As we predicted earlier, the 2016 TLC is set to be a spectacle. This is one of the premiere events of the year and the fact that it is a Smackdown Live exclusive has us excited that perhaps it will be a really powerful pay-per-view for WWE. Without further ado, let’s get into the show with our live play-by-play, match results and instant feedback.
The pre-show gave us some tag team action to get things going. American Alpha, Hype Bros and Apollo Crews took on The Vaudevillians, The Ascension and Curt Hawkins. Whole lot of silliness and antics throughout this one. Too many goofy personalities crammed into one match. As a general rule, I’m not a fan of massive tag team matches. Ten competitors outside of a Royal Rumble or a battle royale is far too many. The Alphas did pretty solid and the match wasn’t flat by any stretch of the term. All ten guys put on a great show for the crowd, who were lively and behind the match. In the end Gable and Jordan pick up the pinfall for their team. Okay match with the correct ending.
The first match as the show begins is for the Smackdown Live tag team titles. The Wyatt Family (featuring Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt) challenging Heath Slater and Rhyno. This match was a little short in my opinion. Solid action. The finish was Wyatt distracting Rhyno and Orton hit him with an RKO out of nowhere. After the match, Orton and Bray put the titles on Harper’s shoulders and then posed for the crowd. Very interesting booking here. This is the first time heels have held these titles. It will be fun to see what they do with it. Give it up for Smackdown always pushing the unexpected into our laps. With the pre-show victory, one has to assume American Alpha will be coming down the line to challenge The Wyatt Family for their new shiny belts.
Next up is a No Disqualification match between Nikki Bella and Carmella. As feuds go, this one is ice cold. It doesn’t really do anything in the grander scheme for either woman or the viewing audience. But, a No DQ match is usually a good way to keep me interested. There’s always the possibility of serious injury or death, two things I have often wished on Nikki Bella (and her boyfriend). Carmella dominates to start and eventually ties Nikki upside down in the corner. She gets a kendo stick out and hits Nikki in the stomach. Nikki turns the table when she sprays Carmella in the face with a fire extinguisher. Rack Attack 2.0 lays Carmella out and Nikki picks up the pinfall win. After the match, Carmella gets on the mic and says she didn’t attack Nikki at Survivor Series. She tells her it was Natalya. Duh, we all knew that the moment it happened.
It’s not even 9:00PM yet and the third match is about to start. That seems odd. Half their matches in the first hour? Maybe WWE is starting to end PPV’s earlier. The next bout is Dolph Ziggler challenging The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship in none other than a ladder match. Ziggler the aggressor to start the match. The fight spills out of the ring and Miz plants Ziggler on the ramp with a super kick. They stay outside the ring for quite awhile using ladders as weapons against one another. Ziggler hits an outstanding satellite DDT on a ladder and both men are down. Ziggler finally gets a large ladder into the ring. He attempts to set it up but Miz dropkicks him from behind.
The Miz mocks Daniel Bryan at one point with a YES! gesture right before dropkicking a ladder into Ziggler. Both men climb a ladder and trade blows right below the title. Ziggler knocks Miz off but before he can recover, Miz yanks him down. Miz goes to work on Ziggler’s leg, slamming it into a ladder over and over. Miz wraps Ziggler’s leg through a ladder wrung and then locks in a Figure Four leglock. Ouch. Miz then hits a Skull Crushing Finale into a ladder. Miz sets up a ladder and tries to grab the belt. Ziggler knocks the ladder away and Miz is hanging from the belt! Ziggler slams the ladder into his knee and Miz falls to the mat and rolls out of the ring. Ziggler climbs up the ladder on one leg, but before he gets to the top, Miz runs in and powerbombs him into a ladder. The pair are at the top of a ladder again and then Ziggler starts hitting Miz with headbutts. Miz falls down. Miz pops up and kicks Ziggler in the junk. Twice. Ziggler crumples to the mat as Miz climbs up and retains his IC title.
As ladder matches go, nothing groundbreaking happens. It’s hard to top some of the epic matches we’ve seen in the past. But it is entertaining throughout. Both men bring their a-game. The crowd was really behind Ziggler so the finish was booed, but it was actually really great. I enjoyed that bout. Best match so far tonight. After the match, The Miz gets on the mic and dedicates his victory to Daniel Bryan.
Next match is a chairs match between Baron Corbin and Kalisto. As you might expect, Corbin dominates to start this match, spilling the action out around the ring. He manhandles Kalisto like a paper doll. Kalisto rallies with some nice offense and the two manage to get some oh’s and ah’s from the crowd with some pretty devastating moves, ie: violence. Kalisto dives out of the ring towards Corbin, but he catches the tiny Lucha and hits a Deep Six on the floor. In the ring, Corbin covers but Kalisto kicks out. Corbin hits End of Days on a pile of chairs and that’s the ballgame. A breakout out match for both guys, really. Very nice to watch. The arena crowd was flat, but make no mistake that this was a really great match to watch.
Natalya is interviewed and asked about attacking Nikki. Instead she wishes Becky Lynch luck in her title defense. Then she calls the comments Carmella made absurd and calls her a liar. Natalya versus Nikki or Carmella is not a very promising feud. Let’s hope they skip that and move on to something else. This interview did segue nicely into the next match. Alexa Bliss challenging Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a tables match. Both ladies aggressive to start. Becky is the first to set a table up outside the ring, but Alexa stops her from utilizing it. The crowd is shit throughout this one, chanting for other things unrelated to the match. Charlotte and Sasha spoiled us on Raw this past week, but Becky and Alexa are putting on a good show. Outside the ring, Alexa powerbombs Becky through a table for the win! What!? That’s exciting! Alexa Bliss is my favorite female on both rosters so this is really great. Yes!
The main event of the night is Dean Ambrose challenging AJ Styles in a traditional TLC match for the WWE World Championship. The championship hangs high above the ring. Ambrose going right after the champ as soon as the bell rings. Ambrose clotheslines Styles outside the ring. He follows the champ out and they fight up the ramp. This spills out into the crowd. Ambrose is all over the map. He puts a trash can on Styles and hits him near the announce table with a chair. He gets in the ring and sets up a ladder, but Styles recovers enough to stop him, planting him on the mat. Styles takes control as the crowd rallies behind him, chanting his name.
Ambrose pounds Styles into a group of chairs, garnering a “Holy Shit!” chant from the crowd. Ambrose throws Styles through the metal legs of a table. Styles bounces back and suplexes Ambrose through a table. Wow, a really terrific few minutes of action. Goodness. Dirty Deeds and Phenomenal Forearm both countered, respectively, and then Ambrose throws Styles out of the ring. Ambrose puts Styles on one announce table and sets a ladder up on a second table. Ambrose off the ladder, dropping an elbow into Styles, crashing through the announce table. Mauro Ranallo screams, “Oh my god!” and then the announce team falls silent as the crowd chants, “This is awesome!”
Ambrose leaves Styles in the wreckage and gets a ladder into the ring. He climbs towards the belt. Styles gets on the apron and leaps off the top rope to hit a Phenomenal Forearm, knocking Ambrose off the ladder. They both recover and crawl up either side of the ladder. They knock each other off the ladder and then Ambrose spins Styles into the ladder. Styles sets Ambrose on a table outside the ring and does a 450 splash off the top rope, driving Ambrose through the table. Styles sets a ladder up in the ring as James Ellsworth comes down. Styles foregoes the ladder and goes after Ellsworth. Ambrose hops up and hits Dirty Deeds on the steel steps.
Ambrose scrambles into the ring and sets up a ladder under the title. Ambrose gets up two rungs before Styles joins him on the ladder. Ambrose knocks him off the ladder and out of the ring. Just as Ambrose is reaching for the title Ellsworth tips the ladder over and Ambrose goes through two tables! Ellsworth cheers on Styles has he sets up a ladder and slowly works his way to the top. Styles grabs his title and retains. What a fantastic match. Easily the best match of the night. Bravo. Once again, Smackdown Live has outdone themselves, continuing to stand out within the WWE brand split.
What did you think of tonight’s pay-per-view? Let us know in the comments below! See you all tomorrow for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Writer’s Note: As you have noticed, Face To Heel has been on a hiatus of sorts over the past several weeks. While we are still keeping up on wrestling throughout the week, we have been neglecting the website and our Twitter account. Thanks to some health issues that I am still attempting to get a handle on, and my husband’s efforts to keep our family going, there hasn’t been much time or enthusiasm for getting in front of a computer and discussing the PPVs or the weekly shows.
Thankfully, I am well enough to be back at work on a part time basis and will once again be churning out as many articles as I can possibly handle. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with us; I promise we have not abandoned our readers or our love of wrestling. Please follow us on Twitter at @FaceToHeel for updates, live coverage, and contests; and follow our writers, @MrNotWell and @OhhhTweener.
The eighth annual Tables, Ladders, & Chairs pay-per-view goes live tonight and will be exclusively under the Smackdown Live brand this time around. It will be held in the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. As or right now, we have six verified matches on the card, but we’ll likely see some last minute additions thrown into the pre-show. This event always ends the year on an exciting note and typically has a few jaw-dropping moments that will be talking about as we head towards the Royal Rumble. Let’s take a look at the TLC match card and make some F2H predictions!
Nikki Bella vs Carmella – No Disqualifications Singles Match
It’s nice to see the women getting a No Disqualification match, though I have my doubts about the quality we’re going to receive. Carmella is great, but is still pretty green. Nikki Bella, in my opinion, is incredibly overrated and will probably have too many concerns about re-injury to take a No DQ match seriously. I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect the only No DQ action we get is a lot of outside ring work and a few throws into the barricade.
F2H Prediction – Nikki Bella
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin – Chairs Singles Match
I’ve forgotten why the giant Baron Corbin is picking on teensy tiny Kalisto, but I am glad to see Corbin on the main card of a PPV. I expected him to get a bigger push after winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but I guess that doesn’t have much meaning after the first couple weeks have passed by. This seems like an obvious squash match for Kalisto considering that there are chairs involved, but he has quickness on his side and could surprise us. The real question here is whether we’ll see a run-in from a frustrated Sami Zayn.
F2H Prediction – Baron Corbin
The Miz (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
I love The Miz as IC champ! That said, I also love Dolph Ziggler, so it’s difficult for me to just pick one competitor to cheer for. We assume Ziggler is going to fight clean, and Miz is going to use whatever he can, including his wife, to trip Ziggler up and keep his title. The hairspray nonsense, the Spirit Squad; he has a lot of ridiculous ideas, but they keep working. Having this be a ladder match may work in Dolph’s favor if he can be smart about it and be quicker than Miz. Don’t get your hopes up about Maryse being banned from ringside though. This will definitely be two on one.
F2H Prediction – The Miz
Becky Lynch (c) vs Alexa Bliss – Tables Match for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
This is awesome. This is so awesome. I love this. Alexa Bliss is probably my favorite female on the Smackdown roster, and I’m very curious to see this tiny athlete lugging around giant tables. I love that WWE is taking more chances with their women; first dropping the “Diva” name, and then putting them into more risky and exciting matches. I’ve seen women go through tables before, but on WWE? That’s not exactly commonplace. This should be one hell of a match.
F2H Prediction – Alexa Bliss
Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton – Tag Match for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
2016 has been a strange year, so it only makes sense that Heath Slater would have a title and be one of the top guys on Smackdown. Keeping with the strange, Randy Orton is now part of the Wyatt Family, because why not? This match is filled with a lot of What The Hell Is Going On? This will be a straight tag match with no stipulations, but will no doubt still be an exciting one to watch. I hope Slater and Rhyno pull out a victory so Slater can hold on to that double wide. And yes, Face To Heel is continuing its refusal of calling them Beauty and the Man Beast. That’s a terrible name. Terrible, terrible name.
F2H Prediction – Heath Slater & Rhyno
AJ Styles (c) vs Dean Ambrose – Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for the WWE World Championship
Our main event will be a traditional TLC match between Styles and Ambrose, two guys who aren’t afraid to put it all on the line. I have to wonder how James Ellsworth is going to fit into this match. I definitely want to see him ringside supporting Ambrose, and while I do not want him to affect the outcome of the match, it would be good to see him take a chair shot, push Styles off a ladder, or get slammed through a table. I love that chinless wonder. Eventually Ambrose has to turn on Ellsworth so maybe tonight will be the night when he slips up and costs Dean his shot at winning the belt by accident.
F2H Prediction – Dean Ambrose
The pre-show will begin live on the WWE Network at 7:00PM EST, with the main show beginning at 8:00PM EST. Hopefully we don’t get an early ending the way we did with Survivor Series and the booking will be strong throughout. Be sure to Tweet along with us at @FaceToHeel during the show, and keep your eye out for our next giveaway contest! Let us know in the comments below your own predictions and what you are most looking forward to on tonight’s card.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
It’s time for the second live Smackdown of the year, and the first since the brand draft. The night kicks off with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon. They let us know that Smackdown is not about them; it’s about the talent and the fans. Of course, they say this while doing a YES chant to Bryan’s music, but we’ll let that slide. The entire roster is surrounding the ring, and Backlash is announced as the first Smackdown exclusive PPV, which will be held on September 11, 2016. Dean Ambrose is invited out to the ring, as the next order of business is to find him an opponent at SummerSlam. Tonight, a six-pack challenge will be held to determine the number one contender. The first contender is John Cena, because of course it is. The second entrant will be Bray Wyatt, followed by Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin, and AJ Styles. The sixth contender’s spot is open to everyone; the winner of the upcoming Battle Royal will earn that 6th spot.
JBL, Mauro Ranallo and David Otunga are our new announce team, and we get a brief introduction to them before the Battle Royal begins. Simon Gotch is the first eliminated, about 30 seconds in. Alberto Del Rio and an Uso team up on Kalisto, but fail. Both members of The Ascension are eliminated by Kane next. Kane goes after Kalisto next, but can’t quite get it done. Apollo Crews is up on the ropes, but he saves himself. Tyler Breeze is pinned in the corner by Erick Rowan. Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder are looking out for each other. Jey Uso is eliminated thanks to Breezango, and we cut to first commercial.
During the break, Aiden English was eliminated, along with Erick Rowan. Mojo Rawley is eliminated by Del Rio, who then goes after Ryder. Kalisto botches a move, but Del Rio ends up eliminated anyway. Kane eliminates Breezango and we are left with him, Kalisto, Ryder and Crews. Crews does an amazing standing moonsault onto Kane, and at this point, everyone is down on the mat. Ryder botches a dropkick (JBL calls him out) and Kalisto is saved. Kalisto redeems himself, but Ryder botches a move off the ropes and just falls down. Kane eliminates Kalisto by throwing him out of the ring by his throat. Kane hurls Ryder out of the ring and it’s down to him and Crews. Crews dodges a chokeslam with a flip and eliminates Kane! Congratulations to Apollo Crews! Well deserved!
Before the commercial break, we get a video package for the return of Shelton Benjamin. Dolph Ziggler then addresses the crowd now via video package to discuss his plans to be in the main event at Summerslam. Our next match is a Women’s one-on-one; Becky Lynch versus Natalya. It’s difficult to take Natalya serious as a heel when she looks like a life-size Bratz doll. This starts off as a very athletic match, which is a great thing to see. Charlotte and Sasha Banks set the bar high with their performance last night. Lynch hits a dropkick that drives Natalya from the ring. Natalya keeps cheering for herself as she slams Lynch into the mat. Lynch finally gets Natalya down, hits a leg drop, and tries for the pin, but fails. Natalya hits a German Suplex but can’t get the pin either. Natalya tries for the Sharpshooter, but Lynch counters and locks in The Disarmer to force the tap and win.
As Lynch celebrates, Alexa Bliss interrupts, calling herself the hottest star on Smackdown. She is interrupted by Naomi, who calls her out for talking big when she hasn’t even competed on the main roster yet. Now Carmella is here! She barely gets going before Eva Marie comes out with the most obnoxious, self-absorbed, ridiculous entrance I have ever seen in my life. Eva Marie is garbage personified and I’m so incredibly annoyed at having to waste 30 seconds on seeing her.
Baron Corbin delivers a statement via video package now, stating he will win tonight, and he’s doing it for him and him alone. Now, time for MizTV. Maryse is screeching about something, calling Miz the sexiest man alive. I like The Miz, but I disagree with that statement. Anyway, The Miz is interviewing himself. Randy Orton thankfully interrupts the Miz lovefest, then calls him out for “playing with himself.” A RANDY chant starts. They move on to discuss the match Orton has at Summerslam against Brock Lesnar. Orton tries to set up a match against Miz, but he declines. Orton makes a joke about Maryse wearing a strap on and giving it to the Miz, so Maryse gets all heated and accepts the match on behalf of her husband.
Following the break, Orton faces Miz, who immediately rolls out of the ring. Miz attacks Orton’s shoulder and beats him into the ground outside of the ring. Back in the ring, he hits the shoulder again with a kick, then starts delivering kicks to his midsection as Orton is stuck in the corner. Orton tries to turn the match around, but gets thrown into the steel steps. Miz rolls Orton back into the ring, and Orton hits a surprise RKO, but doesn’t go for the cover. Instead, he sits by the ropes and just watches as Miz lays in the ring. Orton slowly gets to his feet, still watching Miz lay on the mat. Miz finally gets to his feet and Orton hits a second RKO, goes for the cover, and wins.
After the break, we get a fantastic video package for American Alpha, which is a great way to introduce the non-NXT audience to this tag team. They will compete for the first time on the main roster next week. In the ring, a local talent is set to perform, but Heath Slater comes out of nowhere, knocks the guy out of the ring, and grabs a microphone. He is the only non-injured performer who was not drafted. He demands to become part of the main event; make it a Magnificent Seven Pack Challenge. He starts a Sign Heath Slater chant. Shane McMahon tells Slater he should submit a resume, to which Slater replies by listing all his accomplishments, which are actually pretty damn impressive. As Slater is going off, Rhyno slips into the ring and GORES Slater. Poor Heath Slater.
It’s AJ Styles’ turn to address us in his video package, telling us how good he is and discussing how ridiculous it is that he even has to compete in this main event to qualify. After the commercial, Bray Wyatt takes his turn, reminding us that he is the Eater of Worlds, and tonight, he will cause five other men to fall. And with that, it’s finally time for our main event! Cena is out last, of course.
There are no count-outs, no disqualifications, and you must win via pinfall or submission. The match is 10 seconds in and we break for commercial. As we return, Wyatt, Styles and Crews are the only three in the ring. Wyatt lays out Styles with a rough Clothesline, then Ziggler is back in the ring to deliver a dropkick and then an elbow to Wyatt, before trying for a pin. Corbin pulls Ziggler from the ring and lays him out, but Styles hits Corbin with a knee. Styles tries to pin Wyatt after hitting a 450 Springboard, but Cena breaks it up. Crews is in now, Suplexing Ziggler all over the ring. Crews is pinned by Corbin, but kicks free. Corbin is destroying Crews, as the pair are alone in the ring, but can’t get the pin. We then break for our hopefully last commercial.
When we return, everyone is back in action, but no one is able to finish this match. We’re quickly back to Corbin and Crews alone, as Crews hits Corbin with some solid punches, but Corbin is able to pin him again, then goes off on the referee for not calling it a three count. Crews hits a powerbomb, Bray Wyatt takes out the referee and goes into that creepy backbend, and hits Crews with Sister Abigail. Ziggler hits Wyatt with a Zig Zag and pins him for the three count, but the damn ref is outside of the ring hugging his knee! Cena hits Ziggler with the AA, then hits Styles with the AA and almost wins the match. Cena hits Crews with the AA, then hits Wyatt with one, and pretends to struggle with picking up Corbin, but eventually gets him. Out of nowhere Styles eliminates Cena. And even more out of nowhere, DOLPH ZIGGLER comes in and WINS! Are you kidding me! Ziggler gets it? This is amazing!! Man, this truly is a new era. Ambrose comes down to the ring to stare down Ziggler, Bryan comes out to lift both their arms into the air, McMahon congratulates Ziggler, and this ends our night.
Tonight was a fantastic two hours of wrestling. This new era is really living up to its name and I’m getting really excited about WWE’s product again. Please leave your comments and thoughts about tonight below, and let us know what you think of Ziggler winning the main event and challenging Ambrose at Summerslam. We’ll see you all next 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
Tonight is the final Raw before the brand split and drafts tomorrow night on Smackdown, which is getting me excited, but very nervous. Stephanie McMahon kicks things off, but barely gets a word out before brother Shane enters the arena. Steph reminds us that this will be Shane’s last Raw, as he is the commissioner of Smackdown, while she controls Raw. Steph makes an amazing announcement; thanks to the success of the Cruiserweight Classic on the Network, Raw will exclusively have a new Cruiserweight division. This is huge and a great move for WWE.
Steph’s second announcement is to name none other than Mick Foley as General Manager of Raw! Foley compares the current New Era to the Attitude Era, and the brand split to Monday Night Wars, so I hope he has big plans for his new position as GM. Foley makes a lot of promises, and his history shows that he can live up to all of them. Not to be outdone, Shane’s pick for GM of Smackdown is Daniel Bryan! The ultimate underdog, who was forced into retirement too soon, is back in the ring! He may not be wrestling, but it’s great to see him. The “YES” and “Daniel Bryan” chants are deafening. Bryan says he had reservations about returning until he realized that Smackdown was the underdog that desperately needed his help in this fight. He makes a plea for the fans to help him and Shane to beat Raw in this war. Steph congratulates the “B+ player” on his B+ show. This should be interesting.
24 minutes into Raw and we get our first match; a tag between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens versus Sami Zayn and Cesaro. Cesaro and Jericho start things off, with Cesaro going for an early pin and delivering a few uppercuts. Zayn is tagged in and delivers shots to Jericho’s chest. Zayn hits two arm drag takedowns into an arm bar as Owens talks trash from the sidelines. The tension between Zayn and Owens is electric, and I hope they are drafted to the same brand. Owens tags in and we get another commercial break. We come back to Jericho and Zayn in the ring; Zayn is desperately trying to tag in Cesaro but can’t quite make it. As Jericho distracts the ref, Owens tries to attack Zayn outside of the ring, but Zayn gets the upper hand and ends up taking Jericho down as well. Cesaro gets in and delivers uppercuts to Owens and Jericho, who are pinned in opposite corners, before trying to pin Jericho. Owens and Zayn get in the match and Owens hits a brutal clothesline, before trying for a Pop-Up Powerbomb that Zayn avoids. Cesaro and Jericho are back in; Cesaro hits the Swing, but it is broken up as Owens and Zayn get back in and show us how well they work together. Finally, Zayn is able to get the pin on Jericho and win the match. Great job by all four.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan is welcomed back by other performers before being interrupted by Steph who isn’t done with her insults. After the break, Alberto Del Rio comes out for his singles match against Darren Young, the number one contender for the Intercontinental Title. The Miz is on commentary, alongside his wife Maryse, and Bob Backlund is ringside to support Young. Am I the only one who finds it odd that a rip-off version of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign is being used by a black gay man? Del Rio takes control of the match early on and tries for a quick pin while Backlund screams and grabs his face. Young hits a couple good clotheslines to take Del Rio down, and The Miz jumps on the apron and gets a right hand to the face courtesy of Young. As The Miz tries to sabotage the match for Young, he is able to roll Del Rio up and secure a quick win.
For some reason in our second hour, we now have a 12-man tag match. John Cena, Enzo, Big Cass, and The New Day versus The Club and The Wyatt Family. This isn’t the best move after last week’s embarrassing attempt to top TNA’s Final Deletion with the fight at the Wyatt compound. Cena is out first, trying to look sassy with his hands on his hips as the crowd chants “John Cena SUUUUCKS” to the tune of his music. Cena grabs a microphone and starts making threats toward The Club to set up their match at Battleground. Enzo and Cass come out to a huge pop, as per usual; these two are on fire. He says to Gallows, “the only time women open their mouth for you is when they yawn,” that Styles has a haircut like a soccer mom, and Anderson is like Times New Roman font: as generic as they come. Smacktalker Skywalker at his finest. The Club interrupts Big Cass’s SAWFT chant to call Cena a turd in a punch bowl. The “hot Asian wife” comment from Anderson is a tad uncomfortable. Cue The New Day; their new ring gear looks absolutely amazing. The battle at the Wyatt compound is addressed, and New Day assures us that they are not broken from the experience because they are not normal men. Then they start naming Pokemon, because the Earth is overly obsessed with Pokemon Go. The Wyatt’s finally come out to save us from this insanity. This all has gone on for 15 minutes, so we cut to commercial as the Wyatt’s make their way down the ramp.
After the commercial break, Cena and Rowan are in the ring, but Gallows is quickly tagged in. Cena tries a shoulder tackle but Gallows doesn’t budge. Big E tags in and does his signature hip thrusts as Gallows escapes and tags Strowman in. Enzo tags in to go against Strowman as Woods plays the trombone. Cass tags himself in to even the odds since Strowman is a beast and so is Cass. The two man stand face to face before Strowman knocks Cena off the apron, cuing every man to jump into the ring and start fighting. They clear out and we’re back to Strowman and Cass, who is destroying his opponent but can’t get him down to the mat. Kingston tags in and tries to take Strowman down but is caught, and we cut to commercial again. As we return, Kingston and Bray Wyatt are in the ring and Wyatt tries for a pin. Michael Cole tries (and fails) to build up the Wyatt compound battle as “the craziest thing” he’s ever seen. Cena gets tagged in and performs the Five Moves of Doom on Wyatt, but Wyatt breaks it up with his creepy signature backbend. He tags in Strowman who headbutts Cena and pins him in the corner to tag in Rowan. Styles is tagged in and taunts Enzo and Cass as he goes to work on Cena. There are way too many people in this match. Gallows takes his turn beating up Cena now, who is unable to get to his corner for a tag, and we have another commercial break. Xavier Woods does an impressive dive out of the ring to take down the entire Wyatt family. Cena hops in to deliver an AA, Anderson counters with a spine buster, and there are bodies everywhere. At this point, the fights are spreading throughout the arena. Styles delivers a Styles Clash to Enzo and wins this trainwreck of a match. 40 minutes later. Man.
We return to see Seth Rollins standing in the empty arena in a pre-taped segment. He talks about his time with The Shield and calls them pawns in his game, saying he is always two steps ahead and had his reasons for keeping Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns around for as long as he did. The only reason Reigns rose to become top dog was because Rollins was out due to injury. Ambrose was nothing but a thief who capitalized on the situation and stole the title that Rollins never lost in the first place. Tonight, Rollins says he will put an end to Ambrose’s fairy tale run as WWE Champion, and when he’s fallen as low as he can go, Rollins will take back his title and prove to everyone that as far as The Shield is concerned, he was always the man. Amazing promo; I’m so glad he’s back.
Backstage, Foley is finally making moves as GM as he chats with Breezango only to be interrupted by Shane. He gives Foley no more than 6 months before he gets sick of Steph, and warns him about the dangers of working with his sister. Foley has been around long enough to be unfazed by this though and sees passion and drive in Steph. We come back from break to Sin Cara in the ring with Baron Corbin. Cara kicks Corbin out of the ring and then dives out to take him down. Corbin regains control quickly and hits End Of Days to win the match. He delivers a few extra kicks to Sin Cara before demanding the ref raise his hand. Kalisto, the former tag partner of Sin Cara, comes to his rescue. Corbin retreats only to blindside Kalisto and take him down as well. Extremely short match, but Corbin looked good. Our second hour is winding down and we’ve only had four matches.
Sasha Banks brings us into our third hour as she teams with Becky Lynch to take on Women’s Champion Charlotte and her sidekick Dana Brooke. Charlotte immediately tags Brooke in so she won’t have to face Banks. It’s frustrating to see our first Women’s champion constantly hiding behind other people; first her father and now Dana Brooke. Banks tags Lynch in, who ground Brooke with an arm bar. Lynch hits a few leg drops on Brooke before trying for a pin. Banks is tagged back in and throws Brooke into the corner before knocking Charlotte to the ground as well. Out of nowhere, Natayla comes out to attack Lynch. The ref calls the match due to disqualification, so we got a solid three minutes of a women’s match tonight. What an embarrassment. Charlotte takes advantage of the situation to hit Natural Selection on Banks and gloat with her sidekick.
We cut away to Dean Ambrose who has a handheld camera, similar to what The Shield used. He promises to retain his title, and we take another break. When we return, the beautiful Lana is in the ring to introduce Rusev. He will be tag teaming with Sheamus against Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder, who is the number one contender for Rusev’s United States title. Ryder comes out strong, but Rusev throws him into the barricade and Sheamus continues the attack with a hard knee to the face. Rusev wants a tag back in, but Sheamus won’t allow it. Ryder and Sheamus tag in their partners, and Ziggler goes on the offensive against Rusev, hitting a Famouser, but Sheamus breaks things up. Ziggler tries for a quick roll-up but Rusev is able to kick out and lock Ziggler in the Accolade, forcing the tap and winning the match. Ryder does his best to look intimidating as Rusev glares at him from outside of the ring.
Backstage, Bryan and Foley exchange words, and seem to be pretty friendly with each other; definitely different than the dynamic between Steph and Shane. Our main event is Dean Ambrose defending his title against former champion Seth Rollins. According to “sources,” Roman Reigns is like a caged animal, ready to come out at Battleground and earn his title back. I’m a bit annoyed that he fails a wellness test and still gets to sit atop his pedestal, but that’s an article all on its own. These two work so well together; Ambrose hits two arm drag takedowns before Rollins rolls out of the ring for a break. Foley, Bryan, Steph and Shane all are ringside for this match, as Rollins returns to the ring and pins Ambrose in the corner to deliver a series of kicks. Outside of the ring, Ambrose throws Rollins into the barricade and delivers a clothesline, then an elbow.
Five minutes into the main event, we get another commercial. We come back to Rollins holding Ambrose in a headlock. Ambrose gets to his feet, but Rollins floors him again and goes for a pin. The two are on the mat, rolling back and forth, trading pins, before breaking free. To be honest, this has been a slow Raw and I’m more interested in looking up ringtones for my phone than I am watching this main event. Both men dive outside the ring and now the Commissioners and GMs are all on their feet, paying close attention. Rollins throws Ambrose into the barricade before hurling him back into the ring and covering him for a pin. It’s 10:55pm and we cut to yet another commercial. We return to see Rollins being hurled into the corner as Steph demands that the ref check on Rollins. Rollins attempts a Frog Splash, but Ambrose rolls to safety. Ambrose manages to deliver a DDT to Rollins and crawls into the pin, but Rollins gets a foot on the rope. Outside of the ring, Ambrose begins to disassemble the Spanish announce table and throws Rollins on top of it. He climbs onto the barricade and gets ready to jump, but Rollins rolls to safety, much to the dismay of the crowd. Ambrose gets Rollins back into the ring with a strong clothesline, but Rollins is able to hit a Pedigree and nearly gets the win.
Ambrose goes to the top rope, Rollins goes to meet him, and Ambrose shoves him off and into the ref. We then have a confusing looking pin, and the ref counts three and calls for the bell, but no one’s music hits and no one’s hand is raised. I have no clue who won. Steph enters the ring to hug Rollins, who she thinks is the winner, but the ref still hasn’t gotten to his feet to declare a winner. Steph takes the initiative to grab a mic and declare Seth Rollins the winner, and his music plays while Steph does a victory dance in the face of her brother. I’m very confused, and so is everyone else. On the WWE Network, it is determined that Dean Ambrose was the winner on Raw, so he will go into Battleground as our champion.
Tomorrow, Smackdown will go live on its new night on the USA Network, and we will finally get to see where our favorite stars will be drafted. Battleground is this Sunday in Washington, DC and will be live on the network at 8pm, with the preshow beginning at 7. We will be providing coverage and will be live tweeting both events; please follow us on Twitter at @facetoheel and leave your thoughts on tonight’s Raw and who is the rightful champion below!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
This is it. The last taped episode of Smackdown. At least for now. If this whole brand split thing goes tits up, WWE may revert back to their old ways at some point in the future. But for now, next week Smackdown is moving to Tuesday nights and going all the way live. We don’t typically cover Smackdown on F2H because the results are online two days prior to the show airing. However, since this is a special episode, we’ll write it up. Besides, we need to get into the mindset of covering Smackdown every week. Smackdown usually airs a lot of recaps from Raw, so this should be a short article.
Show starts with Kevin Owens (in a Finn Balor t-shirt) insulting Sami Zayn. Dana Brooke and Charlotte are shown getting out of a limo and they insult Sasha Banks. The Miz is shown putting on makeup and he informs us we will see Bob Backlund and Darren Young on MizTV. Dean Ambrose is then shown and he lets us know what he plans to do with Kevin Owens tonight.
Sasha Banks comes down to the ring. Dana Brooke comes flipping out of the back. She is accompanied by Charlotte. Even with some distractions by Charlotte, Sasha locks the Bank Statement in and makes Dana tap out. After the match Charlotte attacks Sasha and then throws her over the announce table. Crowd boos. Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev after the break. Doesn’t take long for Rusev to control the action. Vicious attacks throughout and Rusev is just about to go for the kill when Zack Ryder comes down. Ziggler tries to roll Rusev up during the distraction but no dice. Rusev throws Ziggler out of the ring and then chases after Ryder. Ziggler rollsup Rusev up and picks up the pinfall. Rusev goes bonkers and starts tearing apart the announce area. Basic matches to start the show. Nothing much to get us excited for the live broadcast next week.
The Club comes down set to take on Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Enzo gets on the mic. Not his best gift of gab. Enzo and Cass take over the match and we go to commercial break. Anderson and Styles are the tag team with Gallows stalking around the outside of the ring. Styles locks in a Calf Crusher on Enzo as The Club stops Cass from getting tagged in the whole match. Enzo taps and The Club wins the match. Okay match, nothing worth reporting. Tyler Breeze vs Kalisto next. Brief, brief match. Salida Del Sol and it’s over. MizTV up next. Darren Young is terrible on the mic so nothing much happens in this segment. And I’m pretty sure Bob Backlund has early stages of dementia.
Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens is the main event. The ref is about to ring the bell when Seth Rollins comes down. Rollins joins commentary as Owens sneak attacks Ambrose. They spill out of the ring and Ambrose slams Owens head onto the announce table. Seth Rollins hops up and attacks Ambrose from behind. Ref rings for the bell. Sami Zayn runs out and all four men battle in the ring. After a commercial break, surprise, this is now a tag team match. Zayn and Ambrose vs Owens and Rollins. Same ole, same ole. Guess Vince’s request that things be shaken up around here fell on deaf ears. Pedigree by Rollins on Zayn for the pinfall victory.
This Smackdown should of been a jump pad, gearing up the momentum to head into the live show. But it was just another boring Smackdown with nothing at all worth talking about. I really hope WWE steps it up next week otherwise, what is the point?
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Just finished watching last year’s Extreme Rules. The roster was so very different. John Cena, Big Show, Randy Orton, Luke Harper, and Seth Rollins all had matches. A lot has changed in a year. This year’s Extreme Rules promises to be interesting. Let’s take a look.
For some reason, The Dudley Boyz come down to address the crowd during the preshow. First they get the crowd to cheer along with them, then they call them all sheep and Bubba asks Devon if they can get out of the city. Big Cass interrupts. Major kudos to Cass. This is by far the best he has worked on the mic since Enzo went out with his concussion. Good job, big man. Cass rolls into the ring and fights both Dudley’s. He hits Devon with an East River Crossing. Really good segment for the hometown boy. Two thumbs up.
Baron Corbin comes down to take on Dolph Ziggler in a No Disqualification Match. Maruo Ranallo is on commentary for this one which is awesome. Ziggler takes a nasty spill early over the top rope in the corner, inadvertently kicking a camera guy. Baron lays an ass whooping on him for several minutes. End of Days ends it and Corbin wins. Pointless to put a stipulation on this match, as they didn’t utilize it. Match only lasts a few minutes. Just not enough. If Baron Corbin is supposed to be a monster why was this segment booked like this? Pure lazyness on WWE’s part. Both competitors did a great job, but we needed more.
Tornado Tag Team match up next with The Usos taking on The Club, Anderson and Gallows. Quick, violent start to the match. The Club tags control early. Double super kick on Gallows stops the momentum. Usos climb opposite corners but Anderson breaks it up. Gallows collects the ring bell. He tries to hit Jimmy Uso, but takes a kick for his effort. Jimmy jumps off the top rope but misses and lands on the ring bell. Gallows and Anderson hit Magic Killer for the pinfall victory. Okay match, nothing too exciting if we’re being honest about what was just viewed. So far “extreme” is missing from this pay-per-view. As is excitement.
Rusev vs Kalisto for his United States Championship up next. Smartly booked match between a big man and a little Luchador. They choreographed it really well. Rusev looks strong, Kalisto gets quick moves in, including getting Rusev to slam into the steel steps outside the ring. After a vicious slam on the apron, Rusev locks in the Accolade and Kalisto taps. Rusev is now a two-time champion. Well executed match. Now, one of two things happens. Rusev drops the title to John Cena. Or Rusev picks up his WrestleMania loss against John Cena. Either way, Rusev vs Cena is about 30 days away.
Tag team gold on the line next as The New Day takes on The Vaudevillians. Enjoyable tag team match, but pretty much a standard run of the mill match. Nothing stands out as amazing. My wife was right, this match should have been the Tornado Tag Match. Missed opportunity by WWE. Xavier Woods gets isolated and it looks like New Day is done, but with some clever maneuvers and a small interference by Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods gets the pinfall. New Day retains. Okay match, at least the right team won.
Kevin Owens comes out to a huge pop. He has three opponents, including the Intercontinental Champion, The Miz. Cesaro comes out second, followed by Sami Zayn and the champion for this Fatal 4-Way. Right off the bat, Zayn kicks Owens out of the ring. Miz goes next, then Zayn and Cesaro square off in the ring, which was as awesome as it sounds. All four men in this match are fun to watch. Good ring generals that always tell some sort of story. Owens clears the ring and isolates Zayn for a couple of minutes. Best match of the night so far, easily. Dang near flawless execution. Each competitor gets a chance to shine in this match. Crowd really gets behind this one and much deservedly so. There won’t be any following this match. The rest of the show is probably going to be a dud after this one. Zayn and Owens go to brawl outside the ring while Miz sneaks in to cover Cesaro for the pinfall. What an amazing match. Once again the IC Title is the top draw.
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose in an Asylum Match next up on the card. Y2J comes out first followed by Ambrose and they are locked into the cage. First weapon to come down is a mop, which Ambrose goes to work on Y2J with. Jericho recovers and tries for a pinfall. Ambrose grabs nunchucks and Jericho gets a 2×4 wrapped in barbed wire. Ambrose wins that war, but Jericho finally gets the infamous kendo stick and beats Ambrose down. Then he gets a large leather strap and whips it across the back of Ambrose. Ambrose wrestles it away from Y2J and hits him with it. So far this is the most extreme match of the night. Y2J throws Ambrose hard into the cage. Y2J tries to leave the ring, but Ambrose keeps him in. Ambrose gets a fire extinguisher and Y2J gets a straitjacket. He throws the jacket in Ambrose’s face and tries for a pinfall, but no dice. Y2J starts putting the straitjacket on Ambrose. He struggles out of it and takes the fight back to Y2J. Ambrose climbs to the top of the cage and drops an elbow on Jericho. Great move, no reaction from the crowd who seems bored with this one. Ambrose gets a bucket down and pulls a bag of thumbtacks from it. Both men tease us with it back and forth, but nobody lands on them. Y2J locks in the Walls of Jericho submission. Ambrose fights out with a kendo stick, climbs the top rope and tries to hit Y2J with it, but Jericho shoots Ambrose with a fire extinguisher, hits Code Breaker and goes for a pin. Ambrose manages to kick out. Jericho picks up the barb-wire wrapped 2×4 and taps Ambrose on the back a few times. I say tap because he very obviously does not swing with full power. Jericho goes for another Code Breaker and Ambrose reveres him into the thumbtacks! Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds into the thumbtacks and gets the pinfall! Well told match, fun to watch. The smarks will be bitching about it, though.
The Women’s Championship Submission match is up now; champion Charlotte is facing off with Natalya. Ric Flair is banned from ringside, so a victory by our champ will have to be earned on her own. Charlotte quickly gets Natalya down to the mat and demands that she tap, but Natalya is able to get to her feet. She throws Charlotte to the mat and lands a kick to the face. Natalya gets her in another hold but Charlotte breaks free. Natalya hits a clothesline and Charlotte rolls out of the ring. The two start trading blows outside of the ring, with Charlotte yelling “I’m the champ!” Natalya throws Charlotte into the steel post, and the two return to the ring where Natalya isolates her in the corner. Charlotte lands a kick to the face and is able to lock in another submission. Natalya is able to break free, only to quickly find herself in another hold. She’s able to get her hands to the ropes to break the hold, but is greeted by vicious kicks from our champ. Charlotte delivers a vicious suplex, and Natalya is down. She goes to the top rope and hits a moonsault before going into a half crab. Natalya is screaming no over and over again, breaks free, and delivers a German sulpex to the champ before going for the SharpShooter. She locks it in, but just when it looks like she has the upper hand, Ric Flair’s music hits. Natalya assumes she won because of the stipulation Shane McMahon put on the match, but it turns out to be Dana Brooke dressed like Ric Flair! Ha! She goes in to distract Natalya. The distraction allows Charlotte to lock in the figure eight and win the match. Pretty good women’s match. WWE seems still hesitant to let them all the way off the leash. The ladies can go, so let them.
The Phenomenal One, AJ Styles, comes down to the ring, set to take on Roman Reigns for his World Heavyweight Championship. The stipulation here is Extreme Rules Match so hopefully we see some antics, tricks and weapons. Little bit of strong style to start the match, with some vicious kicks and punches from the champ. A steel chair is introduced but Reigns fails multiple times to hit Styles with it. The fight spills out into the crowd and up to the preshow announce table. They make their way back towards the ring after Reigns takes a high-flying Phenomenal Forearm. Styles pulls up the floor padding around the ring, exposing concrete. Styles goes for the Clash but Reigns punches him and then starts taking apart the German announce table. He goes for a powerbomb but Styles punches out and gets Reigns up on the table. He tries a Styles Clash but Reigns punches him away. Styles flies at Reigns but gets dropped on his back into the main announce table. Good moment. Crowd hits Reigns with a “You Still Suck!” chant. Reigns rolls his opponent back in the ring and tries for a pinfall, but Styles kicks out at two.
Reigns tries for a Superman Punch but Styles clips him at the knee. Suplex by Styles into the corner. Outside, Reigns swings Styles into the ring and the barricade and then tosses him into the announce table again. Reigns goes for a Spear but Styles moves and Reigns slams into the time keeper’s area. Gallows and Anderson run out and start attacking Reigns. They beat Reigns down and Styles goes for a pin but the champ kicks out. The Usos run out as The Club grab steel chairs. Two super kicks to Styles. They roll Reigns onto Styles but he kicks out at two. Styles Clash, Reigns kicks out again! The suspense is thick throughout this one. Fantastic story being told. As much as I hate Reigns, this is a good title match. Props. Reigns back drops Styles on a steel chair, goes for a Superman Punch but receives a kick in the middle of the ring. Styles Clash on the chair. Styles goes for the cover and The Usos drag him out of the ring. Styles recovers, tries another pin but the champ kicks out at two. Styles hits Reigns with the chair, then takes turns hitting The Usos. Styles goes for another Phenomenal Forearm, but Reigns spears him out of the air and covers him for the three count. As Reigns is celebrating, Seth Rollins runs up behind him and hits him with a Pedigree! Holy shit! Welcome back, Champ!
Although Payback last month was better, this pay-per-view was pretty great. I enjoyed most of it, especially that ending. Rollins is back. Play time is over. Most of the match outcomes were great choices, and I really can’t hate too much. WWE seems to have gotten the message over how much we hated WrestleMania. The last two pay-per-views have taken it up a notch. Let’s hope the trend continues. See you tomorrow night for Monday Night Raw.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Tonight, WWE’s Extreme Rules PPV will be held in Newark, New Jersey, making it the 8th PPV of its kind. It was originally scheduled for May 1st in Rosemont, Illinois but trades places and venues with Payback. Unfortunately, we will not see Enzo and Cass compete tonight for the Tag Team Titles; after suffering a concussion at Payback during the qualification match, Enzo was taken out of active competition and is working on healing so he can return to the ring. Being the Extreme Rules PPV, nearly every bout will be stipulated in some fashion, so we should hopefully see a departure from PG as the athletes are allowed to be more intense. Let’s take a look at the card and make some predictions.
Preshow Kickoff – Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin – No Disqualification Singles Match
The build to this fight has been solid. Ziggler had an unexpected win against the Lone Wolf at Payback, so Corbin is definitely going to take advantage of the No DQ stipulation tonight. His call up from NXT was solid; he won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and has since faced off against one of the company’s best in-ring workers. We’re all but guaranteed to see Kendo sticks and steel chairs, but I’d like to see Corbin and Ziggler get a little more creative and really push the boundaries. It would be nice to see more meaningful matches on the kickoff shows.
WINNER: Baron Corbin
The Usos vs The Club – Tornado Tag Team Match
This departs from a normal tag match, as all participants are allowed to be involved at all times. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have aligned themselves with AJ Styles from the second they debuted, and given his fight with Roman Reigns, it makes sense that The Usos would get involved to even the numbers. The downside to these type of matches is that even though everyone can be involved, you always have one or two competitors “knocked out” for brief moments either in the ring corner or outside on the floor, so it generally ends up being one-on-one for the most part anyway. This is an extension of the battle between Reigns and Styles and will be all about “The Bloodline vs The Club.” I for one will be glad when it’s over.
WINNER: The Usos
The New Day (c) vs The Vaudevillians – Tag Team Title Match
This is one of two non-stipulated matches for the evening. Why this one wasn’t made the Tornado Match, I’ll never understand. The New Day are the hottest tag team in the company, and the best one they have had in a long while. I was excited to see them go against Enzo and Cass, but we have plenty of time in the future to see that. Simon Gotch and Aiden English are a big departure from the teams we’re used to; the gimmick is unique and they work very well together as a team. However, considering the fact that they likely wouldn’t have this match tonight if Enzo was still standing, I don’t see a good outcome for them.
WINNERS: New Day
Charlotte (c) vs Natalya – Submission Match for the WWE Women’s Title
Ric Flair will be banned from ringside tonight; if he interferes, Charlotte will automatically lose her title. Natalya got screwed during her last title match against Charlotte when the bell was rung prematurely under the incorrect assumption that Natalya had tapped out. My husband filled me in on the rumor that Stephanie McMahon is training hard so she can eventually take the title from Charlotte, so Natalya may once again be out of luck tonight. She has been with the company for years and has been grossly underutilized lately. I can’t imagine how badly she wants to be Women’s Champ, but tonight may not be her night to shine.
The Miz (c) vs Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens vs Cesaro – Fatal 4-Way Match for the Intercontinental Title
A Fatal 4-Way is a great match, but I wouldn’t call it extreme by any means. There should have been an added element to this to take it to the next level. When you have four strong talents, you need to take advantage of that. Creative dropped the ball here by taking the easy route, but it’ll be a solid match regardless. The tension between Owens and Zayn is fantastic; I could watch them wrestle at every PPV. Cesaro has been solid since his return, and The Miz has been revitalized with the addition of his wife, Maryse. In typical Miz fashion, I can all but guarantee he pulls something shady with the help of Maryse in order to hold onto the title.
WINNER: The Miz
Kalisto (c) vs Rusev – United States Title Match
My husband already ruined this match for me. His idea is that Rusev will win the title to set things up for John Cena’s return. Cena will win the title from Rusev, because we can’t have Cena without a title, and that will be that. I want him to be wrong, but he rarely is when it comes to guessing WWE’s directions. Another rumor has this match working to set up a mixed tag with Lana and Rusev against Kalisto and a yet to be determined female competitor. That would definitely be interesting. This is the second non-stipulated match tonight, which is a disappointment, and I hope we don’t have Kalisto yet again bringing down another monster competitor.
Dean Ambrose vs Chris Jericho – Asylum Match
An Asylum Match is basically just a cage match with accessories. Jericho has had the same gimmick with everyone he’s wrestled lately. “Anything you can do, I can do better. I am the best in the world at what I do.” With Ambrose, it was the battle of the talk shows, and ultimately Jericho came out on top. Tonight, Ambrose has the upper hand, being the unhinged guy who should be at home in an asylum-type setting. I’m not a fan of Jericho, but he almost always does his best to put his opponent over, whether it’s obvious or not. If his role tonight is to be Ambrose’s punching bag, he’ll do it and he’ll do it well. I’m hoping the whole Asylum theme has more to it than what we’ve already seen.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
Roman Reigns (c) vs AJ Styles – Extreme Rules Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title
This is basically the same as a No Holds Barred match. Anything goes, no DQ, weapons allowed, no rope breaks, and the action can and will leave the confines of the ring. The chances of seeing Gallows and Anderson interfere, only to be stopped by The Usos, are pretty high. Hopefully, their match will end by one team being too “injured” to participate later in the night, so we have a clean one-on-one for the title. Reigns is my second least favorite champion that we’ve had over the past few years, losing out on first to John Cena. The crowd can’t stand him either, leading the announce team to scramble and attempt to convince us that we boo because we love it. We don’t. We boo because we want the belt off of him and onto literally anyone else. If AJ Styles is that someone else, it would be a big statement of the WWE’s faith in him. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that tonight ends with me cheering rather than cussing at the TV.
WINNER: AJ Styles
With John Cena back on May 30th, and Money in the Bank pay-per-view coming next month, Extreme Rules should be a good jump off point to throw us into the summer schedule and hopefully finish (and start) some new in-ring feuds. What do you hope to see tonight at Extreme Rules? Let us know in the comments what the outcomes might be, your predictions, and what the fallout might be at Monday Night Raw tomorrow night. Extreme Rules is live tonight on the WWE Network with the pre-show starting at seven.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Monday Night Raw is just twenty-four hours removed from a stellar Payback pay-per-view. Tonight, the workload is split right down the middle as Stephanie and Shane McMahon are running Raw together. Let’s get down to business and cover the event live.
The show kicks off with Stephanie McMahon strutting out with a red gift bag in her hand. Would have preferred a match to kick off the show instead of another McMahon dramathon, however, this is a new era and we need to see the dynamic between brother and sister. Steph begins to talk and is almost instantly interrupted by Shane. Steph says the gift is a “peace offering” for him. It’s a framed photo of Vince and Shane. She asks Shane for his idea regarding tonight’s show. As soon as Shane goes to talk, Kevin Owens’ music hits! He demands a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. As the trio hash it out, Cesaro comes out. He’s not too keen on Owens getting a rematch when he thinks he deserves one. Shane wants to settle the dispute right now and sets up a match, leading us into our first commercial break.
The Miz and Maryse join the commentary team as Cesaro goes to work against Owens. After a flurry of offense from Cesaro, Owens rolls out of the ring to catch his breath. But Cesaro jumps off the barricade and flips into Owens, knocking him down. He tosses Owens back into the ring and hits him off the top rope with a cross-body. Owens recovers and puts Cesaro down with a vicious kick and running senton. They trade punches and uppercuts. Both men take turns pulling off amazing moves that eventually lead to a bullfrog splash from Owens on Cesaro outside the ring. After several uppercuts, Cesaro takes a suplex and then a cannonball from Owens in the corner. Owens goes for the pin and Cesaro kicks out at a close two and three-fourths. Springboard uppercut by Cesaro and Owens rolls out of the ring. Cesaro runs around and uppercuts Owens into the barricade. Owens elbows Cesaro and grabs the IC title from Miz. He tries to hit Cesaro, but Miz stops him. Cesaro knocks down Miz and gets Owens back in the ring. He goes for a Swing, but Miz attacks him and the ref rings the bell. All three men start fighting. Sami Zayn’s music hits and he rushes out to attack Owens. Maryse gets Miz out of the ring and Zayn is left standing all alone. He picks up the white IC belt and holds it above his head. Crowd goes wild. The IC Title card is in excellent hands and all four of these guys are working hard to elevate its status. So far, Raw is firing on all the right cylinders.
Dean Ambrose runs into Steph McMahon backstage and he tells her she’s pretending to be a new person but he’s not buying it. She says tonight Ambrose Asylum can be an open forum and he can ask her anything. Commercial break. Funny backstage segment after the break with Gorgeous Truth (R-Truth and Tyler Breeze) and the pairing of Goldust and Fandango. Styles, Gallows, and Anderson are shown in the locker room. Anderson says there’s no way Roman Reigns leaves Extreme Rules as the champion. “Is that so?” Reigns says off camera and he confronts Styles. The Usos come up behind him and they all agree to a three on three tag match for later tonight.
Goldust and Fandango come down. Another commercial break. Ai-yi-yi. Gorgeous Truth enter. Breeze and Goldust set for singles action. Goldust and R-Truth spend the whole match being hilarious. It’s short, with Breeze winning off a quick rollup. A lot of complaints about this one on Twitter, but I thought it was fine. Good comedy, everyone played their part well. I laughed. It was a nice way to break up the evening.
The New Day prances out to the ring. They discuss Enzo Amore’s injury from last night. They show a picture of Enzo getting out of the hospital. Woods says they sent him a box of Booty-O’s cereal. The Vaudevillians interrupt. They say it’s a tough business but a real man would have gotten back up. “Last night we made Enzo Amore the realest guy in the emergency room.” Dudley Boyz’s fireworks go off. Bubba says they need to start the tag team tournament over. Devon starts to speak and Big Cass comes out. He says Vaudevillians attacked his family last night. He calls them and the Dudley’s SAAAAAAWFT and dives into the ring. Everybody starts brawling. Commercial break. When we return, eight man tag team with Cass and New Day vs Dudley’s and Vaudevillians. Evenly matched bout with all four men getting into offensive grooves. The Dudley’s isolate Xavier in the middle of the ring. Commercial break during the match. That’s disappointing. Naturally, Big Cass gets the hot tag. He absolutely destroys English with a bunch of slams and a hard elbow. He goes for the pin but Bubba stops the count. Cass takes out Gotch. Devon hits him and Bubba scoops him up for a slam. Cass kicks out at two. Devon tags in and they look for a 3D. Kpfo takes out Bubba. East River Crossing on Devon and Big Cass gets the pinfall win. Great match with a satisfying ending. Big Cass has the potential to be a big singles star. Interesting.
Becky Lynch bounds to the ring. Her opponent is Emma. Respectable match, however they spend a whole lot of this one pulling each other’s hair which is definitely not what we need in the Women’s Division. Emma wins after she hits Becky in the eye behind the ref’s back. Not the best women’s match. Sasha Banks is missed.
The Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose, comes out after the break to host the Ambrose Asylum. He brings Stephanie out. Ambrose antagonizes her about Payback, and also about the Spear she took from Reigns at WrestleMania. He questions Shane’s dedication to the company and mentions all the sacrifices Steph has made. Steph officially cancels the Ambrose Asylum. Ambrose takes his potted plant, Mitch, and goes to leave. Steph introduces the host of the Highlight Reel, Chris Jericho. Ambrose puts Mitch on the steel steps and the two men stare each other down. Jericho is dressed like one of the faun from Narnia. Ambrose attacks him. They make their way into the ring and Y2J hits a Code Breaker on Ambrose. Jericho smashes Mitch into the back of Ambrose’s head. Okay segment. Nothing much new to be had here. We’ve seen this play out already. However, if this sets up an Extreme Rules match between these two, I suppose it’s forgivable.
United States Championship battle royal up next. Last man standing becomes Number #1 Contender for the US title. Great to see Titus O’Neal back in action. Kalisto is sitting rindside. Baron Corbin and Ziggler have a brief, interesting little segment during the match. Commercial break while the match is still going on with 8 men left. (((sigh))) The final four gets down to Rusev, Del Rio and Sheamus, the former League of Nations partners, and Zack Ryder. It comes down to Rusev vs Zack Ryder. Rusev eliminates Ryder, becoming #1 Contender. Which sounds great, except when you consider John Cena comes back at the end of the month. Odds are Rusev takes the title from Kalisto only to once again drop it to Cena. Which means WWE broke up the League of Nations just to give Cena another title. I hope I’m wrong, but this is WWE Creative in a nutshell. Decent little battle royal with a not so great ending. Side bar: Ryback was supposed to be in this match, but reports around the web say he has been taken off TV indefinitely due to contract disputes with WWE.
The Flair family comes to the ring. Charlotte and Ric say there was no controversy at Payback and the Harts quit like they always do. They call out ref Charles Robinson, aka Lil Naitch. Crowd starts a cheater chant. As Charlotte starts laughing, Natalya comes out and snatches the mic from the champ. She calls out Ric Flair then knocks Charlotte out of the ring. She slaps Ric and puts him in a Sharpshooter. She steals Flair’s watch, ring and jacket. Charlotte helps her father up the ramp. Okay, segment. But if the go-ahead plan isn’t a rematch for Nattie, this whole thing means very little. Also, still waiting on Sasha Banks… Well, sure enough, after the commercial break, Stephanie makes a rematch for Natalya vs Charlotte at Extreme Rules. It will be a Submission Match and Ric Flair will be banned from ringside. It’s about damn time.
Tonight’s main event is the six man tag featuring Roman Reigns and The Usos vs Styles, Gallows, and Anderson. Styles and his “Club” come out first. Reigns and The Usos come out next and we have a match. Styles, who will appear on Sportscenter tomorrow night, starts off the match against Reigns. Fast paced match that kept the crowd engaged, but was oversold by Michael Cole. Styles gets the pinfall win. After the match, Gallows throws Reigns into the ring and Anderson grabs a steel chair. Gallows and Anderson hold Reigns and tell Styles to hit him with the chair. Styles refuses. The Usos hit Styles with the chair and clear the ring. Styles gets behind them and clocks them with chair shots. Roman sees this and jumps up. He lands a Superman Punch on Styles and throws him out of the ring. He tosses AJ into the barricade. Reigns throws Styles through the announce table. Audience boos.
Not the best Raw ever, but it was entertaining enough to watch all the way through. Some funny moments, solid matches, and intriguing setups for future matches. Extreme Rules should be good, and everything after that should open the flood gates for some creative booking. Stephanie and Shane seem to be walking on eggshells and we really need more juice behind their decisions, they need to definitely play up the split. Sad to hear about Ryback. If he is done with WWE, I’m sure NJPW can find a place for him. WWE needs to elevate the next few weeks of Raw episodes in order to really get us excited about Extreme Rules.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
WWE’s post-mania PPV is tonight, May 1st, in Rosemont, IL, and I’m enjoying a glass of wine and juicy steak while I get excited about the line up for the evening. We have Renee Young, Corey Graves, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler on the preshow, which makes me wonder if Lawler will be replaced by someone else on the main event commentary.
Our preshow kickoff starts with Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler. Moving this to the kickoff seems to be a poor choice, especially considering the huge pops both men received as they walked out to the arena. Corbin comes out strong and dominant, but Ziggler’s energy is high and he manages to eventually get Corbin to a knee with a sleeper hold. The action moves outside of the ring, where Corbin dominates and throws Ziggler into the steel post. As Corbin is arguing with the ref and maintaining dominance over a comatose Ziggler, Dolph suddenly comes back to life and scores a victory with a quick roll up. Normally, I don’t like these type of endings, but this was a shocker and was also Corbin’s first lost on the main roster. No doubt we will see Corbin back for revenge later on.
Next up we have a great video package for the Zayn vs Owens match that leads into a Q&A with Sami Zayn. It’s clear that if you want your tweet to be on TV, you have to have a very WWE-themed twitter handle and ask a very easy question. Zayn is doing great answering the questions, but the interviewer is pretty flat.
Up now, we have the US Title Match between reigning champion Kalisto and challenger Ryback. Once again, these two are competing on the preshow kickoff. As a diehard Ryback fan, I’m annoyed. Ryback comes out to some loud boos, which get louder when he starts to mock CM Punk’s entrance. It was brilliant. Push Ryback forever. Ryback comes out strong and dominant, ignoring the taunts from the crowd as he throws Kalisto around the ring. Kalisto manages to get the Big Guy to the floor outside of the ring, but Ryback gets control of the match back right before we go to a commercial. He’s the perfect heel, and I just noticed that his belt says “The Preshow Stopper.” Ryback is gold. Ryback goes up to the top rope, but Kalisto ruins it with a well timed kick. Ryback gets control back quick and goes back to the top rope, but misses wildly, allowing Kalisto to regain control and pick up the win. I am very unhappy.
Moving on to the main show, we start things off with The New Day, who are out to watch the Tag Team match to see who qualifies for a shot at their titles. I hated New Day when they debuted and now I can’t get enough. As New Day settle in with some snacks, Enzo and Cass come out to the arena. Enzo drops his mic and makes a show of running around to retrieve it as my husband and I yell along to his intro. The Vaudevillains are heavily booed; there is no question who the favorites are in this match. Enzo and Gotch start things off with a very acrobatic display, and I just noticed the poop emoji on Enzo’s ass, which is the greatest accessory of the night so far. Enzo gets taken down after an ugly hit to the head, and the ref throws up an X, signaling the ringside doctor. A stretcher is brought out and the match is called, which is quite possibly the worst thing that could have happened. My heart goes out to Enzo; I hope he’s all right. But the show must go on…
We move into a video package for the Owens vs Zayn match, and Owens is the first to the ring to a lukewarm response as the crowd tries to move on from Enzo’s injury. These men are now also tasked with getting the crowd back into this event, and I don’t envy them this job. I’m about to go get some vodka to numb the pain while Zayn throws Owens outside the ring and gets aggressive. Owens quickly regains control and throws Zayn into the steel steps as we get an update that Enzo is being taken to a local hospital and is able to talk and move his arms. Owens seems pretty cocky at this point, nearly getting a pinfall victory and talking trash to the announce team. We’re getting a lot of near falls in this high energy match; it’s incredibly tense. The crowd is definitely back into it now. The action moves to the apron and Zayn is able to throw Owens onto the lip, sending him out of the ring and diving through the bottom rope to take Owens down with a DDT. Owens is able to counter once they return to the ring, using a pop-up powerbomb to win the match. Owens throws Zayn out of the ring and forces Byron Saxton into the ring so he can force an interview and proclaim that he has finally beat Zayn and proved that he is the better man. He has announced his plan to win back “his” IC Title and then invites himself to the commentary table for the title match up next.
The Miz will now defend his title against Cesaro, who returned from injury stronger than ever and with an interesting take on a 007 gimmick. The Miz gets the red carpet treatment as he walks out with wife Maryse, who looks like a circus ringmaster. Cesaro comes out to a strong showing from fans with Cesaro Section signs. The Miz is getting destroyed thus far as his wife screams encouragement and Owens screams insults. Of course, Maryse gets involved to allow Miz to regain control. The most entertaining part of this match so far is Owens on commentary, but it’s difficult to follow Owens vs Zayn. Cesaro is pulled into a submission, but is able to turn it into a suplex and break free. Cesaro pins Miz a couple times for a near fall, but Miz is able to break free. Cesaro tries to get Miz up for the Swing, Miz counters, but Cesaro is still able to get the pin that is broken up when Miz gets his foot on the bottom rope. Out of NOWHERE, Zayn runs out to the ring and attacks Owens! In the ring, Cesaro hits the Swing for a dizzying 20 rotations, and then gets him in a crossface submission. Miz TAPS, but because Zayn and Owens begin fighting on the apron, the ref is distracted and Miz is able to steal the win via quick rollup. Owens is the only one left standing tall at the end of this mess, with the IC Title in hand. The IC Title suddenly means everything.
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose is up next. Ambrose says everything I secretly think about Jericho, only out loud, and I love it. This feud is a lot like the Jericho vs Punk feud on Jericho’s side as he keeps repeating “I’m the best in the world at what I do.” My husband pointed out that this match could have used a stipulation, and I clouldn’t agree more. Ambrose is best when you give him accessories. A “Y2Jackass” chant starts. Jericho looks tired, and if I’m being honest, even Ambrose seems to be holding back and is less enthusiastic than normal. Jericho locks in the Walls, but Ambrose is able to drag him from the center of the ring over to the ropes to force a break. The two move outside of the ring; Jericho’s face is bleeding and Ambrose is destroying the German announce table. Jericho is able to gently toss Ambrose into the timekeeper area and get back into the ring. This match has definitely picked it up from a slow start. We’re getting a lot of near falls now, and the crowd is hyped up. Ambrose tries for Dirty Deeds but Jericho counters and locks in the Walls again. Ambrose counters and gets the pin but Jericho kicks free. More near falls, and my kid is losing his mind. Ambrose finally hits Dirty Deeds and gets the win. Jericho leaves the ring to go attack paperwork and throw a fit.
Mauro Ranallo conducts a brief interview with AJ Styles backstage before we move on to the Women’s Title Match. It feels so good to say “Women’s” instead of “Divas.” The champion is out first, followed by Natalya and Bret Hart. I hope that Bret and Ric are able to keep to themselves and let both women have an honest one-on-one match. The crowd is behind Natalya and so am I. The Network drops for the first time tonight, which is likely the fault of the storms we’re having in Indiana. Hopefully the weather doesn’t kill this PPV for us, because it’s been a great one so far. A “We Want Sasha” chant breaks out, and I get it; I was hoping The Boss would be champ at this point. Charlotte throws Natalya violently into the ropes and tries to go to the top rope, but is knocked off by Natalya. The action moves to outside the ring; the women get a bit sloppy, but are really holding their own thus far. Natalya is favoring her left leg but isn’t giving up. Charlotte is showboating and delivers a beautiful moonsault off the top rope to pin Natalya, who kicks free. Charlotte locks in a figure four and the match is called even though Natalya doesn’t tap out. In retaliation, the Harts lock Ric and Charlotte into figure fours to come out on top, but the fact remains that Charlotte won the match dishonestly once again.
Vince McMahon comes out to the ring now, strutting confidently as we await his decision on Stephanie and Shane. The crowd responds with a CM PUNK chant, but quiets down as Vince begins talking about the success of Monday Night Raw. Nevermind, they just got even louder with it. We will chant for Punk in Chicago forever. Vince invites Stephanie McMahon to the ring next. The crowd is booing so loud, I can barely hear what she is saying. She proclaims that the Network has hit 1.8 million subscribers as she showers herself with compliments and insults her brother. Shane has had enough and comes out to the ring doing his best White Boy dance. A deafening “Shane-O-Mac” chant rings through the arena, but Steph breaks it up by calling it pandering. Shane shows the crowd headline after headline that shows how great Raw has been since he was able to take charge. He continues to tear down his sister by accusing her of poisoning the company alongside Triple H. The crowd clearly supports Shane, but Steph insists that popularity isn’t what runs a business. Vince announces that he wants his children to either disembowel each other or learn to work together, because they both will be running Raw. What?
We return to the preshow announce team briefly to recap the night’s events thus far. Up next, our main event; reigning champion Roman Reigns vs newcomer AJ Styles. A video package plays to show the build to this championship match and highlights the recent attacks from new signees Gallows and Anderson. The big question of the night is who is going to interfere in this match. We have The Wyatt Family on the Payback poster, and we also have the rumors of Finn Balor’s debut. Excited to see what will happen.
After an update on Enzo’s condition (concussion, all other tests negative), Styles and Reigns enter the ring. Reigns gets booed heavily, and no, Lawler, we’re not booing because we like to do it. A “Roman Sucks” chant rings through the arena as the match starts, followed by a loud “AJ Styles” chant. We’ve never been behind Reigns as champ, and the majority of fans are pulling for Styles to win tonight. A “You Can’t Wrestle” chant follows. I don’t know how much clearer it can be that Reigns is the wrong guy to be the face of this company. Styles forces Reigns out of the ring to get his bearings, and he takes his sweet time getting back into the match. Meanwhile, WWE tweets out an update; Enzo has been discharged from the hospital and is hopefully heading home to rest. His injury has cast a shadow over this PPV, but all the credit goes to the competitors; they have brought their A-Game and kept the crowd from getting down about the injury.
The announce team again discusses Styles’ career, pointing out that he hasn’t “made it” until he earns the WWE title, which he hopes to do tonight. Reigns takes control of the match, showcasing his strength and throwing Styles around like a rag doll. This is a good showing from Reigns so far; he isn’t resorting to fist-cocking (yet). It’s only10:35pm, so a hell of a lot can happen before we crown our champion. Of course, as soon as I type it, Reigns cocks his damn fist. He tries for a Superman punch, but Styles counters with a kick to the head and puts the champ down. Styles is showing his experience and not holding anything back; he has an answer for everything Reigns is throwing at him. Styles is able to lock Reigns in a submission, but Reigns quickly gets to the ropes for the break. Styles jumps off the top rope to deliver a Phenomenal Forearm that crushes Reigns and the announce table. Styles makes it back to the ring and wins the match via count out. What a letdown the title won’t change hands and this was a lazy way to end it. That said, it’s only 10:42pm, and Shane’s music just hit!
Shane restarts the match and declares that there will be no count outs, so the match continues! Styles is looking for a way to put the champ down for good, delivering a 450, but Reigns puts his knees up and goes for a pin. Both men go down after Reigns hits Styles with a low blow and gets disqualified, so Styles is called as the winner via DQ. Again, no title change. My husband called this; Steph’s music hits and she restarts the match with no disqualifications. The match will not end until we have a clear winner! Reigns violently knocks Styles out of the ring and throws him over the barricade and into the crowd. Reigns is all business at this point as he looks to put his challenger down, but Styles is able to counter and throw Reigns into the announce table. Reigns isn’t down for long; he delivers two Superman punches and starts with his showboaty nonsense. As he’s pandering to the crowd, Gallows and Anderson intervene and take Reigns down. Styles is struggling to get to his feet, but he manages to get back up and pin Reigns for the win; unfortunately Reigns is able to get his foot on the rope to stop the count. The Usos run out to the ring to attack Gallows and Anderson to even the odds, and Reigns steps in and throws Styles into the four brawling men outside of the ring. There is so much going on! Reigns jumps out of the ring to land on all 5 men, Styles quickly counters to get Reigns back into the ring so he can get a clean win. Reigns hit a spear and wins with a lazy cover, and the crowd goes mild. Great match, but not my ideal ending.
Overall, this was an amazing PPV. For me, this topped WrestleMania. As Reigns is celebrating, we cut backstage to see the McMahons discussing Shane and Steph’s decisions regarding this main event. We’re also getting previews of what will come on Raw and what the plans will be for Extreme Rules in three weeks. It’s already been decided that Styles will have a rematch with Reigns at Extreme Rules, and I am excited to see what will happen next. For once, I have no complaints about anything that transpired tonight, except for Enzo’s untimely injury. See you all tomorrow night for Raw with Co-GM’s!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker