This Week In The WWE: 4/12-4/18

This week in the WWE was a bloodbath.

On Wednesday, the company made a series of announcements that owner Vince McMahon said would save the company $4 million a month and $140 million in upcoming costs in what would have been a move into the new WWE headquarters in Stamford, CT. . On the personal side, it also cost over 30 people their jobs with the WWE.

Among the cuts were Kurt Angle, Rusev, Zack Ryder, Karl Anderson and Lio Rush along with both Maria and Mike Bennett.  In addition to on-air superstars, there were many familiar names backstage who were let go with Fit Finley, Shane Helms, Mike Rotunda and Billy Kidman amongst them.

It appears as if the producers were all furloughed and fired. They’ve reportedly been given a date of July 1st that they could be back with the company. Also, it’s been reported that all talent that was let go have 90-day compete clauses in their contracts. 

One of the more emotional superstars to be cut that spoke publicly was Drew Maverick. Maverick, ironically, is still scheduled to be shown this upcoming Wednesday night as part of the Cruiserweight Tournament on NXT.

https://twitter.com/WWEMaverick/status/1250493936185102339

The full list is:  Kurt Angle, Rusev, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Drake Maverick, Eric Young, EC3, Lio Rush, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Heath Slater, Sarah Logan, Erick Rowan, No Way Jose, Primo & Epico Colon, Mike Kanellis, Maria Kanellis, Deonna Purrazzo, Aleksander Jaksic, Aiden English (announcer), Mike Chioda (referee), Billy Kidman (producer), Mike Rotunda (producer), Dave “Fit” Finlay (producer), Pat Buck (producer), Shawn Daivari (producer), Scott Armstrong (producer), Sarah Stock (producer), Shane Helms (producer), Lance Storm (producer), Andrea Listenberger (writer), Serena Deeb (coach) Ace Steel (coach), MJ Jenkins, Norman Smiley (coach), Josiah Williams (announcer), Jerry Soto (announcer – furloughed), Tino Sabbatelli, Cezar Bononi, Mars Wang, Taynara Conti, Nick Ogarelli and Kendo Kashin (coach).

Now, it will be interesting to see who ends up where, right? Of interest to AEW should be Rusev, Rowan, Maria & Mike Kanellis for starters. Although, you have to think AEW won’t want to oversaturate the roster and be efficient with their company size and tv time. Gallows and Anderson you would think would be destined back to NJPW. ROH and Impact Wrestling are also spots to look to add. Lio Rush would be a good compliment to any roster these days.

As for the WWE, as much as the roster cuts hurt the individuals, there is one way to look at it in the positive. Most of these superstars weren’t getting the tv time or the right push they deserved. So, pairing it down and concentrating on more creative with less people might help the product in the end. Who knows. In the end, though, my hearts and prayers go out to all affected, especially in these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oh yeah, the coronavirus pandemic, something the WWE has still yet to utter and acknowledge head on in any of its television programming. A mistake then, now and forever. They should’ve been honest with the WWE Universe they so richly tell us they care about. Right!


RAW

RESULTS

  • Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Asuka defeated Ruby Riott
  • Aleister Black defeated Oney Lorcan
  • Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Shayna Baszler defeated Sarah Logan (match stopped)
  • Austin Theory defeated Akira Tozawa
  • Angel Garza defeated Tehuti Miles
  • Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Nia Jax defeated Kairi Sane
  • Bobby Lashley defeated No Way Jose
  • The Viking Raiders defeated Ricochet & Cedric Alexander
  • Champion vs. Champion Match: WWE Champion Drew McIntyre defeated United States Champion Andrade

We’ll just call Monday Night RAW what it was – Monday Night Zelina Vega! With her hands in both Austin Theory and Angel Garza’s victories and subsequent beatdowns after their matches along with Andrade, the new female face of Monday nights led the US Champ into a champion vs. champion match against WWE champion Drew McIntyre. It’s good to see a new faction taking the spotlight, but will it stick or is it just part of the circumstances with a decreased roster available due to the pandemic? We shall see, but I like what I see so far. They’ll have to keep Andrade strong after his main event loss.

Now, after the win, McIntyre gets curbstomped by Seth Rollins, who seemingly is now in line for a title shot at Money in the Bank. The other question will be that is Rollins now aligned with the new Vega faction or just partners in crime for a night? We shall see.  Also, since Seth lost at WrestleMania to Kevin Owens, should KO be getting a shot and not the Monday Night Messiah? Seems odd.

It was disappointing to see Kairi Sane get decimated by Nia Jax in less than 3 minutes. She deserves better. The same could be said for the now departing Sarah Logan, who got stopped by an “arm injury” at the hands of Shayna Baszler.

I don’t quite get having Ricochet & Cedric Alexander lose just one week after being put together. It was a fun match with The Viking Raiders but didn’t seem like it gave the up-and-coming team the help it needed. One week does NOT a push make.

Finally, is the WWE really out of creativity? Three times we got the (insert superstar) is here on the graphics! Be better!


NXT

RESULTS

  • Finn Balor defeated Fabian Aichner
  • Xia Li defeated Aliyah
  • Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament – B Block: Akira Tozawa defeated Isaiah Scott
  • Tegan Nox defeated Rachel Gonzalez
  • Dexter Lumis defeated Tehuti Miles
  • NXT Tag Team Title Match: Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher (picked by Pete Dunne) defeated Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong

Twitter; tick tock https://twitter.com/WWE/status/1250605674649858048

Twitter: thatcher: https://twitter.com/WWENXT/status/1250604949802795015

Twitter: dream date: https://twitter.com/WWENXT/status/1250597231541063682

Another solid show to win the Wednesday night viewership wars over AEW for the second straight week. I guess now we know why Lio Rush wasn’t named to the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament, right?

We did get the debut with Timothy Thatcher being hand-picked by Pete Dunne, who can’t travel to the US with the pandemic restrictions. Not too shabby starting the NXT career with a hand-given title and a win over Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong, who was subbing for Kyle O’Reilly.

So, Charlotte Flair wants Mia Yim to get her first shot in NXT since it was her first match in NXT. That’s cute and detailed. I like it.

Loved the intimate showdown between Finn Balor and The Velveteen Dream, who have a “date” set for next week’s show.

And how about that first sighting of Killer Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux! Kross takes out Tommaso Ciampa during Ciampa’s congratulatory promo to Johnny Gargano while we get the outline of Bordeaux’s boot around his head. Big things ahead I’m sure are coming between Kross, Ciampa, Bordeaux and Candice LeRae.


SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • Tamina defeated Sasha Banks – Tamina wins a shot at Bayley’s SmackDown Women’s Title
  • Sheamus defeated Denzel DeJournette
  • Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Dana Brooke defeated Naomi
  • Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Daniel Bryan defeated Cesaro
  • Triple Threat Tag Team Title Match:  Big E defeated The Miz and Jey Uso to win the SmackDown Tag Team Titles for The New Day

I’ll give it the blue crew. SmackDown definitely had more urgency, emotion and a good vibe too it than in the past few weeks. I don’t think that’s just because it went “live.” It was a very enjoyable two-hours and I’d give it the show of the week, two thumbs up!

First things first. Let me get this straight. For this year’s Money in the Bank matches, superstars have to climb to the roof of WWE corporate headquarters to grab the vaunted briefacases? Did I hear that right? OK, you’ve got my attention. I’m officially intrigued to see how this one plays out.

The Little Big Things start the night as Universal Champion Braun Strowman joins former teammate Alexa Bliss (and Nikki Cross) on A Moment of Bliss. Love that they are tying in the old storyline with Braun and The Wyatt Family, complete with Braun’s old goat mask as a gift. If they make it emotional and full of mind games, The Fiend vs. The Monster could have legs.

Looks like we’ll get more Lacey Evans vs. Sasha Banks as Evans helps Tamina to take down The Boss to earn her a shot at Banks’ BFF Bayley’s Women’s Smackdown Title. Next Friday, it’s Evans vs. Banks in a MITB Qualifying match.

Sheamus in another <1 minute squash. Why? And yeah, BTW: what’s his beef with Michael Cole and Jeff Hardy?

Shocker of the night – Dana Brooke over Naomi in the Women’s Qualifying Match. Did not see that coming. Between that win and a future tag team title match, things are looking up for Miss Brooke.

We got more emotion and backstory out of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in five minutes Friday night than we’ve got out of Fire and Desire in five years. Keep it personal and keep it up ladies!

Give me more of those short introductory vignettes like we saw for The Forgotten Sons! Now’s the time to let us know these superstars really are!

We wanted more of the hacker and we’ve got him. Could this week’s spot be teasing a twist and potential heel turn between teams like The Miz & John Morrison, The New Day, The Usos and Bliss & Cross? Or maybe the hacker means Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura & Sami Zayn or Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak. Intriguing!

Daniel Bryan and Cesaro in the same ring is truly a clinic and their short time together Friday night didn’t disappoint. Good to see Bryan back in the title picture too by qualifying for the MITB match.  I wonder if we’ll see Drew Gulak join him there as next Friday, Gulak faces King Corbin in a MITB qualifying match.

Not for nothing, but shouldn’t Corbin and Elias do a match in Memphis for the rightful title of The King when it’s all said and done? Jerry “The King” Lawler would have to do commentary of course!

Congrats to The New Day – now 8 time WWE Tag Team Champions! Big E gets it done over Jey Uso and The Miz in the triple threat match. Nice touch using the “social media” reactions from Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods too!


Parting shots:

RIP Howard Finkel. A legendary voice. But so much more. Simply a legend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to see The Big Show Show on Netflix, do it. It’s very entertaining and funny. Paul Wight’s got some acting chops folks!


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 and Red Sox fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND!

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