Is it me or has the WWE gone from Monday nights being the must-see show to see each week to NXT and SmackDown taking over the best of spots in the WWE?
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that RAW has been bad lately. It hasn’t been. Maybe it’s the uncertainty of what RAW Underground and RETRIBUTION is or isn’t on a weekly basis. Maybe it’s RAW being three hours and that’s a long time for anything in these days of short attentions spans which leads to a lot of rehashing and repetition. Or maybe it’s just NXT and SmackDown upping their games of late.
I think it’s a bit of both my friends. And that’s not a bad thing. Having all shows trying to click at their peak efficiency and quality each and every week is a perfect problem to have. As long as that continues, it’ll make for better programming for everyone in WWE.
And oh, by the way, why is Adam Pearce getting more and more tv time on Monday and Friday nights?
Star of the Week:
Finn Balor – It’s a very welcome sight to see the Prince back atop NXT. He said he wanted to come back to Full Sail to regain his destiny and after an Iron Man Match and a one-on-one victory over Adam Cole, Finn Balor is once again NXT Championship.
- Bobby Lashley, MVP & Shelton Benjamin defeated Apollo Crews, Ricochet & Cedric Alexander
- RAW Tag Team Championship Non-Title Match: The Street Profits defeated Andrade & Angel Garza
- Peyton Royce defeated Billie Kay
- Asuka & Mickie James defeated Natalya & Lana
- Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander, MVP & Shelton Benjamin defeated Apollo Crews, Ricochet & The Viking Raiders
- Randy Orton defeated Keith Lee (DQ)
- 2-on-1 Handicap Match: The Riott Squad defeated Shayna Baszler
- 2-on-1 Handicap Match: The Riott Squad vs. Nia Jax went to no-contest
- Street Fight: Dominik Mysterio defeated Murphy
Asuka – Probably the most entertaining part of the show. She just keeps doing her own thing and enjoying life as RAW Women’s Champion. She’s not bothered by tag team partner Mickie James or challenger Mickie James or anyone else for that matter. She’s said bye-bye to Sasha Banks and Bayley for a bit and is living life large. Keep being you Asuka!
Drew’s back – So, I guess we’ll get the battle of the fractured jaws huh? Or maybe fourth time is the charm? McIntyre answered three kicks to the head by Randy Orton by delivering three claymores to The Viper’s head. Now, it’s on to Clash of Champions for a rematch for the WWE Championship.
Cedric cashed in – After being teased for weeks it seems, Cedric Alexander turned on Ricochet and Apollo Crews and joined The Hurt Business. You knew something was afoot when we got yet another six-man match between everyone. So, at least something came out of it! Now, we get 8-man tags with The Viking Raiders joining the fray. At least MVP is doing a better job of building his faction than the Monday Night Messiah.
RETRIBUTION – They can talk! At least now we have a mission statement from RETRIBUTION. They now have a logo too. Now, it remains to be seen just WHO they are under the hoods. I’ll take it because at least we have some depth to them and have some movement. Let’s see if it continues.
Murphy let alone – Poor Buddy Murphy. First, he gets dumped by Seth Rollins as his disciple. Then, he gets beat up by Dominik Mysterio in a Street Fight with the entire Mysterio family beating the Holy Hell out of him with kendo sticks to the point in which he verbally quit his Street Fight match. Mysterio continues to impress as Murphy continues to make him look good. It will be interesting as to where each goes next. Presumably, Murphy vs. Seth Rollins could be next?
RAW Underground – Week after week, RAW Underground is just there. It fills time, this week with Kevin Owens knocking horns with Aleister Black until it just ended with Riddick Moss taking them both out. The problem with RU is that there’s no explanation to anything and it’s just a filler place to trade barbs with no real outcomes. I like the look and feel, but there’s gotta be a better way for the details.
Peyton vs. Billie – I guess it will be a short feud between the two. Royce gets the win over Kay and then they hug. Short and sweet and probably all it needed to be.
- NXT Championship: Finn Balor defeated Adam Cole
- The Velveteen Dream defeated Ashantee “Thee” Adonis
- Bronson Reed defeated Austin Theory
- Roderick Strong defeated Killian Dain
- Steel Cage Battle of the Bad Asses Match: Rhea Ripley defeated Mercedes Martinez
Prince is crowned – After a wonderful 60-minute Iron Man match last week, Finn Balor and Adam Cole dazzled for another 30 minutes with Balor coming up on top to regain his NXT Championship. I loved the match and especially enjoyed the aftermath of respect from Adam Cole to Balor with a Too Sweet gesture. It would’ve been in full character for Cole to be upset and rant & rave all over the place, but it was cool to see another side of him and be honorable. Maybe it’s a new direction moving forward for Cole. We’ll have to wait and see on that. A great start to Super Tuesday II.
Battle of the Bad Asses – Rhea Ripley and Mercedes Martinez lived up the physical hype that a steel cage match brings with it. And talk about a brutal ending, damn! Ripley tossing Martinez through a table with a Riptide from the turnbuckle was punishing to say the least. Well done! Plus, after the show, Robert Stone tosses Martinez from the crew. Something I don’t think Martinez will mind one bit.
Shotzi gets a shot – It took a very indirect route to get there but Shotzi Blackheart has the attention of NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai. With Aliyah interrupting Shirai’s photo shoot while trying to get away from Shotzi, both get physical with the Robert Stone Brand and end up in a face-off with Blackheart holding the title. Good stuff and a well-deserved shot coming up this week for one of the brighter spots in NXT.
Dinner for three:
The Gargano Way – Dinner at the Gargano household is always an adventure and this week, Tegan Nox made sure of it as an invited guest. A brief food fight ending with Johnny Gargano covered in pasta gives Nox the friendly edge (for now) over Candice LeRae. Let’s see what’s next in the ring for these two former friends.
Miles turned Adonis – Tehuti Miles is now Ashantee “Thee” Adonis. It didn’t give him a victory over The Velveteen Dream, but it did give him some prime TV time on a very good episode of NXT.
Drake & Killian – I still don’t get the on-going rift between Killian Dain and Drake Maverick. Maverick came out to help Dain this week against The Undisputed Era but still gets knocked out by Dain. Why?
- Intercontinental Championship Match: AJ Styles defeated Jeff Hardy (DQ – due to Sami Zayn interference)
- Non-title SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Lucha House Party defeated Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
- Fatal 4-Way Match: Alexa Bliss Nikki Cross Tamina Lacey Evans – wins a shot at Bayley’s SmackDown Championship at Clash of Champions
- Otis defeated John Morrison
- Roman Reigns & Jey Uso defeated Sheamus & King Corbin
Bayley – Sitting in the same chair she used to take out her BFF Sasha Banks one week ago, the SmackDown Women’s Champion explained in no uncertain terms that SHE was the one who used Banks and that she was done with her. And if that wasn’t enough, she then takes out Nikki Cross with that same chair before her Fatal Four-Way match for the #1 Contender’s Match.
Alexa Bliss – Yes, she’s certainly transfixed by The Fiend, with a Sister Abigail outside the ring to her friend Nikki Cross. Loved the continuation of that storyline, but hated the fact that she walked out on the match. It would’ve been better had she followed through and won the match. I didn’t need to see Cross win and be sent to Clash of Champions to face Bayley for the title. It’ll be her third title match in the past two months. Been there, done that! And not for nothing, but wasn’t Naomi in that match?
Mystery Woman – I like that they gave us another vignette. Keep it fresh and top of mind. Is it Charlotte Flair, Chelsea Green, Carmella or someone we haven’t thought of yet? Attention to detail is sometimes forgotten in WWE, so I was happy to see it with another shot.
Wobbly Walrus – Well, I’m not quite sure that was “this is such good sh*t” as Vince McMahon says, but having the Paul Heyman-esque Wobbly Walrus be the new character for the Firefly Fun House left me…well, left me feeling like that’s just another inside rib job that doesn’t do much to help The Fiend or Bray Wyatt. I’m hoping there’s a response from Heyman and his man, Roman Reigns.
Main Event – OK, there’s no Roman Reigns, so let’s ring the bell and start the match. Makes no sense. The only thing that does make sense is that Reigns comes in, wrecks everyone and leaves. That’s in character, so I’m ok with it. Plus, the daggers that Reigns threw at Jey Uso when Uso raised his hand on the ramp was AWESOME! Heel heat to say the least!
Three’s a Crowd:
Intercontinental Title – I think we all saw the finish of this one coming. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a clean finish between Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles as Sami Zayn attacked Styles to end the match. I think we all know where this is headed to – a triple-threat ladder match at Clash of Championships for both I-C Titles. Nice shade as well going back and forth between WWE and AEW as it continues with Hardy being diagnosed as dehydration symptoms and never losing consciousness as a nod to his brother’s Matt’s medical situation one week ago.
The Smoke comes to SmackDown:
The Street Profits – Welcome to Friday night boys! The Street Profits returned Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura’s visit to RAW Monday night by getting an up close and personal look at the SmackDown champions in the champions lounge. And in true smoke form, they cost the blue brand tag champions their match with the Lucha House Party setting up Monday night’s champion vs. champion match on RAW.
Otis Outsmarts – Once again, Otis plays the change game on The Miz & John Morrison by continuing to change where his money in the bank contract is. This time, The Miz takes home an apple core instead of a contract. It’s funny and all it needs to be.
ICYMI, Miro, previously known as Rusev in WWE, made his AEW debut Wednesday night as Kip Sabian’s best man to his upcoming wedding. Miro wasted little time taking shots at WWE by using infamous Vince McMahon’s line as “reaching for the brass ring.” I always liked the Rusev character in WWE and thought he had many ways to go but the folks in Stamford didn’t agree and things got contentious for Lana’s husband. It’s a good addition for AEW. Another big man with options, but for a company that says they want to be an alternative, they sure are built on former WWE stars.
Clash of Champions – UPDATED CARD
- WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton
- Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso
- SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley vs. Nikki Cross
Coming up this week:
In Your Face Monday
RAW Women’s Championship Match: Asuka vs. Mickie JamesChampion vs. Champion: Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Street ProfitsSteel Cage Match: Seth Rollins vs. Dominik MysterioNon-title WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee
Non-title NXT Women’s Championship Match: Io Shirai vs. Shotzi Blackheart
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Breezango vs. Imperium
NXT North American Championship Match: Damian Priest vs. Timothy Thatcher
The Undisputed Era vs. Killian Dain & Drake Maverick
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