After WWE tweeted that not only would Becky Lynch not be able to compete at the No Mercy PPV due to medical reasons, but that the main event would start the show, my husband decided that we would skip writing a results article and just try to enjoy the show. The first Smackdown exclusive PPV, Backlash, had a terrible card but turned out to be a great three hours, so I went into No Mercy with a healthy amount of optimism. My mistake.
Curt Hawkins was initially going to have his debut match at No Mercy, but instead popped out randomly during the preshow at around 7:15pm EST before the majority of fans were even in their seats. He walked to the ring to a list of Chuck Norris-type facts while waving around a walking stick. Hawkins announced that his first match would actually be on October 11th on Smackdown, and the crowd couldn’t care less. This was such a poor choice for what was meant to be a strong debut.
The preshow kickoff match featured The Hype Bros and American Alpha versus The Ascension and The Vaudevillains. It was a solid fight, with the Hype Bros and American Alpha picking up the win after a nine minute match. I don’t think this was the best use of the preshow though. We have an entire hour to eat up, and the match only gets 15% of that time? We don’t need to hear Jerry Lawler sexually harass female talent for 45 minutes. Give us longer and better preshow matches.
Our first match was the “main event” where AJ Styles successfully defended his title against John Cena and Dean Ambrose in a Triple Threat match. Styles actually tapped out, but because both Cena and Ambrose simultaneously had a submission hold on him, the match was restarted. First off, I cannot for the life of me figure out why this main event opened the PPV. I thought that maybe they were saving something else for the end of the night, but that wasn’t the case at all. Perhaps they moved it so it wasn’t airing during the debate, but that doesn’t make sense either since everything is On Demand on the Network. It was a confusing move, and I still have yet to figure out why they did it.
Nikki Bella defeated Carmella in a decent match, but Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss in a match that would have been better left off the card. The women had a little over 5 minutes to compete, and it ended with Bliss throwing a fit after her loss. It makes her look weak and childish, which is a poor move considering she is the number one contender for Lynch’s title. Time and time again, we hear about the Women’s Revolution. I’m still waiting for it to begin.
The highlight of the night for me was watching Tag Team Champions Heath Slater and Rhyno successfully retain against The Usos. It was a solid match and it’s so amazing to hear Slater being cheered for, getting hot tags, and being able to actually perform in the ring instead of job out. The second high point for me was Dolph Ziggler defeating The Miz and becoming Intercontinental Champion. This was a twenty minute match of nonstop action. Online rumors had Ziggler leaving WWE to pursue a career in comedy, and I’m glad it wasn’t true.
Baron Corbin defeated the new and improved Jack Swagger in a singles match that was forgettable. Our actual main event was Bray Wyatt versus Randy Orton. I was terrified that WWE was going to try and turn this into their version of Impact Wrestling’s The Great War, but they spared us. Unfortunately, they couldn’t even bother making this match a No Disqualification fight. It was good to see Bray Wyatt finally get a win, but he still didn’t get it clean thanks to a surprise return by Luke Harper. Harper didn’t interfere, simply showed up as a distraction to allow Wyatt to steal a win.
Overall, this PPV was better suited for a Tuesday night episode of Smackdown than it was for a Sunday evening. Whatever magic went into Backlash was completely lost for No Mercy. We apologize for the lack of coverage on Sunday, but have no regrets, as any article we posted was going to tear that PPV into pieces. Hopefully they can get it together by Tuesday and give their talent the better booking they deserve.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
I’m in desperate need of a pick me up tonight after yesterday’s depressing situation with Finn Balor, who relinquished the Universal Title due to injury. Nikki Bella is set to make her official Smackdown debut this evening, coming after her surprise return at Summerslam. On the Smackdown Live preshow, it was announced that Stephanie McMahon fined Brock Lesnar only $500 for his attack on her brother, Shane, so it’ll be interesting to see if that is addressed tonight.
Smackdown begins in the locker room where AJ Styles names himself as The New Face That Runs The Place, thanks to his victory over John Cena at Summerslam. He puts on Cena’s “Never Give Up” armband that Cena left in the ring on Sunday, then calls out Dolph Ziggler for being a loser. After a brief brawl, Styles leaves the locker room. New feud?
The two new titles are in the ring as we begin; the new tag titles are the same design as the originals, but are colored silver on a blue leather belt. The new women’s title is also an exact replica of the original, but with a blue background behind the “W.” Before you start bitching, they could have gone off the wall with all of this, but they kept it simple. Let’s not let it ruin the entire show, okay? Daniel Bryan tells the six women of Smackdown that any one of them could potentially be champion, and the crowd start chanting for Nattie. The new Smackdown women’s champion will be crowned at Backlash, the first Smackdown exclusive PPV, and the contenders will be decided with a Six Pack Challenge. This will also be where the Smackdown tag team champions will be crowned, with a Tag Team Title Tournament that will start tonight and crown a winner at Backlash.
Slater’s Gonna Slate! Heath Slater interrupts regarding his lack of contract. Slater proposes to Bryan and McMahon that they allow him to compete for the tag titles. Slater is hilarious; I love this. Bryan says that if Slater can find a partner by the end of the night, they will turn this into an eight team tournament. But Slater will only get a contract if he wins the ENTIRE tournament. Poor Heath Slater and his fifteen children.
AJ Styles picks this time to come out, tells Slater to get lost, and says that they need to talk about The New Face That Runs The Place! It seems like Styles is letting this new title (that he has given himself) go to his head. Out of nowhere, Ziggler comes out and clocks Styles in the back of the head! Bryan and McMahon send the entire tag division out of the ring to break it up! Damn, this was a great start to the night. Kudos.
Our first match will be Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss, with Naomi and Natalya ringside at commentary. The match is pretty back and forth in the beginning, with Lynch looking for the Disarmer and Bliss able to block every attempt. Bliss is the smallest on the Smackdown roster, but quite possibly the most vicious. Bliss gets Lynch caught up on the ropes and is able to get a pin attempt, but Lynch counters with clotheslines that takes Bliss down. Bliss slams Lynch to the mat into a pin via flip from the middle rope, but Lynch kicks out at two. Lynch is able to lock in the Disarmer and Bliss has no choice but to tap. Natalya is on commentary with an attitude, going back and forth with Naomi in an awkward exchange as Lynch celebrates her win.
Backstage, Slater approaches The Miz and asks if he will be his Tag Team partner. Slater thinks that Miz is agreeing to do it, but it turns out that Miz is on his bluetooth talking a movie deal and didn’t hear a single word that Slater said. Poor Heath Slater and his twenty-five hungry children.
Our next match is a first round Tag Team Tournament Match; The Ascension versus The Usos. The Ascension attack The Usos as soon as the bell rings, taking them down and going for an early pin. Using quick tags, they are keeping their opponent isolated and unable to tag in his brother. The crowd starts a small Uso chant, but it fades quickly as Konnor goes for another pin attempt. Uso finally tags in his brother and hits a Cross Body, then a super kick on Viktor. He hits a Samoan Drop and goes for the finish, but Konnor jumps in to save his partner. Jimmy hits a splash and gets the pin for the win. JBL keeps telling us that The Usos are the favorites for this tournament, but I’m not buying it.
The New Face That Runs The Place is going to try to make his entrance uninterrupted; AJ Styles comes to the ring, still holding Cena’s arm band. Styles says he sees lots of angry faces in the crowd (not to mention jealous faces in the locker room) because of his win at Summerslam. Styles wants the Cena fans to convert over to Styles fans so they don’t have to cry into their cereal. As Styles is yelling, Ziggler comes out again to go on the attack, but security and Bryan stop it from happening. Bryan says that Styles does indeed deserve to be the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but since Ziggler and Styles want to fight so bad, they will have a match tonight. If Styles wins, he gets a title match at Backlash. If Ziggler wins, he gets added to the match and it becomes a Triple Threat. Second option please!!
Up now, Carmella will be facing the returning Nikki Bella. Before the match, Renee Young enters the ring to interview Nikki. Carmella isn’t having any of it though and attacks Nikki mid-sentence. She lays Nikki out and the crowd cheers! Eventually, another referee jumps in to break it up, but Carmella is yelling insults and refusing to back off. She leaves the ring, only to jump back in and attack Nikki once more as she cradles her neck. I’ve gotta say, I like this side of Carmella. It was also nice not to see the predictable Bella win upon her return.
At the top of the second hour, Randy Orton comes out, obviously not dressed to compete give the ten staples in his skull. He gets a great welcome from the crowd, and admits that he was in one hell of a fight against Brock Lesnar. Orton says he is unhappy with the match being called as a TKO. Suddenly, Bray Wyatt’s music hits! The man steps out alone, slowly walking to the ring with his lantern in hand. He sits in his rocker, asking Orton how his head is feeling. Wyatt saw Orton’s eyes go blank after Lesnar busted him open, and says it is a reminder that Orton is just a man. A man who hurts, suffers, and dies. But Wyatt is not just a man, he is a God. (Sidenote: this only works if you guys start booking him better!!) He promises that Orton will find out more “in time.” And just like that, he vanishes.
Backstage, Slater asks Arn Anderson if he will be his tag team partner. He tells Anderson that he is his last and final hope! He’s running out of time. Anderson declines, but Rhyno steps in and volunteers himself to be Heath’s partner! I’m so glad that Slater’s thirty-seven children won’t have to go hungry!
Our next Tag Team Tournament Match is American Alpha versus Breezango. Gable and Fandango start things off, with Fandango immediately going to the ropes for a break. Breeze and Jordan tag in, and American Alpha take out both of their opponents before the legal men get back in the ring. Jordan and Gable are so good, but the main roster audience still isn’t behind them as they should be. A USA chant gets going, which means… what exactly in this match? Gable gets Breeze locked in an arm bar in the middle of the ring, targeting the shoulder. Alpha is using quick tags to keep Breeze isolated, but he is able to shove Gable into Fandango and nearly win the match.
During the commercial, Breeze and Fandango have controlled the match, but when we return, Jordan comes in and dominates both Breeze and Fandango, delivering fantastic suplexes before tagging in Gable. Jordan attacks Fandango outside of the ring to keep him from interfering, then tags himself in. The near falls are starting now, and things are getting tense. This is a fantastic match! These four are bringing their best tonight, and it’s a shame they both can’t advance. Breeze and Jordan are going back and forth with pins, and both looks frustrated beyond belief. Jordan hits a suplex into a spear, then tags in Gable who pins Breeze for the win! This was awesome, but I’m glad my boys won. And I’m glad they didn’t awkwardly caress the tag titles like The Usos did.
After a relaxing night of gambling, Dean Ambrose comes out to join the commentary team to watch our main event from ringside. Ziggler and Styles will battle, and hopefully we don’t see John Cena. I’m probably asking for too much. The crowd is split on who to support, and Styles is quick to leave the ring to get a breather. To remind you, a Styles victory guarantees him a match at Backlash against Ambrose, but a Ziggler victory makes that match a Triple Threat. As we return from commercial, Styles is in control and Ziggler is stuck in the corner, but he’s able to dodge and get some relief. Ziggler is thrown hard against the turnbuckle, then hit with a backbreaker into a pin. Ziggler tries for a very sloppy, and obviously unsuccessful roll up before Styles retaliates and knocks him to the mat once again. Ziggler is finally able to land a few punches, but Styles catches him on the ropes with a neckbreaker.
Styles is not holding anything back in this, throwing Ziggler into the stairs and all but ignoring the referee’s instructions. Ziggler finally hits a beautiful dropkick on Styles! Both men are briefly down, then Ziggler tries for a pin after an elbow drop. Ziggler hits the Famouser but Styles kicks out just barely in time. I want a Triple Threat; come on! Near fall after near fall, and neither man will give up. Ziggler hits an amazing DDT, but damn it, Styles kicks out. I’m stressed out at this point. Just make it a Triple Threat because you know it’ll be awesome. Styles hits Ziggler with a cheap shot while he is hung up on the ropes, then hits the Styles Clash for the win. Damn it.
After the victory, Styles gets in Ambrose’s face and snatches off his headset. I always forget how tall Ambrose is until we have moments like this. Styles backs off with a smile on his face, and we end our broadcast. This was a fantastic Smackdown! After a couple of weeks thinking that the brand split wasn’t agreeing with WWE anymore, we get a much needed night like this. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and we’ll see you all tomorrow for NXT and CWC coverage!
Article by Mrs Jamie 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
The 7th Money In The Bank PPV will be held in the Las Vegas suburb of Paradise, Nevada this year. We still only have the one briefcase for the WWE World Heavyweight title; since the belts were unified, WWE has not opted to add another briefcase for a contract for the United States, Intercontinental, or even the Women’s Title, something that would be incredible to see. Notably absent from this PPV is The Miz, our current Intercontinental champion. According to his Twitter account, the title is safely around his waist while he is off filming The Marine 5. Let’s take a look at the match card and make some predictions for the show tomorrow night.
Apollo Crews vs Sheamus – Preshow Kickoff Singles Match
It’s difficult not to smile when Crews enters the arena; he is a giant ball of positive energy, is incredibly grateful for the opportunity he has earned, and always gives 100% in the ring. If you’ve watched Breaking Ground on the WWE Network, you are familiar with his journey (and if not, I recommend checking it out). Pitting him against Sheamus works to both men’s advantages; Apollo gets to be the hero and Sheamus gets to be extra villainous to promote his role in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. This feud is good for Crews; he needs the opportunity to practice his mic skills and promos, so pitting him against someone who has been on the main roster for years will be helpful.
F2H Winner Prediction: Apollo Crews
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin – Preshow Kickoff Singles Match
This will hopefully be the final chapter in this feud; Corbin and Ziggler have had great matches over the past few weeks, but it’s time for both men to move on. Corbin’s debut to the main roster was done in a huge way with his WrestleMania win in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal; he was the 3rd man to win this match, after Cesaro and Big Show, which is saying a lot. There are big things in his future for sure. Ziggler is one of the most underutilized guys on the roster; he’s done great work with Corbin but I would like to see him seriously enter into a title picture and/or move along to something that better shows his full potential (like maybe the indie circuit). They may be on the preshow, but these two are worthy of the main event.
F2H Winner Prediction: Baron Corbin
The New Day (c) vs The Club vs Enzo and Cass vs The Vaudevillians – Fatal 4-Way Tag Title Match
The tag team division has come a long way, and the credit has to go to The New Day. They took a ridiculous gimmick that was seemingly doomed to fail and turned themselves into fan favorites. As two time champs, they have made their titles meaningful and interesting once again. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson of The Club are relatively new to the WWE and have done little else than step on anyone who is in their way. The Vaudevillains have lived up to their name since moving up from NXT and gained their first title shot due to Enzo’s untimely injury. Speaking of Enzo, he and Cass have been beyond over since their debut and even Enzo’s absence didn’t derail their momentum. Regardless of the winner, this should be an exciting match.
F2H Winner Prediction: Enzo and Cass
Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs Natalya and Becky Lynch – Tag Team Match
I’m incredible let down that the Women’s title is not on the line Sunday night. We’re still in the early stages of revamping the former Divas division, and instead of making the title meaningful, we’re shoving it aside in favor of a tag match. Charlotte ditched her daddy and seemed to be going down the independent route, but instead she replaced Ric Flair with Dana Brooke, who recently came up from NXT. So, we still have a champion who is incapable of winning matches by herself and who doesn’t even defend her title at PPVs. Not a great direction for our women. On a positive note, it’s great to see Natalya finally put in the spotlight; she’s taken a backseat for years and it’s a shame given the amount of talent she has.
F2H Winner Prediction: Natalya and Becky Lynch
AJ Styles vs John Cena – Singles Match; Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are banned from ringside
This match is being billed as WrestleMania worthy, the greatest match in history, a must-see event, and overall the best thing to happen to wrestling, period. Of course, since we have John Cena making his triumphant return from an absence due to injury, his returning feud has to be bigger than life. While this isn’t the Match of the Century as Michael Cole would have you believe, it is a pretty big deal. Since signing with WWE, Styles has earned a tag title shot and a WWE World title shot, the latter earned quicker than any debuting star in history. Now, he has to go through Cena, the same way everyone else on the roster has to, only in this instance they are loudly vocalizing the fact and stressing that Styles won’t matter in the WWE if he fails at this. I don’t often have interest in Cena’s matches, but I’m interested in this one.
F2H Winner Prediction: AJ Styles
Rusev (c) vs Titus O’Neil – United States Title Match
After being suspended over something that, in my opinion, was not a big deal whatsoever, O’Neil is back in action. He handled his suspension with class and did not speak one negative word about the situation, so it’s fantastic to see him earning a title shot upon his return. The downside to this is that it unfortunately turns into Russia vs USA, regardless of how the WWE plays it. My husband and I both had initially assumed that John Cena would be the one to challenge Rusev for the title, so it’s fantastic to see that the WWE chose an entirely different direction. After a brief run-in with Jack Swagger, Rusev moved on to O’Neil, a competitor that is bigger, stronger, and has a fantastic chance of ending his title reign. I’m a fan of both men, so it’s difficult to pick a winner; there are definite advantages to having either man as our US Champ.
F2H Winner Prediction: Rusev
Sami Zayn vs Cesaro vs Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens vs Alberto Del Rio – MITB Ladder Match
I want Kevin Owens to win this match and to torment the WWE Heavyweight champ, and everyone else, while he holds the briefcase and the contract that goes with it. I’m leading with this because I do not believe it will happen, unfortunately. We have six very strong competitors in this match; I don’t agree with the addition of Jericho, but I suppose it could be worse. With the exception of him, any of the remaining five would do a good job of carrying the briefcase and would be able to get a good reaction from the crowd over potential cash-ins. The ladder matches over the past few months have been phenomenal, so I expect big things from this one. I am also hoping to see a last minute addition to this match; a mystery 7th man could add a whole other dynamic and would definitely be exciting. At the end of the day, WWE will probably give the briefcase to Ambrose to work The Shield angle for the next year with Reigns and Rollins.
F2H Winner Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Roman Reigns (c) vs Seth Rollins – WWE World Heavyweight Title Match
WWE made a big deal of a Shield reunion on Raw during an episode of the Ambrose Asylum. They have showed us their debut at 2012’s Survivor Series as well as their disbanding when Seth Rollins turned on his brothers. We’re getting reminders of how dominant The Shield was during Raw and Smackdown at every opportunity. This leads me to believe that Ambrose will not only win the MITB ladder match, but will cash in tonight during this match to make it a Triple Threat. Brother vs Brother vs Former Brother makes for a good main event. Given the amount of Shield-heavy promos we’ve been seeing lately, this is a very likely outcome. There is a chance that they are doing it solely for Reigns vs Rollins, but I’m not convinced that is the case. What is clear to me is that it’s time for Reigns to lose the title. He wasn’t ready for it the first time he won it and he isn’t ready now. The crowd is over him, he’s not improving on the mic, and he refuses to stop showboating and be a legitimate heel in the ring. Both Ambrose and Rollins are stronger and would make better champions, so I’m going to be highly disappointed if the title doesn’t change hands tonight.
F2H Winner Prediction: Seth Rollins
The Money in the Bank kickoff show will begin at 7pm ET/4pm PT, with the pay-per-view starting an hour later, both live on the WWE Network. Please feel free to leave your own predictions and thoughts in the comments section below, and follow Face To Heel on Twitter using the hashtags #MITB and #FaceToHeel as we live tweet during the event!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Monday Night Raw is just twenty-four hours removed from a stellar Payback pay-per-view. Tonight, the workload is split right down the middle as Stephanie and Shane McMahon are running Raw together. Let’s get down to business and cover the event live.
The show kicks off with Stephanie McMahon strutting out with a red gift bag in her hand. Would have preferred a match to kick off the show instead of another McMahon dramathon, however, this is a new era and we need to see the dynamic between brother and sister. Steph begins to talk and is almost instantly interrupted by Shane. Steph says the gift is a “peace offering” for him. It’s a framed photo of Vince and Shane. She asks Shane for his idea regarding tonight’s show. As soon as Shane goes to talk, Kevin Owens’ music hits! He demands a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. As the trio hash it out, Cesaro comes out. He’s not too keen on Owens getting a rematch when he thinks he deserves one. Shane wants to settle the dispute right now and sets up a match, leading us into our first commercial break.
The Miz and Maryse join the commentary team as Cesaro goes to work against Owens. After a flurry of offense from Cesaro, Owens rolls out of the ring to catch his breath. But Cesaro jumps off the barricade and flips into Owens, knocking him down. He tosses Owens back into the ring and hits him off the top rope with a cross-body. Owens recovers and puts Cesaro down with a vicious kick and running senton. They trade punches and uppercuts. Both men take turns pulling off amazing moves that eventually lead to a bullfrog splash from Owens on Cesaro outside the ring. After several uppercuts, Cesaro takes a suplex and then a cannonball from Owens in the corner. Owens goes for the pin and Cesaro kicks out at a close two and three-fourths. Springboard uppercut by Cesaro and Owens rolls out of the ring. Cesaro runs around and uppercuts Owens into the barricade. Owens elbows Cesaro and grabs the IC title from Miz. He tries to hit Cesaro, but Miz stops him. Cesaro knocks down Miz and gets Owens back in the ring. He goes for a Swing, but Miz attacks him and the ref rings the bell. All three men start fighting. Sami Zayn’s music hits and he rushes out to attack Owens. Maryse gets Miz out of the ring and Zayn is left standing all alone. He picks up the white IC belt and holds it above his head. Crowd goes wild. The IC Title card is in excellent hands and all four of these guys are working hard to elevate its status. So far, Raw is firing on all the right cylinders.
Dean Ambrose runs into Steph McMahon backstage and he tells her she’s pretending to be a new person but he’s not buying it. She says tonight Ambrose Asylum can be an open forum and he can ask her anything. Commercial break. Funny backstage segment after the break with Gorgeous Truth (R-Truth and Tyler Breeze) and the pairing of Goldust and Fandango. Styles, Gallows, and Anderson are shown in the locker room. Anderson says there’s no way Roman Reigns leaves Extreme Rules as the champion. “Is that so?” Reigns says off camera and he confronts Styles. The Usos come up behind him and they all agree to a three on three tag match for later tonight.
Goldust and Fandango come down. Another commercial break. Ai-yi-yi. Gorgeous Truth enter. Breeze and Goldust set for singles action. Goldust and R-Truth spend the whole match being hilarious. It’s short, with Breeze winning off a quick rollup. A lot of complaints about this one on Twitter, but I thought it was fine. Good comedy, everyone played their part well. I laughed. It was a nice way to break up the evening.
The New Day prances out to the ring. They discuss Enzo Amore’s injury from last night. They show a picture of Enzo getting out of the hospital. Woods says they sent him a box of Booty-O’s cereal. The Vaudevillians interrupt. They say it’s a tough business but a real man would have gotten back up. “Last night we made Enzo Amore the realest guy in the emergency room.” Dudley Boyz’s fireworks go off. Bubba says they need to start the tag team tournament over. Devon starts to speak and Big Cass comes out. He says Vaudevillians attacked his family last night. He calls them and the Dudley’s SAAAAAAWFT and dives into the ring. Everybody starts brawling. Commercial break. When we return, eight man tag team with Cass and New Day vs Dudley’s and Vaudevillians. Evenly matched bout with all four men getting into offensive grooves. The Dudley’s isolate Xavier in the middle of the ring. Commercial break during the match. That’s disappointing. Naturally, Big Cass gets the hot tag. He absolutely destroys English with a bunch of slams and a hard elbow. He goes for the pin but Bubba stops the count. Cass takes out Gotch. Devon hits him and Bubba scoops him up for a slam. Cass kicks out at two. Devon tags in and they look for a 3D. Kpfo takes out Bubba. East River Crossing on Devon and Big Cass gets the pinfall win. Great match with a satisfying ending. Big Cass has the potential to be a big singles star. Interesting.
Becky Lynch bounds to the ring. Her opponent is Emma. Respectable match, however they spend a whole lot of this one pulling each other’s hair which is definitely not what we need in the Women’s Division. Emma wins after she hits Becky in the eye behind the ref’s back. Not the best women’s match. Sasha Banks is missed.
The Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose, comes out after the break to host the Ambrose Asylum. He brings Stephanie out. Ambrose antagonizes her about Payback, and also about the Spear she took from Reigns at WrestleMania. He questions Shane’s dedication to the company and mentions all the sacrifices Steph has made. Steph officially cancels the Ambrose Asylum. Ambrose takes his potted plant, Mitch, and goes to leave. Steph introduces the host of the Highlight Reel, Chris Jericho. Ambrose puts Mitch on the steel steps and the two men stare each other down. Jericho is dressed like one of the faun from Narnia. Ambrose attacks him. They make their way into the ring and Y2J hits a Code Breaker on Ambrose. Jericho smashes Mitch into the back of Ambrose’s head. Okay segment. Nothing much new to be had here. We’ve seen this play out already. However, if this sets up an Extreme Rules match between these two, I suppose it’s forgivable.
United States Championship battle royal up next. Last man standing becomes Number #1 Contender for the US title. Great to see Titus O’Neal back in action. Kalisto is sitting rindside. Baron Corbin and Ziggler have a brief, interesting little segment during the match. Commercial break while the match is still going on with 8 men left. (((sigh))) The final four gets down to Rusev, Del Rio and Sheamus, the former League of Nations partners, and Zack Ryder. It comes down to Rusev vs Zack Ryder. Rusev eliminates Ryder, becoming #1 Contender. Which sounds great, except when you consider John Cena comes back at the end of the month. Odds are Rusev takes the title from Kalisto only to once again drop it to Cena. Which means WWE broke up the League of Nations just to give Cena another title. I hope I’m wrong, but this is WWE Creative in a nutshell. Decent little battle royal with a not so great ending. Side bar: Ryback was supposed to be in this match, but reports around the web say he has been taken off TV indefinitely due to contract disputes with WWE.
The Flair family comes to the ring. Charlotte and Ric say there was no controversy at Payback and the Harts quit like they always do. They call out ref Charles Robinson, aka Lil Naitch. Crowd starts a cheater chant. As Charlotte starts laughing, Natalya comes out and snatches the mic from the champ. She calls out Ric Flair then knocks Charlotte out of the ring. She slaps Ric and puts him in a Sharpshooter. She steals Flair’s watch, ring and jacket. Charlotte helps her father up the ramp. Okay, segment. But if the go-ahead plan isn’t a rematch for Nattie, this whole thing means very little. Also, still waiting on Sasha Banks… Well, sure enough, after the commercial break, Stephanie makes a rematch for Natalya vs Charlotte at Extreme Rules. It will be a Submission Match and Ric Flair will be banned from ringside. It’s about damn time.
Tonight’s main event is the six man tag featuring Roman Reigns and The Usos vs Styles, Gallows, and Anderson. Styles and his “Club” come out first. Reigns and The Usos come out next and we have a match. Styles, who will appear on Sportscenter tomorrow night, starts off the match against Reigns. Fast paced match that kept the crowd engaged, but was oversold by Michael Cole. Styles gets the pinfall win. After the match, Gallows throws Reigns into the ring and Anderson grabs a steel chair. Gallows and Anderson hold Reigns and tell Styles to hit him with the chair. Styles refuses. The Usos hit Styles with the chair and clear the ring. Styles gets behind them and clocks them with chair shots. Roman sees this and jumps up. He lands a Superman Punch on Styles and throws him out of the ring. He tosses AJ into the barricade. Reigns throws Styles through the announce table. Audience boos.
Not the best Raw ever, but it was entertaining enough to watch all the way through. Some funny moments, solid matches, and intriguing setups for future matches. Extreme Rules should be good, and everything after that should open the flood gates for some creative booking. Stephanie and Shane seem to be walking on eggshells and we really need more juice behind their decisions, they need to definitely play up the split. Sad to hear about Ryback. If he is done with WWE, I’m sure NJPW can find a place for him. WWE needs to elevate the next few weeks of Raw episodes in order to really get us excited about Extreme Rules.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
WWE’s post-mania PPV is tonight, May 1st, in Rosemont, IL, and I’m enjoying a glass of wine and juicy steak while I get excited about the line up for the evening. We have Renee Young, Corey Graves, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler on the preshow, which makes me wonder if Lawler will be replaced by someone else on the main event commentary.
Our preshow kickoff starts with Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler. Moving this to the kickoff seems to be a poor choice, especially considering the huge pops both men received as they walked out to the arena. Corbin comes out strong and dominant, but Ziggler’s energy is high and he manages to eventually get Corbin to a knee with a sleeper hold. The action moves outside of the ring, where Corbin dominates and throws Ziggler into the steel post. As Corbin is arguing with the ref and maintaining dominance over a comatose Ziggler, Dolph suddenly comes back to life and scores a victory with a quick roll up. Normally, I don’t like these type of endings, but this was a shocker and was also Corbin’s first lost on the main roster. No doubt we will see Corbin back for revenge later on.
Next up we have a great video package for the Zayn vs Owens match that leads into a Q&A with Sami Zayn. It’s clear that if you want your tweet to be on TV, you have to have a very WWE-themed twitter handle and ask a very easy question. Zayn is doing great answering the questions, but the interviewer is pretty flat.
Up now, we have the US Title Match between reigning champion Kalisto and challenger Ryback. Once again, these two are competing on the preshow kickoff. As a diehard Ryback fan, I’m annoyed. Ryback comes out to some loud boos, which get louder when he starts to mock CM Punk’s entrance. It was brilliant. Push Ryback forever. Ryback comes out strong and dominant, ignoring the taunts from the crowd as he throws Kalisto around the ring. Kalisto manages to get the Big Guy to the floor outside of the ring, but Ryback gets control of the match back right before we go to a commercial. He’s the perfect heel, and I just noticed that his belt says “The Preshow Stopper.” Ryback is gold. Ryback goes up to the top rope, but Kalisto ruins it with a well timed kick. Ryback gets control back quick and goes back to the top rope, but misses wildly, allowing Kalisto to regain control and pick up the win. I am very unhappy.
Moving on to the main show, we start things off with The New Day, who are out to watch the Tag Team match to see who qualifies for a shot at their titles. I hated New Day when they debuted and now I can’t get enough. As New Day settle in with some snacks, Enzo and Cass come out to the arena. Enzo drops his mic and makes a show of running around to retrieve it as my husband and I yell along to his intro. The Vaudevillains are heavily booed; there is no question who the favorites are in this match. Enzo and Gotch start things off with a very acrobatic display, and I just noticed the poop emoji on Enzo’s ass, which is the greatest accessory of the night so far. Enzo gets taken down after an ugly hit to the head, and the ref throws up an X, signaling the ringside doctor. A stretcher is brought out and the match is called, which is quite possibly the worst thing that could have happened. My heart goes out to Enzo; I hope he’s all right. But the show must go on…
We move into a video package for the Owens vs Zayn match, and Owens is the first to the ring to a lukewarm response as the crowd tries to move on from Enzo’s injury. These men are now also tasked with getting the crowd back into this event, and I don’t envy them this job. I’m about to go get some vodka to numb the pain while Zayn throws Owens outside the ring and gets aggressive. Owens quickly regains control and throws Zayn into the steel steps as we get an update that Enzo is being taken to a local hospital and is able to talk and move his arms. Owens seems pretty cocky at this point, nearly getting a pinfall victory and talking trash to the announce team. We’re getting a lot of near falls in this high energy match; it’s incredibly tense. The crowd is definitely back into it now. The action moves to the apron and Zayn is able to throw Owens onto the lip, sending him out of the ring and diving through the bottom rope to take Owens down with a DDT. Owens is able to counter once they return to the ring, using a pop-up powerbomb to win the match. Owens throws Zayn out of the ring and forces Byron Saxton into the ring so he can force an interview and proclaim that he has finally beat Zayn and proved that he is the better man. He has announced his plan to win back “his” IC Title and then invites himself to the commentary table for the title match up next.
The Miz will now defend his title against Cesaro, who returned from injury stronger than ever and with an interesting take on a 007 gimmick. The Miz gets the red carpet treatment as he walks out with wife Maryse, who looks like a circus ringmaster. Cesaro comes out to a strong showing from fans with Cesaro Section signs. The Miz is getting destroyed thus far as his wife screams encouragement and Owens screams insults. Of course, Maryse gets involved to allow Miz to regain control. The most entertaining part of this match so far is Owens on commentary, but it’s difficult to follow Owens vs Zayn. Cesaro is pulled into a submission, but is able to turn it into a suplex and break free. Cesaro pins Miz a couple times for a near fall, but Miz is able to break free. Cesaro tries to get Miz up for the Swing, Miz counters, but Cesaro is still able to get the pin that is broken up when Miz gets his foot on the bottom rope. Out of NOWHERE, Zayn runs out to the ring and attacks Owens! In the ring, Cesaro hits the Swing for a dizzying 20 rotations, and then gets him in a crossface submission. Miz TAPS, but because Zayn and Owens begin fighting on the apron, the ref is distracted and Miz is able to steal the win via quick rollup. Owens is the only one left standing tall at the end of this mess, with the IC Title in hand. The IC Title suddenly means everything.
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose is up next. Ambrose says everything I secretly think about Jericho, only out loud, and I love it. This feud is a lot like the Jericho vs Punk feud on Jericho’s side as he keeps repeating “I’m the best in the world at what I do.” My husband pointed out that this match could have used a stipulation, and I clouldn’t agree more. Ambrose is best when you give him accessories. A “Y2Jackass” chant starts. Jericho looks tired, and if I’m being honest, even Ambrose seems to be holding back and is less enthusiastic than normal. Jericho locks in the Walls, but Ambrose is able to drag him from the center of the ring over to the ropes to force a break. The two move outside of the ring; Jericho’s face is bleeding and Ambrose is destroying the German announce table. Jericho is able to gently toss Ambrose into the timekeeper area and get back into the ring. This match has definitely picked it up from a slow start. We’re getting a lot of near falls now, and the crowd is hyped up. Ambrose tries for Dirty Deeds but Jericho counters and locks in the Walls again. Ambrose counters and gets the pin but Jericho kicks free. More near falls, and my kid is losing his mind. Ambrose finally hits Dirty Deeds and gets the win. Jericho leaves the ring to go attack paperwork and throw a fit.
Mauro Ranallo conducts a brief interview with AJ Styles backstage before we move on to the Women’s Title Match. It feels so good to say “Women’s” instead of “Divas.” The champion is out first, followed by Natalya and Bret Hart. I hope that Bret and Ric are able to keep to themselves and let both women have an honest one-on-one match. The crowd is behind Natalya and so am I. The Network drops for the first time tonight, which is likely the fault of the storms we’re having in Indiana. Hopefully the weather doesn’t kill this PPV for us, because it’s been a great one so far. A “We Want Sasha” chant breaks out, and I get it; I was hoping The Boss would be champ at this point. Charlotte throws Natalya violently into the ropes and tries to go to the top rope, but is knocked off by Natalya. The action moves to outside the ring; the women get a bit sloppy, but are really holding their own thus far. Natalya is favoring her left leg but isn’t giving up. Charlotte is showboating and delivers a beautiful moonsault off the top rope to pin Natalya, who kicks free. Charlotte locks in a figure four and the match is called even though Natalya doesn’t tap out. In retaliation, the Harts lock Ric and Charlotte into figure fours to come out on top, but the fact remains that Charlotte won the match dishonestly once again.
Vince McMahon comes out to the ring now, strutting confidently as we await his decision on Stephanie and Shane. The crowd responds with a CM PUNK chant, but quiets down as Vince begins talking about the success of Monday Night Raw. Nevermind, they just got even louder with it. We will chant for Punk in Chicago forever. Vince invites Stephanie McMahon to the ring next. The crowd is booing so loud, I can barely hear what she is saying. She proclaims that the Network has hit 1.8 million subscribers as she showers herself with compliments and insults her brother. Shane has had enough and comes out to the ring doing his best White Boy dance. A deafening “Shane-O-Mac” chant rings through the arena, but Steph breaks it up by calling it pandering. Shane shows the crowd headline after headline that shows how great Raw has been since he was able to take charge. He continues to tear down his sister by accusing her of poisoning the company alongside Triple H. The crowd clearly supports Shane, but Steph insists that popularity isn’t what runs a business. Vince announces that he wants his children to either disembowel each other or learn to work together, because they both will be running Raw. What?
We return to the preshow announce team briefly to recap the night’s events thus far. Up next, our main event; reigning champion Roman Reigns vs newcomer AJ Styles. A video package plays to show the build to this championship match and highlights the recent attacks from new signees Gallows and Anderson. The big question of the night is who is going to interfere in this match. We have The Wyatt Family on the Payback poster, and we also have the rumors of Finn Balor’s debut. Excited to see what will happen.
After an update on Enzo’s condition (concussion, all other tests negative), Styles and Reigns enter the ring. Reigns gets booed heavily, and no, Lawler, we’re not booing because we like to do it. A “Roman Sucks” chant rings through the arena as the match starts, followed by a loud “AJ Styles” chant. We’ve never been behind Reigns as champ, and the majority of fans are pulling for Styles to win tonight. A “You Can’t Wrestle” chant follows. I don’t know how much clearer it can be that Reigns is the wrong guy to be the face of this company. Styles forces Reigns out of the ring to get his bearings, and he takes his sweet time getting back into the match. Meanwhile, WWE tweets out an update; Enzo has been discharged from the hospital and is hopefully heading home to rest. His injury has cast a shadow over this PPV, but all the credit goes to the competitors; they have brought their A-Game and kept the crowd from getting down about the injury.
The announce team again discusses Styles’ career, pointing out that he hasn’t “made it” until he earns the WWE title, which he hopes to do tonight. Reigns takes control of the match, showcasing his strength and throwing Styles around like a rag doll. This is a good showing from Reigns so far; he isn’t resorting to fist-cocking (yet). It’s only10:35pm, so a hell of a lot can happen before we crown our champion. Of course, as soon as I type it, Reigns cocks his damn fist. He tries for a Superman punch, but Styles counters with a kick to the head and puts the champ down. Styles is showing his experience and not holding anything back; he has an answer for everything Reigns is throwing at him. Styles is able to lock Reigns in a submission, but Reigns quickly gets to the ropes for the break. Styles jumps off the top rope to deliver a Phenomenal Forearm that crushes Reigns and the announce table. Styles makes it back to the ring and wins the match via count out. What a letdown the title won’t change hands and this was a lazy way to end it. That said, it’s only 10:42pm, and Shane’s music just hit!
Shane restarts the match and declares that there will be no count outs, so the match continues! Styles is looking for a way to put the champ down for good, delivering a 450, but Reigns puts his knees up and goes for a pin. Both men go down after Reigns hits Styles with a low blow and gets disqualified, so Styles is called as the winner via DQ. Again, no title change. My husband called this; Steph’s music hits and she restarts the match with no disqualifications. The match will not end until we have a clear winner! Reigns violently knocks Styles out of the ring and throws him over the barricade and into the crowd. Reigns is all business at this point as he looks to put his challenger down, but Styles is able to counter and throw Reigns into the announce table. Reigns isn’t down for long; he delivers two Superman punches and starts with his showboaty nonsense. As he’s pandering to the crowd, Gallows and Anderson intervene and take Reigns down. Styles is struggling to get to his feet, but he manages to get back up and pin Reigns for the win; unfortunately Reigns is able to get his foot on the rope to stop the count. The Usos run out to the ring to attack Gallows and Anderson to even the odds, and Reigns steps in and throws Styles into the four brawling men outside of the ring. There is so much going on! Reigns jumps out of the ring to land on all 5 men, Styles quickly counters to get Reigns back into the ring so he can get a clean win. Reigns hit a spear and wins with a lazy cover, and the crowd goes mild. Great match, but not my ideal ending.
Overall, this was an amazing PPV. For me, this topped WrestleMania. As Reigns is celebrating, we cut backstage to see the McMahons discussing Shane and Steph’s decisions regarding this main event. We’re also getting previews of what will come on Raw and what the plans will be for Extreme Rules in three weeks. It’s already been decided that Styles will have a rematch with Reigns at Extreme Rules, and I am excited to see what will happen next. For once, I have no complaints about anything that transpired tonight, except for Enzo’s untimely injury. See you all tomorrow night for Raw with Co-GM’s!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
WWE’s Payback PPV will take place tonight in Chicago, IL at the AllState Arena. My husband and I attended Payback in 2014 and had a blast, so if you’re in the area and attending, I am jealous. This was originally scheduled to take place on May 22nd in Newark, NJ, but was rescheduled. It will be the fourth Payback PPV in history. Every title but one is on the line tonight, plus we will find out the future of Shane McMahon and his sister, Stephanie. Let’s take a look at tonight’s matches and make some predictions.
Kalisto (c) vs Ryback – United States Championship Match (Kickoff Show)
For the second PPV in a row, the US Title will be defended on the pre-show kickoff, because the WWE clearly doesn’t care about making this title matter. Kalisto’s title reign is on track to become more useless than Dean Ambrose’s reign, and that’s pretty bad. What is the point of having this title if it’s ignored or shoved to the preshow on a consistent basis? Complaints aside, I’m hoping that these two go full force and give us a match that screams Main Event. I’m also pulling for The Big Guy 100%, which is no surprise.
Dean Ambrose vs Chris Jericho – Singles Match
Jericho has thankfully moved on from bothering AJ Styles and calling him a rookie, and is now wrapped up in Ambrose’s antics. Ambrose shoved Jericho out of the way, replacing the Highlight Reel with the Ambrose Asylum. I thought that Jericho would be taking another break from in-ring action after his feud with Styles ended, but it looks like he’ll be sticking around for a few more months. Jericho may still “have it” if you listen to the fans, but for me, he’s best used in a part time capacity in limited matches. It’s unclear whether or not this match-up will be repeated in the future, but I hope it isn’t.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
Enzo & Big Cass vs The Vaudevillains – #1 Contender Tag Team Championship Match
I initially thought that the tag titles would be defended tonight, because that would make sense, but instead we’re getting the qualifying match to see who will face The New Day for the titles. I’m disappointed not to see a Tag Title match, but incredibly excited to see Enzo and Cass compete. They are among the most over wrestlers in the company right now, and for good reason. NXT took a hit when it lost these two, but I’m happy they finally got a well-deserved call up to the main roster. I hope that New Day takes over the commentary table for this match the way they did on Smackdown recently.
WINNER: Enzo & Cass
The Miz (c) vs Cesaro – Intercontinental Championship Match
I love that The Miz keeps winning titles in underhanded, obnoxious ways. This time around, he stole the title from Zack Ryder 24 hours after he won it. I’m sadly not a fan of Maryse, Miz’s wife and new valet. She is joining the cast of Total Divas and will be on Raw and Smackdown for the foreseeable future as a way to promote her appearance on the reality series. Cesaro is back from injury with a new James Bond 007 gimmick that wasn’t necessary but not completely terrible either. I’m glad he’s back and still popular, and I’m hoping he wins tonight so he can have a decent run as champ. He’s earned it.
WINNER: The Miz
Charlotte (c) with Ric Flair vs Natalya with Bret Hart – Women’s Championship Match
Fans want Sasha Banks to be champ. I want her to be champ. WWE wants Charlotte though, and they don’t want her without her daddy in tow. Adding Bret Hart to the mix is actually an interesting move. It evens the playing field so we can hopefully finally have an honest match instead of seeing Charlotte’s victories earned by her father instead of by her. My hope is that Ric and Bret entertain each other outside of the ring so that Charlotte and Natalya can have a true one-on-one. The worry here, of course, is that Bret helps Natalya win and she becomes the same sort of champion Charlotte is now.
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin – Singles Match
I became a serious fan of Corbin after watching Breaking Ground and I’ve been enjoying his (squash) matches on Raw and Smackdown lately. He’s a powerhouse and his character feels genuine because it’s based on his personality to the letter. Ziggler is a good guy to have Corbin go against because he can make being hit by a light breeze look like getting mowed down by a freight train. I hate to see Ziggler jobbing, but if he has to job to someone, Corbin is a good choice. And maybe Ziggler doing the job now pays off for him in the future.
WINNER: Baron Corbin
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens – Singles Match
The build to this match has been phenomenal. Owens and Zayn have one hell of a history, and have gone from best friends to mortal enemies. I imagine that both men are excited about this one. Having worked with someone for so long and then both make it to the main roster of the WWE together has got to be a great feeling. This match has had so much hype behind it, you would think it was the main event. And rightly so; it’s about damn time we recognize real talent instead of the John Cena’s and Roman Reigns’s of the world being the only ones coming out on top. Regardless of how this turns out, I’m happy. It’s going to be fantastic and will also be a nice preview of what is to come when these two men finally main event a WWE PPV together (eg: WrestleMania 32?)
WINNER: Kevin Owens
Roman Reigns (c) vs AJ Styles – WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
I’m so confused about this match. I don’t know why Styles was thrown into the title picture so quickly, especially given all the “rookie” nonsense. No other male competitor has received a title shot so fast, and while Styles may deserve it, it is questionable given all the other seasoned talent on the roster. I’ve been working with the assumption that Seth Rollins will return at or around Summerslam, so I’m closely analyzing every move they make with the WHC belt. Styles makes no sense to me. As far as Reigns goes, it’s clear that we’re not going to have the strong and silent Reigns any time soon, so it’s also clear that I’m not getting on board with him. If I see him blow on his fist as if it is the barrel of a shotgun one more time, I’m going to lose it. I’m curious to see if The Authority makes an appearance during this match, especially since Triple H is due his rematch. Keep in mind the name of the show is “payback” so maybe HHH, Gallows and Anderson, or even Rollins comes out to get some.
WINNER: Roman Reigns
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Tyler Breeze starts the show, looking…what’s the word? Pretty? He’s set to take on Mojo Rawley. I enjoy Breeze. Don’t care for his pants though. Well, this one is over before it really even starts. Breeze wins via submission. Terrible start to the show. Sounds like maybe the ref called the match for some reason or another. Maybe a legit injury to Rawley.
Next up, Viktor of The Ascension wrestles Hideo Itami. Viktor provides a beat down early on. Konnor interferes, but despite Itami wins the match. Then Konnor comes to the ring and with Viktor mauls Itami.
So far, this has been a boring broadcast. The Vaudevillains come out. Set to take on Big Cass and Enzo Amore. I might enjoy this one. I like both groups. How you doin’? Please turn off Renee Young’s mic. Vaudevillains get the win. Fast, aggressive match. Not long enough for my enjoyment, but I guess that’s the problem with a 60 minute broadcast time. Tough loss for Enzo.
Someone needs to help Sami Zayn to cut promos. He is terrible at it. Too much smiling and comes across goofy. Sasha Banks (who I thought was a porn star?) vs Becky Lynch up now. Banks looks like shit. Lynch looks decent to begin the match. Neither of them should be any where near the main roster for a good while. Sasha Banks wins via submission. Meh.
Main even time. One half of Slater Gator, Titus O’Neal getting ready to go to war with Sami Zayn. I’m rooting for the bad guy in this. I like Zayn, however, I don’t like this bubbly persona outside of the ring. He’s like a male Bayley. Zayn is so good in the ring, but the way he acts outside the ring makes me want to not like him. That being said, I also believe Titus O’Neal has been underbooked for a long time. He’s the total package and should get some sort of push. Titus O’Neal is a hoss. He takes it straight up to Zayn. Sami Zayn gets very limited offense and Titus gets the pinfall.
And that’s all she wrote. Pretty weak NXT show. Feels like I wasted most of the hour. Main event was fairly good. Can we just eliminate Smackdown and make NXT two hours?
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Thursday Night NXT! I am starting to look forward to this every week. First up tonight the NXT Women’s Championship is on the line! Bayley takes on Charlotte for a chance for the gold. First order of business…how sure are we that Charlotte isn’t Ric Flair in a female rubber suit? Because honestly, Charlotte is so creepy to look at. All I see if Tranny-Ric Flair. HaHa! But she is a great wrestler, so no knock on her. This should be a terrific Takeover rematch. A lot of groundwork to start the match. Both ladies taking turns grappling with the other and putting on holds. Bayley looks more poised than she did at Takeover. Charlotte looks…well…like a champion should, fearless and in control. And of course, they cut to commercial and do a breast cancer awareness promo in the middle of a title match. What. The. Hell.
Charlotte takes control after really putting a work on Bayley’s left knee. Bayley rallies, but Charlotte goes back after the leg. Charlotte locks in the Figure Four and bridges up to put maximum pressure on Bayley. Things aren’t going well for the challenger. Bayley with the reversal! But Charlotte grabs the ropes. Charlotte gets a quick pinfall victory. Sweaty, brutal battle that ends the same way as it did at Takeover. Tough break for Bayley. After the match Charlotte hugs Bayley and then shakes her hand. Mad respect much deserved.
Viktor from The Ascension comes out to face Hideo Itami. The match starts off with a team assault by The Ascension. Bell hasn’t rung yet so this match might not even start. Itami is taking an ass whooping. Takes four refs to finally get The Ascension to leave and then the trainer comes out to check on him.
Baron Corbin takes on some dude named Troy McClane, who looks like someone jobbed out to Ryback when he first came on the scene. Corbin has some nifty tattoos, but there’s really not much to go off of to judge him on in-ring work. I don’t know if he can wrestle. He threw some punches and then hit his finisher called End of Days (um isn’t that something Wade Barrett has/had?). Corbin wins in an obvious squash match. Yawn. Let me see this guy in some real action or don’t bother.
The Vaudevillains take on Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan. This is a very odd assortment of men in the ring. Weird little match, but solid wrestling throughout. The Vaudevillains get the win. First time seeing any of these guys for me. Titus O’Neal comes out and sits ringside.
Time for the main event and second title match of the night. Adrian Neville set to take on Tyson Kidd. If Kidd loses, no more title matches, but he can hold his wife’s purse when they go out shopping for shoes. Pretty great match to begin, and then a commercial break in the middle of a title match. AGAIN. Second time tonight. Unbelievable. They keep showing Titus O’Neal ringside, and haven’t explained why he is even there. Where’s the other half of Slater Gator?? This match is smooth, both guys know each other well. There’s trust there and it shows. The crowd seems pretty split between the two. Tyson Kidd hits the Sharp Shooter from out of no where! Neville crawls for all he is worth and gets the bottom rope, forcing the break. Both men are pouring it all out tonight. What a great match. Titus O’Neal assaults Neville outside the ring. What the hell?? Sami Zayn then runs out to take out Titus. Neville narrowly beats a ten count and then hits the Red Arrow. Tyson Kidd loses and Neville retains! Sorry Nattie, no more title shots for hubby!
This episode was short and sweet, but very enjoyable. Two very great title matches. Glad to see Tyson Kidd’s shot at the title is now over. Time for some fresh blood to challenge Adrian Neville. I will be interested to find out why Titus O’Neal get involved because for now it’s a mystery to me. Good night, folks.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker