This Week in WWE 4/11-4/17
WrestleMania Night 1 Results
- Bobby Lashley © w/ MVP def Drew McIntyre (WWE Championship) – ***½
- Natalya/Tamina def Riott Squad, Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke, Carmella/Billie Kay, & Lana/Naomi (Tag Turmoil Match) – *¾
- Cesaro def Seth Rollins – ***½
- AJ Styles & Omos def New Day © (Raw Tag Team Championship) – **¾
- Braun Strowman def Shane McMahon (Steel Cage Match) – **
- Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs The Miz & John Morrison – ***¾
- Bianca Belair def Sasha Banks © (SmackDown Women’s Championship) – ****½
Who would’ve ever thought that the first big headline to start out WrestleMania would be that it was delayed due to weather, but that is exactly what happened as we had to wait 45 minutes after the opening video package before we got our first match and during the delay, we got interviews from the superstars which showed who could and who couldn’t cut an improvised promo without a script., Eventually, the weather settled down and the show would be allowed to carry on as planned and it wouldn’t disappoint.
The biggest headline coming out of Night 1 was the crowing of a new SmackDown Women’s Champion as Bianca Belair beat Sasha Banks in the main event after a fantastic match between the two. It was clear from the in-ring introductions just how much this match meant to both Sasha and Bianca as they both got very emotional during the in-ring introductions. These two went out and tore the house down as they were going to show why they belonged in the main event and as great as Sasha was in the match this was all about Bianca as she was ready for anything Sasha could throw at her. I really liked how they worked Bianca’s braid into the match with Sasha using it on multiple occasions to get the advantage but at the end of the match, it backfired as Bianca yanks the braid out of Sasha’s hands and then whips her with it which made a sound like a gun went off and moments later Bianca hits the KOD to pick up the win. This was a great and historic match and moment and was the perfect way to close out Night 1 of WrestleMania.
Another match that over-delivered was the Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs The Miz & John Morrison match as this felt very different than other tag matches involving a celebrity as not only did Bad Bunny start out the match but he worked the majority of it and it was clear that he took this match seriously and wasn’t just there for a payday. Not only was Bunny hitting some impressive moves such as a La Magistral, flying headscissors, and a destroyer but he also did a great job of selling the beating he was being given as there was a long heat segment on him before he was able to make the hot tag to Priest. One thing I feel has been lost in all the hype around Bad Bunny being in the match is how big this is for Damian Priest as he was in the semi-main event of WrestleMania and he was trusted to be the tag partner of one of the biggest current recording artists in the world, this is a huge launching pad for his career and hopefully, they follow it up and he doesn’t get lost in the mid-card.
Seeing as the Bianca vs Sasha match was in the main event the WWE Championship was put on first to get the crowd pumped up right from the start and they did just that as this was a battle of titans with neither looking to back down. Both men hit each other with everything they had and threw each other from pillar to post and throughout the match Lashley kept trying to lock in the Hurt Lock, but McIntyre would always find a way out until the end when Lashley put on the hold and even after McIntyre tried to kick off the ropes Lashley would roll through and a few minutes later McIntyre would pass out which forced the referee to ring the bell and Lashley would retain the WWE Championship.
Cesaro picked up his first singles win at WrestleMania against Seth Rollins after a very good back and forth match which saw Cesaro trying to get Rollins into the swing, but Rollins always finding a way to escape until the end when Cesaro counters a Curb Stomp attempt with a big uppercut and then he hits the swing before finishing off Rollins with the Neutralizer.
Another highlight of the show saw new tag team champs crowned as AJ Styles and Omos defeated New Day in a really fun match where New Day prevented Styles from making the tag for most of the match, but once he finally did make a tag Omos made short work of the champions as they were thrown all over the ring. Styles jumped off the shoulders of Omos to hit Woods with the Phenomenal Forearm and then Omos hit Kingston with a chokebomb and pinned him with one foot to win the tag titles.
The steel cage match between Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon was pretty much what you would expect it to be as Shane got in more offense than he should to the point where he had Strowman down long enough to hit the Coast to Coast. The finish came when McMahon was going to escape but Strowman ripped the cage apart and then tossed McMahon off the top to the mat below and then hit the Powerslam, thankfully this was kept pretty short and didn’t bring down the quality of the show.
The only real lowlight of the show was unfortunately the women’s tag turmoil match as it was pretty sloppy at times, but even with that said all 10 women put in their best effort but it just didn’t work this time. I still can’t understand why in 2021 they are giving a push to Natalya and Tamina when there are much younger talents who could benefit from this with the first of those being The Riott Squad who continue to improve every time they are in the ring and are always doing new things in every match they are in.
Overall, Night 1 was a huge success and the guys and girls on Night 2 have their work cut out for them if they want to top it and hopefully, they will do just that and we can all be praising this WrestleMania as a whole after Sunday night rather than just the first night.
WrestleMania Night 2 Results
- Randy Orton def The Fiend w/ Alexa Bliss – *¾
- Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler © def Natalya & Tamina (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship) – **¼
- Kevin Owens def Sami Zayn – ***1/4
- Sheamus def Riddle © (WWE United States Championship) – ***½
- Apollo Crews def Big E © (WWE Intercontinental Championship – Nigerian Drum Fight) – ***
- Rhea Ripley def Asuka © (Raw Women’s Championship) – ****
- Roman Reigns © w/ Paul Heyman & Jey Uso def Daniel Bryan & Edge (WWE Universal Championship) – ****¼
Night 2 started out with one of the matches I was most looking forward to and most intrigued as to how it would play out and that was The Fiend vs Randy Orton, everything started out very good as Orton came out wearing white gear which is something I don’t think we’ve ever seen from Orton. The Fiend came out next with a special entrance where we first saw a video of the burnt Fiend magically turning back into the normal Fiend which was a bummer as I wanted to see where they could go with the new Burnt version. We then see Alexa come out and she walks up to a giant Jack in the Box and starts cranking the handle which raises The Fiend out of the box and then he jumps off of it and attacks Orton and the match is underway and I also have to mention they brought back the red lightning for this match which I hated and I’m sure it made it next to impossible for those in the cheap seats to see what was going on. Bray did the “Yeah Yeah Yeah” in tribute to Brodie Lee as this was his first match since the passing of Brodie. The match was pretty much like any other Fiend match where he would immediately pop up from attacks early in the match and then later on he would start selling way more than he should and then he gets the Mandible Claw on Orton but right when he goes for Sister Abigail we see fire shoot out from the ring posts and then we see Alexa Bliss sitting cross-legged on top of the giant Jack in the Box and then black ooze starts pouring down her face which distracts The Fiend and allows Orton to hit the RKO for the win.
Seriously, this was the payoff for all these weeks? The Fiend got burnt alive and he can’t even get any comeuppance by winning a wrestling match c’mon people this match was not hard to book, and furthermore, we don’t want to see Alexa against The Fiend we want her aligned with The Fiend, they made the crowd go from chanting Holy Shit to booing in a matter of two or three minutes because of this shitty booking. If this is a thing where she is controlling The Fiend then that would’ve been a lot better done if he had stayed a brain-dead demon zombie instead of turning back into a psychopathic creepy clown creature because now he has a mind of his own. Even though I didn’t like how this ended I am intrigued to see where they go next mainly because anything Alexa touches turns to gold.
We then have the Women’s Tag Team Championship match where Nia and Shayna retained their titles against Natalya and Tamina. This match was much longer than I expected it to be and a lot better than I expected it to be as well to the point where halfway through the fans got into the match and were cheering for Tamina which is something I never thought would happen. Although I do give Natalya and Tamina crap I’m glad they finally got a couple of WrestleMania moments and now hopefully they can go to the back of the line and Riott Squad can step up to feud with Nia and Shayna.
Up next was Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn and these two made the best of the nine minutes they were given as they hit every single one of their big spots and while this wasn’t as good as some of their previous encounters they definitely made the most of the time they were given. They made the right call when they had KO hit the Stunner on Logan Paul as the entire arena was booing him out of the building and rightfully so. While the Riddle vs Sheamus match had the least build of any other match on the card and we had seen it weeks before on Raw this match was still really good with both men delivering stiff shots and the finish where Sheamus caught Riddle in mid-air with the Brogue Kick as Riddle was going for the springboard moonsault was hit perfectly and was the best way to end a really good match. The Big E vs Apollo Crews match was good but I was expecting a bit more given how good the build was. The appearance of Dabba-Kato was a nice surprise and I like the idea of Crews having him as a bodyguard.
The Asuka vs Rhea match was just as great as I expected it to be and I am happy to see Rhea finally get the win she should’ve gotten last year against Charlotte, but at least she got her win in a big stadium with fans rather than inside the PC like last year so in hindsight, it was better she had to wait a year before her big crowning moment at WrestleMania.
