- Drew McIntyre def Baron Corbin – **¼
- Karrion Kross def Jeff Hardy – **½
- Alexa Bliss w/ Lily def Doudrop w/ Eva Marie – *¾
- Sheamus def Ricochet – **¾
- Damian Priest def John Morrison w/ The Miz – **½
- T-Bar w/ Mace def Mustafa Ali w/ Mansoor – **¼
- Nikkia A.S.H. vs Rhea Ripley – No Contest – **¾
- Randy Orton def AJ Styles w/ Omos – ***
We open the show with Randy Orton making his return after being absent for a little over a month and he is smiling as he is happy to be back in front of the fans. Orton barely has time to welcome us to the show before Riddle comes to the ring talking about how much he missed Orton and how he is glad Orton came back unlike his stepdad who left to go get milk and never came back, Riddle says that now Orton is back they can once again be RK-Bro. Orton asks Riddle why he would want to team with him again as it’s clear that he works better by himself and given what he has seen from Riddle it looks like Riddle works pretty well on his own as well. AJ Styles and Omos come out with Styles mocking Riddle and then he talks about how Orton got the nicknames he has for a reason so it doesn’t make any sense why Riddle wants to team with Orton. Orton finally gets enough and tells Styles to shut his mouth saying the only thing better than Styles’ ego is Omos.
Styles challenges Orton for a match tonight and Orton accepts and then tries for an RKO, but Styles escapes and bails out of the ring. Orton goes for one on Omos but he shrugs him off and as Orton is on the floor Riddle tries for an RKO on Omos as well but he ends up getting hit with a chokeslam. Orton looks down at Riddle who has rolled to the floor in pain and tells him that was a stupid idea and then walks to the back as Riddle slowly follows behind him selling the chokeslam. We go to the back where Riddle continues to try and convince Orton to at least let him come to ringside during his match with Styles, but Orton rejects his offer and tells Riddle not to call him Bro, later on, Riddle is interviewed and says that while he is bummed about Orton he will respect his wishes.
We go to what was the main event of this episode as Orton takes on Styles in a really good match that sees Riddle come out toward the end to fend off Omos but he ends up getting sent into the barricade. Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but Orton catches him with an RKO for the win. After the match, Orton and Riddle are in the ring and Orton is not happy about Riddle coming out but Riddle explains himself and then wants a hug, Orton is hesitant but he finally gives in and hugs Riddle. Riddle and Orton celebrate Orton’s victory until Orton drops him with an RKO and then shakes his head and smiles in a way that says Riddle should’ve seen it coming. I am glad to see that Orton is back as the segments with him and Riddle are always the best thing on Raw. I will say that I wish they hadn’t done the RKO at the end as I would’ve preferred them to be a solidified team against Styles and Omos for longer than just the go-home show as it’s clear that we are getting an RK-Bro vs Styles & Omos match.
Baron Corbin is on Raw tonight because the Superstar Invitational is still a thing and he talks about how Jinder Mahal gave him a call about making some money if he takes out Drew McIntyre and of course he accepts. After a Drew McIntyre interview in Gorilla, we get our first match of the night as McIntyre takes on Corbin. As the match nears the end Corbin starts begging McIntyre and McIntyre grabs a mic calling him pathetic but says he is starting to feel sorry for him and asks Corbin how much he needs and Corbin says $100,000 but McIntyre denies him and hits Claymore to pick up the win. After the match, Jinder, Veer, & Shanky come down toward the ring, but when McIntyre pulls out his sword they retreat up the ramp. This was nothing special and that sums up this entire McIntyre vs Mahal feud, but I am glad they tried to explain why Corbin was on Raw.
Karrion Kross takes on a returning Jeff Hardy who is back after contracting Covid and since Hardy is back that means we don’t get Keith Lee on this episode seeing as Kross and Lee can only face each other. Kross and Hardy have a longer match than their first outing a few weeks ago and this time Kross picks up the win after locking Hardy in the Krossjacket. After the match, Kross hits Hardy with another Saito suplex and locks the Krossjacket in for a second time.
Up next is Alexa Bliss vs Doudrop and Eva wants to sit up on top of the turnbuckle during the match because Alexa has Lily sitting on the turnbuckle during the match. This was a fine match to start but then they make Alexa look dumb as she goes out after Eva Marie which costs her as Doudrop attacks her from behind and throws her into the barricade. Doudrop is in full control until she looks at Lily who actually winks and this stuns Doudrop so much that Alexa is able to roll her up and pick up the win on her birthday. Alexa plays with Lily in the ring while Eva and Doudrop argue on the floor. This was more wackiness with Lily winking which doesn’t bother me as come to expect it from this character, but I was pissed when they made Alexa look dumb by turning her focus away from Doudrop in the middle of the match.
Our next match is Sheamus vs Ricochet and they have a really good match where Sheamus picks up the win with a Brogue Kick. Damian Priest comes out to confront Sheamus before Miz and Morrison come out as our next match is Priest vs Morrison once again and just like always Priest picks up the win. After the match, Priest goes over to Miz and grabs his tie but Miz shoves him and then jumps to his feet showing that he is no longer hurt and what is interesting is they pan over to Morrison and he looks genuinely shocked that Miz is healed up and then Miz runs up the ramp at full speed. Priest then grabs the mic and starts talking about Sheamus before Sheamus comes back out and wants Priest to say it to his face and this leads to a match between the two being made for SummerSlam. These two matches were good but seeing as we have seen both of them many times before I can only care so much about them, but what I do care about is Sheamus vs Priest as that has a chance to steal the show at SummerSlam.
Mansoor has bought Ali a new ring jacket to apologize for last week’s loss but Ali tells him he doesn’t need to apologize he needs to learn from his mistakes and all he needs to do is watch him because he will show Mansoor how it’s done. We get T-Bar vs Mustafa Ali and they have a nice little match with some nice spots but T-Bar gets the win with the Feast Yout Eyes. After the match, Mansoor makes the save as Ali is fixing to get double-teamed and he sends Mace & T-Bar retreating.
We get a quick segment backstage where Reginald escapes from R-Truth and Tozawa who are dressed in disguises.
We get an interview with Rhea Ripley who says she has been impressed with Nikki A.S.H. for how she has handled herself as champion but being almost a superhero is not good enough to stay champion. Rhea says she understands the balance between light and dark that is necessary to keep that championship, but Rhea doesn’t know if Nikki has a dark side. Rhea says nothing will protect her from the nightmare she will unleash tonight. Later we get another inspirational promo from Nikki where she is almost positive she is going to beat Rhea tonight. We get a really good match between Rhea and Nikki but of course, it doesn’t get a clean finish as Charlotte interferes taking out both women and posing with the title. Charlotte is interviewed later talking about how if Rhea and Nikki were on her level they would’ve seen that attack coming and nothing is going to stop her from walking out of SummerSlam at Raw Women’s Champion.
I really wish I could get excited for this match at SummerSlam, but this feud just isn’t doing it for me. I like the Nikki character and I am happy for her getting her time in the spotlight, but I am just not feeling her as the champion and the inspirational promos are becoming very one-note, I really think this whole almost a superhero character works better as a mid-card act and not in the top women’s spot on the show. I think WWE made a mistake in holding off Becky for the fall as she could’ve really helped the Raw Women’s Championship scene going into SummerSlam and made for a better third person in this triple threat match.
We get a vignette from Elias where he throws his guitar in a fire and then says that WWE used to stand for Walk with Elias but now Elias is dead. This is very interesting as I wonder what happens to him now, oh wait I just came up with an idea that I could see them doing, Elias will now go by The Artist Formerly Known As Elias and he will take up the Prince ripoff gimmick since Velveteen Dream is no longer around.
We get a promo from MVP and Lashley where MVP calls Goldberg a coward for Spearing him last week for no reason rather than fighting Lashley in the ring. MVP says what makes it worse is that Goldberg made up a lie to make himself look good after the cheap shot as he said MVP was threatening his son but neither he nor Lashley would do such a thing as they have sons of their own. MVP said what he was doing was trying to get Gage to talk his father out of the match with Lashley as it will end his career. MVP admits that he is messed up after the Spear last week. MVP begs Gage to make sure his father doesn’t come to SummerSlam because if he does it will be the end of his career. Lashley then gets the mic and warns him to not let Gage watch SummerSlam as he will unleash destruction on Goldberg and it won’t be a matter of Bill being Next he will be Done!
I thought this was a really good promo by both MVP and Lashley and did more to hype up the match at SummerSlam than anything Goldberg said or did last week, but with that said I still hope this lasts 30 seconds or less as I don’t need to see Goldberg blow up within the span of a five-minute match. We are told that next week Goldberg will be there for the go-home episode of Raw.
I thought this episode of Raw went by quicker than last week’s show but that is not saying much as it was still a long show to sit through with little to nothing special happening. My highlights were the MVP & Lashley promo and everything involving Riddle and Orton.
- Dakota Kai def Sarray – ***
- LA Knight w/ Cameron Grimes def Andre Chase – ¼ *
- Gigi Dolan def Amari Miller – ¾*
- Odyssey Jones def Trey Baxter (NXT Breakout Tournament Semi-Final Match) – **
- Boa w/ Mei Ying def Drake Maverick – *½
- Pete Dunne def Ilja Dragunov – ****
The show opens with a video recapping everything that happened last week between Samoa Joe and Karrion Kross and then previews tonight’s show with a focus on Ilja Dragunov being in the CWC, the face-off between Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly, and what will Raquel have to say about Dakota betraying her.
We go into the CWC where Vic Joseph says that Ember Moon wasn’t medically cleared to compete tonight as she was scheduled to face Sarray, but William Regal found a replacement in the form of Dakota Kai and that match is kicking off the action tonight.
Dakota cuts a promo before the match saying she will beat the undefeated Sarray and prove she is no sidekick and she will be the next NXT Women’s Champion.
The match starts with both women trying to get control as they try to work over the arm of their opponent but Dakota finally gets enough and slams Sarray face-first into the mat. Dakota sends Sarray into the corner where she jumps up and over and beats Dakota down in the corner until Dakota comes back and does the same. Sarray blocks an Irish whip attempt with a springboard arm drag and then takes Dakota down so she can lock in a Muta lock which Dakota escapes from by pulling the hair. Dakota starts talking trash to the crowd as she clubs Sarray down to the mat. Dakota hits Sarray with a suplex and goes for a cover which Sarray bridges out of only for Dakota to slam her back down to the mat by her hair and then she goes for another cover but gets the same result as Sarray bridges out for a second time. Sarray comes off the ropes with a schoolgirl which she rolls through in order to lock in a half crab but after several minutes of agony Dakota finally reaches the ropes. Sarray hits a fisherman’s suplex which gets a 2 count.
Sarray lands a release German suplex and then catches Dakota in a victory roll for a 2 count, Dakota blocks a suplex attempt and tries for a running kick, but Sarray sidesteps and lands a bridging German suplex for a 2 count. Dakota blocks a move with elbows to the head and then sends Sarray into the corner where she connects with a big running kick which gets a 2 count. Dakota and Sarray trade strikes until Dakota hits a scorpion kick but when she looks to run to the ropes for a second time Sarray follows her in and lands a running dropkick. Dakota is sitting up against the bottom rope and Sarray hits her with the running dropkick, but when she goes for a second one Dakota moves out of the way and lands a big kick to the head of Sarray. As both women are laid out we get a split-screen that shows Raquel Gonzalez arriving at the CWC and she doesn’t look happy. Sarray catches Dakota in a couple of pinning combinations which are unsuccessful and then she lands two big spinning kicks knocking Dakota down into the corner, Sarray runs to the opposite corner, but Dakota follows her in and lands the big kick in the corner and that is enough for Dakota to pick up the win.
After the match, Dakota sees Sarray getting to her feet and looks to hit another big running kick but Raquel hits the ring just in time to run Dakota off. Raquel grabs a mic and tells Dakota she will never be the NXT Women’s Champion and if she wanted a title shot all she had to do was ask and at Takeover she is going to tear Dakota apart.
I thought this was a good match although I do hope we get that Ember Moon vs Sarray match in the future as that could’ve been really good as well. I think the Dakota vs Raquel match will be good, but given everything else that is going to be on that Takeover card, I feel like it could easily get overshadowed.
We get a recap of the main event last week between Johnny Gargano and Dexter Lumis in the Love Her or Lose Her match and how the show ended with InDex making out.
We then go to the Gargano house where Indi is getting ready for her first date with Dexter Lumis while the Garganos are at the kitchen table voicing their displeasure of Indi dating Lumix to each other. The doorbell rings and Lumis is standing there with his trademark blank stare and a bouquet of flowers for Indi. Gargano invites him and sits down across from him as he wants to make sure Lumis understands that he doesn’t want any funny business going on during this date and wants to know Lumis’s intentions with Indi, meanwhile Candice is with Indi in the bathroom as she finishes getting ready and Candice asks her if she has protection to which Indi flexes saying she doesn’t need any kind of protection which causes Candice to just shake her head. Indi and Lumis leave the house as their first night as a dating couple is underway. Candice is worried about Indi, but Gargano tells her not to fear as he put a tracker on her phone and they plan to go follow her.
We go to what looks like the back of a tractor-trailer as Hit Row cuts a promo while standing in front of a trash can on fire. They talk about what happened last week as Swerve says that when Escobar snatched his grill he not only disrespected him and Hit Row, but he disrespected their culture so Swerve pulls out a lucha mask and throws it into the fire as a sign of disrespect to Escobar’s culture.
