This Week In The WWE: 2/7-2/13

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a little vengeance, right?

NXT takes over the PPV landscape Sunday night with its latest edition of TakeOver: Vengeance Day, highlighted by the NXT Championship match between Finn Balor and Pete Dunne. That alone should be worth the price of admission and maybe we’ll get Edge standing by as an interested bystander. But, in addition, they’ll crown the winners of both men’s and women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic plus Johnny Gargano defending his North American Championship against KUSHIDA which could steal the show. That is of course, unless Io Shirai doesn’t steal it first!

We know the card will deliver as it always does! Less is always more as far as the number of matches when it comes to NXT. Gives it room to breathe.

Just think about it, it’s a card that’s without Karrion Kross, The Undisputed Era, Tommaso Ciampa, Timothy Thatcher, Candice LeRae and the tag team champions, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan, among others.

NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day – Updated Card

  • Dusty Rhodes Men’s Tag Team Classic Finals: Grizzled Young Veterans vs. MSK
  • Dusty Rhodes Women’s Tag Team Classic Finals: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart vs. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
  • NXT North American Championship Match: Johnny Gargano vs. KUSHIDA
  • NXT Championship Match: Finn Balor vs. Pete Dunne
  • NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match: Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez

Star of the week:

Nia Jax – No, not for being the best, but for being one of the best moments on WWE television this week. It was a moment more memorable than anything Jax has done in the ring in months.


RAW

RESULTS

  • AJ Styles defeated Jeff Hardy
  • The New Day defeated RETRIBUTION (T-BAR & SLAPJACK)
  • Lacey Evans defeated Charlotte Flair by DQ to win RAW Women’s Championship Match vs. Asuka
  • Damian Priest defeated Angel Garza
  • Keith Lee defeated Riddle
  • Tables Match: Lana defeated Nia Jax
  • Naomi defeated Shayna Baszler
  • Non-title WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton ended in no-contest

Welcome to the WHY edition of Monday night RAW.

Why did we need Shane McMahon out to help Adam Pearce announce that Drew McIntyre would defend his WWE Championship inside the Elimination Chamber against Sheamus, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton and The Miz?

Why is Edge so damn good? Rhetorical question as he now waits until after Elimination Chamber to make his WrestleMania decision. Edge schooling The Miz was priceless and on point!

Why did we need another DQ finish? This time with Charlotte Flair beating up Lacey Evans, giving Evans a title shot against Asuka. Not sure that helped anyone out there.

Why is Angel Garza being wasted in a squash match against Damian Priest? And why does Priest need Bad Bunny with the distraction to beat him? That of course, is another rhetorical question. Excellent piece of business right there for sport entertainment.

Why is the WWE so transparent putting Keith Lee up against Riddle when we know it’s only going to lead to a triple threat match against Bobby Lashley for the US Title? Storyline aside, Lee vs. Riddle was very good.

Why did we get no build-up to a tables match between Lana and Nia Jax? Yes, they should’ve had the match, but give me at least some time to make it worthwhile.

Why haven’t we been giving a “Oh, my hole!” t-shirt from Nia Jax and why does the WWE feel the need to edit that amazing moment, trending Worldwide, out of the RAW replays? Use it my friends! It actually made Jax entertaining for a moment and made her our star for the week. At least they made amends Friday night!

Why do we need yet another no-contest in a RAW main event? This time McIntyre vs. Orton goes nowhere with Sheamus’ predictable interference.

Why is there no Miss Alexa Bliss?

In the end, RAW could’ve been a very entertaining show if not for some missteps.


NXT

RESULTS

  • Dusty Rhodes Men’s Tag Team Classic Semifinals: MSK defeated Legado del Fantasma
  • Xia Li defeated Kora Jade
  • Dusty Rhodes Women’s Tag Team Classic Semifinals: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart defeated Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell
  • KUSHIDA defeated Austin Theory by DQ
  • Dusty Rhodes Men’s Tag Team Classic Semifinals: The Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher
https://twitter.com/WWENXT/status/1359672452079566848

Is it time for MSK to make their way to the top of the NXT tag team title scene? They’re just one step away now with a Dusty Rhodes Classic finals appearance!

Talk about The WAY to NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day!

Johnny Gargano first tried to weasel his way out of the NXT North American Championship Match with a fake broken arm diagnosis that William Regal saw right there. With Candice LeRae, Indi Hartwell, Austin Theory and of course, KUSHIDA, the segment was pure gold! Then, Gargano tried to payback KUSHIDA with a cheap shot in his match with Theory, only to be held at bay in an armbar by KUSHIDA and Dexter Lumis.

As for LeRae, she and Hartwell fell short to Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart in getting to the Dusty Rhodes Women’s Tag Team Classic Finals. Now, it’s Blackheart & Moon taking on Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez for the Dusty Cup and a future WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match.

The aura surrounding Xia Li, Boa and Tian Sha has Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter as interested bystanders. Supportive friends are now turned into foes. A curious angle gets better and better with Li becoming more of a badass. Great makeover!

Next week, we get Karrion Kross against Santos Escobar with Scarlett ringside. Sounds delicious! Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza have already felt the wrath. It’s only a matter of time. Tick. Tock.

Loved the build-up to this Sunday’s PPV especially the vignettes for the triple threat match for Io Shirai’s NXT Women’s Championship against Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez. Plus, the face-offs on each match at the end of the night was a nice touch! NXT does such an outstanding job of matching it feel big time for their TakeOver events.

Cameron Grimes. Kiss My Grits. Oh my! Maybe he’s the new Million Dollar Man!

For the second straight week, we get a quality tag team main event with an upset. This time, Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher see their run come to an unexpected end at the hands of The Grizzled Young Veterans. So, it’ll be Wes Lee and Nash Carter taking on Zack Gibson & James Drake, as the GYV make it to the Finals for the second straight year.


SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: King Corbin & Sami Zayn defeated Dominik & Rey Mysterio
  • Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E defeated Shinsuke Nakamura by DQ
  • Bayley defeated Liv Morgan
  • The Street Profits defeated Otis and Chad Gable
  • Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Daniel Bryan & Cesaro defeated Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode

There’s no disputing the fact that Roman Reigns is the top dog, the head of the table, the number one performer right now in WWE. What I do find disconcerting though is the repeated open each week’s Friday night SmackDown. Having Reigns walk to the ring for a 10-minute promo with all talk week after week isn’t maximizing his greatness. It gets old quick. I did love that it quickly turned into Reigns turning down Adam Pearce’s request to defend the Universal Title in the Chamber just like Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship. No need to have the same match twice. Plus, by having Kevin Owens and Jey Uso join those who qualify for the match face-off inside the demonic structure before having to face Reigns the very same night ultimately gives the Big Dog the upper hand to walk out of the PPV still the Champ heading to WrestleMania. It should also give Edge one fun night of watching.

I did like Sonya Deville giving us tag team matches as a way of qualifying for the Chamber Contender match. Sami Zayn and King Corbin taking out the Mysterios was fun although I did fear for Dominik’s safety when he almost cracked his head against the announce table flying through the ropes and over Zayn. The right team went over and both should show strong inside the Chamber.

Big E vs. Shinsuke Nakamura put on a show, albeit too short for me with Apollo Crews predictable match. Shinsuke gets the DQ victory but robs us of a better match. Maybe down the road as the Big E vs. Crews feud continues.

https://twitter.com/WWE/status/1360409094352420869

Welcome back Seth Rollins! I thought you were going down the right path. A new road. Fatherhood and positivity. It would’ve been the right path for him and the WWE. Instead, all of the SmackDown superstars surrounding the ring left him high and dry standing alone in the ring until a vicious attack on Cesaro.

Another week and another misstep by Billie Kay costs The Riott Squad a victory over Bayley. Last week, it was Ruby Riott and this time, it’s Liv Morgan going down to defeat. At what point, do Billie get the buh-bye?!

After a bit of momentum at the start, it looks like Otis and Chad Gable have leveled off a bit. This week, it’s a loss to the former tag team champion The Street Profits.

Anyone else find it odd that Montez Ford is dancing with Sasha Banks in a bit of a runway crossover? After all, Ford is married to Bianca Belair, who just may be choosing Banks as a WrestleMania opponent.

As for Belair and Banks, they made interesting short work of the tag team champs. First, mocking Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler for their losses on RAW this week. Then, they actually do play the “oh my hole” line from Jax which is hilarious! Finally, they get physical with the champs. You wonder if we’ll get an Asuka/Charlotte Flair redux with Banks and Belair, champ and cohort, getting a title match soon.

Instead of fighting each other, Daniel Bryan and Cesaro teamed up to win a shot in the Chamber match which is a plus for all of us as anytime you can put those two inside the wretched structure along with Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, King Corbin and Sami Zayn, you’ve got yourselves some moments to remember coming! No disrespect to Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, but Cesaro and Bryan deserved the spot and will absolutely shine. Even despite Cesaro being less than 100% thanks to Rollins, he still gets Ziggler to tap out! Give me Cesaro vs. Reigns please! Nice little brawl with all six Chamber members to end the show as Owens reminds us that he’s not going away.


Parting Shots:

Congratulations Doug Flutie! You’re in the record books as a former WWE 24/7 Champion! Flutie beat R-Truth at the Celebrity Flag Football Game during Super Bowl LV weekend. Sure, it only lasted for a few brief, fleeting moments as R-Truth won it back for his 49th title reign, but it’s more mainstream attention for the WWE, which never hurts.


Coming up this week:

RAW:
Gauntlet Match – Winner gets last pod open at Elimination Chamber: Drew McIntyre vs. The Miz vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles
MizTV with Drew McIntyre

NXT:
Karrion Kross vs. Santos Escobar
NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day fallout

SMACKDOWN:
TBD – Go Home Show for Elimination Chamber


Thanks for letting us share our thoughts! Shoot me an email at jcrowe567@gmail.com. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions! You can also check out my blog, The Crowe’s Nest as we delve into more pro wrestling, sports entertainment and the World of Sports. My apologies ahead of time – I AM a Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND