As we predicted earlier, the 2016 TLC is set to be a spectacle. This is one of the premiere events of the year and the fact that it is a Smackdown Live exclusive has us excited that perhaps it will be a really powerful pay-per-view for WWE. Without further ado, let’s get into the show with our live play-by-play, match results and instant feedback.
The pre-show gave us some tag team action to get things going. American Alpha, Hype Bros and Apollo Crews took on The Vaudevillians, The Ascension and Curt Hawkins. Whole lot of silliness and antics throughout this one. Too many goofy personalities crammed into one match. As a general rule, I’m not a fan of massive tag team matches. Ten competitors outside of a Royal Rumble or a battle royale is far too many. The Alphas did pretty solid and the match wasn’t flat by any stretch of the term. All ten guys put on a great show for the crowd, who were lively and behind the match. In the end Gable and Jordan pick up the pinfall for their team. Okay match with the correct ending.
The first match as the show begins is for the Smackdown Live tag team titles. The Wyatt Family (featuring Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt) challenging Heath Slater and Rhyno. This match was a little short in my opinion. Solid action. The finish was Wyatt distracting Rhyno and Orton hit him with an RKO out of nowhere. After the match, Orton and Bray put the titles on Harper’s shoulders and then posed for the crowd. Very interesting booking here. This is the first time heels have held these titles. It will be fun to see what they do with it. Give it up for Smackdown always pushing the unexpected into our laps. With the pre-show victory, one has to assume American Alpha will be coming down the line to challenge The Wyatt Family for their new shiny belts.
Next up is a No Disqualification match between Nikki Bella and Carmella. As feuds go, this one is ice cold. It doesn’t really do anything in the grander scheme for either woman or the viewing audience. But, a No DQ match is usually a good way to keep me interested. There’s always the possibility of serious injury or death, two things I have often wished on Nikki Bella (and her boyfriend). Carmella dominates to start and eventually ties Nikki upside down in the corner. She gets a kendo stick out and hits Nikki in the stomach. Nikki turns the table when she sprays Carmella in the face with a fire extinguisher. Rack Attack 2.0 lays Carmella out and Nikki picks up the pinfall win. After the match, Carmella gets on the mic and says she didn’t attack Nikki at Survivor Series. She tells her it was Natalya. Duh, we all knew that the moment it happened.
It’s not even 9:00PM yet and the third match is about to start. That seems odd. Half their matches in the first hour? Maybe WWE is starting to end PPV’s earlier. The next bout is Dolph Ziggler challenging The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship in none other than a ladder match. Ziggler the aggressor to start the match. The fight spills out of the ring and Miz plants Ziggler on the ramp with a super kick. They stay outside the ring for quite awhile using ladders as weapons against one another. Ziggler hits an outstanding satellite DDT on a ladder and both men are down. Ziggler finally gets a large ladder into the ring. He attempts to set it up but Miz dropkicks him from behind.
The Miz mocks Daniel Bryan at one point with a YES! gesture right before dropkicking a ladder into Ziggler. Both men climb a ladder and trade blows right below the title. Ziggler knocks Miz off but before he can recover, Miz yanks him down. Miz goes to work on Ziggler’s leg, slamming it into a ladder over and over. Miz wraps Ziggler’s leg through a ladder wrung and then locks in a Figure Four leglock. Ouch. Miz then hits a Skull Crushing Finale into a ladder. Miz sets up a ladder and tries to grab the belt. Ziggler knocks the ladder away and Miz is hanging from the belt! Ziggler slams the ladder into his knee and Miz falls to the mat and rolls out of the ring. Ziggler climbs up the ladder on one leg, but before he gets to the top, Miz runs in and powerbombs him into a ladder. The pair are at the top of a ladder again and then Ziggler starts hitting Miz with headbutts. Miz falls down. Miz pops up and kicks Ziggler in the junk. Twice. Ziggler crumples to the mat as Miz climbs up and retains his IC title.
As ladder matches go, nothing groundbreaking happens. It’s hard to top some of the epic matches we’ve seen in the past. But it is entertaining throughout. Both men bring their a-game. The crowd was really behind Ziggler so the finish was booed, but it was actually really great. I enjoyed that bout. Best match so far tonight. After the match, The Miz gets on the mic and dedicates his victory to Daniel Bryan.
Next match is a chairs match between Baron Corbin and Kalisto. As you might expect, Corbin dominates to start this match, spilling the action out around the ring. He manhandles Kalisto like a paper doll. Kalisto rallies with some nice offense and the two manage to get some oh’s and ah’s from the crowd with some pretty devastating moves, ie: violence. Kalisto dives out of the ring towards Corbin, but he catches the tiny Lucha and hits a Deep Six on the floor. In the ring, Corbin covers but Kalisto kicks out. Corbin hits End of Days on a pile of chairs and that’s the ballgame. A breakout out match for both guys, really. Very nice to watch. The arena crowd was flat, but make no mistake that this was a really great match to watch.
Natalya is interviewed and asked about attacking Nikki. Instead she wishes Becky Lynch luck in her title defense. Then she calls the comments Carmella made absurd and calls her a liar. Natalya versus Nikki or Carmella is not a very promising feud. Let’s hope they skip that and move on to something else. This interview did segue nicely into the next match. Alexa Bliss challenging Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a tables match. Both ladies aggressive to start. Becky is the first to set a table up outside the ring, but Alexa stops her from utilizing it. The crowd is shit throughout this one, chanting for other things unrelated to the match. Charlotte and Sasha spoiled us on Raw this past week, but Becky and Alexa are putting on a good show. Outside the ring, Alexa powerbombs Becky through a table for the win! What!? That’s exciting! Alexa Bliss is my favorite female on both rosters so this is really great. Yes!
The main event of the night is Dean Ambrose challenging AJ Styles in a traditional TLC match for the WWE World Championship. The championship hangs high above the ring. Ambrose going right after the champ as soon as the bell rings. Ambrose clotheslines Styles outside the ring. He follows the champ out and they fight up the ramp. This spills out into the crowd. Ambrose is all over the map. He puts a trash can on Styles and hits him near the announce table with a chair. He gets in the ring and sets up a ladder, but Styles recovers enough to stop him, planting him on the mat. Styles takes control as the crowd rallies behind him, chanting his name.
Ambrose pounds Styles into a group of chairs, garnering a “Holy Shit!” chant from the crowd. Ambrose throws Styles through the metal legs of a table. Styles bounces back and suplexes Ambrose through a table. Wow, a really terrific few minutes of action. Goodness. Dirty Deeds and Phenomenal Forearm both countered, respectively, and then Ambrose throws Styles out of the ring. Ambrose puts Styles on one announce table and sets a ladder up on a second table. Ambrose off the ladder, dropping an elbow into Styles, crashing through the announce table. Mauro Ranallo screams, “Oh my god!” and then the announce team falls silent as the crowd chants, “This is awesome!”
Ambrose leaves Styles in the wreckage and gets a ladder into the ring. He climbs towards the belt. Styles gets on the apron and leaps off the top rope to hit a Phenomenal Forearm, knocking Ambrose off the ladder. They both recover and crawl up either side of the ladder. They knock each other off the ladder and then Ambrose spins Styles into the ladder. Styles sets Ambrose on a table outside the ring and does a 450 splash off the top rope, driving Ambrose through the table. Styles sets a ladder up in the ring as James Ellsworth comes down. Styles foregoes the ladder and goes after Ellsworth. Ambrose hops up and hits Dirty Deeds on the steel steps.
Ambrose scrambles into the ring and sets up a ladder under the title. Ambrose gets up two rungs before Styles joins him on the ladder. Ambrose knocks him off the ladder and out of the ring. Just as Ambrose is reaching for the title Ellsworth tips the ladder over and Ambrose goes through two tables! Ellsworth cheers on Styles has he sets up a ladder and slowly works his way to the top. Styles grabs his title and retains. What a fantastic match. Easily the best match of the night. Bravo. Once again, Smackdown Live has outdone themselves, continuing to stand out within the WWE brand split.