Before the main event, we saw the culmination of the Bayley story that had been playing out over the two days of WrestleMania where Bayley kept interrupting the WrestleMania co-hosts Titus O’Neil and Hulk Hogan (who got booed every time he opened his mouth) as she ended up getting attacked by the Bella Twins and was thrown down the ramp. This was a total waste of Bayley and did nothing for nobody and I hope she is immediately inserted back into the SmackDown Women’s Championship picture.
The Univeral Championship match was the best match of the night as it was non-stop chaos from bell to bell. Edge looked like he had never missed a day and for me was the star of the match as he hitting a nice Impaler DDT to Uso on the steps and then has a nice reversal for the Superman Punch as he turned that into an Impaler as well and the spot where he and Reigns collided in the middle of the ring as they were both going for Spears looked really brutal. I also loved the spot where Edge grabbed a piece of chair in order to inflict more damage while he had him in the crossface. I really thought that Edge was on his way to picking up the win but that darn Jey Uso had to ruin everything. I am completely fine with Reigns coming out the winner as there are still plenty of things left for him to do as champion and he is currently at the top of his game so there is no reason for it to end now. I expect a rematch at Backlash with elimination rules since the way he pinned Edge and Bryan is already becoming a talking point. As far as who should eventually take the title off Reigns I think it should definitely be Big E and I hope that is why they took the Intercontinental Championship off of him so he can be free to do bigger and better things higher up the card.
I have to say that while I did like Night 1 a bit more than Night 2 they both delivered and overall I will mark this WrestleMania down as a success and I look forward to seeing what happens next on all brands within WWE.
- Bobby Lashley w/ MVP def Riddle – **¼
- Viking Raiders vs Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin – **¾
- Rhea Ripley © vs Asuka – No Contest – ***
- The Miz & John Morrison w/ Maryse def Damian Priest (2-on-1 Handicap Match) – **
- Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler def Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke – Count Out – *½
- New Day def Elias & Jaxson Ryker – **¾
- Drew McIntyre def Braun Strowan & Randy Orton (WWE Championship #1 Contender Match) – **½
The night after WrestleMania can sometimes mean things change and for this post WrestleMania episode of Raw, we have a new location for the Thunderdome as it is now located on the campus of the University of Southern Florida at an arena called the Yuengling Center. We also got new announcers as both Samoa Joe and Tom Phillips are gone and in their place are Corey Graves and brand new announcer Adnan Virk who was something else during his first night in the WWE,
Our WWE Champion Bobby Lashley was in action to kick off the show as he pretty much squashed Riddle after Riddle challenged him earlier in the night and kept bugging Lashley until finally Lashley attacked him and accepted his challenge. Later on in the night, Lashley’s challenger was decided after Adam Pearce made a triple threat match between Randy Orton, Braun Strowman, & Drew McIntyre and as you can see above Drew McIntyre came out the victor so we will be getting a WrestleMania rematch at the next PPV titled WrestleMania: Backlash. After the match, MVP came out to the top of the ramp and while McIntyre was distracted we saw Mace & T-Bar enter the ring and they hit him with a double sit-out chokeslam. I wonder if MVP has recruited Mace & T-Bar to become members of a new hurt business, if so I really hope they do away with the Retribution gear and go back to using the names of Dio Maddin & Dominik Dijakovic.
We got the return of “The Queen” Charlotte Flair and she had quite a lot to get off of her chest as she is upset that she wasn’t booked for WrestleMania and talks about how she tried every way possible to get on the card so it wasn’t her fault that she wasn’t on the card and then she blames Asuka, her dad, and Lacey Evans getting pregnant for being the reasons she wasn’t on the card. Charlotte calls Rhea the biggest snake in the locker room because she jumped in front of everyone to get a title shot against Asuka and now Asuka gets a rematch just one day later. Charlotte says karma is a bitch and she’s that bitch and then calls out a list of women who were booked on WrestleMania and says that none of them can compare to her. Charlotte says that for the first time she realized that she doesn’t steal opportunities she is the opportunity and she will not apologize for being as good as she is. Charlotte says that she has given years of her life to this business but what have we given her in return. I thought this was a really good promo as it played into everything people have said negatively about her stealing time and opportunities from the other women and used it to build on her heel heat. Later on during the Raw Women’s Championship rematch between Asuka and Rhea Ripley (which wasn’t that great of a match as they just weren’t clicking with each other tonight), we get Charlotte running in and attacking both women which one would assume would lead to a triple threat at Backlash.
We got the start of a very stupid feud as Nia and Shayna were laughing after watching Mandy’s fall at WrestleMania over and over and this led to a tag match later in the night where Nia would “slip and fall” a couple of times which got Dana and Mandy laughing and this was enough of a pay off for them to just walk to the back and get counted out rather than trying to beat the champs to earn themselves a championship match. Like I said this whole angle was dumb and it made everyone participating in it look like complete idiots.
We also saw the return of Maryse as she seems to have joined up with The Miz and John Morrison for the time being as she joined them on Miz TV which consisted of Miz taking credit for how good Bad Bunny was at WrestleMania which leads to Damian Priest coming out to defend Bad Bunny and this led to the handicap match where just two nights after winning a semi-main event match Priest lost to The Miz who was stripped down to his boxers, way to put a halt on a brand new hot star.
It was nice to see the Viking Raiders back in action, as Raw needs a boost to their tag division, and Viking Raiders are always a team you can count on to make any tag division feel more important. We also saw New Day defeat the team of Elias and Jaxon Ryker in what was probably the best match of both Elias and Ryker’s WWE careers.
Going into Raw the one story that I was most intrigued as to how they would follow up was the Fiend and Alexa Bliss story as I was very curious how they were going to explain that terrible finish to the Orton vs Fiend match. We first got a new edition of Alexa’s Playground where Alexa talks about how at one time she was a girl who was lost and trying to find her way and then one day the darkness (The Fiend) came and saved her but then one day the darkness went away (when Fiend was burned alive) and she realized she didn’t really need the darkness as she was now capable of doing everything the darkness could and at that point she began to wonder whether the darkness was helping her or just standing in her way. Alexa says that along the way she unlocked something truly evil along the way and then she introduces us to her new friend Lily and as the camera pans over we see an equally creepy and goofy-looking doll as Alexa says that their fun is just getting started.
Later on in the night, we get the first episode of Firefly Funhouse in several months, and at first, he seems bummed about parting ways with Alexa which leads to Abby the witch having some harsh words for Alexa. Ramblin’ Rabbit talks about how it is going to be lonely without her and just when it looks like he is going to be killed once again Wyatt kisses Ramblin’ and then throws him across the room. Wyatt then says he feels like he has been reborn and at that point, he starts acting as if he were one of those con TV evangelists and he lays his hands on Mercy and Huskus to heal them and then banishes Abby. Wyatt says this is a brand new start for the Firefly Funhouse with new friends and a new him and then says there will be a big, bad, and strong Funhouse before he waves goodbye.
I can’t believe they did it after the horrible finish to the WrestleMania match, but they pulled me right back into this story although that is mainly because of Alexa as she has been the true star of everything involving Bray Wyatt since she joined up with him. I am curious to see how this feud against Wyatt is going to go because we aren’t going to get a competitive Alexa vs Fiend match so I would have to guess that eventually, Alexa gets a guy to align with her in order to face The Fiend in an actual match because at the end of the day this is wrestling and everything is eventually settled in the ring. I am also interested in seeing what new friends Wyatt has in mind and how this big and bad Funhouse will be different than the one we have seen for the past three years.
Overall this Raw was a total letdown as were are used to getting so much more on the night after WrestleMania and this just felt like any other episode of Raw which is disappointing given the past two nights of WrestleMania which were really good, but then again most of the highlights coming out of WrestleMania were from the SmackDown side of things so hopefully, we will get that spectacular post WrestleMania show on Friday at SmackDown.
- MSK © def Drake Maverick & Killian Dain (NXT Tag Team Championship) – **¾
- Mercedes Martinez def Jessi Kamea w/ Robert Stone & Aliyah – **
- Kushida def Santos Escobar © w/ Legado del Fantasma (NXT Cruiserweight Championship) – ***½
- Isaiah Scott def Leon Ruff – ***1/2
- Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumis, Ember Moon, & Shotzi Blackheart def The Way – ***¼
The show starts with the new NXT Champion coming out and cutting a very good promo on how this is his time and how no one is going to out grind him and take his title because he is hungrier and more insatiable than anyone else in NXT. Kross says that anyone who wants to try and take the championship from him can step up but he promises he will roll every single one of them on their heads. Kross says he doesn’t care who steps up as he will fold every single one of them until there is nobody left. Kross says that in the end, everyone will pay the toll. While the content of his promo wasn’t anything special I thought the delivery was very good as he was very intense. I was half expecting a line of challengers to come out like we usually get after one of this kind of promo but thankfully they just let the promo stand alone this time.
