Money in the Bank
- The Usos def The Mysterios © (SmackDown Tag Team Championship) – ***
- Nikki A.S.H def Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Natalya, Tamina, Asuka, Liv Morgan, & Zelina Vega (MITB Ladder Match) – **½
- AJ Styles & Omos © def The Viking Raiders (Raw Tag Team Championship) – **¾
- Bobby Lashley © w/ MVP def Kofi Kingston (WWE Championship) – ***
- Charlotte Flair def Rhea Ripley © (Raw Women’s Championship) – ****¼
- Big E def Kevin Owens, King Nakamura, Riddle, Ricochet, Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, & John Morrison (MITB Ladder Match) – ****½
- Roman Reigns © w/ Paul Heyman def Edge (WWE Universal Championship) – ****
The action kicked off on the pre-show as The Mysterios defended their SmackDown Tag Team Championship against The Usos.
Before I get to the match itself I have to mention this strange entrance that The Mysterios got as it felt very out of place, the entrance consisted of a video of The Mysterios standing in front of the Aztec ruins while wearing suits and then they step through this portal which teleports them into the arena where they are in their ring gear. Ok, what in the blue hell was that and why did anyone think we needed something like this for the Mysterios? This was a great way to kick off the night as these two teams were sure to give the fans a match that is worth their money and that is exactly what they did and after a really fun match, The Usos rollup Rey Mysterio in a schoolboy to pick up the win and become the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions. I think the decision to put the titles on The Usos was the right choice as we need a couple of months with all three members of the Bloodline holding gold.
We go into the show proper where we kick things off with the women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match and to say I was disappointed in this match would be an understatement which is a shame because it was the match I was most looking forward to as I thought the lineup, for the most part, was one of the best they ever had. It should’ve been a sign of how bad this was going to be when a minute into it we get Alexa trying to summon the briefcase with her magic powers until she was stopped by Asuka. I should’ve been even more bummed than I was that Nattie and Tamina got the final two spots in this match considering they got way too much time to shine in this match, it felt like they were involved in almost every spot in the match to the point where it felt like others in the match such as Asuka, Naomi, & Zelina were shortened on time to shine.
There was a spot where Nattie and Liv play tug of war with the ladder and it felt like this spot lasted longer than it should have as even after the other women did spots off this ladder that Liv and Nattie were holding they still continued to play tug of war until Nattie used the ladder to drive Liv into the corner and trap her there, which set up another dumb spot where Alexa uses the ladder to creepily crawl up to Liv rather than using the ladder to climb and grab the briefcase. There was an Alexa hypnosis spot in the match that I thought was well done and very smart as she joined Zelina on top of the ladder and hypnotized Zelina to make her follow her down the ladder and then when Zelina was low enough Alexa ran back up the ladder to try and grab the briefcase, if they had to use the magic powers during this match then at least this was a smarter way to use them. The finish saw six women battling on three ladders with all of them trying to grab the briefcase, but Nikki climbs up behind Liv and grabs the briefcase in a very anticlimactic way to end this clusterfuck of a match that should’ve been way better than it was.
I really thought Liv was going to win this match after the way she had been built up over the past month, but they have also been building up Nikki over on Raw so her winning wasn’t completely out of left field and at least we did get a feel good story coming out of the match, even if it’s not from the woman I wanted to win. I really hope this push doesn’t stop for Liv over on SmackDown and they do what they have to in order to keep her strong as it isn’t likely she will be in the title picture anytime soon with Sasha making her return and going into a program with Bianca. As far as Nikki goes I’m not sure when she will cash in her briefcase and when she does I’m not even certain she will be successful as I personally can’t see her being champion under this Almost A Super Hero gimmick as it is super cheesy and I just can’t see that gimmick leading to her being a credible women’s champion, but I hope I’m wrong because Nikki the person is more than deserving of being women’s champion.
The next match sees AJ Styles and Omos defending their Raw Tag Team Championship against the Viking Raiders. This match exceeded my expectations as I was expecting a match that would be nothing more than what you would expect on any random episode of Raw, but I was wrong. I thought the performance by Omos in this match was the best we have seen of him as it is clear he is gaining more confidence with each time he is in the ring and they used him very smartly in this match. There was a really cool spot where Omos hurls Styles to the outside and while flying through the air he catches Erik with a hurricanrana on the floor. Omos gets to show off his strength in this match as he slams Ivar off the top. There was a really close near fall after the Raiders hit Styles with the Viking Experience and another cover is broken when Omos shoves Erik and he falls into the pin. The finish comes when Erik runs off the ropes and gets caught with the choke bomb for the 3 count. Although I did only highlight in this review both Styles and the Raiders were great in this match as well, but they are always great so I figured I would highlight some of the good stuff Omos did in the match. This was a match I expected to tell you to skip if you didn’t watch the match live, but they won me over and I highly suggest watching it and see if it exceeds your expectations as well.
Our third match sees Bobby Lashley defend the WWE Championship against Kofi Kingston in what would be an 8-minute squash match as Lashley could’ve ended this in half the time, but he wanted to prolong the punishment for Kingston. Eventually after hitting Kingston with three Dominators Lashley locks in the Hurt Lock which leads to Kingston passing out and the referee calling for the bell. I usually don’t care for squash matches on PPVs as I feel like it makes a waste of all the build to the match just to have one guy dominate a match ie Lesnar vs Cena at SummerSlam 2014, but I think it worked in this case as it was clear on Raw that Lashley had kicked into another gear and it also makes it more believable when the opponent in these squash matches are a lot smaller than the person they are being beaten by. I think them deciding to make this a squash and to have Lashley be more dominant than ever before is a good choice for what is to come as it looks like we are headed toward Lashley vs Goldberg at SummerSlam which nobody is looking forward to, but since it is being forced upon us at least Lashley will be at his most badass and if we’re lucky he will squash Goldberg just like he did Kingston.
Up next we get Rhea Ripley defending her Raw Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair in a rematch from Hell in a Cell. Charlotte and Rhea must have seen and heard all the criticism they were getting for this feud and used it as fuel to put on one hell of a match. Early on the crowd was on Charlotte’s case so she shot them the bird and then they started chanting for Becky but eventually as the match went on those chants subsided and they got into the match. One thing I liked about this match is how Rhea has scouted Charlotte and the ways she weakens up the legs in order to lock in the Figure Eight as she counters every time Charlotte tries for a move to inflict damage on her leg. We get a couple of really good near falls where it seems like the match is over but somehow Rhea is able to kick out each time including after being hit with a Natural Selection off the top rope. Charlotte rolls to the floor where she bangs Rhea’s head off the ring post and then she traps her leg between the steps and the ring post and kicks the steps repeatedly and this would be what finally does Rhea in as she has no choice but to tap out to the Figure Eight and Charlotte becomes a 13x Women’s Champion.
Coming out of this we are most likely getting Charlotte vs Becky at SummerSlam which is fine as they always have great matches and Charlotte will be a nice familiar face for Becky to have her first feud with until she gets back into the swing of things and it only makes sense that she goes right into the title picture as she had to relinquish her title due to being pregnant and thus never actually lost the title. I’m not sure where Rhea goes from here unless she forms a tag team and goes for those titles or they could transition her into a feud with Alexa which I think would be a lot of fun, but I just hope she isn’t forgotten about completely just because she will no longer be in the title picture. Up to this point, this was the best match of the night, but that wouldn’t last for long.
We go to the men’s Money in the Bank match which would be much much much better than what we saw from the women at the beginning of the night. As the entrances are happening for the match The Cock starts acting up for everyone so thanks a lot Vince for getting your network on a platform that cuts out during one of your biggest shows of the year. What we didn’t see during the outage was Riddle and Boogs jamming out to Randy Orton’s theme while Nakamura does the Orton pose, as the camera pans over we see Kevin Owens who is shaking his head in confusion. The Cock eventually gets fixed midway through the entrances and we are set for some really fun action.
After everyone bails from the ring after a big brawl we see Rollins and Morrison arguing on the outside about who is the true king of drip but they get taken down by dives from Ricochet and Riddle. We get a battle between Big E and McIntyre with McIntyre hitting Big E with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex but Big E coming back and hitting McIntyre with the suicide spear to the floor. Morrison dives over a ladder to hit Nakamura with a tornillo and surprisingly the crowd in Ft Worth gets behind Johnny Drip Drip. Nakamura locks in an armbar on top of the ladder but it’s broken by Rollins who hits a springboard knee to Nakamura who is laid back down the ladder. Rollins and Morrison team up and they backdrop Ricochet on a ladder. KO finally takes down Morrison and Rollins as he hits them with a second rope moonsault while they are holding a ladder, but is hit with a double suplex onto the side of a ladder moments later. Rollins turns on Morrison and then starts to climb only to be pulled down and hit with an RKO from Riddle. We get a quick strike exchange between Riddle and Nakamura (which I would love to see more of) with them both kicking each other and as they turn around McIntyre hits them with the Claymore, then he connects with the Future Shock DDT on Big E, and finally, he hits Ricochet with a Slama Bamma onto the ladder. Mcintyre takes out a group with a tope con hilo to the outside but when he goes back in and starts to climb the ladder he is attacked by Veer and Shanky and then hit by Jinder Mahal with a chair repeatedly and they end up carrying him to the back.
Riddle climbs the ladder and as he does Ricochet walks the rope and joins him but this leads to Riddle pushing over the ladder, but instead of falling to the floor Ricochet bounces off the top rope and hits a dive onto the rest of the participants on the floor. We get Riddle and Ricochet fighting on the ladder once again, Big E comes in and puts Riddle on his shoulders’ but he escapes and hits an RKO on Big E and follows that up with one on Ricochet as well. Riddle takes too much time posing like Randy Orton and it ends up getting him hit with a Curb Stomp, Rollins is then hit with a GTS from Nakamura. Nakamura climbs the ladder but Morrison climbs the other one and sprays Nakamura with the drip stick. KO comes in and hits Stunners on Morrison and Nakamura and then hits Ricochet with a pop-up powerbomb. KO climbs the ladder and just as he is about to reach the briefcase Rollins comes from under him and powerbombs him through a ladder that was bridged between the ring apron and the announce table. Seth Rollins climbs the ladder but he is stopped by Big E who comes up from behind and he hits Rollins with the Big Ending off the ladder and then he climbs the ladder and grabs the briefcase to become the 2021 Mr Money in the Bank.
This was a really great match as there were so many twists and turns and in my opinion, the men used the ladders a lot better than the women did and everything they did looked good which is more than what I can say for the women’s match. I have never been happier to see Jinder Mahal than I was in this match as I knew once he arrived McIntyre would become a non-factor for the rest of the match. That spot where KO went through the ladder was ridiculous and KO did a great job of selling the bump.I can’t say enough great things about this match as it absolutely delivered. I am so happy to see Big E win the briefcase as he absolutely deserves it and I hope he holds onto the briefcase long enough to have his own moment at WrestleMania just like Kofi Kingston did a couple of years ago. I do feel like once Big E does win the title he will be one that stays at the top of the card after losing it rather than falling down the card like Kingston did once he lost his title.
It’s finally time for the main event at Roman Reigns defends the Universal Championship against Edge who is finally getting his one-on-one title match after winning the Royal Rumble this past January. This was a very polarizing match as I have seen a lot of people on social media who hated it because they felt it was too slow (although most of those people are AEW fanboys), while I agree that it was slow to start I thought it worked for this match for the sole reason that they had the crowd in the palm of their hand the entire time, even during the slower parts of the match. I loved how they used the crowd to make the match even better as they played to them more than any other match on the show and any time they felt they were getting quiet they would do something to get them right back into the match. Once the match did pick up the crowd was going nuts for every near fall as it seemed like Edge might pick up the win a couple of times. I will say the finishing sequences may have been a little overbooked as I wish they had just let Reigns win clean rather than needing Rollins to take care of Edge and him just take advantage of what he did, but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed the match and thought it put a nice bow on the Edge vs Reigns feud.
After the match, Rollins returns and we get Edge and him brawling to the back. Reigns gets on the mic and says the whole world can acknowledge him and that leads to the return of JOHN CENA!!!!!! Cena steps up to Reigns and does the You Can’t See Me sign as the show goes off the air. I look forward to Cena vs Reigns at SummerSlam as this is going to be a damn good feud as both men can go on the mic and they can also deliver in the ring and thankfully we have this match because the other World Championship match happening at SummerSlam doesn’t give me any kind of good feelings.
Outside of the women’s Money in the Bank match, I thought this show absolutely delivered as I would recommend it to anyone.
- Riddle & Vikings Raiders def John Morrison, AJ Styles, & Omos – **¾
- Jaxson Ryker def Elias (Symphony of Destruction Match) – **
- Natalya & Tamina def Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler – **¼
- Sheamus def Humberto Carrillo – **½
- Bobby Lashley w/ MVP def Keith Lee – **½
- Jeff Hardy def Karrion Kross – *¼
- Rhea Ripley def Charlotte Flair © via DQ (Raw Women’s Championship) – ***
John Cena opens the show and he hypes up the crowd and then puts them over for how loud and electric they are. Cena says he came back because of the fans and he wants to face Roman Reigns at SummerSlam for the sole reason of him being an asshole who needs to be knocked down a peg. Cena says the whole Roman Reigns experience has gone on long enough and then he calls Reigns an arrogant, self-absorbed, overhyped, overrated, & overexposed gimmick that isn’t over as much as he thinks he is. Cena closes out with the saying about how if you’re good you will tell everyone how good you are, but if you are great then they will tell you you’re great. Cena says he will be at SmackDown on Friday to confront Reigns. Riddle then comes down to the ring and he exchanges Bros back and forth with Cena before Cena leaves the ring.
It was so refreshing to hear a John Cena promo as nobody on the current roster can cut a promo to get everyone hyped up like Cena and after hearing him I for a brief moment was hyped for the rest of this show, but sadly that hype would fade before the first hour was even over.
We get a fun six-man tag with Riddle teaming with the Viking Raiders to face John Morrison, AJ Styles, & Omos which sees Riddle spray Omos with the drip stick, and then he throws it to The Miz making it look as if Miz was the one who did it. Omos stalks towards Miz and when Morrison tries to stop him he throws Morrison back in the ring and Viking Raiders hit him with the Viking Experience to pick up the win.
Up next we get a Symphony of Destruction match between Elias and Jaxson Ryker because that feud is still a thing for some reason. I don’t think there has ever been a match involving weapons that I have cared less about, but at this point, these two could light themselves on fire and I wouldn’t care as nothing about this feud appeals to me or anyone else for that matter. Ryker ends up pulling out the win when he hits Elias with a superplex to the outside through two tables.
We go to the office of Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville where they are talking with Mansoor as Mustafa Ali walks up and they tell him they were listening to Mansoor propose that he and Ali team up. Ali refuses this idea at first but after Mansoor tells him that he realizes everything Ali has said to him was because Ali was trying to help then he reluctantly agrees to it but warns Mansoor not to screw it up. After they walk off Sheamus comes in to complain about being made to wrestle tonight when he just defended his title last week.
We get some women’s tag action as Natalya & Tamina take on Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax who has a new look with short hair. There wasn’t much to this match and the finish sees Reginald cost his team once again as Tamina picks up the win after a superkick. After the match, Shayna voices her frustrations with Reginald once again, and finally, Nia agrees with her as she headbutts Reginald and kicks him to the curb. We then see the 24/7 geeks run out and Reginald ends up winning the 24/7 Championship and just like that Reginald has a new role on the show.
We got an actual match this week between Sheamus and Humberto Carrillo and it was really good but just like last week Sheamus picks up the win after a Brogue Kick. During the match we see Damian Priest watching from backstage as he is obviously going to be Sheamus’s next challenger.
Bobby Lashley and MVP come out and they both cut killer promos especially MVP who does a fantastic job of hyping up this new refocused and bass Bobby Lashley. Lashley wants to know who is going to answer his Almighty Open Challenge and it is…Keith Lee although I had no clue until he walked out because his music is now unrecognizable. I am so happy to see Keith Lee back and I’m still curious as to why he was out for so long. I don’t get the point of bringing back someone like Keith Lee and having him lose on his first night back, I get they needed to keep Lashley strong for what is to come so they should’ve had both men facing someone different rather than each other because neither man needed to lose. After the match as Lashley is celebrating, out comes Goldberg as expected and he screams at Lashley “I’m Next” and just like that we have our WWE Championship match for SummerSlam as Goldberg jumps the line like he always does. I don’t care to see Goldberg nor does anyone else as the last few times we have seen him he has either almost killed someone or gotten blown up in the first couple of minutes, for our sake this match lasts 30 seconds and Lashley retains and then moves on to someone else more deserving and on the current roster.
Jinder Mahal and crew are in the ring and he throws to several videos highlighting everything between him and Drew McIntyre over the past few weeks and then says it’s his birthday and he gets Shanky to sing to him and while this is happening McIntyre comes through the crowd and he takes out all three men with chair shots. Mahal and Veer are able to get away, but poor Shanky gets the living shit beat out of him with a chair to the point where we would see bruises already starting to form on the skin of Shanky, this felt like one of the most brutal beatings of a rookie since Daniel Puder got worked over by Benoit, Guerrero, & Holly in the 2005 Royal Rumble.
Up next is going to one of the most talked-about segments coming from Raw this week as we get the Raw debut of Karrion Kross who is without Scarlett but is wearing the NXT Championship and immediately he feels less than without Scarlett and his full entrance theatrics. Kross is facing Jeff Hardy who finally gets his “No More Words” theme. Kross throws Hardy around for most of this match but then Hardy dodges a charge and Kross goes into the ring post and after a Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb the NXT Champion is beaten by Jeff Hardy in his Raw debut and made to look like a complete jobber. After the match, Kross said Hardy made a big mistake because in the end everyone will Fall and Pray. Why did they just job out the NXT Champion on his first night on the main roster after already doing away with everything that made him stand out and look like a star. This loss is not going to make any new viewers care to watch NXT seeing as their champion just lost to a guy who has been beaten quite frequently this year and on some weeks he is relegated to Main Event where he loses there as well. They could have built Kross up to immediately be one of the big stars on Raw, but yet they decide to job him out and are going to make him work his way up like everyone else because God forbid someone come in from NXT (especially when it comes to the men) and immediately go to the top. Samoa Joe is someone else who should be pissed at this because nobody is going to care about their match when the guy he is standing across the ring from has been jobbed out to a guy who has been picking up losses all year. This was such shitty booking and although I am not his biggest fan I feel sorry for Karrion Kross as he does deserve better than this.
We go to Alexa Bliss on her playground and her big guest for this week is the returning Lilly who is out of time out and Alexa says Lilly promises to be on her best behavior this time. Eva Marie and Doudrop walk up and Alexa laughs about the name Doudrop and then ignores Eva which doesn’t sit well with Eva as she doesn’t like being upstaged in favor of a stupid doll. Eva jokes that Doudrop should throw Lilly in the trash and Alexa warns her not to say anything bad about Lilly. Alexa thinks it’s time for Doudrop to be put in time out so she and Eva can face each other one on one to see what Eva can do without any help and as she says this she is mocking Eva. Eva gets ready to leave and she trips and falls, Doudrop helps her to her feet and they walk off and Alexa laughs to end the segment. I get that the Alexa Bliss character has always been loosely based on Harley Quinn especially since she turned into the creepy Alexa we have now, but I swear more than anytime before her promo here really gave me Harley Quinn vibes as some of her changes in tone of voice and facial expressions really screamed Harley Quinn. I doubt we will see Alexa actually take on Eva by herself as Eva always has a plan so if Doudrop can’t be there I’m sure she can find someone else or will just back out of the match all together.
We are told that next week we are getting a rematch for the Raw Tag Team Championship with AJ Styles & Omos vs Viking Raiders because this company loves their rematches because they can’t come up with creative ways to continue feuds without having the participants in the feud face each other a billion times.
Charlotte Flair comes to the ring for her championship celebration and after gloating about her win she says that Rhea can steal as many of her moves as she wants but she will never live up to the original and after some more Rhea bashing out comes the former champion. Rhea and Charlotte go back and forth with Charlotte making the mistake of saying she can beat Rhea anywhere at any time and Rhea looks to take her up on that offer, but Charlotte tells her she would but Rhea is hurt and this brings out Pearce and Sonya who call Charlotte on her crap and book the rematch tonight for the main event of Raw. Charlotte kicks Rhea’s leg out from under her before heading to the back.
In the main event of the night, Charlotte defends her newly won Raw Women’s Championship against Rhea Ripley because rematches rule. Charlotte and Rhea have a good match but not as good as the one they had the night before and the finish comes when Charlotte decides to take a walk with her title and when Rhea chases after her she hits her with the belt to cause the DQ. After the match, Rhea and Charlotte brawl on the outside and Rhea sends Charlotte into the ring post and then hits her with the Rip Tide on the floor and then Nikki A.S.H. runs down with her Money in the Bank briefcase and as Rhea sees this she rolls Charlotte back into the ring. Nikki hands her briefcase to the referee and once the bell rings she goes up top and hits Charlotte with a crossbody for the 3 count and we have a new Raw Women’s Champion much to the surprise of everyone. Thank God they decided to do this because this Raw needed something positive to happen at the end after all of the bad taste we had throughout the rest of the show. I don’t know how long Nikki will keep the title but I feel it may not be long considering the rumored plan is Charlotte vs Becky at SummerSlam, but I along with everyone else is happy to see Nikki finally win some singles gold as she is someone who is super likable and everyone wants her to succeed and if you don’t believe me just go check Twitter as everyone including those with other companies was sending congratulations to Nikki, because everyone knows how hard Nikki has worked for this and we are all glad to see someone who is so good-hearted finally succeed.
This episode of Raw was something else as it had a great beginning segment and a great ending segment, but throughout the middle there was so much bad and the worst part about it is that some of that bad could’ve been good or great had it been better booked as nobody wanted to see Keith Lee and Karrion Kross lose in their big return and debut and we also didn’t want to see a 15-minute match between Elias and Jaxson Ryker. WWE is going to have to do much better than this if they want to keep the momentum up that they have had over the weekend.
- Kushida & Bobby Fish def Diamond Mine (Strong & Rust) w/ Hachiman & Malcolm Bivens – ***½
- Franky Monet w/ Jessi Kamea & Robert Stone def Jacy Jane – **
- Kyle O’Reilly def Austin Theory – ***¾
- Odyssey Jones def Andre Chase (NXT Breakout Tournament Quarterfinal Match) – **¼
- Drake Maverick def LA Knight w/ Cameron Grimes – **
- Raquel Gonzalez © w/ Dakota Kai def Xia Li (NXT Women’s Championship) – **¾
Samoa Joe storms to the ring and he is not a happy camper as he calls out Karrionn Kross, but William Regal comes out instead and scorns Joe for calling out someone for a fight. Joe tells him the deal was that he couldn’t touch anyone unless provoked and last week he was provoked. Regal explains to him that last week Kross put his hands on a referee and not a member of management but Joe doesn’t care about the semantics of what role he was in last week. Joe says Kross is out of control and he wants to be the one who puts him under control. Regal says Kross will be here later in the night and when he gets there he wants Joe to keep his cool and handle the situation peacefully. Joe says he has respect for Regal and guarantees that tonight will be the end of this but he can’t guarantee it will end peacefully but he can guarantee it will end with someone going to sleep. Joe leaves the ring and throughout the night we see him pacing in front of the door to the CWC parking lot. At the end of the night, Joe comes to the ring as he is tired of waiting, but Kross appears on the screen and says this is his world, and the fact that he is NXT Champion means he can go where he wants, do what he wants, and hurt anyone he wants. We see the camera pan down to a laid-out William Regal and Kross asks Joe if he still feels like he is in control. Joe runs to the back and just as he gets to the parking lot Kross drives off leaving Joe in a fit of rage.
I thought Joe was really great throughout the night and I like the story being told of Regal trying to deal with things peacefully while Joe is trying to tell him that Kross needs to be stopped (sorry Joe your one night too late in doing that as Vince beat you to that), and by the end of the night, Regal experienced first hand what Joe was talking about. Regal will now be ready to let Joe handle Kross in the only way Joe knows how to handle someone by bashing their brains in, choking them out, and taking their title. It sucks that after this program with Joe we are going to see Kross go up to Raw and most likely get jobbed out until Vince feels the NXT persona is dead and then he can recreate him to be the character he wants him to be.
The first match of the night saw Diamond Mine’s Roderick Strong & Tyler Rust take on the team of Bobby Fish & Kushida in a tag match that was made last week. This match got a lot of time and was really good as you would expect coming from these four guys. The finish of the match sees Fish and Strong fight to the floor and then Kushida comes off the top with an elbow and he follows that up by locking Rust in the Hoverboard Lock which he has to tap out to. It’s clear they wanted to keep Fish and Strong apart for the most part as we are probably going to see another match between the two of them down the road. I’m not sure I would’ve had Diamond Mine lose a match this early in their run as they haven’t been around long enough for losses not to hurt their credibility and it wouldn’t have hurt Fish to take the pin in the match.
LA Knight and Cameron Grimes pull up to the CWC and Knight wants Grimes to grab all of his luggage and after opening up the trunk we see that Knight has a lot of luggage to carry to the point where Grimes has trouble holding everything. Drake Maverick walks up and offers to help Grimes but Knight gets in his face and berates him before challenging him to a match later tonight. Grimes, despite having to carry all of the luggage, is still staying positive and making the best of a bad situation. We go to the Knight vs Maverick match and the whole time Knight wants Grimes to hold his Million Dollar Championship up high and any time he looks over and sees Grimes playing to the crowd he gets distracted which allows Maverick to make a comeback. The finish sees Knight telling Grimes to hold the belt high and when he does Maverick dropkicks Knight into the belt and rolls him up in a schoolboy for a 3 count and Maverick scores a giant upset win. After the match, Knight attacks Maverick until Grimes pulls him off and they have words until Knight decides that Grimes is going to hit Maverick. Knight holds Maverick, but Grimes refuses and tries to leave the ring, but Knight grabs him and reminds Grimes about being a man of his word, after some hesitation Grimes reluctantly hits Maverick and instantly regrets what he just did. LA Knight leaves the ring proud of what he just did as the crowd chants LA sucks. I am really liking what they are doing with Grimes and Knight as their segments continue to be a highlight of NXT every week.
We see Franky Monet in action next as she takes on Jacy Jane. Franky is being accompanied by Jessi Kamea and moments after the match starts Robert Stone joins Jessi Kamea to be by Franky’s side. This was pretty much a squash match with Jacy getting some shots in here and there but Franky puts her away with a Glam Slam. During the match, we see Mandy Rose arrive to watch the match, although for some reason she chooses to watch the match while laying across the announce table, and after the match she disappears. I am still super confused about what is going on with Franky and Mandy but I am intrigued.
We are informed that NXT will be on the Syfy channel for the next two weeks due to NBC using the USA network to air some of the Olympic events.
We get a sit-down interview where Wade Barrett interviews Bronson Reed who says he got in a bit of a negative mindset after losing the North American Championship but realized he couldn’t stay in that mindset and needed to push forward. When asked whether it is wise to face Adam Cole next week he says last week Cole ran his mouth and he shut him up and the same will happen next week but this time he will shut him up for good.
Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory are being interviewed backstage when Kyle O’Reilly walks up and wants a piece of Theory as he heard Theory talking crap about him. Theory accepts the challenge and Gargano tells him that just like he went and faced Karrion Kross on his own last week, Theory is going to have to do the same tonight.
We go to the Theory vs O’Reilly match and this match gets a lot of time as well and this was yet another really good match where the finish sees O’Reilly work Theory over on the outside sending him into the steps and then once back in the ring he beats him down with strikes and then he goes up top to hit a diving knee drop onto the ankle of Theory which leads to O’Reilly locking in a submission and making Theory tap out. Later on, we get a backstage segment with The Way where they can’t figure out why they have been having such bad luck and Candice asks Theory why he keeps picking fights with people he can’t beat. Indi says they need to stop being so hard on Theory and if he wants to kiss Dexter let him kiss Dexter and Candice threatens to call a therapist and as Johnny and Candice argue with Indi, Theory sadly walks off dragging his bag behind him. I always get enjoyment out of these little segments with The Way as the comedy between the four of them always works for me and actually makes me laugh.
We go to what is supposed to be a Mariachi Madness Musical celebrating Legado del Fantasma, but Escobar orders the mariachi players out of the ring immediately as he doesn’t want to lower himself by entertaining the crowd as he deems them not worth it and furthermore he doesn’t want to do what Hit Row did a couple of weeks ago. Escobar says he is a true champion and he will take the North American Championship and make it as prestigious as blood, heritage, tradition, & familia. Hit Row come out and we get each member spitting some insults toward Legado del Fantasma and then they enter the ring and while Top Dolla and Ashante deal with Wilde and Mendoza we see Swerve face-off with Escobar but he gets taken down and Escobar goes for one of the guitars left behind by the mariachi guys but as he raises the guitar B-Fab grabs it out of his hands and then Swerve looks to hit Escobar, but he bails and leaves Wilde in the ring to take the guitar shot. It looks like Hit Row is now babyfaces which is the smart thing to do as there is no way a crowd in 2021 is going to boo this group. It’s a shame that the whole Rolling Loud partnership is happening on SmackDown rather than NXT as Hit Row would be a no brainer to be there, in fact, if I was Triple H I would push for Hit Row to make an appearance anyway, although after what happened on Raw he probably doesn’t want any of this talent to be anywhere near anything happening on the main roster.
We get our second Breakout Tournament Quarterfinal match as Odyssey Jones takes on Andre Chase and I have to say I was really disappointed when Odyssey came out as I wanted to see him wearing his High Energy checkerboard gear he wore on 205 Live a few weeks ago. Jones uses his power to take over early on but as the match goes to the outside Chase uses parts of the set to take the advantage and when he gets in the ring he hits a moonsault for a 2 count, but after that Odyssey dominates as he hits a crossbody and then finishes the match with a big side slam to pick up the win. We are told that next week we will see Carmelo Hayes take on Josh Briggs in the tournament.
We get a backstage interview with MSK where they are asked what MSK stands for but when they start to explain we get a cut to a video of Imperium talking about how the mat is sacred and they are there to protect the purity of the sport by any means necessary. When the video cuts back to MSK they are done explaining what MSK stands for.
Pete Dunne and Oney Lorcan challenge Ciampa and Thatcher to a match next week.
Our final match of the night sees Raquel Gonzalez defending her NXT Women’s Championship against Xia Li who strangely comes out without Tian Sha and knowing WWE I wouldn’t doubt if they just dropped that story with no explanation. Raquel uses her power to throw Xia around and then when Xia takes a breather on the floor she lawn darts her into the ring post, but she misses a charge and gets her leg wrapped around the ring post several times and is then shoved into the steps as Xia takes control of the match. As the match gets back in the ring Xia targets the leg trying to slow down Raquel, but it doesn’t work as well as she hopes as Raquel hits her with a fall-away slam and a dropkick while favoring the bad leg. Xia tries for a couple of different pin attempts but none prove successful so she goes to what she knows best which is kicking people as she kicks Raquel in the back and then lands a spin kick for a 2 count. Li has Raquel down and then slaps her in the face which fires Raquel up as she slams her and then hits her with a twisting senton off the middle rope. It appears that Xia Li may be hurt as the trainers come over to check on her and the camera stays on Raquel screaming at her from the corner, Xia finally gets back to her feet but she is hit with the Chingona Bomb to pick up the win. It would later be reported that Xia Li was ok.
I thought this was a fine episode of NXT as I liked the stuff with Joe and Kross and thought the opening tag match and Theory vs O’Reilly were really good. I look forward to seeing how the card shapes up heading toward NXT Takeover: 36 which will be happening on 8/22/21.
NXT UK Results
- Nina Samuels def Laura Di Matteo – **
- Joseph Conners w/ Jinny def Tristan Archer – **¼
- Pretty Deadly © def Subculture w/ Dani Luna (NXT UK Tag Team Championship) – ***¼
We open with Sid Scala in the ring and he talks about how we were supposed to have Walter vs Dragunov II tonight, but due to Walter suffering an injury the match has been postponed and after talking with NXT management a decision has been made for when the match will occur. We go to a video from William Regal, Triple H, & Shawn Michaels and after some hyping up of the match they announce that Walter vs Dragunov II will happen at NXT Takeover: 36 on SummerSlam weekend.
We get a video from Symbiosis where they have their sights set on Moustache Mountain after the beating they gave them a few weeks ago with the nunchucks. Later in the show, Moustache Mountain is asked their thoughts on what Symbiosis said and Seven said that Eddie Dennis just can’t let it go as everything between them two was over, but then they jump Seven and that is when Bate gets involved and Bate says he is setting the Heritage Cup to the side for a moment as he has some Moustache Mountain to settle. Seven says they will see Symbiosis in the ring where they will finish things once and for all.
We go to the ring for our first bit of action of the night as Laura Di Matteo takes on Nina Samuels.
Early on both women attempt to work on the arm of the other but they keep getting countered until Nina tries for a magistral cradle which Laura counters into a pin of her own for a 2 count. This would set Nina off as she kicks Laura in the gut and then slams her down to the mat very aggressively and then locks Laura’s legs in a deathlock before bending her back in a bow and arrow, but then gets tired of holding her up so she releases sending Laura face-first into the mat. Nina hits Laura with a running neck snap before pulling back on her neck and driving her knee into Laura’s back. Laura eventually gets back to her feet, but Nina slams her right back down to the mat. Nina tries to lock in a full nelson, but Laura counters it into a victory roll for a 2 count. Laura hits a dropkick and then sidesteps a charge from Nina and turns it into a schoolgirl for a 2 count and then she counters a fireman’s carry into a rollup for another 2 count. Laura gets driven into the corner where Nina drives her shoulder into the gut of Laura. Nina sits Laura up top but Laura hits her with a diving hurricanrana. Laura tries for a tornado DDT but Nina blocks and hits a couple of tilt-a-whirl backbreakers. Nina hits Laura with a running dropkick to the back and that is followed by a Canadian backbreaker into a knee to the face for the win.
This was an ok match for Nina’s return to the show after her storyline with Xia Brookside ended months ago and Laura keeps getting more impressive every time she is on the show.
We get a video from Teomana and Rohan Raja who talk about family and how their brotherhood is out of respect. Teoman says it’s up for people to choose whether to respect or fear them and that the family is always growing and as the camera pans back we see an empty chair.
We go backstage where XIa is talking to a camera when Blair Davenport walks up and mocks her for being in NXT UK for years and the only reason people care about her is because of her last name whereas Blair has been there five minutes and everyone is talking about her. Xia walks off and Blair tells her to talk to her when she gets her own last name.
It’s time for Supernova Sessions with guests Jinny and Joseph Conners. Jinny is appalled at the chairs she is supposed to sit in so she decides to stand and then Noam Dar hands her a fancy cushion and although she is still displeased she decides to sit on the cushion. Dar talks about how he has some nice fashion and could be a male model and then gets Jinny to feel his shirt and when she does Dar asks her if it feels like boyfriend material, but she says it felt quite cheap. Dar then asks if Jinny and Joseph are a thing which disgusts Jinny as she is tired of that question being asked. Dar then decides it’s time to wrap the show up, but Jinny takes over and challenges Aoife Valkyrie to a match after saying Aoife is scared to face her one on one. Jinny and Joseph leave as Joseph has a match-up next. Dar schills for his t-shirt and then tells them to play the funky music as the show comes to an end.
We get a video featuring Rampage Brown and his training for Brown vs Coffey III.
Our next match is Joseph Conners vs Tristan Archer, Archer is formerly known as Clement Petiot and he competed in the Cruiserweight Classic.
Conners takes Archer down a couple of times until Archer takes Conners down with a single leg, but Conners is too close to the ropes and Archer is forced to back away. Archer levels Conners with a clothesline and then sends him to the corner, but he jumps up and over and then catches a charging Archer with a backbreaker. Conners hits Archer with a running neck snap and then works Archer over in the corner before pulling him into a short-arm clothesline for a 2 count. Archer catches Conners with a jawbreaker but runs into a shot to the ribs and a boot to the head. Conners grounds Archer until eventually fights back to his feet and we get both men trading heavy strikes in the middle of the ring. Archer looks for a suplex but Conners counters and charges toward Archer but he sidesteps sending Conners into the corner and then he hits him with a kick before going up top, Conners looks to cut him off but Archer sees it and dodges his attempt and then hits him with a rope-assisted lungblower for a 2 count. We get a few pinfall combinations and then Archer hits a falcon arrow for a very close 2 count. Archer hits Conners with a discus clothesline in the corner and then goes for a GTS, but Conners catches the leg and rolls into a DDT which he follows up with a cross-armed hangman’s neckbreaker (which he calls the Hierarchy) for the win.
I thought Archer was very impressive in his debut against Conners, so much so that I thought Archer was the one who looked like the star in the match and I hope we see more of him in the future.
We see Aoife Valkyrie in the crowd area, Jinny leaves the ring and Aoife hops the rail to give Jinny a feather, and then they pose in the aisle like you would do on an occasion like this.
Jordan Devlin walks out of the office of Sid Scala and is asked if the Ironman match between A-Kid and himself has been made and he says it has, but A-Kid is the dumbest man alive because he knows A-Kid’s knee is not better despite what he tells everyone. Devlin said he tried to end the career of A-Kid last time they were in the ring and next time he will finish the job.
We go to Dave Mastiff in the trainer’s room and he is massaging his shoulder when Jack Starz walks in and he wants to thank Mastiff for all of his support the last few weeks and if it were not for Mastiff he would’ve never challenged Tyler Bate. Mastiff thanks him for the kind words and then says there is more to come between the two of them.
It’s main event time as Pretty Deadly put their NXT UK Tag Team Championships on the line against Subculture who are looking to become 2x tag champions.
Webster escapes a waistlock from Stoker and then fires away with strikes before taking Stoker down with an arm drag and then he looks to hit a standing moonsault but Stoker rolls him through and hits both an inverted and regular atomic drop. Webster fires back with knees to the head, but Stoker stops him with a forearm to the back and tries for a back suplex but Webster counters into a crossbody for a 2 count and then he hits our third neck snap of the night. Webster tags in Andrews who prevents Stoker from hitting a suplex and then Subculture hits Stoker with a double suplex. Howley comes in to even the odds and we get a standoff as the referee tries to regain control. Howley is tagged in and Andrews applies a side headlock but Howley takes him down with a shoulder block and then taunts Andrews which leads to Andrews kicking him in the leg and then he takes Howley down with a running hurricanrana, Andrews tries to follow up but Howley throws him across the ring and Andrews lands face-first.
Howley sends Andrews out of the ring and then pulls Webster into the ring where Pretty Deadly looks to double team him but Webster dodges their attacks and leads them into the center of the ring where Andrews comes off the top with a crossbody and then Subculture each hit a member of Pretty Deadly with a dropkick sending both members out to the floor. Andrews chases Howley on the floor until he is stopped in his tracks by Dani Luna and when he turns around he is dropped with a forearm from Andrews. Andrews throws Howley back in the ring and hits the tilt-a-whirl into a crossbody which gets a 2 count. Howley grabs Andrews and makes a tag to Stoker and they send Andrews into the ropes and after Howley leapfrogs him Stoker plants him with a DDT. Pretty Deadly takes time to pose and then Stoker knocks Webster off the apron. Pretty Deadly puts the boots to Andrews in the corner and continues to work him over while making frequent tags, Andrews attempts to make a tag a couple of times but keeps getting cut off. Morgan eventually makes a comeback and leaps to make the hot tag to Webster.
Webster comes in on fire as he hits Stoker with a clothesline and a dropkick and then he takes Howley off the apron with a triangle dropkick. Webster spins around the body of Stoker and hits him with Angel’s Wings for a 2 count. Webster floats behind Stoker after a suplex attempt and then backflips off the middle rope only to be caught with a German suplex where he lands on his feet and as Stoker tags in Howley, he charges and Stoker launches him in the air but when he comes down he catches Howley with a hurricanrana. Both members of Pretty Deadly go to the floor and both members of Subculture take Pretty Deadly down with a couple of tope con hilos. Webster throws Howley back into the ring and hits him with a moonsault for a 2 count. Howley blocks a standing sea fire and hits Webster with snake eyes but Webster is able to dodge the boot and hits a headbutt which causes Howley to fall into the corner and make a tag to Stoker. Webster hits Stoker with a headbutt as well and then makes the tag to Andrews.
Andrews leapfrogs over Webster and catches Stoker with a code red for a 2 count. We get another tag by Subculture and as Webster goes up top Stoker drops Andrews throat first onto the top rope. Webster rolls through a 450 attempt only to get hit with a clothesline by Stoker. Stoker tags in Howley who launches Stoker off his back allowing Stoker to hit a lungblower on Webster for a very close 2 count. Howley picks up Webster in a fireman’s carry and tags in Stoker but Webster elbows out and shoves the Pretty Deadly members into each other and then crawls under their legs to make a tag to Andrews. Andrews slides under a clothesline and hits Pretty Deadly with pele kicks. Andrews hits Stoker with forearms and chops and then goes for an O’Connor roll, but Stoker makes a blind tag to Howley and they hit Andrews with a fireman’s carry into the knees of Howley and then Stoker tries to lawn dart Andrews into a uppercut from Howley which gets a 2 count as Webster breaks up the pin.
Stoker throws Webster out to the apron and then walks back to his corner to be tagged in, as Webster gets to his feet Howley runs over to knock him down but Webster pulls down the rope sending Howley out to the floor and while this is happening Andrews hits Stoker with the Stundog Millionaire. Webster is tagged in and we get a bicycle knee and poison rana combo from Subculture for a very close 2 count. Andrews and Howley fight on the floor and Andrews hits Howley with a tornado DDT off the steps. Stoker charges at Webster and gets hit with a one-legged dropkick. Webster tags in Andrews who goes up top and looks to hit the Shooting Star Press, but Howley pulls Stoker out of the way at the last second. Webster tries for another tope con hilo but Pretty Deadly catches him and flips him back into the crowd area. Andrews tries to fight both opponents off but Howley throws a tag title in the ring and as the referee throws it out of the ring Pretty Deadly hits Andrews with a neckbreaker style Hart Attack to pick up the win and to retain the titles.
While the tag title match was good this episode of NXT UK was completely passable as there was nothing on this show that will be remembered within a few weeks.
- Finn Balor def Sami Zayn – **½
- Angelo Dawkins w/ Montez Ford def Chad Gable w/ Otis – **
- Bianca Belair © def Carmella (SmackDown Women’s Championship) – **
- Toni Storm def Zelina Vega – **¼
- Jimmy Uso w/ Jey Uso def Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio – **¼
John Cena kicks off the show and gets the crowd hyped and on their feet as only he can do and then goes into how he is going to face Roman Reigns at SummerSlam and take the Universal Championship because SmackDown with him as champion sucks. Cena says he realizes there are fans of Reigns out there and that’s fine because they deserve to be heard just like everyone else. Cena says the match between him and Reigns isn’t just about the Universal Championship it’s about standing up for what you believe in and choosing who you want to root for between the two. Cena then tries to rile up the crowd and get Reigns to come out, but we get Paul Heyman instead who says that Cena has it all wrong as it’s not that Reigns can’t see him or can’t hear him it’s that he doesn’t want to see or hear him because he is not worth Reigns’ time. Heyman says that Cena will have Reigns’ answer to his challenge by the end of the night. Heyman then starts to mock the entrance theme of Cena as he walks to the back and that alone was worth sitting through this segment. The segment ends with Cena looking disappointed that Reigns didn’t come out to accept his challenge. This was a really good segment to hype up the crowd for the rest of the night and I can’t say enough just how refreshing it is to have Cena back on the show. The Heyman promo was great as well and his mocking of the Cena theme was fantastic.
We then go to the first match of the night which sees Finn Balor taking on Sami Zayn after what happened last week during Balor’s return to SmackDown. This was a fine match as it did what it was supposed to do which was to showcase the returning Balor and thus the outcome was totally predictable, but we got to see all the hits from Balor and that is all that mattered in this match.
We go backstage to Baron Corbin who lost money on the crowdfunding site he talked about last week as the guy that built the website disappeared after he paid him and to make things worse he thinks his identity was stolen by the guy. Corbin then says he had to ride the bus today and talks about how bad it smells in public transportation. Corbin asks what happened to him and then walks off all dejected. Later in the night, Corbin runs into Kevin Owens and he wants KO to be sympathetic to him but KO tells him that he can’t expect people to instantly be sympathetic after the way he has treated people for the last few years. KO realizes that Corbin is being genuine and finally gives him some money, but then poor Corbin gets hit in the nuts with the rocket from Shotzi’s tank (Shotzi and Nox were working on the tank before KO walked up to Corbin) and then the Dirty Dawgz run up and steal the money, but KO runs back over and chases them off with a chair in hand. I continue to enjoy this Corbin story and hopefully, we get a KO & Corbin babyface team out of all of this.
Big E comes out to talk about his Money in the Bank win and the crowd is going crazy for him, but before he can even finish a sentence Apollo Crews comes out to interrupt him and this would lead to the Dirty Dawgz, King Nakamura, & Cesaro all coming out right after as they all want a shot at Crews’’s Intercontinental Championship. We get a big brawl with the babyfaces clearing the ring of everyone except for Commander Azeez who they team up against before sending him out of the ring as well. I thought this was going to lead to a 6-man tag and it did except it was a dark match for the crowd in attendance while we at home watched the action from the Rolling Loud festival.
It’s now time to go to the Miami portion of the show live from the Rolling Loud festival. Wale comes out to serve as MC as he introduces the Street Profits and we go to a commercial before the first Rolling Loud match of the night. We come back and it’s Angelo Dawkins taking on Chad Gable and this was really nothing special as it goes about 4 minutes and Dawkins gets the win with the Anointment. As the Street Profits are celebrating the win we get the entrance of Bianca Belair who will be defending her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Carmella for the second week in a row. I watched this match three times and each time my mind kept wandering off in the middle of the match and I’m not sure why (it could be because this was a rematch where Carmella had no better shot of winning than she did last week). Bianca picks up the win with the K.O.D. as expected.
So, this crossover experiment with Rolling Loud was, unfortunately, a miss as they had to pipe in the crowd noise as the crowd in attendance couldn’t have cared less as there was no reaction from the crowd whenever they would be shown on camera, but despite it being a failure I will give WWE credit for trying to step out of its box and be relevant. We as fans always ask WWE to try new things but it seems like when they do try new things such as this it ends up getting shit on when it doesn’t work out perfectly when we should be thankful that they at least tried it and furthermore I’m glad to see they did this at a hip hop festival rather than another rock/metal festival like they usually do. I do think there are a few things they could’ve done to perhaps get a better reaction from the crowd in attendance which I will list below.
- They should’ve not had matches but rather did a couple of angles with the talent cutting promos as this probably would’ve gotten a better reaction seeing as a big part of hip hop music is the artist dissing on other artists which is exactly what a promo is. I think this was the perfect way to bring Sasha back and have her and Bianca talk shit about each other to set up their SummerSlam match and I don’t know if he was there or not but they could’ve even had Snoop Dogg come out with Sasha.
- They should’ve had Triple H bring in Hit Row to do a performance.
- They should’ve had John Cena there instead of in Cleveland because it was going to take a huge name to get the fans at Rolling Loud interested as they were there for music and not wrestling, but Cena is now a big enough name mainstream that he may have been able to get the crowd into it.
Edge comes to the ring for a promo where he talks about how Rollins cost him the Universal Championship and he says that Rollins should’ve finished him off when he had his foot on Edge’s neck back in 2014. Edge talks about how sick and twisted he can get and the depths in which he is willing to sink in order to get the job done, but Rollins is going to find out. Seth Rollins comes out laughing and Edge tells him to shut up as he is embarrassing himself. Rollins says he was going to come out and talk about how he hates when people like Edge and John Cena skip the line and take opportunities from people who have earned them, but he is glad to see Grandpa Edge is there. Seth Rollins says he would love to be the one to end the fairytale comeback of Edge to the point where when people talk about Edge all they are going to remember is Seth Rollins the man who ended him. We eventually get a brawl between the two with Edge hitting the Edgecution, but Rollins bails from the ring before he can hit the Spear. This was a fine enough way to start the build to Edge vs Rollins at SummerSlam.
We come back and it’s time, it’s time, it’s Toni time as we get one of my most anticipated debuts in quite some time as Toni Storm makes her SmackDown debut against Zelina Vega as Toni is once again back to being a babyface which is where she is better suited as it’s hard to root against Toni Storm. This may be my bias towards both Toni and Zelina talking but I felt like the two-and-a-half-minute sprint they had here was a lot more fun and captivating than what we got from Bianca and Mella earlier in the night. Toni broke out a finisher I think she had used one time before in NXT and was never seen again, but I hope this time she keeps it as it looks a lot more devastating than the tiger driver. I do wish they had chosen a jobber for this match rather than Zelina as I didn’t want to see her take another loss, but at least she did get a bit of offense in and it wasn’t a complete squash and I’m sure they will most likely have a rematch next week as that is how WWE does things.
Up next we get Dominik Mysterio taking on one half of the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions, Jimmy Uso. Why did Jimmy have to color his hair red as well, that was my way to tell them apart easier. This was a good match but the finish got completely messed up which is a shame as this was headed toward 2 ½ stars but with the finish, I had no choice but to go 2 ¼.
Roman Reigns comes down to the ring as The Usos are making their exit and we see the Bloodline hold their titles high before Reigns and Heyman continue down to the ring.
Reigns soaks in the crowd reaction before telling both the crowd in Cleveland and us watching at home to acknowledge him. Reigns says that Cena acknowledged him this entire week and he wanted to do the same to Cena, but he sees that the magic of Hollywood fooled him as he thought we were going to get an all-new Cena with a fresh coat of paint, but after this week he realizes Cena is the same old Cena we have always gotten. He then runs down a list of everything that is the same with Cena before saying if he wanted that Cena all he had to do was Google “John Cena 2005”. Reigns then compares Cena to missionary position as it’s the same old boring thing night after night and he is sick of it. Reigns says he has no desire to see Cena and he won’t be seeing him at SummerSlam as he declines Cena’s challenge.
Finn Balor comes out and Heyman tells Reigns that he is there to acknowledge him as Cena did, but Balor says he isn’t there to acknowledge him but if Reigns isn’t interested in Cena’s challenge then maybe he will be interested in his. Reigns hesitates to answer as the crowd chants “Roman’s scared” and after a minute he accepts Balor’s challenge and that is how the show comes to an end.
I thought this was a really good closing segment although I was a bit surprised that Cena didn’t come back out and then I was very surprised when Balor did come out and I have to imagine that is happening on SmackDown within the next couple of weeks and I guess something happens in that match or after it that leads to Reigns finally accepting Cena’s challenge. Reigns was very smiley and in a good mood during his promo tonight and while I like his moody emo promos it’s nice to see Reigns smile during a promo every once in a while.
This episode of SmackDown was a mixed bag as I enjoyed the opening and closing segments, the Edge and Rollins segment, and the Toni vs Zelina match. The stuff at Rolling Loud didn’t do anything for me unfortunately but I am glad to see WWE stepping out of the box and the parade of superstars during the Big E promo shouldn’t have been done on-air if the tag match was only for the fans in attendance. I am looking forward to the two big SmackDown matches at SummerSlam that have been built up so far with Reigns vs Cena and Edge vs Rollins.
In the News
I know this is a WWE-only article and thus I usually only report WWE-centered news, but sometimes there are news items so big that I will include them on here. Wednesday it was broke by Sean Ross Sapp over at Fightful Select that CM Punk is in serious talks with AEW to make an in-ring return and with All Out happening in Chicago in September those talks may come to fruition sooner than later. If Punk does return for AEW that is a major signing and a major boost for them and then if you include the possibility of Daniel Bryan signing with them as well they are really going to be set up to put a major dent into WWE. You would think if AEW starts to really pick up steam with these signings it would cause WWE to want to ramp up their product as well, but seeing as they are going to get billions of dollars regardless of how great or how shitty the product is I doubt they would change anything as they seem to be a company permanently stuck at status quo.
It looks like Daniel Bryan is officially gone from WWE and has signed a contract with AEW. Cassidy Haynes of Bodyslam.net reports that Bryan is locked in and 100% signed a contract with AEW.
It looks like we will be seeing quite a bit of John Cena on the road to SummerSlam as he is scheduled to appear for 15 dates throughout the summer and while there are house shows and Raws on this schedule his main time will be spent on SmackDown building up his match with Roman Reigns at SummerSlam.
WWE is partnering with Iconic Events Releasing to bring SummerSlam to theaters coast to coast, you can read the full press release here. For the first time, I will be getting to experience a WWE event in a theater as the theater in my town (Amstar 14) is the only theater in South Carolina to air SummerSlam, so of course, I was all in on this opportunity as it’s always fun any time you get to experience wrestling a new and different way.
In some news that I am hoping is true it seems that Vince is high on Toni Storm and thinks she could be a huge star for WWE which if true is very smart of him as I have said for a long time that Toni is a STAR and hopefully she will finally get that star treatment that she deserves.
After the matches occurred on SmackDown from the Rolling Loud festival there was a video shown to the crowd in attendance that featured Trae Young announcing that WWE will be holding a new PPV airing on New Year’s Day 2022 and it will emanate from Atlanta, GA.
Wrestling Inc is reporting that WWE has plans to do a Queen of the Ring Tournament sometime this year and it will feature the women on the main roster. This event will air on Peacock rather than taking place over several weeks on Raw and SmackDown.
Fightful Select reported that there was significant frustration and disappointment amongst NXT staff and talent over Karrion Kross losing in such quick fashion on Raw, especially those talents who have helped Kross get over as a dominant force on NXT. It was said that those within NXT believe the loss was a sign of how Vince and other members of management view NXT.
WWE has released new merchandise for Braun Strowman who had been a part of the releases last month which leads many to believe he has resigned with the company or is close to resigning and knowing that Strowman was released in the first place because he was making ridiculous money way above what he should it is pretty likely that he will be coming back to a much smaller paycheck.
WWE has filed a new trademark for the phrase “Complaining Is Not Conversation” and I shudder to think how a phrase such as this is going to be used as it feels like a way to get back at the internet fans that complain and question decisions made by WWE.
Former UFC star and current BKFC star Paige VanZant recently did an interview with Popculture.com’s Brian Jones ahead of her big main event fight against Rachel Ostovich on Friday night, when asked whether she would be interested in joining WWE at some point she says that she would be interested in it one day, but she realizes that with WWE you have to be all in and commit your whole life to it and right now she is focussed on her career in BKFC and combat sports. She says maybe later on down the road as she feels there is interest on both sides. Normally I would be all excited for a potential PVZ career in WWE, but WWE ruined that for me seeing as they don’t allow their talent to do anything on the side to earn extra money so that means Paige’s Onlyfans would have to go away and that would make me very sad as her OF is some really good shit.
Coming up this Week
- AJ Styles & Omos © vs Viking Raiders (Raw Tag Team Championship)
- Adam Cole vs Bronson Reed
- Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher vs Pete Dunne & Oney Lorcan
- Carmelo Hayes vs Josh Briggs (NXT Breakout Tournament Quarterfinal Match)
As always if you have any feedback to give whether it be positive or negative please feel free to contact me on Twitter @MTW3589.