What did you think of tonight’s pay-per-view? Let us know in the comments below! See you all tomorrow for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The show immediately kicks off with a match; Bray Wyatt versus Kane. The difference between Smackdown and Raw is that on Monday nights we have to wait 25 minutes to see a contest. Bray goes right for the big red demon as soon as the bell rings. Kane recovers with a sidewalk slam and then a DDT. Wyatt slams Kane and then hangs upside down from the turnbuckle. Just then, Randy Orton interrupts on the big screen. He says if Wyatt thinks he is the predator, he should come catch his prey. Wyatt turns and Kane tries to chokeslam him, but Wyatt rolls out of the ring. The ref starts a 10 count and Wyatt walks out. Kane wins via countout. Bray Wyatt stands at the top of the ramp laughing. He yells, “You’ll get yours, Kane! They all will!” Empty words from a man jobbed out and stacking up losses to everyone on the roster.
Baron Corbin is interviewed briefly backstage. He is asked about Jack Swagger. As Baron gives a weak promo, Swagger interrupts and gets in his face. Swagger says let’s find out right now. Baron says see me in the ring. Swagger says he will go find Daniel Bryan and get them a match. Corbin ends the segment with a flimsy, “You do that.”
Alexa Bliss takes on Nikki Bella next. Carmella joins commentary. This one spills out of the ring rather quickly and Nikki throws Alexa into Carmella. Back in the ring, Nikki goes for her finisher, but Carmella runs in from behind and attacks her. Then Alexa and Carmella take turns beating down Nikki. Becky Lynch’s music hits and she runs in to save Nikki. Commercial break. After the break, you guessed it…tag team match. This one ends up being Bliss vs Lynch and Alexa hits Twisted Bliss moonsault for the pinfall. Really flat match that didn’t really do a lot to be honest. Two mediocre, half-assed matches so far tonight. Smackdown not fairing very well. As if to sum this up perfectly, we are then shown a backstage segment of Orton locking Bray in a storage unit with a rocking chair.
The Vaudevillians in the ring next to take on The Hype Bros. During an all over the place match, The Ascension come out and stand at the top of the ramp. I referred to this third mediocre match as hot trash on Twitter. Nothing at all of meaning has happened tonight in order to set the stage or garner excitement for No Mercy. This is the Smackdown of ole when people couldn’t be bothered to tune into SyFy. The Hype Bros win. If you can call anybody in the match a winner. Ascension does nothing but stand there and stare. Bunch of watered-down tag team action.
MizTV on next with The Miz out with his wife Maryse. This is going to be a Dolph-umentary. His words, not mine. He calls out Ziggler who answers and heads to the ring. We are then shown a Ziggler career package. But it is spun to show Ziggler as an ultimate failure. It’s pretty harsh but absolutely hilarious. I laughed several times. Miz continues to verbally assault Ziggler and then brings out two members of the Spirit Squad. They do a cheer spelling out Dolph’s first name. Then they attack Dolph and beat him down as Miz and Maryse walks out. Ziggler fights back with superkicks. The best thing that has happened all night.
Jey Uso versus Jason Jordan in singles competition up next. In less than two minutes, Jordan wins the match. Jimmy throws Chad Gable into the steel steps. As Jordan runs out to help, Jey takes him out at the knee. They roll him in the ring and are about to hit Tequila Sunrise, but Rhyno and Heath Slater run in to save the day. The Usos cut and run. Jack Swagger and Baron Corbin wrestle next, which as exciting as it sounds. Swagger puts in the Patriot Lock. As Baron is trying to reach over and over for the bottom rope, the ref thinks he is tapping out and calls for the bell. Swagger wins. Still haven’t had a strong, solid match tonight…
…and we aren’t going to. There isn’t a main event tonight. Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, and John Cena just jabber-jaw for the last ten minutes. Ambrose interrupts Styles, mad about Cena. Cena interrupts and Styles cuts him off before he can speak. Cena takes his hat off and tries to speak, but Ambrose cuts him off. Ambrose cuts a scathing promo on Cena. Cena attacks him and then Styles. He takes both down, grabs the title and his music starts. Styles attacks him from behind. He bounds off the ropes and hits a Phenomenal Forearm. He grabs the title and his music hits. Ambrose attacks him and hits Dirty Deeds on the ramp. He holds the title up as his music hits.
That’s all she wrote. Super weak Smackdown episode. I am utterly disappointed. Raw actually beat them this week, but it should be considered a pyrrhic victory as neither show wowed in its presentation. Besides Ambrose and The Miz/Ziggler segment, there was nothing good at all about tonight’s show. Two big thumbs down.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
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 show starts with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan having Randy Orton sign his contract for SummerSlam. Heath Slater knocks and enters with a giant fruit basket. He tosses an apple at Orton. Slater says he rewatched Smackdown from last week and is wondering about the contract they were going to give him. After the opening intro, Maryse and The Miz are in the ring doing some MizTV. Dean Ambrose interrupts quickly. Dolph Ziggler cuts him off as he starts speaking. Ziggler and Ambrose nearly square off, but Miz gets between them and starts firing shots. The segment is a little awkward. Ambrose tries to school Ziggler on being a champ, even though Ziggler has won the world title three times. Ambrose keeps calling him “kiddo” and acting like Ziggler has never been in a competitive match in his life. Creative had zero ideas for his promo. Just generic spew of mediocrity. Ziggler responds, actually fired up and showing emotion. He ends his rant by clocking Ambrose in the face and saying, “This Sunday, you’ll see that I’m just that damn good.”
Twelve man tag match coming up next. Yes. Six days before a pay-per-view. A twelve man tag match. (((sigh))) The Usos, American Alpha, and The Hype Bros taking on The Vaudevillians, The Ascension, and Breezango. I don’t really care enough to write about this one. No tag title on Smackdown so what is even the point? This is a waste of air, and a big waste of time for American Alpha. There is no point to this match and the outcome matters for absolutely nothing. American Alpha wins. What a terribly boring Smackdown so far.
As if things couldn’t get worse, Naomi comes out under black lights doing some sort of weird Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader routine wearing neon clothes, carrying a backpack and throwing things into the audience. Alright, to be fair to her, it does look kind of cool. But just when I get into that, Eva Marie comes out and makes me hate this segment all over again. Let’s see what sort of shenanigans she has to get out of her match this week. The announcer says she was delayed due to traffic and will not be able to compete. Naomi doesn’t even have a match. They just cut away to Del Rio backstage. What was the point?
After the break, Randy Orton comes out after a brief Curt Hawkins teaser promo. Heath Slater comes out to continue his campaign for a new contract. Orton throws him shoulder first in two corners and then clothes lines him to the mat. He lays into him with a bunch of stomps and then whips him into the corner. No offense from Slater yet. Several strikes by Orton, so many, in fact, the ref calls for the bell. Crowd starts booing. Orton tosses Slater out of the ring. Then over the announce table into the commentary chairs. He drops him stomach first onto the barricade and then rolls him back into the ring. Slater can barely get up. Orton suplexes Slater and then mocks Brock Lesnar’s bouncing shuffle. He suplexes him again and then ‘goes to that place.’ Slater stands up and takes an RKO. Technically, Slater won, so he should get a contract now, right? Right?!
Slater is shown backstage with a doctor and is loopy. Bryan and Shane come up and he confuses them for Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon. The contract they are about to give him gets taken away as Shane is insulted.
The Wyatt Family comes to the ring. Dean Ambrose vs Erick Rowan. Another meaningless segment. There has been nothing of value tonight on Smackdown; certainly not a whole lot leading into what’s taking place on Sunday. Just a bunch of strange booking decisions. Dirty Deeds and Ambrose wins. After the match Bray Wyatt turns his rocking chair around on Rowan. He stares at the sheep mask, disappointed. He places it on the chair and walks out, leaving Rowan in the ring by himself.
Becky Lynch and Carmella take on Natalya and Alexa Bliss after the break. Eva Marie interrupts during the match and Naomi chases her around the ring. Natalya gets distracted and takes a submission tapout from Becky Lynch. Another lackluster match.
The main event is Del Rio vs John Cena, with AJ Styles on commentary. Cena for some reason has red, white, and blue arm bands on for some reason. And has an American flag on his pants, with a matching red, white, blue belt. Attitude Adjustment takes this one home as Cena wins. Decent match, all things considered. Styles runs in after and attacks Cena from behind. A few moments later, Cena hits an AA off the steel steps against Styles into the announce table. Just an absolute awful Smackdown. I keep seeing people on social media saying Smackdown has gotten better and I just don’t see it. Dismal. Sorry for such a heartless article, but I really can’t get excited with WWE’s direction right now. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Monday Night Raw was actually really fun last night. We’re hoping Smackdown goes just as well. The show kicks off with Randy Orton getting a verbal talking to from Shane McMahon about him crashing on Monday Night Raw last night and attacking Brock Lesnar. Security is told to keep an eye out for Lesnar. Orton walks away and The Miz and Maryse walk up. Daniel Bryan says he wasn’t excited to draft The Miz, he was excited to draft the Intercontinental Championship. There will be a triple threat #1 Contender match later. Bit of a flat opener, too many backstage pieces.
Dean Ambrose comes down to the ring to a decent pop. Ambrose stumbles on his words a bit as he calls out Dolph Ziggler. So far Smackdown has not kicked off as great as Raw. Ambrose says they are nothing alike. Ziggler is all show and Ambrose is all go. Ziggler talks about how Ambrose started from the top having The Shield as a backup and Ziggler worked his way up from a male cheerleader. Crowd applauds. Ambrose says Ziggler is too worried about everything besides wrestling; that at SummerSlam Ziggler is going to steal the show but lose because Ambrose is a winner. This promo is pretty weak on both sides.
Our apologies to the F2H fans, at this point our AT&T Uverse totally crashed and we didn’t get the show back on for another twenty minutes. We have to skip ahead in the broadcast.
When we finally get the show on again, Becky Lynch is coming down. Her opponent is the Queen of Drizzling Shits, Eva Marie. Before the ref can ring the bell, Eva Marie grabs her left leg and winces. Not sure if she’s really hurt or it’s a work. Ref calls for at trainer and they help her walk out and up the ramp. Don’t know if this is real or not and to be honest I don’t really care. I hope she is injured and never wrestles again. What a waste of everyone’s time. Bye Felicia.
Renee Young backstage talking to Carmella. Natalya interrupts and cuts an okay promo but hats off to Carmella for getting right back in her face. They set up a match for later. American Alpha debuts after the commercial break, set to take on The Vaudevillians. Gable starts the match with some interesting ground work. Let me take a moment to say that David Otunga is not very good on commentary. This is only his second Smackdown, but it’s cringe worthy. Hope he tightens that up. Alpha double team the Vaudevillians. The Vaudevillians then double team Gable and keep him trapped in their corner. Jordan with the tag, suplexes, dropkicks, you know the drill. Gable tags, double leaping clothesline and a pinfall win for American Alpha. That match was cool, but you could tell Jordan was nervous. Ran a little short and felt rushed. Easily could have given that one five more minutes to get a better debut for the Alphas and tell a more coherent story besides Mauro saying, “These two teams faced each other in NXT!”
AJ Styles and John Cena, correction Ghetto Cena, are in the ring. This feud has definitely run its course. There is nothing new to say or do. Styles deserves better. Cena needs a role outside of physically wrestling if he’s to remain with WWE. He’s a fossil, a dated relic. Styles is going to waste the first year of his career with WWE having to deal with Jericho and Cena, who have a combined age of 84. Granted, Styles is almost 40 but he hasn’t been with the company for decades. Y2J and Cena had their time. AJ shouldn’t have to run through the old man gauntlet. I tuned out. Styles was pretty decent here, but Cena just acted like he was in blackface, saying the same exact bullshit he has said a thousand times. This segment runs way long. For a two hour show, we are wasting a heck of a lot of time blowing a bunch of hot air.
Breezango in the ring after the break. Then Randy Orton comes out. Huh? Orton takes on Fandango. This is nonsense, but okay. Whatever. A couple minutes into the match, Lesnar walks down through the crowd and gets in the ring. He F5’s Orton. Shane and security run down and kick him out. Kudos to the part-timer working two nights straight. Commercial break.
After the break, Daniel Bryan talks to Heath Slater and gives him a match next week. If he wins, he gets a Smackdown contract. His opponent will be Rhyno. After another break, Carmella comes down to the ring. Carmella is on the mic for a split second until Natalya attacks her from behind. She puts the Sharpshooter on her. Carmella screams as two refs split them up.
Bray Wyatt comes down to the ring amidst his fireflies. Ziggler comes down as Ambrose joins commentary. Dropkick and Fameasser to start the match! Ziggler gets a near fall, but Wyatt kicks out at two. Bray superplexes Ziggler off the top rope and both men are down. Ziggler is hyper throughout. Bray carries himself like a powerhouse, hitting some strong moves. Wyatt starts exposing the turnbuckle, the ref stops him. Ziggler with a Zig-Zag from behind. Two count. Sister Abigail, two count. The turnbuckle is exposed and Ziggler uses it. Superkick on Wyatt and Ziggler pins him for three. After the match Erick Rowan attacks Ziggler from behind. Ambrose runs in to help but gets dropped down as well. Rowan kicks Ambrose out of the ring. Bray hits Sister Abigail on Ziggler for the go-home. Meh. This run-in and finish means virtually nothing.
Really lousy Smackdown. This has taken them back a step. As solid as Raw was last evening, this was not good. Is Creative already running out of ideas? Did Smackdown Live already peak? Let us know what you thought about tonight’s show in the comments below. See you all tomorrow for NXT.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Last night was the official kick off party for the first live Smackdown episode, during which the entire WWE landscape was upended and changed forever. Who went where? We discuss below each draft pick and how they fit in the picture going forward.
Seth Rollins got the #1 Draft pick slot, headed over to Monday Night Raw. This one seems obvious. He is quite definitely the future and deserves to be the main guy at Raw. A+ pick.
Dean Ambrose went second, headed to Smackdown. Another obvious choice. They can’t have both Ambrose and Rollins on the same show. Not such a great idea to send the World Heavyweight Championship over to Smackdown, and for that reason we have to give this pick a B+.
Charlotte was the first female wrestler selected and she goes to Monday Night Raw. Her reign as champion has gone on a little too long and she needs to drop the title soon. Because of that, I for one do not care where she goes. I’m giving this pick a C. Not because it’s terrible but because C is right in the middle and neutral is how I feel about Charlotte.
AJ Styles to Smackdown, in a move that could really help propel the “B+ show” into prominence. Styles is a superstar and wherever he goes, viewers will tune in to see him. Although, on the flip side he is almost too good for Smackdown. This pick deserves an A-.
Finn Balor to Raw. This one worries me because we all know how great Balor is. And we all know how shitty Vince is with character gimmicks. I almost wish Balor had gone to Smackdown to put a little bit of a buffer between him and Vince’s main creative team. But Balor deserves Raw. He deserves a top spot. B+ for the overall decision to draft him to Raw and a C- for drafting him a week before a crap pay-per-view on a Tuesday night. Before you get up in arms and send me hate mail, these are just my opinions and the grades are in no way a reflection of the athletes themselves.
Roman Reigns to Raw. I hate this pick. I understand it, but I hate it. Roman Reigns should not be a top tier guy. He should never have been. But it is what it is. I wish he would get back to NXT for development because his ringwork is stale and his mic work is awful. As it is, he’s going to Raw and I give that my lowest grade so far of a D+.
John Cena to Smackdown. The only grade I can give this is an A+ because it means that the flagship show will not feature Cena. Although, one could make the argument to downgrade to an A- because Cena went to the show that has the world title, which is stressful for people that hate Cena any where near the WHC.
Brock Lesnar to Raw. I’m not sure if I want to give this an A+ or a B+. On one hand, Lesnar deserves to be on Raw. He is a heavyweight powerhouse. But on the other, Smackdown could really use him to infuse some badassery into it. Yes, I just used the word badassery. Let’s settle with an A for now until we see when and if this part-timer comes back.
