- Seth Rollins def Finn Balor – ***
- RK-Bro © def The Dirty Dawgz (Raw Tag Team Championship) – **½
- The Street Profits def Alpha Academy – **¼
- Damian Priest © def Apollo Crews (WWE United States Championship) – **¼
- The Mysterios def The Hurt Business – **
- Liv Morgan, Rhea Ripley, Nikki ASH, Bianca Belair, & Dana Brooke def Becky Lynch, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Doudrop, & Tamina – **¾
- Kevin Owens def Big E via DQ – **¾
Seth Rollins opens the show this week as he comes out and cuts a promo about how he should be in a bad mood after last week, but he isn’t because he has good news and that is that at Day 1 on January 1, 2022, he will be challenging Big E for the WWE Championship and on the first day of the year a new era will begin when he becomes WWE Champion once again.
Finn Balor comes out and rushes to the ring where he takes down Rollins and the action quickly spills to ringside where Balor hits Rollins with a crossbody over the barricade into the timekeeper area and then throws him across the announce table before throwing him back into the ring. Rollins knocks Balor off the apron and then hits him with a tope suicida only for Balor to come back with a sling blade moments later and that is followed by a shot to the head with the steps. Balor throws Rolling into the ring once again and is now ready to officially start the match, after checking to make sure Rollins was good to go the referee rings the bell and the match has officially started. Balor and Rollins have a really good back and forth match that saw both men constantly trying to hit their big moves while their opponents found a way to counter it until finally, Rollins blocks 1916 with a thumb to the eye, and then he hit a Curb Stomp to finish off Balor.
We go into the office of Vince McMahon and he welcomes Austin Theory who he congratulates for his effort against Big E last week and then he tells Theory he wants him to sit down beside him so they can watch the show together. McMahon then tells Theory if he ever steals from him again he will kill him. We would go back to McMahon’s office throughout the night with him constantly trying to get over the point of surprises and expecting the unexpected (Big Brother wants their catchphrase back). One time we check-in and Theory gets yelled at for looking away from him and for Theory’s sake I hope to God he doesn’t sneeze. At the end of the night, McMahon asks Theory if he had a good time he says he has and he learned you got to expect the unexpected and prepare for surprises and McMahon says he got it. McMahon stands up to shake Theory’s hand and say good night, but instead, Theory gets a stiff slap to the face and McMahon tells him he has a lot to learn.
I wasn’t expecting to see Vince on the show two weeks in a row and it’s probably best he isn’t on the show as often as his segments are starting to feel very awkward as he doesn’t quite have the same charisma on camera as he used to and he is at the point where he no longer looks like the Vince we are used to, he just looks like a really tired old man who needs a lot of rest. I don’t know where this thing with Theory is going but the fact that he is in segments involving McMahon can only mean good things for him as he doesn’t just let any of the talents be on camera with him in a segment as it’s usually just the main event guys.
It’s time for the Becky Lynch vs Liv Morgan contract signing which will be moderated by Sonya Deville. Becky gets the mic first and said that last week she just wanted to see if she could make Liv angry to see if she had a chip on her shoulder and then admits Liv has a good right hand, but the problem was that Liv didn’t follow up on the punch as she just held herself back and it is going to take more than one punch to keep “Big Time Becks” down. Becky wants to know when it’s time for their match will Liv hold back or will she prove her wrong. Becky then asks Sonya how much time Liv has to decide if she wants to step up or not and Sonya tells her the match is next week. Becky then turns her attention toward the Long Island crowd saying they must hate the match is happening next week and then starts naming reasons why Long Island doesn’t deserve to see a title match and starts going on a tangent until Liv tells her to shut up.
Liv signs the contract and then takes the mic saying she channeled her emotions last week into knocking Becky on her ass which is more than Becky can say as she was a crying mess over her match with Charlotte after Survivor Series and then throws to the WWE digital video from last week (that I enjoyed so much) and this has Becky steaming. Liv then says that Becky is the reason why she and Charlotte are no longer friends just like Becky’s big-time contract is the reason her friends are gone and then she asks Becky how it feels to be everything she once despised. Liv asks Becky why she expects her to be Becky’s number two when Becky resented being Charlotte’s number two. Liv says that Becky is not the same person she used to admire nor is she the Liv that Becky left behind and if the punch last week didn’t show how much she has changed maybe the next one will, Liv starts walking toward Becky but Sonya separates them and tells them they are not doing this tonight. Becky says that what was seen in the video was emotions after a big match which Liv knows nothing about and when referring to Liv’s friends getting fired she says that some people deserve to get paid talking about herself. Becky then says if Liv wants to prove that she is a champion and a leader then she has a chance to prove it as she asked Sonya to set up a 10-woman tag match tonight with each of them serving as captain for a team, Liv says Becky is way too selfish to be a leader so she can consider her challenge accepted.
This was quite a lengthy segment, but I didn’t hate it as it was nice to see Liv finally get some mic time, and the fact that she was given that much time must mean they are finally behind her and perhaps this isn’t just a one-off shot at the title. I thought the delivery of what Liv said in her promo was good, but the content she was given to say wasn’t the best as they keep making it seem like Becky and Liv were close in the past but we have never seen evidence of that being a thing. The line about Becky’s contract being so big that it was the reason Sarah and Ruby were fired was nothing more than a line given to her to make the fans go oooh and aah as it made absolutely no sense. Recapping a Becky Lynch promo in writing could never do her promos justice as she just has this charm about her and the way she cuts promos always make me smile and for that reason, I can never fully see her as a heel. We will have more from Becky and Liv later in the review.
We get our weekly RK-Bro backstage segment and this week Riddle is bummed that Orton isn’t dressed like him after last week when Riddle dressed like Orton and then at the end, Orton hit Bro Derek. Riddle starts talking and talking until Orton cuts him off and tells him he just wants to concentrate on being aggressive and retaining their tag titles against The Dirty Dawgz tonight. Riddle then tells Orton to close his eyes and after some hesitation, he finally does and Riddle puts a blonde wig on Orton’s head and when Orton opens his eyes to see it he tells Riddle to take it off in three seconds or he will drop him, Riddle removes the wig and Orton tells him to never do that again. RK-Bro successfully retain their titles against The Dirty Dawgz in a really good match, there was a spot where both Orton and Riddle did the RKO set up but they weren’t able to hit the stereo RKO, however, Orton would hit an RKO on Ziggler minutes later to pick up the win.
Seth Rollins runs into Kevin Owens backstage and KO tells Rollins that he just talked with Adam Pearce and if he beats Big E in the main event of tonight’s show he will be added to the Day 1 WWE Championship match, but Rollins doesn’t believe him because KO is a liar and then KO says Rollins can go ask Pearce himself and he does just that. Rollins goes into the office of Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville and asks Pearce about what KO said and he has no clue what KO is talking about and that he is just lying again, Rollins storms off and Sonya comes in asking what just happened and when Pearce tells her she says that’s not a bad idea. Rollins would go back to KO and continue on about KO being a lair but KO still insists he is telling the truth. Rollins goes back to Sonya and Pearce saying they should do something about KO continuing to lie, but then they tell him they are going to actually put KO in the match at Day 1 if he beats Big E tonight which infuriates Rollins as he is screaming at the top of his lungs before storming out of their office.
This was some great stuff as KO got himself an opportunity for a title shot without even having to go through management as he just manipulated Rollins into getting it for him without Rollins even knowing it. KO knew Rollins would complain to Pearce and Sonya and he also knew that once they heard the idea they would like it enough to make it an actual stipulation to the match and thus he comes out of all of this without blood on his hands, it’s nice to see a character use their heads to this extent in WWE.
Edge makes his big return next and after giving Seth Rollins props for becoming the #1 contender for the WWE Championship saying that he deserves it. Edge talks about how he has a whole new crop of opponents to face now that he is on Raw and then runs down a list of names. The Miz then comes out making his big return after failing to win Dancing with the Stars, and as a special surprise, he has returned with his beautiful wife Maryse. Miz gets on the mic and complains about Edge still getting his comeback hyped up after he has had tons of them as Edge’s career is full of comebacks. Miz says he represents WWE day in and day out and he gets nothing and now he isn’t even a name on Edge’s radar? Edge apologizes as he thought Miz was still away dancing somewhere like the Genie and this leads to Maryse putting over Miz as the best dancer but Edge shuts that down by saying he came in ninth and of course Miz blames that on the fans not voting as Jojo Siwa has a more devoted fan base than WWE.
Edge says Miz and Maryse could’ve easily just gone to management and got the match they think they deserve, but instead, they knew by coming out and interrupting him they would instantly be inserted into the main event. Miz comes back with the fact that he was WWE Champion earlier this year and asks when the last time Edge held a title, and furthermore, he was a main eventer back in 2011 when he faced John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 27 while Edge opened the show. The Miz puts over Edge’s career but says he surpassed him long ago and this time Edge shouldn’t have come back. Edge admits that his body isn’t what it used to be and that his window of time in the ring is slowly closing, but he has always given everything he has and that’s why everyone in the locker room wants to test themselves against him and why they have mutual respect, but that is something The Miz knows nothing about.
Edge says Miz could know what it feels like to be respected but instead, he just bitches and complains and always wants a pat on the back and he will sincerely give Miz that pat on the back because he has had a great career that has gone further and higher than anyone ever expected it to and now people on other shows are saying his name for cheap reactions. Edge says that the difference between him and The Miz is that he fought to get back the time that he has left in the ring, whereas Miz uses the time he has left in the ring to get notoriety for his next outside project while he leaves his partner high and dry to get fired. Edge says the biggest difference between them is that The Miz expects respect but Edge goes out and earns it. The Miz takes his glasses off and Edge says they can go right now and Miz starts to unbutton his jacket, but then tells Edge no and then leaves the ring with Maryse.
This was yet another long promo segment but once again I enjoyed it. I have to say that Miz wasn’t someone I was expecting to feud with Edge, but as shown here they both have the mic skills to promote the match and I’m sure they will have a pretty good match against each other. I just hope this feud doesn’t last until WrestleMania as I think there are better possibilities out there for an Edge opponent at WrestleMania such as Styles, KO, or Balor. I really don’t think WWE using their firings in storylines is necessary, if they didn’t care enough about the people to keep them employed in the first place then they shouldn’t even bother bringing them up in any capacity to get their own cheap reactions. It’s always nice to see Maryse back as her presence always seems to make The Miz better in every way as he seems more comfortable and confident with her around.
We get a funny interview with AJ Styles and Omos in the back where AJ acts like he is blind from having the fire extinguisher blown in his face last week by The Street Profits. Styles says he had to have Omos help him get ready this morning and as the interview is happening Omos has to move Styles’ body in the right direction so he is facing the camera. Styles vows revenge on The Street Profits.
The Street Profits take on Alpha Academy while Styles and Omos are on commentary and Street Profits mocked Styles’ blindness by doing the Stevie Wonder head movement. This was a quick match but it delivered for the time it got and the finish saw a Christmas miracle happen as Styles jumped up from his seat (as he was suddenly healed from his blindness) as he tries to distract Ford as he was up top, but Ford kicks him down and hits the Frog Splash on Gable to pick up the win. Omos and Styles have words after the match as I think Omos thought Styles was actually blind.
Damian Priest is set to defend his WWE United States Championship against Apollo Crews next. This match didn’t really do anything for me as the moves were there but I had no interest in seeing these two face each other for some reason. We see Azeez get involved at one point and get ejected from ringside and then we get Priest getting angry and hitting Crews with South of Heaven followed by The Reckoning for the win.
They really need to find a feud or something to heat Priest back up as this whole getting mad and giving over the top facial expressions just isn’t doing it as he is less over now than he was when he was just cool laid back Damian Priest who was chilling with Riddle and Bad Bunny. I get what they want to do with this character to be, but it’s just way too over the top and corny. I hope they just let Priest go back to doing what he was doing and what got him over because if he stays in this gimmick it’s going to end up making the fans not care about him.
The Mysterios take on Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin of The Hurt Business in the next match. This was a decent little match to put out there but it is hard to care about a match that is just put out there with no feud or story behind it, this was clearly a match put on the show so that the crowd got to see Rey Mysterio. I’m still waiting on that split and feud between the Mysterios that is supposed to be coming soon as there was no sign of dissension in this match.
Up next is the 10-woman tag as it will be Team Liv which consists of Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H. & Dana Brooke and their opponents on team Becky will be Becky Lynch, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Droudrop, & Tamina. It should be noted we have new champions on both teams as Dana Brooke won the 24/7 Championship last week and the team of Carmella and Queen Zelina captured the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
Wow, I was not expecting this match to go almost 20 minutes, and to be honest I don’t know if it should’ve gone that long as they probably could’ve shaved off 5 minutes and had a better match, but outside of a few clunky spots, I thought this a decent match for having that many women in it and some of those women aren’t the smoothest of workers. I said above that it seemed like they are fully behind Liv and after watching this match it is clear they are behind her as not only did she get the pin in the match, but she actually came out on top during the post-match attack as she hit Becky with the ObLivion, and although it’s pretty doubtful she will win the title at least they are doing a great job of putting her over and making her feel like a big deal going into next week. I will say that it felt strange to see Bianca being a supporting player rather than the star as she has been portrayed all year.
We get a vignette for Veer and he is still coming soon and I guess their definition of soon is a long time.
We also get a vignette for Bobby Lashley which was weird as it felt like a vignette for a debuting or returning star as it talked about his background in the army and in amateur wrestling. Perhaps they are thinking about turning Lashley back babyface which I feel is a mistake as he is at his best as a heel.
Big E is interviewed and he says that a triple threat match would make retaining his title at Day 1 more difficult so he is going to have to beat KO to prevent that from happening and then move on to Rollins at Day 1.
It’s time for the main event where Big E faces Kevin Owens and if KO wins he joins the WWE Championship match at Day 1. Seth Rollins is on commentary for this match.
For the second time in one night, Kevin Owens outsmarts Seth Rollins in order to get into the WWE Championship match at Day 1 as he knew Rollins wouldn’t be able to keep his cool if he attacked him and realized a win by DQ would be just as good as a win by pinfall as he gets into the match either way, so this was actually a DQ finish that made sense.
This was quite an eventful episode of Raw as we got the returns of Edge, The Miz, and Maryse, a confirmed WWE Championship match for the Day 1 PPV, Austin Theory getting yelled at and smacked by Vince McMahon and a really good promotion of next week’s Raw Women’s Championship match between Becky Lynch and Liv Morgan. I thought this was a good episode of Raw as a lot got accomplished and set up for the future and we also got a few good matches on top of that so for 2021 that is considered a pretty good episode of Raw.
NXT 2.0 Results
- Kay Lee Ray def Dakota Kai (Women’s WarGames Advantage Ladder Match) – ***½
- Cameron Grimes def Andre Chase – **
- Von Wagner & Kyle O’Reilly def Legado del Fantasma w/ Santos Escobar & Elektra Lopez – ***
- Joe Gacy vs Adam Harding – ¼*
- Solo Sikoa vs Edris Enofe – **½
- Indi Hartwell-Lumis & Persia Pirotta vs Yulisa Leon & Valenti Feroz – *¼
- Johnny Gargano vs Bron Breakker (Men’s WarGames Advantage Ladder Match) – ****¼
We open the show with the two women’s WarGames teams walking out to the stage and they get into a big brawl and this leads to our opening match which is the WarGames advantage ladder match where Dakota Kai and Kay Lee Ray will be representing their respective teams.
Dakota throws KLR into a ladder outside of the ring and then throws her into the ring where she is met with a superkick from KLR that knocks her back out of the ring and KLR follows up with a senton atomico to the floor onto Dakota. KLR pulls out a ladder from under the ring and we get a tug of war spot that ends with KLR using the ladder to drive Dakota into the apron and while she is trapped KLR hits her with another superkick. Dakota escapes a Gory bomb attempt onto the apron and slaps KLR which leads to a chase around the ring, Dakota finally stops running and catches KLR with a twisting neckbreaker sending her face-first into the steps. Dakota pulls out another ladder from under the ring only for KLR to reverse a whip into the steps. KLR puts the ladder in the ring and looks to set it up, but Dakota grabs the other end of it and pulls it back outside of the ring, but then she gets taken out with a tope suicida from KLR.
KLR hits Dakota with a front suplex onto the ladder and then KLR finally puts the ladder in the ring and sets it up, but as she starts to climb she is pulled down and sent into the corner, but she is back to pull Dakota off the ladder only to be whipped into the ladder moments later. Dakota sends KLR into the corner once again and this time hits her with a running facewash kick and then she chokes KLR in the corner with her boot. Dakota continues to try and beat KLR down but she comes back with a front suplex, KLR goes up top but gets cut off with a kick by Dakota, and then Dakota knocks her backward causing KLR to be placed into a one-legged tree of woe which allows Dakota to come off the top with a double stomp to the chest of the hanging KLR and that sends us to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Both women are on the outside trying to recover from the beating they have taken so far in the match. Dakota gets back in the ring and starts to climb the ladder only to be stopped by KLR, but Dakota stays in control as she stomps on KLR and then tries to climb the ladder once again and is stopped yet again. Dakota grounds KLR and puts her in a leg lock for a few minutes until KLR fights out of it, but Dakota reapplies the move as she has KLR’s leg wrapped around the bottom rope, KLR kicks her way out of the hold and then rolls out to the floor as the commercial break comes to an end.
Dakota looks to continue her attack on the floor, but KLR catches her and hits her with a Gory bomb onto the announce table. KLR climbs back in the ring as we see Toxic Attraction watching from backstage along with a referee who I’m guessing is there to make sure they don’t interfere. KLR slowly climbs the ladder having to pull her leg up each rung and just as she is about to reach the top Dakota climbs up the other side and they exchange strikes at the top of the ladder until Dakota bashes KLR’s head into the top causing KLR to fall to the mat. Dakota climbs up and has her hands on the briefcase, but KLR won’t stay down as she once again grabs her foot. Dakota kicks KLR back to the mat and then hits her with the double stomp off the ladder, Dakota climbs the ladder but this time KLR grabs the ankle of Dakota and pulls her through the ladder causing her to get trapped in a tree of woe, KLR climbs on the same side Dakota is hanging and after Dakota tries to stop her she nails Dakota with a superkick causing Dakota to fall limp to the mat and then KLR climbs up and grabs the briefcase to give her team the advantage.
This was a really good match, but it felt like it was missing something in order to become a great match and I can’t quite put my finger on what that something is. I did like the finish with KLR giving Dakota some payback for the tree of woe double stomp from earlier. I still can’t get used to the babyfaces having the advantage in WarGames matches as it just feels wrong to not have the fired-up babyface come in last.
We get the reactions of the two teams watching backstage and the referee standing next to Toxic Attraction couldn’t look any more bored as he is staring into space while standing beside three beautiful ladies.
We get a recap of the interaction last week between Cameron Grimes and Andre Chase and then we see a video message from Andre Chase who plans on giving Grimes an Andre Chase University ass kicking.
Grizzled Young Veterans try to break into the lockers of Briggs and Jensen but get distracted by Ikeman Jiro and we get a lot of back and forth “Shh!” going on until Briggs and Jensen walk up and GYV run away, When asked what is going on Jiro tells them it was a sensitive operation which is what Gibson told him earlier. Can we just get GYV back in the ring and not commit fraud or theft?
It’s time for Cameron Grimes vs Andre Chase.
Grimes goes for a single-leg but Chase gets to the ropes and then grabs a front facelock only to be sent to the mat with an arm wringer and then Grimes shakes his butt at Chase. Grimes works over Chase with strikes and then sends him into the ropes, but ducks his head which allows Chase to send him into the ropes, but Grimes hooks the ropes and then passes Chase out to the apron only for Chase to grab a handful of hair and slam Grimes to the mat. Chase hits a swinging neckbreaker for a 2 count and moments later he sends Grimes sternum first into the corner and then he sends him face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Chase stomps on Grimes and then goes for a slam, but Grimes escapes and sends Chase into the ropes where he hits a hurricanrana and that is followed by a couple of running forearms. Grimes goes up top looking for a dive but he has to jump over Chase and after rolling through he catches Chase with the Cave In to pick up the win.
After the match, Duke Hudson appears in the balcony and he congratulates Grimes on winning his final match with hair and then we get Hudson going through a series of possible hairstyles for Grimes after WarGames and then says she is going to make Grimes just as bald as he was on the day he was born and he will give Grimes something to cry about. Grimes then wants to show Hudson what might happen on Sunday as he pulls out an electric razor from under the ring and looks to cut the hair of Andre Chase, but before he can cut any hair one of Chase’s students runs down to pull his teacher out of the ring. Grimes gets on the mic and tells Hudson he is going to shave him at WarGames.
Neither the match nor the aftermath was anything special as we see the whole photoshop of different hairstyles in every hair vs hair match build.
We get a camera shot of the commentary team as Wade Barrett makes sure to show off his Toxic Attraction shirt and then Vic Joseph reveals that Johnny Gargano has been chosen by the fans to represent his team in the WarGames advantage ladder match in the main event.
We get a video for the debuting Edris Enofe as he will be taking on Solo Sikoa later tonight.
Team NXT 2.0 is in the ring and each one of them gets a chance to speak about the respective member of Team Black and Gold they are feuding with and then it is revealed that Bron Breakker will be representing Team 2.0. Johnny Gargano then comes out and he calls Breakker “the big bad booty nephew” and then he challenges Breakker to face him alone without his team in their ladder match and Breakker agrees. Of the guys on Team 2.0, I think Breakker and Hayes are the ones who look and act like stars while Waller and D’Angelo feel like complete jokes.
MSK are still on their way to visit the shaman and this week their GPS insults them for taking so long to reach their destination, but after five weeks they finally arrive at the home of the shaman. They knock on the door and as the door opens we see a purple light and a figure standing in a doorway, but we will have to wait until next week to find out the identity of the shaman.
Up next it’s time for tag team action as Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner take on Legado del Fantasma and the winners will face Imperium for the NXT Tag Team Championship at WarGames.
Von Wagner and Raul Mendoza start the match and Wagner uses his power to gain control but Mendoza slides out to the apron and connects with a kick, Mendoza then goes for a springboard but he jumps over Wagner and then lands on his feet off a tilt-a-whirl attempt only for Wagner to block a kick attempt and send Mendoza into the ropes where he takes him down with a flying shoulder block. Wagner tags in O’Reilly and they beat down Mendoza in the corner with kicks and headbutts and then O’Reilly grabs a headlock but Mendoza makes a blind tag as O’Reilly backs him into the ropes. Legado send O’Reilly into the ropes and hit him with a spinebuster followed by a wishbone and stereo basement dropkicks.
Wilde hits O’Reilly with a back elbow to the gut and then drives him back into the corner where he tags in Mendoza who continues the punishment, but as Mendoza takes time to talk some trash O’Reilly takes him down and tries for a submission, but Mendoza quickly gets to the ropes to break the hold. O’Reilly counters a whip into the ropes only for Mendoza to try for a sunset flip and O’Reilly counters that into an armbar which Mendoza rolls into for a 2 count. Wagner gets tagged into the match and after O’Reilly catches Mendoza on a headscissors attempt we see the big man leapfrog O’Reilly and come down on the back of Mendoza with all of his weight which is a move his father would use as part of the Beverly Brothers. Wagner takes Mendoza to the mat with a waistlock and then applies an inverted bearhug as we see Xyon Quinn making his way towards the ringside area and that takes us to a commercial break.
We come back from the commercial to see that Wilde has O’Reilly grounded with a reverse chinlock, but the main focus of the camera is on Xyon Quinn stalking Santos Escobar and Elektra Lopez on the outside which leads to Quinn and Escobar brawling to the back as Elektra follows after them. O’Reilly fights out of the chinlock and attempts to make a comeback, but a distraction from Mendoza allows Wilde to hit him with a dropkick sending him back into the corner of Legado and they do their repeated corner clotheslines and then Mendoza hits a suplex and that is followed by a springboard senton atomico by Wilde for a 2 count.
Legado continues to work over O’Reilly until he is finally able to make the hot tag to Wagner who comes in and drops Mendoza with a short-arm clothesline, a running knee, and a big powerslam. Wagner catches Wilde with the elevated flatliner and then follows up with an Olympic slam on Mendoza for a 2 count. Wagner sends Mendoza into the corner and charges in, but Mendoza catches him with a kick to the leg and then hits a springboard dropkick knocking down the bigger man, but Mendoza is unable to make a cover.
We get a tag on both sides as O’Reilly and Wilde come in and trade forearms for a minute until O’Reilly connects with a combination of strikes, but Wilde jumps over a leg sweep and lands a forearm followed by a DDT, and then he decides to slap Wagner who is on the apron. Wagner tries to come in the ring only to be stopped by the referee and then Legado tries for their finisher, but as Mendoza runs to the ropes Wagner leaps over and pulls down the rope sending Mendoza out to the floor. O’Reilly tags in Wagner and they hit Wilde with a flapjack and chest kick combo and that is followed by Total Elimination for the win.
I thought this was the best showing Von Wagner has had so far as he didn’t look like he was completely lost which is what he has looked like in all of his previous matches. I am glad they had Xyon Quinn and Santos Escobar fight to the back early in the match so that we didn’t have to worry about any outside interference factoring into the finish. I don’t expect to see Wagner and O’Reilly win the titles at WarGames but the match against Imperium should be a pretty good match.
Imperium is interviewed about their thoughts on Wagner and O’Reilly winning and they say it didn’t matter who won and then they are interrupted by their opponents at WarGames. O’Reilly says they are one win away from becoming NXT Tag Team Champions and then Wagner says they will see them at WarGames and then calls them dumbasses.
We get a Tiffany Stratton vignette and she talks about shopping and how she doesn’t look at price tags and her daddy said she can be anything she wants and she wants to be an NXT superstar.
Joe Gacy is in the ring for his all-inclusive invitational and he gets on the mic to talk about how the current cruiserweight champion has fostered and created a toxic and unrealistic environment for the NXT universe and competitors. Gacy says that in his world the cruiserweight division will no longer be defined by any certain height, weight, or gender requirements. He has invited several wrestlers to give him their best so he can prepare to dethrone Roderick Strong this Sunday. Joe Gacy first takes on a guy who I would later find out is named Adam Harding. Gacy takes Harding down with a shoulder block only for Harding to hit a kick to the gut and a dropkick which staggers Gacy for a moment, but he comes back with a running kick followed by an avalanche in the corner, a spinning uranage, and a release gutwrench suplex for the win.
Up next, Gacy wants to face the female who goes by the name Fallon Henley but before they can even lock up we get The Diamond Mine making their way to the ring and Malcolm Bivens says there is no need for Gacy to make this kind of spectacle. Bivens says this is the first and the last Joe Gacy all-inclusive invitational because The Diamond Mine will shut him up for good at WarGames. Gacy tells Bivens there is no need for the aggression as he respects his passion and then Gacy asks to speak to Roderick Strong alone. Strong and Bivens get in the ring and Strong tells Gacy he is done talking and decks Gacy, but Gacy comes back with the handspring clothesline which brings in the rest of Diamond Mine only for Harland to pull Gacy out of the ring before Diamond Mine can attack him.
This was a decent little segment to add some final hype for their match on Sunday. It will never happen it would be cool if women could compete in the cruiserweight division as it would give the women another title to challenge for when they are not featured in the title picture for either of the other two women’s titles.
Solo Sikoa is interviewed about his match against Edris Enofe and he understands where Enofe comes from but this isn’t the streets of Inglewood, CA nor is it the military as tonight he is stepping in the ring with “The Street Champion of the Island”. We then see Boa walk up talking in Chinese and looking like he is in pain, but Solo tells him he can’t understand him so he is on his own and then walks off.
It’s time for Solo Sikoa to go against the debuting Edris Enofe who comes out and already looks like a star as he has this giant cape-looking thing draped over him that says “Epitome of Excellence” and he just looks confident coming into his first match in NXT.
We get a lock up and Enofe grabs a headlock but is shot off into the ropes and taken down with a shoulder block. We get another lockup and Sikoa goes to work on the arm and while this is happening we see Robert Stone coming down to ringside to perhaps scout for the next person he wants to manage. Sikoa elbows out of a waistlock and then takes Enofe to the mat with a kick to the leg and that is followed by a headbutt to the fallen Enofe. Enofe tries to make a comeback as he goes for a running crossbody, but Sikoa counters it into a big swinging slam for a 2 count. Sikoa continues to work over Enofe but misses on an elbow drop and Enofe comes back with a running kick to a seated Sikoa and that is followed by a standing moonsault and a flipping neckbreaker to a seated Sikoa for a 2 count. Enofe picks up Sikoa but gets thrown forward to create space and then Sikoa nails him with a big kick to the chest and that is followed by a series of punches and a spinning back fist. Sikoa takes Enofe down to his knees and lands a roundhouse kick followed by a senton splash for a 2 count.
Sikoa charges at Enofe in the corner but Enofe sidesteps and then fires away with punches, a running knee in the corner, and a crossbody off the middle rope. Enofe hits Sikoa with a DDT and then chooses to go to the corner furthest away from Sikoa which makes Sikoa have to roll all the way across the ring, Enofe goes up top and tries for a 450 splash but Sikoa moves out of the way and hits Enofe with a pop-up Samoan drop. Sikoa goes up top and hits a big splash for the win. After the match, Boa attacks Sikoa until Enofe makes the save and then Boa turns his attention to Enofe only for Sikoa to recover and run Boa off. Sikoa helps Enofe to his feet and then they show each other respect.
I thought this was a good debut for Enofe as he looked solid in the match outside of making Sikoa roll across the ring to be in position for the 450 splash, I also thought Sikoa looked really impressive in this match as well and that swinging slam looked really good. I’m sorry but I don’t think there is any kind of gimmick they could give Boa to make me care about him and I am not looking forward to him feuding with Sikoa.
We go backstage to Indi Hartwell-Lumis and Persia Pirotta working out backstage when Indi’s phone rings and as she reaches back to grab it we see the return of the sleeping person from a few weeks ago and upon closer look, it seems like that person is the former Mei Ying and as I mentioned in last week’s news section is now going to be going by the name Wendy Choo and I worry what kind of gimmick she is going to end up having seen as we have only seen her sleeping, but anyway let’s get back to Indi and Persia. Indi answers her phone and it’s the doctor of her husband Dexter Lumis and he tells her that her Lumis has gone missing, Persia grabs the phone and hangs it up, and asks Indi if she is going to have to face both of their opponents alone again clearly not caring about Indi’s situation. Persia says their match is next and they have to get ready as she pushes Indi out of the room.
Xyon Quinn is walking in the parking lot and is asked how the brawl with Escobar ended and he says it’s only just begun, Quinn then walks up on Elektra and she tells him that while she hates that he picked a fight with Legado, but with that said she admires someone who walks to the beat of their own drum and then she wishes him good luck next week against Santos Escobar because he is going to need it. I am still not ruling out Elektra turning on Legado as it is clear there is still sexual tension between her and Quinn.
Indi Hartwell-Lumis and Persia Pirotta will be taking on Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon in the next match and right away it’s clear that once again Ind’s head is not in this match as she is looking down and looks sad. Yulisa Leon wakes Indi up with a shove and then goes right at her with kicks to the leg and then she tries for a crossbody but gets caught only to slide out the back and drop Indi to one knee with a kick to the back of the leg. Yulisa drives the leg of Indi into the mat and then cranks away at the ankle until Indi kicks her away into the corner where Valentina tags in and takes Indi down with a dropkick off the middle rope and that is followed by a standing moonsault. Valentina locks in a half crab but is able to escape and make the tag to Persia who makes quick work of their opponents as she hits Yulisa with snake eyes followed by the sitout TKO for the win.
Not much to say about this match other than the dropkick by Valentina looked nice. I don’t see this team of Indi and Persia lasting long as it already feels like they are setting Persia up to turn on Indi due to frustration over Indi caring more about her husband than their team and friendship.
We get a vignette for Draco Anthony who looks to be sitting in a diner. Anthony says he is not going to talk about what he is going to do he is going to show it and he is not what NXT wants, he is what NXT needs and his actions speak louder than his words. I don’t know thy but this gave me vibes of a Marvel movie character giving their backstory.
It’s time for the main event as Johnny Gargano takes on Bron Breakker in a ladder match for the Men’s WarGames advantage.
We get a lockup and immediately Breakker powers Gargano to the mat, so when Gargano gets back to his feet he goes for a leg pick but Breakker prevents anything from happening and goes into a headlock, only for Gargano to reverse into one of his own but he is sent into the ropes and dropped with a shoulder block. Breakker teases running to the ropes but instead drops down into a gator roll which he uses to lift Gargano into a delayed vertical suplex. Breakker sends Gargano into the ropes but Gargano is able to pop off a hurricanrana and a dropkick sending Breakker out to the floor and then Gargano takes him down with a plancha. Gargano goes for a ladder but Breakker stops him and hits him with snake eyes onto the apron. Breakker grabs the ladder, but as he is about to slide it into the ring Gargano tries for a baseball slide only for Breakker to raise up the ladder so he can slide through and then Breakker backs up so the ladder can hit Gargano.
Breakker is holding the ladder up straight in the middle of the ring and Gargano tries to run up it and grabs the briefcase, but Breakker throws him off and then throws the ladder to the side. We get a quick strike exchange and then Breakker plants Gargano with a powerslam before tossing him out of the ring like garbage. Breakker finally sets the ladder up and starts to climb it only to stop when he sees that Gargano is back on the apron and when he walks toward him he is met with a slingshot spear from Gargano. Gargano quickly climbs the ladder and has his hands on the briefcase, but Breakker pulls him back down and then Gargano just pushes the ladder over causing it to hit Breakker and send him out of the ring where Gargano connects with a tope suicida sending Breakker over the commentary table and this sends us to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Gargano removes the topper to the commentary table and leans it up against it and then he throws Breakker through it which doesn’t seem like it would hurt that much. Gargano is selling a possible leg injury as he is limping around and doesn’t seem to be in any kind of hurry to climb the ladder despite Breakker being down. After some punches on the outside Gargano finally gets back in the ring and sets up the ladder, but as he is doing this Breakker is slowly crawling back into the ring as well. Gargano and Breakker exchange strikes and then Breakker hits Gargano with a side belly-to-belly suplex, but he is unable to follow up due to the damage dealt to him so far in the match and that is when the commercial break comes to an end.
Gargano and Breakker slowly start to climb the ladder and they fight it out on the top with Breakker winning as he lands some heavy shots knocking Gargano down the ladder, but Gargano rebounds off the ropes sending Breakker crashing to the floor. Gargano is in the middle of the ring with the ladder folded up trying to find the right spot, but before he can Breakker comes back in and barrels into the ladder with a Steiner-line knocking both the ladder and Gargano down, and that is followed by an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Breakker leans the ladder up against the ropes as he is thinking about suplexing Gargano onto it, but Gargano fights ouf of his grasp only for Breakker to hit the suplex onto the ladder anyway. Breakker lays Gargano onto the ladder and looks to come off the middle rope with an elbow drop, but Gargano is able to move out of the way causing Breakker to take a brutal bump off the ladder.
Gargano sets the lays the ladder on the top turnbuckle and it almost backfires on him as Breakker almost throws him into it, but Gargano is able to slide under and then he tells Breakker to bring it and when he charges in Gargano hits him with a drop toe hold into the ladder. Gargano spins the ladder around so it will be horizontal and then climbs up top thinking to use the ladder as a platform, but Breakker stops him and then looks to press slam the ladder while Gargano is laying on top of it, but Gargano slides out and nails him with a couple of superkicks. Breakker drops to one knee and Gargano looks to set up the big superkick but stops momentarily when he sees Breakker shooting him the bird and as Breakker stands up Gargano nails him with the third superkick taking him back down to the mat.
Gargano picks up Breakker only to be driven into the corner and then Breakker sits him up top where he breaks out the top rope frankensteiner just like his uncle Scott. Breakker sets the ladder back up and starts to climb only to be stopped by Gargano who fires away with discus forearms, but when he goes for a third one Breakker grabs him and lifts him into a press slam only for Gargano to counter it into a DDT. Gargano and Breakker climb the ladder and fight it out on the top until Gargano hits Breakker with the briefcase causing Breakker to fall to the mat, but an exhausted Gargano can’t follow up and this allows Breakker to pull him off the ladder into a powerslam. Breakker climbs the ladder and grabs the briefcase to gain the advantage for Team 2.0. Team 2.0 is in the ring celebrating until Team Black and Gold run in and we get a brawl to close out the show.
I have no doubt after watching this match that Bron Breakker is going to be a star as he really impressed me in this match and not only has he been in a good match with Ciampa but now he can add Gargano to his resume as well. That bump Breakker took on the ladder when he missed the elbow looked brutal and showed that Breakker isn’t afraid to put his body on the line. While Ciampa keeping the title in their first encounter made sense I think it’s time to switch the title over to Breakker as he is ready to be a champion.
I thought this was a decent go-home show for WarGames as both ladder matches delivered to different extents, however, they could’ve done more to hype the non-WarGames matches. I also thought the Solo Sikoa vs Edris Enofe match was solid and I look forward to watching Enofe grow.
NXT UK Results
- Meiko Satomura © def Xia Brookside (NXT UK Women’s Championship) – **½
- Saxon Huxley def Kenny Williams – **¼
- Ilja Dragunov © def Rampage Brown (NXT UK Championship) – **¾
We get an opening video to hype up tonight’s Ilja Dragunov vs Rampage Brown NXT Championship match and then we get the announcers hyping up the show before throwing it to the ring for our first match of the night.
Our opening match will see Meiko Satomura defend her NXT UK Women’s Championship against Xia Brookside after Xia pestered Sid Scala to make the match.
We get a lock up and Meiko takes Xia down with an arm drag and then grabs a headlock before switching to a waistlock which Xia is able to break out of. Xia foolishly accepts Mieko’s challenge for the knuckle lock and sure enough, Meiko uses it to take Xia back down to the mat where she applies a top wristlock and she continues to keep control of the arm as Xia gets back to her feet. Xia tries to escape this grip that Meiko has on her wrist and she eventually does with an assist of the ropes and then she starts to wrench on the arm of Meiko as she goes from a wristlock to a hammerlock, but Meiko is able to escape and take Xia down to the mat where she starts to work on the leg.
Meiko goes for a spinning toe hold and drops down on it to trap the leg of Xia and then she pulls back on the foot until Xia starts kicking her in the back with her other foot and then Meiko rolls through sending Xia across the ring. Xia lands a kick and then takes Meiko back to the mat with a headlock takeover and instantly Meiko grabs a headscissors only for Xia to headstand out of it. Xia can tell she has struck a nerve with Meiko and as Meiko approaches her she gets in between the ropes forcing the referee to back up Meiko. Xia lands a few kicks to the back of Meiko’s leg and then hits a running double knee attack as Meiko is up against the ropes. Xia repeatedly stomps on the back of Meiko and then takes her into the center of the ring where she lands a kick to the back, Xia goes for a pin but doesn’t even get a 1 count.
Meiko sends Xia into the corner and hits her with a running forearm and then lands a couple of kicks to the chest and then hits her with a big slam. Meiko picks Xia back up and lands another kick to the chest followed by a back leg sweep and then Meiko drives both knees into the gut of Xia for a 2 count. Meiko grabs the wrist of Xia and goes for a kick, but Xia ducks and Meiko rolls into an armbar only for Xia to quickly get her foot on the ropes. Xia staggers over to the corner and kicks Meiko and then hits a running neckbreaker for a 2 count. Xia picks up Meiko who comes back with a spinning kick to the gut, an uppercut, and a powerslam for a 2 count. Meiko runs to the ropes looking for a spinning heel kick but Xia sidesteps her and lands a kick to the head followed by a lungblower for a long 2 count. Xia picks up Meiko and tries to send her into the ropes, but Meiko stops herself and lands an overhead kick, Meiko gets Xia up for the DVD but Xia elbows out of it only to eat a kick to the head moments later. Meiko hits the DVD followed by the Scorpion Kick for the win.
This was a decent match but never in a million years did I think Xia had a shot in hell of winning the title, but at least she had a nice showing against the legend.
We get a video where Rohan Raja and Charlie Dempsey are in some kind of apartment suite and they walk out onto a balcony where Raja pulls out his phone and tells Dempsey that Teoman sends his gratitude. Raja asks Dempsey what is important to him and Dempsey says legacy and heritage. Dempsey says that he joined them because he figured they needed his help in their battle against Gallus. Raja holds the phone up to his ear where he is talking to Teoman and Raja then welcomes Dempsey into die Familia. This was probably one of the better segments involving the stable and it looks like “die Familia” will be the name of their group.
Emilia is waiting on Meiko with a towel and then we get an interview where Meiko is asked what’s next and she says she is going back to Japan for a few weeks to take a break. Blair Davenport then walks up and questions Emilia on what she will do without Meiko and Emilia says she will be fine, but Blair doubts that and then challenges Emilia to a match which she accepts. Blair then asks Meiko to bring her back a present from Japan as the tease to an eventual match between the two continues.
It’s time for a rematch from a couple of weeks as Kenny Williams takes on Saxon Huxley.
Williams tries to throw his jacket at Huxley for a distraction but Huxley catches it and throws it down which doesn’t sit well with Williams as he rushes Huxley and tries to work him over in the corner, but a back elbow stops him in his tracks and then Huxley sends Williams into the ropes where he takes him down with yet another back elbow. Huxley hits a running knee to the gut and then looks to send Williams into the corner, but Williams reverses and catches Huxley with a poke in the eye only for Huxley to come back with a shoulder block and a crossbody as Williams is in the ropes. Williams tries to crawl away, but Huxley catches him and drags him back into the center of the ring where he looks for a waistlock, but Williams escapes with a back elbow only to be hit with a forearm to the back which sends Williams flying out to the floor.
Huxley goes out to the floor and nails Williams with a clothesline before throwing him back into the ring where he catches a charging Williams with a boot from the apron and then he attempts to lift Williams off the mat, but Williams kicks him away and grabs a headlock only for Huxley to counter it into a backbreaker. Huxley grabs Williams by the throat and bashes the back of his head into the mat and then he throws Williams into the corner where he hits an avalanche, but when he goes for a second one in the opposite corner Williams is able to move out of the way and Huxley hits the corner with a splash which sends him to the outside. Williams goes out to the floor and stomps Huxley before throwing him back into the ring where he connects with a basement dropkick.
Williams tries to stay on the attack but is having trouble getting ahold of Huxley and is then thrown into the corner where he nails Huxley with boots to the face and then takes him down with a chop block and then Williams dives off the middle rope coming down with all his weight onto the back of Huxley for a 2 count. Williams talks some trash as he stands behind Huxley and hammers him with crossface strikes until Huxley grabs his arm and flips Williams to the mat, but before he can follow up Williams hits another chop block to the front of the leg and then looks to drive Huxley’s head into the mat, but Huxley blocks and starts to make a comeback as he gets back to his feet and tosses Williams to the side before hitting him with a chokeslam backbreaker.
Huxley lands some big shots to the gut and then hits repeated body blows in the corner and that is followed by a couple of short-arm clotheslines and a big press slam across the ring. Huxley repeatedly sends Williams into the corner while following him in and then Huxley hits a backbreaker for a 2 count. Huxley drags Williams over to the corner and looks to climb up to the middle rope, but Williams grabs his leg to stop him which he does but Williams eats a boot to the face when he walks towards Huxley. Huxley then goes back to his original plan as he goes up to the middle rope and tries for an elbow drop, but Williams is able to get out of the way and then he hits Huxley with a basement DDT for a very close 2 count. Williams looks to be ready to hit the Headlock Driver, but the music and monochrome entrance of Subculture beings distracting Williams allowing Huxley to hit the Fireman’s Carry Spinebuster for the win.
This was an okay match but nothing too special and I didn’t like the babyface team causing the distraction as that should only be a heel move.
We get a video from earlier this week where Sha Samuels is taking bets on who will be Noam Dar’s next challenger for the NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship. Sam Gradwell walks up and is not pleased about being at the bottom of the list and then he challenges Samuels to a match for next week and he even puts a bet on himself that he can beat Samuels, Samuels accepts the match.
We get a video package to hype up next week’s NXT UK Championship match between Pretty Deadly and Moustache Mountain
It’s time for the main event as Ilja Dragunov defends his NXT UK Championship against Rampage Brown.
We get a lockup and both men struggle to gain control until Brown is finally able to power Dragunov into the corner and then he ducks a clothesline attempt in the corner. They circle the ring and Dragunov goes for a waist lock but Brown backs him up into the corner and looks for a back elbow but Dragunov is able to move out of the way and he wakes Brown up with a big chop to the chest. The same sequence happens again and this time Brown gets in a forearm, but Dragunov fires out of the corner with repeated forearms and then he grabs a headlock and he keeps it locked in for a while despite several attempts by Brown to escape, including a back suplex.
Brown eventually is able to shoot Dragunov into the ropes but after being hit with a shoulder block, Brown rebounds off the ropes and is taken right back down to the mat with a big headlock takeover. Brown gets back to his feet and shoots Dragunov off the ropes again and this time when Dragunov looks to go for another headlock Brown reverses it into a Saito suplex which looks to have done quite a deal of damage to Dragunov as he has to roll out of the ring. Brown rolls out of the ring and drives the back of Dragunov into the ring post twice before throwing him back into the ring where he hits Dragunov with another big slam for a 2 count.
Brown stands on the back of Dragunov only for Dragunov to come back with a big chop and then he tries to lift Brown, but his back gives out on him and he falls to the mat where Brown delivers multiple elbows to the back of Dragunov. Brown locks in an inverted bear hug which Dragunov is able to escape from with elbows to the back of the head. Dragunov hits a big chop on Brown, but he comes back with a headbutt that makes Dragunov crumble to the mat, but Brown doesn’t let up as he sends Dragunov hard into the corner multiple times which gets him another 2 count. Dragunov is desperately trying to do anything he can to inflict damage on Brown, but nothing is working and to make things worse Dragunov’s back hurts every time he moves.
Dragunov is able to block a Doctor Bomb attempt and then he foolishly chooses to deadlift Brown into a backdrop which he successfully pulls off, but Brown is right back on his feet. We get a spot where both men try for a suplex but neither is successful, so Dragunov decides to fire away at Brown with a flurry of strikes and then he goes for a deadlift suplex, but Brown isn’t going to let it happen as he nails Dragunov with a forearm, but Dragunov pops right back up and nails Brown with a kick to the head. After a replay, we see the referee call for the bell as it seems that Brown has been knocked out and is unable to continue.
Well, this was a disappointment but if Brown was legit knocked out then they had no other choice but to stop the match at that moment, but to be honest the match wasn’t quite living up to my expectations before the knockout happened. I guess we can expect a rematch between these two at some point down the line.
This episode of NXT UK was supposed to be centered around the NXT UK Championship match so with that getting cut short it severely hurt the show and neither of the other two matches on the card was good enough to make up for that being a disappointment, thus this episode of NXT UK is pretty much skippable.
- Sasha Banks def Shayna Baslzer – **¾
- Los Lotharios def The Viking Raiders – *½
- King Xavier Woods w/ Sir Kofi Kingston def Jey Uso w/ Jimmy Uso via DQ – *¾
- Sheamus def Cesaro – **½
- Roman Reigns © w/ The Bloodline def Sami Zayn (WWE Universal Championship) – ¼*
We get a recap video from last week where it was announced that Brock Lesnar’s suspension had been lifted and then we go into the arena where Brock Lesnar waists no time as he is the first to come to the ring.
Lesnar cuts right to the chase as he says that he is here for the Universal Championship and then it seemed like he was fixing to explain how his suspension got lifted, but he is interrupted by the current #1 contender Sami Zayn. Zayn walks to the ring trying to make nice with Lesnar before he enters the ring as he tries to make comparisons between himself and Lesnar and once he enters the ring he tells Lesnar he is a big fan of his and continues to run his mouth until Lesnar finally tells him to shut up. Lesnar asks Zayn who he is and why he shouldn’t rip his head off, this gives Zayn the opportunity to talk himself up which he loves to do and then he brings up the fact that he is currently the #1 contender and how he will give Lesnar a title shot after he beats Roman Reigns.
Upon hearing this Lesnar asks Zayn who is playing him which confuses Zayn as he is not sure what Lesnar means, and Lesnar tells him why should he wait until Day 1 when he could have a title match tonight in San Antonio. Zayn appreciates Lesnar’s suggestion but says he is not prepared, but every time Zayn tries to back out of the match Lesnar keeps pulling him in, and eventually, he corners Zayn. Zayn once again tries to back out of the match and this time he puts his hand on Lesnar’s chest which leads to Lesnar grabbing his wrist and twisting it until Zayn finally agrees to have the match tonight.
After a commercial break, Zayn is backstage trying to get Sonya Deville to cancel the match but he changes his tune when Lesnar walks up behind him and Sonya makes the match official for tonight and she also confirms that Lesnar will face the winner at Day 1. Lesnar is smiling like a Cheshire cat as he high fives Zayn.
I enjoyed this opening segment even though it was pretty clear where it was going as I thought the back and forth between Zayn and Lesnar was fun and it’s still amusing to see Lesnar as a babyface doing his own talking. We would get more from these two later in the night.
Our first match of the night sees Sasha Banks taking on Shayna Baszler in what was a good match that was close to being 3 stars as there was some nice action in this match including Sasha having a nice transition from the Kirifuda Clutch into the Bank Statement and the finish was nice as Sasha counters a gutwrench powerbomb into a hurricanrana for the win. I guess Sasha’s feud with Shotzi is over as we haven’t seen Shotzi in a couple of weeks and it seems like Sasha is now either involved in the Naomi vs Sonya feud or is feuding Shayna in a separate feud either way it’s nice to see her doing other stuff than competing for the title as I feel like we need a bit of a break of her being in the main event scene, although I would much rather have Sasha in that title picture than Charlotte who is someone could benefit from dropping out of the title picture for a while even more than Sasha.
We go to the back where Sonya is talking to Adam Pearce on Zoom as he is late to the arena due to travel issues, but when Sonya tells him the updated situation on the Universal Championship match he thinks it may be best if he just stays away for the night and despite Sonya’s objection he hangs up. Sonya turns around to see Drew McIntyre and he wants to know who decided not to put him in last week’s battle royal and Sonya tells him that it was Adam Pearce who decided the participants in that match and that he needs to take up his grievances with him, Mcintyre pulls out his sword and tells Sonya to tell Pearce he is looking for him.
I have no clue what they have planned for McIntyre at this point as it feels like he has just been spinning his wheels since the draft.
It’s time for another edition of Happy Talk with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss and for the first time in his WWE career Baron Corbin is showing off his legs in this ridiculous outfit he is wearing. Corbin and Moss talk about last week’s battle royal and how dumb Jeff Hardy was to forget that Sami Zayn hadn’t been eliminated and they chalk it up to his fried brain cells. They then turn their focus to Drew McIntyre and how he needs to stop whining about not being in the battle royal and start being happy. Drew McIntyre then comes out and Moss tries to meet him on the ramp, but he points his sword toward the ring and that is a sign for Hardy to come from behind and attack Corbin and then Hardy hits the Twist of Fate on both Corbin and Moss and that is followed by a Claymore on Moss. The segment ends with McIntyre and Hardy wearing the hats of Corbin and Moss.
I guess this segment answered my question about what McIntyre is doing, but I don’t consider feuding with Corbin and Moss to be doing too much.
We get a Xia Li vignette and we are told she will make her debut next week and to that, I say congratulations to everyone who had her debuting before Veer on Raw.
Our next match of the night is Viking Raiders taking on Los Lotharios. The Viking Raiders dominate for the majority of this very short match and once Los Lotharios take over we go right into the finish where they look to go for their finish, but Angel has to wait in the corner forever as Rick Boogs and Nakamura are late for their spot and then once Boogs starts playing the guitar it takes Angel a moment before he turns around and this whole spot is starting to feel very awkward. Nakamura and Boogs distract Angel allowing Erik to knock him out of the ring, but Humberto ends up rolling up Erik in a schoolboy for the win. The Viking Raiders seem upset at Boogs and Nakamura after the match, but change their mind once Boogs starts playing their theme music and the segment ends with Nakamura, Viking Raiders, and Pat McAfee dancing to Boogs playing guitar. Aside from the opening part where Viking Raiders dominated this match felt completely pointless.
We go to a backstage interview with Toni Storm who is looking gorgeous tonight and she talks about how Charlotte can embarrass her as much as she wants (don’t give her an open invitation to do that) but it won’t prevent her from going after what she wants, she is not impressed by all the hype around Charlotte and her accolades and she plans on proving Charlotte wrong and showing that she shouldn’t have overlooked her. Toni says that people may be calling her Toni 2 Pie right now (I’m sure there are plenty of other nicknames that I and others could think of for Toni, but Toni 2 Pie isn’t one of them), but that will change when she becomes the new SmackDown Women’s Champion. This was a pretty good promo in terms of delivery but some of the content of the promo was corny.
The Usos come to the ring and they cut a promo praising Roman Reigns and clowning on Sami Zayn for cowering to Brock Lesnar. They also say that Roman Reigns smashed the crown of King Xavier Woods a few weeks ago and tonight Jey will crush his spirit. King Woods comes out and says he has a surprise for The Usos and he brings back Sir Kofi Kingston.
The match between Jey and Woods doesn’t last long before Jimmy interferes causing a disqualification. We get a brawl between the two teams after the match where New Day comes out on top and sends The Usos retreating up the ramp. We would later get an interview with New Day where Kingston talks about how The Usos took him out of action and broke the crown of King Woods, so he thinks it’s time The Usos get what they have coming to them as they will be challenging them to a title match at Day 1.
Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman are in the locker room of The Bloodline and Reigns is not pleased as there have been several things happening that he was not aware of and he wants to know why Heyman has not been keeping him informed. Reigns says that he will defend his title tonight against Zayn and if Lesnar tries to get involved he will smash him as well.
Charlotte comes to the ring for a promo and she talks about how in order to get noticed the women have to challenge her for her SmackDown Championship, so she knows what Toni is doing and to be honest Toni should be thanking her because after last week when she hit Toni with the pie Toni became the talk of the town. Charlotte says if it was that easy to embarrass Toni with a pie just imagine what will happen when she steps into the ring with her, Charlotte says she considered Toni’s challenge but is going to decline. Charlotte leaves the ring, but as she is walking up the ramp Toni comes from behind and hits her with a pie leaving Charlotte screaming and embarrassed.
It took a week but finally, Toni got some revenge on Charlotte although I would’ve preferred the revenge to come by Toni kicking her ass rather than just pieing her in the face as I don’t want this feud to be centered around pie as then it will become the new “they feuded over coffee” or “they feuded over shampoo” joke for the fans. I should be saying I can’t wait to see Charlotte and Toni in the ring together, but given the way Charlotte is I worry that she could not want to play well with Toni and make her look bad. I don’t want or expect a Toni win at Day 1 as I would rather that come at WrestleMania where it means more, but I do want Toni to look good in the match and for it to not stink up the show. I want Toni to prove why she should be one of the next big stars for the company.
Our next match of the night is a match between former friends and tag partners as Sheamus takes on Cesaro as he wants to show Ridge Holland where he went wrong last week when he faced off against Cesaro. I’m sure these two could have a 4+ star match if they were given the time, but unfortunately, that was not the case in this match as they weren’t even given 5 minutes, but they made the best of the situation they were in and still had a solid match where Sheamus picks up the win with a Brogue Kick.
We go backstage where Naomi once again confronts Sonya Deville as she tells her she couldn’t even celebrate her win last week because she was distracted by Sonya at ringside as it made her think of all the times Sonya has tried to kill her glow. Naomi once again asks for a one-on-one match against Sonya and Sonya agrees to the match…when she decides to take off the suit. Sonya says that as long as she is wearing the suit she is Naomi’s boss and if Naomi lays one finger on her she’ll make sure Naomi is fired. Naomi asks once again for the match and this time she is answered with a slap and then she accepts the match. We are told the match “will be happening” next week, but we know how that goes as they are going to milk this feud at least until Day 1 if not longer.
It’s time for the main event segment as Sami Zayn gets on the mic and runs down Texas and then he talks about how Brock Lesnar inspired him tonight and he plans on doing the unthinkable tonight and beat Roman Reigns and he will become the new WWE Universal Champion. When he does win he isn’t thanking anyone except for Brock Lesnar as he is the only one who has believed in him. Brock Lesnar comes out and Zayn says that while he isn’t suggesting Lesnar help him win the match, he would be an easier opponent to beat at Day 1. Zayn then starts talking too much and puts his foot in his mouth as he references the fact that Lesnar’s track record against Reigns hasn’t been the best, and this as you would expect leads to Lesnar beating Zayn’s ass as he throws him around with a series of German suplexes and then drops him with a couple of F5’s. Lesnar props Zayn up in the corner so that the referee will see that he is fit to start the championship match and then he heads to the back.
After a commercial break, The Bloodline comes to the ring and The Usos have to stand Zayn back up. The match starts and Reigns hits Zayn with a Spear and then locks in the Guillotine just for the hell of it and the referee calls for the bell. The show comes to an end with The Bloodline standing tall in the ring.
This was exactly what it needed to be as everyone involved played their part perfectly and given that everyone knew that Zayn had no chance against Reigns there was no need to have a long match and this was a fun and creative way of having a squash match. I was really hoping we wouldn’t get a Lesnar vs Reigns match before their likely match at WrestleMania (perhaps inside Hell in a Cell) as the match has been done a lot and had they waited until WrestleMania it would’ve felt even more special. One thing I would love for them to do, but they never would is to have Lesnar be fine with Heyman being aligned with Reigns and then reveal he has a new advocate which is Kayla Braxton just to screw with Heyman.
I thought this was a fun episode of SmackDown as I enjoyed how Lesnar got himself yet another match with Reigns by giving Sami Zayn false hope. I am also glad to see that Toni finally got revenge on Charlotte even though it may not be in the way I want it. I also really enjoyed the Sasha vs Shayna match.
In the news
Nia Jax posted on Twitter this week that she is highly unlikely to ever wrestle again.
Dave Meltzer says that Triple H’s cardiac event was very very serious and while he has been around in recent weeks he has yet to return full time, but when he does come back he could be put in a less stressful position.
Dave Meltzer reports that Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns are the only ones in WWE making over $5 million per year, another talent which was unnamed makes $4 million and the rest of the top talent makes somewhere between $2-3 million.
When asked about the chances of Triple H ever leaving WWE to work with or start another wrestling company, Wade Keller was told by a source within the company that it would do more to hurt Triple H than help him as it would completely change the family dynamic and he doesn’t want that to happen.
Fightful Select reports that the original idea for the egg story was much worse than it turned out to be as it was originally going to revolve around the guys in the 24/7 division, but that idea was shot down, so Vince McMahon was added to the story to make good for that horrible idea. Fightful Select also reports that the Red Notice deal was worth seven figures for WWE.
Fightful select reports that WWE is still trying to resign both Johnny Gargano and Kyle O’Reilly to new contracts. WWE really wants to keep Johnny Gargano as they were pleased with how he was able to help get over Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell during their time as part of The Way. As for O’Reilly when it came to re-signing he was surprised his contract was up so soon as WWE has been extending contracts for various reasons, with one of those reasons being any time talent has to miss time due to an injury.
PWinsider reports that people backstage were thrilled with the 10-woman tag match from Raw.
Fightful reports that several people both inside and outside of the WWE were not pleased with WWE referring to fired wrestlers during this week’s episode of Raw.
PW Insider reports that several segments were shortened on this week’s Raw as a result of both the Edge and Miz and the contract segments going long.
Beth Phoenix posted on Twitter that this Sunday’s NXT WarGames will be the last show she is on as part of the NXT commentary team. Phoenix says that while she will still be with WWE she has decided to step away from her weekly announcing duties so that she can spend more time with her family. It is being rumored that Beth could be brought into Edge’s upcoming feud against The Miz so that she can counter any kind of cheap shots Maryse may take on her husband.
WrestleVotes reports that there was no plan for Elias after the graveyard vignettes outside of having him move away from the music gimmick. They report an initial idea for a new character for Elias was shot down for being too familiar to Randy Savage, because of all people God forbid we have someone like Randy Savage who is considered one of the greatest of all time (maybe Vince was afraid that by having that character Elias would try to get into Stephanie’s pants as well)
The Wrestling Observer reports that the reason for the sudden weight loss from WALTER is due to the fact that a good-looking body is more important on the main roster as there seems to be interest in bringing him to the states full time.
WrestlingDVDNetwork reports that we have reached the end of an era as WWE will no longer sell DVDs and Blu-Rays in both the US and Canada starting next year. The final DVD release will be Survivor Series 2021. While I get that this sucks for collectors it was only a matter of time once they were on a streaming service and in addition to that physical media as a whole is becoming a thing of the past. I had quite a large WWE DVD collection myself back in the day, but haven’t bought one since they started the Network in 2014.
PWInsider reports that the second season of Young Rock is set to be focused on his time in Memphis as well as his first year in the WWE.
WWE announced on Thursday that they launching their own NIL program that will provide a clear path for collegiate athletes who want to work with the WWE. You can read more about it here.
WWE has postponed their Canada tour that was scheduled for next month as the shows have been moved to the fall of 2022.
Stephanie McMahon said during a March of Dimes event that the Netflix docuseries on her father would be released sometime in 2022.
Coming up this Week
- Becky Lynch © vs Liv Morgan (Raw Women’s Championship)
- Big E vs Kevin Owens (Steel Cage Match)
- Miz TV w/ Special Guest Edge
NXT 2.0: WarGames
- Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne, & LA Knight vs Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Tony D’Angelo, & Grayson Waller (WarGames Match)
- Toxic Attraction & Dakota Kai vs Cora Jade, Raquel Gonzalez, Io Shirai, & Kay Lee Ray (WarGames Match)
- Roderick Strong © vs Joe Gacy (NXT Cruiserweight Championship)
- Imperium © vs Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner (NXT Tag Team Championship)
- Cameron Grimes vs Duke Hudson (Hair vs Hair Match)
- Xyon Quinn vs Santos Escobar
- Pretty Deadly © vs Moustache Mountain (NXT UK Tag Team Championship)
- Blair Davenport vs Emilia McKenzie
- Jeff Hardy vs Happy Corbin
- Naomi vs Sonya Deville
- Xia Li debuts