Disclaimer: I was in a bad mood when I wrote this so reader discretion advised. Read at your own risk.
Our constant readers may have noticed that the F2H family failed to post their usual live review articles about Smackdown Live’s No Mercy and last night’s Monday Night Raw. Have we lost faith in Vince McMahon’s promotion? Are we bored with the product? I’ll answer your question with a question: does a bear shit in the woods? In this instance, the bear is Sean Waltman and the woods is Rena Lesnar’s luggage; and the answer is an emphatic yes.
While on the surface the No Mercy pay-per-view seemed like a solid venture, when you scrutinize it even a little bit, the entire show folds like a wet house of cards. Here is a short list of some of the more cringe-worthy moments of the show. The pre-show featured Jerry Lawler awkwardly flirting and eye-fucking Nikki Bella, a 4-team tag match (overkill in any scenario) that included The Acesnsion, and Curt Hawkins big debut that was only a declaration by him that he would have a match on Tuesday.
Prior to the show, WWE announced the “main event” triple-threat would go on first to start the show, essentially confirming WWE’s lack of confidence in their own product, being fearful that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would pull viewers and bomb their PPV. Although the triple-threat was a decent match, it still featured yet another John Cena title attempt, grasping for the coveted Ric Flair record; and Dean Ambrose in the main event picture, a man with no charism, character evolution, or ability to carry a promotion as either a heel or babyface. And while AJ Styles put on a great outing, I am still watching him on NJPW every week on AXS-TV and his crimped style with WWE is nowhere near his best work in a ring.
No Mercy also featured Nikki Bella utilizing the antiquated 50/50 booking style of WWE in order to beat Carmella. Speaking of the women, Becky Lynch was suddenly injured and not competing. So we saw Naomi not only wrestle but defeat Alexa Bliss. Both finishes were weak and did nothing at all for the losers while barely giving a boost to the winners. The third women’s match of the night was between Jack Swagger and Baron Corbin. Yeah, I said it. Why is this on a pay-per-view? Nobody cares!
The highlight of the night was Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. This was an excellent match and the best on the entire card. Nothing to complain about here. The main event was Randy Orton taking on Bray Wyatt. Oh great, two of the weakest in-between heel/face chimeras in the entire company. Wyatt has strewn together infinitely more losses than wins. And Orton has been a watered down version of himself ever since returning from injury. The build to this match was terribly dis-interesting. And the big “twist” finish was a Luke Harper run in. This ended a pay-per-view in 2016.
Skip ahead to Monday Night Raw and now we’re really swimming out to the deep end with no life preservers. We’re talking about a show that surprisingly opened with Sasha Banks and Charlotte declaring they were having a rematch INSIDE Hell in a Cell. This was a groundbreaking moment…that was immediately cut short by Rusev interrupting. He insults both of them, along with all women’s wrestling (as does Lana) and hijacks what should have been an epic segment. Then Roman Reigns comes out and further buries the angle. Then, in all of Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley’s jaded wisdom, they put Charlotte on a team with Rusev against the team of Banks and Reigns. Despite Rusev belittling Charlotte, she now gets the “honor” of being his tag team partner.
Do you know why this segment happened? Because Kevin Dunn (a guy that probably has twenty Donald Trump signs in his yard) objectifies women and probably doesn’t think they can carry a moment on their own. They needed big, strong men to come out and bolster their credibility. “Nobody is going to buy women in the Cell! We need men to put it over!” Nevermind the fact that when you have a match with Roman Reigns, Rusev, Charlotte, Lana, and Sasha Banks, the only goddamn babyface in the entire thing is Banks. Reigns is not a face! But WWE continues to try and pair him with any one in order to try and persuade the crowd to oh and ah over him.
Then we have a match between Kofi Kingston and Cesaro. The big angle here is Sheamus sits ringside and tweets during the match. Oh, just brilliant fucking television. Really helps sell Cesaro and Sheamus as a team and absolutely helps make New Day look strong. *vomits in mouth, down onto Ultimate Warrior t-shirt*
Bayley comes out and wrestles Cami Fields. Who? Exactly. She beats a jobber and then gets attacked from behind by Dana Brooke (wearing a way-too-tight outfit) and then Brooke just stands there awkwardly like Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights when he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. Brilliant. There were four horsewomen in NXT. Becky has the Smackdown Women’s Title. Sasha and Charlotte are breaking new ground fighting for the Raw Women’s Title. Meanwhile, Bayley is given about two minutes against someone named Cami Fields. Just a real career booster for her. Good job, Vince!