Randy Orton to Smackdown. My initial grade for this is a C+. Only because it seems like a setup to shove Lesnar and Orton down our throats for the next month prior SummerSlam. Also, Cena was drafted to Smackdown and we really don’t need anymore matches between these two. However, I am willing to bump the grade up to a B+ because AJ Styles versus Randy Orton is a dream match to me. And I truly believe Orton taking on Baron Corbin could be some sort of beautiful hoss match, charged with ego and dripping with arrogance.
The New Day to Raw. I like this one because they split The Wyatt Family up tonight, which means New Day will probably retain their titles this weekend and that means the tag division will be strong on Raw. Not splitting up New Day was a wise decision. Giving this draft a solid A.
Sami Zayn to Raw. Automatic A+. Zayn is right where he needs to be, and hopefully he will get a push now.
Bray Wyatt to Smackdown. This one is a little bothersome to me. Wyatt has all the tools to be a behemoth superstar. But WWE has creatively dropped the ball on him continuously, as well as making odd booking choices for his match outcomes. If his most recent track record the past year is anything to go off of, sending him to Smackdown cannot be a good sign. D+ for this draft pick. I will admit if I am wrong. Maybe the point of this is to bring him back to life and have him stand alone for a push. I hope that’s the case.
Sasha Banks to Raw. This is a no brainer. Solid gold A. And you can take that to the bank.
Becky Lynch to Smackdown. I’m alright with this selection. It’s apparent that she isn’t getting a title push, and moving to Smackdown gives her a chance to teach the lower card gals and help elevate them in some great matches. She’s likable by the fans and she could help boost the women’s division over in Smackdown. A- for this one, with the one drawback being that she very well could be buried in Smackdown obscurity.
Chris Jericho is picked up by Raw. Now, I am biased on this one because I hate old man Fozzy-bear. Jericho over the past year has had way too many pushes. He has main evented tons of Raw episodes, won a large handful of pay-per-view matches, and even went over at WreslteMania this year. It’s time for these older guys to stop being in the spotlight. I give this draft pick an F. Send Jericho to Smackdown. Better yet, send him home. He should not have been drafted to Raw and certainly shouldn’t have gone this high up in the picks.
Rusev and Lana to Raw. Another no brainer. Rusev looks like a champion. Lana looks like a million bucks. Why wouldn’t you want these two easy-on-the-eyes roster members on your highest rated show? A+
The Miz and Maryse go to Smackdown. Giving this one a C-. I am over The Miz. And I am definitely over The Miz being Intercontinental Championship. And Maryse does nothing, so why was she included in this draft? The only reason this got a C- and not a D- is because he went to Smackdown and not Raw. Keep the title off of Miz, and keep the Miz off of Raw.
Kevin Owens to Raw equals A++. Owens and Zayn are on the same show. That’s money all day. Raw being the prominent show means that Owens gets to be in the spotlight where he belongs. Good stuff, here.
Baron Corbin to Smackdown is a weird thing. But, with the other guys being drafted there, it could spell good things for the Lone Wolf. If a couple of superstars take them under their wing, it could make Corbin a better worker and smoother on the mic. A- for this, in my opinion. The worry here is the big man being jobbed out and lost in the shuffle.
Enzo and Cass to Raw. Again, no brainer. A+. Keep the tag division strong.
Gallows and Anderson to Raw. Initially this looks like a B- at best. However, it was announced that Finn Balor will be coming to raw. I will bump this up to an A- as I salivate at the thought of mainstream Bulletclub action as Balor takes over the duo and forms a new stable.
American Alpha to Smackdown is a D- for me. These guys deserve to be at the top. If they are getting the callup they deserve Monday Night Raw. That’s it, period. Nothing else is even acceptable. I am very angry about this draft pick. It’s all kinds of wrong, and I cringe at American Alpha having to take on The Usos.
Big Show to Raw. Meh. Giving this one my second F of the draft. Big Show is old as time. He is overused in obscure segments, flip-flopping back and forth between heel and face. I’d rather see him taking a smaller role on Smackdown then wasting television time on Raw. I would have swapped him for Baron Corbin in a heartbeat.
Dolph Ziggler to Smackdown; this one is both hot and cold. On the one hand, this could be a new, fresh start for The Showoff. He is really talented and could benefit from a reboot. On the other hand, I get the sense that the potential to bury him is there and that worries me. Ziggler is a hell of a wrestler and I hope he doesn’t get hidden away on Tuesday nights. Giving this one a straight down the middle C.
Nia Jax from NXT up to Raw. Really? Over Bayley? What a strange call-up, not only for Jax probably not being ready for this, but also the fact they sent her to Raw. D- draft. Keep in mind, the grades are solely on the draft decisions and nothing more.
Neville to Raw is a good choice. Once he returns from injury, he can carry any match and will be a big addition to the cruiserweight division. Giving this one an A+.
Natalya was drafted to Smackdown. I don’t immediately hate this, but it does seem like more betrayal on her family name. She has never gotten a real title push and has never even won the women’s or diva’s belts. She is talented and deserves more than what WWE does with her. I’d prefer her to be on Raw, so this gets a B- from me.
Cesaro to Raw. This is a really solid choice and is hopefully a sign of good things to come for the Swiss Superman. Easy A. Shame on WWE for drafting him so far down on the list. He should have been top ten material.
Alberto Del Rio to Smackdown makes me sad. He hasn’t been properly utilized in WWE for a long time. He is one of the most talented guys on the roster. He seemed annoyed on the WWE Network being interviewed after the draft. I am disappointed right along with him. C-
Sheamus to Raw. I think this one would get a D+ either way. There’s really no place for Sheamus right now, and I really just don’t care.
Golden Truth to Raw. See above. D+ for R-Truth and Goldust.
The Usos to Smackdown. This annoys me because a more interesting angle would have been to split these two up. One to each show and we get to see them stand alone. C-
Titus O’Neal to Raw. Now all he needs is some sort of title. B+ for my money. Would have given an A but Vince has no idea what to do with big, black Adonises.
Kane to Smackdown. I was surprised for this decision. Kane is by and far better than Big Show currently. They should have been swapped. However, Kane will make a home for himself anywhere he goes. And it will be fun to see a little tension between him and Daniel Bryan. A- for this one.
Paige to Raw. She needs to be out of the top tier of the women’s division. She should have gone to Smackdown. C grading for this draft pick.
Darren Young to Raw. I don’t think he’s ready, for either a Raw spot or a title shot against The Miz. D- and that’s being generous.
Kalisto to Smackdown. D+ because this one just doesn’t hold enough weight for me to care one way or another.
Sin Cara to Raw. Sin Cara falls into the same camp as his former partner Kalisto. Although, he might see a big career booster once cruiserweight gets going. For now, a reluctant C+.
Naomi to Smackdown. D+ because she’s almost obscure enough to just get released from the company.
Jack Swagger to Raw. I like it. He’s a worker, he’s big, and the fans dig him. A- decision.
The Ascension to Smackdown. I am giving this an F because Ascension should have never come up from NXT in the first place. They aren’t main roster material and they have been nothing but the job-squad ever since they came up.
The Dudley Boyz to Raw. C- for this decision. They should be no higher than Smackdown.
Zack Ryder to Smackdown. What the heck, I’ll get on board with WWE’s decision to suddenly push the guy. Give this draft decision an A-.
Summer Rae to Raw. Do I like this? I don’t know. Haven’t really seen her as of late. It depends in what capacity she joins the Raw Roster. We’ll give this an apprehensive C.
Apollo Crews to Smackdown. This one irritated me. I really wanted to see him get a slight push and be well received by the fans. Seems like Smackdown isn’t the place for that. B- for this, and hopefully Crews can keep the smile on his face.
Mark Henry to Raw was another baffling decision. Henry, Kane, Big Show, and Jericho should have all been sent to Smackdown to be used sparingly. That being said, I like Henry. And if we actually get to see him running some matches, this could be a B pick.
Alexa Bliss to Smackdown was a bit of a shocker. But this is well deserved. She has really earned her place in NXT lately. I think she’s ready, so let’s give her a chance. I’m rolling with this one. Even A.
Braun Strowman to Raw. I am giving this a D grading because Strowman only made it to Raw because Vince McMahon loves giants. Nothing more. His skill level is not Raw quality.
