and in some instances took a step back.
You can blame the break of kayfabe. You can blame the dirt sheets. You can blame the internet. You can even blame Vince for bringing too many promotions together and “killing the biz.” It doesn’t matter what the cause was. The effect is what truly matters, and in this case the effect is mediocre, unfulfilling, lazy, and often boring professional wrestling. CM Punk said it best: “Vince McMahon is a millionaire who should be a billionaire.” The reason why he isn’t is that the wrestling experience he presents is no longer thrilling to a certain extent. We demand more but WWE keeps coming up short. Smackdown Live is on tonight and we won’t be doing a live review for that either. If they want us to write something, they need to give us something worthwhile to write about. Until then, let the onslaught begin.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
After WWE tweeted that not only would Becky Lynch not be able to compete at the No Mercy PPV due to medical reasons, but that the main event would start the show, my husband decided that we would skip writing a results article and just try to enjoy the show. The first Smackdown exclusive PPV, Backlash, had a terrible card but turned out to be a great three hours, so I went into No Mercy with a healthy amount of optimism. My mistake.
Curt Hawkins was initially going to have his debut match at No Mercy, but instead popped out randomly during the preshow at around 7:15pm EST before the majority of fans were even in their seats. He walked to the ring to a list of Chuck Norris-type facts while waving around a walking stick. Hawkins announced that his first match would actually be on October 11th on Smackdown, and the crowd couldn’t care less. This was such a poor choice for what was meant to be a strong debut.
The preshow kickoff match featured The Hype Bros and American Alpha versus The Ascension and The Vaudevillains. It was a solid fight, with the Hype Bros and American Alpha picking up the win after a nine minute match. I don’t think this was the best use of the preshow though. We have an entire hour to eat up, and the match only gets 15% of that time? We don’t need to hear Jerry Lawler sexually harass female talent for 45 minutes. Give us longer and better preshow matches.
Our first match was the “main event” where AJ Styles successfully defended his title against John Cena and Dean Ambrose in a Triple Threat match. Styles actually tapped out, but because both Cena and Ambrose simultaneously had a submission hold on him, the match was restarted. First off, I cannot for the life of me figure out why this main event opened the PPV. I thought that maybe they were saving something else for the end of the night, but that wasn’t the case at all. Perhaps they moved it so it wasn’t airing during the debate, but that doesn’t make sense either since everything is On Demand on the Network. It was a confusing move, and I still have yet to figure out why they did it.
Nikki Bella defeated Carmella in a decent match, but Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss in a match that would have been better left off the card. The women had a little over 5 minutes to compete, and it ended with Bliss throwing a fit after her loss. It makes her look weak and childish, which is a poor move considering she is the number one contender for Lynch’s title. Time and time again, we hear about the Women’s Revolution. I’m still waiting for it to begin.
The highlight of the night for me was watching Tag Team Champions Heath Slater and Rhyno successfully retain against The Usos. It was a solid match and it’s so amazing to hear Slater being cheered for, getting hot tags, and being able to actually perform in the ring instead of job out. The second high point for me was Dolph Ziggler defeating The Miz and becoming Intercontinental Champion. This was a twenty minute match of nonstop action. Online rumors had Ziggler leaving WWE to pursue a career in comedy, and I’m glad it wasn’t true.
Baron Corbin defeated the new and improved Jack Swagger in a singles match that was forgettable. Our actual main event was Bray Wyatt versus Randy Orton. I was terrified that WWE was going to try and turn this into their version of Impact Wrestling’s The Great War, but they spared us. Unfortunately, they couldn’t even bother making this match a No Disqualification fight. It was good to see Bray Wyatt finally get a win, but he still didn’t get it clean thanks to a surprise return by Luke Harper. Harper didn’t interfere, simply showed up as a distraction to allow Wyatt to steal a win.
Overall, this PPV was better suited for a Tuesday night episode of Smackdown than it was for a Sunday evening. Whatever magic went into Backlash was completely lost for No Mercy. We apologize for the lack of coverage on Sunday, but have no regrets, as any article we posted was going to tear that PPV into pieces. Hopefully they can get it together by Tuesday and give their talent the better booking they deserve.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Our second Smackdown exclusive PPV will be No Mercy on October 9, 2016 in Sacramento, California. The go home episode of Smackdown was absolutely terrible; my husband didn’t hold back in his review of the show, and I struggled to keep my eyes open. Heath Slater and Rhyno’s run in was the best part of the entire two hours, and they didn’t even get to have a match. Even with all this, I feel strangely positive about this PPV. The card for Backlash was pitiful, but the PPV somehow ended up being one of the best WWE has had in months. Let’s take a look at the No Mercy match card and make some predictions.
Curt Hawkins vs TBA – Singles Match
The build towards Hawkins’ television debut has been a play on the Chuck Norris jokes, and has not gone over well with me. He made his in ring return already at a WWE Live event at the beginning of the month, beating Apollo Crews in a singles match in Las Vegas. The last time I saw Hawkins, he was getting squashed by Ryback while teaming with Tyler Reks. He then asked to be released from WWE, went to NXT after a surgery to lose most of his matches, and spent the next couple of years bouncing from company to company. Not surprisingly, I don’t see him as a Chuck Norris level kind of guy after all of that. His opponent is still undetermined at the time of this posting, but I imagine it will be some local jobber. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear “let’s go jobber” chants from the crowd.
F2H Prediction – Curt Hawkins
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt – Singles Match
After getting destroyed by Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton found himself targeted by the Eater of Worlds. Bray Wyatt has been on the world’s worst losing streak, but still insists that he is a God. On this past Smackdown, Orton locked Wyatt in a storage locker, and Wyatt escaped after talking to some mystery figure just off of camera. Prior to that, they have been involved in equally senseless altercations backstage and in the ring. At one point, Orton looked like he was trying to escape one of Jigsaw’s traps. The whole set up has been ridiculous, and not the positive kind. But who knows; maybe these two will surprise us.
F2H Prediction – Randy Orton
The Miz (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – Intercontinental Championship “Title vs Career” Match
Right now, The Miz is at the top of his game. Since Daniel Bryan can’t compete and fight for his honor after Miz shamed him on Talking Smack, Dolph Ziggler was thrown into the mix. The video package that Miz put together for Ziggler was one of very few highlights on the go home Smackdown. Both men have been underappreciated over the past couple of years, so I’m glad that they have an opportunity now to prove a lot of people wrong. I would like to see Maryse banned from ringside before the match even begins; she tried the hairspray in the face trick one time too many and I don’t care to see her try anything else. That isn’t to say I want to see a fair fight, I simply want to see Miz be tricky all on his own,
F2H Prediction – Dolph Ziggler, via Disqualification; Miz retains the title
Nikki Bella vs Carmella – Singles Match
When Nikki Bella returned to the ring, I fully expected her to get a ridiculous push. Instead, she got her ass handed to her courtesy of the Princess of Staten Island. Carmella was once a hype girl for Enzo Amore and Big Cass when the trio was on NXT together. When her boys were drafted to Raw, she stayed behind and was able to establish herself as a singles competitor before being Smackdown’s final draft pick. She started out as her usual self, but quickly showed us her darker side once she felt that she was being upstaged by Bella. I have been enjoying this new side of Carmella, and I give WWE a lot of credit for not going the predictable route with a big Bella push. Provided they get a decent time slot to compete, this could turn into a really good bout.
F2H Prediction – Carmella
Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs The Usos – Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos turned heel and finally ditched their ridiculous wardrobe. Of course, now they look like gangbangers from a 90s after school special, but I’ll take what I can get. The real stars here are our Tag Team champions; Rhyno, Heath Slater, and all of Heath’s kids. Who could have guessed that Slater would be the top guy after he was completely left out of the draft? His journey to get a contract was a bumpy one and began with a lot of his typical jobbing. Thanks to Rhyno, he scored the tag titles, a contract, and has been creating comedy gold every week. Their success is a likely reason American Alpha was pulled from the title picture; no one is cheering for Alpha when Slater and Rhyno are so strong. I’m a bit worried about this match because you know how much WWE loves The Rock’s relatives, but at least Slater has his contract, his doublewide, and his above ground pool.
