This is the week that COVID-19 hit the wrestling world hard. Among those confirmed with the coronavirus are Renee Young, producer Adam Pearce and Kayla Braxton. With Young having the virus, All Elite Wrestling was also affected as AEW Champion Jon Moxley, Young’s husband, was forced to sit out Wednesday night’s live show in Jacksonville as was QT Marshall, who was also exposed to someone who had COVID-19. On Friday night SmackDown, we even got some superstars wearing masks for the first time, yet no mention of it by Michael Cole or Corey Graves.
It’s no surprise that the wrestling biz has been touched by the virus, all segments of our society have been. It’s now a matter of how the business reacts to it and keeps all in the various companies safe. Any talk of fans entering the arenas is probably now off until this latest crisis is contained. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the deadly disease.
I just wish the WWE would be more transparent when dealing with this pandemic. It makes no sense for the WWE to hide it at all. We are all dealing with the deadly virus. Showing us how it affects the WWE Superstars would lead to a better connection with the WWE Universe. I even reached out to the powers that be in the WWE on Twitter for an answer as to why they continue to hide what they are doing to protect their employees and also those who haven’t been seen in months – Roman Reigns chief amongst them.
They always say that storylines are best when they are closer to reality. Well, the WWE has missed a golden opportunity to stand out on this issue and be a leader. Unfortunately, I don’t think their stance will change since it’s only voice that is being heard and only one voice that matters in Stamford, CT.
Now, onto the week.
- RAW Tag Team Championship Match: The Street Profits defeated The Viking Raiders to retain titles
- RAW Women’s Championship Match: Asuka defeated Charlotte Flair
- 24/7 Championship Match: R-Truth defeated Akira Tozawa
- Natalya defeated Liv Morgan
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: Sasha Banks & Bayley defeated The IIconics
- United States Championship Match: Apollo Crews defeated Shelton Benjamin
Ladies Night – From the swerve of Sasha Banks teasing a match with Bayley for the SmackDown Championship to the Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair title match to the Liv Morgan vs. Natalya with Lana (edited, but still good) storyline and more, we got an interesting night from the Women of WWE. Sasha vs. Asuka could be a classic if they give it enough time and breathing room. We’ll miss Flair not that she’s been taken out by Nia Jax and will be having surgery (elective or not). Where Liv, Nattie and Lana go next is intriguing too! Although, I’m not too pleased to see Morgan jobbed out lately. She deserves a bigger push than that.
Clean Finish – Full golf clap for the clean finish between the Street Profits and the Viking Raiders tag team match. Dug the honor and respect notion portion of their feud. Now, will they be allies when it comes to taking out Andrade and Angel Garza?
24/7: Sure, we knew that the Ninjas and Akira Tozawa were going to take the title from R-Truth, with help from Bobby Lashley of course. I just hope they continue with the antics out of the ring because that’s where the 24/7 fun really begins.
Time will tell on this trade:
Dolph traded to RAW – So, we now know who SmackDown traded to RAW for AJ Styles. It was Dolph Ziggler and the Glorious Bobby Roode heading to Monday night. How convenient too in that Drew McIntyre needed an opponent for Extreme Rules and Ziggler is here to collect. They’ve got history, but it doesn’t seem like enough to get for The Phenomenal One.
The Legend Killer continues:
The Viper vs. The Big Show – I’ll be honest, I half expected Randy Orton to go crazy and take out Ric Flair instead of the tried and true of taking on The Big Show down the road. That would’ve been fun and a nice twist that Orton really wants to relive the Legend Killer days. Maybe down the road. But for now, it looks like Show is the next victim.
Not all in:
Monday Night Messiah vs. Mysterio – I’ll admit, after weeks of back-and-forth, I’m still not fully buying in to the whole Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio and Dominick feud. There’s just not a lot there for me to take a bit out of. Maybe it will get some more sizzle at Extreme Rules, but I’m not holding my breath.
- Cameron Grimes defeated Damian Priest
- NXT Cruiserweight Championship Non-Title Match: Santos Escobar defeated Jake Atlas
- Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez defeated Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro
- Karrion Kross defeated Bronson Reed
- Rhea Ripley defeated Aliyah
- Dexter Lumis defeated Roderick Strong (count-out)
- North American Championship Triple Threat Match: Keith Lee defeated Finn Balor & Johnny Gargano to retain title
Lee rides tall – Keith Lee is now THE man and next in line for the NXT Championship. A very solid triple threat main event leaves everyone strong and a huge title match in two weeks between Lee and Adam Cole. It wouldn’t shock me if we are basking in the glory of the NEW NXT Champion on July 8th.
Rhea Ripley – Dare I say that Rhea Ripley is funny! It’s nice to see the “other” side of Ripley as we all know she’s a beast in the ring and has some depth to her as well. Next week, Robert Stone will be on more than just the trashy side of her physicality. Maybe he’ll throw a shoe again!
Karrion Kross vs. Bronson Reed – Oh sure, we knew there was no way that Reed was going to pull off an upset, but to see these two brutes wage battle against each other in a very physical matchup was entertaining.
The Great American Bash – Bringing back tradition is a good thing. First In Your House and now this WCW/WWE Summer Special. I just hope we get a few vignette highlight packages too of GAB of yesteryear. Those were some really good cards!
Fun and productive:
Kayden & Kacy vs. Raquel & Dakota – I like the build-up with Carter & Catanzaro in their mini-feud with Kai & Gonzalez. Both teams look stronger coming out of it too.
Dexter Lumis – Strong, silent and looking quite deadly. Roderick Strong, even after his Undisputed Era Therapy breakthrough, wanted no part of him but will now be strapped to him in next week’s first ever Strap Match at The Great American Bash.
Due to the COVID-19 positive tests, we got a special tribute to The Undertaker on this week’s SmackDown. They are saying that the Boneyard Match at WrestleMania 36 was UT’s final match. That will remain to be seen. The full first hour was devoted to special vignettes (taken from The Undertaker’s Last Ride WWE Network special) and the broadcast premiere of the Boneyard Match between The Undertaker and AJ Styles. Quality stuff even if you were watching for the second time.
As for the rest of the show, a fun second hour with in-ring action. We got Nikki Cross gaining her first PPV shot at Bayley’s SmackDown Championship at Extreme Rules. Really enjoyed the eight-man tag team match and it was nice to see Lucha House Party get the tv win as well.
Universal Champion Braun Strowman set up his “swamp match” with Bray Wyatt for Extreme Rules. After asking for more to the storyline last week, I’m glad we got it out of Strowman by acknowledging his dark side past and inviting it back into his present. We can only imagine what kind of goodies we’ll get in that cinematic match with Wyatt’s twisted mind at work.
In the main event, it was an interesting sight to see all the SmackDown superstars at ringside to support Hardy’s tribute to The Undertaker against Corbin. LOVE the “Corbin sucks” chants too! A fitting end to the night too with Hardy, Strowman, Big E and Matt Riddle all getting their finishing moves over on Corbin. It was a nice nod to what used to happen at the house shows of yesteryear.
One question though – why was Riddle at ringside but nothing done to build on his win over AJ Styles last week until the final minute of the broadcast with a passing mention by Cole. And oh yeah, what happened to Styles vs. Drew Gulak for the Intercontinental Title? Details people!
- Fatal Four-Way SmackDown Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Nikki Cross defeated Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke & Lacey Evans
- 8-Man Tag Team Match: Lucha House Party & The New Day defeated Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura, The Miz & John Morrison
- Jeff Hardy defeated King Corbin
Extreme Rules PPV – Updated Card
- WWE Championship Match – Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler
- RAW Women’s Championship Match: Asuka vs. Sasha Banks
- Universal Championship Match: Wyatt Swamp Match – Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt
- SmackDown Women’s Championship – Bayley vs. Nikki Cross
Sorry to see WWE Backstage get cancelled. Although, I’m not surprised. The 11pm eastern timeslot never gave them a chance! Signing CM Punk to pair with Renee Young was a nice coup, but not having him there every week hurt. When he was on, ratings went up. Plus, it never quite achieved the insider status it hope to get. Production-wise, the show was good. There just wasn’t enough of it at good spot and oh yeah, not too many TV viewers have or know of FS1. Put on a real network, it may have succeeded. For now, now that it’s been downsized in the pandemic age, we’ll see it again around the major PPVs.
Wear you masks people! It may be awkward, but it saves lives!
COMING UP THIS WEEK:
RAW: Double Contract
WWE Championship – Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler
RAW Women’s Championship – Asuka & Sasha Banks
NXT – Great American Bash – Night 1
Aliyah & Robert Stone vs. Rhea Ripley
Fatal Four-Way NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Candice LeRae vs. Mia Yim vs. Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox
Strap Match: Dexter Lumis vs. Roderick Strong
Sheamus Toast to Jeff Hardy
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