Breezango to Smackdown. I wish they had split the pair up. Tyler Breeze is talented, but them going to Smackdown as a tag team is dismal. Especially if they go against American Alpha. The skill just is not there. C- is my vote here.
Bo Dallas to Raw. Giving yet another F. I dislike this guy and having him on Raw is a waste of all our time.
Eva Marie to Smackdown. What grade is lower than an F? The test score is so low I may just not grade the test and ask the dean to kick her out of school on an expulsion. She is one of the worst female wrestlers I have ever seen and she should stay off any WWE programming.
Shining Stars to Raw. These guys haven’t done anything at all to warrant being taken to Raw. D- for me.
The Vaudevillians to Smackdown. Finally a team that can go against American Alpha. I like the decision. A-
Alicia Fox to Raw. Meaningless roster pick that just took up a spot that could have been better suited for someone with way more talent. D-
Erick Rowan to Smackdown. I’m okay with this. He’s definitely a B+ player and belongs on the B+ show. In fact, that’s the grade we’ll give this decision.
Dana Brooke to Raw. I think her future could be bright, once she breaks away from Charlotte. Good choice and the right place for her. She needs to go solo though. A-
Mojo Rawley to Smackdown. Strange callup, but if he joins Ryder and the Hype Bros become a main roster tag team, this is a really good thing. I have no complaints about this so let’s hit it with a decent A-.
Curtis Axel to Raw. Ugh. Stay off my television. No star power, and what has he done for us lately? A whole lot of nothing. Heath Slater is much better liked by the fans than Curtis Axel. I didn’t like this weird decision. D+
Carmella to Smackdown is head-scratching. She floundered a bit in NXT after Enzo and Cass left. It would make sense to bring her up and pair her back with them. Now she has to move up solo on a bigger stage and it could spell disaster for her. Not a fan of this draft pick. I’m happy for her, but she should be with her boys. C-
A couple of interesting take away’s from this draft:
- The split up of The Club. While many would view this as a negative for Gallows and Anderson, lest we forget that Finn Balor is a big member of the global Bulletclub, what he calls the Balorclub in NXT. With him and The Club being drafted to Raw, that can only mean good things. Styles gets to go be a badass solo competitor and stand on his own. And Balor can start building a new stable.
- No mention of The Undertaker, which isn’t necessarily an oversight. His status is year to year and this whole brand split might fall apart before WrestleMania next year.
- AJ Styles is solo now and is on the brand with the world title. That just made things all sorts of interesting.
- Nobody drafted Heath Slater. He got a funny segment where he was left sitting in the dark, but it is pretty shitty to not include him. He is the best guy in the Social Outcasts group. The fact that Bo Dallas got drafted and he didn’t is garbage.
- We still don’t know who Sasha Banks will have as a tag partner at Battleground, which potentially could mean we may see a few more drafts next week, including but not limited to Bayley from NXT.
- Three names surprisingly left out of the draft were Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, and Eric Young. This would have been a perfect time to transition them up. They are veterans and shouldn’t hang around NXT too long.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Fresh off a predictable pay-per-view that featured Dean Ambrose cashing in to become World Heavyweight Champion, Monday Night Raw comes live from Phoenix, AZ. The show starts with Dean Ambrose pulling up in a taxi and almost leaving the title belt in the backseat as it drives away. Pre-recorded earlier in the day, this really only serves to make Ambrose look foolish. Not a good start as champ. Ambrose enters the arena to a decent pop. Ambrose goofs off with the crowd before finally being interrupted by Roman Reigns. Reigns says he’s happy for Ambrose and congratulates him. Crowd starts a “You Can’t Wrestle!” chant. Rollins crashes the party. Reigns tries to fight Rollins, Rollins says he has nothing to prove, Shane McMahon interrupts. Shane predictably sets up a main event for Reigns vs Rollins. Snoozefest so far.
For those who didn’t see the news earlier today, WWE released a statement stating that on the first live Smackdown they will hold a draft lottery essentially splitting up the roster for the brand split.
After the commercial break Kevin Owens takes on Sami Zayn. Owens tries to leave through the crowd and Zayn rounds him back up. Straight-forward vanilla match for the pair. Not terrible, but nothing much we haven’t seen before. After the match Owens attacks Zayn as he walks up the ramp. Zayn fights back and a bunch of refs run out to separate them. When they come back from commercial, Owens and Zayn are shown fighting backstage.
John Laurinitis comes out wearing a bright red suit. He stands at a Smackdown podium. Shane interrupts him and says he will be the one running Smackdown. Enzo and Cass come out which is great. Enzo and Shane do a little foot loose up on the ramp and then the Certified G gets on the mic. Enzo is hilarious as usual. Their opponents are The Vaudevillians. Enzo and English start the match. This one is pretty much over before it starts with Enzo and Cass picking up the win. Brief segment, but worth it to hear the Gift of Gab.
AJ Styles comes down to the ring, calling out Gallows and Anderson. He demands an apology from them for interfering in his match against Cena. They feign apologies and hug it out, sarcastically. He says they need to apologize to Cena, too. He calls Cena out and the walking neon billboard responds. Ghetto Cena acts all hard on the mic. Cena mentions balls, something he does during every promo with each new opponent. He is so tired and played out. He has no new tricks and this whole feud is beneath Styles. A match is set up with Anderson vs Cena after the break. Yawn. Shortly into the match, Cena wins via disqualification as Styles and Gallows attack Cena. AJ hits a Styles Clash on Cena and The Club holds their hands up victoriously.
Backstage promo of Rollins complaining to JoJo. Commercial break, afterwards backstage promo with Becky Lynch complaining to Renee Young. She is attacked from behind by Natalya. Baron Corbin comes down to the ring to wrestle Zack Ryder. Squash match, Corbin wins quickly. Backstage promo (again) of Paige, who is soon interrupted by Dana Brooke and Charlotte. This has not been a very strong Raw thus far.
Up next Charlotte vs Paige for the Women’s Championship. I guess they just couldn’t be bothered to do this at MITB. Okay match, way oversold by Michael Cole. Nothing spectacular happened. Charlotte wins via pinfall, after Dana Brooke and Charlotte attack Paige. Sasha Banks comes down in a surprise return. Yet another backstage promo with Roman Reigns. Then Bray Wyatt appears! “Phoenix. We’re here.” Commercial break.
Bray Wyatt, Eric Rowan, and Braun Strowman come down. “Did y’all miss me? We been locked away.” Wyatt is just cutting into his promo when he gets interrupted by The New Day. That’s disappointing. I wanted to hear Bray speak in his return to Raw. Not feeling this. Then they just abruptly go to commercial. WTF.
After the break a Darren Young/Bob Backlund life coach segment. Then in the ring Lana brings out Rusev. He is taking on Titus O’Neal in a rematch. The two just beat the hell out of each other. This is fun! Never seen Titus go hard like this. Pretty awesome. Rusev gets crushed and he escapes through the crowd. Match never even started. Titus stands angry in the middle of the ring. Give me more of that, please.
How about another backstage promo? Chris Jericho and Shane McMahon say yes. After the break, main event time. Ambrose is on commentary as Rollins fights Reigns. Ambrose goes on and on, making the audio a little annoying. Reigns and Rollins put on a better match than they did at the pay-per-view, but even this isn’t that great. The match ends with a double count out. There is no winner. Shane comes out. He says to restart the match. Dean speaks up and says he will fight them all. Shane sets up Triple Threat at Battleground. Predictable, which seems to be the theme of this article. Ambrose attacks Reigns, then Rollins. Hopefully TNA gives me something better to view tomorrow as this was a mostly dismal Raw.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Lita, Booker T, Renee Young, and Corey Graves kick off the pre-show. They discuss the nights upcoming matches. Then we join Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton as they commentate the pre-show matches. The Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth) come down to another ridiculous rap by Truth. Then a very sunburned Tyler Breeze and Fandango come out. Prior to the match there was a big, long segment involving the two peeling each other’s skin off. Starting to think that maybe Ryback was on to something. And I imagine Goldust is wishing he left with his brother. At any rate, the match is pretty one sided as every move by Breeze and Fandango makes them scream in pain, even tagging in and out. The crowd is pretty flat and it’s not a strong one to start the action. After a cringe-worthy few minutes, Goldust and R-Truth finally defeat Breezango. Yep. They actually made Mauro Ranallo say that team name on commentary.
More tag action up next, featuring The Lucha Dragons taking on The Dudley Boyz. This match is awful to watch. Dragons are far too fast for the slow, aging, and out-of-shape Dudley’s. The action is rough going with Dragons having to slow down just to make the Dudley’s look even minutely decent. Mauro and Byron do their best to sell this one, but it’s just not that entertaining. Lucha Dragons pull off a couple of nice moves towards the end to take it home and get the pinfall on Bubba. It feels like with the Fatal-4-Way Tag Team Championship match that we have coming later tonight that both pre-show bouts were mostly a giant waste of time. Even the pre-show panel looks bored. Except Corey Graves whose face is frozen, emotionless which could be because he appears to have gotten botox recently. That’s just my viewing opinion, WWE, so please don’t sue me.
So here we go, time for the pay-per-view. This has been sold for weeks as “the greatest Money in the Bank ever” so it better not fail to live up to the hype. To be fair to WWE, since WrestleMania they have had two really nice pay-per-views and Monday Night Raw as been strong as well. I’m really hopeful for this one as well. As long as Chris Jericho doesn’t leave with the MITB Briefcase, I will be satisfied with any other match outcome.
Pretty cool Vegas promo package to start off the show. Enzo Amore and Big Cass kick off the show, as if there was any other way to do it! Enzo is wearing the most insane outfit ever and only he could pull it off. Enzo gets the crowd hyped and then The Vaudevillians enter. The Club enter third, followed by the WWE Tag Team Champions, The New Day. The promos New Day and Enzo cut were both better than either pre-show match. Anderson and Kofi start the match. Enzo soon gets in and he and Kofi put on a nice few minutes of action. Big E tags in, clears the ring and the apron and gets Kofi back in. All eight men jump in the ring and all hell breaks loose. Enzo and Cass square off against Big E and Kofi. Crowd starts a “How You Doin?!” chant. Cass and Gallows sort of botched the ending but Big E and Kofi retain. Fun match that really got the crowd into it and breathed a lot of life into the pay-per-view. Now it’s up to the rest of the roster to build on the momentum. New Day retains and will probably hold the belts until SummerSlam or the Raw after. The timing was off a little bit during this one, with the ref counting to three at one point which should have made Enzo and Cass the winners, but Gallows was slow to pull Enzo off the pinfall. The ref ignored it, but the crowd can be heard distinctly counting to three along with three hand slaps by the ref. Oh well.
Backstage segment with Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Alberto Del Rio. Y2J is actually funny here and gets the whole crowd cracking up. I cannot wait for that match. Baron Corbin comes down to face Dolph Ziggler. This match is exciting, but I can’t tell if it’s because it is actually good or if Ziggler is just selling Corbin like mad crazy. Match ends abruptly when Baron Corbin hits his End of Days finisher. Shitty finish for what felt like a decent match. Seems like both men are stuck in limbo at the moment. And I’m assuming that limbo is somewhere inside that weird, vertical belly button of Baron Corbin.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke come down. No title on the line tonight. Just women’s tag action. The champ and her stooge are set to take on Natalya and Becky Lynch. Because if there’s one thing a pay-per-view needs, it’s women’s tag team matches. I went to the bathroom before this match started then played with my dog. Charlotte and Dana Brooke won. But I could care less about this type of match so if you really care to judge it, go put it on. After the match Natalya assaults Becky Lynch adding a least a small redemption to an otherwise flat segment.
Sheamus comes down after a drawn out Dean Ambrose segment backstage. Apollo Crews comes down to a decent crowd pop. No loved lost between these two, going right after one another as soon as the bell rings. Both men go into beast mode and this turns into a brutal hoss match. Evenly matched throughout, this match doesn’t do anything crazy, but each man is on point. There are no missed spots. Sheamus hits a nice White Noise off the second rope, but Crews kicks out and then rolls up Sheamus for the pinfall. I enjoyed that one and I’m excited for Apollo’s future.
John Cena vs AJ Styles up next. The Phenomenal One comes out first followed by John Cena. Crowd is pretty fired up before the bell rings. This one gets off to a great start and Styles looks amazing. At one point he looks at the camera and says, “Is this all he’s got? Shiiiit.” Styles makes Cena look like a rookie. Throughout the match you can audible hear Cena calling spots as if he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Styles is just too good. There is no realistic ending where Styles should lose, barring Cena turning mega-heel. Cena keeps trying to go to the second and third ropes but Styles counters each time. STF is locked in, Calf Crusher is locked in, both men get out. Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment and Styles kicks out at two. Styles Clash. Super Cena kicks out at two. Cena goes for another AA and hits the ref, then The Club comes out and takes Cena down. They throw Styles on Cena. The ref crawls into the ring and counts three. I fucking hate this ending so much. Cena had to protect his stupid ego and refused to take a pin cleanly. Get out of my face, WWE.
Time for the MITB Briefcase match. All I ask if that they don’t have The Miz run down and interfere. Let us have an excellent match without Y2J winning. That’s all I ask. Chris Jericho comes out first, followed by Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens (huge crowd pop), and Dean Ambrose rounds up the field. Excitement abounds to start this one. Ladder matches are always a good time. Sami Zayn is the first to attempt to grab the briefcase, but Del Rio stops him. Del Rio then takes down everybody with some devastating offense. He attempts to climb the ladder and Y2J tries to stop him, but gets beat down. Del Rio climbs up and touches the briefcase. Del Rio locks in a cross arm breaker on Cesaro on TOP of the ladder (which looks painful) but then Owens kicks Del Rio in the face. Cesaro tries to climb and gets stopped by Ambrose. Ambrose takes a Code Breaker from Y2J. Jericho climbs the ladder. Jericho almost gets it, but Zayn blocks him. They trade punches on top of the ladder and then Owens dumps the ladder over. Owens sets the ladder back up and tries to climb, but Del Rio hits him hard. Cesaro hits a swing on Del Rio, then on Y2j, throwing Jericho into a ladder. Owens nails a frog splash on Ambrose while he lays on a ladder. It all comes down to Owens and Zayn. Owens powerbombs Zayn into a ladder, scrambles up and nearly gets the briefcase, but Ambrose slams his head into the ladder multiple times, climbs and secures the briefcase. Dean Ambrose is 2016 Mr. Money in the Bank. Good stuff.
Rusev vs Titus O’Neal for the United States Championship up next. Looks like the pay-per-view is going to run long. Match starts with Rusev yelling at O’Neal’s children at ringside. Titus snaps and beats down the Bulgarian Brute. Rusev recovers and goes to work. Grueling battle throughout. Surprised WWE gave this one so much time. Maybe to let Ambrose grab a Gatorade? Rusev locks in the Accolade and Titus taps. Rusev gets on a mic and goes to address Titus’s kids. He calls their dad a loser and then screams, “Happy Father’s Day!” Classic heel work. Ha!
Time for our main event. Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Rollins comes down to the ring first, followed by the champ. Reigns gets booed pretty heavily as he poses on in the corner. Missed the first couple of minutes of this one as our Network crapped out right as the match started. We had to switch XBOXes. When it finally came back up, Reigns is pummeling Rollins in the corner. Reigns gets Rollins outside the ring, tosses him over the Spanish announce table. Rollins throws Reigns into the steel steps. Seth counters a Superman Punch, both men down. The match drags on, going really slow and lagging at times. Not sure about the booking, this isn’t too exciting for a main event title match. It’s now 11:10. The pay-per-view should have ended twenty-five minutes ago. It’s starting to feel like WrestleMania in length. I actually got bored during this one. It was like if two 60 year old wrestlers were having a retirement match. I don’t know what I’m watching. Reigns tries to spear Rollins by the timekeeper area. Rollins moves and Reigns hits the barricade hard, and medical doctors come out. Reigns knocks down the ref, spears Rollins and covers him. Ref comes to and counts two but Rollins kicks out. Rollins counters another spear into a Pedigree, in the first exciting moment of the match. Rollins hits another Pedigree and gets the pinfall. Rollins wins! Ambrose’s music hits. He hits Rollins from behind with the briefcase, cashes in, hits Dirty Deeds and wins. Ambrose is champion. Great ending, but a real shitstorm of a match. This might be the worst main event match so far this year. Happy for Ambrose. Now all three Shield brothers have held the title. Overall grade for this pay-per-view is a C+. A couple of great matches, but it came up short where it counted. The main event was dull, the women’s match was useless, and the tag matches was poorly executed. While not as bad as Mania, this pay-per-view is a low spot, and with Battleground looming, we may not have anything worthwhile until SummerSlam.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Just finished watching last year’s Extreme Rules. The roster was so very different. John Cena, Big Show, Randy Orton, Luke Harper, and Seth Rollins all had matches. A lot has changed in a year. This year’s Extreme Rules promises to be interesting. Let’s take a look.