F2H Prediction – Heath Slater & Rhyno
Becky Lynch (c) vs Alexa Bliss –Women’s Championship Match
You can tell that Becky Lynch is a proud champion; she is incredibly excited to have won the title and is always eager to defend it. Alexa Bliss is as evil as she is small and earned the right to fight for Lynch’s title after beating out the other women on Smackdown’s roster (excluding Eva Marie, whose suspension is over, but she is still out of action). Bliss is quickly becoming one of my favorite female wrestlers, and is definitely my favorite on Smackdown. Nothing against Lynch, but I believe Bliss is much better in promos and has a better handle on her character. Coming off a female title match as the main event of Monday Night Raw, I hope these two really bring it tonight and try to upstage Charlotte and Sasha Banks.
F2H Prediction – Alexa Bliss
AJ Styles (c) vs Dean Ambrose vs John Cena – Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Hey, guys! John Cena is in the title picture again! At least it took him a little while to get there this time around. I keep forgetting that Styles is our Smackdown World champion, and that’s through no fault of his own. For some reason, this title fight has failed to hold my interest since the brand split. Styles has gotten one hell of a push to the top ever since his debut at the Royal Rumble. In less than a year, he dethroned Cena as “the face that runs the place,” plus won the top title in his brand. Dean Ambrose was an odd choice for champion; I was happy he won, but I’m also secretly happy he doesn’t hold the gold anymore. We all know that Cena is going to get at least one more title run. The question is, does it happen at just any PPV or is it saved for WrestleMania?
F2H Prediction – AJ Styles
The preshow will begin at 7pm EST on the WWE Network, with the main event beginning at 8pm EST. There are no preshow matches set at the time of this posting, but we suspect that Jack Swagger vs Baron Corbin will be a last minute addition. Follow us on Twitter (FaceToHeel, OhhhTweener, MrNotWell) as we live tweet the event and provide feedback after the show concludes.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
The show immediately kicks off with a match; Bray Wyatt versus Kane. The difference between Smackdown and Raw is that on Monday nights we have to wait 25 minutes to see a contest. Bray goes right for the big red demon as soon as the bell rings. Kane recovers with a sidewalk slam and then a DDT. Wyatt slams Kane and then hangs upside down from the turnbuckle. Just then, Randy Orton interrupts on the big screen. He says if Wyatt thinks he is the predator, he should come catch his prey. Wyatt turns and Kane tries to chokeslam him, but Wyatt rolls out of the ring. The ref starts a 10 count and Wyatt walks out. Kane wins via countout. Bray Wyatt stands at the top of the ramp laughing. He yells, “You’ll get yours, Kane! They all will!” Empty words from a man jobbed out and stacking up losses to everyone on the roster.
Baron Corbin is interviewed briefly backstage. He is asked about Jack Swagger. As Baron gives a weak promo, Swagger interrupts and gets in his face. Swagger says let’s find out right now. Baron says see me in the ring. Swagger says he will go find Daniel Bryan and get them a match. Corbin ends the segment with a flimsy, “You do that.”
Alexa Bliss takes on Nikki Bella next. Carmella joins commentary. This one spills out of the ring rather quickly and Nikki throws Alexa into Carmella. Back in the ring, Nikki goes for her finisher, but Carmella runs in from behind and attacks her. Then Alexa and Carmella take turns beating down Nikki. Becky Lynch’s music hits and she runs in to save Nikki. Commercial break. After the break, you guessed it…tag team match. This one ends up being Bliss vs Lynch and Alexa hits Twisted Bliss moonsault for the pinfall. Really flat match that didn’t really do a lot to be honest. Two mediocre, half-assed matches so far tonight. Smackdown not fairing very well. As if to sum this up perfectly, we are then shown a backstage segment of Orton locking Bray in a storage unit with a rocking chair.
The Vaudevillians in the ring next to take on The Hype Bros. During an all over the place match, The Ascension come out and stand at the top of the ramp. I referred to this third mediocre match as hot trash on Twitter. Nothing at all of meaning has happened tonight in order to set the stage or garner excitement for No Mercy. This is the Smackdown of ole when people couldn’t be bothered to tune into SyFy. The Hype Bros win. If you can call anybody in the match a winner. Ascension does nothing but stand there and stare. Bunch of watered-down tag team action.
MizTV on next with The Miz out with his wife Maryse. This is going to be a Dolph-umentary. His words, not mine. He calls out Ziggler who answers and heads to the ring. We are then shown a Ziggler career package. But it is spun to show Ziggler as an ultimate failure. It’s pretty harsh but absolutely hilarious. I laughed several times. Miz continues to verbally assault Ziggler and then brings out two members of the Spirit Squad. They do a cheer spelling out Dolph’s first name. Then they attack Dolph and beat him down as Miz and Maryse walks out. Ziggler fights back with superkicks. The best thing that has happened all night.
Jey Uso versus Jason Jordan in singles competition up next. In less than two minutes, Jordan wins the match. Jimmy throws Chad Gable into the steel steps. As Jordan runs out to help, Jey takes him out at the knee. They roll him in the ring and are about to hit Tequila Sunrise, but Rhyno and Heath Slater run in to save the day. The Usos cut and run. Jack Swagger and Baron Corbin wrestle next, which as exciting as it sounds. Swagger puts in the Patriot Lock. As Baron is trying to reach over and over for the bottom rope, the ref thinks he is tapping out and calls for the bell. Swagger wins. Still haven’t had a strong, solid match tonight…
…and we aren’t going to. There isn’t a main event tonight. Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, and John Cena just jabber-jaw for the last ten minutes. Ambrose interrupts Styles, mad about Cena. Cena interrupts and Styles cuts him off before he can speak. Cena takes his hat off and tries to speak, but Ambrose cuts him off. Ambrose cuts a scathing promo on Cena. Cena attacks him and then Styles. He takes both down, grabs the title and his music starts. Styles attacks him from behind. He bounds off the ropes and hits a Phenomenal Forearm. He grabs the title and his music hits. Ambrose attacks him and hits Dirty Deeds on the ramp. He holds the title up as his music hits.
That’s all she wrote. Super weak Smackdown episode. I am utterly disappointed. Raw actually beat them this week, but it should be considered a pyrrhic victory as neither show wowed in its presentation. Besides Ambrose and The Miz/Ziggler segment, there was nothing good at all about tonight’s show. Two big thumbs down.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Earlier tonight we posted how to book Smackdown Live into WrestleMania 33. If you missed that little gem, read it HERE. To catch up on last week’s episode of Smackdown Live, you can read our full match results and feedback HERE.
Tonight’s broadcast kicks off with Daniel Bryan once again hijacking the show with a YES! chant. I bet he’s sour that Brian Kendrick isn’t on his show. He’s in the ring with a table set up ready for a contract signing. He brings out Becky Lynch. Alexa Bliss enters. The two trade barbs while Daniel Bryan looks on awkwardly. It’s not a terrible segment, but neither really takes a hard shot at the other. That is until Alexa slaps Becky in the face, signs the contract, throws it at her, and then dumps the table on her. Bliss walks out as the crowd boo’s. Becky follows her up the ramp and attacks her from behind. Alexa hightails it to the back and the crowd starts chanting for the Lass Kicker. Flat segment saved at the end by the terrific heel work of Bliss.
The Usos comes down, set to take on American Alpha. Gable looks good after his “injury.” The Usos go after his still taped up knee with wonderful heel tactics. Jason Jordan gets the hot tag and looks studly. He takes down both Usos. Couple of super kicks and a splash end this one. The Usos go on to face Rhyno and Heath Slater at No Mercy. Okay match, nothing really spectacular. And the outcome was predictable before the match even got under way. Like WWE would have American Alpha take on the current goldenboy tag team champs. Sucks for American Alpha, looks like they are stuck in limbo until Slater and his partner drop the belts.
