As we predicted earlier, the 2016 TLC is set to be a spectacle. This is one of the premiere events of the year and the fact that it is a Smackdown Live exclusive has us excited that perhaps it will be a really powerful pay-per-view for WWE. Without further ado, let’s get into the show with our live play-by-play, match results and instant feedback.
The pre-show gave us some tag team action to get things going. American Alpha, Hype Bros and Apollo Crews took on The Vaudevillians, The Ascension and Curt Hawkins. Whole lot of silliness and antics throughout this one. Too many goofy personalities crammed into one match. As a general rule, I’m not a fan of massive tag team matches. Ten competitors outside of a Royal Rumble or a battle royale is far too many. The Alphas did pretty solid and the match wasn’t flat by any stretch of the term. All ten guys put on a great show for the crowd, who were lively and behind the match. In the end Gable and Jordan pick up the pinfall for their team. Okay match with the correct ending.
The first match as the show begins is for the Smackdown Live tag team titles. The Wyatt Family (featuring Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt) challenging Heath Slater and Rhyno. This match was a little short in my opinion. Solid action. The finish was Wyatt distracting Rhyno and Orton hit him with an RKO out of nowhere. After the match, Orton and Bray put the titles on Harper’s shoulders and then posed for the crowd. Very interesting booking here. This is the first time heels have held these titles. It will be fun to see what they do with it. Give it up for Smackdown always pushing the unexpected into our laps. With the pre-show victory, one has to assume American Alpha will be coming down the line to challenge The Wyatt Family for their new shiny belts.
Next up is a No Disqualification match between Nikki Bella and Carmella. As feuds go, this one is ice cold. It doesn’t really do anything in the grander scheme for either woman or the viewing audience. But, a No DQ match is usually a good way to keep me interested. There’s always the possibility of serious injury or death, two things I have often wished on Nikki Bella (and her boyfriend). Carmella dominates to start and eventually ties Nikki upside down in the corner. She gets a kendo stick out and hits Nikki in the stomach. Nikki turns the table when she sprays Carmella in the face with a fire extinguisher. Rack Attack 2.0 lays Carmella out and Nikki picks up the pinfall win. After the match, Carmella gets on the mic and says she didn’t attack Nikki at Survivor Series. She tells her it was Natalya. Duh, we all knew that the moment it happened.
It’s not even 9:00PM yet and the third match is about to start. That seems odd. Half their matches in the first hour? Maybe WWE is starting to end PPV’s earlier. The next bout is Dolph Ziggler challenging The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship in none other than a ladder match. Ziggler the aggressor to start the match. The fight spills out of the ring and Miz plants Ziggler on the ramp with a super kick. They stay outside the ring for quite awhile using ladders as weapons against one another. Ziggler hits an outstanding satellite DDT on a ladder and both men are down. Ziggler finally gets a large ladder into the ring. He attempts to set it up but Miz dropkicks him from behind.
The Miz mocks Daniel Bryan at one point with a YES! gesture right before dropkicking a ladder into Ziggler. Both men climb a ladder and trade blows right below the title. Ziggler knocks Miz off but before he can recover, Miz yanks him down. Miz goes to work on Ziggler’s leg, slamming it into a ladder over and over. Miz wraps Ziggler’s leg through a ladder wrung and then locks in a Figure Four leglock. Ouch. Miz then hits a Skull Crushing Finale into a ladder. Miz sets up a ladder and tries to grab the belt. Ziggler knocks the ladder away and Miz is hanging from the belt! Ziggler slams the ladder into his knee and Miz falls to the mat and rolls out of the ring. Ziggler climbs up the ladder on one leg, but before he gets to the top, Miz runs in and powerbombs him into a ladder. The pair are at the top of a ladder again and then Ziggler starts hitting Miz with headbutts. Miz falls down. Miz pops up and kicks Ziggler in the junk. Twice. Ziggler crumples to the mat as Miz climbs up and retains his IC title.
As ladder matches go, nothing groundbreaking happens. It’s hard to top some of the epic matches we’ve seen in the past. But it is entertaining throughout. Both men bring their a-game. The crowd was really behind Ziggler so the finish was booed, but it was actually really great. I enjoyed that bout. Best match so far tonight. After the match, The Miz gets on the mic and dedicates his victory to Daniel Bryan.
Next match is a chairs match between Baron Corbin and Kalisto. As you might expect, Corbin dominates to start this match, spilling the action out around the ring. He manhandles Kalisto like a paper doll. Kalisto rallies with some nice offense and the two manage to get some oh’s and ah’s from the crowd with some pretty devastating moves, ie: violence. Kalisto dives out of the ring towards Corbin, but he catches the tiny Lucha and hits a Deep Six on the floor. In the ring, Corbin covers but Kalisto kicks out. Corbin hits End of Days on a pile of chairs and that’s the ballgame. A breakout out match for both guys, really. Very nice to watch. The arena crowd was flat, but make no mistake that this was a really great match to watch.
Natalya is interviewed and asked about attacking Nikki. Instead she wishes Becky Lynch luck in her title defense. Then she calls the comments Carmella made absurd and calls her a liar. Natalya versus Nikki or Carmella is not a very promising feud. Let’s hope they skip that and move on to something else. This interview did segue nicely into the next match. Alexa Bliss challenging Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a tables match. Both ladies aggressive to start. Becky is the first to set a table up outside the ring, but Alexa stops her from utilizing it. The crowd is shit throughout this one, chanting for other things unrelated to the match. Charlotte and Sasha spoiled us on Raw this past week, but Becky and Alexa are putting on a good show. Outside the ring, Alexa powerbombs Becky through a table for the win! What!? That’s exciting! Alexa Bliss is my favorite female on both rosters so this is really great. Yes!
The main event of the night is Dean Ambrose challenging AJ Styles in a traditional TLC match for the WWE World Championship. The championship hangs high above the ring. Ambrose going right after the champ as soon as the bell rings. Ambrose clotheslines Styles outside the ring. He follows the champ out and they fight up the ramp. This spills out into the crowd. Ambrose is all over the map. He puts a trash can on Styles and hits him near the announce table with a chair. He gets in the ring and sets up a ladder, but Styles recovers enough to stop him, planting him on the mat. Styles takes control as the crowd rallies behind him, chanting his name.
Ambrose pounds Styles into a group of chairs, garnering a “Holy Shit!” chant from the crowd. Ambrose throws Styles through the metal legs of a table. Styles bounces back and suplexes Ambrose through a table. Wow, a really terrific few minutes of action. Goodness. Dirty Deeds and Phenomenal Forearm both countered, respectively, and then Ambrose throws Styles out of the ring. Ambrose puts Styles on one announce table and sets a ladder up on a second table. Ambrose off the ladder, dropping an elbow into Styles, crashing through the announce table. Mauro Ranallo screams, “Oh my god!” and then the announce team falls silent as the crowd chants, “This is awesome!”
Ambrose leaves Styles in the wreckage and gets a ladder into the ring. He climbs towards the belt. Styles gets on the apron and leaps off the top rope to hit a Phenomenal Forearm, knocking Ambrose off the ladder. They both recover and crawl up either side of the ladder. They knock each other off the ladder and then Ambrose spins Styles into the ladder. Styles sets Ambrose on a table outside the ring and does a 450 splash off the top rope, driving Ambrose through the table. Styles sets a ladder up in the ring as James Ellsworth comes down. Styles foregoes the ladder and goes after Ellsworth. Ambrose hops up and hits Dirty Deeds on the steel steps.
Ambrose scrambles into the ring and sets up a ladder under the title. Ambrose gets up two rungs before Styles joins him on the ladder. Ambrose knocks him off the ladder and out of the ring. Just as Ambrose is reaching for the title Ellsworth tips the ladder over and Ambrose goes through two tables! Ellsworth cheers on Styles has he sets up a ladder and slowly works his way to the top. Styles grabs his title and retains. What a fantastic match. Easily the best match of the night. Bravo. Once again, Smackdown Live has outdone themselves, continuing to stand out within the WWE brand split.
What did you think of tonight’s pay-per-view? Let us know in the comments below! See you all tomorrow for Monday Night Raw!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Writer’s Note: As you have noticed, Face To Heel has been on a hiatus of sorts over the past several weeks. While we are still keeping up on wrestling throughout the week, we have been neglecting the website and our Twitter account. Thanks to some health issues that I am still attempting to get a handle on, and my husband’s efforts to keep our family going, there hasn’t been much time or enthusiasm for getting in front of a computer and discussing the PPVs or the weekly shows.
Thankfully, I am well enough to be back at work on a part time basis and will once again be churning out as many articles as I can possibly handle. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with us; I promise we have not abandoned our readers or our love of wrestling. Please follow us on Twitter at @FaceToHeel for updates, live coverage, and contests; and follow our writers, @MrNotWell and @OhhhTweener.
The eighth annual Tables, Ladders, & Chairs pay-per-view goes live tonight and will be exclusively under the Smackdown Live brand this time around. It will be held in the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. As or right now, we have six verified matches on the card, but we’ll likely see some last minute additions thrown into the pre-show. This event always ends the year on an exciting note and typically has a few jaw-dropping moments that will be talking about as we head towards the Royal Rumble. Let’s take a look at the TLC match card and make some F2H predictions!
Nikki Bella vs Carmella – No Disqualifications Singles Match
It’s nice to see the women getting a No Disqualification match, though I have my doubts about the quality we’re going to receive. Carmella is great, but is still pretty green. Nikki Bella, in my opinion, is incredibly overrated and will probably have too many concerns about re-injury to take a No DQ match seriously. I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect the only No DQ action we get is a lot of outside ring work and a few throws into the barricade.
F2H Prediction – Nikki Bella
Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin – Chairs Singles Match
I’ve forgotten why the giant Baron Corbin is picking on teensy tiny Kalisto, but I am glad to see Corbin on the main card of a PPV. I expected him to get a bigger push after winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but I guess that doesn’t have much meaning after the first couple weeks have passed by. This seems like an obvious squash match for Kalisto considering that there are chairs involved, but he has quickness on his side and could surprise us. The real question here is whether we’ll see a run-in from a frustrated Sami Zayn.
F2H Prediction – Baron Corbin
The Miz (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
I love The Miz as IC champ! That said, I also love Dolph Ziggler, so it’s difficult for me to just pick one competitor to cheer for. We assume Ziggler is going to fight clean, and Miz is going to use whatever he can, including his wife, to trip Ziggler up and keep his title. The hairspray nonsense, the Spirit Squad; he has a lot of ridiculous ideas, but they keep working. Having this be a ladder match may work in Dolph’s favor if he can be smart about it and be quicker than Miz. Don’t get your hopes up about Maryse being banned from ringside though. This will definitely be two on one.
F2H Prediction – The Miz
Becky Lynch (c) vs Alexa Bliss – Tables Match for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
This is awesome. This is so awesome. I love this. Alexa Bliss is probably my favorite female on the Smackdown roster, and I’m very curious to see this tiny athlete lugging around giant tables. I love that WWE is taking more chances with their women; first dropping the “Diva” name, and then putting them into more risky and exciting matches. I’ve seen women go through tables before, but on WWE? That’s not exactly commonplace. This should be one hell of a match.
F2H Prediction – Alexa Bliss
Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton – Tag Match for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
2016 has been a strange year, so it only makes sense that Heath Slater would have a title and be one of the top guys on Smackdown. Keeping with the strange, Randy Orton is now part of the Wyatt Family, because why not? This match is filled with a lot of What The Hell Is Going On? This will be a straight tag match with no stipulations, but will no doubt still be an exciting one to watch. I hope Slater and Rhyno pull out a victory so Slater can hold on to that double wide. And yes, Face To Heel is continuing its refusal of calling them Beauty and the Man Beast. That’s a terrible name. Terrible, terrible name.
F2H Prediction – Heath Slater & Rhyno
AJ Styles (c) vs Dean Ambrose – Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for the WWE World Championship
Our main event will be a traditional TLC match between Styles and Ambrose, two guys who aren’t afraid to put it all on the line. I have to wonder how James Ellsworth is going to fit into this match. I definitely want to see him ringside supporting Ambrose, and while I do not want him to affect the outcome of the match, it would be good to see him take a chair shot, push Styles off a ladder, or get slammed through a table. I love that chinless wonder. Eventually Ambrose has to turn on Ellsworth so maybe tonight will be the night when he slips up and costs Dean his shot at winning the belt by accident.
F2H Prediction – Dean Ambrose
The pre-show will begin live on the WWE Network at 7:00PM EST, with the main show beginning at 8:00PM EST. Hopefully we don’t get an early ending the way we did with Survivor Series and the booking will be strong throughout. Be sure to Tweet along with us at @FaceToHeel during the show, and keep your eye out for our next giveaway contest! Let us know in the comments below your own predictions and what you are most looking forward to on tonight’s card.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
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
It’s time for Monday Night Raw! This is the go home show before the Summerslam PPV; WWE’s second largest event of the year. We start off with a look back earlier today, where Seth Rollins lets us know why he is the man and why he will be the first WWE Universal Champion. He addresses Finn Balor, calling out the Demon King, then feigning surprise when no one shows up. If the Demon King is too scared to find The Man, then The Man will find the Demon King.
Back in the arena, Rusev and Lana are in the ring and both look enraged. Rusev accuses Roman Reigns of ruining a historic event, so he is cancelling Raw tonight. All is on hold until Reigns apologizes. These stand-offs always go so well, don’t they? The crowd starts a USA chant, because they aren’t creative. Thankfully, Mick Foley breaks things up, wearing an amazing “Have A Nice Raw” shirt. Rusev demands respect as Foley pleads with him to leave the ring. After an awkward few seconds, Stephanie McMahon comes out to the ring, at Rusev’s request. McMahon calls Rusev’s behavior unacceptable, especially the disrespect of Foley. Rusev threatens to call up Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon, which is when Reigns decides to make an appearance and offer an apology.
Reigns makes a terrible joke about mail order brides, then says that their future babies will be ugly. He has a hell of a black eye, which I can’t say doesn’t make me a tiny bit happy. The crowd again starts chanting USA, and Reigns launches into his best impression of Ghetto Cena, and challenges Rusev to a title match right now. Foley decides that they will have a match tonight, but the title will not be on the line. Instead, this match will be all about Lana’a honor.
We return from commercial to find Sheamus in the ring with Byron Saxton. Sheamus says he is more dominant than Cesaro and shouldn’t have lost the match last week. He proved that he is the better athlete when he interfered in Cesaro’s title match later in the night. Sheamus promises to kick Zayn’s head off, and the two literally trip over the referee trying to beat each other up before the bell even rings. As the match begins, Cesaro joins the commentary table, which is always awkward; Cesaro needs to work on his public speaking and interview skills. Zayn throws Sheamus from the ring and tries to go to the top rope, but Sheamus ducks out of the way and then knocks him into the ringpost and to the ground. During the commercial, the two get back into the ring where Sheamus tries for the first pinfall. Zayn is able to send Sheamus over the top rope, then dives over the rope to knock him down. He gets Sheamus back in the ring and goes to the top rope again, but Sheamus hits White Noise (and Michael Cole calls it the wrong move) and tries for another pinfall. As Sheamus sets up the Brogue Kick, Cesaro leaves commentary and heads to the ring. His distractions allows Zayn to hit a Helluva Kick and win the match.
Backstage, Tom Phillips is interviewing Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, who have recently formed an alliance. Owens will face Big Cass tonight, but it won’t be a one on one match because Jericho has Owens’ back. They mock Enzo and Cass, saying they are closer than their Summerslam opponents will ever be, and that Cass can’t spell to save his life. Cass better watch IT. And by IT, they mean watch Owens beat Cass tonight and watch them humiliate the team at Summerslam.
It’s time for some positivity, as New Day (minus Big E) come to the ring. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, our resident MDs, deliver a message regarding Big E’s ringpostitis. The ball jokes are amazing. And the microwave has a NADS button! Kingston and Woods face The Dudley Boyz, and D-Von is in complete control of Woods as Bubba yells from ringside. Using quick tags, they keep Woods down, but a misstep sends the Dudleys into each other. Kingston tags in and hits Trouble in Paradise for a quick win. Confusing squash match. Anderson and Gallows appear on the screen again, for more testicle jokes at poor Big E’s expense. They produce more jars as a warning that Woods and Kingston are next on their hit list. Kingston gets serious and says that this isn’t a game to them; this is serious business. Patchy-haired human plalluses have no chance of beating them at Summerslam.
Seth Rollins is walking around backstage, searching for the Demon King. He finds Neville, who tells Rollins that he isn’t ready for the Summerslam match against Balor. Back in the ring, Nia Jax is facing Rachel Levy, who has been watching the Olympics nonstop, so she can do anything she sets her mind to. Okay, Rachel. Jax throws Levy across the ring, then sets her on the top rope before shoving her hard off the rope and to the floor. The ref begins the count as Jax retrieves her opponent. She slams her to the mat and gets the pin for the win. I love Nia Jax, but we have got to give her longer matches.
Paul Heyman goes into Brock Lesnar’s dressing room to speak with The Beast before they go to the ring. The crowd is cheering like crazy and chanting Suplex City. Heath Slater interrupts at Heyman begins his speech, and says that he is the hottest free agent in sports entertainment. He proposes becoming a Heyman guy, and Heyman just laughs. Slater clarifies, saying that what he wants is a match with Lesnar to earn a contract. What? The crowd is into it, but Heyman goes back to his speech. Slater screams an interruption, saying do NOT disrespect him! I love Heath Slater. He doesn’t want to face Lesnar, he HAS to. Heyman is trying to save him from a beat down, but Slater’s ass can’t be saved! Lesnar gets on the mic and tells Slater he has guts. He invites Slater in the ring to talk about his kids. Lesnar gets right in his face and says “I don’t give a shit about your kids. You’ve got two choices right here. One, you walk out of here on your own two feet. Two, you can stand there and keep pissing me off.” Lesnar is a scary dude. Slater fakes him out and tries to attack him, but Lesnar hits a clothesline and then takes him to Suplex City! He hits an F5 and kicks Slater out of his ring. Heyman puts on Slater’s sunglasses and gives Slater credit for stepping up to Lesnar, something Randy Orton doesn’t have the guts to do. The beast is in heat, which is an uncomfortable thought.
Up next, Big Cass will face Kevin Owens. I dare you not to smile when Enzo is in the ring. He addresses the Summerslam match, or Summerslam BBQ as he calls it. If Jericho and Owens want beef, they’re bringing it straight to their grill. Cass hits a shoulder tackle and pins Owens in the corner, but he rolls to safety before Cass can get a kick in. He hits Cass on the rope and throws his opponent from the ring where Jericho delivers a cheap shot while the ref is distracted. Owens has controlled the match during the commercial break, and continues as we return until Cass hits a side slam. Owens finally gets a kick to his face from Cass, who then hits a splash in the corner and tries to throw Owens from the ring. Owens grabs the rope to send Cass flying. He tries for a powerbomb, but Cass counters. Jericho and Enzo are fighting outside of the ring, then Jericho begins fighting Cass and the match is called for disqualification. Owens and Jericho don’t mind the loss; they continue to attack Cass. Jericho hits a Code Breaker to take Cass down for good.
Roman Reigns is backstage, promising a bunch of nonsense, when Rusev comes out of nowhere to attack him. He throws him around like a rag doll as Lana watches on from a safe distance. Eventually, the referees and security are able to break things up as we go to commercial. I love seeing Reigns get his ass kicked.
Titus O’Neil’s music hits, but Bob Backlund comes out. He is followed by Darren Young and O’Neil, who all attempt to do the Millions of Dollars dance. On the Raw preshow, Young and O’Neil buried their beef and reunited as a tag team with Backlund’s blessing for one night only. They are facing the Shining Stars. Watching the two together makes me miss them as a tag team; they are great as a duo. Primo manages to get O’Neil pinned in the corner, and Epico tries (and fails) to get the crowd behind them. O’Neil gets back to his feet and easily tosses his opponent aside. Young inadvertently knocks O’Neil off the ring, so he retaliates by hitting Clash Of The Titus and abandoning the match, allowing the Shining Stars to get the win. What?
Now it’s time for the return of Jinder Mahal! Is it weird that I am excited for this? He’s facing off against Neville, who trips in the ring as he tries to go to the top rope to pose. Neville gets an early pin, but Mahal kicks out. He’s controlling this match, hitting the Red Arrow from the top rope to take down Mahal outside of the ring. Mahal begs Neville to stop, using it to bait Neville in and try for a pin. Neville goes to the top rope again and hits the Red Arrow, beating Mahal in his return match. I see we’re still not done shitting on 3MB. Shame.
Meanwhile, Seth Rollins is still searching for the Demon King. Foley and McMahon haven’t seen him either, and Rollins says he’s looked everywhere and has to change his focus to his title match. He asks for the night off, and McMahon doesn’t have anything for him. Foley says that before he takes the night off, go out to the ring and try to get him to come out… unless he’s scared.
Foley calls for his music and Rollins heads to the ring. Rollins is insulted; Balor talked about the Demon King last week, and for what? Rollins says there is nothing and no one that can stop him from winning on Sunday. He calls out the Demon King and is greeted with silence. Finn Balor is only trying to intimidate Rollins because he is scared. Our former champ says that no one can touch him; even he would be afraid of himself if he was someone else. The Demon King is just another chapter in the book of Rollins. He suddenly stops talking, focused on something in the ring that we don’t get to see. The lights start going wonky and the sound is messing up, but Rollins continues to yell.
Finally, out of the smoke, comes Finn Balor! I have chills all over! I will say, they definitely should have saved this moment for Summerslam, but damn if this isn’t amazing to watch. I don’t understand the logic of this decision, but I’m enjoying the moment. As is the crowd! The two men stare each other down as the crowd chants HOLY SHIT and THIS IS AWESOME! The two begin fighting, and Balor takes Rollins down quick. This is the first part of Raw that has gotten me hyped for Summerslam, so maybe there was a logic behind this bizarre decision. We’ll see.
We return to the ring to the Golden Truth, who are facing Anderson and Gallows. Anderson and Truth start off this tag match, with Anderson quickly gaining control and tagging in Gallows. Truth hits an amazing kick to break The Club’s momentum and tag in Goldust. Unfortunately, The Club hits the Magic Killer on Goldust and wins the match. Another quick squash for our go home Raw. Out of nowhere, Kingston and Woods come out to attack The Club. New Day has their game faces on. They take out The Club and make their intentions for Sunday clear.
Dana Brooke is backstage, apologizing for losing last week to Charlotte. Charlotte isn’t having it though; she wanted the handicap match on Sunday to happen. She calls Brooke an epic failure and walks away to prepare for her match against Alicia Fox. Sasha Banks is on commentary and isn’t buying into any of Charlotte’s big talk. Fox goes for an early pin, but Charlotte kicks free. Charlotte pins Fox on the ropes as the crowd chants for Banks. Fox is hit with Natural Selection and pinned for the loss as Charlotte turns her attention to Banks. Banks walks to the ring and Brooke runs out to distract Banks so that Charlotte can lock in the Figure Eight. The refs are unable to break the hold, thanks to Dana Brooke, and Banks looks hurt. Charlotte is playing the villain to perfection.
Moving on, Braun Strowman has a video package showing the way he has evolved since being separated from The Wyatt Family. Back in the ring, Lana addresses the altercation between Rusev and Reigns before welcoming her husband to the ring. Reigns comes out and the two go at it immediately. This match should not be happening. We’re getting a match at Summerslam; I don’t want to see this beforehand. The bell has not rung as Reigns dominates Rusev while the ref pleads for him to stop. During the commercial, Rusev injured Reigns’ arm, and as we return, Rusev is still working it. Maybe he’ll be “injured” and unable to compete Sunday? Reigns is getting back in the match, screaming and making faces, but Rusev throws him into the ringpost and out of the ring. Our US Champ throws Reigns into the steps once again, then targets it as the crowd chants RUSEV MATCHKA!
As we return from hopefully our last commercial break, Rusev has a mic and demands that the crowd cheer for him. Reigns is looking rough, and Rusev doesn’t let up, hitting him with knees and still targeting the arm. The two men go to the top rope, but Reigns blocks Rusev’s attempts and hits a clothesline. Reigns starts doing his best John Cena impression, cocks his fist and goes for the Superman Punch, but Rusev counters. Rusev hits flying headbutt after headbutt on Cena/Reigns, but he kicks out at two. Reigns manages to hit a clothesline and send Rusev out of the ring. He tries for another Superman Punch, but Rusev kicks him in the ribs. Please end this match. Cena/Reigns finally hits the AA/Superman Punch and pins Rusev for a nearfall. Rusev goes for the Accolade but can’t get the right arm locked in. He finally lands a kick that allows him to get the Accolade locked in. Reigns manages to grab the rope to force a break. Reigns hits a spear and wins the match. That was exhausting.
Overall, this wasn’t a great Raw, especially for our go home episode for Summerslam. The main event was godawful and most of the matches were mediocre at best. There was only one moment tonight that got me hyped for Sunday, and that was a moment that ended up angering a lot of other fans. Please leave your thoughts below, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at facetoheel. We will have predictions coming for NXT Takeover and for Summerslam; you don’t want to miss out.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
As Mrs Baker reported last night, Raw did not start the week off right. Let’s see if Smackdown can do any better. The show kicks off with Randy Orton walking into the arena. He is interviewed but soon interrupted by Alberto Del Rio whom he’ll be facing later tonight. Orton doesn’t nail his words and it is not a great opener.
Bray Wyatt comes down to the ring with Erick Rowan, still being billed as The Wyatt Family so we’re assuming that once Luke Harper returns they will get back to their origins. Wyatt says he didn’t lose to Dolph Ziggler last week, but was a victim. That Ziggler got desperate and was lucky in his victory. Bray calls himself a god, even though his pay-per-view record tends to disagree, but whatever. Bray calls Smackdown his show now. See, this is the problem with having Wyatt eat a bunch of defeats. His words sound hollow and don’t have the same menacing tone as they once did back when he was psyching-out John Cena. Luckily, we don’t have to listen long as World Heavyweight Champion, Dean Ambrose, interrupts. Ambrose calls Bray a baby. He says Smackdown belongs to the champion. Bray laughs and invites Ambrose into the ring. Rowan beckons him. Dolph Ziggler’s music hits. Ziggler heads straight into the ring and attacks Rowan. Ambrose joins him but Bray is too much and both men go down. Gee, I wonder if Daniel “Teddy Long” Bryan is going to make this one a tag match for later tonight? Dolph tries to kick Bray, but misses and hits Ambrose instead. Bray hits Ziggler with a Sister Abigail. Commercial
After the break, Ziggler and Ambrose are fighting backstage. Sure enough, Bryan and Shane walk up and tell them they better learn to get along because they are facing Rowan and Wyatt later. Shocker. New Era, Same Old Smackdown. American Alpha come to the ring to face some jobber tag team. And this is the problem with a brand split. There just isn’t enough depth in the roster to have good matches. Nia Jax, Braun Strowman, and American Alpha are all squashing jobbers. The Vaudevillians, The Ascension, and The Hype Bros come to the ring, putting a glaring spotlight on the huge mistake with drafting American Alpha to Smackdown. What a waste. Gable and Jordan deserve so much more than this. Match is over in less than a minute. Alpha wins, naturally. After the match, the other three tag teams jump in and everybody starts fighting. Gable and Jordan clear the ring. American Alpha had to go to Smackdown just so R-Truth and Goldust could chase Pokemons on Monday Night Raw? They have to debut a new tag team soon on Smackdown otherwise American Alpha is going to be lost down the card with these mediocre teams surrounding them. With all do respect to The Vaudevillians.