For some reason, The Dudley Boyz come down to address the crowd during the preshow. First they get the crowd to cheer along with them, then they call them all sheep and Bubba asks Devon if they can get out of the city. Big Cass interrupts. Major kudos to Cass. This is by far the best he has worked on the mic since Enzo went out with his concussion. Good job, big man. Cass rolls into the ring and fights both Dudley’s. He hits Devon with an East River Crossing. Really good segment for the hometown boy. Two thumbs up.
Baron Corbin comes down to take on Dolph Ziggler in a No Disqualification Match. Maruo Ranallo is on commentary for this one which is awesome. Ziggler takes a nasty spill early over the top rope in the corner, inadvertently kicking a camera guy. Baron lays an ass whooping on him for several minutes. End of Days ends it and Corbin wins. Pointless to put a stipulation on this match, as they didn’t utilize it. Match only lasts a few minutes. Just not enough. If Baron Corbin is supposed to be a monster why was this segment booked like this? Pure lazyness on WWE’s part. Both competitors did a great job, but we needed more.
Tornado Tag Team match up next with The Usos taking on The Club, Anderson and Gallows. Quick, violent start to the match. The Club tags control early. Double super kick on Gallows stops the momentum. Usos climb opposite corners but Anderson breaks it up. Gallows collects the ring bell. He tries to hit Jimmy Uso, but takes a kick for his effort. Jimmy jumps off the top rope but misses and lands on the ring bell. Gallows and Anderson hit Magic Killer for the pinfall victory. Okay match, nothing too exciting if we’re being honest about what was just viewed. So far “extreme” is missing from this pay-per-view. As is excitement.
Rusev vs Kalisto for his United States Championship up next. Smartly booked match between a big man and a little Luchador. They choreographed it really well. Rusev looks strong, Kalisto gets quick moves in, including getting Rusev to slam into the steel steps outside the ring. After a vicious slam on the apron, Rusev locks in the Accolade and Kalisto taps. Rusev is now a two-time champion. Well executed match. Now, one of two things happens. Rusev drops the title to John Cena. Or Rusev picks up his WrestleMania loss against John Cena. Either way, Rusev vs Cena is about 30 days away.
Tag team gold on the line next as The New Day takes on The Vaudevillians. Enjoyable tag team match, but pretty much a standard run of the mill match. Nothing stands out as amazing. My wife was right, this match should have been the Tornado Tag Match. Missed opportunity by WWE. Xavier Woods gets isolated and it looks like New Day is done, but with some clever maneuvers and a small interference by Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods gets the pinfall. New Day retains. Okay match, at least the right team won.
Kevin Owens comes out to a huge pop. He has three opponents, including the Intercontinental Champion, The Miz. Cesaro comes out second, followed by Sami Zayn and the champion for this Fatal 4-Way. Right off the bat, Zayn kicks Owens out of the ring. Miz goes next, then Zayn and Cesaro square off in the ring, which was as awesome as it sounds. All four men in this match are fun to watch. Good ring generals that always tell some sort of story. Owens clears the ring and isolates Zayn for a couple of minutes. Best match of the night so far, easily. Dang near flawless execution. Each competitor gets a chance to shine in this match. Crowd really gets behind this one and much deservedly so. There won’t be any following this match. The rest of the show is probably going to be a dud after this one. Zayn and Owens go to brawl outside the ring while Miz sneaks in to cover Cesaro for the pinfall. What an amazing match. Once again the IC Title is the top draw.
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose in an Asylum Match next up on the card. Y2J comes out first followed by Ambrose and they are locked into the cage. First weapon to come down is a mop, which Ambrose goes to work on Y2J with. Jericho recovers and tries for a pinfall. Ambrose grabs nunchucks and Jericho gets a 2×4 wrapped in barbed wire. Ambrose wins that war, but Jericho finally gets the infamous kendo stick and beats Ambrose down. Then he gets a large leather strap and whips it across the back of Ambrose. Ambrose wrestles it away from Y2J and hits him with it. So far this is the most extreme match of the night. Y2J throws Ambrose hard into the cage. Y2J tries to leave the ring, but Ambrose keeps him in. Ambrose gets a fire extinguisher and Y2J gets a straitjacket. He throws the jacket in Ambrose’s face and tries for a pinfall, but no dice. Y2J starts putting the straitjacket on Ambrose. He struggles out of it and takes the fight back to Y2J. Ambrose climbs to the top of the cage and drops an elbow on Jericho. Great move, no reaction from the crowd who seems bored with this one. Ambrose gets a bucket down and pulls a bag of thumbtacks from it. Both men tease us with it back and forth, but nobody lands on them. Y2J locks in the Walls of Jericho submission. Ambrose fights out with a kendo stick, climbs the top rope and tries to hit Y2J with it, but Jericho shoots Ambrose with a fire extinguisher, hits Code Breaker and goes for a pin. Ambrose manages to kick out. Jericho picks up the barb-wire wrapped 2×4 and taps Ambrose on the back a few times. I say tap because he very obviously does not swing with full power. Jericho goes for another Code Breaker and Ambrose reveres him into the thumbtacks! Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds into the thumbtacks and gets the pinfall! Well told match, fun to watch. The smarks will be bitching about it, though.
The Women’s Championship Submission match is up now; champion Charlotte is facing off with Natalya. Ric Flair is banned from ringside, so a victory by our champ will have to be earned on her own. Charlotte quickly gets Natalya down to the mat and demands that she tap, but Natalya is able to get to her feet. She throws Charlotte to the mat and lands a kick to the face. Natalya gets her in another hold but Charlotte breaks free. Natalya hits a clothesline and Charlotte rolls out of the ring. The two start trading blows outside of the ring, with Charlotte yelling “I’m the champ!” Natalya throws Charlotte into the steel post, and the two return to the ring where Natalya isolates her in the corner. Charlotte lands a kick to the face and is able to lock in another submission. Natalya is able to break free, only to quickly find herself in another hold. She’s able to get her hands to the ropes to break the hold, but is greeted by vicious kicks from our champ. Charlotte delivers a vicious suplex, and Natalya is down. She goes to the top rope and hits a moonsault before going into a half crab. Natalya is screaming no over and over again, breaks free, and delivers a German sulpex to the champ before going for the SharpShooter. She locks it in, but just when it looks like she has the upper hand, Ric Flair’s music hits. Natalya assumes she won because of the stipulation Shane McMahon put on the match, but it turns out to be Dana Brooke dressed like Ric Flair! Ha! She goes in to distract Natalya. The distraction allows Charlotte to lock in the figure eight and win the match. Pretty good women’s match. WWE seems still hesitant to let them all the way off the leash. The ladies can go, so let them.
The Phenomenal One, AJ Styles, comes down to the ring, set to take on Roman Reigns for his World Heavyweight Championship. The stipulation here is Extreme Rules Match so hopefully we see some antics, tricks and weapons. Little bit of strong style to start the match, with some vicious kicks and punches from the champ. A steel chair is introduced but Reigns fails multiple times to hit Styles with it. The fight spills out into the crowd and up to the preshow announce table. They make their way back towards the ring after Reigns takes a high-flying Phenomenal Forearm. Styles pulls up the floor padding around the ring, exposing concrete. Styles goes for the Clash but Reigns punches him and then starts taking apart the German announce table. He goes for a powerbomb but Styles punches out and gets Reigns up on the table. He tries a Styles Clash but Reigns punches him away. Styles flies at Reigns but gets dropped on his back into the main announce table. Good moment. Crowd hits Reigns with a “You Still Suck!” chant. Reigns rolls his opponent back in the ring and tries for a pinfall, but Styles kicks out at two.