After the MSK vs Maverick & Dain match, we saw Alexander Wolfe get in the ring and have words with Dain before Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel jumped Dain from behind and laid him out so I would expect an Imperium vs Maverick and Dain match to be coming down the line.
We see a video from earlier in the day where Mercedes Martinez confronts Robert Stone and Aliyah about where he payment is for being Aliyah’s partner in the Dusty Classic and she eventually starts choking Aliyah until Jessi Kamea walks up and challenges her to a match which will happen later in the night. In the match Martinez makes quick work of Kamea and then she throws Robert Stone into the plexiglass and starts to choke him when he pulls out a wad of cash and gives it to Martinez. Martinez then goes over to the commentary table where she tells Raquel Gonzalez that she is coming for her.
We get footage of what happened after Takeover went off the air on Night 2 between Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly which consisted of security cam footage of them both being rolled into the hospital on the stretcher and Cole is still talking trash to O’Reilly and it’s clear that this feud is not over yet so get ready for Cole vs O’Reilly happening on at least the next two Takeover’s and we will most likely get a Team Cole vs Team O’Reilly match at WarGames because that is how NXT usually does things.
Santos Escobar came out and cut a promo about his win at Takeover and then issued an open challenge but before he could even get the words out of his mouth Kushida answers the challenge and after a very good back and forth match Kushida reverses a roll-up to pin Escobar and win the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. I don’t think anyone was expecting this to happen especially since Escobar had just become the undisputed champion. I am happy to see Kushida finally win some gold in NXT as he has definitely earned it with the matches he has had recently and I’m also glad that Escobar is no longer champ as he wasn’t really doing anything for me personally as champ but I am a big fan of Kushida and look forward to watching his reign as the cruiserweight division. Later on in the night, Devlin tells Kushida that he is going back to Ireland for a while, but when he comes back he is coming for the Cruiserweight Championship.
Ciampa and a returning Thatcher cut a promo backstage about what their future is as they could go separate ways and go for the NXT Championship or they could continue to team and go for the NXT Tag Team Championship and they choose the tag titles and tells MSK they are coming for them.
Raquel Gonzalez comes out and talks about how hard she busted her ass to become NXT Women’s Champion and then she thanks Dakota Kai for her help along the way and for always standing by her side. We then get the debut of Franky Money (Taya Valkyrie) who congratulates Raquel and then introduces herself as Wera Loca Franky Monet. Franky talks about how the women’s division is going to get a lot better with her around and since Raquel is at the top of the division she will be seeing a lot more of Franky Monet. Raquel then threatens to shove the dog up Franky’s culo which makes Franky exit the ring as she tells Raquel she will be seeing her every Tuesday.
Just when we think we are done with this segment we get a surprise as Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley and SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair come to the ring and they share a moment with Raquel as all three women raise their championships in the air to show there is a new era of women on top in the WWE. While I like that we had this moment to close out Rhea and Bianca’s run in NXT and to put Raquel on the same level as they are I feel like it overshadowed the debut of Franky Monet just a bit as by the end of the segment she felt like an afterthought, if they were going to do this with Rhea and Bianca then they should’ve just saved Franky’s debut until next week.
Pete Dunne cuts a promo talking about how he is the best technical wrestler after beating Kushida and challenges anyone to step if they think differently. Dunne then says he is going to set his sites on the NXT Championship.
We get a video package of the newest Joshi signing coming to NXT Sarray who will be debuting next week. It’s amazing just how deep the NXT Women’s roster is as soon as someone leaves like Rhea Ripley there are one or two more ready to fill her spot, it truly is the most competitive and diverse division in WWE.
We go to the back where Roderick Strong and his wife Marina Shafir are meeting with William Regal and Strong hands Regal an envelope and tells Regal he is done and when Regal asks him if he is sure he nods. Regal tells Strong he is welcome back in NXT at any time. I have to believe this is a set up for Strong to eventually get into a feud with Cole after Cole is finished with O’Reilly because if Strong goes up to Raw or SmackDown he is for sure going to get lost in the shuffle and be stuck in the mid-card because as talented as he is in the ring the guy is the definition of vanilla which is a shame because he can go in the ring like nobody else.
After a really good match between Isaiah Scott and Leon Ruff, we see Ruff attack Swerve backstage and it’s clear that the issues between these two are not over. We also see Mercedes Martinez and Zoey Stark have words backstage so that is a match that will be happening in the upcoming weeks.
I have absolutely fallen in love with The Way and their chemistry with each other as they always keep me entertained week after week, I love how Johnny and Candice are pretty much like the parents of Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory and how they want them to be the perfect family but Theory and Indi continue to mess things up whether it be because of Theory’s idiocy or Indi’s crush on Dexter and watching Gargano react to all of this is fantastic, and poor Candice has to be the sane one of the family and keep everyone on the right track. There are times when you just want to watch a fun light-hearted match where the babyfaces come out on top to close the show and that is exactly what the main event on this week’s show was and I must say I enjoyed every single minute of it. I got a kick out of all the Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis stuff that happened during the match as everything Indi did in the match actually got a laugh out of me especially her giving the thumbs up when Lumis was carrying her to the back.
This episode of NXT was everything that the Raw after WrestleMania should’ve been as it gave you a bit of everything from feel-good moments, title wins, debuts, and really good in-ring action. This has been one of my favorite episodes of NXT in quite a while and it’s safe to say their run on Tuesday nights is starting out on a high now they just need to continue having great shows like we got this week. The only thing I didn’t like about the new NXT on Tuesdays is the stupid new logo with the skull and wings as that looks completely ridiculous and is one step too far for Triple H as he needs to dial back his fetish for skulls and post-apocalyptic shit just a bit as this logo is a complete joke.
NXT UK Results
- Nathan Frazer def Saxon Huxley – **¼
- Isla Dawn def Emilia McKenzie – **½
- Jack Starz w/ Piper Niven def Ashton Smith – **¼
- Kenny Williams def Amir Jordan – **¼
The show starts out with a match between Saxon Huxley who is a Bruiser Brody type character going against Nathan Frazer who is the former Ben Carter who had to change his name because there is already someone in NXT UK with the last name of Carter. This was a fine match as Huxley dominates early as he throws Frazer around the ring and then Frazer makes a comeback as he throws his body into Huxley knocking him out of the ring and then he hits a suicide dive and minutes later he finishes Huxley off with a Frog Splash.
We get promos from both Noam Dar & Sha Samuels as well as Moustache Mountain hyping their tag match happening next week. We see a promo from Jinny (who is with Joseph Conners) who runs down Dani Luna who she will be facing next week. We have a segment backstage where Meiko Satomura walks up to Aoife Valkyrie and pulls out the feather that Aoife layed on the stage and tells her she knows what that means and she accepts the challenge.
We get another edition of Supernova Sessions and this week’s guests are Gallus who take a seat on Dar’s nice couch leaving Dar to sit in the fold out chairs. Dar asks them how they are and after a bit of small talk Eddie Dennis comes out and this leads to Primate and Tyson T-Bone attacking Gallus from behind and we get a brawl between all six men.
The second match of the night saw Isla Dawn take on Emilia McKenzie after getting pinned by her last week in the tag match and after a nice back and forth match with some brutal-looking suplexes by Emilia we see Isla get her win back as she hits Emilia with a bridging half-nelson suplex for the win.
The third match saw the impressive Ashton Smith take on Jack Starz and this was Starz’s first time to show what he has learned after training with Piper Niven over the past few weeks. Smith dominates early as he uses his power to beat down Starz which included a brutal-looking clothesline. Starz finally makes a comeback when he counters a delayed suplex and hits Smith with a couple of backdrops before rolling him up for the upset win. It’s crazy they have a guy who looks like Smith stuck in a tag team (and also losing to someone like Jack Starz) that nobody cares about as he could be a major player on the show on his own as he has a good look and can bring it in the ring as well.
Our main event saw the former team of Kenny Williams and Amir Jordan explode as Williams turned on Jordan a few weeks ago during a tag title match against Pretty Deadly because he thought Jordan was too soft after he wouldn’t cheat to win the titles. I think it was supposed to be a big deal that this team split up and are now going against each other, but I really couldn’t care less as they weren’t one of the top teams on the show and felt like a jobber to the stars most of the time. The match was itself fine but I did check how much time was left a couple of times during the match as I wasn’t invested in either guy and was ready for the show to be over so I could write this lovely review. Williams ended up getting the win when he sent Jordan head-first into the exposed turnbuckle and then hit him with a headlock driver.
This was a bit of a letdown after the big show last week but the matches next week have me excited as that tag match between Moustache Mountain and the team of Noam Dar and Sha Samuels could be a really good match.
- Rey Mysterio w/ Dominik Mysterio def Otis w/ Chad Gable – **
- Kevin Owens def Sami Zayn via Count Out – **¼
- Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode © def Street Profits (SmackDown Tag Team Championship) – **½
- Natalya w/ Tamina def Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax – *½
- Cesaro def Seth Rollins via DQ – **¾
As SmackDown opens we go to the announce booth to find out our new announce team for the blue brand will be Michael Cole and NXT alumni Pat McAfee.
Roman Reigns comes to the ring to start us out and he is all smiles after his victory at WrestleMania. Reigns gets Heyman to run down the accomplishments of the two men he beat at WrestleMania. Reigns says that after what he did at WrestleMania they will never put him in a triple threat match ever again as he did exactly what he said he was going to do. After Reigns finishes gloating about his victory he says he put his obligated time in on his show and now he is going to leave, but before he can we get Cesaro coming out, and as he gets in the ring and goes to grab the microphone Reigns and company leave the ring as they won’t even give Cesaro a moment of their time. We then see Cesaro go to Adam Pearce about Reigns as he tells Pearce he wants to step up to Reigns and the title doesn’t even have to be on the line,before Pearce can answer he is cut off by Sonya who tells Cesaro she will talk with Reigns.
Later on in the night, Paul Heyman cuts an interview where he runs down Cesaro and says how laughable it is that he wants to face Reigns as Cesaro is not an attraction he is a joke. Heyman says he is going to stop Cesaro before he even gets started and that’s why tonight Cesaro will face “Main Event” Jey Uso in the main event. Throughout the night we got at least 10 replays of Cesaro hitting the UFO spin to Rollins at WrestleMania? The match between Cesaro and Uso was really good as you would expect but had an underwhelming ending as Rollins attacked Cesaro as he went to put Uso in the giant swing. The show would go off the air with Rollins yelling at Cesaro from the top of the ramp that he is the ender and they are not done until he says they are.
Wow, they really pulled one on us tonight as I’m sure everyone thought we were headed into a Reigns vs Cesaro program, but by the end of the night, it seems like we are continuing Cesaro’s feud with Seth Rollins. I hope that if we don’t get Cesaro vs Reigns right now they go back to it later in the year and don’t just drop Cesaro back into the mid-card after his feud with Rollins is finished. I get doing replays as some people may tune into the show late but did we really need to see that replay of Cesaro spinning Rollins in the UFO at WrestleMania that many times?
We got Sami Zayn coming out and complaining about his loss to Kevin Owens at WrestleMania and blaming everyone else for why he lost, but then in the match against Kevin Owens minutes later he chose to get himself counted out. After the match, KO throws Zayn back into the ring and hits Zayn with a Stunner. I guess this feud will continue although I’m not sure why as KO already got the clean win at WrestleMania.
Apollo Crews introduced us to his giant friend who is now being called Commander Azeez and he was a former member of the Nigerian Elite Guard. Azeez’s name for the Samoan Spike is the Nigerian Nail. Crews says Azeez will take out anyone who comes for Crews’ Intercontinental Championship. We got a fine but completely forgettable match between Rey Mysterio and Otis as it seems like this feud is continuing. We had a match between Natalya and Shayna Baszler that was not that great and I can’t believe this feud that nobody wants to see is continuing when we could be seeing younger talent like The Riott Squad getting this spot.
We got Roode and Ziggler defending their titles for the second week in a row against the Street Profits although I’m not sure why the Street Profits are getting a title match this quick seeing as they were part of the 4-way last week, so shouldn’t they have to win some matches before getting another title shot? I guess it really doesn’t matter since there are only 4 teams on the show and Ziggler and Roode need challengers and the other two teams are feuding with each other and that only leaves the Street Profits to feud with.
Bianca Belair cut a promo about her history-making win at WrestleMania and how she never gave up despite all the struggles and setbacks she has faced and she never stopped believing her moment would come and now here she is as the SmackDown Women’s Champion. Bianca says that no matter how hard things may get you can always change the game, but this moment isn’t just about her it’s also about Sasha Banks. Bianca thanks Sasha and says there is nobody else she would’ve wanted to make history with. We go to the back where Sasha Banks is interviewed but all she does is point to the scar on her waist from the hair whip that Bianca gave her and then she storms off as she is too angry to talk. We also get an interview with Bayley who mocks Bianca for crying in the main event and says that she was crying because she didn’t think she could win and that is not the kind of champion SmackDown needs and that is why she is challenging her for the title.
That’s pretty much all there is to cover for SmackDown, while it looked like it was going to be a good show from the opening segment it quickly started to go downhill as it felt like they were just repeating everything we had seen over the past month for most of the storylines. The swerve at the end of the show of Rollins attacking Cesaro and continuing that feud rather than moving on to a Cesaro vs Reigns match was very disappointing. The highlight of the show was the promo by Bianca as that was a genuine feel-good moment and the fact that she had Montez by her side during it made it even better.
Thursday afternoon WWE decided to do their annual spring cleaning which at this point is becoming a complete joke as there is no reason as to why WWE should be releasing talent when they are making record profits year after year from big-time broadcasting deals both from Fox and NBC, but unfortunately, it is still happening and here is the list of names released:
That is a list of very talented people and most of them never really got the chance to show what they are fully capable of. I have no doubt that whatever they do next they will find success and any company that picks them up will benefit from having them on their roster.
I do want to talk further about the first five names on the list as they were the ones that really stuck out when the names of releases started rolling out.
Samoa Joe – It’s a shame that they couldn’t find a way to put the WWE championship on this man even if it was just for a few months and his whole run on the main roster was full of starts and stops which is a shame as he always delivers in the ring and even more so on the mic. My favorite thing Samoa Joe did in WWE was his feud with AJ Styles especially their match at SummerSlam 2018 when he kept taunting Styles by messing with his wife and daughter who was in the crowd. I would love to see Joe go to NJPW as there is a list of equally beefy and badass guys in that promotion that I would love to see Joe stand across the ring from and I would also love to see him participate in this year’s G1.
The IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay): Splitting up these two women shows that WWE doesn’t really care about the women’s tag division as they were the only actual team in the division all the way from their days in NXT and while their matches were never going to blow people away their personalities, charisma, and chemistry with each other was like none other and they could always make me genuinely laugh whether they were a team or on their own. They should definitely go to Impact where they have just reinstated their women’s tag team championship as there are a lot of talented women in that promotion to work with, although I could also see Peyton going to AEW so she can be with her husband Shawn Spears. I will also say that Billie Kay on her own is one of the best comedy wrestlers that WWE ever had as the stuff she was doing with her headshot and resume was comedy gold as was her catchphrases of “You gotta be joking me” and “Hey Kayla!”,
Mickie James: I was so excited when it was announced Mickie James was coming back to the WWE as she is one of my all-time favorites and while she did some fun stuff alongside Alexa Bliss when she first debuted she quickly faded into the background and never really came out of it for the rest of the time she was there. Her only real highlight was teaming with Alicia Fox to face Trish Stratus and Lita at Evolution. It’s amazing how they have a legend like Mickie James on their roster that could help all of the younger talents and they choose to let her go rather than using her as a player-coach or even just a coach in NXT. They really let a good thing go when they released this legend. I fully expect her to either go back to Impact where she had a good run when she left WWE back in 2010 or to NWA to be alongside her husband Nick Aldis.
Chelsea Green: I feel so bad for Chelsea as she had to have the worst luck during her run in WWE as I don’t think she ever made it on TV for a solid month as she was either out with an injury or called up to the main roster but never used for months. It’s a shame that the WWE casual fans never got to see what Chelsea is capable of as she is truly one of the very best. I expect her to go back to Impact Wrestling where she had a great run before coming to WWE and is also where her fiance Matt Cardona is working.
Coming up this Week
Randy Orton vs Braun Strowman
Asuka vs Charlotte Flair
Drew McIntyre seeks answers after being attacked by T-Bar and Mace at the end of Raw
Dexter Lumis vs LA Knight
Jinny vs Dani Luna
Joe Coffey vs Eddie Dennis
Moustache Mountain vs Noam Dar & Sha Samuels
That’s all I got for this very packed week of WWE action, overall I felt that Raw, SmackDown, and NXT UK were pretty disappointing and NXT was by far the show of the week. I’ll be back next week for more action from the WWE as we move closer to WrestleMania: Backlash.
As always if you have any feedback to give whether it be positive or negative please feel free to contact me on Twitter @MTW3589.