- Xavier Woods w/ Kofi Kingston def Bobby Lashley w/ MVP – **¾
- Nikki A.S.H def Naomi, Asuka, & Alexa Bliss – **¼
- Ivar w/ Erik def AJ Styles w/ Omos – **½
- Omos w/ AJ Styles def Erik w/ Ivar – *½
- Sheamus def Humberto Carrillo – Dud
- Ricochet def John Morrison w/ The Miz – ***¾
- Rhea Ripley def Natalya w/ Tamina – ***¼
The final show at the Thunderdome opens with a match between Xavier Woods and Bobby Lashley where Lashley dominates most of the match with Xavier Woods getting some hope spots here and there, the finish sees Lashley hit the Spear but he decides not to go for the pin as he wants to inflict more damage but this would come back to bite him as Woods catches him in an inside cradle to pick up the surprise win. Everyone is stunned at this outcome including Lashley as he walks to the back without acknowledging MVP or the ladies as he has a look of confusion and disappointment on his face. We would later learn that Lashley had left the arena but MVP assures everyone he will be back in time for an edition of the VIP lounge.
At the end of the night, we are all set for the VIP lounge and after MVP introduces him a couple of times he finally comes down to the ring but not with the same confidence we are used to seeing from him. Lashley asks the ladies to leave the ring as he needs to talk to MVP alone and he tells MVP that he is starting to think Kofi Kingston is right when he said that MVP is making him lose his edge and become soft as he should’ve beat Woods tonight and left him in a pile of broken bones, but he didn’t and he wonders why that is. Lashley says he appreciates everything MVP has done for him in terms of allowing him to have a good time with the parties and the women, but enough is enough and it’s time to get back to business. Lashley says from now on the only fun he will have is when he destroys everyone that comes for his WWE Championship. Lashley wrecks the VIP Lounge set and then looks directly into the camera as he is speaking directly to Kofi Kingston, Lashley tells Kingston that at Money in the Bank he is going to destroy him like he should’ve done weeks ago and at Money in the Bank, he will leave WWE Champion and then goes on to say he hopes Kingston is ready for a fight for his life as he is going to cave his skull in and fold him into a box so he can ship him to the circus with the rest of the clowns. Lashley’s final statement is that the circus is dead and so is Kingston’s career.
I thought everything they did with Lashley on this show was very well done and a bit of a surprise as I wasn’t expecting Lashley to actually play into what Kingston had said about him becoming soft but I like that he did and because of that we get a refocused Lashley who is ready to once again destroy everyone in his path rather than worrying about living the high life. I do wish they had involved Kingston somehow during the last segment as he became somewhat of an afterthought as the segment felt like it was hyping Lashley vs MVP rather than Lashley vs Kingston outside of what Lashley said to Kingston while looking into the camera, but that is just a minor nitpick as the segment was done really well.
Jinder Mahal arrives at the arena on his motorcycle once again and upon his arrival, he is greeted by Veer and Shanky who have Drew McIntyre’s sword that Mahal stole last week. Mahal comes out and wants to apologize to McIntyre as he was wrong to steal his sword. “Hey Jinder up here” McIntyre appears on the screen and Mahal reveals that he had the sword refinished but when they take the cover off it is shown that the sword has been broken in half. McIntyre is way too calm about what happened and then he says he realized every time someone brings something of their own to a wrestling show it ends up getting destroyed and that is why he carries around a replica which is the one Mahal destroyed and then McIntyre pulls out the real sword. We then see that McIntyre is standing beside the motorcycle that Mahal rode in on and tells Mahal he doesn’t think that is a replica and then he destroys the motorcycle.
I am completely fine with this feud as it is something completely new and the fact that Mahal and McIntyre have a history with each other which gives them something to play off of for the feud and on top of that the fact that McIntyre is feuding with Mahal lessens his chances of winning Money in the Bank which I am happy about as I need a break from McIntyre in the title picture for a while.
We get Alexa Playground where she has Eva Marie and Doudrop on as guests and gets a laugh out of how funny Doudrop is to say. Alexa asks Doudrop one word to describe her time on Raw so far and as she goes to talk she is cut off by Eva who says it’s been Eva-lutionary but Alexa tells her she was asking Doudrop and not her. Eva starts getting snobby and doesn’t want to be there and says she is the star of the show and then walks off and as Doudrop follows her she gives a little wave before she leaves.
We get a four-way match between the four Raw participants in the women’s Money in the Bank match and in the middle of the match Eva Marie and Doudrop show up and when Alexa goes out to the ramp Eva sends Doudrop to talk to Alexa, but Alexa just bypasses her and goes toward Eva who freaks out and pulls off her shoe but Doudrop attacks Alexa and sends her into the crowd area, but when she Eva walks over to see a laid out Alexa she has vanished and wouldn’t be seen for the rest of the night. The match continues on with some really good action between the three remaining women, but in the end Nikki Ash picks up the win after punning Asuka with a victory roll.
This was a fun match that was used to preview the women’s Money in the Bank match and it’s nice to see that Nikki continues to pick up wins. I am down with an Eva vs Alexa feud as they are two women who rely heavily on character rather than in-ring skills so to have them doing their own thing away from the rest of the roster is fine and when they do need to go into the ring Alexa can handle her own and Eva can have Doudrop fight her battles, although I do worry with them having Eva go up against Alexa on the mic as Alexa will eat her up. It was nice to see Naomi after the shit she had to deal with over the weekend on Twitter from people accusing her of being the reason as to why Jimmy Uso got caught with the DUI to the point where she had to deactivate her Twitter account, which is a shame as she nor anyone else deserves to be treated like that and furthermore how can people blame her for what Jimmy did as he is a grown-ass man who knows better.
We get a couple of promo segments involving the Viking Raiders and the Raw Tag Team Champions AJ Styles and Omos with each side talking about how they are going to beat their respective opponent tonight and then win the tag title match at Money in the Bank. We get two segments with Ivar beating AJ Styles and Omos beating Erik because we have to have each team getting a win so the tie can be broken by the tag title match this Sunday.
The segments between these two teams were pretty simple and straightforward but that doesn’t mean it was bad there was just not much to talk about within these segments.
Sheamus is scheduled to defend his United States Championship against Humberto Carrillo or else he would be forced to vacate it and he is very upset about this ultimatum as he claims his nose is still messed up. Sheamus would attack Humberto Carrillo backstage throwing him into a stack of ladders and when referees and agents try to stop him he starts swinging at them, Sheamus finally walks off, and as he does he passes by Damian Priest who goes to check on Carrillo. We later see the officials helping Carrillo up and he still wants to go out and fight for the US Championship despite Pearce and Sonya trying to talk him out of it. The match does happen but it ends in 5 seconds as Sheamus hits him with the Brogue Kick and pins him to retain the title. Sheamus would continue the beating after the match until Damian Priest came out to make the save.
I am so down for a Priest vs Sheamus feud as I have a feeling we are going to get some really good matches out of these two, however, it does suck that it seems like Carrillo’s push he was getting a couple of months ago may be over as he was clearly used here to set up the Sheamus vs Priest feud.
Riddle and Ricochet chat about Money in the Bank and a lot of random stuff as Riddle goes on a tangent that makes no sense as Riddle is known to do. While they are talking Miz and Morrison come up and spray them with the drip stick and then Miz rolls over Riddle’s injured foot with his wheelchair.
Ricochet and John Morrison steal the show once again in this Falls Count Anywhere match and of course this match had some crazy spots which include Ricochet hitting a 450 off the barricade and a shooting star off the ring post to a standing John Morrison, those spots happen in the first half of the match. After a commercial break, they bring in a ladder (to hype up the match for Sunday) and bridge it between the ring and the announce table as it would come into play later on in the match but before that we get some fighting in Gorilla position. The Miz talks some trash to Ricochet so he gets pushed down the ramp and into the apron. Riddle comes down during the match and takes care of Miz so he can’t interfere as he tilts his wheelchair back leaving Miz on his back as if he were a turtle and Riddle lays down beside him and mocks him. The finish comes when Ricochet knocks Morrison down onto the ladder and then comes off the top with a big splash to pick up the win.
This match was so much fun and I like that they brought in the ladder as a tease for what will happen on Sunday. I also like how they brought some comedy into the match with Riddle messing with The Miz in order to prevent him from interfering. I can’t wait to see what kind of crazy shit these two come up with come this Sunday when they will have more ladders and more competitors in the match.
We get another interaction between Natalya & Tamina and the Sexy Muscle Friends where Mandy doubts Natalya’s chances tonight against Rhea Ripley and in the Money in the Bank match. Tamina threatens to kick their teeth down their throat and then shoves Dana. I have to wonder at this point when we are going to see these two teams face off for the titles as they have been interacting for the past month and we have yet to see Mandy and Dana get a title match.
We get Rhea Ripley facing Natalya in our final match of the night and going into this match I wasn’t expecting much as I thought we would get a decent match to set up another interaction between Rhea and Charlotte, however, this match exceeded my expectations as these two went out and had a really good match and had it not been for the Morrison vs Ricochet match this would’ve been match of the night. After the match, Charlotte attacks Rhea with a chop block and then locks in the figure four and while she has Rhea in the hold she drags her over to the apron and hangs off to give further torque on the knee.
This was another great segment with a really good match followed by a great post-match beatdown to give some final hype for the Raw Women’s Championship match at Money in the Bank.
Well, there it is the Thunderdome era of WWE has officially come to a close and I have to say that it actually ended on a high note as this was a really good episode of Raw as there wasn’t any time wasted on the entire show as everything either gave the final build to Money in the Bank or set up future storylines.
- Dakota Kai w/ Raquel Gonzalez def Ember Moon – ***
- Tyler Rust w/ Diamond Mine def Bobby Fish – **¼
- Sarray def Gigi Dolin – **¼
- Santos Escobar w/ Legado del Fantasma def Dexter Lumis – **½
- Duke Hudson def Ikeman Jiro (NXT Breakout Tournament Quarterfinals Match) – **½
- Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter def Aliyah & Jessi Kamea w/ Robert Stone – *¼
- Karrion Kross © w/ Scarlett def Johnny Gargano (NXT Championship – Special Referee: Samoa Joe) – ***¾
We get a video recapping last week’s Great American Bash and also hyping up tonight’s main event NXT Championship match.
We go right into our first match of the night which sees Dakota Kai taking on Ember Moon who is making her return to solo action since Shotzi Blackheart has been called up to be on SmackDown.
We get some chain wrestling to begin with and then each woman takes turns running the ropes with the other dodging their attacks until Ember hits an armdrag to ground Dakota but she fights back and sends Ember into the corner where she hits her with a running knee to the face for a 2 count. Ember tries to make a comeback but Dakota drops her with a bicycle kick and then locks in a straight jacket but she eventually fights out and catches Dakota in a roll-up for a 2 count and then Dakota bails out to the floor which is a mistake as Ember takes her down with a tope suicida and follows that up with a kick from the apron. Dakota is thrown back into the ring and as she is draped across the ropes Ember hits her with a kick from the floor only for Dakota to come back moments later and wraps Ember’s arm around the ring post. Dakota stays in control for the majority of the picture-in-picture commercial and as we return Dakota is delivering repeated kicks to the chest of Ember for a 2 count. Dakota hits Ember with a snap suplex and this fires her up as she makes a comeback with a kick combination followed by a neckbreaker and a butterfly suplex. Ember hits Dakota with a running back elbow in the corner and then a springboard crossbody for a 2 count.
Ember picks up Dakota but gets hit with a scorpion kick and then is pulled off the middle turnbuckle moments later with the back of her head hitting the top turnbuckle. Dakota waits on Ember to get to her feet and hits her with a running kick and then hits a rolling neckbreaker (which Ember takes a crazy bump for) for a 2 count. Dakota goes up top but is knocked loopy with a running dropkick from Ember who goes up and hits Dakota with a hurricanrana for a very close 2 count. Ember goes out to the apron and gets distracted by Raquel and after dodging an attack from Dakota she jumps up for a springboard but gets hit with a forearm and we then get an awkward spot where Dakota somehow expects to drag Ember back in the ring by pulling her over the top rope but Ember has to step on the ropes in order to get into position so Dakota can hit the GTK for the win. After the match, Xia Li comes to the ring and walks right past Dakota to stand up to Raquel as she wants a title shot and Raquel tells her she accepts the challenge.
This was a really good match to kick off the show and while it wasn’t a tag match I would expect this to be the blowoff of the Dakota & Raquel vs Ember & Shotzi feud. I wasn’t expecting Xia Li to be the next person to get a title shot, but given the fact that she legit knocked someone out, I guess that puts her at the front of the line.
We get a video from earlier in the day with the Diamond Mine issuing an open challenge which is answered by Bobby Fish as he steps into the frame and Malcolm Bivens lets him know he will be facing Tyler Rust, we get some words between Fish and Roderick Strong and the video comes to an end as that match is coming up next. Poor Bobby Fish doesn’t even get an entrance for the match.
They jockey for position until Fish lands a knee to the gut and then goes for a kick but Rust ducks and hits a back suplex followed by a dragon screw. Rust delivers some strikes and then hits a kick to the back of Fish. Fish fires up as he lands a forearm and then repays Rust with a kick of his own to the back. Rust fires back up and takes Fish down so he can lock in a headscissors, but Fish rolls out and then catches the leg of Rust before delivering a flurry of strikes and then he backdrops Rust out of the corner. Fish hits Rust with an exploder into the ropes and he lands on his head. Roderick Strong gets on the apron and after knocking Rust to the floor he dares Strong to get into the ring but as his back is turned Rust hits him with a chop block followed by a kick to the head and that is enough to keep Fish down for the 3 count. After the match, the Diamond Mine surrounds Fish but Kushida runs down to even the odds and the Diamond Mine decides to retreat as Strong continues to mouth off to Fish. We learned that next week Bobby Fish will team up with Kushida to face Roderick Strong and Tyler Rust.
Throughout the night we would see clips of Cameron Grimes’s first day of being a butler for LA Knight in the first one Knight forces Grimes to get a makeover and put on a tux as he thinks this would be humiliating to Grimes, but Grimes loves the new look and says Knight is jealous of how good he looks. In the second clip, Knight wants Grimes to mow his lawn and Grimes mocks Knight for how small his yard is, claiming his is much larger, Grimes goes to get on the bush hog but Knight stops him and gives him a manual push mower, and once again Knight expects Grimes to complain but he is still happy as can be. In the final clip, we see Knight walk up to Grimes who is lounging by the pool and when Knight asks what he is doing he says that while he understands he is supposed to be Knight’s butler he is also a millionaire so he delegated the job and we pan over to a kid mowing the lawn much to the dismay of Knight. The kid walks over and Grimes goes to hand him $500 for the job he did, but Knight knocks the money out of his hand and tells him to get lost which leads to the kid kicking Knight in the shin. Grimes goes over to sweep up all the money and as he does he bumps into Knight sending him into the pool to which Grimes asks him if he can get him a towel.
These skits were just as great as I was expecting them to be as Cameron Grimes is always entertaining any time he is on the screen. I like how they are having Grimes continue to be super positive and upbeat regardless of what Knight makes him do because he knows the happier he is the more it is going to get under Knight’s skin. I expect these skits to go on for a few more weeks before Knight gets fed up with Grimes’s obnoxious positivity and fires him.
The next match sees Gigi Dolin who was formerly known as Priscilla Kelly take on Sarray, we are shown a video where Gigi told Sarray she will face her since Toni Storm won’t.
There is a handshake to start out the match and then we get them jockeying for position until Sarray grabs the arm but Gigi does some nice chain wrestling to gain control for a moment until Sarray grabs a headlock, Gigi shoots her into the ropes and we get some lightning-fast action which includes a headlock takeover by Sarray which is countered into a headscissors and then both women get to their feet for a standoff. We then see Sarray and Gigi get distracted as Mandy Rose is standing at the top of the ramp and I am as surprised and confused as they are. As we get back to the match Gigi takes control until Sarray ducks a clothesline and rolls Gigi up for a 2 count. Sarray then locks in an Indian deathlock with a bridge into a chinlock, but after some obvious spot calling by Gigi we get Sarray breaking the hold and go for a fisherman’s suplex but Gigi reverses into a small package for a 2 count. Gigi hits a nice STO and goes for a pin but Sarray slides out and then she follows Gigi into the ropes and hits her with a running dropkick and as Gigi sits up against the bottom rope Sarray hits another running dropkick which looks like it could’ve taken Gigi’s head off. Sarray hits Gigi with a high angle t-bone suplex dropping Gigi on her head and that is enough to pick up the win.
This was a fine little match and it was nice to see Gigi get a nice showing against someone the caliber of Sarray. I am so confused as to why Mandy Rose is on NXT and if this is a permanent thing I’m not sure why they chose her to bring back down to NXT when she was in the middle of a feud with Dana against Natalya and Tamina. I am definitely intrigued to see why she is back down to the black and gold brand.
Santos Escobar cuts a promo about how Bronson Reed got lucky but he still wants the NXT North American Championship so now he is coming for Swerve and this leads to Wilde & Mendoza mocking Hit Row. Escobar then calls Dexter Lumis a loser in love and in a few minutes he will be a loser in the ring and with that we go to Santos Escobar vs Dexter Lumis.
Escobar tries to get Lumis to flinch but it doesn’t work so he kicks him in the gut and takes him down with a shoulder block but Lumis kips up and Escobar turns around to Lumis back on his feet. Lumis catches a punch but gets distracted by Mendoza and that allows Escobar to get in a cheap shot only for Lumis to duck a clothesline and hit a Thesz press. Lumis crawls around the ring which creeps Escobar out and he bails from the ring to regroup. Escobar tells Wilde and Mendoza to surround the ring but Lumis has vanished and then Escobar starts to get pulled under the ring, but Wilde and Mendoza grab his arms and pull him to safety only for Lumis to slide from under the ring and scare Legado del Fantasma and that sends us to a commercial break. We come back and Escobar is in control as he has Lumis grounded but eventually, he pulls him up and puts him in the corner where he delivers some chops and kicks before whipping him into the opposite corner where he hits a running double knee attack to the chest. Escobar sits Lumis up top and hits him with a hurricanrana for a 2 count.
Escobar hits Lumis with a basement dropkick to the ribs and then puts Lumis back in the corner where he delivers a pair of running clotheslines and then tries for the three amigos only for Lumis to block the third suplex and goes for his own, but Escobar floats over behind Lumis and hits a backstabber. Lumis gets back up to one knee and Escobar charges toward him but he levels Escobar with a clothesline and now both men are down. Lumis hits Escobar with right hands and an uppercut before hitting him with a clothesline and bulldog out of the corner. Lumis waits for Escobar to get to his feet and when he does, Lumis hits him with a sitout uranage and then looks to lock in the Silencer but Wilde distracts the referee while Mendoza pulls Escobar out of the ring to safety. Lumis slides to the outside and stalks Escobar but Wilde grabs his arm and sends him shoulder-first into the ring post. Escobar rolls Lumis back in the ring and hits him with the Phantom Driver to pick up the win. After the match, as Legado del Fantasma walks up the ramp they run into Hit Row who talks some trash but Legado del Fantasma walks past them.
Earlier in the day as The Way were entering the arena Beth Phoenix pulls Indi Hartwell aside and gives her some advice which is “Sometimes in life, you just gotta take a chance” and this would lead to later on in the night after his match Dexter Lumis is laying on the apron when Indi Hartwell comes down and tries to carry him to the back as he did with her a week ago, but she ends up dropping him and this causes her to fall on top of him and just as it looks like they are about to kiss, Candice LeRae runs down and pushes Indi off of Lumis and then demands she go to the back. Poor Index, I wish people would leave them alone and let them be in love.
We get a sitdown interview with Wade Barrett interviewing Kyle O’Reilly and O’Reilly talks about how he may need to make some changes as the killer instinct was missing in his match against Adam Cole last week. O’Reilly says he has beaten Adam Cole before but the next time they face each other he won’t just beat Adam Cole he will finish Adam Cole. This was a fine interview and lets us know that sometime down the road we are going to get the rubber match between Cole & O’Reilly.
Up next is the first match in the NXT Breakout Tournament as Ikeman Jiro takes on Duke Hudson who was formerly known as Brendan Vink. We got video packages of each man earlier in the show.
Hudson quickly hits a waistlock takedown and tries to pose but Jiro moves out of the way and then he tries for a waistlock of his own but Hudson easily throws him off. Jiro starts to play around with Hudson as he keeps evading a lockup attempt and then grabs a headlock only to be sent into the corner where Jiro does a handstand on the top turnbuckle, as Hudson charges toward him he drops down behind him and then goes for a running crossbody only to get caught and hit with snake eyes which dazes Jiro long enough for Hudson to hit him with a running ax handle. Hudson pulls Jiro’s jacket over his head and drives him into the corner where he delivers a series of body blows followed by a big slam to the mat. Hudson sends Jiro into the ropes and Jiro to tries for a sunset flip but he is not strong enough to take Hudson over, so Hudson lifts him off the mat only for Jiro to start firing away with punches, but Hudson is quickly able to reverse a whip into the corner and when he charges toward Jiro he gets caught in the Tarantula.
Jiro goes for a springboard back into the ring but gets caught and is hit with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Hudson gets Jiro in the corner where he fires away with jabs and a big uppercut which gets a 1 count. Hudson picks up Jiro and goes for a crucifix powerbomb, but Jiro counters it into a hurricanrana sending Hudson face-first into the turnbuckles and then he rolls him up in a schoolboy for a 2 count. Jiro hits Hudson with a blockbuster which sends Hudson rolling out of the ring to recover, but Jiro hits him with a baseball slide followed by a top rope asai moonsault wiping out Hudson but as he lands Jiro favors his ankle. Jiro tries to drag Hudson back into the ring but Hudson uses his strength and pulls back sending Jiro back out to the apron, but Jiro comes back with a big slap and a headscissors but when he runs to the ropes he gets caught with the Boss Man Slam for a 3 count.
This was an ok match to kick off the tournament, I was very impressed by Duke Hudson as he has a really good look and presence about him and in the ring he works well as a big man as he has some nice power moves and strikes while not being slow or plodding like you get from some big men. I’m surprised they haven’t had him in a more prominent position on the roster before now as he has been down in the PC for quite a while. I thought Jiro was ok but I find him to be a bit of a generic high flyer and the fact he wears his jacket during his matches is something I will have to get used to as it just feels weird, I used to have the same problem when Cody Rhodes didn’t wear knee pads as it’s just a distraction that I can’t help but focus on during the match. I don’t know what matches we are going to get next week as they didn’t announce anything and a bracket hasn’t been revealed.
Pete Dunne is interviewed about his thoughts on tonight’s main event and he doesn’t care who wins because he can beat them both and this brings in Timothy Thatcher who talks some trash and this leads to a brawl between the teams of Ciampa & Thatcher and Dunne & Lorcan.
We get a recap of Io Shirai and Zoey Stark winning the women’s tag titles last week and that sends us to our next match which is action from the women’s tag division as Aliyah & Jessi Kamea from the Robert Stone Brand take on my favorite team in NXT Kacey Catanzaro and Kayden Carter.
Jessi and Kacey start out and just when it looks like we are going to get a lockup Jessi hits Kacey with a push kick sending her into the corner where she tags in Aliyah and sends Kacey into her boot. Aliyah biels Kacey into the corner and hits her with a running back elbow followed by a northern lights suplex for a 2 count. We get a few quick tags between Aliyah and Jessi as they continue to work over Kacey until she finally makes a tag to Kayden who comes in and hits Aliyah with a bulldog as Kacey slides through her legs. Kayden is on fire until Aliyah blocks a whip attempt and slams Kayden to the mat. Aliyah tries to knock Kacey off the apron but she ducks and then comes into the ring but the referee backs her up into her corner and as this is happening Aliyah is given Robert Stone’s shoe to hit her with but she gets rolled up and this brings Jessi in to break the pin.
Kayden sends Jessi out of the ring where Kacey leaps off the steps for a crossbody onto Jessi. Kayden catches Aliyah with a big kick and then Team Ninja hits Aliyah with a neckbreaker and a 450 splash combo to pick up the win. After the match, Aliyah has had enough of Robert Stone as she claims to have done more for him than he has done for her, and then she proceeds to beat the shit out of him before walking out with a big smile on her face. The crowd in the CWC is going crazy cheering for Aliyah and Jessi looks confused at what just happened. Franky Monet walks up and says something to Jessi and she leaves with her while Robert Stone follows behind telling her to just go. Later on, we see Franky with Jessi and Robert Stone and she tells them they no longer have to worry about Aliyah. Mandy Rose then walks up and says that it looks like the Robert Stone brand is under new management.
I didn’t think this was too great of a match and a lot of that has to do with Aliyah and Jessi as I didn’t think their heat segment on Kacey was that great as there is a point when Jessi just stands there while she has Kacey down as if she forgot what to do next. I did like the tag finisher by Kacey and Kayden. Ok, so I was so confused after what we saw post-match and I still am somewhat but after the show, some of the confusion was gone as it was reported that Aliyah has been traded to Raw for Mandy Rose. So now I am wondering is Mandy the new management of the Robert Stone brand or is it Franky Monet and is this now an all-girl group who plan to use Robert Stone as their bitch? I’m so confused but yet also intrigued and can’t wait to find out more next week on NXT.
Adam Cole comes out and cuts a promo on Samoa Joe as he is pissed at how he has been treated by Joe since he returned as Joke has choked him out and also refused to pull O’Reilly off him a couple of weeks ago when he was in the heel hook. Cole calls Joe an overpaid security guard in a suit and then challenges him to come out and face him, but instead, Bronson Reed comes out. Reed doesn’t like how Cole is trying to manipulate Joe into fighting him, seeing as Joe has a lot to lose, but Reed doesn’t have anything to lose. Reed says is wondering what his next move is and while most people call Cole NXT”s golden boy he considers him his golden opportunity and that leads to Cole trying to superkick him, but he blocks it and hits Cole with a body attack sending him out to the floor and Cole chooses to retreat but as he walks up the ramp Samoa Joe comes out for the main event and he stares a hole into Cole before continuing to walk to the ring.
Earlier in the night, Joe went to both men involved in the main event separately to remind them of the rules and while Gargano was quite receptive of what Joe had to say the same could not be said for Kross. It should also be noted that after Joe left the locker room of The Way he ran into Pete Dunne and we got another staredown.
It’s finally time for the main event between Johnny Gargano and Karrion Kross for the NXT Championship with Samoa Joe serving as special referee.
Gargano goes right at Kross with forearms before the bell but Kross drives him into the corner and that is when Joe calls for the bell. Kross hits him with an exploder with ease and that is followed by a snap suplex and at this point, Kross is very confident he is going to make quick work of Gargano, but Gargano comes back with a dropkick sending Kross to the floor and then he hits him with a dropkick so he can dive off the apron with a senton only for Kross to immediately get back to his feet and drop Gargano with a big boot. Kross ignores Joe’s orders as he charges toward Gargano, but Gargano moves sending Kross into the steps. Gargano hits a couple of forearms before Kross grabs him and lifts him up and drops him with a choke bomb onto the edge of the announce table.
After a picture-in-picture commercial break, we see Gargano fight his way out of a chinlock and then he sidesteps a charge from Kross sending him into the ring post. Gargano tries to knock Kross off his feet but nothing is working until Kross backdrops him to the apron where he successfully hits a slingshot spear for a 2 count. Kross rolls to the outside and Gargano dives onto him, sending him into the plexiglass. Kross rolls back in the ring and Gargano looks to hit the One Final Beat, but Kross blocks it and hits Gargano with a suplex which he rolls through and then hits a fisherman’s buster for a 2 count. Kross is looking to hit a Saito suplex and Gargano knows it so he grabs the ropes to block, so Kross just sits him up top and looks for a super doomsday Saito suplex but Gargano is able to turn his body in mid-air to counter the move. Gargano hits Kross with a couple of basement roundhouse kicks and then looks for the basement superkick, but Kross explodes with a clothesline taking Gargano’s head off. Kross then looks to hit an Oklahoma stampede but Gargano counters it into a DDT for a 2 count.
Gargano hits Kross with forearms but when he tries for a discus forearm he is met with a forearm from Kross which knocks Gargano back into the ropes and as he comes back Kross hits him with a chokeslam. Kross helps Gargano up and then runs the ropes repeatedly, but Gargano catches him with a couple of superkicks and then he tries to counter a tilt-a-whirl but Kross gets the Kross Jacket only for Gargano to roll through and lock in the Gargano Escape, but Kross uses his power to escape as he lifts Gargano up to his shoulder and spins him around before locking in the Kross Jacket. Gargano looks like he is fixing to go out but with one last spurt of energy he reaches the ropes, but Kross refuses to break the hold leaving Joe no choice but to get involved as he pulls Kross off of Gargano and shoves him back to the center of the ring. We get a staredown between Joe and Kross and as this is happening Gargano has rolled out to the floor where Kross bashes the back of his head into the plexiglass. Kross tells Joe to fuck himself and then takes apart the steps looking to hit Gargano, but Joe intervenes as he grabs the steps and pulls them out of Kross’s hands.
We get another staredown between Joe and Kross and this allows Gargano time to recover and he hits Kross with a tope into a tornado DDT on the floor. Gargano gets Kross back in the ring and hits Kross with the One Final Beat, but once again Kross is able to kick out at 2. Kross sidesteps a superkick from Gargano and hits him with the death blow forearm to the back of the head before delivering three consecutive powerbombs. Kross rag dolls Gargano around to get him in position to hit a Doomsday Saito suplex and as Gargano gets to his feet Kross hits one last death blow to the back of the head and that is enough to keep Gargano down for the 3 count. After the match, Kross gets into the face of Joe once again and starts talking trash and Joe dares him to do something as Scarlett tries to hold back Kross. Joe turns his back and Kross attacks as he locks in the Kross Jacket and after a minute of struggling he finally gets Joe down on the mat and it doesn’t take long before he chokes out Joe. Kross raises his NXT Championship high as he stands over the laid out body of Samoa Joe and that is how NXT comes to a close this week.
This was a good match but I don’t know if it was quite on the level of what we expect from an NXT Championship match, but with that being said I thought Kross looked like a dominant monster throughout the match while Gargano did a superb job as always in being the underdog babyface. I was somewhat surprised to see Kross retain as I thought they were going to bring him up to the main roster somewhat soon, but I guess they are going to wait until at least the next Takeover as I expect we are going to get Kross vs Joe given what happened at the end of the match and I wouldn’t be surprised if they put the belt on Joe to make him the first 3x NXT Champion and he could possibly be the one that Pete Dunne eventually wins the title off of as it is clear we are getting that match down the line.
NXT UK Results
- Teoman & Rohan Raja def Ashton Smith & Oliver Carter – ***
- Meiko Satomura © def Amale (NXT UK Women’s Championship) – **½
- Tyler Bate © w/ Trent Seven def Mark Coffey w/ Wolfgang (NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship) – ***½
The show opens with Triple H on the screen as he hypes up next week’s big NXT UK Championship match between Walter and Ilja Dragunov. We go into the studio where we are set to have a press conference between Walter and Dragunov, but I’m not going to cover it in any detail as we were told later in the show that after the press conference there was an altercation between Walter and Dragunov which resulted in Walter injuring his hand and after speaking with the medical staff they have deemed him unable to compete next week.
We go to a video from Subculture who talk about their NXT Tag Title match against Pretty Deadly and Dani Luna says next week they will become the first 2x NXT UK Tag Team Champions. We got another video later on from Pretty Deadly to hype the match, but I didn’t care to pay attention to what they said.
Our first match of the night was a tag match as Ashton Smith & Oliver Carter took on Teoman and Rohan Raja.
Smith is fired up from the start as he takes Teoman down with a shoulder block and then we get a strike exchange which Smith gets the best off and then he hits Teoman with a jumping knee. Smith hits a couple of shots to the gut and then he blocks Teoman from whipping him into the ropes as he pulls him in and hits a suplex. Teoman crawls back to his corner and we get tags on both sides, Carter beats Raja down and then hits him with a side kick which brings in Teoman for a distraction and this allows Raja time to get up and he hits Carter with a swinging slam for a 2 count. We then get a heat segment where Teoman and Raja make frequent tags and work over Carter and just when it looks like Carter is going to make a tag he is put back down with a sliding elbow from Teoman. Teoman looks to put on the crossface but Carter is fighting with everything he has so Teoman stomps on the arm instead, Carter slides out of a fireman’s carry attempt from Raja who then tags in Teoman and this leads to Carter getting past him and finally making the hot tag to Carter.
Carter runs down Teoman and takes Raja off the apron with a running dropkick, Smith lights Teoman up with punches and a short-arm clothesline and then he hits Raja with one as well. Smith hits Teoman with a sitout death valley driver for a 2 count. Smith looks to land some punches in the corner but Teoman ducks and sends Smith face-first into the top turnbuckle and then tags in Raja who hits Smith with a backstabber and Teoman hits an enziguri which dazes Smith and then Raja hits him with a sky-high powerbomb for a 2 count. Raja is looking for something but Smith hits him with a backdrop and makes a tag to Carter. Carter comes in on fire as he hits Raja with a German suplex and a superkick for a 2 count. Smith tags back in and they hit Raja with a doomsday cutter but before a cover can be made Teoman drags Raja out of the ring. We get some weird miscommunication from Smith and Carter involving tags and who is and isn’t legal in the match but after they get that figured out Smith takes out their opponents with a tope con hilo Carter throws Raja back in the ring and hits him with a scissor kick and then he goes for a moonsault off the middle rope, but Teoman clips his leg. Raja knocks Smith to the floor and hits a jumping complete shot before tagging in Teoman who locks in the crossface and moments later Carter taps out.
This was a fine match and I have to say that despite the awkward miscommunication during this match I think Smith and Carter are my favorite tag team in NXT UK and I am surprised Ashton Smith isn’t a bigger deal as he has a great look and is really good in the ring as he does a good job of mixing power and high flying moves.
We go to a video where Sid Scala is asked about the condition of A-Kid after Devlin messed his leg up and we then see A-Kid hopping out of the trainer’s room with crutches and his leg in a cast. A-Kid isn’t done with Devlin and he wants Scala to make a match between him and Devlin when he gets cleared and he wants the match to be a 30 Minute Iron Man match, Scala tells him he will take care of it.
We get an Aoife Valkyrie video where she talks about Jinny and wanting to knock her off her perch.
Up next we get Meiko Satomura defending her NXT UK Championship for the first time against Amale.
We get a lockup and Meiko backs Amale into the ropes and then Meiko grabs a headlock and takes Amale down to the mat which she transitions into a rear-naked chinlock and then she pulls back on the legs of Amale, but Amale is able to make Meiko release her as she grabs her by the hair and smashes her head into the top turnbuckle but when she tries for a second time Meiko blocks and goes back to the headlock only for Amale to shoot her into the ropes where Meiko comes back with a flying shoulder block for a 2 count. Meiko grounds Amale and puts her in an abominable stretch which she uses to turn into a pinning combination but Amale kicks out. Amale blocks a whip into the corner and sends Meiko into the turnbuckle face-first and then she stomps a mudhole into Meiko. As Meiko gets back to her feet Amale hits her with a shotgun dropkick sending her back into the corner. Meiko blocks a punch from Amale and hits her with kicks to the chest and then she takes Amale down with an arm wringer and floats over into a knee drop for a 2 count.
Meiko sends Amale into the ropes and hits her with a running forearm and then she lays in more rapid-fire kicks to the chest for a very close 2 count. Meiko goes for more kicks until Amale catches her leg and knees Meiko in the head sending her staggering back into the corner where Amale hits her with a running face wash. Amale hits Meiko with a twisting fisherman’s suplex for a 2 count. Meiko gets pissed off as she fires back with forearms and then Amale comes back with some forearms of her own, Amale looks to send Meiko into the ropes but she stops on a dime and catches Amale with an overhead kick. Meiko looks to go for the DVD but Amale slides out and hits Meiko with a bicycle kick and then she runs off the ropes right into a picture-perfect kick from Meiko which really knocks Amale silly and this gets Meiko a 2 count. Meiko hits Amale with some forearms but Amale eventually ducks one and hits a spinebuster but only gets a 2 count. Meiko plants her with a DDT and then hits a cartwheel knee drop to the back, Meiko waits for Amale to get up and then hits her with the Scorpion Kick to pick up the win and retain the title.
This was a nice little title defense for Meiko and it did a good job of showing that Amale can be a serious contender for the title
We are told that next week we get another episode of Supernova Sessions with guests Jinny and Joseph Conners.
It’s time for the main event as Tyler Bate defends his NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship against Mark Coffey.
Round 1: We get some early moments of feeling each other out and then Coffey grabs the arm to work it over and after quite a while of Bate trying to get loose he kicks the arm of Coffey to release his grasp. Bate goes for the arm of Coffey who is easily able to break free and he takes Bate down with a drop toe hold and goes for some kind of leg submission, but Bate reaches the ropes before he can inflict much damage. Both men get to their feet and Coffey goes for the arm once again and then sends Bate into the ropes and he tries to knock Coffey down with a shoulder block but he doesn’t budge so he tries for a crossbody but gets caught only for him to escape a slam attempt. We get a chain wrestling sequence as the speed has picked up quite a bit. The round comes to an end with Coffey escaping a headlock by picking Bate up and placing him down on the apron.
Round 2: The first minute consists of Coffey going back to work on the arm of Bate as he grabs a hammerlock and refuses to let go. Bate finally breaks the hold as he runs around the ring and then drops down sending Coffey flying out to the floor. Coffey tries to get back in the ring but Bate hits him with a couple of dropkicks, sending Coffey back to the floor. Bate finally lets Coffey in as he passes him into the ropes in order to roll him up in a schoolboy for a 2 count. Bate jumps up and wraps his legs around the waist of Coffey and then proceeds to flip him over into a pinfall which gets him a 3 count to make the score 1-0 after the 2nd round.
Round 3: Coffey hits a waistlock takedown and then grabs a headlock which Bate eventually gets out of as he shoots Coffey into the ropes and we get a drop down by Bate and then he headbutts Coffey in the gut. Bate sends Coffey into the ropes once again but he ducks his head and Coffey sends him into the ropes and hits him with a backdrop. Coffey drops Bate with a heavy forearm and then hits a Russian leg sweep which gets a 2 count. Coffey goes for a back suplex but Bate lands on his feet and then tries for a diving uppercut off the middle rope, but Coffey catches him in midair with a kick and then he follows that up with a basement rolling elbow to score the 3 count which ties up the match 1-1 after the 3rd round.
Round 4: Bate tries to dodge Coffey at the start but Coffey corners him and delivers some body blows, but Bate comes back with punches of his own and ends up taking control as he hits a jumping double knee strike to the face before rolling him up in a schoolboy for a 2 count. Bate hits some uppercuts and then blocks an attempted O’Connor roll only to be hit with a back suplex into a side slam for a 2 count. Coffey grabs a half nelson and lifts Bate up, but Bate counters into a crucifix pin for a 2 count. Bate slides under the legs of Coffey and then hits him with an exploder but is unable to make the cover, but he eventually kips up and then hits Coffey with a running shooting star press for a 2 count. Bate picks up Coffey and spins him around with an airplane spin until Coffey elbows out of it and after shaking off the effects he hits Bate with a half nelson slam but is unable to make a cover. Both men slowly get back to their feet and Coffey hits Bate with a clothesline in the corner and then he goes for a bulldog off the middle rope, but Bate ducks out of the way and hits Coffey with a jumping knee. Coffey counters a whip but Bate stops himself from going into the corner and when he turns around he cracks heads with an incoming Coffey and they are both knocked loopy as the round comes to an end.
During the break, both Bate and Coffey do a great job of selling that they were knocked loopy as Coffey even walks over to the wrong corner at one point, but by the end of the break both men are good to go for the next round.
Round 5: Bate takes Coffey down with a double leg but gets kicked off and then Coffey sends him into the ring post and pulls him into a schoolboy for a 2 count. Coffey sends Bate into the ropes and tries for a jumping kick but Bate slides under him and hits Bop and Bang. Bate sets up for the Tyler Driver but Coffey backdrops him only for Bate to land on his feet and he comes back with a rope rebound clothesline. Bate hits Coffey with the rolling coppo kick and then he hits the Tyler Driver 97 to pick up the win and to retain his championship.
After the match, Wolfgang motions that he wants a match against Bate next so that he can break the tie between himself and Mark Coffey in singles wins. Coffey looks pissed after his loss, but after Wolfgang talks to him we get a handshake between Bate and Coffey. Gallus leaves the ring to let Moustache Mountain celebrate Bate’s win.
This was a good match as Tyler Bate matches usually are and I thought for a minute that they were legit knocked loopy after cracking heads as they did such a good job of selling it. I guess we can expect Bate vs Coffey within the next week or two so Wolfgang can try to one-up Coffey in the competitive game they have going on.
This was such an odd episode of NXT UK as there were two big title matches on the show and while we got a bit of build to each one there was no announcement that either of the title matches was taking place on this week’s show. On top of having two unadvertised and unannounced title matches we got a long press conference that took up the first 15-20 minutes of the show only for it to be for nothing like the title match between Walter and Dragunov has been delayed.
- Roman Reigns & The Usos w/ Paul Heyman def Edge & The Mysterios – ***
- Shotzi & Nox def Natalya & Tamina – **
- Bianca Belair © def Carmella (SmackDown Women’s Championship) – **½
- Cesaro def Otis via DQ – ½*
- Seth Rollins def Kevin Owens, Big E, & King Nakamura – **¾
Before we get into the review for SmackDown itself it should be noted that Aliyah, Xia Li, Austin Theory, Odyssey Jones, Daniel Vidot worked dark matches before the show began. Also working one of the dark matches is a returning Harry Smith who is coming back to the WWE after a 10 year absence.
We get a nice opening video that WWE released on Thursday that shows some of the moments in the history of WWE where the fans reacted the loudest. We go into the arena and see that we have a new set that features a giant wide-screen video screen. Vince McMahon comes out and the fans sing to “No Chance in Hell” and he gets on the mic and says “Where the hell have you been?” and then walks to the back and I have no clue what the point of that was.
We open the show with a main event caliber match as Roman Reigns and The Usos take on the trio of Edge and The Mysterios, Reigns would mostly get booed during his entrance with a smattering of cheers while the crowd went nuts cheering for the babyfaces especially Edge. The babyfaces are in control early on with frequent tags happening between them and Dominik hits a really sweet looking double jump moonsault, but that would be the end of his highlights for a while as he gets isolated and starts being worked over by the heels and Reigns would end up hitting him with a powerbomb onto the announce table. After a commercial break, we finally get a tag on both ends and Edge comes in on fire taking down all three members of the Bloodline. The match breaks down with Rey being the legal man and when he goes for a 619 he is caught by Reigns and sent into the apron. Edge hits Reigns with a Spear on the outside and after a failed O’Connor roll attempt and a shot from Jimmy Uso we see Jey roll Rey up in a schoolboy to pick up the win.
After the match, the Usos beat down the Mysterios until Edge comes to the rescue with a chair in hand but he turns around into a Superman Punch from Reigns. Reigns then has in his mind to do the same thing to Edge that Edge has done to him and the Usos over the past few weeks, so he stomps the piece out of the chair but when he turns around he is met with a Spear from Edge and then Edge proceeds to put Reigns in the crossface using the chair part just like he has done over the past few weeks and once again Reigns is tapping out.
This was a great way to open the show with a bang as this match was a lot of fun and did a great job of getting the crowd excited for the rest of the show. I thought this did a great job of hyping up both the Universal Championship and the SmackDown Tag Team Championship matches on Sunday at Money in the Bank. If it wasn’t obvious already, the fact that Edge has got the best of Reigns for the past month pretty much means that Reigns is going to win and retain his championship this Sunday.
We get an interview with Edge where he wishes making Reigns tap like he just did would make it easier for him this Sunday, but that is far from the truth and he has to beat Reigns at his own game which means he is going to have to be the most selfish and manipulative SOB he can be. Seth Rollins walks up laughing hysterically as he tells Edge he can’t beat Reigns, but he hopes he does because when he wins Money in the Bank he wants Edge to be the one he cashes in on so that he can finish what he started back in 2014 when he had his boot on Edge’s neck and didn’t pull the trigger, Rollins wants to cash in on the man that made Money in the Bank famous. I could do without all the forced laughter from Rollins, but the rest of his promo was pretty good and I love that they are actually calling back to that segment in 2014.
Sami Zayn comes out and complains about being a conspiracy victim but he is happy because tonight he has the fans behind him and then he tries to get a chant for himself going, but it isn’t happening so Zayn talks crap about the people of Texas. Zayn says if there was any justice he would be in the Money in the Bank match or better yet they would just give him the contract outright. Sami Zayn is then interrupted by the main roster return of Finn Balor who gets a massive reaction from the crowd, Balor proceeds to kick Zayn’s ass and hits him with the Coup de Grace. It’s nice to see Balor back on the blue brand and hopefully this time he will fare better than last time and will be used as he deserves.
We got a video package for Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews.
Up next, we get a tag team rematch from last week as Shotzi & Nox take on Natalya and Tamina in what is being called a championship contender match, which makes zero sense seeing as they beat the champs last week so this week should have been a title match, but whatever. Liv Morgan and Zelina Vega are on commentary for this match.
Tamina gets the best of Shotzi early on and then knocks Nox off the apron before tagging in Nattie who goes for a slam but Shotzi slides out and takes control as she rolls Nattie up for a 2 count and then hits her with an enziguri and a leg drop to the gut. Shotzi looks for a move off the middle rope but gets distracted by Tamina and this allows Nattie to take back control as they isolate Shotzi in the corner but she eventually fights out and makes a tag to Nox. Nox takes Nattie down with some strikes and then she knocks Tamina off the apron. Nox passes Nattie into the corner and hits her with a running uppercut followed by the inverted cannonball and then she hits the Shiniest Wizard only for Tamina to break up the pin. At this time Liv and Zelina have gotten into a heated argument on commentary and they start to brawl on the outside of the ring with Liv hitting a nice flying clothesline off the steps, all of this distracts Nattie long enough for Nox to roll her up in a small package for the 3 count and for the second week in a row the newbies get a win over the champions. After the match, Nattie and Tamina take their frustrations out on Liv and Zelina as Tamina hits Zelina with a superkick, but when she charges at Liv she is sidestepped and Tamina crashes into the steps. Liv smashes Nattie’s face into the announce table and then throws her in the ring where she hits her with the facebreaker and in the end Liv is the sole woman still standing.
I feel like after beating the champions on two occasions not only should Nox & Shotzi get a tag title shot, but they should get Nattie and Tamina’s spots in the Money in the Bank match, but that is just my wishful thinking. The inclusion of the tag champs completely puts a damper on what was looking to become one of my favorite women’s Money in the Bank lineups as I really like and enjoy watching the other 6 women in the match. It was clear when Liv was standing in the ring alone that she was very emotional and was doing her best to hold it back, but when the show went to commercial she was interviewed on the stage and she wasn’t able to hide those emotions as the fans were fully behind her and even gave her a “you deserve it” chant, I highly recommend checking this out. I really hope all of this time they have given to Liv the past month and on this show isn’t just a red herring as she really deserves to win this match and to successfully cash in her briefcase in the future because if anyone deserves a run with the title it’s Liv.
We then go to our SmackDown Women’s Championship match as Bianca Belair defends her title against Carmella who is replacing Bayley after she got injured last week. Bianca comes out and gets one of the biggest pops of the night as it is clear that she is super over and anyone who doesn’t think so is just in denial and needs to check themselves.
We get some shoving and a slap from Carmella which leads to Bianca chasing her around the ring and when she slides back in she hits a wheelbarrow snapmare and then Bianca runs her over with a shoulder block before telling Mella to kiss her ass. Carmella gains control and delivers a series of back elbows and a bronco buster for a 2 count. Bianca makes a comeback as she drives her shoulder into the gut of Carmella in the corner, but moments later Carmella rolls out to the apron and when Bianca reaches across to grab her Carmella pulls her shoulder first into the ring post and then Carmella repeatedly throws Bianca into the barricade and that sends us to a commercial. We come back from the commercial and Bianca has regained control and is beating Carmella’s ass all over the ring as she hits Carmella with a handspring moonsault for a 2 count. Bianca is looking for the 450 splash, but Carmella cuts her off and ends up hitting a hurricanrana off the top which gets a 2 count. Carmella locks in a guillotine choke, but just when it seems like it’s all over Bianca uses her power to lift Carmella and hit a vertical suplex. The action spills to the floor as Carmella ducks a hair whip attempt and hits Bianca with a superkick and then Carmella grabs the braid of Bianca, but Bianca eventually jerks it out of her hand and hits her with it and then hits the K.O.D. to get the win and remain SmackDown Women’s Champion.
This was a good match but is obviously lesser in quality than what we would’ve got between Bianca and Bayley had their I Quit match happened, but with that said Carmella has improved immensely over the past couple of years and no longer feels out of place in these big title matches as she has finally put her character, mic, and in-ring work together and is now the complete package. Bianca retains her title as expected and I imagine we are getting Sasha back next week to set up for Belair vs Banks II at SummerSlam.
We get a promo from Alpha Academy backstage where Gable talks about how important it is to use all five senses and this leads to him going through all five senses in relation to how people act around Otis. Cesaro who is Otis’s opponent for tonight walks up and says he smells bull shit when it comes to the way Gable is talking about Otis and this leads to Otis punching Cesaro in the gut and shoves him into some equipment cases. We would also get a video package of Otis’s path of destruction over the past couple of months and then we would go to Otis vs Cesaro.
This was a quick match as Otis gets control early on as he targets the midsection, but Cesaro makes a comeback after ducking a clothesline and hitting some uppercuts before a distraction from Gable allows Otis to regain control with a front slam. Cesaro sidesteps a charging Otis sending him into the ring post and then he dropkicks him sending him into the ring post for a second time and Otis falls out to the floor, Gable comes in and hits a German suplex to give Cesaro the win by DQ. After the match, Cesaro hits a pop-up uppercut on Gable and then puts him in the giant swing until Otis breaks it up. Otis hits Cesaro with an avalanche in the corner and follows that up with the Vader Bomb.
We get an interview with Paul Heyman who talks about how on Sunday Edge will have his sins beaten out of him. Big E walks up and does the whole New Day opening and then tells Heyman that it appears that Edge has a hold of Roman Reigns and then he walks away laughing.
We get a video that tells us that Toni Storm (and her ASSets) will be making her SmackDown debut and that makes this guy very very happy as now I have three of my favorite eye candies on each show as I have Alexa, Eva, & Rhea on Raw and Liv, Toni, & Zelina on SmackDown. Oh, I’m also sure Toni will be a fantastic contribution to SmackDown as she is a mega star in a company full of superstars.
Baron Corbin comes to the ring all sad and forlorn and he gets on the mic as he tells us everything that has happened to him over the past few weeks since losing his crown and this week he added that his 2-year-old daughter is getting sick because she has to eat spaghetti out of a can instead of his Wagyu beef. They had to fire the maid and if things get worse he will have to move in with the in-laws. He then talks about how he has set up a crowdfunding website so that people can donate to help him out which you can find at www.corbinfund.com. Corbin then gets on his knees to beg us and that is when Kevin Owens comes out and he listens to Corbin’s pleas to him as Corbin thinks that if KO gives him something then he will influence the rest of the locker room and the fans will fall in line as well and after a minute KO finally shuts Corbin up by hitting him with a Stunner.
Although this story is absolutely ridiculous that Corbin would lose everything just because he no longer has his crown I am enjoying what they are doing with him as it is a different side of Corbin which we haven’t seen before and he honestly makes you start to feel for him eventually which is something I’m not sure WWE wanted to happen or not.
It’s time for the main event as it’s time for four way action between this year’s men’s Money in the Bank participants as it’s Kevin Owens vs Big E vs Seth Rollins vs King Nakamura.
Rollins tries to leave the ring to let the other the others fight each other, but that isn’t happening as Big E hits him with a suicide spear to the floor and the back of Rollins head hits the ladder set up next to the ring. KO hits Big E with a tope con hilo and then Nakamura hits a running knee off the apron onto KO and this leads to a commercial break. Big E and KO are fighting as the show comes back and KO tries to go up top but gets cut off and this leads to Big E and Nakamura hitting KO with a double superplex. Rollins tries to take advantage with a frog splash onto Big E, but he moves out of the way. Nakamura takes Big E down with a flurry of strikes and then hits the running knee strike to Rollins in the corner. Nakamura hits KO with a spinning wheel kick and an inverted exploder. Nakamura looks to set up for Kinshasa but when he starts to charge he is caught by Big E and hit with the Big Ending for a 2 count when Rollins breaks up the pin.
The action goes to the floor as Rollins clears the announce table and lays Nakamura out on it, Rollins starts to climb the ladder near the table but gets pulled down by KO who climbs the ladder and hits Nakamura with an elbow through the table and something happens that causes the cameraman to take a fall as the camera starts spinning around. In the ring, Rollins slides out of a Big Ending and kicks Big E in the back of the leg to get him down so he can hit the Curb Stomp on the ladder that he had brought into the ring earlier and he gets the win. After the match, Rollins sets up the ladder and climbs it to grab the briefcase as symbolism for what he plans to do on Sunday.
This was a fun little sprint to get some final hype for the Money in the Bank ladder match and I like that they gave some teases at what we could expect on Sunday with KO doing the elbow off the ladder through the table and Rollins hitting the Curb Stomp on the ladder.
I think this was a very fun show and it went by very quickly as nothing overstayed its welcome and in terms of time it was nice to see that the Women’s Championship match got the most time. It was so nice to see and hear the fans back in attendance as the real genuine reactions were great to see and hear. I am looking forward to Sunday at Money in the Bank as I have a feeling that is going to be another really fun show.
In the News
Andrew Zarian of Mat Men is reporting that WWE has moved back its date for this year’s draft as it will now take place on either 10/1 & 10/4 or 10/4/ & 10/8. The initial reports had the draft occurring in August after Summerslam, but it looks like WWE wants to hold off for a little while longer before they shake up the rosters.
Fightful select reports that there have been plans being worked out of Sonya Deville’s in-ring return and at one point she was even penciled in to be a part of the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, but whether that will actually happen or not remains to see.
Reports are coming out that this year’s Olympic Games will be affecting NXT programming as NBC Universal will use the USA Network to air some of the Olympic content, but don’t fear as NXT will air on Syfy. As of now, the 7/27 & 8/3 episodes of NXT will be airing on Syfy and as far as Raw goes it doesn’t seem like it is going to be affected as it is still listed on the schedule as airing on USA.
Fightful Select is reporting that the likely return date for John Cena will be the 7/23 episode of SmackDown which is a smart move as WWE will have to pull out all the stops to even get close to a good rating on this night as they will be going up head to head with the opening ceremony for the Olympics. Cena’s return has been planned for quite a while as WWE is aiming to have Cena challenge Roman Reigns in the main event of SummerSlam.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider is reporting that Becky Lynch will be in attendance for Money in the Bank on Sunday, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean she will be on camera as she has been around for the past couple of months getting ready for her big return, but whether she is shown on camera Sunday or not it’s pretty clear that The Man is bound to make her return very very soon.
It was reported that Goldberg will be making his way back to the WWE next week and will be Lashley’s challenger at SummerSlam and after reading that I realized that I have never wanted Lesnar back in the WWE more than I do now as he is a much more suitable opponent for Lashley and is also less likely to injure him or get blown up 5 minutes into the match.
The State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA has announced that the SmackDown event scheduled for 9/17 has been canceled, however, no reason was given for the cancellation. WWE has yet to announce a replacement venue for this show.
In some sad and unfortunate news we lost another legend of pro wrestling this past Monday as “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff passed away at the age of 71 in Fayetteville, GA. Orndorff had recently been battling dementia, however, it is unclear if that had any role in his passing.
Orndorff made his wrestling debut in 1978 and after traveling the territories he would eventually make his way to the WWE in 1983 where he was managed by Roddy Piper and it would be Piper who gave Orndorff the nickname Mr. Wonderful which he would use throughout the rest of his career. It wouldn’t take long before Orndorff was shot straight into the main event scene and with that came the biggest moment of Orndorff’s career as he teamed with Piper to face Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in the main event of the first WrestleMania. After WrestleMania Orndorff would turn face after being abandoned by Piper and Bob Orton Jr as they blamed him for their loss at WrestleMania, this would lead to Orndorff becoming the number two babyface in the company (under Hulk Hogan) as he would team with other babyfaces such as Hogan, Andre, & Bruno to battle Piper and Orton throughout the rest of 1985. In 1986 Orndorff would return to being a heel after turning on Hogan which would result in a feud between Piper and Orndorff which proved to be very successful as it would become one of the most profitable feuds in the history of the WWE.
Orndorff would leave the WWE in early 1988 and went into semi-retirement due to an arm and neck injury which he didn’t get treated like he should have as he didn’t want to take time off as he was making big money during the Hulk Hogan feud. The fact that he put off getting his neck fixed caused nerve damage and this would lead to atrophy of his right arm. Orndorff would eventually recover and would get himself back into shape and would return to wrestling in 1990 and eventually he would have a second memorable run to his career in WCW from 1992-1995 where he would become a 1x TV Champion and 2x Tag Team Champion with Paul Roma. Orndorff would retire once again in 1995 as the injuries he suffered in WWE once again started to affect him as his entire right side started to atrophy. Orndorff would stay with WCW until the end as he worked as both an agent and a trainer at the WCW Power Plant. Orton would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and in 2009 he was inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame.
I would like to send my condolences, thoughts, and prayers out to the family, friends, and fans of “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, may he Rest in Peace.
Coming up this Week
Money in the Bank:
- Roman Reigns © w/ Paul Heyman vs Edge (WWE Universal Championship)
- Bobby Lashley © w/ MVP vs Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods (WWE Championship)
- Rhea Ripley © vs Charlotte Flair (Raw Women’s Championship)
- AJ Styles & Omos © vs Viking Raiders (Raw Tag Team Championship)
- The Mysterios © vs The Usos (SmackDown Tag Team Championship) – Kick Off Show
- Alexa Bliss vs Asuka vs Liv Morgan vs Naomi vs Natalya vs Nikki Ash vs Zelina Vega vs Tamina (MITB Ladder Match)
- Big E vs Drew McIntyre vs John Morrison vs Kevin Owens vs King Nakamura vs Ricochet vs Riddle vs Seth Rollins (MITB Ladder Match)
- First Raw with fans back
- Money in the Bank Fallout
- Raquel Gonzalez © vs Xia Li (NXT Women’s Championship)
- Kushida & Bobby Fish vs Roderick Strong & Tyler Rust
- Pretty Deadly © vs Subculture (NXT UK Tag Team Championship)
- Supernova Sessions w/ Jinny & Joseph Conners
- Bianca Belair (c) vs Carmella (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
- Money in the Bank Fallout
As always if you have any feedback to give whether it be positive or negative please feel free to contact me on Twitter @MTW3589.