Jack Swagger joins commentary for our next match: Apollo Crews taking on Baron Crorbin. This is a total squash match. Corbin wins with End of Days. After he acts like he is going to attack Swagger, but nothing happens. Really just dead air for this entire segment. The next match is for the Intercontinental Championship. The Miz defends his title once again against Dolph Ziggler. The match starts off strong for Ziggler as Miz appears to phone it in. Luckily he warms up and becomes the awesome heel he is. Both men do their thing and this one picks up momentum. Huge dropkick from Ziggler as Miz comes off the top rope. Both men are down and Maryse tries to rally her husband. The crowd is really behind this match and it probably should have been the main event. Ref sends Maryse packing and Ziggler damn near picks up the victory with one of the most amazing false finishes I have ever seen. Miz goes and collects his title and tries to leave. Ziggler gets to him and throws him into the steel steps. As they get back in the ring, ref is distracted by getting the title out of the ring. Miz sprays Ziggler, hits Skull Crushing Finale and covers to retain! Excellent match. Good job to both competitors. Highlight of the night so far.
Randy Orton against Erick Rowan next. Bizarre booking, but we’ll go with it. Rowan dominates to start. A few moments later, an RKO ends it. Short, strange match. After, the lights go down and Randy stands alone in the ring with the sheep mask. Bray cuts his “I’m a god” promo once again and tells Orton to run. To be honest, neither guy seems very powerful at the moment. Orton got his ass beat by Lesnar and I can’t remember the last time Wyatt got any series of good wins going. This is a feud not worth a lick and doesn’t look to pick up any sort of momentum before No Mercy.
Natalya and Carmella tag against Nikki Bella and Naomi. Before the match could even get going, Carmella just beats the holy hell out of Nikki and the ref calls for disqualification. Alrighty then. I am digging Carmella’s new attitude. Keeps her relevant even though she is out of the title picture.
Main event time. John Cena and Dean Ambrose wrestling each other. Not the best use of time, but it’s whatever. Weak start for this one. Ambrose seems lethargic. Cena does his usual Five Moves of Doom. It’s just hard to get excited for this match. Call me ‘disinterested.’ Ambrose rolls up and pins John Cena on live TV. What?! After the match, Styles attacks Ambrose from behind. Daniel Bryan gets on the mic at the top of the ramp. He says Ambrose gets a shot at the title next Tuesday on Smackdown Live. Ambrose kicks Styles and hits Dirty Deeds. His music plays us out.
Rough broadcast this week. A whole lot of filler and very little killer. Some of these guys look like they are just going through the motions. What happened to that fire we saw in the early weeks of the brand split? Both Raw and Smackdown fell through this week. Disappointing, especially with the guys that have the main titles right now. What did you think of the show? Let us know in the comments below!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
After watching Smackdown’s Backlash PPV last night, Raw has a lot to live up to. General Manager Mick Foley starts off the night, acknowledging Becky Lynch’s victory in winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship, but insists that Raw still has the best female wrestlers in the business. He invites out Charlotte, who is accompanied by Dana Brooke. Charlotte makes it clear that she is fed up with Dana Brooke, then Sasha Banks comes out to tell Charlotte that she’s taking back the Women’s title at Clash of Champions. Bayley is out next, saying that she also deserves a title shot for beating Charlotte last week. Sasha takes off her jacket and hits Charlotte square in the face with it, which just cracked me up. Mick Foley decides that Sasha and Bayley will face off, with the winner facing Charlotte at Clash of Champions. Out of nowhere, Dana slaps Charlotte across the face, which has been a long time coming. With that, Mick adds Dana to the match, making it a Triple Threat to decide Charlotte’s next opponent.
The triple threat match starts right after the break, with Brooke looking strong right away. Banks’s lower half of her midsection is completely taped up, but she gets the upper hand on Brooke and tries for the first pinfall. Brooke throws Banks from the ring, then Bayley sneaks in to try for a pin. She quickly gets control of the match, locking Brooke in an arm bar that she is unable to break free from. She throws Brooke against the ropes, where Banks drags her out of the ring. The two team up briefly against Brooke to keep her out of the match. Brooke isn’t out for long; she targets Banks’ injured back and then sets her sights on Bayley. Banks gets back in, stacking Brooke and Bayley in the corner to hit them with her knees, but Bayley rolls away and goes to the ropes to hit a cross body. Brooke hits Bayley and Banks with a double clothesline, then tries pinning both women to win the match. Sasha hits both women with a superplex, but can’t finish this. She hits a backstabber into the Banks Statement, but Bayley breaks the submission hold. Bayley hits Brooke with a Bayley to Belly, but now it’s Sasha breaking things up. She rolls up Bayley and secures the win and her match at Clash of Champions!
Backstage, Dana Brooke tries to apologize to Charlotte, but is shut down as our champion demands Brooke grab her bags, then walks away. We move on to a dreadful Shining Stars promo. Primo and Epico are trying to sell a timeshare to R-Truth in Puerto Rico. Not even R-Truth can make these two interesting. Before Truth can waste his money and more of his time, Goldust saves him and takes him away. Enzo and Cass step in next to shut down the not-so-Shining Stars. Enzo challenges the pair to a tag match for later tonight. Next, Tom “Tyler” Phillips interviews Kevin Owens, who is fed up with both Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Owens promises to leave Clash of Champions with his Universal Title. Jericho pops in next, announcing to Tom “Felipe” Phillips that Sami Zayn will be on the Highlight Reel tonight.
Back in the arena, Bo Dallas makes his way to the ring. He says some Dr Seuss rhyme to his opponent, Brandon Scott, and to the audience about Bo-Lieving in Bo. Scott is able to drive Dallas fro the ring, but is caught in the corner, allowing Dallas to slam him to the mat. The crowd is chanting “Let’s Go Jobber” as Dallas hits a clothesline. He quickly pins Scott for the win in a fast squash match.
The Highlight Reel is up now, and Jericho is upset that Kevin Owens was not allowed to be on the reel tonight. He gets down on the mat to demonstrate how low he thinks of Sami Zayn before inviting him out. Jericho rubs in the fact that Owens and he are no longer friends, then Zayn asks why he’s even here. Jericho wants to know why Zayn ruined his friendship with Owens, but Zayn doesn’t want to talk about him anymore. He does want to talk about the Universal Championship, which he plans on winning one day. He also points out that if Jericho honestly believes that Owens is his true friend, he is the stupid idiot in this equation. Jericho gets fed up and hits Zayn with a cheap shot into a Code Breaker.
Sheamus and Cesaro are facing off in the 5th match in the Best of 7 series. This is a No Disqualification Match! Just kidding; they haven’t given us anything interesting to vary these matches whatsoever. Just regular ol’ matches, first to pinfall or submission. Sigh. Cesaro tries for a submission hold, but Sheamus slips outside of the ring. He hits some uppercuts before rolling Sheamus back into the ring for a pin attempt. Sheamus is up 3 victories to 1 right now, so Cesaro can’t lose tonight. The two go up to the top rope, but Cesaro knocks Sheamus away and starts again with the punches to the face. He hits a crossbody and goes for a pin on Sheamus. Cesaro is on his back, while Sheamus tries for the Cloverleaf. The nearfalls are starting now as Cesaro locks in the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus gets to the ropes. Cesaro is able to roll Sheamus up and use the ropes to secure the pin and get the win, moving this series to 3-2.
Backstage, Seth Rollins addresses Foley; he’s grateful for the save from suspension but unhappy with Roman Reigns getting yet another title shot. Foley says that Reigns was just as wronged as Rollins was. Rollins wants to bring Stephanie McMahon into this conversation, especially considering what Triple H did, but she’s away in Singapore. Foley gets heated when Rollins questions his integrity, and Rollins ends the conversation by calling him a fool if he continues to support McMahon.
Nia Jax faces off with Alicia Fox next, which is her first match against a regular member of the Raw roster. Jax quickly throws Fox into the corner, flinging her around like a rag doll. She fights back, but is knocked out of the ring. Jax follows her out and gets a kick to the face before Fox jumps on her back. Jax quickly regains control, throwing Fox into the barricade over and over. Jax drives Fox through the barricade, getting a brief “Holy Shit” chant for her efforts. Love it! As the referees attend to Fox, Jax stands by, glaring at her opponent before walking away to cheers from the crowd. I’m so glad to see the fans getting behind her!