The newly formed Cruiserweight Division continues to get its legs cut out from underneath it as WWE, despite having three hours of television, just keeps hitting us with Cruiserweight tag-team matches. We get Tony Nese and Drew Gulak against Sin Cara and Lince Dorado. Without fanfare, Sin Cara is now suddenly in the division. Dorado spends the whole match carrying Sin Cara before picking up the win. According to Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon, there are only two Cruiserweights named T.J. Perkins and Brian Kendrick. Anybody who isn’t them will just be the bathroom break match on Raw.
Then we come back from commercial to find Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas in the ring. Oh boy! That’ll really boost the ratings! Luckily we are saved by Enzo Amore and Big Cass. But before we can even see them wrestle, they are attacked by The Club. So let me get this straight. Cesaro and Sheamus, a team thrown together two weeks ago get to face New Day, but two of the top three tag teams on Raw have a segment with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel? Then WWE hits us with a bullshit 4-team tag at a PPV the night before? Why not save the multi-team matches for actual talent? I’d definitely watch New Day vs Enzo and Cass vs The Club any day.
Oh, but that segment isn’t even over. After The Club and Enzo and Cass leave, Axel and Dallas are still competing! They demand a team! So we have to suffer through not only them in a match, but a hastily thrown together Sami Zayn and Neville tag-team. Is Teddy Long running creative all of a sudden? We’ve had five matches so far and four of them have featured tag teams! Brilliant! I’m just as baffled as Vince as to why the ratings continue to tank. Fuck you, McMahon.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, we then are “treated” to a match between R-Truth and Titus O’Neal thrown together, on the premise, and I shit you not, of Truth trying to give O’Neal’s favorite candy bar to another wrestler. Now, while I can appreciate both men as they have skill and could be great if pushed properly (yeah right, as if that would ever happen), they certainly should not be in a match facing each other. Why, you might ask? Because they have a combined age of fucking 83. R-Truth is in his mid-forties and Titus is 39. This is not a live-TV match. This is not something you expose people to and then try to laugh off the sliding ratings to the board of directors. In simple terms, this is not a match you put on TV if you want people to take what you do seriously.
Backstage segment with Perkins and Kendrick showcasing the 50/50 booking again. I won’t even elaborate on any of that. Braun Strowman then squashes the “Splash Brothers” (who look like a Sheamus and Xavier Woods cosplay couple) and then asks Foley for stronger competition. If only Braun could be what he’s asking for: better talent. He has become a spectacle much like Big Show, Kane, and The Great Kahli before him. Vince will take a giant, twist and contort them, and turn them into a traveling freakshow.
And then the inter-gender match. Holy shit what a waste of time. Rusev and Charlotte against Reigns and Banks. The big creative ending here was Sasha making Charlotte tap to the Bank Statement timed perfectly with Reigns hitting Rusev with a spear. Been there, done that, played all the way out. Then Reigns and Banks stand with their arms in the air, smiling. As if Reigns was suddenly a good guy. Then T.J. Perkins defeated Jinder Mahal. Oh wait, that was Ariya Daivari. Another useless squash match doing nothing for anybody, including the viewers.
The main event was Seth Rollins versus Chris Jericho. Alright, I really can’t complain about this if I’m being fair and unbiased. It was a great match, highlight of the night for me. My only real gripe is that Jericho has main-evented a shit ton of Raw’s this year and did so again last night. Yes, Jericho is awesome. And his work these past few weeks with Kevin Owens has really been the crutch that has saved Raw from swirling into a black hole from wince there is no return. That being said, Jericho is older than both R-Truth and Titus O’Neal. Is the best WWE can do is to have a 45-year-old in the main event? Does that sound bonkers to anyone else? It says a lot about how incredibly talented and what great shape Y2J is in; but it also speaks volumes about how weak WWE thinks their own product is.
They don’t trust their youngers guys to do the job. They don’t have faith or confidence in their roster. And this is true across the board. Both Raw and Smackdown suffer from this inability to pull the trigger on younger talent. The result is getting a 39-year-old John Cena in a main event trying to get another world title. When is WWE going to move on? They speak of a new era and yet continue hitting us with out-to-pasture talent. Now the big hyped up sell is a potential match between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, a match about fifteen years too late between two men with a combined age of 88. Granted, both men are genetic anomalies (Lesnar more so on the chemically enhanced side) and will probably look great. But the point being is that WWE continues to live in the past. And the WWE Universe seems nostalgic to days gone by.
That’s why Sasha Banks gets a pop for mentioning Eddie Guerrero. That’s why Charlotte gets a “Woooooooooo!” every single time she mentions her dad. WWE doesn’t do anything to make their current talent relevant. They are censored and limited and forced to get over by mentioning long since retired or dead Superstars. It’s a vicious cycle all the way around. Fear, uncertainty, doubt; it all mixes together to make WWE unsure of their talent, the talent unsure of their place, and the fans unsure of why they should even give two shits about any of it. There are so many problems to list but I’m just one man and this article is already absurdly long. I have a love/hate relationship with WWE. It’s a frustrating partnership because I see the potential of what this company could be. As a kid I watched wrestling. Then I grew up. But wrestling never did. It plateaued and in some instances took a step back.
You can blame the break of kayfabe. You can blame the dirt sheets. You can blame the internet. You can even blame Vince for bringing too many promotions together and “killing the biz.” It doesn’t matter what the cause was. The effect is what truly matters, and in this case the effect is mediocre, unfulfilling, lazy, and often boring professional wrestling. CM Punk said it best: “Vince McMahon is a millionaire who should be a billionaire.” The reason why he isn’t is that the wrestling experience he presents is no longer thrilling to a certain extent. We demand more but WWE keeps coming up short. Smackdown Live is on tonight and we won’t be doing a live review for that either. If they want us to write something, they need to give us something worthwhile to write about. Until then, let the onslaught begin.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
After watching an amazing three hours of wrestling on Sunday, courtesy of Impact’s BoundO for Glory, Monday Night Raw has a lot to live up to. We are live from Los Angeles tonight and will see Sasha Banks fight for the Women’s title, plus have an exclusive interview with Seth Rollins. Our ropes have gone white and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The night kicks off with Roman Reigns, which is frustrating. Give that title back to Rusev! He was getting cheered until he started talking. Thankfully, Lana interrupts looking lovely as always. After a “Thank you, Lana” chant from the crowd, Lana says that she is here to negotiate a rematch. She says that Rusev will destroy and embarrass him. Reigns counters by talking about Rusev’s balls, and Lana tells him to go to hell.
Cue Rusev and his balls; he runs to the ring to attack Reigns. The two trade punches outside of the ring before Rusev is thrown into the barricade. He counters by ramming Reigns into the other side, but Reigns quickly regains control, rolling Rusev into the ring. He cocks his fist, which is just the coolest move ever (heavy sarcasm), and goes for the Superman Punch, but Rusev catches him. Reigns slaps Rusev across the face, driving him from the ring, but is thrown into the steel steps, then kicked into the crowd by Rusev. Why couldn’t Rusev be like this when my husband and I were watching him live at the PPV?? Rusev grabs the United States Championship and holds it high over his head. It looks like Rusev wins the segment, walking off with the title, but Super Reigns attacks him from behind as he reaches the top of the ramp. Some idiot gives him a microphone, and Reigns says that he’ll fight Rusev in a cell at the Hell In A Cell PPV that is upcoming.
Up next, our Cruiserweight division takes the stage in the first official match of the night; champion TJ Perkins versus Brian Kendrick. Perkins starts the match strong with a back body drop followed by a springboard off the rope into a cross body. Kendrick tries to counter, but Perkins catches himself in between the ropes, then sends Kendrick flying outside the ring. He is showing off his athleticism at Kendrick’s expense until Kendrick lands a kick to Perkins’ face. He pins Perkins’ hand on the turnbuckle with his foot, then sends him out of the ring as we break for commercial. During the break, Perkins hits a beautiful hurricanrana to take Kendrick down. Kendrick counters with Sliced Bread into a pin, but Perkins kicks out. He then locks in the Captain’s Hook submission, but Perkins rolls it into a pin. Kendrick kicks free and ends up caught up on the rope, allowing Perkins to get a kick to his head. He recovers and gets the Captain’s Hook in again to force a tap. Good thing this wasn’t for the title.
Michael Cole is up next with his pretaped interview with Seth Rollins. Rollins says he is feeling better, then says that while Kevin Owens is the Universal Champion, he didn’t beat him. Owens was handed that title by Triple H and didn’t win it fairly at Clash of Champions. You make enemies on your climb to the top, and Rollins acknowledges that he’s made quite a few. Rollins says he is irreplaceable, and Owens isn’t a replacement. Owens is simply a cog in the machine. Rollins plans on tearing that machine apart, piece by piece, starting with Owens and his championship. He will prove to the entire world that he is still the man.
BRAAAAUUUUUNNNNNNN is up now! Poor Chase Silver is in the ring now to make his dreams come true. Apparently he dreamt that he beat Braun Strowman up, so here he is. Strowman invites Silver to come at him, and Silver starts throwing kicks and punches before Strowman takes him down easily with a shoulder bump. He screams “THIS IS ALL YOU COULD DO??” Silver takes advantage and hits him from behind, but Strowman immediately counters by getting him in the corner and hitting him with a splash. Silver is lying on the mat while Strowman screams for him to get up. As soon as he rises, Strowman hits another shoulder. He gets him up on his shoulders and slams him to the mat for the pin. Rest in peace, Chase Silver. Strowman then demands that Foley get him a real opponent next week or there won’t be a next week. For a guy who doesn’t get on the mic a lot, this was awesome!
Kevin Owens comes to the ring, dressed to impress, accompanied by his BFF Chris Jericho. Owens calls Rollins stupid for requesting a rematch for the Universal Championship. Owens doesn’t think he deserves a rematch; Rollins lost and he only has Owens to blame for that loss. Since Rollins blamed the referee last match for the loss, Owens thinks that their next match should feature a referee that can handle himself. He suggests Jericho, but Jericho decides that they should challenge New Day for the tag team titles instead. What? He wants to make history, but Owens says that it sounds like a lot of work.
Hold on, Team Kevin and Chris; the Power of Positivity is coming to the ring! I love that New Day can turn the entire crowd into birds as soon as they ask a question which has the answer of “WHO? WHO? WHO?” Big E calls for a champion’s huddle; Owens is invited but Jericho is not. Guess who just made the list? Owens says that New Day has compromised the health of children all over the world with their questionable cereal (too much sugar). Xavier Woods counters with a fat joke that is actually good. Jump, jump, Owens. But lucky for us, New Day grants Owens and Jericho the match!
After the commercial break, Sami Zayn makes his way into the arena to face Titus O’Neil. Poor Zayn looks so teensy next to O’Neil. This is strength versus speed, and neither one can keep the advantage. O’Neil eventually catches Zayn mid-jump and slams him into his knee, then to the mat. He catches Zayn in a bear hug and throws him across the ring before delivering a backbreaker. He loudly taunts Zayn, who catches his opponent off guard and lands a clothesline. He then suplexes O’Neil into the corner and hits the Haluma Kick for the win. Not good for O’Neil, though I have a hard time believing Zayn could win this one. No offense.
You want it? You got it; the Golden Truth. What’s Up? R-Truth and Goldust are in a tag match against The Club. Truth and Anderson start off the match with Truth in control. He and Goldust take Anderson to the mat, then Goldust hits a clotheline into an arm drag to lock Anderson in an arm bar. Anderson counters, gets to his corner to knock Goldust down and tag in Gallows. He gets Goldust in a headlock as Truth tries to hype up the crowd. Both Anderson and Truth are tagged in; Truth hits clotheslines into a dropkick to take Anderson down for a pin, but Gallows breaks it up. Anderson tags back in Gallows while Truth is distracted, and the pair hit him with the Magic Killer for the win. After the bell rings, The Club begin attacking Goldust, hitting him with the Magic Killer as well.
Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson are confronting Jericho and Owens backstage, so I am tuning out. Not even Owens and Jericho can save this. Ha; nevermind! Jericho saved it at the end. With… IT! Back in the ring, Enzo and Cass are dressed in their “More Than Pink” shirts. Susan “Certified G” Komen held a contest, and we have three winners in the ring with Enzo and Cass; three breast cancer survivors. How you doin? Enzo tries to unveil their prizes, but gets all tangled up in the pink sheet. Still, each woman is gifted with a Women’s Championship title, which is pretty darn awesome. Cass spells out SAWFT after ensuring that it does not apply to the women in the ring. These poor women look so confused! Anyway, don’t donate to Susan G Komen; they are one of the worst organizations when it comes to getting the money to where it SHOULD go.
Oh dear god… Kutcher and Masterson are on commentary, so now Corey Graves is trying even harder to be funny and it isn’t working. It’s godawful. Shut up, Corey Graves. Shut up forever. Back to the wrestling; Owens and Jericho are facing Woods and Big E. Woods does some clever dodging, but the stronger Owens gets Woods in the corner where he tags in Jericho and the two team up on him for a moment. Woods recovers and flips into Jericho to hit a clothesline into a cover. Woods tags in Big E, who hits the fresh Owens with a clothesline. The crowd starts a “New Day Rocks” chant as E spears Owens the corner. Jericho tags in, and pins Big E in the corner with his boot, then showboats to the crowd. As Jericho distracts the referee, Owens gets some cheap shots in on Big E. It’s difficult to pay attention to this match with everyone babbling on commentary about things that have nothing to do with the match. Owens gets a good laugh mocking how the guys play dead on the mat as he reaches for Big E.
Out of nowhere, Seth Rollins’ music hits! Now I’m interested! Woods hits Owens hard, thanks to the distraction, and now E and Jericho are tagged in. Big E hits a belly to belly, and it looks like Jericho might have a bloody nose. Owens jumps in to save his partner, but Big E throws him from the ring to set up Woods to take him down. E hits Jericho with an elbow, then a splash. As Jericho locks Woods into a submission, Rollins runs in to distract him. This allows Big E and Woods to hit The Midnight Hour and pin Jericho for the win! I guess they won’t be getting that title shot after all. Rollins wins the segment by hitting Jericho with a Pedigree.
More cruiserweight action is up now, with Rich Swann and Tony Nese. Swann gets control early, but Nese counters and hits Swann in the face. He hits some knees and pins Swann for a two count. Swann hits a hurricanrana to throw Nese across the ring, but he hits a kick to Swann’s head before pinning him in the corner and laying him with kicks until the referee separates the two. Nese whips Swann into the corner, but Swann hits another hurricanrana to throw him away. It’s strange how they are unable to capture the magic we saw during the Cruiserweight Classic. Swann bounces off the ropes, but Nese catches him and pins him for the win. Honestly, these guys are great, but I feel that someone is telling them to hold back.
Tag team time; Sheamus and Cesaro versus Jobber 1 and Jobber 2. Cesaro gets one jobber in his corner before Sheamus tags himself in and showboats to his tag partner. Cesaro tags himself in, saying GET OUT, and the jobber tries to hit a sunset flip. This is so dumb, it might work. Jobber 2 gets hit with an Irish Curse Backbreaker, then Cesaro dives into the ring and jumps off of Sheamus to hit Jobber 1 with a DDT. Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick to jobber 2 and wins the match.
Before our main event, we get a fantastic video package featuring Charlotte and Sasha Banks’ journey from NXT to WWE to championships. Backstage, Charlotte and Dana Brooke taunt Bayley, but our resident hugger throws Brooke across the hallway and shows that she isn’t going to be pushed around. I am so happy to have the women main eventing Raw! Banks will hopefully defeat Charlotte and take back her title. Banks is thrown to the mat immediately, and Charlotte tries for the Figure 8 right away. Charlotte goes out of the ring and Banks hits a suicide dive, and then they go to ANOTHER COMMERCIAL? We were 20 seconds into that match. When we return, Charlotte has Banks’ arms pulled behind her with her knee in her back. Apparently we missed a lot of awesome out of ring action during the commercial. THANKS GUYS. Charlotte goes for the cover, but Banks is out at one. Charlotte then begins attacking Banks’ injured back. She bends Banks over her knee to put stress on her lower back, but Banks kicks away. Our champ hits another backbreaker and tries to hit Banks in the corner, but she dodges and sends Charlotte into the ringpost. Banks gets back in the match, hitting a dropkick, then driving Charlotte to the mat with her knees for a pin. Banks hits a hurricanrana, then a baseball slide to send Charlotte from the ring. Charlotte tries to throw Banks into the ring apron, but misses.
Charlotte starts hitting chops, and puts Banks up on the ropes. She tries to throw her from the top rope, but Banks blocks it. Banks jumps from the top rope and hits Charlotte with double knees for a pin, but our champ stays alive. Banks tries for a backstabber, but Charlotte grabs the ropes and sends Banks out of the ring. She goes to the top rope and does an amazing dive off the top to take Banks down. Back in the ring, Charlotte hits Natural Selection, but Banks kicks out at the last possible second. There is a kick ass DELETE DELETE DELETE sign in the audience! Ha! Nice. Banks is down and out, but she manages to lock Charlotte into the Banks Statement after Charlotte runs at her. Charlotte counters, but Banks locks it right back in and forces the tap! What a main event!! Charlotte is left in tears as Sasha Banks holds her title high.
This wasn’t the greatest Raw, but that main event was money. Those women put it all out there and gave us one hell of a main event. The best Raw main event we’ve had in a while. Tomorrow, we will be covering the go home episode of Smackdown ahead of the No Mercy PPV. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @FaceToHeel; we had our first giveaway last week and more are headed your way!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
I’m excited to be back among the living on Wednesday nights and able to watch NXT live. With Shinsuke Nakamura as our champion and Bayley off on Raw, the entire landscape has changed. Tonight, we’ll get an interview with Asuka, but first, we have a tag match with Shane Thorne and Nick Miller of TM61 and Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari of the Cruiserweight Classic. Thorne and Nese start things off, with Nese effortlessly flying around the ring to out-maneuver Thorne. Daivari and Miller are tagged in, Miller gets pinned in the wrong corner as our CWC competitors dominate TM61.
Nese makes an amazing dive out of the ring, but not to be shown up, Thorne takes a dive of his own and shows that TM61 can fly with the best of them. With the distraction by Daivari, Nese takes a cheap shot on Thorne. Nese lifts Thorne high, throws him on the ropes, then hits a high knee into a pin. Miller is desperate for a pin, but Nese and Daivari won’t allow it. Daivari taunts Miller, allowing Thorne to sneak in an uppercut. Nese and Miller are tagged in, and Miller starts delivering slaps to the face, then a forearm into an unsuccessful pin. TM61 is getting their footing back, nearly getting the win but Daivari breaks it up. Daivari hits a frogsplash into a pin, but can’t get it done. TM61 tag team Daivari with Thunder Valley, allowing Miller to get the pin and win the match. An absolutely phenomenal showing by all four athletes.
Tom Phillips shows us his interview with Asuka from earlier today. Asuka says she was excited by the Brooklyn crowd during her title match with Bayley. She calls Bayley the heart of NXT and says she fought hard, but Asuka fought harder. Our current champion is still undefeated, and Phillips goes through the list of competitors she has destroyed. Asuka says she cleared out the women’s division; the women who went to Raw and Smackdown got saved because they don’t have to fight her anymore. The championship is of the utmost importance to Asuka. She defends it for herself and for her country, then addresses her fans in Japan in her foreign . Finally, Asuka says that no one is ready for her. She will be hard to dethrone.
Ember Moon is set to compete next against Leah Von, who to her credit, isn’t looking intimidated in the least. Von is able to get Moon into a headlock, but Moon launches herself off the ropes and into a crossbody on Von. Moon is struggling a bit to get her footing, as Von launches her into a corner, then shows off with a cartwheel. Moon gets Von into the corner and flips into a clothesline. She goes to the top rope as the crowd cheers, and grabs Von’s head to deliver a stunner and pin her for the victory. Moon is a serious competitor and I’m glad she’s a part of the NXT roster.
Backstage, No Way Jose addresses the disrespect he received from Bobby Roode. He promises to make sure that Roode finds out that no one messes with No Way Jose. Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano are also backstage discussing injuries. They will get a chance to compete next week at the Cruiserweight Classic to prove that they are back at 100% and able to take on The Revival.
Our next match is Andrade “Cien” Almas versus Austin Aries. Cien gets Aries to his knees quickly with a wrist lock, but Aries is able to counter with an arm bar. Aries goes into a handstand and then hits a dropkick before taking a break and lounging on the ropes. After Cien gets a few good hits in and tries for a pin, Aries takes a break outside of the ring. He tries to throw Cien from the ring, but he catches himself on the ropes and then throws Aries towards the barricade. Cien goes to the top rope, then Aries shoves him off, sending him head first into the ramp.
After the short commercial break, both men are back in the ring with Aries in control. Half the crowd is chanting for Aries, the other half thinks he sucks. Hugn up on the ropes, Cien manages to get a kick in to get Aries down. He is trying to get the crowd behind him, but Aries sneaks in a dropkick into a pin. Both men are on the ropes, with Cien able to elbow Aries off of him. He flips off and gets Aries down for a near pinfall. The two begin trading punches, then Aries delivers a deafening chop. Cien tries for a hurricanrana, but Aries counters it into a powerbomb to a Last Chancery, and gets the win via tap out. The crowd wasn’t as into this match as they should have been; it was a killer match.
Our main event is Shinsuke Nakamura versus Steve Cutler, with Samoa Joe on commentary. Nakamura’s entrance gets me every single time; I’m never getting sick of this. I love the crowd participation in his song, I love his charisma; he has that special something that only comes around once in a blue. Samoa Joe doesn’t seem as impressed, but he does say that Nakamura was the better man in Brooklyn and he deserves that championship. The crowd starts chanting “Shinsuke’s gonna kill you” as the bell rings and the two men approach each other.
Cutler tries to get close, but Nakamura won’t allow it, with well times kicks. They eventually lock up, and Nakamura sneaks in a kick to his head. The crowd is chanting for Cutler to take the count out, as Nakamura hits him with a hard knee before pinning him in the corner. He charges Cutler, who is able to counter and throw Nakamura into the corner and deliver some hard hits. He pins the champ, but Nakamura is out quick. Cutler tries for a Suplex, but Nakamura hits him with a knee and then gives us a clinic on why he is King of Strong Style. He throws Cutler over his head, then hits the Kinshasa for the win! Man, that title looks good on Nakamura. We close out the show with our champion holding his title high.
Next week, No Way Jose will face off with Bobby Roode, which I’m anxious to see. This was an absolutely amazing episode of NXT; if you missed it tonight, get on the network now and watch! It was much better than last week’s episode. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
The second round got off to an exceptional start last week with two huge matches. Tonight, WWE Network brings us three bouts. If this tournament is any indication, whenever they bring the Cruiserweight Division up to Monday Night Raw, it’s going to take on a life of its own.
Akira Tozawa (Japan) comes out fired up to take on Jack Gallagher (England). Crowd starts a “Jackie Boy!” chant as soon as the bell rings. Tozawa goes after him right out of the gate, dropping him to the mat. Waist lock as they stand up but Gallagher reverses it into a wristlock. Tozawa takes it right back to the mat with a leg submission which gets reversed. The pair break apart and the crowd applauds. Hats off to all competitors in this tournament. The majority of the matches have had great in-ring psychology and have told compelling stories in less than twenty minutes, these two are no exception. Gallagher ties Tozawa into a pretzel and leaves him screaming in the middle of the ring. He lines up his foot and kicks him square in the ass. Hilarious segment.
Another “Jackie Boy!” chant. Tozawa gets up, enraged, but he takes an uppercut. Leg lareat by Tozawa into a two count. Crowd starts a slow clap. Body slam followed by a senton and Tozawa gets another two count. Gallagher goes to work on Tozawa’s left leg, torquing it on the mat. Tozawa reaches the ropes to break it up but Gallagher goes right back after the leg in the middle of the ring. Tozawa bounces off the corner and lands a huge kick to the face of Gallagher. Tozawa limping now. Heel hook submission on Tozawa’s bad leg. Crowd starts screaming for him to chant. But somehow Tozawa crawls and scrapes until he reaches the bottom rope. Tozawa can barely stand. Ref asks him if he wants to quit but he says no. German suplex out of no where from Tozawa! Another suplex into a bridge and Tozawa wins via pinfall! Unexpected outcome. Thought Gallagher would win that one. But a really exciting match to watch. Both guys really brought it and the crowd was lively. Nice start to the show.
The second match brings us Hoho Lun (Hong Kong) against Noam Dar (Scotland). Lun with some early offense and he tries a pinfall, but no avail during the opening minutes. Dar slows it down with a wristlock but moments later Lun dropkicks him into another near fall. Crowd polite but not quite yet into this one. Dar kicks Lun in the knee and he falls off the apron, outside the ring. Some ground work for both and then a big kick by Lun for another two count. The crowd starts a chant for Dar to the tune of Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars. HaHaHa. Elbow drop by Dar and then he works on Lun’s left knee. Bit of advice if any wrestler’s are reading this blog. If the previous match worked a specific body part, avoid working that body part if you immediately follow that match. Lun drops Dar and climbs to the second turn buckle. He dropkicks him, but it was a bad spot. Lun gets another near fall after a modified driver. Suplex into a bridge and another near fall. Dar wraps him up in a knee bar and Lun taps. A mostly flat match. The crowd tried to liven things up, but neither guy really has the oomph to make it all the way to the finals.
Tonight’s main event is two golden boys from the good ole USA, Brian Kendrick and Tony Nese battling each other for the chance to advance into the third round. Kendrick tries sprinting right at Nese to start the match, but Nese clobbers him with a massive boot and takes total control. Kendrick rolls out of the ring and stumbles around. Nese leaves the ring and chops the beejesus out of him multiple times and then kicks him again. Crowd excited. This one is lopsided from the get-go. Nese throws Kendrick in the ring and almost gets a three count. Another huge chop by Nese. Kendrick somehow gets Nese’s arm stuck in the turnbuckle pad and he kicks Nese’s leg. Kendrick gets a clothesline blocked and takes another near pinfall. Leg drop by Nese. How good is this guy? Kendrick manages to hold on using anything to his advantage, and not everything legal. He keeps putting Nese into submission holds. The offense is so fun to watch that I stopped typing for a minute. Just enjoying it. Nese is so talented. And Kendrick has that savvy heel heat drawing power; but somehow also has this quirky underdog quality to him that makes you not really want to hate him. He’s a fighter. Both these guys really giving us a clinic here in this one. The finish is Nese missing with a 450 Splash, as Kendrick turns it into a submission and makes him tap. That match was solid as hell, but I dislike the ending. I know HHH will probably scope Nese up ASAP, but I was pulling for him to go deep into the tournament. Congrats to both guys for really putting on another fantastic Cruiserweight Classic match. We’ll have to see how far Kendrick’s bag of tricks take him in the tournament.
Another edge of your seat episode from WWE. This Cruiserweight Classic is really turning out to be quite a gem. Once this thing is over, I really look forward to seeing all these guys move up to NXT. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let us know in the comments below.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
So far during this tournament we have seen some really great matches. And they have lead to some incredible NXT signees. We just saw Kota Ibushi in tonight’s main event earlier. So far, this Cruiserweight Classic has been pretty damn great. Let’s get started with a review of tonight’s episode. Four episodes for the first round on the card, and we can’t wait to see them.
First up, Tyson Dux (Canada) takes on Zack Sabre Jr. (England). Already liking the look of both guys. ZBJ has a clean-cut, cocky youngster look and Dux looks mean and ready to fight. Quick take down by Sabre and he starts twisting Dux’s left leg. He counters and does the same thing to Sabre. Fun grappling to begin the match with some clever reversals. Sabre makes the mistake of slapping Dux, who becomes infuriated and plants him with a Fisherman Buster. Armbar by Dux on Sabre, who rolls him up for a two count. Sabre is a little bad at selling. Sabre gets Dux in an armbar and he desperately tries to crawl to the ropes. But Sabre bends his fingers and yanks the arm further back. Dux can’t even tap, he just nods his head when the ref asks if he wants to stop it. Sabre advances. Good outing for both men. I really like this Dux character. He’s got a good look about him.
Second match features Harv Sihra (India) versus Drew Gulak (United States). Evenly matched guys. Nice submission moves from both to kick off the match. Sihra is grounded for a minute but recovers and brings the crowd around to rooting for him with some great moves outside the ring. Dragon Sleeper in the ring by Gulak, and Sihra taps! That one was over pretty quick. Neither guy was overwhelmingly great. Middle of the road match for me.
Tony Nese (United States) set to go up against Anthony Bennett (United States) in our third match. We got a New York kid versus a New Jersey kid; so you already know they are going to try and one-up one another. Bennett starts the match dancing around, being silly and Nese drops him with a waistlock takedown. Bennett isn’t fazed and remains goofing around, playing with his hair. Nese ducks a clothesline and drops Bennett to the mat. Crowd seems to be behind Nese. Leg sweep and Bennett drops to the apron. Outside the ring, kick to the face by Nese. This guy Nese is really good. Fun to watch, no-nonsense action. 450 Splash from the top rope by Nese for the pinfall victory. Solid, strong match. It appears that maybe Bennett got hurt, or might have gotten a concussion. Ref tending to him after the match.
The main event for the evening is Raul Mendoza (Mexico) against Brian Kendrick (United States). Mendoza looks tough, right up until he smiles and you see a mouth full of braces. Poor bastard. Adults with braces is always kind of sad. Brian Kendrick has been in the WWE before. He gets a second chance tonight. Crowd goes wild for him when he enters. They start a chant for Kendrick as soon as the bell rings and he quickly runs at Mendoza. Kendrick puts Mendoza’s open-mouthed on the second rope and kicks it. Mendoza begins bleeding from the mouth. Ref checks on him and says he is okay to go. Mendoza quickly rallies the crowd behind him with some smooth moves inside and outside the ring. Very impressive. Mendoza hangs Kendrick upside down in one corner and leaps off the top rope of another one, drop-kicking him in the face. Cover, but Kendrick somehow kicks out at two. The crowd has really turned and is now booing Kendrick and cheering “Men-Doz-A!” Bully Choke by Kendrick and Mendoza taps. Disappointing ending. I really liked that Mendoza. Hope HHH signs him. He was really fantastic.
Very heavy on the home grown boys tonight. Lots of USA representatives; while not a bad thing is not necessarily what we all signed up for. This was supposed to be a global tournament. Half of tonight’s competitors were from the States. This has been my least favorite episode so far. Half the matches were just okay. Highlight of the night was Raul Mendoza from Mexico putting on a Luchador clinic. Next week will feature the final matches of the first round. The second and third round of this tournament is going to be insane. What have you all thought about the Cruiserweight Classic so far? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for an all new episode of TNA Impact wrestling!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker