This Week in WWE 5/23-5/29
- Drew McIntyre vs Kofi Kingston w. Xavier Woods – Double DQ – ***
- Nikki Cross def Rhea Ripley via Beating the Clock – *½
- Charlotte Flair def Asuka – ***
- Cedric Alexander def Shelton Benjamin – **¾
- Riddle def Xavier Woods – ***½
- Jaxson Ryker def AJ Styles – *¾
- Sheamus def Humberto Carrillo – **¾
- Natalya & Tamina © def Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler w/ Reginald (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship) – **¼
Welcome to Raw Rewind where there is no need to worry if you missed Raw last week because we will redo the majority of it on this week’s show. That should have been the introduction to tonight’s episode of Raw as there was so much repeating from what happened on last week, for instance, the show started just the same with MVP introducing Bobby Lashley who comes to the ring alongside a group of lovely ladies. Drew McIntyre of course comes out followed by Kofi Kingston who makes his case for why he deserves to face Lashley instead of McIntyre as he says McIntyre has had plenty of chances but has failed in every one of them. This leads to Adam Pearce coming out to make a match between McIntyre and Kingston where the winner faces Lashley at Hell in a Cell. We get a really good match between McIntyre and Kingston which ends up being a complete waste when Lashley and MVP interfere and cause a double DQ to end the match. Later on, Pearce would make a ruling that next week there will be a rematch where the winner faces Lashley at Hell in a Cell, and if MVP interferes they both will be suspended without pay for 90 days, so get ready for another 20+ minute match that could very easily end in another non-finish or a predictable Drew McIntyre win. As I said last week I’m so tired of seeing Drew Mcintyre be the one to challenge Lashley as it is past time for him to have a new challenger.
We get a backstage skit where Charlotte and Rhea argue back and forth about what happened last week when Rhea cost her a match against Asuka, Nikki Cross walks up and says she can beat either one of them and Charlotte tells her if she didn’t already have a match then she would beat Nikki in two minutes, Rhea chastises Charlotte for talking down to Nikki so Charlotte suggests that Rhea beat Nikki in two minutes and Rhea accepts the challenge. We then get a 2-minute beat-the-clock challenge where Nikki doesn’t have to pin or submit Rhea, she just has to last 2 minutes with her. Rhea easily takes care of Nikki for the first 30 seconds but then she gets too confident as Nikki escapes a slam attempt and goes on the offense for a few seconds but then Rhea levels her with a running dropkick and then starts beating her down in the corner and she has forgotten about the clock during the beatdown and it ends up running out which means Nikki has won the match. Nikki celebrates by running around the ring and then out comes Charlotte Flair as she is in action after the break. We get another lengthy match between Charlotte and Asuka which sees Charlotte get back her win as she counters the Asuka Lock by rolling back into a pinning combination.
It was nice to see Nikki Cross in a match as she hasn’t been in one on Raw since the night after the Royal Rumble which is a shame that they have someone that talented just sitting on the sidelines. This match had such strange booking as they had Nikki get a win over Rhea but not really as she just survived two minutes rather than pinning her or making her submit. I have to question why they let Nikki survive when it doesn’t seem like they have any plans for her and it made Rhea look stupid as she completely forgot about the clock while beating down Nikki in the corner, and what did Nikki do so bad for her to deserve the beating she received? The match between Asuka and Charlotte was really good as they always are but they are a pairing I am tired of seeing together. We officially have Rhea vs Charlotte at Hell in a Cell and it will be interesting to see if Rhea gets back her win against Charlotte that she should’ve had last year at WrestleMania 36.
Throughout the night we got several really bad, pre-taped, heavily scripted, and very robotic promos from different Raw roster members talking about how excited they are for the return of fans to the arena starting on July 16.
We get a video package of the history between Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin and then both men come to the ring, but before the match can start Cedric Alexander has something to get off his chest. Alexander talks about how good they had it as part of the Hurt Business but then MVP kicked them out and it’s all because Benjamin is washed up. Alexander continues to berate Benjamin for his age asking how many years does his career have left? Alexander says he is in his prime and tonight his arm will be raised in victory and Benjamin will be gone for good. After a really good match, Alexander gets the win after poking Benjamin in the eye and hitting him with the Neuralyzer.
In the biggest surprise of the night, Xavier Woods took on Riddle in a show-stealing match. I feel like everyone including myself often forget just how good Woods is in the ring as people usually put their focus on Kingston or Big E and Woods is looked over, but every so often he puts on a show like he did tonight and reminds us that he is that damn good. If they are going to continue to have Kingston in the WWE Championship picture then they should let Woods get into a separate feud and have a run on his own as well, rather than just being the cornerman for Kingston. Despite the impressive showing by Woods, it would be Riddle that ended up getting the win when he hits an RKO. After the match, Riddle shows mannerisms you would see from Randy Orton before snapping out of it and becoming the goofy fun-loving Riddle we are used to.
We get a short match between AJ Styles and Jaxson Ryker which sees Ryker pick up the win after Elias interferes and hits Styles with a jumping knee and then Ryker hits a spinning sidewalk slam which is enough to keep Styles down for the 3 count. Elias goes over to the timekeeper area and crouches down so he is hidden from Omos but that doesn’t work as Omos pulls him out of the timekeeper’s area and then chases both Elias and Ryker up the ramp where he shoves Elias into the LED board.
We get another good match between Sheamus and Humberto Carrillo which ends with Sheamus sitting down on a la casadora attempt from Carrillo and with a pull of the tights Sheamus picks up the win. After the match, Sheamus continues to attack Carrillo until Ricochet makes the save and the two babyfaces work over Sheamus with high flying offense including a moonsault and a 450 splash.
We got our new Eva Marie vignette and this week she is shown working out and talks about her training mindset and if there is one thing we can all agree on from that video it’s that Eva is dedicated when it comes to being in shape.
Before our main event, we get a segment backstage where Shayna Baszler demands that Reginald stays in the back because she is tired of him causing distractions leading to her and Nia losing, Nia tries to defend Reginald but Shayna isn’t having it. Our main event sees Natalya and Tamina defending their tag team championship against former champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler in their second rematch, the match was what you would expect from these two teams but midway through Reginald defies Shayna’s demands and comes down to the ring. Reginald distracts the referee while Shayna has Natalya pinned which pisses her off and she demand Reginald go to the back but as he is going up the ramp pyro erupts from the stage stunning Reginald which distracts Shayana and allows Natalya to roll Shayna up in a small package to pick up the win. After the match, Shayna acts like she is going to check on Reginald but then she snaps as she grabs him by the collar and calls him an SOB and tells him she wants to see how he does against her in a match next week, and she is going to make him wish he was in that pyro explosion.
This was such an uneventful episode of Raw especially for the main feuds of Lashley vs McIntyre and Rhea vs Charlotte, if I were to recommend what to watch from this episode it would be the Xavier Woods vs Riddle match, everything involving Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander, and the Sheamus vs Carrillo match as everything else was just a rehash of what we saw last week.
- Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart def Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez – ***¼
- Pete Dunne w/ Oney Lorcan def Bobby Fish – ***¾
- Mercedes Martinez def Zayda Ramier – **¼
- Franky Money def Cora Jade – **
- Karrion Kross © w/ Scarlett def Finn Balor (NXT Championship) – ****
This week’s show starts out with action from the women’s division as we get a rematch from the finals of the Women’s Dusty Classic as Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart take on Dakota Kai and the NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez. The first few minutes focussed on Ember and Shotzi each trying to take down Raquel but she wasn’t budging and was blocking every attack thrown at her until she catches Ember on a crossbody attempt and carries her over to the corner to tag in Dakota. The babyfaces finally gain control of the match as they work over Dakota until Raquel breaks up a cloverleaf from Shotzi and then tags herself back into the match The match starts to break down after the break and Ember counters Raquel’s one-armed powerbomb into an Eclipse and then the babyface hit their double team finisher to pick up the win. After the match, Raquel isn’t happy with the loss and she takes it out on Shotzi as she repeatedly powerbombs her into the plexiglass and fencing while Dakota holds Ember and makes her watch. These two teams are really good together as both of their matches were so much fun and I hope we see more matches between them. Given the beatdown at the end of the match I’m guessing Ember could be Raquel’s next challenger to get revenge for the beatdown on Shotzi.
We get a backstage promo from Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher where they talk about how they aren’t finished with the Grizzled Young Veterans and look forward to them meeting in the ring once again, GYV would get a promo later in the night and they say they are done with Ciampa and Thatcher and are setting their sights on MSK and the tag team titles.
Our next match is Bobby Fish taking on Pete Dunne who still has Oney Lorcan by his side despite Danny Burch being injured and Pat McAfee moving to SmackDown to do commentary. This match was exactly what you would expect it to be and I enjoyed every minute of it as these two beat the living crap out of each other while also trading submission holds with Dunne specifically working over the previously injured tricep of Fish. There was a spot where Fish suplexes Dunne near the ropes and Dunne bounces off the ropes and hits his head hard, but thankfully he is ok. The finish comes when both men trade armbars but Dunne rolls through and hits Fish with the Bitter End to pick up the win. After the match, Oney Lorcan attacks Fish looking to put him on the shelf once again as he pulls FIsh next to the ropes and steps on the arm which bends it over the apron. Lorcan stands on the arm until referees run out to break it up. This was a really good match as well as a good post-match beatdown and I look forward to the Fish vs Lorcan match. Is it just me or does it feel weird to watch Fish in a one-on-one match, I am so used to him being with O’Reilly that he just doesn’t look right in there by himself.
Mercedes Martinez cuts a promo in the back on how tonight starts her climb back to the top and as she walks off we see Boa in the background as he had been watching Mercedes. Mercedes takes on Zayda Ramier and although Zayda gets a few spots to shine this was pretty much a squash as Mercedes gets the win with an Air Raid. After the match, the lights turn red and a video for Tian Sha airs, and when the lights come back to normal Mercedes looks at her hand and notices she has been marked to be the next victim for Tian Sha. So it looks like we are setting up Mercedes vs Xia Li in the near future.
We see Ted Dibiase in the back talking to Toni Storm (who should insure her assets for $1,000,000) and then he runs into the Robert Stone Brand and tosses money at them before walking off laughing. We are now set for the Millionaire Face-Off with Cameron Grimes and Ted Dibiase. Grimes asks Dibiase why he has been trying to out buy and embarrass him over the past month and then says he has always looked up to Ted Dibiase and once he got some money he thought he wanted to do like Dibiase did which was treat people like crap but still be liked. Grimes then says it’s true what they say about never meeting your idols. Dibiase says he likes Grimes and he sees a little bit of himself in Grimes and that is why he did all of this time Grimes as he wanted to test him. Dibiase says he is looking for someone to carry on the Million Dollar legacy (I guess Ted Jr got shot out of the saddle once he retired) and then he tells Grimes it isn’t all about money and humiliating people it’s about in-ring performance and Grimes has really impressed him, but ever since Grimes has become rich he has lost focus and he needs to regain that focus.
We then get the arrival of LA Knight who puts himself over as the guy Ted Dibiase should choose to carry on the Million Dollar legacy which doesn’t sit well with Grimes as he wants him to leave the ring before he kicks his ass to the moon. Grimes turns to talk to Dibiase but is blindsided by Knight and hit with the snapmare driver, Dibiase stands over Grimes disappointed and then he walks out with Knight by his side. I thought this did a good job of cementing Grimes as a babyface as he is over with the crowd at the CWC and probably everywhere else as well. I do wish the heel in this was someone other than LA Knight as he is one of those guys like Robert Roode where when he gets on the mic he is gold, but once the bell rings he is average at best.
Indi Hartwell is backstage frantically searching for Dexter Lumis when she is told by Drake Maverick that he last saw him in a room off to the side and when she enters that room she sees pictures depicting Lumis with a broken heart including one with a knife in Lumis’s heart as he is standing over Indi at the massage table. Indi runs off to find Lumis to tell him she is sorry for what he overheard last week. Walter has a video message for Barthel and Aichner telling them Imperium is stronger without Alexander Wolfe and then tells them to take out the tag division.
It’s now time for the one thing everyone has been waiting for the in-ring debut of Franky Monet and she will be taking on Cora Jade who I don’t believe has been seen since the Women’s Dusty Classic. Franky backs Cora into the corner where she works her over with running knees and hip attacks. Cora tries to make a comeback with forearms and a headscissors into a leg sweep but then Franky plants her with a spear and to finish things off she hits Cora with a Glam Slam to pick up the win.
Bronson Reed comes out to talk about winning the NXT North American Championship and his journey to get that moment and then he says anyone trying to take his title has a colossal mountain to climb. Reed is interrupted by Legado del Fantasma and Escobar says he wants that North American Championship because he is the emperor of lucha libre. Legado del Fantasma is fixing to attack Reed when MSk runs out and clears the ring of Wilde and Mendoza and then Reed takes care of Escobar, sending him to the floor.
It’s time for the main event where Karrion Kross will defend his NXT Championship against Finn Balor in a rematch from NXT Takeover: Stand and Deliver Night 2. Kross works over the back and midsection of Balor for most of the match but is unable to keep Balor down as he keeps coming and lays in some offense when he gets the chance as he is able to hit Kross with a dive to the outside, but Kross stands right back up and slams Balor onto the announce table. As Kross gets Balor back into the ring Balor is somehow able to make a comeback and even goes for the Coupe ‘de Gras but misses which allows Kross to hit him with a big release German suplex. Kross drops Balor on his head with a Saito suplex and then is ready to finish the match, but Balor has other plans as he rolls Kross up for a pin but only gets a 2 count.
Kross fights his way out of an abdominal stretch and then hits Balor in the back of the head with forearms only for Balor to return the favor moments later. Balor locks Kross in a rear-naked choke and when Kross attempts to break it he transitions into a triangle choke and just as the referee is about to call for the bell Kross grabs his arm as he is still in the match and then he powers Balor up and hits him with a powerbomb. Kross hits Balor with a couple more forearms to the back and then he repeatedly stomps on the head of Balor. Kross locks in the Kross Jacket and moments later Balor passes out and the match is over.
I enjoyed this match a lot more than their Takeover match as it didn’t feel as slow and it kept my attention the entire time which is saying something given that Finn Balor was involved. Now that Kross is finished with Balor he has to now get ready for NXT Takeover: In Your House II where he will defend his championship against the winner of a triple threat next week between Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne, & Johnny Gargano.
This was a jam-packed episode of NXT and I enjoyed both the opener and the main event and I thought the segment between Grimes and Dibiase was done very well and did a great job of turning Grimes babyface. I look forward to seeing what happens next week as we continue to head toward NXT Takeover: In Your House II.
NXT UK Results
- Nathan Frazer def Sha Samuels w/ Noam Dar – **¾
- Teoman def Ashton Smith – **
- Kenny Williams def Andy Wild – **¼
- Trent Seven def Sam Gradwell – ***¼
We open the show with Nathan Frazer taking on Sha Samuels after their altercation last week. Samuels tries to take control early but Frazer keeps dodging out of the way until he is distracted by Noam Dar as he is going up top and that allows Samuels to throw him off the top rope and gain control of the match as he keeps Frazer on the mat and when Frazer tries to make a comeback he is dropped with a back elbow. Samuels continues to punish Frazer on the mat but he is unable to put him away and eventually, Frazer gets back into the match until Dar tries to get involved but the referee throws him out of the match. Frazer clotheslines Samuels to the outside and hits him with a tope con hilo and looks to follow that up with a springboard crossbody but is caught and hit with a falcon arrow for a 2 count. Frazer counters an attempt at the Butcher’s Hook with a roll-up which gets a 2 count and then Frazer hits the moonsault into the final cut and follows that up with the Frog Splash to pick up the win. This was a pretty good match as Frazer is always a lot of fun to watch and while I can’t explain why I have become a fan of Sha Samuels over the past few weeks as he is really good at playing the loudmouth bully who always ends up getting his ass kicked the majority of the time.
We see footage from after the gauntlet match three weeks ago where Jinny confronts Dani Luna until Flash Morgan Webster comes up to help her and this leads to a promo from Jinny and Joseph Conners where this time Joseph does most of the talking as he has his sights set on Flash Morgan Webster.
Backstage Noam Dar is complaining about being thrown out of the match, but then says Ilja Dragunov will pay next week. We get an interview with Dragunov later in the night and he says he has spoken the truth but Dar is manipulating him and Dar will pay for that with violence.
Our second match is between Ashton Smith and Teoman. Smith is in control early on until Teoman takes him down with a drop toe hold and then goes to work on the arm and even attempts to lock in the crossface as Teoman is looking to snap the arm just like he did to Rohan Raju a few weeks ago, but Smith blocks it and hits Teoman with a suplex. Smith locks in a standing submission hold but Teoman gets to the ropes and then delivers an elbow to break the hold and then he drops Smith with a flatliner. Teoman goes back to work on the arm until he misses on a dropkick which allows Smith to fight back and hit a gutwrench suplex. Smith hits Teoman with a clothesline for a 2 count and then goes for a death valley driver, but Teoman elbows out of it and then pulls Smith into the crossface, and eventually, Smith has no choice but to tap out. After the match, Teoman continues his attack as he locks Smith into the crossface once again until Oliver Carter runs down to make the save and Teoman leaves the ring as he talks to Carter telling him Smith isn’t family. This match was fine but I just don’t get this Teoman character and the whole thing with him pointing to his eye is corny. I guess we can expect a Teoman vs Oliver Carter in the future.
We see that earlier this week Jack Starz is talking to Piper Niven on the phone when Pretty Deadly walks up and start mocking him and he has had enough of their shit as he tells them off and says he wants to fight both of them, but they say he has to go find a friend first before he can face them. This segment will stand out for one reason and that is the fashion choice of Pretty Deadly as this has to be seen to be believed as they chose to wear belts around their chest
Our third match sees newcomer Andy Wild take on a freshly clean-shaven Kenny Williams and we even get a split-screen showing Williams shaving. Wild throws Williams around for the first few minutes until Williams pokes Wild in the eye and then he grounds Wild with some rest holds before he starts to go to work on the leg and even gets a 2 count when he hits Wild with a dragon screw. Williams misses on a leg drop which allows Wild to make a comeback as he hits Williams with a belly-to-belly suplex but Williams regains control after a kick to the leg of WIld and then a spear to the leg and finally he hits the headlock driver to pick up the win. This was a fine extended squash to get Williams over as a singles star and I like that he has a new look with the shaved face.
We are told that Kay Lee Ray will defend her NXT UK Women’s Championship against Meiko Satomura in 2 weeks and we get a video package hyping up the match. We also get a video package for Joe Coffey vs Rampage Brown II which will happen next week.
It’s main event time as Trent Seven takes on Sam Gradwell who is pissy that he isn’t recognized as one of the pioneers of NXT UK like Seven is. Gradwell controls the early portion of the match until Seven fights his way out of a chinlock and hits Gradwell with several chops before dropping him with a DDT which messes up the mohawk of Gradwell. Seven hits a half-and-half suplex and a Emerald Flowsion but Gradwell is still able to kick out. Seven sends Gradwell to the outside and hits him with a tope suicida and when they get back into the ring Seven goes for a Whisper in the Wind but misses and crashes to the mat.
Gradwell locks in a half crab but Seven is able to counter it into one of his own but Gradwell kicks him off sending Seven to the floor and then Gradwell dives off the apron with a flying forearm. Gradwell gets Seven back into the ring and then goes up top, but Seven gets back to his feet and meets Gradwell up top and they fight it out on top until Seven hits Gradwell with a superplex for a 2 count. Once both men get to their feet Seven goes for the Seven Star Lariat, but Gradwell ducks and hits a rolling elbow. Gradwell hits a sit-out death valley driver and then goes up top but when he leaps off he ends up eating the boots of Seven. Seven ends up hitting the Seven Star Lariat but surprisingly Gradwell kicks out. Seven hits Gradwell with the Birming Hammer moments later to pick up the win. This was a pretty good match between two heavy hitters.
This was not one of the better episodes of NXT UK, but I thought both the opener and main event delivered while the rest of the show was nothing special.
- The Usos def The Street Profits – ***
- Natalya & Tamina def Riott Squad – **
- Bianca Belair def Carmella – **½
- Kevin Owens def Apollo Crews w/ Commander Azeez via DQ – *¼
- King Nakamura w/ Rick Boogz def Chad Gable w/ Otis – **
- The Mysterios © def The Dirty Dawgz (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship) – **¼
The show opens with The Usos giving each other a pep talk for their big match tonight when Roman Reigns walks up and compliments them telling them they look good and then he wants to know the game plan and Jimmy tells him it’s to go out and win so that they can be first in line to challenge for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship which they plan to bring back to the family. Reigns wishes them good luck because they are going to need it and then Jimmy walks off. Jey stays behind and Reigns asks him if his brother is speaking for him now and Jey reassures Reigns that even though he is with Jimmy tonight he is still with him, and Reigns tells Jey that he should tell Jimmy that.
The Street Profits come to the ring and talk about how it was an honor that The Usos wanted to face them but they aren’t facing the best version of The Usos as Jimmy has been on the injured list for the past year and Jey is more worried about Roman Reigns who is living rent-free in his head. The Usos come out and have some words for the Street Profits and Jey tells them if they mention Reigns again he will drop them where they stand. Street Profits then claim they run the tag division now and The Usos welcome them to the penitentiary.
We get a very lengthy match between the two teams and after a basement superkick The Usos pick up the win in their return match as a team. Later in the night, The Usos go to Adam Pearce as they want a tag title shot next week and Pearce gives them what they want. We see Jey go sit down beside Reigns later in the night and Reigns wants to know why Jey promised to be with him but yet went and got a tag title match with Jimmy. Reigns manipulates Jey as he acts as if he is concerned for him and he wants the main event Jey to continue to be a thing and not opening match Usos. Jey intently listens to his cousin and tells him he never thought about it like that. I absolutely loved all of this stuff involving Reigns and The Usos. Reigns is so good at playing the manipulative mob boss as he has Jey in a state where he doesn’t know what to do. This is such a good story and it would be nice if we got this kind of detailed storytelling on Raw, but those feuds feel like paint by numbers and are so easy to follow that even a blind man can see what’s coming next. I do have to wonder who Reigns is facing at Hell in a Cell as it doesn’t seem like they are really building anyone up and I don’t see them giving away Reigns vs Uso on a PPV without fans.
We get a tag match from the women’s division as the champions Natalya and Tamina take on the Riott Squad and to show how much WWE cares about this match they start it during the commercial. Riott Squad always busts out something new in their matches because I guess they realize they better make the most of the time they are given seeing as they are rarely featured on SmackDown and when they are the matches are usually less than 5 minutes and this time they hit this move where Liv puts Natalya in an inverted surfboard and she then kicks her off into Ruby who hits her with a headscissors into the turnbuckle. Natalya tries to lock in the double Sharpshooter which always looks like crap. The finish comes when Tamina goes up top and Riott tries to arm drag her off, but Tamina blocks and sends Ruby back down to the mat with a headbutt and then hits the big splash to pick up the win.
In more women’s action, we get Carmella taking on the SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair with Bayley on commentary during the match. Carmella starts the match hot as she takes Bianca to the floor with a headscissors, but Bianca uses her strength to press slam Carmella back into the ring. Carmella comes back and they fight for control on the apron and Carmella hits Bianca with an X-Factor on the apron and then rolls Bianca back in the ring for a 2 count. Carmella goes for a crossbody off the top but Bianca rolls through and powers Carmella up into a fallaway slam and then she hits the handspring moonsault for a 2 count. Carmella makes another comeback and puts Bianca in a hanging figure four over the ropes and after fighting it out on the apron Carmella hits Bianca with a superkick for yet another 2 count. Carmella then starts throwing everything at her but Bianca fights through all the offense and ends up hitting Carmella with the KOD to pick up the win.
We get a lengthy promo from Seth Rollins about Cesaro as he blames Cesaro and the fans for what he did to Cesaro and talks about how today is his birthday. This was nothing special and it would’ve been nice if some of this promo time was given to the women’s tag match as I would’ve much rather seen Riott Squad wrestle than hear Seth Rollins talk.
We get a quick match between Apollo Crews and Kevin Owens that ends when Commander Azeez interferes and hits KO with the Nigerian Nail. Later on, KO demands an Intercontinental Championship match against Apollo Crews with Commander Azeez banned from ringside and Adam Pearce agrees and that match is made for next week.
Rick Boogs plays King Nakamura to the ring as he is set to take on Chad Gable. Otis hits Nakamura with a slam before the match starts but Nakamura still tells the referee to ring the bell and the match is on. Gable hits a couple of belly-to-belly suplexes to start out the match which gets a 2 count. Gable runs to the ropes but gets caught with a kick and then hits a flurry of strikes. Nakamura has to boot Otis off the apron which allows Gable enough time to gather himself so he can get his boots up when Nakamura charges toward him and then he locks in an armbar over the top rope. Gable goes up top looking for the moonsault but Nakamura moves out of the way and hits Gable with a roundhouse kick. Baron Corbin comes out to retrieve his crown and while this is happening Nakamura counters the Chaos Theory into a roll-up to pick up the win. After the match, Corbin is happy to get his crown back but he gets hit from behind by Rick Boogs and Nakamura takes the crown once again.
The Dirty Dawgz are interviewed and admit they made a mistake in their strategy at WrestleMania: Backlash as by taking out Dominik they woke up Rey’s paternal instincts and he was more powerful than normal, but they have a plan for tonight and this time it will work. Rey Mysterio is praying before their match when Dominik walks up and tells him its time and he tells Dominik to go on and he would be right behind him, after a commercial break we see that Rey has been laid out backstage and this would mean that Dominik would have to face the Dirty Dawgz on his own, even though the heels wanted to be declared the winners by forfeit. Dominik is on fire to start out the match but of course, he ends up getting cut off and worked over by the Dawgz until he makes a comeback and after being distracted by the appearance of Rey, Dominik rolls up Roode to pick up the win and retain the titles. The show closes with The Usos coming out to confront The Mysterios while Reigns looks on disapprovingly from his locker room.
I thought everything involving Roman Reigns and The Usos was really good like always but the rest of the show wasn’t anything special.
In Other News
It was reported in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE is looking to become New Japan Pro Wrestling’s exclusive American partner. Talks between the two companies began in late March/early April but there is no indication as to what stage the talks are in as of now. The partnership would include an exchange of talent as WWE talent would be able to work in NJPW and vice versa. NJPW currently has a working relationship with both Impact Wrestling and AEW, but if anything comes of these talks with WWE then those partnerships would come to an end. It seems like WWE’s change in attitude toward working with another major company can be attributed to Nick Khan as he sees WWE as part of the overall wrestling landscape and not above it which is a nice change of pace to what we are used to hearing for the past several decades. You can read more about all of this news at Fightful.
When Velveteen Dream was shown the door last week most thought it had to do with the allegations made against him concerning the fact that he engaged in inappropriate sexual misbehavior with fans who were minors and while that may have been part of the reason it is now being reported by Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer that it wasn’t the sole reason for his release. It seems like Dream’s overall demeanor and attitude had changed and he was rubbing a lot of people the wrong way. It seems like Patrick Clark has started to morph into the Velveteen Dream character even when the camera is off as he is very aloof and doesn’t talk to anyone. Alvarez also states that he was told by multiple people that Dream is on his way to self-destructing and it was only a matter of time before he was fired regardless if there had been any accusations against him or not.
Here today and gone tomorrow is the story of Adnan Virk’s WWE career as it was announced on Tuesday that Virk and WWE have mutually decided to part ways just six weeks after making his debut as the new lead announcer for Raw. Virk put out a statement saying the travel on top of his other jobs was too much of a grind for him and his family. It is probably for the best that they parted ways as Virk was having a very difficult time getting used to the WWE style of commentary and was messing up on a weekly basis.
It was announced on Wednesday afternoon that Jimmy Smith will be taking Adnan Virk’s place on Raw commentary. Smith has done some work down in NXT including hosting some of the Takeover pre-shows Smith has done commentary for both Bellator and UFC. It is being reported that Smith has been training for the job with Michael Cole and Cole has told sources that Smith is very versatile. In more news regarding the announcers, on Thursday afternoon it was announced that Tom Phillips has been released from the company after a nearly 10 year run with the company.
There have been numerous layoffs on the corporate side of WWE as they are in the middle of restructuring the entire company as they are merging some of their departments including the Advanced Media and Television departments and it is the people in the editorial and production who make up the majority in the layoffs. There have also been layoffs in the international offices and WWE studios departments as well, you can read more on the layoffs over at Fightful. In more news from the corporate side of things, it looks like those employees who chose to work at home during the pandemic will be reporting back to Stamford headquarters sometime in July.
It seems like the buzz in the WWE locker room is concerning their return to going live and having fans back as it is being reported by PWInsder that there are mixed feelings as some are hopeful the return of fans means a rise in their royalties from merchandise sales while others are being cautious as they are unsure how the return shows are going to draw. It will be interesting to see how well the tickets for the first three shows sell. In more positive news from the locker room, it looks like John Cone is doing very well with his job in talent relations as the number two man behind John Laurinaitis as talent is pleased with the job he has done so far.
Three more cities have been announced for the 25-city WWE return tour as they will have SmackDown in Cleveland, OH on July 23, Raw in Kansas City, MO on July 26, and SmackDown in Minneapolis, MN on July 30. On Friday WWE announced even more dates for their return tour which you can check out on their official site. As reported last week SummerSlam will be taking place in Las Vegas, NV and now it is being reported that it will take place at Allegiant Stadium and it has been confirmed that it will take place on Saturday, August 21.
Speaking of being back on the road and SummerSlam it seems like WWE would like to bring John Cena back into the fold for their big return on July 16 and perhaps even lead to a big-time match at SummerSlam against someone like Roman Reigns. WWE and Cena are currently in talks, but as of now, no deal has been finalized.
It is being reported by Fightful Select that multiple NXT and NXT UK stars are set to be moving to either Raw or SmackDown very soon. It is unknown which talents or how many will be moving, but it seems like these call-ups have been in the works for a few weeks as they are wanting to drastically shake up the talent rosters on all of their brands.
As you may have noticed Alexa Bliss did not appear on this week’s episode of Raw and that was due to the fact that her pet pig Larry Steve was in poor condition and it saddens me to say that very early on Monday morning Larry Steve passed away with his mommy by his side. As crazy as it sounds this broke my heart because I know how much Alexa loved this sweet pig, Alexa had posted earlier on Monday about how Larry was in bad shape but she couldn’t find a vet that wanted to treat a pig, and furthermore, she couldn’t find one who made house calls as Larry was so sick that he was unable to walk, so even if there was something that could’ve been done for him she couldn’t find someone who cared enough to come to help him and that sucks because his life was just as important than that of a dog or cat. For those unaware the name Larry Steve comes from two places, the Larry part is from Impractical Jokers as one of the guys on there named Joe will randomly start calling for Larry while in the middle of a task and the Steve part comes from Flight of the Conchords. RIP Larry Steve 2017-2021 Alexa Bliss and Larry Steve cute moments – YouTube Instagram video by Lexi Kaufman • May 25, 2021 at 5:41 PM
Coming up this Week
- Drew McIntyre vs Kofi Kingston – WWE Championship #1 Contender Match
- Shayna Baszler vs Reginald
- Kyle O’Reilly vs Pete Dunne vs Johnny Gargano – NXT Championship #1 Contender Match
- MSK vs Legado del Fantasma – NXT Tag Team Championship
- Noam Dar vs Ilja Dragunov
- Joe Coffey vs Rampage Brown
- Apollo Crews (c) vs Kevin Owens – WWE Intercontinental Championship
- The Mysterios (c) vs The Usos – SmackDown Tag Team Championship
As always if you have any feedback to give whether it be positive or negative please feel free to contact me on Twitter @MTW3589.