The New Day come out to brighten the mood, promising us that we will NEVER have to see that godawful “Old Day” nonsense ever again. Thank you, New Day. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson come out to break up the fun, getting some cheap heat by calling the crowd stupid. They promise to win the tag titles at Clash of Champions, and head to the ring to face Woods and Kingston. Woods and Anderson start things off, with Woods delivering elbows to the rhythm of the New Day Rocks chant. Kingston tags in and goes to the top rope to deliver a boot to the face. Anderson pins Kingston in their corner, then tags in Gallows who throws Kingston from the ring, allowing Anderson to tag in and take Kingston to the mat. Gallows kicks Kingston in the face once he’s back in the ring, then hits elbows. Kingston is able to knocks Gallows off the apron, but is hit with a Spine Buster by Anderson. The Club start using quick tags to isolate Kingston and keep Woods out of this match. Woods is finally back in the match and he knocks Anderson into the ropes, takes out Gallows, and nearly wins the match. The two trade punches, with Anderson ending it with a rough uppercut. Woods is able to hit a DDT, then dives off the top rope to hit an elbow. The Club gang up on Woods, hitting the Magic Killer for the win.
Jinder Mahal, AKA “The Man Who Comes In Peace,” comes out to the ring next. Who made up that nickname? He says something in foreign, then lets us know that he has learned to let hate go and has found inner peace. I miss 3MB. Cue Jack Swagger, our representation of America, who is apparently going to beat up the evil peace-loving Mahal. Mahal immediately goes to his knees, saying he comes in peace, then hits Swagger with some forearms before pinning his neck on the ropes. Swagger regains control outside of the ring, but Mahal kills his momentum as soon as the two reenter the ring. He tries pin after pin, but Swagger won’t stay down. He hits a belly to belly suplex, followed by a kick to the face. Mahal counters the Swagger Bomb and gets the pin on Swagger! That one was a surprise. Good for him.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass come out now; the crowd goes wild when these two enter an arena. The Shining Stars come out next, and get the exact opposite reaction from the crowd. Literally no one cares. They are terrible. Enzo faces off against Epico, who lifts Enzo into a vertical suplex. He asks if he should do it again as the crowd chants for Enzo. Epico tries for a quick roll up but can’t get it done. Enzo starts landing punches, then dances around the ring before going to the top rope. Primo distracts him before he can dive off the rope, but Cass steps in and takes Primo down. Enzo dives off the top rope to take down the Shining Stars, and the referee begins the count. Enzo is about to suplex Epico, but Primo grabs his leg, allowing Epico to get the pin for the victory. What?
Backstage, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins square off. Owens confronts Rollins about his lack of momentum since returning, but Mick Foley breaks things up before it can come to blows. Foley then warns Rollins again to stay out of tonight’s main event. Back in the arena, Roman Reigns walks out to a chorus of boos as we get ready for the last match of the evening. As the bell rings, Owens immediately rolls out of the ring. Reigns goes on the chase, delivering punches and knocking Owens down. He rolls Owens back into the ring, where our champ gets Reigns down to his knees and delivers kick after kick. Owens starts in with the trash talk, allowing Reigns to get the upper hand, which earns boos from the crowd. Owens takes control back (after an obnoxious fan WOOOOS right in his face), going for a pin. He gets Reigns in a chin lock while mocking his “I’m not a good guy, I’m not a bad guy” speech. Owens is gold. Reigns is finally able to fight out, delivering clotheslines and yelling about something while the crowd hates on him. After the commercial break, Owens has Reigns back in a chin lock, telling him he sucks and to stay down. Reigns gets to his feet, but throws himself into the ringpost thanks to quick thinking by Owens. He throws Reigns into the stairs, but Rollins runs down the ramp and begins attacking Owens, causing Owens to win via DQ. Does this mean I don’t have to see Reigns at Clash of Champions? Or is Foley about to kill Rollins’ title chances?
Foley gets in Rollins’ face and the two stat yelling at each other. Foley demands that Rollins go backstage so they can talk, then restarts the match. The bell rings and Owens immediately throws Reigns into the stairs again. Reigns starts to gain his Cena-strength and hits Owens with punches before hitting a clothesline that Owens made look awesome. He starts hitting Owens in the chest, then lifts him up and into a Samoan Drop. Please don’t let Reigns win. Owens goes full Matt Hardy and bites Reigns on his side to block a move on the ropes, but sadly Reigns gets back in position. Owens counters at the last second, but John Cena — I mean Roman Reigns, kicks out at two. He hits a frog splash but long-haired Cena kicks out at two again. Owens shoves Reigns in the back of the head, telling him to stay down. Owens hits a superkick, mocks Reigns’ battle cry, and tries for a Cannonball, but Reigns ducks away. Reigns hits a Superman Punch, but Owens thankfully kicks out. Owens hits two solid kicks to the face, then connects with the Cannonball. Twice! Reigns lifts Owens up into a powerbomb, but he kicks free. Man. I do not want a Triple Threat match, you guys. Come on. Out of nowhere, Rusev shows up! His distraction allows Owens to hit the Pop Up Powerbomb and win the match! Thank you, Rusev, for saving us from Reigns in a main event. Bless you.
Owens makes his way up the ramp, but Rusev isn’t done. He attacks Reigns, who is now lying helpless in the middle of the ring. Rusev lands punch after punch to a helpless Reigns, who is “out” according to our announce team. Lana stands at the top of the ramp, holding Rusev’s title and looking gorgeous. In the ring, Rusev locks in the Accolade, screaming as Reigns is twisted and unable to counter. Give me more Raws that end with Reigns getting his ass kicked!
I went into this Raw expecting the worst, partially because I was exhausted from grocery shopping and dealing with pharmacies and a sick kid, and partially because Backlash last night was so good. I’m glad that they surprised me tonight with a great show that had minimal lulls. The main event was fantastic, thanks to Rollins, Foley, and a surprise return by Rusev. Next week on Raw, the Cruiserweight Division will make their debuts, and I cannot wait! Be sure to follow @facetoheel on Twitter for updates throughout the week.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
Last night was the official kick off party for the first live Smackdown episode, during which the entire WWE landscape was upended and changed forever. Who went where? We discuss below each draft pick and how they fit in the picture going forward.
Seth Rollins got the #1 Draft pick slot, headed over to Monday Night Raw. This one seems obvious. He is quite definitely the future and deserves to be the main guy at Raw. A+ pick.
Dean Ambrose went second, headed to Smackdown. Another obvious choice. They can’t have both Ambrose and Rollins on the same show. Not such a great idea to send the World Heavyweight Championship over to Smackdown, and for that reason we have to give this pick a B+.
Charlotte was the first female wrestler selected and she goes to Monday Night Raw. Her reign as champion has gone on a little too long and she needs to drop the title soon. Because of that, I for one do not care where she goes. I’m giving this pick a C. Not because it’s terrible but because C is right in the middle and neutral is how I feel about Charlotte.
AJ Styles to Smackdown, in a move that could really help propel the “B+ show” into prominence. Styles is a superstar and wherever he goes, viewers will tune in to see him. Although, on the flip side he is almost too good for Smackdown. This pick deserves an A-.
Finn Balor to Raw. This one worries me because we all know how great Balor is. And we all know how shitty Vince is with character gimmicks. I almost wish Balor had gone to Smackdown to put a little bit of a buffer between him and Vince’s main creative team. But Balor deserves Raw. He deserves a top spot. B+ for the overall decision to draft him to Raw and a C- for drafting him a week before a crap pay-per-view on a Tuesday night. Before you get up in arms and send me hate mail, these are just my opinions and the grades are in no way a reflection of the athletes themselves.
Roman Reigns to Raw. I hate this pick. I understand it, but I hate it. Roman Reigns should not be a top tier guy. He should never have been. But it is what it is. I wish he would get back to NXT for development because his ringwork is stale and his mic work is awful. As it is, he’s going to Raw and I give that my lowest grade so far of a D+.
John Cena to Smackdown. The only grade I can give this is an A+ because it means that the flagship show will not feature Cena. Although, one could make the argument to downgrade to an A- because Cena went to the show that has the world title, which is stressful for people that hate Cena any where near the WHC.
Brock Lesnar to Raw. I’m not sure if I want to give this an A+ or a B+. On one hand, Lesnar deserves to be on Raw. He is a heavyweight powerhouse. But on the other, Smackdown could really use him to infuse some badassery into it. Yes, I just used the word badassery. Let’s settle with an A for now until we see when and if this part-timer comes back.
Randy Orton to Smackdown. My initial grade for this is a C+. Only because it seems like a setup to shove Lesnar and Orton down our throats for the next month prior SummerSlam. Also, Cena was drafted to Smackdown and we really don’t need anymore matches between these two. However, I am willing to bump the grade up to a B+ because AJ Styles versus Randy Orton is a dream match to me. And I truly believe Orton taking on Baron Corbin could be some sort of beautiful hoss match, charged with ego and dripping with arrogance.
The New Day to Raw. I like this one because they split The Wyatt Family up tonight, which means New Day will probably retain their titles this weekend and that means the tag division will be strong on Raw. Not splitting up New Day was a wise decision. Giving this draft a solid A.
Sami Zayn to Raw. Automatic A+. Zayn is right where he needs to be, and hopefully he will get a push now.
Bray Wyatt to Smackdown. This one is a little bothersome to me. Wyatt has all the tools to be a behemoth superstar. But WWE has creatively dropped the ball on him continuously, as well as making odd booking choices for his match outcomes. If his most recent track record the past year is anything to go off of, sending him to Smackdown cannot be a good sign. D+ for this draft pick. I will admit if I am wrong. Maybe the point of this is to bring him back to life and have him stand alone for a push. I hope that’s the case.
Sasha Banks to Raw. This is a no brainer. Solid gold A. And you can take that to the bank.
Becky Lynch to Smackdown. I’m alright with this selection. It’s apparent that she isn’t getting a title push, and moving to Smackdown gives her a chance to teach the lower card gals and help elevate them in some great matches. She’s likable by the fans and she could help boost the women’s division over in Smackdown. A- for this one, with the one drawback being that she very well could be buried in Smackdown obscurity.
Chris Jericho is picked up by Raw. Now, I am biased on this one because I hate old man Fozzy-bear. Jericho over the past year has had way too many pushes. He has main evented tons of Raw episodes, won a large handful of pay-per-view matches, and even went over at WreslteMania this year. It’s time for these older guys to stop being in the spotlight. I give this draft pick an F. Send Jericho to Smackdown. Better yet, send him home. He should not have been drafted to Raw and certainly shouldn’t have gone this high up in the picks.
Rusev and Lana to Raw. Another no brainer. Rusev looks like a champion. Lana looks like a million bucks. Why wouldn’t you want these two easy-on-the-eyes roster members on your highest rated show? A+
The Miz and Maryse go to Smackdown. Giving this one a C-. I am over The Miz. And I am definitely over The Miz being Intercontinental Championship. And Maryse does nothing, so why was she included in this draft? The only reason this got a C- and not a D- is because he went to Smackdown and not Raw. Keep the title off of Miz, and keep the Miz off of Raw.
Kevin Owens to Raw equals A++. Owens and Zayn are on the same show. That’s money all day. Raw being the prominent show means that Owens gets to be in the spotlight where he belongs. Good stuff, here.
Baron Corbin to Smackdown is a weird thing. But, with the other guys being drafted there, it could spell good things for the Lone Wolf. If a couple of superstars take them under their wing, it could make Corbin a better worker and smoother on the mic. A- for this, in my opinion. The worry here is the big man being jobbed out and lost in the shuffle.
Enzo and Cass to Raw. Again, no brainer. A+. Keep the tag division strong.
Gallows and Anderson to Raw. Initially this looks like a B- at best. However, it was announced that Finn Balor will be coming to raw. I will bump this up to an A- as I salivate at the thought of mainstream Bulletclub action as Balor takes over the duo and forms a new stable.
American Alpha to Smackdown is a D- for me. These guys deserve to be at the top. If they are getting the callup they deserve Monday Night Raw. That’s it, period. Nothing else is even acceptable. I am very angry about this draft pick. It’s all kinds of wrong, and I cringe at American Alpha having to take on The Usos.
Big Show to Raw. Meh. Giving this one my second F of the draft. Big Show is old as time. He is overused in obscure segments, flip-flopping back and forth between heel and face. I’d rather see him taking a smaller role on Smackdown then wasting television time on Raw. I would have swapped him for Baron Corbin in a heartbeat.
Dolph Ziggler to Smackdown; this one is both hot and cold. On the one hand, this could be a new, fresh start for The Showoff. He is really talented and could benefit from a reboot. On the other hand, I get the sense that the potential to bury him is there and that worries me. Ziggler is a hell of a wrestler and I hope he doesn’t get hidden away on Tuesday nights. Giving this one a straight down the middle C.
Nia Jax from NXT up to Raw. Really? Over Bayley? What a strange call-up, not only for Jax probably not being ready for this, but also the fact they sent her to Raw. D- draft. Keep in mind, the grades are solely on the draft decisions and nothing more.
Neville to Raw is a good choice. Once he returns from injury, he can carry any match and will be a big addition to the cruiserweight division. Giving this one an A+.
Natalya was drafted to Smackdown. I don’t immediately hate this, but it does seem like more betrayal on her family name. She has never gotten a real title push and has never even won the women’s or diva’s belts. She is talented and deserves more than what WWE does with her. I’d prefer her to be on Raw, so this gets a B- from me.
Cesaro to Raw. This is a really solid choice and is hopefully a sign of good things to come for the Swiss Superman. Easy A. Shame on WWE for drafting him so far down on the list. He should have been top ten material.
Alberto Del Rio to Smackdown makes me sad. He hasn’t been properly utilized in WWE for a long time. He is one of the most talented guys on the roster. He seemed annoyed on the WWE Network being interviewed after the draft. I am disappointed right along with him. C-
Sheamus to Raw. I think this one would get a D+ either way. There’s really no place for Sheamus right now, and I really just don’t care.
Golden Truth to Raw. See above. D+ for R-Truth and Goldust.
The Usos to Smackdown. This annoys me because a more interesting angle would have been to split these two up. One to each show and we get to see them stand alone. C-
Titus O’Neal to Raw. Now all he needs is some sort of title. B+ for my money. Would have given an A but Vince has no idea what to do with big, black Adonises.
Kane to Smackdown. I was surprised for this decision. Kane is by and far better than Big Show currently. They should have been swapped. However, Kane will make a home for himself anywhere he goes. And it will be fun to see a little tension between him and Daniel Bryan. A- for this one.
Paige to Raw. She needs to be out of the top tier of the women’s division. She should have gone to Smackdown. C grading for this draft pick.
Darren Young to Raw. I don’t think he’s ready, for either a Raw spot or a title shot against The Miz. D- and that’s being generous.
Kalisto to Smackdown. D+ because this one just doesn’t hold enough weight for me to care one way or another.
Sin Cara to Raw. Sin Cara falls into the same camp as his former partner Kalisto. Although, he might see a big career booster once cruiserweight gets going. For now, a reluctant C+.
Naomi to Smackdown. D+ because she’s almost obscure enough to just get released from the company.
Jack Swagger to Raw. I like it. He’s a worker, he’s big, and the fans dig him. A- decision.
The Ascension to Smackdown. I am giving this an F because Ascension should have never come up from NXT in the first place. They aren’t main roster material and they have been nothing but the job-squad ever since they came up.
The Dudley Boyz to Raw. C- for this decision. They should be no higher than Smackdown.
Zack Ryder to Smackdown. What the heck, I’ll get on board with WWE’s decision to suddenly push the guy. Give this draft decision an A-.
Summer Rae to Raw. Do I like this? I don’t know. Haven’t really seen her as of late. It depends in what capacity she joins the Raw Roster. We’ll give this an apprehensive C.
Apollo Crews to Smackdown. This one irritated me. I really wanted to see him get a slight push and be well received by the fans. Seems like Smackdown isn’t the place for that. B- for this, and hopefully Crews can keep the smile on his face.
Mark Henry to Raw was another baffling decision. Henry, Kane, Big Show, and Jericho should have all been sent to Smackdown to be used sparingly. That being said, I like Henry. And if we actually get to see him running some matches, this could be a B pick.
Alexa Bliss to Smackdown was a bit of a shocker. But this is well deserved. She has really earned her place in NXT lately. I think she’s ready, so let’s give her a chance. I’m rolling with this one. Even A.
Braun Strowman to Raw. I am giving this a D grading because Strowman only made it to Raw because Vince McMahon loves giants. Nothing more. His skill level is not Raw quality.
Breezango to Smackdown. I wish they had split the pair up. Tyler Breeze is talented, but them going to Smackdown as a tag team is dismal. Especially if they go against American Alpha. The skill just is not there. C- is my vote here.
Bo Dallas to Raw. Giving yet another F. I dislike this guy and having him on Raw is a waste of all our time.
Eva Marie to Smackdown. What grade is lower than an F? The test score is so low I may just not grade the test and ask the dean to kick her out of school on an expulsion. She is one of the worst female wrestlers I have ever seen and she should stay off any WWE programming.
Shining Stars to Raw. These guys haven’t done anything at all to warrant being taken to Raw. D- for me.
The Vaudevillians to Smackdown. Finally a team that can go against American Alpha. I like the decision. A-
Alicia Fox to Raw. Meaningless roster pick that just took up a spot that could have been better suited for someone with way more talent. D-
Erick Rowan to Smackdown. I’m okay with this. He’s definitely a B+ player and belongs on the B+ show. In fact, that’s the grade we’ll give this decision.
Dana Brooke to Raw. I think her future could be bright, once she breaks away from Charlotte. Good choice and the right place for her. She needs to go solo though. A-
Mojo Rawley to Smackdown. Strange callup, but if he joins Ryder and the Hype Bros become a main roster tag team, this is a really good thing. I have no complaints about this so let’s hit it with a decent A-.
Curtis Axel to Raw. Ugh. Stay off my television. No star power, and what has he done for us lately? A whole lot of nothing. Heath Slater is much better liked by the fans than Curtis Axel. I didn’t like this weird decision. D+
Carmella to Smackdown is head-scratching. She floundered a bit in NXT after Enzo and Cass left. It would make sense to bring her up and pair her back with them. Now she has to move up solo on a bigger stage and it could spell disaster for her. Not a fan of this draft pick. I’m happy for her, but she should be with her boys. C-
A couple of interesting take away’s from this draft:
- The split up of The Club. While many would view this as a negative for Gallows and Anderson, lest we forget that Finn Balor is a big member of the global Bulletclub, what he calls the Balorclub in NXT. With him and The Club being drafted to Raw, that can only mean good things. Styles gets to go be a badass solo competitor and stand on his own. And Balor can start building a new stable.
- No mention of The Undertaker, which isn’t necessarily an oversight. His status is year to year and this whole brand split might fall apart before WrestleMania next year.
- AJ Styles is solo now and is on the brand with the world title. That just made things all sorts of interesting.
- Nobody drafted Heath Slater. He got a funny segment where he was left sitting in the dark, but it is pretty shitty to not include him. He is the best guy in the Social Outcasts group. The fact that Bo Dallas got drafted and he didn’t is garbage.
- We still don’t know who Sasha Banks will have as a tag partner at Battleground, which potentially could mean we may see a few more drafts next week, including but not limited to Bayley from NXT.
- Three names surprisingly left out of the draft were Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, and Eric Young. This would have been a perfect time to transition them up. They are veterans and shouldn’t hang around NXT too long.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
WWE Roadblock premiered tonight on the WWE Network. No, not The Roadblock, Joe D’Acquisto, from WCW. We’re talking about WWE’s newly christened Saturday pay-per-view. This review will not be kind, because this so called pay-per-view wasn’t anything special and was mainly a glorified SmackDown episode.
The show kicked off with The New Day coming to the ring to cut a really forced, unfunny segment about Booty-O’s cereal. Why WWE chose to kick off the show in such a manner is beyond me. Wade Barrett and Sheamus come out to battle for the Tag Team Championship gold. It was nice to see Barrett back in competitive action, but the match was fairly stale. New Day retained with some interference from Xavier Woods. Not much to be said on this one except that New Day retaining is a smart decision. Until The Golden Truth is legitimized as a real tag team and Enzo and Cass come up to the main roster, the tag titles are on the right team.
Immediately after that short match, Paul Heyman cuts a backstage promo that really only served to hype up the crowd. It seemed like an advertisement to sell the show we were already watching, all bracketed around saying Brock Lesnar’s name a bunch. Heyman got the crowd fired up, but didn’t really give us anything new.
Y2J, aka Chris Jericho, aka a Canadian hero in his own town, comes out and insults everybody, including his native country. Another talking segment. That makes three promos and only two matches about forty minutes in. Y2J comes across as not really a good heel, but just giving off a real Donald Trump vibe. It’s awkward and the crowd seems a little confused. Jack Swagger interrupts. They put on a good match, with Michael Cole, dare I say, actually selling the play-by-play beautifully. Perhaps he has been feeling the pressure from Mauro Ranallo? In a surprise move, Y2J makes Swagger tap out. So in the same week, Jericho, a part-timer, takes out AJ Styles and then pins Jack Swagger in his return debut? Terrible booking from WWE, even if Jericho is about to go on hiatus for his shitty band again.
And what’s more… WWE booked a Canadian hero to be the heel in a match against an American babyface while in Canada. Very, very confusing. NXT was up next. Dash and Dawson, the NXT Tag Team Champions, took on Enzo Amore and Big Cass. This was extremely exciting as it introduced Enzo and Cass to the main roster fans. Rumor has it they’ll move up to Raw and Smackdown in the near future. Really great match that showed the gaping holes in the main roster tag division. Dash and Dawson, or The Revival as their known, retain. Good outing for these four. Crowd was really into it. Best thing to happen thus far in the evening.
Natalya takes on Charlotte for the Divas Championship, in what was basically a Canadian fanboy match. As female wrestling goes, it was really good. But Nattie lost, as was expected. Not sure what the point of this match was except to let Natalya, the Canadian face, take a loss in front of her home crowd. I guess Vince still hates Canada.
Next up is Brock Lesnar vs….. Luke Harper? Bray comes out without his usual lantern but instead he’s holding a microphone. (More promos? Yes. More promos.) Wyatt verbal dissects Lesnar. His music hits, crowd goes wild. You know the deal. Lesnar destroys Harper, gaining a pinfall victory after hitting an F5. Bray Wyatt spends most of the time standing on the ramp. 90 minutes into this waste of time, and we’re still not sure what the point of all this is. This match was meaningless and amounted to nothing in terms of story. It was supposed to be the comeuppance of Bray Wyatt and he didn’t even wrestle. Brilliant.
Sami Zayn’s music hits, crowd goes ape shit for the Canadian hero. As far as the night’s going, things don’t bode well for this NXT allstar. Fresh back from his injury, Zayn takes on…. Stardust??? What in the holy hell is going on? This has been one of the most bizarre matchcards in recent memory. Is WWE trying to get everyone to turn off the Network? Sami wrestles a little soft, and appears winded at times. Sami Zayn gets the pinfall victory. There is no Kevin Owens run-in during this match and it was pretty much a snoozefest.
Triple H’s music hits. The heel champion comes out first. What’s up with this booking tonight? So many poor decisions being made. Fairly mediocre match as far as World Championships go. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds and picks of a pinfall victory! But the ref restarts the match because Ambrose had his feet under the ropes. This match shows that HHH still clearly has the it factor. Ambrose is still shaky when it comes to telling a story in the ring (ie: the in-ring psychology) in my opinion. Crowd starts an unwarranted “THIS IS AWESOME” chant. This match was anything but that if we’re judging it fairly. Definitely not one of HHH’s best. Ambrose pulls out a Figure Four, a Sharpshooter, and puts himself through the announce table. HHH tries to get a count-out victory, but Ambrose rolls in. He takes a Pedigree and HHH retains. This sets up HHH vs Reigns at WrestleMania.
Face To Heel’s advice on this “Network Speacial”? Can it, erase it, cancel it for next year. Wipe it off the Network completely. It was as pointless as Fastlane. All we need is Royal Rumble then WrestleMania. Nothing in between is needed. Everything that transpired tonight could have just been slowly put out on Raw the next few weeks. If you are reading this article prior to going in to watch Roadblock for the first time, I strongly advise you just skip it. They’ll show the highlights five times during Raw in a couple days. Let us know what you thought if you ended up watching the whole thing in the comments below.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
I’ve skipped the predictions for the last two PPVs due to the lack of buildup and interesting matches, so I’m very happy that WWE has given me something to look forward to in TLC. Every title will be on the line and we have three matches involving tables, ladders, and/or chairs. John Cena is absent, which is either a major letdown or a reason to celebrate depending on which side of the line you stand on. The Brothers of Destruction are also off the schedule for this event, which is a shame, but their story was rushed to the conclusion before it even got legs. Let’s take a look at the TLC match card and make some predictions.
Charlotte (c) vs Paige – Divas Title Match
This should be a stipulated match. Having the title above the ring, Charlotte and Paige fighting to climb a ladder and retrieve it before their competitor. Making one put the other through a table to secure their victory. Instead, we’re getting the same lackluster match we’ve seen on Raw over the past few weeks. Charlotte will be forced to stay in the shadow of her father while Paige enjoys yet another shot at the title. I want to see someone other than Paige in the title picture as a serious contender. I want Charlotte to be someone other than Ric Flair’s daughter. And I want the Divas division to quit playing it safe and give us something worth watching.
The ECW Originals vs The Wyatt Family – 8 Man Tag Team Elimination Tables Match
The Dudley Boyz returning was exciting, and adding Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno made it even better. Putting them against the Wyatts is a match made in wrestling heaven. Since the Usos are back, the Dudleys are no longer involved in the tag title picture, which is fine if we’re going to get a serious rivalry going with the Wyatt Family. I’m happy to see these eight men in a tables match; there is no doubt in my mind that this will be one of the highlights of the evening.
WINNERS: The Wyatt Family
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Jack Swagger – US Championship Match
The whole MexAmerica gimmick is over, to the relief of everybody, but it lasted long enough for Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio to get into it. With Del Rio part of the League Of Nations, he had to separate himself from Zeb Colter. I’m not sure if this means we’ll see Swagger and Colter together or not, but at least Swagger is back on TV. I’m assuming Zeb will be ringside for this match, but I’m not sure if he’ll be back on Swagger’s side or not. This should have been a stipulated match; a ladder match at the very least. It’s difficult for me to get excited about this one, but I’m hoping they surprise me.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio
Ryback vs Rusev – Singles Match
Lana is back with Rusev, since WWE Creative couldn’t manage to ignore TMZ and felt forced to work their engagement into the storyline. She is transitioning away from her Russian accent and back in full heel mode. I’m not a fan of the damsel in distress act, even if it’s just for show, so I haven’t been enjoying what has been going on with Ryback “injuring” Lana. This last minute match is also free of tables, ladders, and/or chairs, which is a waste. When you have two competitors of this size, you have to involve one (or all) of the objects that makes TLC such a great PPV.
The New Day (c) vs The Usos vs The Lucha Dragons – Tag Team Title Match
The New Day took a garbage gimmick and turned it to gold. They have made the tag division interesting again and made the titles meaningful. I’m a bit disappointed that the Dudleys were pushed out of the title picture to make room for the Usos, but they seem to be just fine where they are, so hopefully we get to see them fight for the title next year. There are fantastic athletes competing for these titles, and I’m excited to see who comes out on top this time around.
WINNERS: The Usos
Kevin Owens (c) vs Dean Ambrose – IC Title Match
Owens and Ambrose are two of my favorites, but it’s such a waste to not have any stipulations here. Even without any, these are two strong personalities, two fantastic wrestlers, and two very popular athletes that will make this one of the better matches of the evening. Owens has been on fire since debuting on Raw and has no intention of slowing down his momentum. Ambrose is completely over with the fans, but creative seems to be at a loss about what to do with him. Perhaps the involvement in the IC title picture will give him some direction and allow him to be something other than Reigns’ right hand man.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
Sheamus (c) vs Roman Reigns – TLC World Heavyweight Title Match
I was beyond angry when Reigns won the title, and then couldn’t stop laughing when Sheamus kicked his head off and took the title away from him after a little over five minutes of him winning. Sheamus isn’t my top pick for WWE Heavyweight Champ, but he isn’t Reigns and that makes me happy. I want this to be the last time we see Reigns fight for the title for a while. He isn’t ready by a long shot to be “the guy.” He’s horrible on the mic and too cartoonish in the ring. Sheamus, on the other hand, is a seasoned wrestler, and is now part of a faction that could be very dominant. I’m happy to see him hold the title while Seth Rollins heals and can eventually come back and take what is his.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
Tonight, I will be writing my first live review, and I’m excited to be able to do it for Tables, Ladders, Chairs & Stairs. The TLC kickoff featured Paul Heyman on commentary, with his typical “why am I here with these fools” expression. Our preshow match is a tag team battle between Gold and Stardust and Big E and Kofi Kingston of A New Day. To quote my 9-year-old, “What is this? I don’t get it.” I don’t have a good answer that properly explains what A New Day is doing, but I am enjoying Stardust’s new green hue. This is a better match than I imagined, but it’s a shame to see Kingston and Big E fail to expand their moveset in order to fit their new characters. Stardust is looking strong, not letting either New Day member really get off the ground. Big E eventually comes in like an angry bull, crushing both brothers and going for The Big Ending. Stardust breaks his run and nearly gets the pin but Kofi breaks it up. Cue Brock Lesnar guy sighting. Kofi tags himself in and, as expected, gets the pin to win the match. It’s a real shame to see Gold and Stardust reduced to jobbers, but this was a pretty decent 15 minute match and a good way to get ready for TLC.
Two minutes after 8pm and we’re ready to go with a video package reminding us once again that TLC is the WWE’s version of the Demolition Derby. Slightly cheesy but a good reminder of how violent and brutal this PPV can be. Could have done without the Lebron James reference from Michael Cole. We’re kicking things off with the Intercontinental Title Match between Luke Harper (c) and Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler is in rare form tonight; more hyped up than usual, and no doubt excited to be back in his hometown. Harper is looking like he just finished up a month long bender that involved a lot of sweat and no soap whatsoever. The match barely begins before ladders are brought into the ring. Harper makes a go for the title straight away, giving a kick to Ziggler’s face after he stops the run. Ten minutes in and I wonder how Ziggler is still standing. Harper knocks a ladder down, the top hits Ziggler right in the face; this is clearly a one-sided match so far as Ziggler is repeatedly beat with ladder after ladder. Harper flies out of the ring to attack Ziggler and falls on the ladder in such a way that makes me think he is seriously hurt. His arm is bruised and bloody in seconds. To Harper’s credit, he gets right back in the match and sends Ziggler for a ride off the ladder and into the ropes. Both men are bloodied and cut up at this point. Ziggler’s head and hands are busted open, his arm is cut and bruised, and Harper isn’t fairing much better with his sliced up arm. I have a whole new respect for both of these athletes. With two ladders raised, Ziggler hits Harper with a kick to the face and wins the IC Title once again!!! Man, this victory was seriously earned. Both men were fantastic and both deserved to win, but I’m glad Ziggler got the win in his hometown. Now, someone get the man some ice and band-aids.
We now immediately go into our Tag Team Title match, The Usos vs The Miz & Mizdow (c). I really like Miz and Mizdow’s new gear, and feel really bad for them having to follow that insanely bad ass ladder match. One Uso and Miz go back and forth trying to get quick pins, and everyone in the audience is focused on Mizdow. My kid is in hysterics watching Mizdow throw himself around the outside of the ring. The Usos go for a submission, and it’s nice to see something different out of them for once. Miz and Mizdow end up losing the match via disqualification so thankfully, they keep the titles. I’m just waiting for the moment when Mizdow breaks away from The Miz. He was the only part of this match I really paid attention to.