It’s now time for the first-ever NXT appearance of Ilja Dragunov and he grabs a mic for a promo. Dragunov says he isn’t a man of many words because words don’t mean anything but pain, struggle, and the fighting spirit does mean something and that is why he has put all his strength in his fists and not his mouth. Dragunov says at Takeover we will witness chaos and rage and history will be made when he ends Walter’s reign and becomes the new NXT UK Champion.
Pete Dunne then comes out and tells Dragunov he should thank him for traveling the world putting NXT UK on the map when he was NXT UK Champion and putting the entire continent of Europe on his back. Dunne says that if it were not for him Dragunov would not be facing Walter at Takeover: 36 or standing in that ring face to face with the baddest man in NXT and had he stayed in NXT UK he would’ve put Dragunov in his place a long time ago. Dragunov retorts that he got to where he is because he carried his so often broken body straight to the top. Dragunov says he will beat Walter and that is something Dunne can’t change and it is also something Dunne never did, Dragunov then asks Dunne to put his will where his words are and fight him tonight. Dunne accepts and tells Dragunov that after tonight he won’t make it to Takeover.
LA Knight is interviewed backstage about why he left Cameron Grimes hanging in their match last week and Knight says it was Grimes that left him hanging as he lost the match after Knight kept trying to save him, so he decided to let Grimes clean up his own mess that he made when they were playing golf, but he failed. When asked about Ted Dibiase he says that Dibiase is just telling Grimes a bunch of nonsense about how he is special, but there is nothing special about Grimes as he is just a butler. Knight says he is going to show Grimes how you win because there is only one Million Dollar megastar and then he wants Grimes to tell him whose game it is and after a bit of hesitation Grimes says it’s LA Knight’s game.
We go back to the ring as it’s LA Knight vs Andre Chase and as Knight orders Grimes to hold open the ropes it is clear that the constant demands from Knight are taking a toll on Grimes as he is no longer the upbeat super positive person we saw a couple of weeks ago. Knight drops Chase with a shoulderblock only to be hit with a hip toss and an arm drag, but Knight grabs the tights of Chase and sends him throat-first into the ropes and then hits the Snapmare Driver for the very quick win.
After the match, Knight wants Grimes to shine his boots but as Grimes kneels down we hear the music of Ted Dibiase who comes down to the ring and he tries to talk some sense into Grimes saying that he has a lot going for him and should be much more than just a butler as he has a lot going for him. Dibiase says he believes in Grimes and so do all of the people and he wants Grimes to follow his heart. Dibiase knows Grimes wants to be a champion and he thinks if Knight were to put his Million Dollar Championship on the line one more time he would become a champion. Knight isn’t having any of this talk of another match at first as he says he has already beat Grimes twice, but after a second thought, he changes his mind as he will give Grimes one more shot at Takeover. Knight says that if Grimes loses this time it won’t be Grimes as hit butler but it will be Dibiase and he will own him. Grimes instantly starts freaking out trying to stop Dibiase from accepting this challenge, but Dibiase says he is a gambling man and his money is on Grimes and he has a lot of money and then tells Knight he is on.
I thought this was all very well done and with the exception of the long pauses from Dibiase (I think he forgets what he wants to say) this was a really good segment and while it’s very predictable that Grimes will win at Takeover when it comes to stories like this predictable is good as you know we are going to get at least one feel-good moment at Takeover.
We get a vignette from Gigi Dolin who is cutting up black roses while saying that this isn’t just a job like it is for everyone else it’s about running through the top women in the division and she is not doing it alone. This leads to our next match as Gigi Dolin comes to the ring along with Jacy Jayne to take on Amari Miller.
Gigi and Amari trade holds until Gigi snapmares Amari and then piefaces her. Gigi elbows out of a waistlock and runs to the ropes but Amari follows her in with a forearm and then pulls her into a neckbreaker for a 1 count. Gigi rolls out to the apron and when Amari grabs her she slams her by her hair down to the mat and then grabs her arm which she snaps across the bottom rope. Gigi gets back in the ring and stomps on the hand and then hits a couple of short-arm forearms before locking in an abominable stretch which she turns into some kind of driver and that gives her the win.
Amari was not that smooth in the ring and definitely needs some more training but I thought Gigi looked impressive and that finisher was pretty cool. We later see a tweet from Mandy Rose congratulating Gigi on her win to further the story that they could be aligned.
It’s time to check in on the lovebirds as we go into an Italian restaurant, which is the second week in a row with a scene from a restaurant but hopefully this week they don’t insult Italian people’s food. Indi orders a lot of stuff and then starts hyping up how great chicken fingers are because just like any kid they are going to always be happy with chicken tenders over anything else on the menu. Indi then hears a voice on a speaker and after a moment of confusion she gets up and walks over to another table and after moving a menu she reveals Candice sitting at a table spying on her and when he comes through again on the speaker Indi picks up and tells him to leave her alone and as she walks back to the table Candice tells Gargano to abort the mission as their cover is blown.
It’s time for the face-to-face between Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly which will be mediated by William Regal who is in the ring with a podium and security. Regal announces that at Takeover it will be Cole vs O’Reilly III in the Undisputed Finale and then calls both men out to the ring. Once both men are in the ring Regal announces their match will be a 3 Stage of Hell match where each man gets to pick their type of match for the first two falls and if the match goes to a third fall then Regal will pick the stipulation. Regal allows Kyle to go first and he says that he has been thinking of match stipulations all week that he could pick to torture Cole, but to be honest the loss he suffered at Great American Bash still stings so his choice is to have a normal match and says that a loss in a normal match would shatter the ego of Cole like a steel chair never could.
Cole calls O’Reilly delusional thinking he is a better competitor than he is but Cole has proven over the past 13 years that he is better than O’Reilly in every single way. Cole says that O’Reilly is hanging onto that win at Stand & Deliver which technically doesn’t count because it was unsanctioned. Cole says O’Reilly has made it clear what he wants after he dropped Cole on the steel steps a few weeks ago and Cole wants the same thing so he is making the second fall a Street Fight. Cole tells O’Reilly not to worry about what Regal’s choice is for a third fall because it won’t go that far as he will beat O’Reilly 2-0 and end the Cole vs O’Reilly saga.
O’Reilly says he dropped Cole on the steps because Cole taught him as Cole sharpened the blade and handed it to O’Reilly. O’Reilly says he is willing to do anything to keep Cole down for good because he longer gives a damn and that makes him the most dangerous man Cole has ever stepped in the ring with. Cole says of course he has taught O’Reilly because for the past 13 years O’Reilly has tried to follow in his footsteps and ride his coattails, but Kyle O’Reilly will never be Adam Cole. Cole says he is the greatest NXT superstar and nobody has ever been able to touch him and nobody ever will and then he calls O’Reilly a footnote in his career. Cole says O’Reilly doesn’t have a killer instinct and is soft and pathetic. O’Reilly paces back and forth while Cole continues to talk trash and then they get nose to nose before Cole shoves him and a brawl erupts with security trying to hold them back. Regal gets on the mic and says if their match comes down to a third fall it will be fought in a steel cage.
Well, it looks like Samoa Joe’s big return title match is going to get dropped down the card for this match that will go ridiculously long, if this is Cole’s last match in NXT then Triple H is going to make sure he goes out looking fantastic even though he will lose the match. I do like that they are referencing that Cole and O’Reilly have been close friends before they were in NXT. I kinda wish they had chosen some different stipulations as we have already seen them face each other in the two-match types they chose but given their explanation for picking each match type I will deal with it.
We go to the back for a promo from Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher. Ciampa talks about how Dunne and Lorcan needed a third man in order to beat them and says this industry chooses guys like Ridge Holland because he is young and big but he hasn’t traveled the world perfecting his craft like they have as they chose to get into this industry and will continue to choose this industry. Ciampa says he and Thatcher define everything good, just, and pure about this industry. Ciampa says if Holland wants to make his name at their expense then they are ready to party. Ciampa starts to challenge Holland to a match but Thatcher stops him and takes the match and says class is in session.
We get an Imperium video which is interrupted by MSK who mock them for a minute and then cut a promo where they say they are the IV drop putting new life into the tag division and if Imperium wants a title match they can have it because they are fighting champion all night and all day.
It’s time for our first of two semi-final matches in the NXT Breakout Tournament as Odyssey Jones faces Trey Baxter.
Baxter tries for a waistlock and an arm wringer but Jones shoves him away and then Baxter tries to get past Jones, but Jones keeps getting in his way and then he goes for a back suplex but Baxter lands on his feet and foolishly goes for a schoolboy only to be picked up and thrown to the side. Baxter tries to gain some momentum with a flurry of strikes, but Jones grabs him and launches him into the air sending Baxter crashing to the mat. Baxter then tries for a springboard but gets caught and press slammed off the top rope. Jones looks for a powerslam but Baxter slips out and grabs a sleeper while he is on Jones’s back but once again Jones throws him off. Jones grabs the leg of Baxter but gets hit with a couple of kicks to the head and then he sidesteps a boot from Jones and as his foot goes through the ropes Baxter hits him with a tiger feint kick to the shin. Baxter hits a dropkick to the knee, a DDT, and a spin kick to the face but when he goes for a cover Jones kicks out at 1. Jones sidesteps Baxter coming off the middle rope and as he rolls through to the corner Jones squashes him with an avalanche and then finishes things off with a big spinning slam for the win. Jones advances to the finals of the tournament and will meet the winner of Duke Hudson vs Carmelo Hayes.
After the match, Jones is interviewed and he is happy to punch his ticket to the finals and then gives a shoutout to his mama telling her he made it.
We see Kushida and Malcolm Bivens come out of William Regal’s office and then William Regal comes out and says that next week MSK will defend their titles against Imperium and Kushida will defend the NXT Cruiserweight Championship against Roderick Strong.
Boa comes to the ring without Xia Li, but Mei Ying actually comes down to the ring with him instead of staying on her throne. Boa is in action against Drake Maverick.
Boa lands some kicks to the leg and push kick sending Maverick into the corner and then goes for another kick to the head, but Maverick moves and lands some leg kicks of his own only to be dropped with a shot to the throat, but he comes back with a chop block dropping Boa down to one knee and as Maverick runs to the ropes he is hit with a palm strike to the chest. Boa stomps on the hand and then grabs a knuckle lock before landing kicks to the chest and ribs. Boa lifts Maverick with an elevated wristlock and drops him down so he can stand on the arm, but when he goes to lift Maverick for a second time Maverick gets on his shoulders and hits Boa with a hurricanrana. Maverick hits a couple of basement dropkicks which causes Boa to bail to the floor and Maverick dives off the top onto him. Boa rolls into the ring and as the referee is checking on him Mei Ying sprays Maverick with mist and then once back in the ring Boa nails a roundhouse kick to pick up the win.
We go back to the date night where Indi is talking Lumis’s ears off talking about how she is full but always has room for dessert and with that said a waiter walks up with a delicious looking coconut cake and it’s clear the waiter is Gargano and Indi realizes this as well as she rips off his disguise. Gargano decides to take the cake but Indi wants it and they have a tug of war with the cake until it goes into the face of Lumis. Gargano runs off and Indi wipes some of the cake off Lumis and eats it and then says she always has room for dessert and as they lean in for a kiss Indi covers up the camera to bring date night to an end… or at least what we will see of it.
As you would expect everything involving The Way and Dexter Lumis on this episode was great as this storyline is so much fun and it’s always nice to have a story like this with some levity. I look forward to seeing where this love story goes in the weeks ahead.
We get a lengthy video package on the Joe vs Kross feud and then are told they will have their face-to-face next week.
It’s time for the main event as Pete Dunne takes on Ilja Dragunov.
Dunne immediately takes Dragunov to the mat and locks in a hammerlock only for Dragunov to escape and take Dunne down with a fireman’s carry and grabs control of the arm, but when he brings Dunne back to his feet he ends up getting his fingers pulled back. Dunne trips the leg of Dragunov to get him back down to the mat only for Dragunov to get right back to his feet and we get a stalemate. Dragunov takes Dunne down with a double leg and then tops him but Dunne grabs his ears and then takes Dragunov down to the mat where he pulls back his leg while connecting with little rabbit punches to the jaw and then he grabs a side headlock only for Dragunov to take him down with a judo hip toss and grabs another headlock which ends up with Dunne shooting him into the ropes and Dunne connects with a jumping knee strike and follows that up with a big kick to the back. Dunne connects with a big slap to the face and then goes for the arm wringer but Dragunov breaks the grip and lays Dunne out with a clothesline.
Dragunov goes for a German suplex but Dunne lands on his feet and tries for a clothesline but Dragunov bridges back to evade the move and then connects with a big enziguri and a running knee in the corner followed by a suplex, Dragunov goes up to the middle and lands a knee drop but is only able to get a 2 count. Dragunov goes up top and Dunne joins him bending his fingers back, but Dragunov fights him off and sends him back down but when Dragunov comes off the top he is caught in mid-air with an elbow by Dunne which sends Dragunov rolling out to the floor as the show goes to a commercial.
We come back from the commercial with Dunne working over the arm of Dragunov as he has his knee driven into it and then he stomps on it. Dunne grabs a hold of the wrist of Dragunov and starts hitting him with kicks to the face which fires up Dragunov and this leads to a strike exchange that sees Dragunov drop Dunne with a clothesline. Dragunov goes for a punch to the gut but Dunne catches the arm and snaps it back, but Dragunov comes back with a rush of clotheslines until Dunne blocks one with a kick to the arm and then he shoves Dragunov into the ropes but he swings through the ropes and nails Dunne with one final clothesline. Dragunov grabs a knuckle lock and delivers some short-arm chops to the side of the neck before going for a wrist clutch exploder which Dunne blocks by bending back the hand, but Dragunov comes back with elbows to the back of the head and hits the exploder, but Dunne kicks out at 2.
Once both men get back to their feet Dunne hits Dragunov with a kick and then goes for a clothesline but Dragunov bends back once again, but this time Dunne kicks him in the head. Dunne looks to go after the hand of Dragunov once again, but Dragunov counters and drops Dunne with a big chop, and that is followed by a senton splash. Dragunov tries for a waistlock but Dunne immediately reverses it into a Fujiwara armbar only for Dragunov to roll out and deliver elbows to the ribs of Dunne. Dunne grabs the nose of Dragunov and then goes back to the Fujiwara armbar, Dragunov tries to roll through but Dunne catches him in a triangle only for Dragunov to escape and then he looks to drop an elbow but Dunne catches him with a knee to the face. Dunne locks the triangle back in but Dragunov deadlifts him and hits a powerbomb for a 2 count
Both men are slow to get back to their feet, but once they do Dragunov goes for a deadlift suplex but Dunne grabs the fingers looking to bend them but Dragunov reverses and lands a chop which further damages the hand that Dunne had worked over earlier. Dunne hits a stomp on both hands and then lands a roundhouse kick to the head. Dunne sends Dragunov into the ropes and he tries to spin through but the injured hand prevents him from hanging onto the ropes so he just falls to the mat. Dunne hits a running forearm and then goes for the Bitter End, but Dragunov counters and once again tries for the deadlift suplex but Dunne reverses and takes Dragunov down where he locks in a cross armbar, Dragunov escapes, and he finally hits the deadlift German suplex for a 2 count. Dragunov goes up top and hits a senton and then goes over to set up for the Torpedo Moscow, but at that time Walter comes out and Dragunov turns his attention to him. Dragunov kicks Dunne to the outside but he comes back in looking for the Bitter End only for it to be countered for a second time and then Dunne is hit with a kick. Dragunov goes for the Torpedo Moscow but is caught with an elbow and then Dunne hits the Bitter End for the win.
After the match, Walter enters the ring and after a brief staredown with Dunne, he slaps Dragunov and then looks to lock in the rear-naked choke, but Dragunov throws him off and hits him with the Torpedo Moscow and Walter rolls out of the ring. Dragunov holds the NXT UK Championship as the show comes to an end.
Why would you have the guy who has a big championship match coming up in a little over a week lose his debut match on NXT to someone who currently doesn’t really have anything going on. Walter vs Dragunov II may be the match I am most looking forward to on SummerSlam weekend and no matter how hard everyone else tries on Takeover I still think this is going to be the match of the night at Takeover and quite possibly could be the match of the weekend.
I enjoyed this episode of NXT as on top of a really great main event we got some fun segments involving The Way and Dexter Lumis as well as a really good segment to set up Grimes vs Knight III at Takeover. If this is the last Takeover of NXT as we know it at least they are going out with a bang as this Takeover card is stacked with three main event caliber matches with Cole vs O’Reilly III, Joe vs Kross, & Walter vs Dragunov II and while I don’t expect quite as much from the Women’s Championship and Million Dollar Championship matches I do think they have been built up very well and look forward to seeing them play out.
NXT UK Results
- Wolfgang def Flash Morgan Webster – **¼
- Amale def Nina Samuels – **
- Noam Dar def Mark Andrews w/ Dani Luna (Heritage Cup #1 Contender Tournament Quarterfinal Match) – ***
We go straight into our first match of the night as Flash Morgan Webster takes on Wolfgang after the interaction they had last week where Webster slapped Wolfgang and then ran off.
Wolfgang tries to corner Webster but he dodges and then slaps Wolfgang. Wolfgang tries to ground Webster with a wristlock but he kips up and slaps Wolfgang again and bails from the ring but surprisingly Wolfgang keeps his cool. Webster grabs a headlock and Wolfgang tries to reverse into a back suplex but Webster lands on his feet and goes for yet another slap but this time it is blocked and Wolfgang knocks Webster to the mat. Wolfgang locks in a cravate and then knees Webster in the gut before throwing him across the ring. Webster flips over a charging Wolfgang and lands a kick to the head which sends Woflgang out to the floor as he is dazed, Webster tries to come after him on the outside but Wolfgang throws him right back in the ring only for Webster to try for a plancha which Wolfgang turns into a gutbuster. Wolfgang throws Webster back in the ring and despite Webster trying to make a comeback with some kicks he is thrown hard into the corner as his ribs are really bothering him after that gutbuster from earlier.
Wolfgang locks his arms around Webster in a reverse bear hug and later a normal bear hug as he squeezes the ribs of Webster. Webster tries to elbow his way out of the hold and when he does Wolfgang decides to switch into an abdominal stretch where he drives his knuckle into the ribs of Webster and then he drives Webster into the corner, but when he goes for the avalanche Webster is able to move out of the way. Webster charges at Wolfgang into the corner but is backdropped to the apron only for him to flip back in and fire away with strikes and a moonsault to a standing Wolfgang. Wolfgang ducks some punches from Wolfgang and then fakes him out so he can hit a headbutt which takes Wolfgang down to one knee. Webster tries to an underhook move but can’t pull it off because of his ribs and this leads to him getting backdropped but he lands on his feet and charges toward Wolfgang only to be met with a knee to the gut and Wolfgang follows that up with the big senton splash which gets him a 2 count.
Wolfgang takes time to pose and then looks for the DVD, but Webster elbows out of it and then tries for something off the middle rope, but Wolfgang catches him only for Webster to pull off a poison hurricanrana a few moments later, and then he connects with a running knee which gets a very close 2 count. Webster goes up top looking for a 450 but Wolfgang gets his knees up and then he plants Webster with a spear to pick up the win. After the match, Webster and Wolfgang show respect to each other.
This was a good match as I thought the rib focussed work was done very well and Webster did an even better job of selling how injured they were. This was a solid win for Wolfgang to get him ready to compete in the Heritage Cup #1 Contender Tournament.
We go to Sid Scala who announces that in two weeks we will have the rubber match between Joe Coffey and Rampage Brown, but in this match, the only way to win is by knockout or submission.
We get an interview with Mark Andrews and Dani Luna about the match that Webster just had and as they start to talk about it we get the appearance of the awkwardly creepy Isla Dawn who walks up behind Dani and then attempts to touch her but Dani backs away and tells her to chill and Isla slowly walks away.
We go to an interview with Moustache Mountain who talk about how they are on a roll and how they want to win the tag titles from Pretty Deadly next week so that Bate can become a triple crown champion and Seven can pick up his first championship in NXT UK.
We go to footage from earlier in the week where Jinny and Joseph Conners are in the office of Sid Scala where he tells them that Jinny will have a rematch against Aoife Valkyrie in three weeks, but this time it will be a No DQ match and Joseph Conners will be locked in a shark cage for the duration of the match. Jinny gets pissed at this news and throws a chair across the room and then calls Scala a stupid boy before they leave his office.
It’s time for the second match as Nina Samuels faces Amale in a match made after last week when Nina got pissed at Amale for stealing all of her camera time.
Nina comes out of the gate with a kick to the gut and then she drives Amale into the corner and drives her shoulder into the midsection before throwing Amale across the ring. Amale moves out of the way of a leg drop and then hits a clothesline followed by some mounted punches. Amale sends Nina into the corner and follows her in with a clothesline and then a bulldog plants Nina in the center of the ring for a 2 count. Nina counters a cravate into a rollup for a 2 count and then lands a knee to the gut before taking Nina down where she attempts an elbow drop but Nina moves out of the way and then hits Amale with a flipping neckbreaker for a 2 count. Amale counters a whip into the corner but Amale catches her with her legs and drives her head-first into the turnbuckle and then she uses the ropes to get some height as she drives her knees into the back of Amale.
Nina rubs Amale’s face across the top rope and then sends Amale into the opposite corner but when she charges in Amale dodges her and then stomps a mudhole into Nina before hitting her with a running facewash kick. Amale hits Nina with a fisherman’s neckbreaker for a 2 count and then goes to pick up Nina but gets caught in an inside cradle for a 2 count and then Nina catches Amale coming off the ropes with a couple of tilt-a-whirl backbreakers, but Amale kicks out at the count of 2. Nina stretches Amale in the ropes and then goes for the dropkick to the back but Amale moves out of the way and then drops Nina onto her knee for a backbreaker. Amale hits a northern lights suplex for another 2 count and immediately picks Nina up for the Heartbreaker spinebuster for the win. This was nothing more than a decent TV match, but I did think both women showed a lot of aggression during the match.
We get a video package hyping up the Walter vs Dragunov match at Takeover and that leads into a recap of Dragunov’s appearance on NXT this week and his match against Pete Dunne.
Symbiosis is being interviewed after their match two weeks ago when Saxon Huxley walks up repeating better luck next time and when Eddie Dennis confronts him he shoves Dennis and then walks off.
We get a video to hype up Meiko Satomura vs Stevie Turner for the NXT UK Women’s Championship as that match will be taking place next week.
Pretty Deadly are at the NXT UK Wearhouse and cut a promo on Moustache Mountain and have pictures of them which they step on.
It’s time for the main event as it’s Mark Andrews takes on Noam Dar in the first match in the Heritage Cup Championship #1 Contender Tournament, it should be noted that all matches in the tournament will be under Heritage Cup rules.
1st Round: We get some chain wrestling and then Dar backs into the ropes to force Andrews to back up. Andrews then flips out of an arm wringer and hits a dropkick to drop Dar on his ass which is payback for him being an arrogant ass early on in the match. We get Andrews grounding Dar momentarily with a headlock but Dar fights up and looks to shoot Andrews off into the ropes, but Andrews holds onto the headlock until Dar is finally able to shoot him off only for Andrews to come back with a shoulder block, but as he runs to the ropes Dar rolls toward him to trip him up and then he ties Andrews up for a moment before roughing him up a bit. Andrews slides out of an attempted chinlock and then goes to work on the arm as the round comes to an end.
2nd Round: We get a double knuckle lock and both men jockey for control with Dar eventually powering Andrews’s shoulders to the mat but he kicks out and then Dar breaks the knuckle lock and nails Andrews with a kick to the chest. Dar shows no sense of urgency as he locks in a cravate and uses that to snapmare Andrews’leg-first into the bottom rope. Dar then takes each limb of Andrews and stomps it into the mat and then toys around with Andrews as he rolls out to the floor for a breather. Dar sends Andrews into the barricade before throwing him back into the ring where he goes for a cover which gets a 2 count. Andrews blocks a whip into the corner by climbing up the turnbuckles and then sliding between the legs of Dar and starts to fire up with arm drags and then he dodges another rolling leg trip from Dar before dropkicking him out to the floor as the round comes to an end.
Round 3: Andrews counters a leg pick into a rollup but Dar kicks out and then throws Andrews out to the apron where Andrews attempts another sunset flip but Dar blocks it by hanging onto the ropes. Andrews dodges a stomp and a running kick in the corner and then tries to charge in but Dar dodges him only for Andrews to go up to the middle ripe, but before he can do anything Dar kicks him in the shin causing him to fall to the mat. Teoman and Rohan Raja come out to watch the match for some reason as Dar hits Andrews with a throwaway back suplex and then Dar gets distracted as he talks trash to Dani Luna. Andrews counters a waistlock with a victory roll into a double stomp to the gut. Andrews hits a northern lights suplex which he rolls through looking for a standing moonsault, but Dar kicks him in the leg only for Andrews to hit the Stundog Millionaire seconds later which sends Dar rolling out to the floor. Andrews connects with a tope suicida and then rolls Dar back in the ring. Andrews goes for a springboard but Dar moves which causes Andrews to come down right on the injured leg. Andrews slides under a clothesline attempt and then tries for a Pele kick but Dar catches the leg and locks in the kneebar which results in Andrews quickly tapping out to make the score 1-0.
Teoman and Raja leave before the next round starts.
Round 4: Andrews moves out of the way of a running knee and then goes to send Dar into the corner, but he reverses only for Andrews to stop himself from going into the corner and then he nails Dar with a back elbow before going up to the middle rope and this time he jumps over the kick from Dar. Dar catches the leg of Dar and puts it outside the ropes so he can hit it with a tiger feint kick and a dragon screw. Andrews dropkicks Dar in the knees and then he tries to lock in a half crab but Dar kicks him away and then hits him with a push kick sending Andrews off the ropes but as Andrews comes back he ducks a clothesline and then tries for an enziguri but Dar catches the leg once again, but this time Andrews counters into a rollup for the 3 count and the match is tied at 1-1.
Round 5: Andrews charges in looking for a basement dropkick but Dar dodges and then Andrews tries for a couple of unsuccessful pin attempts and then goes to town with a flurry of strikes and then several kicks to the leg of Dar. Andrews charges in and Dar passes him into the ropes where Andrews goes for a tiger feint kick once again, but Dar catches the leg and locks in an ankle lock for a moment until Andrews rolls out of it, Dar catches the leg of Andrews and nails him with a spinning back elbow for a very close 2 count. After taking a moment for both men to recover we see Dar on his feet first and he goes for the Nova Roller, but Andrews catches him with an enziguri and a sit-out uranage Andrews goes up top but takes too long so Dar kicks him sending him back down to the mat. Andrews tries to take advantage of Dar having his attention on Luna, but he kicks him in the leg and then hits the Nova Roller to pick up the win and make the score 2-1. Dar advances in the tournament and will face the winner of Kenny Williams vs Oliver Carter.
This was a fine match but a little bit underwhelming based on who was in the ring but the right person went over in the end as Dar is one guy who they should really strap the rocket on and make him an even bigger deal than he already is as he always delivers in the ring and is one of the most charismatic guys on the entire NXT UK brand.
I thought this was a bit of an underwhelming episode as none of the matches really wowed me but I am looking forward to that Brown vs Coffey match in a couple of weeks. I hope next week is a better show since we got two title matches and will also probably get some final hype for Walter vs Dragunov II but I’m not sure if we get out next tournament match happening next week as nothing was announced on the show about it happening.
- King Nakamura w/ Boogs def Apollo Crews © w/ Commander Azeez (WWE Intercontinental Championship) – **½
- Street Profits def Alpha Academy – **¼
- The Mysterios def The Dirty Dawgz – *¾
- Kevin Owens def Baron Corbin – **½
Before I get into the show proper I have to mention how random the dark matches for this show were as we had Keith Lee who is a Raw star showing up in a dark match for SmackDown for some unknown reason, but that wasn’t even the biggest problem I had with the dark matches. There was a tag match where Aliyah & Xia Li took on Dakota Kai & Kacy Catanzaro and I will not stand for this because I do not want to see Kacy team up with anyone else other than Kayden Carter as that is my favorite team in NXT and I don’t want them broken up before they even get a steady run as a team.
The show proper opens with John Cena coming out to the ring and hyping up the crowd and then he talks about how school is back in session so he figured he would give Roman Reigns his report card and he gets a D, Reigns gets a D because he is a dick, a douchebag and most of all a massive disappointment. Cena talks about how WWE has been trying to sell the fans on Reigns for 10 years but the only one buying is Reigns himself. Cena then polls the crowd on whether Reigns will beat the hell out of him at SummerSlam and after a mixed reaction Cena concludes that yes Reigns will beat the hell out of him, but he also knows Reigns will lose at SummerSlam and there is nothing he can do about it, that finally brings Reigns out as he stands on the top of the ramp until we go to a commercial break.
Reigns tells Cena not to waste his time and Cena assures him he won’t, but he will embarrass Reigns at SummerSlam and when Reigns asks if that is all Cena says it’s all he needs and then talks about how Reigns may walk around thinking this is his show but this show really belongs to the fans. Cena says he came back to shut Reigns up and feed him a big piece of humble pie. Reigns says he thought Cena would come up with new material but he still has the same dicks jokes. Cena reiterates how Reigns is probably going to beat his ass, but Cena says he doesn’t have to prove anything all he has to do is get the 1-2-3 and with that win, he will become the 17x World Champion which would make him the most decorated champion of all time.
Reigns starts to put Cena over for quite a while but then says that Cena is good enough to become the WWE Champion once again, but he’s not good enough to win the Universal Championship and then says that 20 years of missionary position might be good for Cena, but obviously, it wasn’t good enough for Nikki Bella. Reigns says he is going to smash Cena, retain the championship, and put Cena on a private jet, and send him back to Hollywood. Cena says that Reigns has been protected for his entire career even from the time he debuted with The Shield but he ended up ruining Rollins and ran Ambrose out of the company, so now he is protected by Paul Heyman and The Usos and for that, he should be embarrassed.
Cena continues to talk about how he only has to beat Reigns 1-2-3 and Reigns will become the biggest disappointment in WWE. Cena says Reigns has to bash him and smash him, but if he wins Reigns will become the answer to a trivia question of who did Cena beat to become the 17x World Champion. Cena says he is gonna take his title, run through the crowd, maybe blow a kiss, and then go home with the title.
This was a very very long promo segment to kick off the show, but I thought it was very well done and did a great job of hyping the big main event of SummerSlam as Reigns and Cena weren’t holding anything back as both men got in some personal shots on the other and I loved every minute of it and am gonna miss Cena when this Summer of Cena run is over.
We go into our first match of the night as King Nakamura challenges Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Championship. We see both Boogs and Azeez get ejected from ringside midway through the match. Crews and Nakamura have a solid match and surprisingly Nakamura picks up the win after a Kinshasa to become the new Intercontinental Champion which I didn’t expect, but given the fact that it seems like the push for Crews has cooled down quite a lot, it’s probably time for a new champion to be crowned.
We get a video package showing the history between the Street Profits and Alpha Academy where Otis “injures” Ford causing him to miss the past few months. We get an interview with the Street Profits and Ford is excited to be back now that he is back to himself. Dawkins calls Ford his family and now that he is back and all healed up The Street Profits are up and they want the smoke.
This leads to our second match of the night as Street Profits take on Alpha Academy. This was a quick match that had one highlight as Montez Ford hits a crazy dive onto Otis on the floor but he nearly overshoots and was close to having a bad landing. Street Profits win after Dawkins hits the spinning double underhook suplex. Strange that they would hype up the whole thing with Otis injuring Ford going into the match but didn’t have the finish being Ford pinning Otis, but I guess this feud could continue.
Seth Rollins yells at some workers in the production truck including Kevin Dunn as he wants them to play a certain video when he asks for it and after a commercial break we see Rollins come down to the ring for our second big promo segment of the night.
Rollins tells us that Edge will not be there tonight which doesn’t make the crowd happy, but Rollins is as disappointed as the fans are, as he would’ve loved to put his fist into Edge’s face. Rollins laughs at the fact that Edge called him Edge-lite last week but it makes sense as Edge is a Hall of Famer who has done everything possible in his career, but he can’t stand that Rollins’ career has been just a little bit better than his. Rollins then throws to a video package that compares the two and shows how Rollins did everything better than Edge. Rollins says that everyone should be thanking him because had he stomped Edge’s head in back in 2014 none of the moments he has had in the last two years would’ve happened because his daughters would be pushing him around in a wheelchair. Rollins gets really close to the camera and says this isn’t 2014 and he has changed and at SummerSlam, he will not hesitate to stomp his head in, and if that puts Edge out for good then so be it.
This was one of the better promos Rollins has done in quite a while, especially once he started talking right into the camera about how he has changed since 2014 and how this time he won’t show mercy towards Edge.
We get another pep talk from Rey to Dominik where Rey wants Dominik to avoid mistakes and when Dominik shows signs of being overconfident Rey tells him he needs to be more humble and hungry especially after their loss last week.
We get a tag match between The Mysterios and The Dirty Dawgz. We get a quick little match that sees The Usos show up on the screen which distracts the Mysterios but when Roode charges in looking to hit Dominik from behind Rey pushes him out of the way and yells at Dominik to focus. Roode knocks Rey off the apron but Dominik catches him in a rollup for the win.
Baron Corbin mopes to the ring as this is his last attempt to raise funds before he goes into bankruptcy. Corbin talks about in today’s society when someone like him falls everyone wants to keep him down and that is why this will be the last time he publicly asks for money. Corbin says he is used to a certain kind of lifestyle and that is why the only way he can recover is if everyone donates $1,000 and he even has a credit card scanner with him to make it easier.
Kevin Owens comes out and he has had enough of Corbin begging as he tried to help him a few weeks ago as he thought Corbin had learned from his mistakes, but he clearly hasn’t as he is now using people’s sympathy to benefit himself. KO brings up how Corbin begged McIntyre for $100,000 on Raw and asks who begs for $100,000. Corbin says he is not leaving until KO gives him a minimum of $1000 and KO agrees but only if Corbin can beat him in a match right now and if KO wins then Corbin has to stop begging. Corbin starts poking KO in the chest until KO hits him with a Stunner.
This leads to the final match of the night where it’s KO vs Corbin and they have a good match that sees KO pick up the win off a sunset flip and with that Corbin can no longer beg the crowd for money. After the commercial, we go to an interview with Corbin but he doesn’t say anything and then he spots something and takes off running and he steals the Money in the Bank briefcase of Big E or as Michael Cole put it he absconded with it. Didn’t we just get this story last year with Miz stealing the briefcase of Otis, can this company not come up with a new story for the Money in the Bank winner other than having someone steal it, if they are going to do this every time then I wouldn’t mind if they just retired the whole concept because this crap gets old after seeing it happen time after time. I guess we could get Corbin vs Big E at SummerSlam for the briefcase.
It’s contract signing time as Sonya Deville is in the ring and she introduces the competitors in the SmackDown Women’s Championship match at Summer Slam, the challenger Sasha Banks and the champion Bianca Belair. Bianca asks Sasha if she would prefer she turn her back to her so she can stab her in it once again and says if Sasha wanted a title shot all she had to do was ask for one and this leads to them arguing with each other until Sonya Deville yells at them. Sasha grabs the pen and fakes like she is going to sign but then says she needs some witnesses before she signs and this brings out Carmella & Zelina Vega and I must say that this trio is looking very very very hachi machi. Both women sign the contract and when Bianca is finished signing she throws it at Sasha and then fights off Carmella and Zelina and then she flips over the table to attack Sasha but the heels eventually take control and beatdown Bianca and then Sasha tells her back up to leave the ring. Sasha lays Bianca on the contract signing table and applies the Bank Statement using Bianca’s braid and that is how the comes to an end.
I like that Sasha has found her some new backup in the form of Carmella and Zelina now that Bayley is on the shelf and I hope the trio stays together past this feud as they look good together. I wish we had seen some of the other women (Liv, Toni, Tegan, Shotzi, or Naomi) come to Bianca’s aid as this was the perfect opportunity to get as many women involved as possible, I do hope that now Bianca knows that Sasha has a crew that she will find some backup of her own to even the odds. I thought the ending of the show with Sasha locking Bianca in the Bank Statement using her braid was really good as the braid has been a big part of the story given how their WrestleMania match ended. This contract signing actually made me more excited to see their match than I already was, so I guess that means this contract signing was a success.
If you were coming into this episode looking for some good wrestling then you turned into the wrong show as this week was very heavy on promos as we got four pretty lengthy promos throughout the show to help build to SummerSlam to the point where it made Nakamura’s Intercontinental Championship win feel like an afterthought. We have one more week until SummerSlam and while Raw’s side of the card is doing nothing to hype me for the show SmackDown is doing a fantastic job.
In the News
A report came out last week on how major changes could be coming to NXT very soon as Vince McMahon wants the brand to return back to its roots of being more like a developmental system where it is filled with younger and bigger guys who could one-day main event WrestleMania rather than having the brand be filled with the best wrestlers of the independent and international scene. These reports have led to reports this week that tensions were high going into this week’s episode of NXT as many don’t feel secure in their position on the brand and with the reports stating that Triple H had no say in last week’s releases the future of many of the talents on that brand is more unpredictable than ever. As far as what the USA network thinks of the possible future of NXT, Andrew Zarian quoted one representative of the network saying “personally I’m disappointed with how this is going”, so it looks like the only people happy about NXT changing is Vince McMahon and the people he surrounds himself with.
Dave Meltzer would later report in his newsletter that the releases last week were a part of a power struggle within WWE as it seems the company is now split between Triple H and his supporters and those who are currently the higher-ups in WWE who fear their jobs could be in jeopardy if or when Triple H takes over the company. Once NXT lost the ratings war to AEW the shield that Triple H had around him that prevented his talent in NXT from being messed with was taken down and as we saw last week the talent is now being used as pawns in a power struggle.
PWI Insider reports that Becky Lynch is once again scheduled to be at the arena where a PPV is taking place as she will be in Las Vegas for SummerSlam, but there are still no plans to bring her back as of yet, but I feel that her return can’t come soon enough as the Raw Women’s Division really needs a major boost to it right now.
The fact that Ember Moon wasn’t medically cleared for her match against Sarray this week on NXT was a shoot as she has been injured once again, but PWI Insider reports that the injury issue isn’t something serious.
On Thursday, Keith Lee put out a short video revealing why he missed six months of action, I could explain what was said in the video, but I think it’s best to hear it from the Limitless One himself.
Andrew Zarian is reporting that WWE is planning on having both a King of the Ring Tournament and a Queen of the Ring Tournament in October with the finals of both happening at the Saudi Arabia show on October 21.
It was announced on Thursday by the Garganos that The Way family is getting even larger as Candice is pregnant with the couple’s first child and is due in February 2022. Hopefully, they can still have Candice on the show as part of skits involving The Way as those are always a highlight of NXT each week I would love a skit where they get Austin and Indi together on the couch and reveal the news to them and do the whole thing about how they are going to be a big brother and big sister like parents do to their kids when they are fixing to have another baby.
Coming up this Week
- Goldberg and Bobby Lashley face-to-face
- MSK © vs Imperium (NXT Tag Team Championship)
- Kushida © vs Roderick Strong (NXT Cruiserweight Championship)
- Duke Hudson vs Carmelo Hayes (NXT Breakout Tournament Semi-Final Match)
- Samoa Joe vs Karrion Kross face-to-face
- Pretty Deadly © vs Moustache Mountain (NXT UK Tag Team Championship)
- Meiko Satomura © vs Stevie Turner (NXT UK Women’s Championship)
As always if you have any feedback to give whether it be positive or negative please feel free to contact me on Twitter @MTW3589.