This Week In The WWE: 9/20 – 9/26

6 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and this is the week that the wrestling world was hit all around with positive tests. Most affected seems to be NXT and AEW. While no cases have been publicly confirmed on the NXT, RAW or SmackDown roster this week by WWE, reports are that there was quite a bit of movement with storylines being rewritten and some superstars not being in attendance. Meanwhile, on AEW, #1 contender Lance Archer is out due to the coronavirus.

It’s hard to believe that the NXT #1 contender’s match was supposed to be KUSHIDA vs. Cameron Grimes, Bronson Reed, Timothy Thatcher and Kyle O’Reilly. No disrespect intended to those 5, but the lack of superstar talent is quite striking. It would be hard to believe that the folks running NXT (yes, you Triple H and Shawn Michaels), wanted it to be that way. Unfortunately, there’s no transparency in the WWE, so we’ll never really know. The WWE should be very transparent and honest when dealing with the pandemic and its effects on the product. But then again, this is the same company that still hasn’t come clean on why Roman Reigns wasn’t around during WrestleMania and the months afterwards.

The other thing that’s really bugging me these days about the WWE? Disqualifications. It’s lazy booking and the WWE is relying on it 2-3 times a show these days. It’s unnecessary. Please stop!

Finally, what the hell was that with RETRIBUTION! Yikes! We’ll discuss more in our RAW recap! But first, some PPV’s to attend to first.


Clash of Champions – UPDATED CARD

  • WWE Championship Ambulance Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton
  • WWE Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley vs. Nikki Cross
  • WWE Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax vs. The Riott Squad
  • Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Lucha House Party
  • RAW Tag Team Championship Match: The Street Profits vs. Angel Garza and Andrade
  • WWE Undisputed Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn
  • WWE United States Championship Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Apollo Crews
  • RAW Women’s Championship Kickoff Show Match: Asuka vs. Zelina Vega

NXT:TakeOver – UPDATED CARD

  • NXT Championship Match: Finn Balor vs. Kyle O’Reilly
  • NXT Women’s Championship Match: Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae
  • NXT North American Championship Match: Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano

Star of the Week:

Alexa Bliss – A rockstar to be sure! Whether it’s been as a face or a heel, in the ring, out of the ring, on the mic or just being there, Miss Bliss is fabulous! And now, with this tweener chartacter with influence from The Fiend, she’s rocking it in every way! The glances and facial expressions are on point and we can’t wait to see where it goes next!

RAW

RESULTS

  • RAW Tag Team Championship #1 Contender Match: Andrade & Angel Garza defeated Humberto Carrillo & Dominik Mysterio and Seth Rollins & Murphy
  • Non-title WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre defeated Keith Lee via DQ
  • RAW Women’s Championship #1 Contender Match: Zelina Vega defeated Mickie James
  • Apollo Crews defeated Cedric Alexander
  • RAW Underground: Dolph Ziggler defeated Arturo Ruas
  • Non-title Women’s Championship Match: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Natalya & Lana
  • RAW Underground: Riddick Moss defeated Erik
  • Non-title RAW Women’s Championship Match: Asuka defeated Peyton Royce
  • RAW Underground: Braun Strowman defeated Dabba-Kato
  • The Hurt Business vs. RETRIBUTION went to a no-contest

There was absolutely NOTHING I loved about RAW this week. So utterly disappointed in how the go-home show before Clash of Champions was laid out. From the start of the show where it’s announced that RETRIBUTION has contracts to their ridiculous names (T-BAR, Mace & Slapjack) and masks (childish!) to the cluster of a chaos #!* that was the main event, it has now set up RETRIBUTION for utter failure! The five main members of Dominki Dijokovic, Dio Maddin, Shane Thorne, Mia Yim and Mercedes Martinez has been undercut and has little or no chance to survive without a major happening at Clash. How do they have credibility when they called out WWE superstars for their contracts and greed and then they agree to a WWE contract? Ridiculous! How do they have any credibility when they can’t even take on the Hurt Business to get a victory in their first match? Absurd! Can you imagine the NWO or Hall/Nash not going over at Bash at the Beach?

Seth Rollins dragging up a redux of the Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio feud from the past with news that maybe Rey’s not the father of Dominik is tired, old rehash. Then, Rollins send his wrath towards daughter Aalyah. The writing is on the wall my friends, Aalyah will be a minion with the Monday Night Messiah before we know it.

Elsewhere, Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee has been a utter waste of time as a backdrop for Randy Orton, who continues to be doing some of his best work of his 20-year career. That promo, including a nice catch of himself, was spot-on. I like him going over this Sunday!

RAW Underground had its moments with Braun Strowman having a good night and even Dolph Ziggler getting a victory. The right team, Andrade & Angel Garza got the tag team title match against The Street Profits Sunday night.

All in all, not an enjoyable night for me for RAW. A ton of wasteful opportunities.


NXT

RESULTS

  • NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender Battle Royale: Candice LeRae wins shot at Io Shirai at NXT: TakeOver
  • Tommaso Ciampa defeated Jake Atlas
  • Danny Burch & Roderick Strong defeated Fabian Aichner & Raul Mendoza to win a spot in #1 Contender Match for NXT Tag Team Championship
  • Non-title NXT North American Championship Match: Damian Priest defeated Austin Theory
  • Ridge Holland defeated Antonio DeLuca
  • Gauntlet Eliminator Match: Kyle O’Reilly defeated Bronson Reed, Kushida, Cameron Grimes & Timothy Thatcher to win shot at NXT Championship

Best show of the week!

Kudos to Kyle O’Reilly. i don’t think anyone saw him running the table and winning the Gauntlet Eliminator Match. Plus, let’s be honest, no one saw him being in the match to begin with. But, having said that, while the five-man match lacked star firepower, the match itself was very good. I, personally, saw KUSHIDA going over but it’s nice to see O’Reilly got his day in the sun vs. Finn Balor at NXT:TakeOver. It’ll be an enjoyable match with a predictable outcome. Time will tell just how much COVID-19 affected the booking here and who was available, but NXT, as usual, made the best of a bad situation.

https://twitter.com/WWE/status/1308923538032783360

The Women’s Battle Royale for a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship was entertaining as hell! Yes, I”m a Kacy Catanzaro mark, so it was fun to see her make the final four with all the fancy footwork and antics that should make her an annual entrant into the Royal Rumble. Having Candice LeRae go over to win it to makes absolute sense! Now, with LeRae having a title match at NXT:TakeOver and husband Johnny Gargano ready to face Damian Priest for the NXT North American Championship has the makings of a double-gold night for the Gargano Way. Maybe we’ll get an Edge/Lita type celebration.

Squash matches for Tommaso Ciampa and Ridge Holland made sense. Plus, having Fandango make an interesting #1 Contender match of his own for the tag team titles was out of nowhere, but was needed with the unavailable superstars.

Who is they? What former NXT Champion is the Insurgent coming back at NXT:TakeOver? Is it Bobby Roode, Bo Dallas, Ember Moon


SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • Triple Threat Match: Sami Zayn defeated AJ Styles & Jeff Hardy
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Gran Metalik
  • King Corbin defeated Matt Riddle
  • Lacey Evans defeated Alexa Bliss by DQ

LOVED IT:

Family affair – Roman Reigns being blunt that “It will never be you, because it will always be me” line was killer. But, Jey Uso’s reaction, with emotion and desparation was fantastic. I’m invested! Short, sweet and no in-ring fisticuffs. And then, one Superman punch and the tonuge-lashing from the Universal Champion. When Reigns said he’ll feed my family with this title and told Uso that he should take the payday and the ass-whooping, he’s not far from the truth. The most impactful 3:00 of Friday night.

Alexa Bliss – First off, the match with Lacey Evans was very good. Secondly, the addition of The Fiend’s red lighting causing Bliss to absolutely lose control was fitting. Then, the look from Bliss to Roman Reigns on the ramp was the cherry on the SmackDown sundae. Delicious!

Wasted effort:

LHP feud – We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, NO ONE wants to see a feud between the members of the Lucha House Party. Wasting it while in the midst of a tag team championship squirmish with Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura is just a pure waste of everyone’s time.

Otis vs. The Miz – Really not feeling the lawsuit vibe here at all. I’d rather see either team in the mix for the tag team championships.

Good stuff:

Matt Riddle – Every time he’s in the ring, this time in a losing Payback rematch against King Corbin, Riddle doesn’t disappoint. He’s on the rise and good things are ahead for the Bro Show.

Triple Threat IC – While I’m not a fan of having the same 3 guys face off in a match two days before a PPV, Sami Zayn and AJ Styles put their best foot forward for Sunday’s Intercontinental Title Ladder Match at Clash of Champions. It makes me thing Jeff Hardy and his new contract will walk away with all the gold!

Untouchable – So, if reports are true that it’s really Carmella and her tattoo in these vignettes, it’s not a bad thing. I just wonder if they give reality to her relationship with Corey Graves too. BTW, I didn’t think anyone still owned a polaroid camera these days!

Bayley – As usual. Solid and getting better on the mic. Can’t wait for the Sasha feud to go full blown.


Parting shots:

RIP John Laurinaitis – Road Warrior Animal passed away much too young this week at age 60. The Road Warriors, Hawk and Animal, changed the sport and tag team wrestling forever. Long live the Road Warrior pop!


Clash of Champions – Predictions

  • WWE Championship Ambulance Match: Randy Orton defeats Drew McIntyre to win title
  • WWE Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns defeats Jey Uso
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Nikki Cross defeats Bayley (thanks to Sasha Banks) to win title – Alexa Bliss comes out to congratulate her and gives her a Sister Abigail
  • WWE Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax defeats The Riott Squad to retain title
  • Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Lucha House Party to retain title
  • RAW Tag Team Championship Match: The Street Profits defeats Angel Garza and Andrade to retain title
  • WWE Undisputed Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Jeff Hardy defeats AJ Styles & Sami Zayn to win undisputed title
  • WWE United States Championship Match: Bobby Lashley defeats Apollo Crews to retain title
  • RAW Women’s Championship Kickoff Show Match: Asuka defeats Zelina Vega to retain title

Coming up this week:

RAW:
Clash of Champions Fallout

NXT:
Shawn Michaels hosts face-off between Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Dakota Kai

SMACKDOWN:
Clash of Champions Fallout


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