After another commercial break there is literally a two minute segment of Maryse and The Miz nearly making out in front of Renee Young on the Talking Smack set. Becky Lynch comes out, which is exciting. But then Eva Marie comes out, utterly killing the segment. I am fast-forwarding through this match. Sorry, Becky. But I refuse to watch Eva Marie tarnish the business. There is no match though because Eva Marie has a “wardrobe malfunction.” Becky jumps on the mic and cuts a good promo. She wants to fight and challenges anyone in the back to come down. Alexa Bliss obliges. Yet another commercial break.
The match gets underway, but then Eva Marie interrupts with another entrance. My wife literally just said, “Let’s never go to Smackdown until [Eva Marie] is gone.” Alexa Bliss hits Twisted Bliss for the pinfall off the Eva Marie distraction. Happy Birthday to Alexa Bliss. Happy Suicide Day to the rest of us.
Randy Orton comes down, followed by his opponent Alberto Del Rio. Orton runs the match for the first couple of minutes, whip-lashing Del Rio into the corners, clothes-lining him to the mat, and slamming his throat into the bottom rope. Just when this one gets going, we get hit with another commercial break. Del Rio recovers after the break, throwing Orton shoulder-first into the turnbuckles. Outside the ring, he works on Orton’s left arm, banging it against the steel steps. Del Rio with a cross arm-breaker hanging off the ropes, ref breaks it up at four. Superplex by Orton, but he lands on his left arm and both men are down. Orton tries a DDT off the ropes, but Del Rio blocks it. Del Rio tries a cross arm-breaker, but Orton reverses it, tries an RKO, but it’s blocked and then he hits a draping DDT off the ropes. Del Rio rolls out of the ring as the crowd boos him. Orton, incensed, runs out and takes Del Rio down. He then rips apart the announce table. Del Rio clobbers him with a steel chair and the ref calls for the bell. Del Rio hits Orton in the arm with the chair and then throws him shoulder first into the ringpost. Del Rio rolls Orton into the ring and brings a chair along with him. He sets up to hit him but Orton lands an RKO out of nowhere. It took almost an hour but we finally had a good segment/match. I look forward to seeing Orton get back into form over the next few weeks as he heads into SummerSlam. And also to watch him get his tan back. Those pale legs are hideous.
Backstage, Heath Slater confronts Rhyno. Slater asks Rhyno to help him out in getting a contract. Rhyno declines and we go into commercial. After, both come down to the ring and Slater looks really strong to start things off. He goes for some early covers, to no avail. Slater tries for a dirty pin but the ref sees it. Rhyno hits gore for the three count. Slater still doesn’t have a job. I really hope this leads to a huge SummerSlam moment for Slater. He really is a talented guy. WWE would be foolish to let him go. After the break, Slater is backstage yelling at Bryan and Shane. Slater storms off and Shane puts away the contract he was about to offer him. Carmella comes out, moonwalking. As she works the mic, Natalya runs up behind her. Carmella is ready for her this time and turns to confront her. They fight into the ring. The ref breaks them up, rings the bell, and they go after each other again. Natalya quickly takes control and mocks the crowd. Carmella puts Natalya in a submission and she taps! Wow. That was a surprise. Carmella got a main roster win! Nice!
Main event time. Ambrose and Ziggler vs Wyatt and Rowan. Ambrose and Bray start the match. Ambrose drops Bray and isolates him in his corner. Ziggler tags himself in. Wyatt plants Ziggler and Rowan tags in. Clothesline on the apron and we go to commercial. Sloppy back and forth action after the break, leading to Ziggler and Rowan squaring off. Neckbreaker from Ziggler, then he jumps across the ring and knocks Bray off the apron. Elbow drop and a cover, but Rowan kicks out at two. DDT, another cover, but kick out again at two. Monster kick by Rowan and he nearly gets the pinfall win. Zig Zag by Ziggler but Bray breaks up the cover. Ambrose comes in and tosses Bray out. He dives out after him. Super kick by Ziggler on Rowan, pinfall, that’s the ballgame. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on Ziggler and walks out holding his title up. Predictable go home match and some more mediocre booking by Vince and company.
Pretty much a weak performance all across the board for WWE tonight. Smackdown Live started off pretty fun the first couple weeks, but it didn’t take long to turn right back into a barely digestible pile of shit. WWE is supposed to be the benchmark, the big dog, the powerhouse–but if this is the best they can do, why aren’t more people watching TNA on Thursdays? What did you think of this clumsy Smackdown episode? Let us know in the comments below. For my money, neither Raw or Smackdown won this week’s war. See you tomorrow for NXT and the CWC.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
This year’s Battleground pay-per-view comes from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Pre-show kicks off with Renee Young, Booker T, Corey Graves, and alleged fiance-beater Jerry Lawler. As soon as they start discussing the show, Lawler and Graves insult and all but bury Enzo and Big Cass, while Booker T laughs. This shit really pisses me off. WWE always finds little ways to tear down any NXT talent that moves up to the main roster. They did it for months with Kevin Owens about his weight. There is absolutely no reason to tear down Enzo and Cass what-so-ever. It’s just petty and helps solidify the belief by many that NXT is better than the main roster. This was the opening segment and it was totally unprofessional. But what do you expect from a guy that wears t-shirts to work and another that has neck tattoos?
Cesaro joins the panel at 7:30 to discuss the Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn match later in the evening. Cesaro stumbles through his words and provides nothing of value to the conversation. Daniel Bryan and Mick Foley join Tom Phillips in the social media lounge. It took forty minutes but the preshow finally gets good. Bryan and Foley field questions from Twitter and really do a great job discussing their future plans for both Raw and Smackdown. When asked what Hall of Famers they would draft to their respective shows, Foley says Terry Funk and Bryan says his mentor, The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels.
The preshow match is The Usos vs Breezango, commentated by Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton. Oh brother. Huge pop for Tyler Breeze that turns into a chorus of boo’s as Fandango comes out. Luckily, for both teams, the arena is pretty full 13 minutes before the show begins so they have a solid audience. Crowd boo’s Jimmy Uso after he hits Samoan Drops on both Breeze and Fandango. The action is pretty steady throughout, but this really doesn’t add anything to the show or upcoming new brand split which will officially start tomorrow. Samoan Splash attempt off the top rope, but Breeze gets his knees up and covers for the pinfall. Breezango wins. Okay match.
Show kicks off with JBL, Michael Cole, and Byron Saxton on commentary. In a strange twist, the show kicks off with a women’s match. That’s a nice way to shake things up. Current Women’s Champion, Charlotte, comes down with Dana Brooke. Sasha Banks comes down. We are all waiting on her surprise tag team partner. She gets in the ring and just stands there. Why didn’t they have her get on the mic and introduce the person? Anyway, it’s Bayley and the crowd goes apeshit. That’s how you do a debut! Yes! So happy for her. Crowd eats it up and Bayley can’t help but smile. Sasha and Bayley high five and embrace. Charlotte and Dana attack them from behind and knock them out of the ring.
Back in the ring, Charlotte and Dana double team Bayley. The bell finally rings and Charlotte goes after Bayley. Sasha gets the tag and knocks Dana off the apron but gets her head slammed into the turnbuckle by Charlotte. Great couple minutes of action with the crowd actively into this one. Sasha and Charlotte end up in the ring. Charlotte tries a submission but Sasha reverses it into a Bank Statement. Dana drags Charlotte out. Bayley takes down Dana. Charlotte takes down Bayley. Back stabber into a Bank Statement when Charlotte rolls back inside the ring. Charlotte taps out! Crowd goes wild. After the match, Bayley and Sasha hug it out. Great opening to the show. Now we can all ride the high into the rest of the broadcast. The real question is, is this an official call-up to the main roster or a one time deal? With that reaction, Vince has to be smelling money. One thing’s for sure, the real women’s revolution just started tonight.
The New Day comes down. Now the currently longest reigning tag team champions in history. The Wyatt Family comes to the ring amidst fireflies. Xavier Woods and Bray Wyatt start the match. Xavier stands there, terrified. Kofi tags him and jumps into the ring. Braun Strowman gets the tag and he plants Kofi with a big kick. The Wyatt’s spend a long amount of time making the crowd oh and ah with some pretty vicious attacks. Big E finally gets New Day back on track with a belly to belly suplex and a splash on Erick Rowan. Crowd starts chanting New Day Rocks. Bray Wyatt attempts a Sister Abigail on Kofi, Xavier breaks it up and stares down Bray. Bray takes down Kofi and Xavier screams and attacks Bray. Top turnbuckle, steps to the side and splashes off the top rope onto Bray. Rowan and Straun try to get in and they are taken out by Xavier and a Big E spear through the middle rope. Sister Abigail by Bray Wyatt and Xavier eats the pin. Really strong match. The Wyatt Family wins and both teams looked solid throughout. This may be the best outing we’ve seen from Bray Wyatt in quite some time.
Lana comes out and introduces Rusev, set to defend his United States Championship against Zack Ryder. Mr. Woo-Woo-Woo comes out wearing an American jacket, which is annoying. Every angle against Rusev doesn’t need to be USA vs Russia. He’s not even from Russia. Rusev starts the match dominating Zack Ryder. Rusev attempts a suplex and Ryder reverses it into a neckbreaker. Rusev rolls out to catch his breath. He then slow-spears Ryder into the barricade. Then drops him over it near the ramp. Ryder leaps up onto the barricade and dropkicks Rusev to the ground. Ref is on six of the ten count. Ryder back in, Rusev follows. Ryder lands the Rough Ryder finisher. He climbs the top rope and tries an elbow drop, but hits Rusev’s knees. Rusev kicks him to the mat, stomps his back and locks in the Accolade. Ryder tries to break free and Rusev drops back, locking it in deeper. Ryder has no choice but to tap. Rusev retains. After the match Rusev keeps stomping Ryder in the stomach. Hype Bros music hits and Mofo Rawley runs in. Mojo screams in Rusev’s face, who looks back confused. He slowly backs out of the ring and collects his belt. Mojo continues screaming inside the ring and Rusev replies in Russian. Mojo helps Ryder to his feet and Rusev goes back to his hotel room to bang his super hot fiance.
Backstage moment with Mick Foley, Stephanie McMahon, and Seth Rollins. Weird segment, Rollins comes across as way too hyper. He says tonight will be so big for him that 9 months from now, there will be a bunch of babies born named “Rollins.” Okay. Sure.
The Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn rivalry is up next. A lot of people around the interweb have been complaining about this one, saying the feud has run on too long and they are sick of seeing it. I call those people half-hearted wrestling fans. How can you ever get sick of these two? They are money on the mic and they are easily at the top of their field on the roster in the ring. Their new shirt Fight Forever is a bullseye. Sami Zayn comes out first. Zayn tries a kick early, but Owens rolls out of the ring. Zayn joins him and the two trade punches until Owens throws his best friend into the barricade. Zayn whips him into the timekeeper’s area. Zayn floors Owens with a clothesline. Owens spends the whole match mocking the crowd’s chants. He is such a fantastic heel. Crowd split right down the middle throughout. Biggest moment of the match is Zayn hitting a brainbuster on the apron, dropping Owens right on his head. Both men down as the ref calls a ten count. Zayn gets in at seven. Owens narrowly makes it at nine. The two just lay, gasping in the middle of the ring. Zayn stands and starts punching Owens. Owens fights back. The two trade punches as the crowd starts a dual chant for both. Tornado DDT off the top rope for Zayn. Super kick by Owens. Near fall but Owens kicks out. Crowd on the edge of their seats. Best match of the night so far and there really hasn’t been any terrible ones. Popup powerbomb out of the corner. Owens goes to cover and Zayn gets his foot on the bottom rope! Goodness! Helluva Kick in the corner from Zayn after a couple suplexes. He hits another Helluva Kick and pins Owens clean. What a great, great match. Might be a contender for match of the year and easily the best match of the night thus far. Two thumbs up. Giving that one four out of five stars. Not a bad moment throughout.
Natalya comes down to the ring followed by her opponent, Becky Lynch. Becky gains the upperhand early. Feel bad for these ladies. Both are really great workers, but it is all but impossible to follow Zayn/Owens. Crowd seems deflated throughout. The story here just isn’t as strong as lifelong friends going to war. Nattie does a great job selling during the match. Becky hits her with some sharp slaps. Natalya locks in the Sharpshooter as Becky tries to reach the ropes. Natalya drags her back to the middle of the ring. Becky taps out. Classic matchup, good wrestling. Just hard to follow the previous match. Another good match from the women’s division tonight.
Backstage segment with Daniel Bryan, Shane McMahon, and Dean Ambrose. This one comes across way better than the earlier Rollins segment. Bryan really sells Ambrose and makes the crowd cheer. Good promo. Bob Backlund brings out Darren Young to take on The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. Been dreading this match all night. I really have nothing invested in it at all. The Miz and Maryse walk out wearing masquerade masks. This match is about as standard as they come, doing nothing to elevate the IC title. It’s sad we went from Kevin Owens to Zack Ryder to this. A Miz/Darren Young program is about as unseasoned meat and potatoes as you can get. And having Maryse and Backlund ringside is awful. They have the personality equivalent of drying paint hanging out with a pile of raked leaves. This is the low point of the evening by far. At one point, Backlund tears his shirt off and we all go blind. Darren Young gets disqualified outside the ring and the match is over. Good riddance. This one was absolutely pointless.
John Cena enters. Enzo Amore and Big Cass come down, huge pop. Enzo really works the mic tonight, lots of laughs and gets the whole crowd fired up. He makes Cena laugh several times. The Club comes down with Styles. Enzo and Anderson start, but Enzo wants Styles and Anderson tags him in. Fun back and forth from both teams. Enzo does a nice job of playing the underdog throughout, getting beat down and giving his teammates hot tags. Styles takes the five moves of doom and the Five Knuckle Shuffle from Cena. Styles reverses the Attitude Adjustment and kicks Cena down. Cena lands an AA, but Anderson drags him out before he can get the three count on Styles. Outside everybody fights around the announce table. “Holy shit!” chant from the crowd. Just a flurry of exciting action between all six guys. Well done. Ten count starts as Styles is the only man in the ring. At nine, Cena manages to roll in. Styles Clash on Cena. Cover, but Big Cass drags Styles out at two and kicks him right in the face. Anderson and Gallows hit Magic Killer in the ring on Cass. Crowd boos. Enzo rolls into the ring and takes them both on. He tosses Anderson out and squares up to Gallows. Enzo off the ropes, takes a kick to the face. Cena back in the ring. Gallows sizes him up, runs at him but misses. Styles top rope. Cena hits the rope and drops Styles, then spills Gallows out of the ring. Cena lands an AA off the top rope and pins Styles for the win. Not crazy about the ending, but I like that it took basically a super AA to beat Styles. And Enzo and Cass needed a win. Not the greatest match, but definitely fun and got everyone watching drawn into it. Nice job by all six guys.
Chris Jericho comes out for The Highlight Reel. This seems like a total waste of time on a pay-per-view. The only positive is that Randy Orton is his guest. The Viper comes down and doesn’t pose which is weird. He immediately thanks the crowd and insults Y2J. Crowd starts an R-K-O! chant. This segment has a couple of laughs, but it runs long. It’s almost 10:35 and we haven’t had the main event yet. Looks like Battleground is running over. Jericho shows a Brock Lesnar highlight reel, which helps pick the segment up. Orton takes a huge shot at Lesnar about the doping scandal from UFC. Wow. And that’s how you set up a feud at SummerSlam! RKO out of nowhere drops Jericho. He gets on the corner and poses. Great comeback. Orton leaves the ring at 10:43.
Time for our main event. Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon come down to represent Monday Night Raw. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon come down to support Smackdown. Huge YES! chant from Bryan, which seems like a selfish thing for him to do. He needs to stop hijacking the crowd everytime he comes out. Seth Rollins enters first, huge pop from the audience. Reigns enters and takes several rounds of boo’s from the crowd. The champ enters and Shane gets excited. Reigns and Ambrose double team Rollins at the start and then Ambrose tries a sneaky rollup on Reigns. Kick out at two. Everytime Reigns tries a move, the crowd boo’s him. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds but Reigns blocks and punches him. The start of the match is kind of slow, as Rollins spends most of it outside the ring and we watch Reigns and Ambrose try their best to do something.
Outside the ring, Rollins throws Ambrose into the steps. Reigns tosses him into the time keeper area. Ambrose runs across the announce tables and takes them both down. Keep in mind this is a triple threat match, so no DQ or countouts. Back in the ring Ambrose drops an elbow from the top rope on Reigns. Rollins hits Ambrose with a frogsplash and covers him. Kick out at two. All three men in the ring. Superman Punch on both Rollins and Ambrose. Crowd is vocal about their hatred towards Reigns. Ambrose clotheslines Reigns and both of his opponents and himself are down on the mat. All three recover and start trading punches. Ambrose and Rollins gang up on Reigns and the crowd goes wild! Another YES! chant. Ambrose lifts Reigns to give Rollins a chance to powerbomb Reigns, but he kicks Rollins away. Reigns is outside the ring, Ambrose jumps at him, Rollins flips out on top of him. Both Smackdown and Raw rosters are shown cheering the match in the back. Ambrose clears the announce table and he lifts Reigns on Rollins. Huge powerbomb through the table. Crowd erupts. Nice spot.
Rollins sneaks up behind Ambrose with a chair and clobbers him. Then he attacks Reigns on the ground. Rollins throws Ambrose in the ring and tries for a Pedigree. Counter by Ambrose. Superplex by Rollins off the top rope. Ambrose kicks out at two. Reigns powerbombs both men and pins Rollins, but he narrowly kicks out at two. Reigns Superman Punches Ambrose out of the ring. Rollins spins him around and lands a Pedigree. Near fall on Reigns, but he barely gets his shoulder up. Reigns spears Rollins, goes to cover, but Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds. He covers Reigns and the ref counts one, two, three. Dean Ambrose is taking the title to Smackdown Live. Interesting choice by WWE. Guess they have confidence in The Lunatic Fringe. This was a fun match to watch. I am happy with any outcome that isn’t Roman Reigns being the world champ. Clean finish and a nice match for all three men. The action really picked up and the pace towards the end was smooth. Afterward, the Smackdown roster comes out to congratulate Ambrose. Of course Cena leads the charge and hugs Ambrose. The Usos lift him up on their shoulders and Ambrose raises the title above his head as we fade out.
Overall, I am fairly pleased with this pay-per-view. What I thought was going to be just a blowoff show running out the clock until SummerSlam, actually turned out to be a fun watch. Most of the matches were good and the crowd in D.C. was really great, keeping the energy up the whole night. With several high spots and very few low points, this should be considered a successful broadcast for WWE Network. Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live should be very interesting this week.
What did you all think of tonight’s show? Let us know in the comments below. Also, please be sure to check out our friends over at
King of the Mountain podcast. Subscribe and like them on iTunes to help their show. Join Face To Heel tomorrow night as we live tweet Monday Night Raw and my cohort, Mrs Jamie Baker, gives a full breakdown and provides feedback for the episode.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The WWE Drafts had me on edge for a number of reasons. There were so many ways that this could go wrong, and so many obvious right choices that could be overlooked. What worried me the most was the danger of splitting up great tag teams and the six NXT draft picks. Certain pairings would be just fine going solo, but other teams simply aren’t meant to part ways just yet. As far as the NXT picks, my worry was that their debuts would be ruined by the announcements.
My fears were proved to be justified when Finn Balor was named as Raw’s third draft pick. Balor is a staple of NXT, an incredible athlete, and a huge draw. His debut was a given, but I had such high hopes for it, that hearing about it via this draft is simply a let down. Now, there is still the chance that his debut can be done in a grand fashion, but somehow announcing the intent ruins the magic that could have been. Balor’s entrance is intense and rivals The Undertaker’s as far as theatrics; I only hope WWE puts effort into making it a must see moment instead of just another 30 second walk down the ramp.
Keeping Enzo and Cass together on Raw was the right move to make, as was assuring that The New Day stayed together. Both teams are easily the best in the tag division, work incredibly well together, and still have a lot to do together as teams. Since Raw now has the best of the best in the tag division, it made perfect sense to draft NXT’s American Alpha to Smackdown; they can truly shine there with the champs and their former NXT colleagues away on Monday nights. I’m also glad to see Enzo and Cass away from John Cena, so we can finally stop seeing that unnecessary alliance. Another solid pairing is Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens both being drafted to Raw. I normally get tired of feuds after a while, but this one could go on forever and I would never tire of it.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke will both be on Raw, which wasn’t a great move. Our first Women’s champ has been hiding behind someone else during her entire reign as champion; first her father and now Dana. It makes her look incredibly weak. In a surprise move, The Wyatt family did not get to stay together; Bray and Erick Rowan are on Smackdown and Braun Strowman is on Raw. The Wyatt family needed to rebuild and strengthen their faction, not split it. Now, there is a chance that when Luke Harper returns from injury, he goes to Smackdown and the original family unites. Unfortunately for now, the family is split and won’t have a chance to redeem themselves for the embarrassment at the Wyatt compound.
Nia Jax’s draft to Raw was a pleasant surprise. I am a big fan of the women who don’t conform to the “beauty queen” standard that so many female wrestlers are unnecessarily held to. Jax is a force to be feared, but there isn’t much left for her in NXT. She has proven that she can defeat every female there except for champion Asuka, who has plenty of other contenders for her title, including fan favorite Bayley. Jax can do great things in the Women’s division on Raw, can be the one to dethrone Charlotte, either by winning the title or assisting someone else, and can give us a new standard of strength and beauty that we currently don’t have on the main roster.
Another surprise from NXT was Alexa Bliss, who is drafted to Smackdown. Formerly the manager of tag team Blake and Murphy, Bliss is a fantastic heel who isn’t afraid to embrace her comical side when the situation calls for, and who doesn’t let her small stature keep her from kicking ass. Bliss has definitely grown on me over the past few weeks and I think she can do great things for the Women’s division. She has the unfortunate luck of being drafted alongside the useless Eva Marie, so hopefully she’s able to avoid having too many matches with All Botch Everything.
Overall, I still have mixed emotions about the draft, but I’m trying to stay hopeful that the split will allow more athletes to have better opportunities and extended on-screen time. Congratulations to the NXT call-ups: Finn Balor, American Alpha, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Mojo Rawley. Please let us know what you think about the draft picks in the comments, and tweet us your favorites at @facetoheel. Below is a complete list of all draftees, minus the unfortunate Heath Slater.
The New Day
Rusev (with Lana)
Enzo and Cass
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
The Shining Stars
The Miz (with Maryse)
Alberto Del Rio
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
This is it, folks. For better or worse, Smackdown is going live. There’s no turning back. Strap in, we could be in for a bumpy ride. The show kicks off with Daniel Bryan getting a monstrous YES! chant. Stephanie McMahon, Shane, and Mick Foley are all at the top of the ramp with Bryan. Stephanie makes her first pick and she chooses Seth Rollins. Dean Ambrose is picked second for Smackdown. Those were the obvious guys, so no real surprise there. Charlotte goes next headed to Raw. Shane and Bryan then choose AJ Styles for Smackdown.
Mick says he is picking an NXT person next. Crowd murmurs. He says Finn Balor’s name. Then John Cena’s music hits. So instead of bringing out Finn Balor, they show his picture and then introduce Cena. Brilliant. Just got called up and Balor is already getting shit on. Why did they burn that at the very start of the show? It would have been a great time to bring him out right at the end and have him ask to be in the draft.
Then AJ Styles comes out with The Club. He is already wearing a Smackdown t-shirt. Enzo Amore and Big Cass come out next. Of course John Cena just had to be the first person out during the new Smackdown premiere. Gallows wrestling Cena with the other guys just standing ringside. Commercial break about thirty seconds into the match. Less than two minutes after we return from commercial Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment for the pinfall. Just the fact they started the new show out with this has turned me off to the whole thing. This is supposed to be a new era. But somehow it feels just like the old one. Literally another commercial. The only good thing to take away from this so far is that Roman Reigns hasn’t been mentioned. Either he is coming out tonight, or his stock has really plummeted after his wellness violation.
Nevermind. We come back from the commercial and first thing Mick Foley does is pick Reigns for Raw. John Cena goes next to Smackdown. Thank god he won’t be on Raw anymore. Notice Cena and his clone, Reigns, went at the same time. Stephanie picks Brock Lesnar for Raw. Daniel Bryan chooses Randy Orton for Smackdown. Stephanie takes The New Day to Monday Night Raw. Rusev and The Miz vs Zack Ryder and Darren Young in a tag match. So far this new Smackdown is total shit. Another crap match. But at least we are less than a half hour in and we are seeing our second match. That’s a plus. Match is too fast and gets a little sloppy. This is a weird match to include Rusev. He doesn’t exactly match up well with the other three guys. Darren Young makes The Miz tap out with a Chicken Wing submission. Nothing at all good from that match, if I’m being honest.
The Wyatt Family comes down after the break, with The New Day already in the ring. Bray Wyatt to take on Xavier Woods. Finally, a good match. Long, drawn out pacing to start with Bray doing some mat work. Only a few minutes and Sister Abigail ends this one. So much for being a good match. This one is almost a squash job for Xavier. I really dislike New Day vs Wyatt Family. It’s all sorts of weird strangeness. Still, three matches in less than 45 minutes. Can’t really complain about that.
Kane in the ring after the break. Kevin Owens comes down. Before he can get to the ring, Sami Zayn attacks him from behind. They scramble into the ring and Kane hits them with a double chokeslams. This is the first segment I’ve liked all night. After, Stephanie picks Sami Zayn for Raw. Shane picks Bray Wyatt. Not The Family, just Bray. Hmm. Mick Foley picks Sasha Banks for Raw. Daniel Bryan picks Becky Lynch and calls her the best female wrestler. That is a huge overstatement. Chris Jericho to Raw. I will be grading all these picks in an article tomorrow. Jericho is definitely getting an F.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke come down to the ring. The boss, Sasha Banks comes down. Two on one handicap match. Charlotte and her lackey take quick control of the match. Charlotte tags in and Charlotte hits Natural Selection for the win. None of these matches are going very long tonight. Disappointing. Mick and Stephanie select Rusev and Lana. The Miz and Maryse go to Smackdown. Kevin Owens to Raw. Baron Corbin to Smackdown. Enzo and Big Cass to Raw. Side note: Mick Foley called himself a “Certified G-M.” Classic comedy gold, and you can’t. Teach. That.
Cesaro versus Chris Jericho in a match next. Y2J has already been drafted. Cesaro has not. That’s how WWE prioritizes their picks. Cesaro goes to work early, knocking Jericho out of the ring and uppercutting him aganst the barricade. Things get back in the ring and it’s a pretty standard match. But Cesaro makes this one watchable. Nothing too much happens though. Chris Jericho wins, once again. The amount of victories this guy has in 2016 is absurd.
We come back from commercial and Becky Lynch is attacking Natalya with refs trying to separate them. The two go at it a little longer before Becky walks out. Stephanie then drafts Gallows and Anderson to Raw. American Alpha to Smackdown. Big Show to Raw. Dolph Ziggler to Smackdown, getting some nice praise from Shane. Nia Jax to Monday Night Raw. After a commercial break, Stephanie takes Neville to Raw. Natalya to Smackdown, flat response from the crowd. Cesaro is finally taken by Mick Foley. Shane takes Alberto Del Rio. Sheamus to Raw. Those are the final televised picks. There will be more later on the Network after the show.
Seth Rollins comes out. Dean Ambrose comes down. Before the announcements are finished, Rollins attacks Ambrose from behind and we go to commercial. Rollins is hyper throughout, selling himself as a man hungry for the title. I’m finally got emotionally invested in something tonight with about thirteen minutes left in the broadcast. This match is a high spot for the night, and is actually better than their Raw match last night. Superplex by Rollins off the top rope, slams Ambrose down, who rolls through it and hits Dirty Deeds for the victory. Shane and Bryan run down to celebrate. They had him a Smackdown t-shirt. Bryan starts a YES! chant for the second time tonight. That’s going to get annoying really fast with him on Smackdown every week. Dean Ambrose heads into the Battleground triple-threat match as WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Overall, for the first live episode of Smackdown this was no different than any other episode. They should have had the lottery draft on Raw and then a bunch of 3-5 star matches with some surprise NXT debuts for Smackdown. Instead, we get a rematch from Raw and a bunch of long conversations at the top of the ramp as the four leaders chose their roster. This event could have been much bigger. No, it should have been much bigger. It was hyped for months and this is the snoozefest you deliver? I’m actually ready for some new TNA this week because WWE just isn’t doing it for me lately. With a pointless pay-per-view coming up, WWE is probably going to be in creative quicksand until SummerSlam. We’ll cover the rest of the draft picks on Twitter and in a full grade article tomorrow.
Tweet of the night goes to none other than #BROKEN Matt Hardy:
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Rumors online say that Vince McMahon is genuinely pissed at Roman Reigns for his wellness violation, and maybe rightfully so. When you are pushed for the better part of two years, you cannot blemish your career by using drugs during what could be considered the “peak” of your push. This might be an instance where Reigns gets pushed to the back of the line and has to eat shit for the rest of the year. Vince holds grudges. After Battleground, Reigns might need to work his way back into the chairman’s good graces. Creatively, he may have flat-lined at WrestleMania. But there is still light at the end of the tunnel. Here are three ways that Roman Reigns could return to action and make a big impact.
1. One Man Army
If and when he has his first appearance on Smackdown, he needs to take a stand. He needs to be angry about his suspension and the way Seth Rollins has ridiculed him. And it needs to show through aggressive actions. Perhaps he puts Commissioner Shane McMahon through a table? Then Shane kicks him off the show. But the next week he does the same to Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and she kicks him off Raw. If they still want Reigns to “be the guy” the best way to do that is have him become a viable heel. Right now he isn’t, not by a long shot. Maybe they set up a match between Reigns and Shane at SummerSlam with Steph as the special guest referee and the stipulation being if Reigns wins he gets to choose which show he goes to. He wins and we spend a few weeks and maybe another pay-per-view trying to figure out what to make of him. Make it seem he is above the lottery system. Hell, don’t even include him in the lottery draft. Keep selling it and let Shane and Steph argue over who gets him because they don’t want a “drug user” on their roster. Make his gimmick special without forcing us all to watch him carry the World Heavyweight Championship yet again.
2. Sierra. Hotel. India. Echo. Lima. Delta. Shield.
A month isn’t a whole lot of time to do this, but setting up a reunion for The Shield to take on The Wyatt Family or The New Day (or both) at SummerSlam could be fun. The problem this leaves is who does the world title go to? There aren’t a lot of options, and it would include someone dropping the title on Raw and Smackdown; although, possible selling point for an “anything can happen on a live Smackdown!” angle. Now would actually be the perfect time to bring back The Shield because the brand split and lottery is going to cause tension and there will certainly be some injustices visited to many guys. The Hounds of Justice could return once more to set things straight. This seems like more of a slow-burner program for 2017. But WWE has been known to push storylines too soon or too fast, so it’s quite possible they pull off some sort of shenanigans after the Battleground triple-threat blowoff match.
3. The Real Roman Empire
One thing’s for sure: Roman Reigns messed up big time. He needs to come back focused and serious. That means coming down the ramp and making a direct line to whatever guy has pissed him off. No more crowd work. No more smirks. No more screaming, fist-cocking, rope whipping. He needs to be stone-faced. He should be stoic and serious, and just look like the badass monster that he has been sold as for most of the year, but hasn’t quite yet delivered on. Reigns needs to go heel, for so many reasons. The best impact he can make is to protect Ambrose as champion, but pull-off a double turn with Rollins during the Battleground match. Ambrose leaves as champ and we set up heel Reigns versus babyface Rollins at SummerSlam. Dean gets a new opponent for the “summer Mania” and we are all the better off for it. A Roman Centurion would never carry or conduct themselves in the way Reigns has the past few months. Now might be the time to retool Reigns towards heel heat, as opposed to just letting him get booed for no reason every time he comes to the ring.
Other obvious options include winning the World Heavyweight Championship or Vince being really petty and sending him back to NXT, which isn’t really the worst thing that could happen. Probably the worst thing to come of Reigns returning is we have a wishy-washy match at Battleground and then have to watch another triple threat at SummerSlam, which is just as boring as it sounds and not even worth the $9.99 Network subscription. What do our readers think? Where does Roman Reigns fit into the current roster and impending brand split? Let us know in the comments below.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Tonight is the final Raw before the brand split and drafts tomorrow night on Smackdown, which is getting me excited, but very nervous. Stephanie McMahon kicks things off, but barely gets a word out before brother Shane enters the arena. Steph reminds us that this will be Shane’s last Raw, as he is the commissioner of Smackdown, while she controls Raw. Steph makes an amazing announcement; thanks to the success of the Cruiserweight Classic on the Network, Raw will exclusively have a new Cruiserweight division. This is huge and a great move for WWE.
Steph’s second announcement is to name none other than Mick Foley as General Manager of Raw! Foley compares the current New Era to the Attitude Era, and the brand split to Monday Night Wars, so I hope he has big plans for his new position as GM. Foley makes a lot of promises, and his history shows that he can live up to all of them. Not to be outdone, Shane’s pick for GM of Smackdown is Daniel Bryan! The ultimate underdog, who was forced into retirement too soon, is back in the ring! He may not be wrestling, but it’s great to see him. The “YES” and “Daniel Bryan” chants are deafening. Bryan says he had reservations about returning until he realized that Smackdown was the underdog that desperately needed his help in this fight. He makes a plea for the fans to help him and Shane to beat Raw in this war. Steph congratulates the “B+ player” on his B+ show. This should be interesting.
24 minutes into Raw and we get our first match; a tag between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens versus Sami Zayn and Cesaro. Cesaro and Jericho start things off, with Cesaro going for an early pin and delivering a few uppercuts. Zayn is tagged in and delivers shots to Jericho’s chest. Zayn hits two arm drag takedowns into an arm bar as Owens talks trash from the sidelines. The tension between Zayn and Owens is electric, and I hope they are drafted to the same brand. Owens tags in and we get another commercial break. We come back to Jericho and Zayn in the ring; Zayn is desperately trying to tag in Cesaro but can’t quite make it. As Jericho distracts the ref, Owens tries to attack Zayn outside of the ring, but Zayn gets the upper hand and ends up taking Jericho down as well. Cesaro gets in and delivers uppercuts to Owens and Jericho, who are pinned in opposite corners, before trying to pin Jericho. Owens and Zayn get in the match and Owens hits a brutal clothesline, before trying for a Pop-Up Powerbomb that Zayn avoids. Cesaro and Jericho are back in; Cesaro hits the Swing, but it is broken up as Owens and Zayn get back in and show us how well they work together. Finally, Zayn is able to get the pin on Jericho and win the match. Great job by all four.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan is welcomed back by other performers before being interrupted by Steph who isn’t done with her insults. After the break, Alberto Del Rio comes out for his singles match against Darren Young, the number one contender for the Intercontinental Title. The Miz is on commentary, alongside his wife Maryse, and Bob Backlund is ringside to support Young. Am I the only one who finds it odd that a rip-off version of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign is being used by a black gay man? Del Rio takes control of the match early on and tries for a quick pin while Backlund screams and grabs his face. Young hits a couple good clotheslines to take Del Rio down, and The Miz jumps on the apron and gets a right hand to the face courtesy of Young. As The Miz tries to sabotage the match for Young, he is able to roll Del Rio up and secure a quick win.
For some reason in our second hour, we now have a 12-man tag match. John Cena, Enzo, Big Cass, and The New Day versus The Club and The Wyatt Family. This isn’t the best move after last week’s embarrassing attempt to top TNA’s Final Deletion with the fight at the Wyatt compound. Cena is out first, trying to look sassy with his hands on his hips as the crowd chants “John Cena SUUUUCKS” to the tune of his music. Cena grabs a microphone and starts making threats toward The Club to set up their match at Battleground. Enzo and Cass come out to a huge pop, as per usual; these two are on fire. He says to Gallows, “the only time women open their mouth for you is when they yawn,” that Styles has a haircut like a soccer mom, and Anderson is like Times New Roman font: as generic as they come. Smacktalker Skywalker at his finest. The Club interrupts Big Cass’s SAWFT chant to call Cena a turd in a punch bowl. The “hot Asian wife” comment from Anderson is a tad uncomfortable. Cue The New Day; their new ring gear looks absolutely amazing. The battle at the Wyatt compound is addressed, and New Day assures us that they are not broken from the experience because they are not normal men. Then they start naming Pokemon, because the Earth is overly obsessed with Pokemon Go. The Wyatt’s finally come out to save us from this insanity. This all has gone on for 15 minutes, so we cut to commercial as the Wyatt’s make their way down the ramp.
After the commercial break, Cena and Rowan are in the ring, but Gallows is quickly tagged in. Cena tries a shoulder tackle but Gallows doesn’t budge. Big E tags in and does his signature hip thrusts as Gallows escapes and tags Strowman in. Enzo tags in to go against Strowman as Woods plays the trombone. Cass tags himself in to even the odds since Strowman is a beast and so is Cass. The two man stand face to face before Strowman knocks Cena off the apron, cuing every man to jump into the ring and start fighting. They clear out and we’re back to Strowman and Cass, who is destroying his opponent but can’t get him down to the mat. Kingston tags in and tries to take Strowman down but is caught, and we cut to commercial again. As we return, Kingston and Bray Wyatt are in the ring and Wyatt tries for a pin. Michael Cole tries (and fails) to build up the Wyatt compound battle as “the craziest thing” he’s ever seen. Cena gets tagged in and performs the Five Moves of Doom on Wyatt, but Wyatt breaks it up with his creepy signature backbend. He tags in Strowman who headbutts Cena and pins him in the corner to tag in Rowan. Styles is tagged in and taunts Enzo and Cass as he goes to work on Cena. There are way too many people in this match. Gallows takes his turn beating up Cena now, who is unable to get to his corner for a tag, and we have another commercial break. Xavier Woods does an impressive dive out of the ring to take down the entire Wyatt family. Cena hops in to deliver an AA, Anderson counters with a spine buster, and there are bodies everywhere. At this point, the fights are spreading throughout the arena. Styles delivers a Styles Clash to Enzo and wins this trainwreck of a match. 40 minutes later. Man.
We return to see Seth Rollins standing in the empty arena in a pre-taped segment. He talks about his time with The Shield and calls them pawns in his game, saying he is always two steps ahead and had his reasons for keeping Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns around for as long as he did. The only reason Reigns rose to become top dog was because Rollins was out due to injury. Ambrose was nothing but a thief who capitalized on the situation and stole the title that Rollins never lost in the first place. Tonight, Rollins says he will put an end to Ambrose’s fairy tale run as WWE Champion, and when he’s fallen as low as he can go, Rollins will take back his title and prove to everyone that as far as The Shield is concerned, he was always the man. Amazing promo; I’m so glad he’s back.
Backstage, Foley is finally making moves as GM as he chats with Breezango only to be interrupted by Shane. He gives Foley no more than 6 months before he gets sick of Steph, and warns him about the dangers of working with his sister. Foley has been around long enough to be unfazed by this though and sees passion and drive in Steph. We come back from break to Sin Cara in the ring with Baron Corbin. Cara kicks Corbin out of the ring and then dives out to take him down. Corbin regains control quickly and hits End Of Days to win the match. He delivers a few extra kicks to Sin Cara before demanding the ref raise his hand. Kalisto, the former tag partner of Sin Cara, comes to his rescue. Corbin retreats only to blindside Kalisto and take him down as well. Extremely short match, but Corbin looked good. Our second hour is winding down and we’ve only had four matches.
Sasha Banks brings us into our third hour as she teams with Becky Lynch to take on Women’s Champion Charlotte and her sidekick Dana Brooke. Charlotte immediately tags Brooke in so she won’t have to face Banks. It’s frustrating to see our first Women’s champion constantly hiding behind other people; first her father and now Dana Brooke. Banks tags Lynch in, who ground Brooke with an arm bar. Lynch hits a few leg drops on Brooke before trying for a pin. Banks is tagged back in and throws Brooke into the corner before knocking Charlotte to the ground as well. Out of nowhere, Natayla comes out to attack Lynch. The ref calls the match due to disqualification, so we got a solid three minutes of a women’s match tonight. What an embarrassment. Charlotte takes advantage of the situation to hit Natural Selection on Banks and gloat with her sidekick.
We cut away to Dean Ambrose who has a handheld camera, similar to what The Shield used. He promises to retain his title, and we take another break. When we return, the beautiful Lana is in the ring to introduce Rusev. He will be tag teaming with Sheamus against Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder, who is the number one contender for Rusev’s United States title. Ryder comes out strong, but Rusev throws him into the barricade and Sheamus continues the attack with a hard knee to the face. Rusev wants a tag back in, but Sheamus won’t allow it. Ryder and Sheamus tag in their partners, and Ziggler goes on the offensive against Rusev, hitting a Famouser, but Sheamus breaks things up. Ziggler tries for a quick roll-up but Rusev is able to kick out and lock Ziggler in the Accolade, forcing the tap and winning the match. Ryder does his best to look intimidating as Rusev glares at him from outside of the ring.
Backstage, Bryan and Foley exchange words, and seem to be pretty friendly with each other; definitely different than the dynamic between Steph and Shane. Our main event is Dean Ambrose defending his title against former champion Seth Rollins. According to “sources,” Roman Reigns is like a caged animal, ready to come out at Battleground and earn his title back. I’m a bit annoyed that he fails a wellness test and still gets to sit atop his pedestal, but that’s an article all on its own. These two work so well together; Ambrose hits two arm drag takedowns before Rollins rolls out of the ring for a break. Foley, Bryan, Steph and Shane all are ringside for this match, as Rollins returns to the ring and pins Ambrose in the corner to deliver a series of kicks. Outside of the ring, Ambrose throws Rollins into the barricade and delivers a clothesline, then an elbow.
Five minutes into the main event, we get another commercial. We come back to Rollins holding Ambrose in a headlock. Ambrose gets to his feet, but Rollins floors him again and goes for a pin. The two are on the mat, rolling back and forth, trading pins, before breaking free. To be honest, this has been a slow Raw and I’m more interested in looking up ringtones for my phone than I am watching this main event. Both men dive outside the ring and now the Commissioners and GMs are all on their feet, paying close attention. Rollins throws Ambrose into the barricade before hurling him back into the ring and covering him for a pin. It’s 10:55pm and we cut to yet another commercial. We return to see Rollins being hurled into the corner as Steph demands that the ref check on Rollins. Rollins attempts a Frog Splash, but Ambrose rolls to safety. Ambrose manages to deliver a DDT to Rollins and crawls into the pin, but Rollins gets a foot on the rope. Outside of the ring, Ambrose begins to disassemble the Spanish announce table and throws Rollins on top of it. He climbs onto the barricade and gets ready to jump, but Rollins rolls to safety, much to the dismay of the crowd. Ambrose gets Rollins back into the ring with a strong clothesline, but Rollins is able to hit a Pedigree and nearly gets the win.
Ambrose goes to the top rope, Rollins goes to meet him, and Ambrose shoves him off and into the ref. We then have a confusing looking pin, and the ref counts three and calls for the bell, but no one’s music hits and no one’s hand is raised. I have no clue who won. Steph enters the ring to hug Rollins, who she thinks is the winner, but the ref still hasn’t gotten to his feet to declare a winner. Steph takes the initiative to grab a mic and declare Seth Rollins the winner, and his music plays while Steph does a victory dance in the face of her brother. I’m very confused, and so is everyone else. On the WWE Network, it is determined that Dean Ambrose was the winner on Raw, so he will go into Battleground as our champion.
Tomorrow, Smackdown will go live on its new night on the USA Network, and we will finally get to see where our favorite stars will be drafted. Battleground is this Sunday in Washington, DC and will be live on the network at 8pm, with the preshow beginning at 7. We will be providing coverage and will be live tweeting both events; please follow us on Twitter at @facetoheel and leave your thoughts on tonight’s Raw and who is the rightful champion below!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker