This Week In The WWE: 5/31-6/6

Before we get to the matter at hand and the countdown to a pair of PPV’s in the WWE, there’s something that’s bugging me about the new look of WWE programming.

I have to get this off my chest about the “crowd” at WWE shows the past couple of weeks. Yes, it’s an upgrade over no crowd. But what I fail to understand is why does it always have to be NXT up-and-comers? Why can’t other RAW, NXT and SmackDown superstars be out there at different points? It would make more sense. Advance it a bit and use some “names” out at ringside to move storylines ahead. It would help keep those who aren’t in the ring at the time more relevant as well. You want to have invitations to other shows, why not have them out there as “scouting” out the competition? Think out of the box folks!

OK, now I feel better. And yes, there are good things to talk about including a pair of Prime Target debuts on NXT that were very good and new (yet old) tag team champions!


Star of the Week:

Bayley and Sasha Banks – Thanks to their victory Friday night on SmackDown over Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross, the SmackDown Women’s Champion is now 2-Belt Bayley and joins her BFF Sasha Banks as two-time tag team champions. Despite their moments of dissension late in the match, the duo put that aside to come out on top. One of the, if not THE, highlights of the week


Coming up Sunday, it’s NXT’s chance to capture the spotlight with a nod to the past with NXT TakeOver: In Your House. I hope there are some fun things Sunday night to mix in with the current talent from NXT which usually shines in TakeOver nights. I’m expecting the same this weekend. Kind of dig this return from Todd Pettengill!

NXT TakeOver: In Your House – UPDATED CARD

  • NXT Championship Backlot Brawl Match: Adam Cole vs. The Velveteen Dream
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai
  • NXT North American Title Match: Keith Lee vs. Johnny Gargano
  • Karrion Kross vs. Tommaso Ciampa
  • Finn Balor vs. Damien Priest
  • Mia Yim, Tegan Nox & Shotzi Blackheart vs. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez

BACKLASH PPV – UPDATED CARD

  • WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley
  • Universal Championship Handicap Match: Braun Strowman vs. The Miz & John Morrison
  • Greatest Wrestling Match Ever: Edge vs. Randy Orton
  • RAW Women’s Championship Match: Asuka vs. Nia Jax
  • Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus

Now, on to the week that was.

RAW

RESULTS

  • Aleister Black defeated Seth Rollins
  • United States Title Match: Apollo Crews vs. Kevin Owens went to no-contest
  • Apollo Crews & Kevin Owens defeated Andrade & Angel Garza
  • Billie Kay defeated Nikki Cross
  • 24/7 Championship Match – R-Truth defeated Rob Gronkowski to win title
  • Nia Jax defeated Kairi Sane
  • Champion vs. Champion – Charlotte Flair defeated Asuka by count-out
  • Non-title WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre defeated MVP

What we loved:

MVP, Lashley & Lana – Chemistry. He doesn’t like her. She doesn’t like him. But, together, do they have a plot to make Bobby Lashley the new WWE Champion? MVP has done more for Lashley in a month than Lana did in six months.

What we didn’t like:

Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka – Why waste a fantastic match between two of the best in-ring workers in the WWE with Nia Jax and a mask? Give me a clean match between The Queen and The Empress and have Jax prance around after. No need for a silly count-out ending my friends.

Zelina’s Faction – It seemed like Zelina Vega’s faction of Andrade, Angel Garza and at one time, Austin Theory looked strong for about five seconds. Since its initial push, it’s been all downhill. Theory’s gone to join Seth Rollins and his Monday Night Minions, Andrade’s lost his US Title and it seems like the faction loses every week. Not the way to build momentum at all. Here’s hoping they clean it up and get them some juice again. Why not go after Rollins, Buddy Murphy & Theory for a bit? Why not make Crews’ new run as champion a living nightmare?

It had to happen:

Rey’s not retiring – We saw this one a mile away. But, it’s too soon for Mysterio to say goodbye just yet. Will Dominick be a new minion for Seth Rollins and the Monday Night Messiah?

24/7 – The 24/7 Championship comes home to R-Truth! With Rob Gronkowski headed back to the NFL with the Tampa Bay Bucs, he had to opt out of his WWE deal and of course, drop the belt. Nice to see Gronk back in Foxboro for a bit too. Hopefully, the 24/7 fun returns with its favorite title holder. I’m just waiting for Cousin Ricky to win it now!

Friends and enemies – Well, not quite fierce enemies, but having Kevin Owens face Apollo Crews in his first US Title defense was nice to see, albeit too short as it was only to set up a tag match against Andrade & Angel Garza.


NXT

RESULTS

  • Candice LeRae vs. Mia Yim ended in double count-out
  • Candice LeRae & Johnny Gargano defeated Mia Yim & Keith Lee
  • Isaiah Scott defeated Tony Nese
  • NXT Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Breezango defeated Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan and The Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish)
  • Santana Garrett defeated Aliyah
  • Cameron Grimes defeated Bronson Reed
  • NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament Finals: El Hijo del Fantasma defeated Drew Maverick

What we liked:

Drake’s staying – One of the more entertaining storylines the past six weeks has been Drake Maverick advancing through the NXT Cruiserweight Tournament and keeping his job alive in NXT. Although he lost to El Hijo del Fantasma in the finals, Maverick gets to stay as Triple H gives him a contract to stay working on Wednesday nights. Heartwarming.

Prime Target – Really enjoyed the production pieces advancing the Adam Cole vs. The Velveteen Dream match into a Backlot Brawl as well as the Triple Threat NXT Women’s Championship Match between Charlotte Flair, Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai. It was a much better way to go than having another run-in to a match or flat ending. Nice build-up to In Your House this Sunday. Loved the Shirai start with her completely underwater!

Special:

Karrion Kross – Direct. Strong. No flash. Beat up Bronson Reed and a straight to the point promo directed at Tommaso Ciampa. Special it will be Sunday night in Kross TakeOver debut. Ciampa’s promo piece was pretty special in its own right too!

What we didn’t like:

Mexican Masked Men – We get the men who have been kidnapping superstars for months helping El Hijo del Fantasma beat Drake Maverick, but no follow-up after the match by the announce crew. Seemed out of the place not to say anything or have the masked men congratulating El Hijo del Fantasma for his victory. Odd.

Tough week:

Robert Stone – First, Stone gets fired by Chelsea Green and now Aliyah loses again, in short measure, to Santana Garrett. Doesn’t seem like there is a firm direction on what to do with either Stone or Aliyah.

NXT, we have no problem:

Breezango returns – Loved the entrance on the heels of the SpaceX launch in Florida late last month. Breezango always entertains and gives a quality in-ring performance. Now, let’s see how they fare against the power of Imperium.

A bit lackluster:

Lee vs. Gargano – Am I missing something or shouldn’t this one for the North American Title have a bigger feel than what it does at the moment? Lee’s luster has dropped a bit since the rush of the Royal Rumble and stardom of Survivor Series. Sure, no crowd hurts, but they can get over that. Here’s hoping a very good match awaits at IYH.


SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • Otis defeated King Corbin (DQ)
  • Lacey Evans defeated Sonya Deville
  • Drew Gulak defeated AJ Styles
  • The New Day & Chad Gable defeated Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamara & Mojo Rawley
  • Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross to win titles

What we loved:

Viva la women! – Thanks to the women of SmackDown for putting the fun into Friday night. Sonya Deville and Lacey Evans, given a couple of segments to go at it again after last week’s double count out, proved more than deserving of the time. We asked for it and they delivered again this week. Plus, we got a Deville-Mandy Rose extension with Rose costing her former bestie the match with some distraction tactics on the big screen.

Viva la women, part 2! – You already know that Bayley & Sasha Banks are the stars of the week from above, but we absolutely love that the WWE avoided the predictable loss via troubled times for the now tag team champs. We know eventually that we will get Bayley vs. Banks, but let’s let it simmer for a few months, right? It will make it all the sweeter when it does come to fruition.

Fun and entertaining:

6-man action – Anytime you can get The New Day, Chad Gable, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura in the same ring, you know it would be good. Add in Mojo Rawley to take the fall on the pin and you’ve got a fun match. And that’s exactly what it was. Nice showcase.

What we didn’t like:

AJ Styles losing – In trying to promote next week’s Intercontinental Championship Tournament Finals between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles, we get a face-off between the two interrupted by Drew Gulak, who then beats Styles. Not a great way to keep Styles strong before the finals next week. Not a fan of that one.

Could do without:

The Miz & Morrison’s Warning – I get they are trying to be comedic and all, but another Braun Strowman vehicle tossing segment is just a throwaway. Been there, done that. The Miz & John Morrison, stuck in the surveillance van, trying to make the big, bad Braun mad with silly drink and slime antics is just does nothing for me. It just makes the match at Backlash seem like more of yawn than something that I should be interested in.

Necessary:

Hardy vs. Sheamus – We got the expected next step in the Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus saga as Hardy seems to prove he wasn’t drunk and running down Elias last week. Sheamus fully denies any involvement and now we get the pair battling it out at Backlash. Necessary and very predictable. Not much of an update on poor ol’ Elias either.

No chemistry:

Otis & King Corbin – Why? Just didn’t click on any level for me.


Parting shots:

Well done Titus O’Neill for speaking out this week and supporting the peaceful protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Kudos as well to CM Punk for the strong message on WWE Backstage. I wish the WWE and Punk would get together on a show that is watched more at a more suitable time to bring this type of conversation to the forefront on their platforms. Leading instead of burying it. I know it won’t happen, but it would be oh so refreshing and needed!


Coming up this week:

RAW – Edge joins Christian on “The Peep Show”
NXT – TakeOver: In Your House fallout
SmackDown – Intercontinental Tournament Finals: Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles


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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