Big Show’s music hits and we get into a match I’m very curious about, the Steel Stairs match vs Erick Rowan. I’m quickly becoming a big fan of Rowan; he seems to be thriving in his new role as a singles competitor. It only takes a few minutes for Rowan to go for the stairs and get Show to the ground. This match is beginning to look like a dangerous game of Jenga. Or maybe hardcore Legos. Show throws stairs on the announce table and then throws Rowan into a completely different set. Cue “Big Show Sucks” chant by the Ohio crowd. Show gets the steps wedged between the ropes and slams Rowan’s head into them over and over. Rowan quickly counters by throwing Show onto the stairs, knocking him senseless. Rowan tries to slam the stairs on top of Show, but Show rolls out of the way and manages to only get a piece of his side pinched in between instead. It’s still enough to hurt the giant, who knocks Rowan into the Jenga creation Rowan made earlier. You can tell Show is struggling at this point; he’s sweating more than normal and limping quite a bit. Show ends up getting the pin by using the stairs to immobilize Rowan. Lackluster finish to a pretty great match.
Now I’m excited, because Cena vs Rollins is NOT the main event as I initially expected it to be. Kudos to the WWE powers that be for allowing someone besides the golden boy to headline this PPV. I want Cena to lose, so he is both out of the main event picture for a while, but also out of the WWE World Heavyweight Title picture for at least a few months. Paul Heyman makes his way to the ring to get a front row seat to the match that will decide the future for his client, Brock Lesnar. You know, the guy who didn’t even realize there was a PPV going on tonight. Ghetto Cena is back in full force tonight. Rollins is getting a lot of assists from his security team, which is legal since there are no disqualifications. I’m just ready for Cena to go through a table or ten. Shout out to the guy who screamed “CENA YOU SUUUUCK!” J&J Security is popping in and out of this match, assisting Rollins and making me worried that Cena is eventually going to kick out of a tsunami and win this thing. The “Lets Go Cena, Cena Sucks” chants are filling the arena. The “Lets Go Rollins” chant that follows is much deserved, as Cena goes into his tired Five Moves Of Doom. J&J thankfully interrupt before he can get to the AA. Cena grabs a barrier for some reason to use against the security guards, prompting the announce team to praise his creativity. Shout out to the guy who yelled “You Suck, Cena!” Rollins gets two tables set up, but of course Super Cena blocks the throw and gets himself back in the match. Mr. Money In The Bank decides to use his briefcase as a weapon in order to gain the upper hand. Rollins is nearly thrown through a table, but Rollins counters by flipping right over it. Amazing. Cena AAs Rollins through a table, but the referee is knocked out and misses the winning move. J&J security quickly remove all evidence of the win and attack Cena. My heart is happy. At least until Super Cena comes to with a miraculous recovery and double AAs J&J through a table. Not a fan of Cena, but I gotta say that was impressive. Out of nowhere, both men go through two tables simultaneously and the bell is rung. The refs are split on a winner, so the match is restarted! Rollins quickly takes control, tearing apart the announce table. Cena tries to put Rollins through the announce table, but the table wins. Big Show comes out to the ring, which can’t be a good sign for Cena. Punch after punch to the gut, and then Roman Reigns’s music hits!!! Out of the audience, Reigns is back!!! He immediately goes after Show, hitting the Knockout Punch and sending Show through a table. And then, Cena puts Rollins through a table and wins. I’m pissed. Does Cena really need another title shot? Do we really need Cena vs Lesnar AGAIN?!? This was such a waste of a great opportunity. WWE Creative needs to realize that there are other people on the roster other than Cena that can (and should) face Lesnar. Come on.
Shaking off that last match, we move into the Divas Championship Match; AJ Lee vs Nikki Bella. AJ is fantastic and I adore everything about her, so it should be quite obvious who I want to win this. Brie comes out looking like the product of a porn star fused with a Hot Topic cashier, accompanying her sister Nikki to the ring. Nikki is dressed like a Christmas tree ornament. If AJ doesn’t win, I don’t care about this match. Nikki quickly leaves the ring to do push-ups for some reason. AJ takes control briefly before Nikki uses her size to her advantage and gains the upper hand. Nikki gets AJ wrapped around the ring post in a very painful move, and then the Network decides to lag out. Apparently the Network also uses Divas matches for bathroom breaks. Brie’s words of encouragement are godawful and they don’t seem to be helping, as AJ keeps kicking out and nearly securing pinfalls. Out of nowhere, Nikki sprays hairspray or something in AJ’s face, which is bullshit. And Nikki retains the title. Yawn. This PPV went to shit for me really quick.
Now some good news; Ryback vs Kane is up next in a chairs match. Be right back while I mark out to Ryback’s entrance. The match begins with both men swinging chairs at each other as if they were swords. The Feed Me More chants are loud, and it’s hard for me to write while also trying to fangirl away to Ryback crushing Kane. I almost wish that these two had been given the stairs match. A “boring” match starts, which breaks my heart a bit, but I can’t blame the crowd for losing interest. Kane just isn’t the same without the mask and fire and all the demon talk. Irate librarian Kane throws a bunch of chairs in the ring to set up a choke slam, but Ryback counters and sends Kane into the chairs instead. Would have been better with a table. Giving these two chairs was a disservice. Ryback violently takes it to Kane with a chair, making everyone at home giggle at the “I’m dumb as fuck” podcast comment. Impressively, Ryback gets Kane up for the Shell Shocked and pins the former demon for the win. It was an okay match, but could have benefited from a different stipulation. Still, I can’t be let down with a Ryback win. The big guy!
Sidenote: Super Striker commercial plays and John Cena wins. Even in the world of commercials and toys, the damn guy wins. I hate the WWE sometimes.
Rusev Petri Dish. Rusev Match Car. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to see Lana. The lady looks ravishing in red. Swagger interrupts Lana’s speech and the match for the United States title is underway. My hopes for something new didn’t pan out, as Rusev remains undefeated. To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to this match since it was one we’ve seen time and time again.
Time for the main event! Dean Ambrose come to the ring first, ladder in hand, followed by Bray Wyatt and his creepy entrance. These two don’t waste any time getting into it; Bray barely sets the lantern down before Ambrose is all over him. 35 minutes are left in this PPV and I hope these two men use every second of it. Ambrose dives off of the preshow announce table into Wyatt, which is awesome and also sadly shows that Alex Riley has been sitting there alone this entire time. Ambrose gets the kendo sticks out, but Bray won’t back down. He almost invites the blows to the head. Somehow, the kendo stick ends up in Ambrose’s mouth, as Wyatt takes control of the match. Neither man seems to be 100% confident in this battle so far; ten minutes in and I still feel as if they are holding back. As I say this, Wyatt hits Ambrose will one hell of a clothesline. The men take it out of the ring, among the ladders and chairs and tables, and Ambrose puts Wyatt through a table with force, starting a “Holy Shit” chant that broke at least one fan’s brain. That table was beyond destroyed. Ambrose climbs a ladder to put Wyatt through another table, making the crowd go insane and leaving shards of table everywhere. A “one more time” chant starts. Back in the ring, Wyatt hits the Sister Abigail and nearly gets the pin. A second Sister Abigail is reversed, a Dirty Deeds is kicked out of, and there is too much going on to tally. Ambrose randomly throws a steel stair into the Spanish announce table and makes us remember why we love him so much. He pulls a TV out from under the ring, which the fans are eating up. Ambrose limps down the ramp and grabs the second biggest ladder out on display, while yelling “I can’t carry that one” about the giant ladder that was next to it. God bless Dean Ambrose. RIP Spanish Announce Table? Nope; Ambrose gets payback by ramming a chair into Wyatt’s windpipe, in the same fashion that Wyatt injured him days ago. He then climbs a ladder and jumps 25 feet onto Wyatt, crushing the man and the Spanish announce table. Holy shit indeed. The lunatic fringe is unhinged and then some. He grabs the TV and tries to smash it into Wyatt, but the thing explodes in his face! Was this planned??!? Wyatt quickly hits a Sister Abigail and picks up the win. I am still slightly in shock.
This was one hell of a match and an excellent PPV. Our main event was excellent, but I have to say that without a doubt, Ziggler vs Harper was the match of the evening. Please weigh in below with your thoughts, comments, and opinions on TLC. We’ll see you at the Royal Rumble.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker