This Week In The WWE: 7/19-7/25

Honesty.

Let’s be honest with ourselves WWE Universe. The WWE has let us down.

With a chance to lead the way through the pandemic with fun, entertaining and new advances for their shows, talent and superstars, it seems like the WWE creative team has just chosen to take the Summer off. It’s too bad, because they are wasting a valuable opportunity. And now, with MLB, NBA and NHL all back playing as we head into August and the NFL ready to head back to training camps, the eyeballs are even more split on what to watch.

For the past five months, we’ve all been looking to watch the next WOW on TV and digital screens. The WWE could’ve used the opportunity to be fresh, innovative and edgy, things they’ve been known for in the past. Yet, it’s been show after show of the same ol’ predictable and formulaic shows.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the in-ring product has always been phenomenal. Let’s not take anything away from the women and men in the squared circle. It’s what they do to tell the story that’s been lacking. Let’s be honest again, the person with the best told story of the Summer has been Randy Orton. And after that, it’s been the Summer of Sasha and Bayla leading their own women’s revolution as the game’s best! It’s amazing that we’ve been met with 50-50 booking that have seen stars like Angel Garza, Andrade, Apollo Crews get stuck in mid-card status. There were a few signs of positivity which you’ll see in the show recaps, but there needs to be more!

Why the WWE has never come clean with its audience on the COVID-19 pandemic is beyond me! Why not tell people why Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens (at times), Crews, Renee Young and others haven’t been on TV. It’s ok to let us see behind the curtain folks! It would humanize and freshen the content. Plus, hearing Reigns talk about sacrificing his own career for the health of his family is compelling content, something the WWE needs more, not less of these days.

If you don’t believe things have gotten stale, here’s a reminder – coming up next week, we’ve got three title rematches coming your way.

Finally, the look of the shows is the same each and every week. Dark, small and in the Performance Center makes it look like you’re hiding the product. Having the same NXT up-and-comers be stand-ins for crowd each and every show is better than nothing, but could be improved. I do LOVE the “you suck” chants though!

I want the WWE to go back to having fun and not caring so much about every little thing affecting sponsors. Be bold, have common sense and take care of the details. With those changes, we could all be back loving the WWE again.

Honestly.


Horror Show at Extreme Rules – Recap
I’m not going to waste too much time with this one. I’ll say this. The in-ring stuff was fine, especially with Drew McIntyre/Dolph Ziggler and Asuka/Sasha Banks before the end. The booking was terrible. Why ruin Asuka vs. Sasha with a ref bump (or mist!)? Why have an Eye for an Eye Match end with no eye being taken out? Why have Apollo Crews (rumored to have tested positive for COVID-19) out with an “injury” instead of telling the truth? Why have a Swamp Match include Alexa Bliss when she wasn’t there in the beginning with Braun Strowman (the Mixed Match Challenge was later)? Common sense was thrown out the window folks! And we’ll leave it at that.


STAR OF THE WEEKKairi Sane – We may not know how long she’s going to stay here in the United States as rumors of her returning to Japan are out there, but her win over Bayley is a highlight to be proud of! She’s been a bundle of excitement and a wonderful side kick to Asuka in the Kabuki Warriors. Thank you Kairi Sane!

Honorable Mention: Montez Ford and his unforgettable frogsplash to beat Angel Garza & Andrade was breathtaking! That dude is a future World Champion!


RAW

RESULTS

  • Seth Rollins defeated Aleister Black
  • Shelton Benjamin defeated R-Truth to win 24/7 Championship
  • Mustafa Ali, Ricochet & Cedric Alexander defeated Bobby Lashley, MVP & Shelton Benjamin
  • Ruby Riott defeated Peyton Royce
  • Non-Title RAW Tag Team Championship Match: The Street Profits defeated Andrade & Angel Garza
  • Unsanctioned Match: Randy Orton defeated The Big Show

Loved It:

Rollins vs. Black – A great back and forth and a match I really thought Black was going to pull out.

Hated It:

Rollins vs. Black – What? No friends for Aleister Black?

Rollins’ lies – No Seth, we didn’t have any blood Sunday night and no we didn’t have an eye popped out of the socket of Rey Mysterio. Stop lying to us!

Welcome back:

Mustafa Ali – We haven’t seen Ali for months and it was awesome to see his athleticism return to Monday night! A win over MVP was a welcome sight too instead of the predictable job out of late for the team of Ricochet & Cedric Alexander.

Stephanie McMahon – Even if it was through video on the big screen, it was good to see Steph return to put the RAW’s Women’s Championship back on Asuka and set a championship match for this upcoming Monday night. Monday nights are always bigger and better when the Princess is around.

Shelton Benjamin – Sure, he’s been around of late, but we welcome back to the Title picture with a 24/7 Championship victory over R-Truth. The Hurt Business is definitely in Shelton’s best interest as he joins ranks with MVP and Bobby Lashley.

Are they or aren’t they?

Andrade & Angel – Zelina Vega’s boys lost a non-title match to The Street Profits but say they are on the same page. I guess that meant they were on the same page to help Randy Orton take out The Big Show in the Unsanctioned Match and not in their own best interests. Their up and down weeks continue.

Meh:

Orton vs. Big Show – The buildup was better than the expected payoff, especially with no Ric Flair there.

Drew vs. Dolph II – Why exactly do we need it? As McIntyre said, he just beat Ziggler 24 hours ago.


NXT

RESULTS

  • Dexter Lumis defeated Killian Dain
  • Breezango defeated Ever-Rise
  • Shotzi Blackheart defeated Aliyah
  • NXT North American Qualifying Triple Threat Match: Bronson Reed defeated Johnny Gargano & Roderick Strong
  • Timothy Thatcher defeated Oney Lorcan
  • Karrion Kross defeated Dominik Dijakovic

Opportunity reigns:

NXT North American Title – With Keith Lee giving up his North American Championship, NXT is the land of opportunity (sorry SmackDown) as we’re getting a bevy of triple threat matches over the next few weeks to decide who will get into the Ladder Match at NXT TakeOver: XXX in August to decide the next champion.

Bronson Reed – Very happy to see Reed get his shot in the spotlight after his tasty triple threat victory over Johnny Gargano & Roderick Strong. Match of the night as Reed takes out two of NXT’s best in a very entertaining match. Anytime a big man like that comes flying off the top rope – WATCH OUT!. Well done Thicc Boi!

Kross vs. Lee – Diggin’ the slow build to Karrion Kross vs. Keith Lee for the NXT Championship. Having Lee watch Kross take out his BFF Dominik Dijakovic makes this personal right from the get go. Making the physicality wait makes it more and more worth the wait!

Nod to the Mountie:

Breezango – Nice touch by Breezango with the tribute to The Mountie before a win over Ever-Rise. Tyler Breeze and Fandango never fail to entertain in and out of the ring! A perfect fit in NXT is there for them.

Don’t get:

Timothy Thatcher – Count me as one who just doesn’t get the gimmick. Is there something I’m missing? Shouldn’t he have a bunch of minions by now to teach and be followed by?

Solid:

Shotzi vs. Aliyah – Shotzi is a sure bet week in and week out and Aliyah is getting better as well. Down the road, we need a hair match of Shotzi vs. Sasha too! And yes, give me more tank shots!

The brand gets bigger:

Mercedes Martinez – Sure, The Robert Stone Brand snagged a big fish in Martinez, but we all know it’s only a matter of time before she’s kicking his ass for a big misstep!


SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • Nikki Cross defeated Alexa Bliss – Cross wins shot at Bayley’s SmackDown Championship next week
  • Matt Riddle defeated Tony Nese
  • Fatal Four-Way Match: Gran Metalik defeated Shorty G, Drew Gulak and Lince Dorado to win shot at AJ Styles Intercontinental Championship next week
  • Bar Fight: Jeff Hardy defeated Sheamus

Loved it:

The Bar Fight – Sure, my expectations for it were low, but it had me hooked! I would’ve done without the commercial interruption too! But, all in all, it was a very good way to end a pretty good SmackDown. Jeff Hardy exercising his demons, complete with his face paint and evil eyes, flying off a ladder (of course Jeff Hardy finds a ladder in the storage closet!) to get the three count after the Swanton is fitting! Now, it should be time for Hardy to move on to a new feud, maybe for the I-C Title with Styles? I did like the little nod to Matt Hardy having to delete his WWE career too.

Looking forward:

Bliss vs. Cross – It was amusing to see Bayley pit Alexa Bliss against Nikki Cross for a shot at her title next week. It was fun to see the besties go at it again. Somehow, me thinks there’s a Little Miss Bliss heel turn coming that will cost her BFF another title shot next week. Well, at least I’m hoping. Because otherwise, I’m not that excited about another Bayley vs. Cross match.

A King’s Ransom – Love that King Corbin put out the King’s Ransom for anyone to put down Matt Riddle. There’s nothing like a good bounty in wrestling. Just ask the likes of Harley Race and Ric Flair!

Big E – With Kofi Kingston’s injuries from the tables match at Extreme Rules putting him on the shelf for six weeks, it’s time for Big E to make a big-time title run! #PutYourMeatOnMyMeat

Fun in a Fatal Four-Way – Congrats to Gran Metalik for winning an I-C Title match next week against AJ Styles. He has no chance of winning but it will be a good match. Plus, the four-way got a tease of Drew Gulak vs. Shorty G too, which would entertain for us wrestling fans!

Reality:

Naomi in MizTV – Finally a little reality into the mix. Bringing Naomi’s #NaomiDeservesBetter internet squabble to TV. As we said at the top, the WWE has gotten far too predictable and formulaic during the pandemic instead of using it to try new things. Here’s hoping we continue moving forward.

Disappointing:

Firefly Fun House – Showing no ill effects from the Swamp Match, Bray Wyatt is fresh as a daisy for a new episode of the Firefly Fun House. And yet, Wyatt says The Fiend is unleashed? We’ve heard that before and yet it’s like he’s been muted lately. A wonderful gimmick has been neutered when he should run roughshod over the entire WWE. Well, we can dream, right?!

Where ya been?

Mandy & Otis – Did we really need a rehash? Maybe you could just tell us where Mr. Money in the Bank has been right? Instead, I’m sure we’ll get some more non-sense next Friday night.

Daniel Bryan – Did someone lock him in the writer’s room?


Parting Shots:

Welcome back Kayla Braxton! We’re happy to see her on TV healthy again after beating COVID-19. Up next, here’s hoping we see Renee Young soon as well.


Upcoming this week:

RAW:
RAW Women’s Championship Match: Asuka vs. Sasha BanksWWE Championship Match – McIntyre picks the stipulation: Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler

NXT:
NXT North American Qualifying Triple Threat Match: Finn Balor vs. Dexter Lumis vs. Timothy Thatcher

SMACKDOWN:
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley vs. Nikki Cross
Intercontinental Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. Gran Metalik
Naomi vs. Lacey Evans


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