Reigns tries for a Superman Punch but Styles clips him at the knee. Suplex by Styles into the corner. Outside, Reigns swings Styles into the ring and the barricade and then tosses him into the announce table again. Reigns goes for a Spear but Styles moves and Reigns slams into the time keeper’s area. Gallows and Anderson run out and start attacking Reigns. They beat Reigns down and Styles goes for a pin but the champ kicks out. The Usos run out as The Club grab steel chairs. Two super kicks to Styles. They roll Reigns onto Styles but he kicks out at two. Styles Clash, Reigns kicks out again! The suspense is thick throughout this one. Fantastic story being told. As much as I hate Reigns, this is a good title match. Props. Reigns back drops Styles on a steel chair, goes for a Superman Punch but receives a kick in the middle of the ring. Styles Clash on the chair. Styles goes for the cover and The Usos drag him out of the ring. Styles recovers, tries another pin but the champ kicks out at two. Styles hits Reigns with the chair, then takes turns hitting The Usos. Styles goes for another Phenomenal Forearm, but Reigns spears him out of the air and covers him for the three count. As Reigns is celebrating, Seth Rollins runs up behind him and hits him with a Pedigree! Holy shit! Welcome back, Champ!
Although Payback last month was better, this pay-per-view was pretty great. I enjoyed most of it, especially that ending. Rollins is back. Play time is over. Most of the match outcomes were great choices, and I really can’t hate too much. WWE seems to have gotten the message over how much we hated WrestleMania. The last two pay-per-views have taken it up a notch. Let’s hope the trend continues. See you tomorrow night for Monday Night Raw.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Tonight’s episode starts off with a four minute recap of last week’s episode, particularly the main event with Reigns and The Usos, Styles, Gallows and Anderson. Not surprisingly, tonight already has a six man tag with those guys. WWE seems determined to run this storyline into the ground as often as possible. I hate to start off all negative, but you cannot wear kids’ gloves with the repetitive nature of WWE’s booking.
Chris Jericho is up first, headed to the ring to a lukewarm reception. He isn’t exactly booed, but nobody quite cheers him either. That is until he tells the crowd to shut up. Y2J is hosting the Highlight Reel. Jericho goes on and on about Dean Ambrose and Mitch the Potted Plant. This is our lives now. This is WWE’s main roster product. Y2J is interrupted by Big Cass. Thank god. Couldn’t take much more of this segment. Cass does his best on the mic, but it’s a wash. He is terrible without Enzo and we really need him back ASAP. Cass runs Jericho out of the ring and we go to commercial break. Michael Cole and Cass keep selling this is a “new era” but it definitely looks a lot like the same old shit. At least Cass had a pretty sweet kick on Jericho to knock him off the apron.
After the break, just what we needed, more Jericho. He’s backstage pandering to Stephanie McMahon. She doesn’t fall for it, but sets up a match with Y2J vs Big Cass for the main event. Well, it’s something different. Hopefully it’s a set up to bring back Enzo. Dolph Ziggler comes down to the ring. He is set to take on Baron Corbin. Really smart match between these two. Ziggler looked a little less like a sell-object and they both did good. End of Days for the finish and Corbin picks up some payback on The Showoff.
Couple of segments with Ric Flair, Charlotte and Shane McMahon; and Gallows, Anderson, and Styles talk to JoJo. Fandango vs R-Truth in a singles match after the break with Goldust and Tyler Breeze ringside. Brief comedy-laced match with R-Truth picking up the win. Not much for this one but a couple of laughs. Charlotte vs Paige in women’s action after the break. Natalya is on commentary and Ric Flair has been banned from ringside. Really solid match between both ladies. Paige is actually likable in this one because she isn’t yelling, just wrestling. Nattie is petulant on commentary and takes away from the match. Without Ric at ringside, Charlotte seems hesitant. Nattie jumps on the apron and distracts Charlotte. Paige tries for a pinfall, but Charlotte kicks out at two. Ric Flair comes down and gets in Nattie’s face. Charlotte slams Paige in the ring. Shane’s music hits and he brings refs out with him. They escort Flair out, Paige rolls up Charlotte and gets the pinfall. Really smart match/segment. Good stuff here. First real highlight of the night so far.
Sami Zayn vs The Miz up next with the caveat being that if Zayn wins, he gets into the Intercontinental Championship match at Extreme Rules, making it a Fatal-4-Way. Why isn’t Kevin Owens on commentary?? Missed opportunity by WWE. It doesn’t take long for Maryse to interfere, but Zayn recovers. Miz tries a series of covers, but Zayn keeps kicking out, the crowd rallying behind him. Near pinfall for Zayn, but Miz narrowly kicks out. Maryse looks worried at ringside. Zayn tries a move off the top rope but Miz plants him and locks in the Figure Four leglock. Zayn somehow manages to reach the bottom rope and breaks the hold. An enraged Miz stomps him on the apron. Zayn recovers, kicks Miz in the corner and rolls on Miz for the pinfall. Zayn is in the IC title match. Good match from both guys. Miz, love him or hate him, knows how to make a face look good. Backstage, Dana Brooke and Emma attack Becky Lynch.
Sin Cara takes on Rusev next with Kalisto ringside, which is just as riveting as it sounds. Short match, with Rusev dominating throughout and Sin Cara pulling off a small package rollup pinfall. Not much to report here. Rusev is in a holding pattern until he gets and then drops the US Title to Cena.
Six man tag action next featuring Gallows, Anderson and Styles taking on Roman Reings and The Usos. Elimination style matchup here. Jay Uso is the first one gone. Gallows then takes on Reigns. Reigns knocks down Styles and then tags in Jimmy. Near fall for Gallows. Anderson is sent packing. Jimmy is eliminated after taking a phenomenal forearm. Gallows and Styles are left to fight Reigns 2-on-1. Reigns slams Gallows and eliminates him. Styles wails on Reigns and then kicks him in the side of the head. Reigns throws Styles over the announce table but Gallows and Anderson run up and attack Reigns from behind with a steel chair. Ref calls for the match. The Usos run out to even the odds. Reigns spears Gallows and Anderson. Reigns goes to hit Gallows with a chair but Styles kicks him in the head again. Segment gets interesting but then falls completely flat as Styles and Reigns stand and stare each other down for a good two minutes. Then they speak to each other in low tones that nobody can hear, not even the TV cameras can pick it up. Reigns still isn’t capable of carrying an interesting promo to save his life.
Zack Ryder vs Kevin Owens up next. Ryder carries his own for a few minutes before Owens takes over and gets the pinfall. Short, but decent match. New Day is out cracking jokes but are interrupted by Dudleys. Match forthcoming after a commercial break. Fun, little match that the Vaudevillians interrupt, beating down Xavier Woods. In the ring, Devon pins Kofi and the Vaudevillians clean up the leftovers. Big Cass comes out first and…someone…comes out in Jericho’s jacket. It’s Dean Ambrose! He takes off the jacket and starts tearing it apart with Y2J screaming at the top of the ramp. Jericho runs down and Ambrose goes to work. Jericho then runs into Cass, whom he slaps. Cass throws him against the barricade and tosses him back in the ring to get beat down by Ambrose. Ambrose takes out a pair of scissors and continues destroying the jacket. Can anyone answer why Jericho is still in main event segments??
Very disappointing Raw. The dynamic between Steph and Shane has shifted to make them lovable brother and sister now. WWE’s new era talk is as weak as Undertaker’s performance at Wrestlemania this year. Styles and Reigns skyrocketed into the stratosphere only to crash and burn. Bunch of recaps and chatty segments kept this Raw unbearable long. Another poorly booked main event. The in-ring ended with a grown man cutting up a jacket with a pair of scissors. This is professional wrestling? I thought 37 superkicks by The Young Bucks last night was a stretch. This is like pulling teeth. Can we just fast-forward to SummerSlam, please?
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker