After watching an amazing three hours of wrestling on Sunday, courtesy of Impact’s BoundO for Glory, Monday Night Raw has a lot to live up to. We are live from Los Angeles tonight and will see Sasha Banks fight for the Women’s title, plus have an exclusive interview with Seth Rollins. Our ropes have gone white and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The night kicks off with Roman Reigns, which is frustrating. Give that title back to Rusev! He was getting cheered until he started talking. Thankfully, Lana interrupts looking lovely as always. After a “Thank you, Lana” chant from the crowd, Lana says that she is here to negotiate a rematch. She says that Rusev will destroy and embarrass him. Reigns counters by talking about Rusev’s balls, and Lana tells him to go to hell.
Cue Rusev and his balls; he runs to the ring to attack Reigns. The two trade punches outside of the ring before Rusev is thrown into the barricade. He counters by ramming Reigns into the other side, but Reigns quickly regains control, rolling Rusev into the ring. He cocks his fist, which is just the coolest move ever (heavy sarcasm), and goes for the Superman Punch, but Rusev catches him. Reigns slaps Rusev across the face, driving him from the ring, but is thrown into the steel steps, then kicked into the crowd by Rusev. Why couldn’t Rusev be like this when my husband and I were watching him live at the PPV?? Rusev grabs the United States Championship and holds it high over his head. It looks like Rusev wins the segment, walking off with the title, but Super Reigns attacks him from behind as he reaches the top of the ramp. Some idiot gives him a microphone, and Reigns says that he’ll fight Rusev in a cell at the Hell In A Cell PPV that is upcoming.
Up next, our Cruiserweight division takes the stage in the first official match of the night; champion TJ Perkins versus Brian Kendrick. Perkins starts the match strong with a back body drop followed by a springboard off the rope into a cross body. Kendrick tries to counter, but Perkins catches himself in between the ropes, then sends Kendrick flying outside the ring. He is showing off his athleticism at Kendrick’s expense until Kendrick lands a kick to Perkins’ face. He pins Perkins’ hand on the turnbuckle with his foot, then sends him out of the ring as we break for commercial. During the break, Perkins hits a beautiful hurricanrana to take Kendrick down. Kendrick counters with Sliced Bread into a pin, but Perkins kicks out. He then locks in the Captain’s Hook submission, but Perkins rolls it into a pin. Kendrick kicks free and ends up caught up on the rope, allowing Perkins to get a kick to his head. He recovers and gets the Captain’s Hook in again to force a tap. Good thing this wasn’t for the title.
Michael Cole is up next with his pretaped interview with Seth Rollins. Rollins says he is feeling better, then says that while Kevin Owens is the Universal Champion, he didn’t beat him. Owens was handed that title by Triple H and didn’t win it fairly at Clash of Champions. You make enemies on your climb to the top, and Rollins acknowledges that he’s made quite a few. Rollins says he is irreplaceable, and Owens isn’t a replacement. Owens is simply a cog in the machine. Rollins plans on tearing that machine apart, piece by piece, starting with Owens and his championship. He will prove to the entire world that he is still the man.
BRAAAAUUUUUNNNNNNN is up now! Poor Chase Silver is in the ring now to make his dreams come true. Apparently he dreamt that he beat Braun Strowman up, so here he is. Strowman invites Silver to come at him, and Silver starts throwing kicks and punches before Strowman takes him down easily with a shoulder bump. He screams “THIS IS ALL YOU COULD DO??” Silver takes advantage and hits him from behind, but Strowman immediately counters by getting him in the corner and hitting him with a splash. Silver is lying on the mat while Strowman screams for him to get up. As soon as he rises, Strowman hits another shoulder. He gets him up on his shoulders and slams him to the mat for the pin. Rest in peace, Chase Silver. Strowman then demands that Foley get him a real opponent next week or there won’t be a next week. For a guy who doesn’t get on the mic a lot, this was awesome!
Kevin Owens comes to the ring, dressed to impress, accompanied by his BFF Chris Jericho. Owens calls Rollins stupid for requesting a rematch for the Universal Championship. Owens doesn’t think he deserves a rematch; Rollins lost and he only has Owens to blame for that loss. Since Rollins blamed the referee last match for the loss, Owens thinks that their next match should feature a referee that can handle himself. He suggests Jericho, but Jericho decides that they should challenge New Day for the tag team titles instead. What? He wants to make history, but Owens says that it sounds like a lot of work.
Hold on, Team Kevin and Chris; the Power of Positivity is coming to the ring! I love that New Day can turn the entire crowd into birds as soon as they ask a question which has the answer of “WHO? WHO? WHO?” Big E calls for a champion’s huddle; Owens is invited but Jericho is not. Guess who just made the list? Owens says that New Day has compromised the health of children all over the world with their questionable cereal (too much sugar). Xavier Woods counters with a fat joke that is actually good. Jump, jump, Owens. But lucky for us, New Day grants Owens and Jericho the match!
After the commercial break, Sami Zayn makes his way into the arena to face Titus O’Neil. Poor Zayn looks so teensy next to O’Neil. This is strength versus speed, and neither one can keep the advantage. O’Neil eventually catches Zayn mid-jump and slams him into his knee, then to the mat. He catches Zayn in a bear hug and throws him across the ring before delivering a backbreaker. He loudly taunts Zayn, who catches his opponent off guard and lands a clothesline. He then suplexes O’Neil into the corner and hits the Haluma Kick for the win. Not good for O’Neil, though I have a hard time believing Zayn could win this one. No offense.
You want it? You got it; the Golden Truth. What’s Up? R-Truth and Goldust are in a tag match against The Club. Truth and Anderson start off the match with Truth in control. He and Goldust take Anderson to the mat, then Goldust hits a clotheline into an arm drag to lock Anderson in an arm bar. Anderson counters, gets to his corner to knock Goldust down and tag in Gallows. He gets Goldust in a headlock as Truth tries to hype up the crowd. Both Anderson and Truth are tagged in; Truth hits clotheslines into a dropkick to take Anderson down for a pin, but Gallows breaks it up. Anderson tags back in Gallows while Truth is distracted, and the pair hit him with the Magic Killer for the win. After the bell rings, The Club begin attacking Goldust, hitting him with the Magic Killer as well.
Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson are confronting Jericho and Owens backstage, so I am tuning out. Not even Owens and Jericho can save this. Ha; nevermind! Jericho saved it at the end. With… IT! Back in the ring, Enzo and Cass are dressed in their “More Than Pink” shirts. Susan “Certified G” Komen held a contest, and we have three winners in the ring with Enzo and Cass; three breast cancer survivors. How you doin? Enzo tries to unveil their prizes, but gets all tangled up in the pink sheet. Still, each woman is gifted with a Women’s Championship title, which is pretty darn awesome. Cass spells out SAWFT after ensuring that it does not apply to the women in the ring. These poor women look so confused! Anyway, don’t donate to Susan G Komen; they are one of the worst organizations when it comes to getting the money to where it SHOULD go.
Oh dear god… Kutcher and Masterson are on commentary, so now Corey Graves is trying even harder to be funny and it isn’t working. It’s godawful. Shut up, Corey Graves. Shut up forever. Back to the wrestling; Owens and Jericho are facing Woods and Big E. Woods does some clever dodging, but the stronger Owens gets Woods in the corner where he tags in Jericho and the two team up on him for a moment. Woods recovers and flips into Jericho to hit a clothesline into a cover. Woods tags in Big E, who hits the fresh Owens with a clothesline. The crowd starts a “New Day Rocks” chant as E spears Owens the corner. Jericho tags in, and pins Big E in the corner with his boot, then showboats to the crowd. As Jericho distracts the referee, Owens gets some cheap shots in on Big E. It’s difficult to pay attention to this match with everyone babbling on commentary about things that have nothing to do with the match. Owens gets a good laugh mocking how the guys play dead on the mat as he reaches for Big E.
Out of nowhere, Seth Rollins’ music hits! Now I’m interested! Woods hits Owens hard, thanks to the distraction, and now E and Jericho are tagged in. Big E hits a belly to belly, and it looks like Jericho might have a bloody nose. Owens jumps in to save his partner, but Big E throws him from the ring to set up Woods to take him down. E hits Jericho with an elbow, then a splash. As Jericho locks Woods into a submission, Rollins runs in to distract him. This allows Big E and Woods to hit The Midnight Hour and pin Jericho for the win! I guess they won’t be getting that title shot after all. Rollins wins the segment by hitting Jericho with a Pedigree.
More cruiserweight action is up now, with Rich Swann and Tony Nese. Swann gets control early, but Nese counters and hits Swann in the face. He hits some knees and pins Swann for a two count. Swann hits a hurricanrana to throw Nese across the ring, but he hits a kick to Swann’s head before pinning him in the corner and laying him with kicks until the referee separates the two. Nese whips Swann into the corner, but Swann hits another hurricanrana to throw him away. It’s strange how they are unable to capture the magic we saw during the Cruiserweight Classic. Swann bounces off the ropes, but Nese catches him and pins him for the win. Honestly, these guys are great, but I feel that someone is telling them to hold back.
Tag team time; Sheamus and Cesaro versus Jobber 1 and Jobber 2. Cesaro gets one jobber in his corner before Sheamus tags himself in and showboats to his tag partner. Cesaro tags himself in, saying GET OUT, and the jobber tries to hit a sunset flip. This is so dumb, it might work. Jobber 2 gets hit with an Irish Curse Backbreaker, then Cesaro dives into the ring and jumps off of Sheamus to hit Jobber 1 with a DDT. Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick to jobber 2 and wins the match.
Before our main event, we get a fantastic video package featuring Charlotte and Sasha Banks’ journey from NXT to WWE to championships. Backstage, Charlotte and Dana Brooke taunt Bayley, but our resident hugger throws Brooke across the hallway and shows that she isn’t going to be pushed around. I am so happy to have the women main eventing Raw! Banks will hopefully defeat Charlotte and take back her title. Banks is thrown to the mat immediately, and Charlotte tries for the Figure 8 right away. Charlotte goes out of the ring and Banks hits a suicide dive, and then they go to ANOTHER COMMERCIAL? We were 20 seconds into that match. When we return, Charlotte has Banks’ arms pulled behind her with her knee in her back. Apparently we missed a lot of awesome out of ring action during the commercial. THANKS GUYS. Charlotte goes for the cover, but Banks is out at one. Charlotte then begins attacking Banks’ injured back. She bends Banks over her knee to put stress on her lower back, but Banks kicks away. Our champ hits another backbreaker and tries to hit Banks in the corner, but she dodges and sends Charlotte into the ringpost. Banks gets back in the match, hitting a dropkick, then driving Charlotte to the mat with her knees for a pin. Banks hits a hurricanrana, then a baseball slide to send Charlotte from the ring. Charlotte tries to throw Banks into the ring apron, but misses.
Charlotte starts hitting chops, and puts Banks up on the ropes. She tries to throw her from the top rope, but Banks blocks it. Banks jumps from the top rope and hits Charlotte with double knees for a pin, but our champ stays alive. Banks tries for a backstabber, but Charlotte grabs the ropes and sends Banks out of the ring. She goes to the top rope and does an amazing dive off the top to take Banks down. Back in the ring, Charlotte hits Natural Selection, but Banks kicks out at the last possible second. There is a kick ass DELETE DELETE DELETE sign in the audience! Ha! Nice. Banks is down and out, but she manages to lock Charlotte into the Banks Statement after Charlotte runs at her. Charlotte counters, but Banks locks it right back in and forces the tap! What a main event!! Charlotte is left in tears as Sasha Banks holds her title high.
This wasn’t the greatest Raw, but that main event was money. Those women put it all out there and gave us one hell of a main event. The best Raw main event we’ve had in a while. Tomorrow, we will be covering the go home episode of Smackdown ahead of the No Mercy PPV. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @FaceToHeel; we had our first giveaway last week and more are headed your way!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
If you missed last week’s RAW review, Finn Balor was injured at SummerSlam and was forced to vacate the Universal Championship less than 24 hours later. Tonight, we crown a new champ in a Fatal-4-Way.
The show kicks off with Corey Graves in the ring with the four competitors fighting for the title. Seth Rollins interrupts him early and tells everyone to thank him for injuring Finn Balor at SummerSlam. Rollins says he is feeling nice and wants to donate his talking time to Kevin Owens. Crowd starts a “Fight, Owens, Fight!” chant. He says Rollins talks big but he (Owens) delivers big. He insults Reigns and Big Cass as well. Cass then talks and actually does incredibly well. He insults Owens and Rollins, who then becomes infuriated and starts yelling at everyone. Rollins orders Graves to ask Reigns how he is going to win tonight. Reigns stands up and Owens laughs at him. Then Reigns punches him out of his chair. Rollins attacks Cass and Reigns pulls him off. Cass and Reigns square off. But before anything can happen Rollins attacks from behind. Reigns throws Cass out and then Superman Punches Rollins. Crowd vocally unhappy, booing Reigns as he eyes the Universal Championship. Nice opener for once.
Chris Jericho comes down to take on Neville. Y2J rolls out of the ring at the start of the match and yells at the crowd. Neville comes up behind him and kicks him in the gut. He rolls Jericho back in the ring, climbs the top rope and leaps off into a cross body cover. Jericho kicks out at two and then crawls to the corner and wraps his arms around the ref. Jericho rakes Neville’s eyes and clotheslines Neville to the mat. Commercial. Neville is in control when we return. Standing Shooting Star Press and Neville covers. Kick out at two. Jericho rolls out of the ring, Neville comes around and kicks him off the apron and moonsaults off the second rope, taking Jericho down. Back in the ring, Neville can’t keep Jericho down. Jericho goes for a Code Breaker, but Neville kicks him in the face. Red Arrow off the top rope. Jericho moves and catches Neville in the Walls of Jericho. Neville taps. This whole Y2J on top thing is getting old. He is beating too many young guys. This does absolutely nothing for Neville. And really does nothing for Jericho either. Neville recently returned and is getting tapped out. Didn’t like this booking at all.
Nia Jax up next. Probably another squash match so not really sure why I should even bother covering it. Shortly after typing this she wins. Yawn. Where’s Sasha Banks? Jinder Mahal and Sami Zayn have a match that nobody wants to see, honestly. The crowd chants for Slater throughout. Zayn wins. Boring match. Not sure what this does for Zayn. Just a lot of odd booking choices tonight.
Bayley and The New Day take on Dana Brooke and The Club next with Charlotte on commentary. Starting to see more of these mixed tag matches which is a big positive for WWE. This match is okay. Sort of a goofball spotfest instead of a fun wrestling match. Bayley and New Day are a little clumsy. The Club and Dana do a nice job. The big go home is Bayley to Belly on Dana for the pinfall victory. Raw has sort of lost me since the opening segment. They haven’t really set up any feuds or rivalries outside of the Universal Championship.
Sheamus comes out to fight Cesaro in a match that probably won’t pick up the momentum of the show. This is match #2 of their best of 7 series. Oh goodie. And lucky for us they let Byron Saxton interview Sheamus before the match. That’s just cringe-worthy. The match itself is decent. But what else is there for these two to do? They are just going to have seven straight up matches? That isn’t exciting at all. Cesaro lands a pretty vicious European uppercut off the ropes. Crowd not bothering to get up for this one. Can’t really blame them. This series is definitely going to 7 so we are just going to watch them go through the motions 6 times prior. In a surprise twist, Sheamus wins the second match with a submission tap out. Sheamus goes up 2-0. Mr. Fuji video package after the match. Sad. Rest in Peace to the Hall of Famer.
Big announcement after the break that the Cruiserweights are coming to Raw in 3 weeks! Finally! Stephanie McMahon comes down to the ring. Paul Heyman interrupts her. Stephanie cuts him off and tells him to get in the ring and apologize. Instead, Heyman says Raw won SummerSlam when Lesnar defeated Orton. Heyman says he is here tonight to pay Lesnar’s $500 fine. He pulls out a huge stack of bills. He starts counting to five hundred using single dollar bills. HaHaHa. At six, Stephanie slaps the money out of his hand. Heyman sweet talks Stephanie and apologizes. She accepts and walks out. Weird segment.
Titus O’Neal comes to the ring, smiling at the replay from last week. Darren Young comes out with Bob Backlund. Weirdly, this is one of the better matches of the night. The two tell a good story and put some emotion into their fight. Titus looks like a beast and although Young has yet to embody this so-called greatness Backlund claims, he looks solid tonight. Darren Young gets the pinfall victory and then tosses Titus out of the ring. He and Backlund celebrate in the ring. Titus spoils the fun, running in and attacking them both from behind. Clash of the Titus on Young. Crowd boo’s as Titus walks out and up the ramp.
Main event time. Big Cass comes out with Enzo Amore which I find an odd decision. Makes Cass look like he can’t stand on his own, something Owens alluded to earlier in the broadcast. This is a big moment for Cass, and Enzo kind of hijacked it. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Certified G, but he really has no business here. Oh well, what’s done is done. The bell rings and Owens rolls out and leans against the barricade, letting the other three beat each other up. Eventually Cass and Reigns square off alone in the ring. They trade blows, but Reigns knocks Cass down. Reigns misses with a Superman Punch. Cass off the ropes and he kicks Reigns out of the ring, as both men go tumbling out of the ring. Cass and Owens are fighting and Reigns dives out to take them both down. Commercial break.
As we come back from the break, Owens drops an elbow off the apron onto Cass. Rollins clobbers him, rolls Cass in the ring, and manages a two count. All four guys take turns running the show. It’s a well choreographed match for having four guys at once. Frog Splash by Owens and he eliminates Big Cass. Good showing for the big man. And then there were three….and another commercial break. Owens hits two cannonballs on Reigns and Rollins in separate corners. Superman Punch by Reigns, but Owens kicks out. Crowd in a frenzy. Stephanie and Mick ringside, practically drooling. Reigns hits all his moves on the outside to both guys. Triple H runs in and Pedigrees Reigns out of no where! He throws Reigns into the ring, gets Rollins up and tells him to cover him. He does and Rollins eliminates Reigns. HHH walks over to Owens and rolls him in the ring. HHH turns and hits Rollins with a Pedigree. Owens covers and wins the title! Holy shit! HHH walks out. Owens celebrates and holds the belt up. And despite the heel-ness, crowd starts a “You Deserve It!” chant. Wow. Talk about making a big impact. Everybody is going to be talking anout this all week long.
Great beginning, great ending. The rest of Raw was pretty much garbage for the most part. But if Creative burned all their juice on making Owens the champion, we have to take it. What a fantastic new direction for the company. Congrats to the NEW Universal Champion, Kevin Owens. See you tomorrow for Smackdown Live.
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Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
After a long weekend of wrestling, we are back for another episode of Monday Night Raw. NXT gave us Takeover: Brooklyn 2 on Saturday, and last night saw the conclusion of the summer with the 2016 SummerSlam pay-per-view. Let’s see what Vince and Co have in store for us tonight.
The show starts with breaking news that Finn Balor injured his shoulder in the match against Seth Rollins to capture the Universal Championship. He has a torn shoulder and will be out of action six months. Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley are in the ring and they bring out Balor. This guy showed guts finishing the match last night. Damn fine champ. He will be missed the next few months. Balor gets on the mic and says the title represents a lifetime of sacrifices. Balor thanks WWE, the wrestlers, and Seth Rollins. He then thanks the crowd, which starts a “Thank you, Finn!” chant. He assures the fans that when he returns, the title is the first thing he is coming for. Balor relinquishes the title to Foley and then walks out of the ring. As Balor gets to the top of the ramp, Seth Rollins comes out strutting and laughing. He strolls right by Balor, chomping his gum and heads to the ring. Balor stares daggers into Rollins’ back.
Rollins gets in the ring and hugs Stephanie. He gets on the mic and says what a shame, what a pity, let’s not live in the past. “At least now we know who the REAL winner was at SummerSlam last night, right?” Rollins says let’s have a celebration for the true Universal Champion. Sami Zayn interrupts. Zayn doesn’t say anything. Just points at the title. And then Chris Jericho comes down. He also says nothing. Kevin Owens comes down. Enzo Amore and Big Cass come down, and for once Enzo is not on the mic. The ring is quickly filling up. Rollins stands off to one side, leaning against the ropes and looking annoyed as the other men argue. Then Roman Reigns comes down. Still nobody says anything. Crowd starts a “We want Slater!” chant. Foley finally speaks. He says everyone in the ring is deserving, so WWE is doing a series of matches with the crowning of a new champion next week. Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins are the first competitors and it happens next, right after the first commercial break.
Rollins takes quick control and after a few moments, Zayn crumples under a bad left leg. Seems to have gotten legit injured. Zayn launches himself out of the ring, flips, and knocks Rollins down. Zayn screams and grabs his ankle. Rollins throws him in the ring, knee to the face, cover, but Zayn kicks out at two. Commercial break. When we return, Zayn hits Rollins with a big clothesline. He still can’t put any weight on his leg. The two trade blows until Rollins kicks him on the side of the head. Rollins gets a leg submission on, but Zayn rolls to the bottom rope. Pedigree by Rollins for the pinfall victory. Shocking start to Raw. Not even sure what to make of it. Balor out at least six months, and now Sami Zayn injured. Tough day to be a wrestling fan.
Kevin Owens comes down to take on Neville, who is in the tournament for the Universal title apparently. Winner advances. Neville drops Owens outside the ring as soon as the match starts, then hits him with a 450 splash. Jericho comes down to distract, allowing Owens to attack Neville from behind and take the upper-hand. Commercial break. After, both men trade offense, topped off by Neville hitting a suplex. Owens misses a frog splash. Neville hits a corkscrew moonsault off the top rope and covers, but Owens kicks out at two. Neville lifts Owens up and suplexes him into a bridge cover. Kick out at two. Impressive match so far for Neville. Neville tries a Red Arrow, misses, Owens super kick. Neville kicks him, climbs up for the Red Arrow again, and Jericho distracts. Neville kicks him off the apron but Owens recovers and puts Neville into a torture rack into a neckbreaker. Cover and that’s it. Owens wins and advances. After the match, Michael Cole says the match for the title next week will be a Fatal-4-Way.
The New Day comes down after the break. New Day celebrating 365 days as champions. Incredible. The Club interrupts, calling New Day and the crowd stupid. Big E vs Anderson in singles competition. Big E dominating to start the match, until he takes a shot to his knee and falls down, clutching it. Anderson immediately attacks it. Big E tosses him out of the ring. Gallows tries to interfere, but Xavier and Kofi stop him. Big Ending in the ring and Big E covers Anderson for the pinfall victory. Okay match, short and not really all that entertaining.
Titus O’Neal is in the ring. He fumbles for his words and can’t seem to form a coherent sentence. He complains about The New Day and Brooklyn. He then insults Darren Young and Bob Backlund. He calls out Young, but instead Backlund runs down. He puts the crossface chickenwing on Titus, but he gets out of it and slams Backlund to the mat. Darren Young runs down to check on Backlund. Titus picks up Young and hits the Clash of the Titus. That was a cringe-worthy segment.
Tom Phillips interviews Stephanie about actions against her brother by Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. She says there will be consequences. Lana is in the ring and brings out Rusev. His opponent will be Big Cass who comes out with Enzo on the mic. Cass goes to work on Rusev’s taped up ribs. He clotheslines him out of the ring as we go to commercial break. Rusev has taken control when we return, and strikes Cass in the back. Outside the ring, Rusev kicks Enzo to the floor. Cass rolls out and gets him in the ring. Splash in the corner and some punches to the ribs. Rusev rolls out of the ring, avoiding an Empire Elbow. Cass follows him out and throws the US champ into the steel steps. Rusev walks up the ramp and allows himself to get counted out. Cass wins and advances.
Charlotte comes to the ring with Dana Brooke. She insults Sasha, calls herself the queen, and goes to leave. As she is getting out of the ring, Mick Foley comes out. Charlotte asks for the night off and says there is no one else to challenge her. Mick says not so fast, please meet the newest member of the Monday Night Raw roster….Bayley! Crowd goes wild! Bayley comes out and this moment has been a long time coming. Yay! You cannot help but to love Bayley. Crowd starts chants for her before anybody can speak. Bayley thanks Foley and asks if they can seal the deal with none other than a hug. Bayley challenges Charlotte for the title. Charlotte isn’t dressed to compete, but Dana Brooke is. That match is next!
Bayley has fun to start and then gets to work against Brooke. Dana recovers and slams here into the corner. Bayley returns the favor and pounds her head in the corner and then bounces her off the turnbuckle. Cover, but Brooke kicks out at two. Charlotte distracts and Brooke knocks Bayley off the apron. Brooke throws her against the barricade. Back in the ring, Brooke clobbers Bayley and tries a cover. Bayley fights back and drops an elbow off the second rope. Bayley to Belly suplex and Bayley wins her Raw debut! Charlotte looks on in anger.
Braun Strowman roars his way down to the ring, set to take on yet another jobber. Should be short and sweet. Few powerful moves and then a cover. Strowman wins. Meh. This just doesn’t interest me. And if this is leading to Strowman facing Kane, Big Show, or Mark Henry, you can count me out.
The Dudley Boyz come out, set to say farewell to the WWE. Bubba Ray and Devon will be sorely missed and are well on their way to a Hall of Fame bid. Hometown crowd goes wild for them. The Boyz give a heartfelt speech, thanking the crowd, the WWE, Edge and Christian, and even The Hardy Boys. As The Dudley’s go to leave, they are interrupted by The Shining Stars. Crowd starts a “We want tables!” chant. Primo and Epico offer them two tickets to Puerto Rico. Devon and Bubb Ray shut this shit down, clobbering both men. Bubba holds up 3D. They hit it! Then they hit WAZZUP from the corner! Bubba Ray shoves his brother and the crowd screams get the tables, and I swear to god I got tears in my eyes. Devon gets a table out. Bubba sets it up, and Primo is about to go for a ride. But Anderson and Gallows interrupts! Devon is thrown into the steel steps! Magic Killer on Bubba Ray on the floor. Crowd boo’s. My goodness, this segment took a turn. Devon tries to fight back, but he is double teamed and thrown back into the ring. They set Devon up for Magic Killer and hit it, sending him through the table. Wow! That was easily my favorite segment of the whole night. Hope this sets up a feud! Maybe The Dudleyz have one more match in them!
Chris Jericho comes out ready to take on Roman Reigns for the final spot in next week’s Fatal-4-Way to determine the new Universal Champion. Jericho controls the flow to start the match. Crowd is starting to lose interest in the show, starting chants and doing the wave. This Brooklyn crowd has been pretty rude the past few days, to be honest. Headbutt by Reigns, followed by some punches but Jericho answers with a dropkick. Headlock by Y2J and he screams for Reigns to give up. Reigns is favoring is left eye. He clotheslines Jericho to the mat. Reigns misses with a Superman Punch but blocks Jericho’s submission. Kick to the head and Reigns is down. Kick out at two. Y2J off the top rope but Reigns catches him with a punch. Y2J on the apron and Reigns kicks him. Jericho tries a lionsault, but Reigns gets his knee up. Superman Punch and a cover, but Jericho kicks out on a long two. Y2J attempts a Code Breaker, but Reigns catches him and powerbombs him. Jericho kicks out at two. Kevin Owens runs in to distract, Jericho rolls Reigns up, but kick out at two. Superman Punch and instead of covering, Reigns goes to the corner. He runs for a Spear, but Jericho drops him and locks in the Walls of Jericho. Reigns crawls to the rope and forces the break. With the refs back turned, Owens punches him in the face. Jericho hits Code Breaker, covers but Reigns kicks out at two! That was an unexpected false finish. Nicely done! The match continues. Owens screams at Jericho to do it already. Y2J slaps Reigns in the back of the head over and over. Owens gets up on the apron, Superman Punch on him, Reigns turns, off the ropes, and Spears Y2J into a pin for the win. He joins Owens, Rollins, and Big Cass in the Fatal-4-Way next week.
Hard to get into the show with such a depressing opener. Sort of took the wind out of the sails right out of the gate. Hats off to all the guys, they did their best in the ring. But WWE programming just isn’t getting better, and now yet another setback with Balor’s injury. WWE just can’t catch a break. I won’t judge too harshly as Raw was interesting to watch and I didn’t really complain much. But we needed more. Overall, though, this wasn’t a terrible Raw. And we have to give WWE a fair shake whenever we can because they make a lot of mistakes. The booking tonight was mainly out of their hands. What do you guys think about Finn Balor’s injury and the future of Monday Night Raw? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for Smackdown Live!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Brace yourself, sports fans. This one might go as long as this year’s WrestleMania. It’s supposed to be a stacked matchcard with virtually every Superstar in action tonight. Vince McMahon really has his work cut out for him tonight because NXT tore the roof off the Barclay Center last night. So without further ado, let’s dissect this pay-per-view.
The preshow kicks off with a 12-man tag match, which is a ridiculous thing to have on a pay-per-view. The Vaudevillians team with The Ascension and Breezango to take on The Hype Bros, The Usos, and American Alpha. Chad Gable and Tyler Breeze start the match and Gable shows off a little bit, looking solid. Jay Uso tags in and the crowd boo’s. It’s hard to get excited about this one. We have twelve guys, all fighting for essentially nothing. There is no tag title on Smackdown. Why was American Alpha even drafted there? For that matter, why are there even tag teams on Smackdown? It’s an odd thing, and just another example of why the brand split isn’t the best idea. It’s a shame because Chad and Gable deserve better. Everyone in this match puts on a good show. But the attendance is full of empty seats, and not even Mauro Ranallo can get anything going.
Zack Ryder continues to do a good job and it’s no wonder they gave him a push earlier this year. Jimmy Uso and Tyler Breeze are the last men standing, as Jimmy Samoan Drops him to the mat. Konnor tries to block him but Jimmy kicks him. Jordan tags in and suplexes both Fandango and Breeze. Suplex on Gotch, but English breaks up the pinfall. Powerbomb by English on Gable. Hats off to these guys for avoiding the doomed “spot-fest” that many of these matches become. Everyone gets their stuff in, but it feels organic; going with the flow of the match. Breeze and Viktor get slammed by Mojo Rawley. The action is quick and exciting. Crowd gets a little more lively as things progress. Gable and Jordan drop Viktor and Jay Uso steals the win for the tagfall. Baron Corbin interrupts the pre-show panel to cut a quick promo on Kalisto who was injured and couldn’t compete in their match tonight.
The Dudley Boyz come out to take on Neville and Sami Zayn. Neville and Devon kick things off. Neville and Zayn work well together as a team. Dudleys are still as good as ever. This one is pretty fun. Crowd into it. Some near falls throughout. A miscommunication by Devon and Bubba Ray allows Neville to hit the Red Arrow for the pinfall. Good match, not too long and not too short. It will be interesting to see if this Neville and Zayn team continues and whether a rift will start to grow between The Dudley Boyz.
The final match of the preshow is Sheamus taking on Cesaro in the first match of their Best of 7 Series. This one is brutal from the start, with both men using a bit of stiff, strong style. Sheamus takes control as we head into a little commercial break. Sheamus puts some strong moves on Cesaro, and gets a couple of near falls. Cesaro Swing on Sheamus into a figure four leglock. Sheamus breaks it up. Cesaro tries again, gets blocked and Sheamus Brogue Kicks him into a pinfall victory. Sheamus is up 1-0. A mostly entertaining trio of matches to kick off the preshow, but I find myself scratching my head trying to determine if there was a point to any of them. A 12-man tag? The Dudley Boyz in 2016? Sheamus and Cesaro six more times after this? Eek.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass kick off the show, crowd sets the roof on fire. Brilliant way to start the show and get the crowd into it. Enzo does his usual thing, ripping up the mic and getting everybody up on their feet. He calls New York the greatest city in the world. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho come down. The match starts and Owens and Y2J knock Cass off the apron and double team Enzo. Enzo and Jericho are the official legal men, and Jericho goes to work chopping the smaller guy. Enzo is as good a seller as Dolph Ziggler and he always makes his opponents shine. Enzo takes a beating for awhile, including a hard frog-splash by Kevin Owens. Big Cass gets the hot tag and takes down both Owens and Jericho. He drops an Empire Elbow on Y2J. Followed by a big boot as Jericho leaps off the top rope. Owens saves the match, attacking Enzo and Cass both. Owens throws Enzo to Jericho, who hits a Code Breaker and he covers for the pinfall win. The hometown boys lose, and the crowd is unhappy about it. Good match to kick things off. After the match, Owens and Jericho walk up the ramp screaming “I Love You!” at each other. Backstage segment with Jon Stewart and The New Day, adding really nothing to the show.
Sasha Banks defends her WWE Women’s Championship next against Charlotte. It seems a really bizarre booking choice to do this match so early, and also doing it prior to this shit-storm 6-woman tag match that is happening later. Both ladies came to play, and they trade physical attacks to start. Charlotte botches several moves in a row and looks like an amateur out there. She may have legit injured Sasha with a terrible fail off the top rope. Charlotte tries a Figure Four leglock, but Sasha kicks her off. Moments later, Sasha is thrown into the corner. Sasha counters a Razor’s Edge off the top rope and both women hit the mat hard. This is brutal to watch. Sasha locks in a nice Boston Crab using the ropes as leverage, but she has to break it as the ref counts to five. A double knee slam into Charlotte’s back, leaves both ladies holding their lower backs and grimacing. Sasha jumps off the apron and drops both knees on Charlotte’s face, dropping her down to the ground outside. Ref starts a ten count. Charlotte goes for Natural Selection, but Sasha counters into the Bank Statement. Charlotte worms her way out of it. Neck breaker by Charlotte, then hits Natural Selection. Sasha kicks out at two. Charlotte tries a tilt-a-whirl but Sasha reverses it into another Bank Statement. Charlotte rolls her over onto her shoulders and three seconds later, Charlotte regains the Women’s Championship. This seems like a terrible finish and should definitely lead into something. They cleaned it up towards the end, but that one got off to a rocky start. Not the best outing these two have had against each other. Backstage segment with The Club, AJ Styles, and Finn Balor teasing the Bullet Club.
The Miz comes down, accompanied by Maryse. Apollo Crews is challenging for the Intercontinental Championship. Miz attacks in the corner early, and Crews is reeling. Things slow way down, and the match hits a lull. Crews hits him with a boot and both men are down. Standing moonsault by Crews is the highlight so far, but he fails to cover. Miz hits Skull Crushing Finale for the win. Another mediocre match that just comes across as a waste of air time. So far the show has just been okay. Still waiting for a big wow moment.
Up next AJ Styles looks to beat up John Cena. Crowd starts a very vocal John Cena Sucks sing-along. It’s a decent match to start, but the problem with this matchup is Styles is way more talented than Cena, and Cena just goes through his usual run-of-the-mill Five Moves of Doom. Styles hits the Styles Clash and Cena kicks out. Attitude Adjustment by Cena, but Styles kicks out. The pair do their best, but what else is there to milk out of this rivalry? They burned this one months ago. Now we are just going through all the familiar motions. Attitude Adjustment by Styles this time, but Cena kicks out. Styles attempts a springboard 450 splash, but Cena moves out of the way. Styles locks in the Calf Crusher submission. Cena gets out and climbs the top rope. Leg drop on Styles, hitting him in the back of the head. Kick out at two. Some exciting false finishes in this one, but again nothing really new. John Cena looks stunned that Styles just keeps kicking out. Styles Clash again on Cena, but no cover. Phenomenal Forearm off the top rope and Styles covers Cena for the win. This one didn’t really have a pay-per-view feel. Mauro Ranallo really helped to make that match more than it was, so hats off to him.
BREAKING: News just came through the wire that Sasha Banks dropped the title because she violated the wellness policy. Official suspension coming tomorrow. Damn, if that rumor is true what a shame! We’ll cover it more later this week when more official word comes out from the WWE camp.
Jon Stewart comes out, making me wonder what is on TV right now that I might be able to watch to curb my boredom. He sports a New Day t-shirt and unicorn horn and brings the group out, sans Big E Langston. They are set to defend their Tag Team Championship titles against The Club. Xavier Woods does a great job throughout this one, especially for someone we don’t really get to see go very often. Gallows and Anderson are such a great tag team. They hit Magic Killer on Xavier and then Jon Stewart distracts. The Club goes to put Stewart crotch first on the ring post. Crowd starts a YES! chant. Before they can hurt him, Big E runs in and attacks Gallows and Anderson. Ref calls for the bell. Big E slams Anderson into the barricade. Match ends in DQ finish, which is weird because Big E is a member of New Day. But it’s whatever. Fun segment and New Day will have the tag titles going into tomorrow.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are in the ring as Dolph Ziggler comes out to challenge Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Fast start to this as it spills out of the ring. Spinning neckbreaker by Ziggler after slamming Ambrose into the barricade. Ambrose pounds Ziggler’s head on the steel steps twice before they get back in the ring. Ziggler pulls out all the stops, by Ambrose manages to kick out every time. Elbow off the top rope by Dean but Ziggler kicks out. Simple back and forth here, letting both guys trade momentum. Ambrose kicks out of a Zig Zag. Is it just me or were finishers just completely burned all night tonight? Been a long time since WWE protected finishers. Sleeper hold by Ziggler. Ambrose gets out of it and blocks a Super Kick. Huge clothesline sends Ziggler to the match. Dirty Deeds by Ambrose to retain. Exciting match. Might be my favorite so far tonight. But again, nothing spectacular has happened. This is supposed to be the big event of the summer and it is falling short of delivering in my opinion.
Tag action up next with six women going at it. I have not been looking forward to this at all. Let’s get it over with. Naomi comes out first, looking like a forensic crime scene under a black light. But her entrance is definitely memorable. She is tagging with Carmella and Becky Lynch, two of my favorites. Their opponents are Alexa Bliss, Natalya, and Nikki Bella. Lynch and Bliss start the match. Another match that honestly means nothing. Why? Because these are six women that can never compete for the Women’s Championship because it’s on Raw and they are Smackdown competitors. Putting this on the actual pay-per-view card and not the preshow is questionable. Also, let’s just put this out there: Nikki Bella is not a good wrestler. There, I said it. An okay outing from these ladies. Carmella and Bliss have one of their best matches so far since coming up to the main roster. Nikki Bella gets the win by pinning Carmella. Eh. Still have yet to be blown away by anything tonight. So far, HHH has won the weekend.
They show the Universal Championship and it’s terrible. Looks just like the world title only red. It looks like it was designed by Eva Marie. What a piece of trash, both the name and the physical belt. Shame. Seth Rollins comes out, with Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley ringside. The Demon King, Finn Balor, makes an incredible entrance. Crowd. Goes. Ape. Shit. The bell rings and Balor doesn’t hesitate. He dropkicks Rollins. Balor goes to work aggressively attacking Rollins left leg. Outside the ring, Rollins tosses Balor into the timekeeper’s area. Rollins very methodical for this match, being aggressive and not letting up on Balor. Running kick off the apron for Balor to regain control. He hits a Slingblade on Rollins in the ring. Rollins recovers and tries a Pedigree but it gets blocked and Balor kicks him. Both men down. 1916 by Balor, but Rollins kicks out. The match is pretty exciting, but the crowd is giving a shit response, trying to hijack it with chants unrelated to the match. Foot stomp off the corner and Finn Balor is the first WWE Universal Champion. How cool is that? First WWE wrestler to win a title on their first pay-per-view match as well. The future is bright with these two in the driver’s seat. Nice match, but again, same complaint as all night: nothing amazing has happened yet. And with Orton and Lesnar as the go home, I think SummerSlam came up short on its goals for the evening.
Rusev versus Roman Reigns for the United States Championship up next. As it’s 10:30 already, I don’t see this one going very long. Reigns throws Rusev into the timekeeper area. Same spot as the last match. SMH. They are brawling and a bunch of refs try to break them up. Match hasn’t even officially started yet. Reigns goes after Rusev with a steel chair. Reigns continues to beat him down a few more minutes and then walks out. Crowd boos him heavily. Rusev struggles to get up as crowd starts chanting, “We Want Slater!” and then a “CM Punk!” chant. Ringside doctor says Rusev is unable to compete tonight. Reigns comes back down the ramp and Spears him. Reigns seemingly ruins the whole segment by pumping his arms at the crowd and then smiling at the top of the ramp. Empty segment for my money.
Main event time. Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton, a match that really isn’t going to do much to pep up this pay-per-view. And ultimately another match on the card that means little to nothing, a label that has been woven into every fiber of this show so far tonight. The bell rings and we’re off. Lesnar slams Orton in the corner and tries for a suplex. But Orton dropkicks him. Orton tries an RKO and Lesnar shoves him off and slams him down to the mat. German suplex by Lesnar. And a second. Orton scrambling. A third German suplex as Paul Heyman laughs at ringside. Beatdown in the corner, then another suplex. Orton hasn’t been on his feet for a few minutes. A sixth suplex and this one is getting out of control. Outside of the ring, Orton tries to fight back but Lesnar picks him up and slams him on the announce table. The table doesn’t break, but Lesnar fixes that. He tosses Orton off the barricade into the table and it smashes apart. Lesnar picks apart a second announce table and puts Orton on it. Orton pops up and hits an RKO on the table. It doesn’t break. As they get back in the ring, Orton DDT’s Lesnar off the second rope. As Lesnar gets up, Orton hits an RKO. Lesnar kicks out at two. Orton goes for his old school punt kick, but Lesnar pops up and F5’s him. Orton kicks out at two. Lesnar punches Orton over and over again and the ref separates them and calls for a doctor as Orton is busted wide open, bleeding all over the ring. Lesnar pushes the doctor aside and keeps punching Orton’s head. The ref calls for the bell and this is over. Lesnar wins by TKO. Lesnar goes after Orton again. Shane McMahon runs in to check on Orton and Lesnar cuts him off. Lesnar F5’s Shane. Heyman starts screaming, “What did you do!?” And that’s the end of the show. I love seeing Lesnar destroy someone, so this was fun.
The theme of tonight will be “At least it wasn’t WrestleMania.” It wasn’t terrible, but it just didn’t have a SummerSlam feel to it. If this had been Battleground or Payback, it would be been great. But I don’t think any segment tonight really came across as successful. Everything missed the mark and was off by just a little bit. The booking leading into the show was rushed, there were too many matches, and the order of the matches themselves was confusing. Whether or not this is just the final hiccup of the brand split before the new pay-per-views take off remains to be seen. Judging this right out of the gate, though, it just wasn’t all that it could have been. At the end of the day, what did any of it mean or accomplish? The honest answer is not a whole lot. We are right back in the same rut we were in prior to the brand split. What did you all think about WWE’s 2016 SummerSlam? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for Monday Night Raw.
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Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The Barclays center in New York City will be hosting this year’s Summerslam, starting at 7pm with a two hour preshow beginning at 5pm. Former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, will be the special celebrity guest and will likely provide comic relief and at least one awkward run-in with Seth Rollins. This is the first PPV since the brand split, but the matches are nearly all Raw vs Raw or Smackdown vs Smackdown. Every title is on the line, and we will finally get to see the brand new Universal Title. Let’s take a look at the massive card and make some predictions.
Cesaro vs Sheamus – First Match in the Best of Seven Series (Preshow Kickoff)
On the go-home Raw on Monday, Mick Foley announced that these two enemies would have a best of seven series to finally bury their beef. I still have yet to decide how I feel about this series. Seven matches ahead, when we have already seen two, will have the potential to get real stale really fast. I hope that we get stipulated matches in the future, as the Summerslam match is a straight singles match. The first win in a series will give the victor bragging rights and a slight edge on their competitor, which both men obviously will be battling for. Cesaro and Sheamus are both extremely talented, so I hope they are on their A game.
F2H Prediction – Sheamus
Sami Zayn and Neville vs The Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Match (Preshow Kickoff)
Since returning to action after an injury, Neville has yet to find himself in a decent storyline or feud. Sami Zayn is done with Kevin Owens, at least for now, and is looking to move on. The Dudley Boyz are veteran wrestlers who have no problem taking a backseat to the younger talent in order to give them a push or help them along in a current storyline. They have lost more matches than they’ve won since their heel turn, and their once sure thing for the tag titles has become a very distant memory. This match will be all about Zayn and Neville, and I hope they take full advantage.
F2H Prediction – Sami Zayn and Neville
American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable), The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder), The Usos vs Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango), The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor), The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) – 12 Man Tag Team Match (Preshow Kickoff)
We already saw this match on Smackdown, which makes this addition a little disappointing. We’re throwing too many tag teams together into one mess of a match, where certain people will struggle for the spotlight and others will be forgotten in the background. WWE has not done its job in introducing American Alpha and The Hype Bros to the main roster audience. Those who don’t watch NXT are missing out on knowing Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, and don’t fully appreciate the pairing of Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder. It’s a shame, but I hope they rectify it.
F2H Prediction – American Alpha, The Hype Bros, The Usos
Carmella, Becky Lynch, Naomi vs Natalya, Alexa Bliss – Six Woman Tag Match
This match was put together on the go home episode of Smackdown. Eva Marie was meant to compete with Natalya and Bliss, but was suspended for 30 days on August 18th after violating the WWE’s wellness policy. This is a great opportunity for Alexa Bliss and Carmella to introduce themselves to the large chunk of the audience who isn’t familiar with NXT and don’t know their characters. Bliss and Carmella went back to their roots on Wednesday to complete in another six woman tag on NXT, which I hope the main roster audience had a chance to see. We have five incredible athletes (and a sixth still unnamed as of the time of this writing) that are capable of doing a lot more than we’ve had the chance to see on the main roster. I hope tonight is their night.
F2H Prediction – Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi
The Miz (c) vs Apollo Crews – Intercontinental Championship Match
I absolutely love The Miz as champ. He’s shady, underhanded, and conceited. He weasels his way into victories and isn’t bothered at all if he isn’t winning clean. Apollo Crews is the exact opposite of his opponent. He is honest, positive, and a team player through and through. Maryse will no doubt be ringside, giving Miz the edge, as Crews will be going it solo. I don’t expect a fair fight whatsoever. You simply don’t get that with The Miz, so Crews is going to have to play it safe and keep his eyes open. He will have to watch Maryse while also fighting his opponent, and he’ll have to ensure Miz doesn’t try to cause a DQ by throwing him into the ref or placing a weapon in his vicinity. Apollo Crews will shine, regardless of the outcome; he definitely earned and deserves this title shot.
F2H Prediction – The Miz
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens – Tag Team Match
I’m not a fan of Chris Jericho (go easy on me, hardcore fans) but I appreciate the person he is and the work that he does. That said, I am really enjoying him when paired with Kevin Owens. Owens and Enzo are two of the best trash talkers on the roster, so a war of words between the two is gold no matter what. Jericho and Owens have adjusted their style to act slightly more comedic, making them a better match for Enzo and Cass. This feud has been entertaining since the moment it started and will make for a fantastic tag match tonight. I hope we eventually get to see Enzo and Cass put into the Tag Title picture where they belong. How you doin?
F2H Prediction – Enzo and Big Cass
The New Day (c) vs The Club – Tag Team Championship Match
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods will be fighting Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows without Big E, as he is nursing an injury to his man bits. I do hope that Big E will be present, but he has only been with us via Twitter lately. Anderson and Gallows have been utilizing a brilliant doctor gimmick, complete with every testicle pun you can possibly think of. They have Big E’s manhood in a jar, and have two smaller jars ready for Kingston and Woods. The New Day are the longest reigning WWE Tag Team champions as of July 20th and show no signs of giving up the titles. Their biggest competition on Raw, other than The Club, would be Enzo and Cass or Jeri-KO (if their tag team stays together). Golden Truth are more comic relief than anything else, and The Shining Stars are yet another failed gimmick for Primo and Epico. I am worried about New Day’s situation without Big E, and eager to see what this means for their title match.
F2H Prediction – The Club
John Cena vs AJ Styles – Singles Match
My favorite thing is to watch Styles BEAT UP JOHN CENA! It’s nice to see Cena out of the title picture and involved with someone who is a serious veteran in the business instead of a new talent who is still trying to find their footing. This absolutely must be a clean match for Styles with no assistance whatsoever from The Club. Win or lose, he needs to ensure he keeps this one-on-one. John Cena is one of my least favorite people; I get that he does a lot of good in the world and kids love him, but he’s just not my cup of tea, guys. I’m beyond ready to see “the face that runs the place” go part time and let someone else take the reins. I don’t know if Styles is that guy or not, but it’s a good place to start.
F2H Prediction – AJ Styles
Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte – Women’s Championship Match
Finally, The Boss holds the gold! Sasha Banks has had one hell of a journey from NXT to the main roster to finally becoming WWE Women’s Champion. Even Charlotte had to briefly break character on Raw and smile when she saw her friend holding the title high above her head. Dana Brooke is banned from ringside tonight, so Charlotte won’t have her lackey to go to for help in winning back the title. Unless she has some other tricks in mind or another person waiting in the wings, she is going to have to win or lose this match all on her own. These two women are huge talents and deserve every bit of success. They will ensure that you don’t use this match as the “beer run/bathroom break;” this will be a must see.
F2H Prediction – Sasha Banks
Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton – Singles Match
Lesnar and Orton were the first to overstep their boundaries and show up on the shows that they were not drafted to. Orton snuck onto Raw to deliver an RKO to the beast, and Lesnar invaded Smackdown to seek his revenge. I wish they had saved that for much later, but what’s done is done. This is Viperville versus Suplex City, a match fifteen years in the making. The promos leading up to this match have been fantastic and portray both men as unstoppable forces. I’m always excited to see Lesnar fight, and very happy that Orton is finally back from injury. I would like to see Lesnar turn an RKO attempt into an F5, and for Orton to get creative with his RKOs outta nowhere. This should be a brutal match; I hope both men bring it.
F2H Prediction – Brock Lesnar
Rusev (c) vs Roman Reigns – United States Championship Match
Roman Reigns failed a drug test, got himself suspended for 30 days, became the butt of Seth Rollins’ jokes during his suspension, and got himself removed from the WWE Heavyweight title picture. His push isn’t completely in the can though, since he has a chance to win the United States title off of Rusev. Our current champion recently married the lovely Lana in a ceremony that was filmed for Total Divas. They will have a separate ceremony overseas next month. Rusev has been an unstoppable champion, but unfortunately, most of his feuds devolve into USA vs Russia when they have the potential to be so much more. I’m not big on Reigns as he is right now; I miss the strong and silent, less showy wrestler he was with The Shield. Whatever happens during this match, I hope Lana avoids being caught in the crossfire.
F2H Prediction – Rusev
Dean Ambrose (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – WWE World Championship Match
I can’t believe that Dolph Ziggler is actually in this match! He once held the World Heavyweight title after one of the greatest Money In The Bank cash-ins in history, but fell down quite a few notches thanks to his criticism of the company and disapproval from the powers that be. Ziggler delivered an amazing promo on the go home episode of Raw; it was the best he has sounded in quite some time. Dean Ambrose is a very unconventional champion, but you can’t help but like the guy. He’s unpredictable, but has been getting more in touch with his serious side ever since winning the gold. I’m a big fan of both of these men, so this is a win-win situation for me; regardless of the outcome, I’m happy with the champion.
F2H Prediction – Dolph Ziggler
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins – WWE Universal Championship Match
I am fangirling all over the place over this match! A lot of people are upset that the Demon King reveal was “wasted” on Raw, but we’ve already seen how unfamiliar the main roster audience is with most of the NXT roster and gimmicks, so this was a way of introducing everyone to him and getting them hyped for what is to come at Summerslam. Yes, it would have been better to save the reveal, but I see the logic behind the decision. Seth Rollins is a fantastic champ, but so is Finn Balor. This is another win-win for me because I love both guys and would enjoy seeing either as champion. It’s so exciting to see Balor on the main roster, plus in the title picture so soon, plus facing Rollins! This match alone is worth you signing up for the Network immediately. I’m so happy for Balor for his call up to the main roster and am thrilled to see him battle such a great competitor in Rollins.
F2H Prediction – Finn Balor
Be sure to follow us on Twitter, as we will be providing live coverage and will be posting instant feedback immediately following the PPV. F2H writers, @MrNotWell and myself will also be live tweeting during the show. Weigh in with your own predictions for this massive event, and let us know your thoughts on the yet to be revealed Universal Championship. And, if you’d be so kind, check out our Go Fund Me page.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
There’s been a lot of online chatter for this new cat No Way Jose down in WWE’s NXT Full Sail developmental program. (You know, that small scale Triple H project.) For No Way Jose, real name Levis Valenzuela Jr., some people like him, some people don’t. Signed with NXT in 2015, Valenzuela Jr. had his debut in April under his new gimmick and lines were immediately drawn in the sand with wrestling “fans” either loving him or hating him. For those that ragged on him, they never really gave him a chance.
Sure, No Way Jose premiered as an over-the-top dance instructor and was very green in the ring. His catchy song and fun demeanor carried him until he started looking good and winning strong. The past few weeks have really seen him come into his own. He tried being a friend to Austin Aries, only to have it come back to bite him as Aries attacked him when the two were dancing on the announce table. The usually happy-go-luck No Way Jose stopped being so nice. He got a crazed look in his eyes and has since won by dominating fashion in the ring. He’s still a blast to see come down to the ring, but now when he gets there, he can be taken seriously. He adapted his character to be more than just a shucking and jiving fun-loving uncle.
Last night, after handing a crushing loss to Steve Cutler, No Way Jose grabbed a mic and cut a fairly decent promo against Austin Aries. It showed a completely new side of Jose, and let us know there’s more to his gimmick than meets the eye. Jose told Aries that he was just trying to reach out to him and spread a little joy but obviously Aries mistook him for something he’s not. And now he’s going to turn his fiesta into a fight and whoop Aries’ ass. It was a surprising moment for the typically jovial wrestler and really impressed me. He’s got some tools in the shed and now that he’s using them, I like him even more.
Not everything in wrestling has to be taken quite so seriously. We don’t want WWE looking like Lucha Underground in terms of dark, gritty vibes. Lighten up a little and try to have some fun. Bottom line, there’s always been a place in wrestling for guys like No Way Jose. Remember Carlito, spitting in the face of people who don’t want to be cool? Same sort of gimmick. Remember Brodus Clay, asking us all to call our mama’s as he bogeyed downed to the ring? Same thing. Remember the tag team Too Cool, bouncing around and dancing during matches, much to the fans’ delight? How is that any different? Hell, even the current main roster has two guys just like that. Fandango danced his way into our hearts so quick and so fast that Vince McMahon let him pin Chris Jericho at WrestleMania. And Bo Dallas, although not a tiny dancer type, always tries to put positivity and upbeat enthusiasm whenever he comes down to the ring. For that matter, how is No Way Jose any different than The New Day, current WWE Tag Team Champions and safe to say one of the most over groups since The Shield? What we’re trying to say here is stop being so quick to judge. Wrestlers are often thrust into gimmicks they don’t want or hate and it takes them awhile to adjust. Some falter, some succeed. As he is currently being used, No Way Jose is thriving. He ran with his role and embraced it and you should reconsider your outright hatred of him. He’s actually a great addition to the roster.
You can see No Way Jose every Wednesday on the WWE Network during the NXT broadcasts. And he will be facing The Greatest Man in the World, Austin Aries, next month at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. All he wants to do is have fun and bring a smile to fans. Stop being such a Scrooge about it.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Just 24 hours removed from the Battleground pay-per-view, Monday Night Raw kicks off featuring a new logo (above), a new commentary area, a new commentator, Corey Graves, and a new video intro with new song. So far, this is promising. They are at least trying to give the appearance of a “New Era.”
The show kicks off with Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon in the ring. Foley brings out the entire Raw roster. They stand at the top of the ramp. Stephanie insults Roman Reigns for costing the Raw brand the World Heavyweight Championship. Foley says the show will feature two Fatal-4-Way matches. The winners face each other in singles competition for the main event. The winner of that match, faces Seth Rollins at SummerSlam for the brand new championship title, the WWE Universal Championship. Oh brother. Didn’t think they would introduce a new title so soon. And didn’t expect it to sound this terrible. Mick lines up all the competitors for both matches. Stephanie asks Charlotte to step forward. Foley says Charlotte last her match last night and she has to defend her title tonight against none other than against Sasha Banks. The roster returns to the back and we have our first commercial break.
First Fatal-4-Way on after the break. Cesaro, Rusev, Kevin Owens, and Finn Balor! Holy shit we are about to see a great match. It’s a little crappy that Balor’s first match has to be with three other guys. All hell breaks loose as soon as the bell rings. Rusev and Owens take turns suplexing Balor. Then they double suplex Cesaro off the apron and into the ring. Cesaro uppercuts all three men in the corners. Belor hits a 1916 on Cesaro, cover, but kick out at two. Owens hits a popup powerbomb on Balor, cover, but Cesaro breaks it up. Cesaro sets up to swing Owens, but Rusev kicks them both. He stomps Owens in the back and locks in the Accolade. Cesaro grabs Rusev and suplexes him. Owens rolls out of the ring. Cesaro cover, but Rusev kicks out at two. He attempts a Sharpshooter on Rusev, but it’s reversed into an Accolade. Cesaro rolls back into a cover, two count and they break apart. Swing on Rusev by Cesaro, locks in the Sharpshooter. Before Rusev can tap, Owens kicks Cesaro in the face. Slingblade by Balor on Owens, then he hits the foot stomp finisher that I can’t spell on Rusev, covers him and moves on to the main event.
Long string of commercials. When we finally come back, Nia Jax has her debut. She takes on some jobber named Brit Baker. Match is over in about two minutes. So much for a debut. That was a waste of time. Another break. After, the second Fatal-4-Way is up. Chris Jericho, Sheamus, Sami Zayn, and Roman Reigns. Slow start to this one. Too much Jericho for my taste. Every time Reigns makes a move the crowd eats him alive. Nothing but boos for him. Sami Zayn really shines throughout, clearly the fan favorite. Reigns runs the table for a few minutes. Sami hits him with a Blue Thunderbomb. Near fall. Y2J locks in the Walls of Jericho on Sami. Sheamus kicks him off, covers Jericho but only gets a two count as Sami breaks it up. Reigns pulls off about ten thousand Superman Punches on every opponent then Spears Jericho for the cover. Get out of my face with this pile of crap match. Why does WWE keep pushing a guy that nobody wants?
The New Day comes out. Booty-O’s cereal is now a real thing and you can pre-order it from FYE. New Day brings someone out of the crowd to be an honorary member of their group. The Club attacks out of no where and hit the Magic Killer on Big E. Later, Neville returns from injury to take on Curtis Axel. Red Arrow for the pinfall. Commentary does a fantastic job of absolutely burying Curtis Axel for no reason. Dick move. Neville looks hesitant, but he’ll get back into the swing of things once he shakes the ring rust.
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte for the women’s championship after the break. This match is solid, if not a little too slow. Dana Brooke gets involved, as per usual. Outside the ring, Charlotte throws Sasha into the barricade. Dana goes to hit Sasha with the title belt, but the ref sees and ejects her to the back. This one gets a lot of time, as it should. A year ago, WWE would have given this four minutes with a crap finish. Big moonsault off the top rope outside the ring by Charlotte. She hits Natural Selection in the ring, but Sasha manages to reach the bottom rope. Hanging Figure Four off the apron and Sasha’s left leg is hurt. Charlotte tries again and Sasha reverses it into a Bank Statement submission. Charlotte gets her foot on the rope to break it up. Back Stabber into a Bank Statement, Charlotte taps. Your winner…and NEW…WWE Women’s Champion! After the match, crowd starts a “You Deserve It!” chant as Sasha cries. Byron Saxton interviews her and she says this is the era of women’s wrestling. Excellent finishing moments for the match, right lady won, great segment.
Braun Strowman comes down. There’s a smushed face jobber in the ring. Strowman has a weird entrance song and an even weirder hair cut. Total squash match. Strowman wins, easily. Not much substance to this segment. Enzo and Big Cass come out. They are just getting started when they are interrupted by The Shining Stars. R-Truth wanders into the ring, distracts Shining Stars and Cass rolls them p for the pinfall. Weird segment. The last twenty or so minutes hasn’t been very good.
Main event time with Roman Reigns taking on Finn Balor. Match starts with Reigns throwing him around the ring. Balor dropkicks Reigns outside the ring into the barricade and we go to our first commercial break. Decent action throughout, but they are selling Reigns as a little too much of a monster. Balor is a seasoned vet and shouldn’t be walked over like this. He does have several big time moves and he of course carries his own. The real crime here would be having Reigns win this match. Superman Punch on Balor late in the match and he barely kicks out. Dropkick and Balor climbs the top rope to stomp on Reigns. Cover and a three count! Wow! WWE did something right! Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins at SummerSlam. “I smell money!” – Vince
I can’t rate this Raw too high. It had some really good spots, but also a couple of head-scratching segments. But overall, it was watchable. I didn’t get bored, but WWE definitely needs to build on this and make their product soar between now and SummerSlam. I can give this a solid B+ though. Two huge thumbs up for the Sasha and Balor wins. What did you all think? Let us know in the comments below. See you all tomorrow for Smackdown Live.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
This year’s Battleground pay-per-view comes from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Pre-show kicks off with Renee Young, Booker T, Corey Graves, and alleged fiance-beater Jerry Lawler. As soon as they start discussing the show, Lawler and Graves insult and all but bury Enzo and Big Cass, while Booker T laughs. This shit really pisses me off. WWE always finds little ways to tear down any NXT talent that moves up to the main roster. They did it for months with Kevin Owens about his weight. There is absolutely no reason to tear down Enzo and Cass what-so-ever. It’s just petty and helps solidify the belief by many that NXT is better than the main roster. This was the opening segment and it was totally unprofessional. But what do you expect from a guy that wears t-shirts to work and another that has neck tattoos?
Cesaro joins the panel at 7:30 to discuss the Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn match later in the evening. Cesaro stumbles through his words and provides nothing of value to the conversation. Daniel Bryan and Mick Foley join Tom Phillips in the social media lounge. It took forty minutes but the preshow finally gets good. Bryan and Foley field questions from Twitter and really do a great job discussing their future plans for both Raw and Smackdown. When asked what Hall of Famers they would draft to their respective shows, Foley says Terry Funk and Bryan says his mentor, The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels.
The preshow match is The Usos vs Breezango, commentated by Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton. Oh brother. Huge pop for Tyler Breeze that turns into a chorus of boo’s as Fandango comes out. Luckily, for both teams, the arena is pretty full 13 minutes before the show begins so they have a solid audience. Crowd boo’s Jimmy Uso after he hits Samoan Drops on both Breeze and Fandango. The action is pretty steady throughout, but this really doesn’t add anything to the show or upcoming new brand split which will officially start tomorrow. Samoan Splash attempt off the top rope, but Breeze gets his knees up and covers for the pinfall. Breezango wins. Okay match.
Show kicks off with JBL, Michael Cole, and Byron Saxton on commentary. In a strange twist, the show kicks off with a women’s match. That’s a nice way to shake things up. Current Women’s Champion, Charlotte, comes down with Dana Brooke. Sasha Banks comes down. We are all waiting on her surprise tag team partner. She gets in the ring and just stands there. Why didn’t they have her get on the mic and introduce the person? Anyway, it’s Bayley and the crowd goes apeshit. That’s how you do a debut! Yes! So happy for her. Crowd eats it up and Bayley can’t help but smile. Sasha and Bayley high five and embrace. Charlotte and Dana attack them from behind and knock them out of the ring.
Back in the ring, Charlotte and Dana double team Bayley. The bell finally rings and Charlotte goes after Bayley. Sasha gets the tag and knocks Dana off the apron but gets her head slammed into the turnbuckle by Charlotte. Great couple minutes of action with the crowd actively into this one. Sasha and Charlotte end up in the ring. Charlotte tries a submission but Sasha reverses it into a Bank Statement. Dana drags Charlotte out. Bayley takes down Dana. Charlotte takes down Bayley. Back stabber into a Bank Statement when Charlotte rolls back inside the ring. Charlotte taps out! Crowd goes wild. After the match, Bayley and Sasha hug it out. Great opening to the show. Now we can all ride the high into the rest of the broadcast. The real question is, is this an official call-up to the main roster or a one time deal? With that reaction, Vince has to be smelling money. One thing’s for sure, the real women’s revolution just started tonight.
The New Day comes down. Now the currently longest reigning tag team champions in history. The Wyatt Family comes to the ring amidst fireflies. Xavier Woods and Bray Wyatt start the match. Xavier stands there, terrified. Kofi tags him and jumps into the ring. Braun Strowman gets the tag and he plants Kofi with a big kick. The Wyatt’s spend a long amount of time making the crowd oh and ah with some pretty vicious attacks. Big E finally gets New Day back on track with a belly to belly suplex and a splash on Erick Rowan. Crowd starts chanting New Day Rocks. Bray Wyatt attempts a Sister Abigail on Kofi, Xavier breaks it up and stares down Bray. Bray takes down Kofi and Xavier screams and attacks Bray. Top turnbuckle, steps to the side and splashes off the top rope onto Bray. Rowan and Straun try to get in and they are taken out by Xavier and a Big E spear through the middle rope. Sister Abigail by Bray Wyatt and Xavier eats the pin. Really strong match. The Wyatt Family wins and both teams looked solid throughout. This may be the best outing we’ve seen from Bray Wyatt in quite some time.
Lana comes out and introduces Rusev, set to defend his United States Championship against Zack Ryder. Mr. Woo-Woo-Woo comes out wearing an American jacket, which is annoying. Every angle against Rusev doesn’t need to be USA vs Russia. He’s not even from Russia. Rusev starts the match dominating Zack Ryder. Rusev attempts a suplex and Ryder reverses it into a neckbreaker. Rusev rolls out to catch his breath. He then slow-spears Ryder into the barricade. Then drops him over it near the ramp. Ryder leaps up onto the barricade and dropkicks Rusev to the ground. Ref is on six of the ten count. Ryder back in, Rusev follows. Ryder lands the Rough Ryder finisher. He climbs the top rope and tries an elbow drop, but hits Rusev’s knees. Rusev kicks him to the mat, stomps his back and locks in the Accolade. Ryder tries to break free and Rusev drops back, locking it in deeper. Ryder has no choice but to tap. Rusev retains. After the match Rusev keeps stomping Ryder in the stomach. Hype Bros music hits and Mofo Rawley runs in. Mojo screams in Rusev’s face, who looks back confused. He slowly backs out of the ring and collects his belt. Mojo continues screaming inside the ring and Rusev replies in Russian. Mojo helps Ryder to his feet and Rusev goes back to his hotel room to bang his super hot fiance.
Backstage moment with Mick Foley, Stephanie McMahon, and Seth Rollins. Weird segment, Rollins comes across as way too hyper. He says tonight will be so big for him that 9 months from now, there will be a bunch of babies born named “Rollins.” Okay. Sure.
The Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn rivalry is up next. A lot of people around the interweb have been complaining about this one, saying the feud has run on too long and they are sick of seeing it. I call those people half-hearted wrestling fans. How can you ever get sick of these two? They are money on the mic and they are easily at the top of their field on the roster in the ring. Their new shirt Fight Forever is a bullseye. Sami Zayn comes out first. Zayn tries a kick early, but Owens rolls out of the ring. Zayn joins him and the two trade punches until Owens throws his best friend into the barricade. Zayn whips him into the timekeeper’s area. Zayn floors Owens with a clothesline. Owens spends the whole match mocking the crowd’s chants. He is such a fantastic heel. Crowd split right down the middle throughout. Biggest moment of the match is Zayn hitting a brainbuster on the apron, dropping Owens right on his head. Both men down as the ref calls a ten count. Zayn gets in at seven. Owens narrowly makes it at nine. The two just lay, gasping in the middle of the ring. Zayn stands and starts punching Owens. Owens fights back. The two trade punches as the crowd starts a dual chant for both. Tornado DDT off the top rope for Zayn. Super kick by Owens. Near fall but Owens kicks out. Crowd on the edge of their seats. Best match of the night so far and there really hasn’t been any terrible ones. Popup powerbomb out of the corner. Owens goes to cover and Zayn gets his foot on the bottom rope! Goodness! Helluva Kick in the corner from Zayn after a couple suplexes. He hits another Helluva Kick and pins Owens clean. What a great, great match. Might be a contender for match of the year and easily the best match of the night thus far. Two thumbs up. Giving that one four out of five stars. Not a bad moment throughout.
Natalya comes down to the ring followed by her opponent, Becky Lynch. Becky gains the upperhand early. Feel bad for these ladies. Both are really great workers, but it is all but impossible to follow Zayn/Owens. Crowd seems deflated throughout. The story here just isn’t as strong as lifelong friends going to war. Nattie does a great job selling during the match. Becky hits her with some sharp slaps. Natalya locks in the Sharpshooter as Becky tries to reach the ropes. Natalya drags her back to the middle of the ring. Becky taps out. Classic matchup, good wrestling. Just hard to follow the previous match. Another good match from the women’s division tonight.
Backstage segment with Daniel Bryan, Shane McMahon, and Dean Ambrose. This one comes across way better than the earlier Rollins segment. Bryan really sells Ambrose and makes the crowd cheer. Good promo. Bob Backlund brings out Darren Young to take on The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. Been dreading this match all night. I really have nothing invested in it at all. The Miz and Maryse walk out wearing masquerade masks. This match is about as standard as they come, doing nothing to elevate the IC title. It’s sad we went from Kevin Owens to Zack Ryder to this. A Miz/Darren Young program is about as unseasoned meat and potatoes as you can get. And having Maryse and Backlund ringside is awful. They have the personality equivalent of drying paint hanging out with a pile of raked leaves. This is the low point of the evening by far. At one point, Backlund tears his shirt off and we all go blind. Darren Young gets disqualified outside the ring and the match is over. Good riddance. This one was absolutely pointless.
John Cena enters. Enzo Amore and Big Cass come down, huge pop. Enzo really works the mic tonight, lots of laughs and gets the whole crowd fired up. He makes Cena laugh several times. The Club comes down with Styles. Enzo and Anderson start, but Enzo wants Styles and Anderson tags him in. Fun back and forth from both teams. Enzo does a nice job of playing the underdog throughout, getting beat down and giving his teammates hot tags. Styles takes the five moves of doom and the Five Knuckle Shuffle from Cena. Styles reverses the Attitude Adjustment and kicks Cena down. Cena lands an AA, but Anderson drags him out before he can get the three count on Styles. Outside everybody fights around the announce table. “Holy shit!” chant from the crowd. Just a flurry of exciting action between all six guys. Well done. Ten count starts as Styles is the only man in the ring. At nine, Cena manages to roll in. Styles Clash on Cena. Cover, but Big Cass drags Styles out at two and kicks him right in the face. Anderson and Gallows hit Magic Killer in the ring on Cass. Crowd boos. Enzo rolls into the ring and takes them both on. He tosses Anderson out and squares up to Gallows. Enzo off the ropes, takes a kick to the face. Cena back in the ring. Gallows sizes him up, runs at him but misses. Styles top rope. Cena hits the rope and drops Styles, then spills Gallows out of the ring. Cena lands an AA off the top rope and pins Styles for the win. Not crazy about the ending, but I like that it took basically a super AA to beat Styles. And Enzo and Cass needed a win. Not the greatest match, but definitely fun and got everyone watching drawn into it. Nice job by all six guys.
Chris Jericho comes out for The Highlight Reel. This seems like a total waste of time on a pay-per-view. The only positive is that Randy Orton is his guest. The Viper comes down and doesn’t pose which is weird. He immediately thanks the crowd and insults Y2J. Crowd starts an R-K-O! chant. This segment has a couple of laughs, but it runs long. It’s almost 10:35 and we haven’t had the main event yet. Looks like Battleground is running over. Jericho shows a Brock Lesnar highlight reel, which helps pick the segment up. Orton takes a huge shot at Lesnar about the doping scandal from UFC. Wow. And that’s how you set up a feud at SummerSlam! RKO out of nowhere drops Jericho. He gets on the corner and poses. Great comeback. Orton leaves the ring at 10:43.
Time for our main event. Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon come down to represent Monday Night Raw. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon come down to support Smackdown. Huge YES! chant from Bryan, which seems like a selfish thing for him to do. He needs to stop hijacking the crowd everytime he comes out. Seth Rollins enters first, huge pop from the audience. Reigns enters and takes several rounds of boo’s from the crowd. The champ enters and Shane gets excited. Reigns and Ambrose double team Rollins at the start and then Ambrose tries a sneaky rollup on Reigns. Kick out at two. Everytime Reigns tries a move, the crowd boo’s him. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds but Reigns blocks and punches him. The start of the match is kind of slow, as Rollins spends most of it outside the ring and we watch Reigns and Ambrose try their best to do something.
Outside the ring, Rollins throws Ambrose into the steps. Reigns tosses him into the time keeper area. Ambrose runs across the announce tables and takes them both down. Keep in mind this is a triple threat match, so no DQ or countouts. Back in the ring Ambrose drops an elbow from the top rope on Reigns. Rollins hits Ambrose with a frogsplash and covers him. Kick out at two. All three men in the ring. Superman Punch on both Rollins and Ambrose. Crowd is vocal about their hatred towards Reigns. Ambrose clotheslines Reigns and both of his opponents and himself are down on the mat. All three recover and start trading punches. Ambrose and Rollins gang up on Reigns and the crowd goes wild! Another YES! chant. Ambrose lifts Reigns to give Rollins a chance to powerbomb Reigns, but he kicks Rollins away. Reigns is outside the ring, Ambrose jumps at him, Rollins flips out on top of him. Both Smackdown and Raw rosters are shown cheering the match in the back. Ambrose clears the announce table and he lifts Reigns on Rollins. Huge powerbomb through the table. Crowd erupts. Nice spot.
Rollins sneaks up behind Ambrose with a chair and clobbers him. Then he attacks Reigns on the ground. Rollins throws Ambrose in the ring and tries for a Pedigree. Counter by Ambrose. Superplex by Rollins off the top rope. Ambrose kicks out at two. Reigns powerbombs both men and pins Rollins, but he narrowly kicks out at two. Reigns Superman Punches Ambrose out of the ring. Rollins spins him around and lands a Pedigree. Near fall on Reigns, but he barely gets his shoulder up. Reigns spears Rollins, goes to cover, but Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds. He covers Reigns and the ref counts one, two, three. Dean Ambrose is taking the title to Smackdown Live. Interesting choice by WWE. Guess they have confidence in The Lunatic Fringe. This was a fun match to watch. I am happy with any outcome that isn’t Roman Reigns being the world champ. Clean finish and a nice match for all three men. The action really picked up and the pace towards the end was smooth. Afterward, the Smackdown roster comes out to congratulate Ambrose. Of course Cena leads the charge and hugs Ambrose. The Usos lift him up on their shoulders and Ambrose raises the title above his head as we fade out.
Overall, I am fairly pleased with this pay-per-view. What I thought was going to be just a blowoff show running out the clock until SummerSlam, actually turned out to be a fun watch. Most of the matches were good and the crowd in D.C. was really great, keeping the energy up the whole night. With several high spots and very few low points, this should be considered a successful broadcast for WWE Network. Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live should be very interesting this week.
What did you all think of tonight’s show? Let us know in the comments below. Also, please be sure to check out our friends over at
King of the Mountain podcast. Subscribe and like them on iTunes to help their show. Join Face To Heel tomorrow night as we live tweet Monday Night Raw and my cohort, Mrs Jamie Baker, gives a full breakdown and provides feedback for the episode.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
This year’s Battleground PPV will be the final event before the WWE’s brand extension goes into effect. It will take place at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. and is the fourth PPV under the Battleground name. These PPVs aren’t typically the most thrilling, and this year may not be an exception considering that over half the matches on the card are some sort of tag match, plus the Tag and Women’s titles aren’t even on the line. Let’s take a look at the card and make some predictions.
Breezango vs The Usos – PPV Kickoff Tag Match
Let me preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Tyler Breeze. I enjoyed him immensely in NXT, but unfortunately his move to the main roster hasn’t been totally positive. He’s been utilized mainly as comic relief, which is a misuse of his talent. Teaming with Fandango could have worked, but WWE hasn’t taken it seriously. In regards to the Usos, I have never been a fan. They quickly became stale to me; regardless of who they face or what the situation is, they are always the same exact duo. They never evolve or adapt, and as someone over the age of 12, that bores me. I hope to be pleasantly surprised by something incredible in this kickoff match, but I won’t hold my breath.
F2H Prediction – The Usos
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods) vs The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman) – Six Man Tag Match
After the embarrassing fight at the Wyatt compound, we look to close out this family versus family battle. The Wyatt family as it currently stands is no more due to the brand split; Braun Strowman will be going solo, while Bray and Erick are still able to band together as a duo. It may be a good move for the Wyatts, as nothing positive has been done with them lately. New Day’s dynamic is too comical and upbeat for a feud with the Wyatts to make sense, and it’s resulted in a lot of forced and uncomfortable interactions. New Day can take a loss here and be fine, but the Wyatts will suffer from yet another loss on their record. I hope for their sake, they are made to look strong.
F2H Prediction – The Wyatt Family
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens – Singles Match
Zayn and Owens are incredible together; these two represent everything that is right about wrestling. They’ve worked together for years, and it shows. Down the line, I would enjoy seeing them together as a team, but for now I’m incredibly content to watch them fight forever. Owens is by far one of my favorite wrestlers in any company; he’s skilled in the ring and in promos, brilliant when put on commentary, and hilarious on Twitter when he refuses to break character and harasses his haters and fans alike. This is only the beginning of what we’re going to see from these two; I can’t wait to see what’s in their future.
F2H Prediction – Sami Zayn
The Miz (c) vs Darren Young – Intercontinental Title Match
We’re going to make Darren Young great again! I had the pleasure of being in the same area as Bob Backlund once, at a live show in Chicago. He was outside, begging for cash in exchange for pictures with fans. It was one of the few times I’ve feared for my life; the man is unstable. The Miz has won his last few titles in very shady ways, and now has wife Maryse by his side to help him hold onto the IC title. Young has Backlund in his corner, which is like having an unarmed nuke in the hands of a toddler. There are so many ways that this match could go sideways considering Maryse and Backlund will be at ringside, Miz is notorious for finding shady ways to win, and Young is a wildcard. I truly don’t know what to expect from this match, but I hope Miz and Young deliver.
F2H Prediction – Darren Young
Sasha Banks & TBD vs Charlotte & Dana Brooke – Tag Team Match
I have two thoughts for Sasha Banks’ mystery partner. The first is the wish of most fans; Bayley will join Sasha and make her debut by winning this match after pinning Charlotte. The second is what I realistically think will happen; Nia Jax will partner with Sasha and they will form a team similar to what AJ Lee had with Tamina Snuka. Having Nia debut at Battleground and team with Sasha would be a strong way for her to make a statement and assert herself as a real force in the Women’s division. It would also even the odds, since Charlotte can’t be champion without having a sidekick around 24/7. I just hope WWE doesn’t blow this by choosing someone that doesn’t make sense for her partner, like Summer Rae or god forbid Eva Marie.
F2H Prediction – Sasha Banks & TBD
Enzo Amore, Big Cass, & John Cena vs The Club (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson) – Six Man Tag Match
With the brand split, Enzo and Cass will be separated from John Cena, and AJ Styles will be separated from Gallows and Anderson. This will theoretically be the last time we see all six of these men compete together. Enzo and Cass don’t benefit from being paired with Cena; they are one of the strongest tag teams around and don’t need validation from “the face that runs the place.” Styles, in my opinion, is stronger alone and will be able to branch out and accomplish more with The Club over on Raw. We’ve seen enough build for this fight to know what to expect. As much as some people would love to see Finn Balor come out, reunite The Club, and make some sort of grand statement, it likely won’t happen tonight. Styles and Cena will likely continue to battle on Smackdown, as Enzo and Cass will be able to fight The Club on Raw.
F2H Prediction – Enzo, Cass, and Cena
Rusev (c) vs Zack Ryder – United States Title Match
Zack Ryder got his WrestleMania moment when he was not only able to come out to his entrance music for the first time, but he won the Intercontinental Title at WM 32. He lost the title to The Miz before he could even celebrate having it, but that’s a whole other story. Rusev is a great US champion, especially with Lana by his side. I like this pairing because Ryder isn’t a symbol of the United States like Jack Swagger is or Cena tries to be. He’s not trying to make this into a US vs Russia match, he just wants to win the title. I hope this doesn’t turn into a squash match and that Ryder is able to gain the upper hand at least a few times on his larger opponent.
F2H Prediction – Rusev
Becky Lynch vs Natalya – Singles Match
For some reason, Natalya lost her mind and decides to start attacking Becky Lynch. Natalya is finally ready to stop living in the background and assert herself to rise to the top of the Women’s division. She is a veteran in the company who doesn’t get a lot of chances for success, and for a while she was stuck playing sidekick to the tag team of Cesaro and husband Tyson Kidd. Lynch has been on the main roster for about a year now, and while she has been touted as one of the pioneers of the “revolution,” she hasn’t gotten a chance to really branch out. It would be nice to see this feud truly be about the wrestling instead of devolve into a petty girl vs girl argument over jealousy or some other trivial factor. Both women are extremely talented and can do a lot more in the ring than we’ve seen to date.
F2H Prediction – Becky Lynch
Dean Ambrose (c) vs Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins – Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
In my opinion, Roman Reigns should not be a part of this match. The failure of the drug test, allegedly for Adderall, isn’t the worst thing that a person could do, but is enough to warrant removal from this championship match. Ambrose and Rollins have been stuck throwing his name into conversations for the past few weeks in order to keep him relevant, and it isn’t fair to the two men who managed not to pop pills while in Vegas. Reigns also proved that he isn’t a successful champion. He failed to connect with the crowd as either a face or a heel, his skills on the microphone have yet to improve, and he concentrates more on theatrics than he does on wrestling. Ambrose and Rollins deserve a two on two. My hope is that they gang up on Reigns to take him out early on in the match so that they can have the fight they both deserve. Rumors state that Vince McMahon is fed up with Reigns, so there is a good chance that we don’t see a lot of him. As long as he doesn’t walk away from Battleground with the gold around his waist, I’ll be happy.
F2H Prediction – Seth Rollins
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
The WWE Drafts had me on edge for a number of reasons. There were so many ways that this could go wrong, and so many obvious right choices that could be overlooked. What worried me the most was the danger of splitting up great tag teams and the six NXT draft picks. Certain pairings would be just fine going solo, but other teams simply aren’t meant to part ways just yet. As far as the NXT picks, my worry was that their debuts would be ruined by the announcements.
My fears were proved to be justified when Finn Balor was named as Raw’s third draft pick. Balor is a staple of NXT, an incredible athlete, and a huge draw. His debut was a given, but I had such high hopes for it, that hearing about it via this draft is simply a let down. Now, there is still the chance that his debut can be done in a grand fashion, but somehow announcing the intent ruins the magic that could have been. Balor’s entrance is intense and rivals The Undertaker’s as far as theatrics; I only hope WWE puts effort into making it a must see moment instead of just another 30 second walk down the ramp.
Keeping Enzo and Cass together on Raw was the right move to make, as was assuring that The New Day stayed together. Both teams are easily the best in the tag division, work incredibly well together, and still have a lot to do together as teams. Since Raw now has the best of the best in the tag division, it made perfect sense to draft NXT’s American Alpha to Smackdown; they can truly shine there with the champs and their former NXT colleagues away on Monday nights. I’m also glad to see Enzo and Cass away from John Cena, so we can finally stop seeing that unnecessary alliance. Another solid pairing is Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens both being drafted to Raw. I normally get tired of feuds after a while, but this one could go on forever and I would never tire of it.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke will both be on Raw, which wasn’t a great move. Our first Women’s champ has been hiding behind someone else during her entire reign as champion; first her father and now Dana. It makes her look incredibly weak. In a surprise move, The Wyatt family did not get to stay together; Bray and Erick Rowan are on Smackdown and Braun Strowman is on Raw. The Wyatt family needed to rebuild and strengthen their faction, not split it. Now, there is a chance that when Luke Harper returns from injury, he goes to Smackdown and the original family unites. Unfortunately for now, the family is split and won’t have a chance to redeem themselves for the embarrassment at the Wyatt compound.
Nia Jax’s draft to Raw was a pleasant surprise. I am a big fan of the women who don’t conform to the “beauty queen” standard that so many female wrestlers are unnecessarily held to. Jax is a force to be feared, but there isn’t much left for her in NXT. She has proven that she can defeat every female there except for champion Asuka, who has plenty of other contenders for her title, including fan favorite Bayley. Jax can do great things in the Women’s division on Raw, can be the one to dethrone Charlotte, either by winning the title or assisting someone else, and can give us a new standard of strength and beauty that we currently don’t have on the main roster.
Another surprise from NXT was Alexa Bliss, who is drafted to Smackdown. Formerly the manager of tag team Blake and Murphy, Bliss is a fantastic heel who isn’t afraid to embrace her comical side when the situation calls for, and who doesn’t let her small stature keep her from kicking ass. Bliss has definitely grown on me over the past few weeks and I think she can do great things for the Women’s division. She has the unfortunate luck of being drafted alongside the useless Eva Marie, so hopefully she’s able to avoid having too many matches with All Botch Everything.
Overall, I still have mixed emotions about the draft, but I’m trying to stay hopeful that the split will allow more athletes to have better opportunities and extended on-screen time. Congratulations to the NXT call-ups: Finn Balor, American Alpha, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Mojo Rawley. Please let us know what you think about the draft picks in the comments, and tweet us your favorites at @facetoheel. Below is a complete list of all draftees, minus the unfortunate Heath Slater.
The New Day
Rusev (with Lana)
Enzo and Cass
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
The Shining Stars
The Miz (with Maryse)
Alberto Del Rio
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker