“Just when they think they have all the questions, I change the culture. I’ll see you next week.” – CM Punk on WWE Backstage Tuesday, November 12
In less than one minute of air time on Fox Sports 1 Tuesday night, CM Punk returned and blew up the wrestling industry once more! Not since the pipe bomb incident and his subsequent leave from WWE back in 2014 have we seen the man named Phil dominate the conversation. FOX Sports and WWE confirmed that Punk will now be a contributor to WWE Backstage on a regular, but not every week basis. This is huge news for WWE on two fronts. One, it gives the immediate buzz during Survivor Series build and two, it keeps Punk away from AEW, which reportedly did meet with him and offer a big-money contract. Now, since Punk’s contract is reportedly with FOX and not WWE, it will be interesting to see if the WWE plans to try and use him in a role other than on WWE Backstage, which unfortunately for them, is seen of the least watched platform they are on, as opposed to the USA Network and FOX. I for one, like many of you, have been waiting for Punk to return as he is one of the generational talents that you will stop what you’re doing to watch or listen to on a weekly basis. I’m hoping they use him well, let him speak his mind and make it an awesome experience for him and us as fans and viewers. Because if they do, hold on to your hats. If they don’t, it will be very short lived!
Now, as for the week that was in the WWE, it continues to be centered around NXT’s involvement in the Survivor Series. After a very disappointing, and yes, taped, RAW from Manchester, England, we got solid shows from NXT and Smackdown. I think what the WWE has to do in the final week leading up to Survivor Series itself on November 24 in Chicago, home of CM Punk of course, is to do more than the run-ins it has been doing the past couple of weeks. Give me more storyline and emotion. Introduce the NXT superstars to those in RAW and Smackdown that may not know them. It may eventually get more eyeballs on to the product on Wednesday night, which is one of the big benefits if done properly.
We’re going to start a new feature to TWITW (This Week In The WWE). It’s the star of the week and this week, it’s an easy one.
Star of the Week – CM PUNK
For obvious reasons stated above. Punk sent shockwaves through the industry not so much for what he did, appear on screen for less than a minute, but what could be in the near and extended future. Count me in! Who knows, maybe a reunion with Colt Cobana could be the next near impossible thing we’ll see.
Now, on to the shows!
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Title Match:: Champions The Kabuki Warriors defeated Becky Lynch and Charlotte
- Drew McIntyre defeated Sin Cara
- WWE 24/7 Title Match: R-Truth vs. The Singhs went to a no contest
- Seth Rollins defeated WALTER @ 4:20 (DQ)
- Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, & The Street Profits defeated Imperium
- Andrade defeated Cedric Alexander @ 3:50
- Erick Rowan defeated Nigel Kickpads @ 1:00 via pin
- Non-Title Match: RAW Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders defeated Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews
- Randy Orton, Ricochet, & Humberto Carrillo defeated The OC
What we loved:
Humberto finally wins – We’ve been harping on this for a few weeks now and it was great to see Humberto Carrillo finally get a win on television. Albeit, it’s in a six-man tag match, but a win is a win.
NXT UK – Great way to introduce the mainstream audience to NXT UK’s most powerful entity, Imperium and its leader, WALTER, especially with the show coming from Manchester, England. Too bad WALTER vs. Seth Rollins fell apart after only four minutes only to lead to the predictable tag team match.
What we didn’t love:
The vibe – Because RAW was taped last Friday after a Smackdown taping in Manchester, you could tell the crowd just wasn’t into it, especially towards the end of the show. It’s almost as if the WWE was treating it as a throwaway show. That’s something they should NEVER do, especially when they treat Monday nights in such high regards.
Where was Natalya – I know they gave the obligatory Natalya couldn’t be there due to family obligations, but why not throw in there that Natalya and Charlotte Flair are getting a tag team title match soon. It seems as if they are defaulting to Becky Lynch and Flair as a team when ever they need a quick fix. I don’t like it especially since we’ve seen them as a team a lot lately. Make your champions special. I liked the team of Flair and Natalya together and it gave them a purpose, a storyline to get behind. Stick to it.
- NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush defeated Angel Garza
- Xli Li defeated Aliyah
- Non-Title Match: Keith Lee defeated North American Champion Roderick Strong
- Swerve Scott defeated Bronson Reed
- Ladder Match for The Advantage in War Games: Io Shirai defeated Mia Yim
What we loved:
Climbing the ladder – Kudos to Io Shirai and Mia Yim for delivering another awesome NXT main event. Every week, these main events have given us quality matches that leave us wanting more. Yim getting busted open with a broken nose and the closing run-in by NXT Women’s Champ Katie Lee Ray, put the WOW in this one. And then to boot, we get what seems to be a thumbs up to KLR for her spot on Shayna Baszler’s Survivor Series team leading to…
Welcome home Bayley – It was short, sweet and effective. Bayley returns to Full Sail as the former NXT Champion takes out the current NXT Champion Baszler on the stage to avenge Baszler’s beatdown of Bayley on Smackdown. Straight to the point and well done.
Balor vs. Riddle – Yes, please. More of this! Talk about your way around not having Balor vs. Johnny Gargano, well here it is. This could be an epic match to come!
Keith Lee – Not only does he continue to get better and better each week, but now his win solidifies his team for WarGames and sets himself up for a future North American Championship title shot down the road. Really good stuff.
What we didn’t love:
Balor’s spotlight – Kill it already. Whoever is following Balor with the spotlight, it ain’t working! It makes it look minor league, especially in a small building like Full Sail.
Got us thinking:
Angel Garza and Lio Rush’s wife – Something watch as we could get more in this cruiserweight battle that saw round one goes to Rush.
- For Spots on The Survivor Series Team: Mustafa Ali & Chad Gable defeated Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler
- Smackdown Tag Team Title Match: Champions The New Day defeated The Revival (DQ after interference by Undisputed Era)
- Heavy Machinery defeated Jimmy & Johnny Kickpads
- Non-Title Match: Bayley vs. Nikki Cross (No contest after NXT interence)
- Team Smackdown (Nikki Cross, Sasha Banks, Dana Brooke, Carmella) defeated Team NXT (Dakota Kai, Rhea Ripley, Mia Yim and Tegan Nox) – Nikki Cross wins spot on Team Smackdown for Survivor Series
What we loved:
The dog mascot – Sure, we thought, probably like most of you, that it was going to be Roman Reigns in the mascot costume. But, pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t as Reigns came straight down to the ring in the middle of the match. Maybe we’ll get a surprise reveal to a returning star later at Survivor Series. That would be a nice payoff. Either way, some unpredictability is good.
Highlighting the SS teams – A lot of the time was devoted to building out the Smackdown teams, including forty minutes at the top of the show for the men and then the main event before MizTV for the women. It’s nice to see spots getting earned in the ring for Survivor Series rather than just being thrown together in a promo or graphic reveal.
Someone says YES – It wasn’t Daniel Bryan that says YES, but Universal Champ Bray Wyatt that says YES! to a match with Bryan at Survivor Series. We still get Bryan in that clunky not a face, not a heel position, but we’ll get a great match between these two at SS while the fans try to decide who to cheer for as both are well liked at the moment. The possibilities are there and let’s not forget how Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura could still get involved with all this.
What we hated:
It’s not that we really hated anything this week, it’s more of a wish. With Smackdown moving to FOX, we expected something really different and we just haven’t seen it. Outside of the NXT invasion that was brought about due to “travel issues,” we haven’t really gotten the creative changes we thought were coming. Maybe with the change from Eric Bishoff to Bruce Pritchard, things are delayed. But much like we haven’t really seen too many Paul Heyman changes on RAW, maybe we are expecting too many drastic changes to a company that can’t really deliver that “edge” we may be looking for since it is, after all, sports entertainment, and it’s a public company that delivers to major, national sponsors on major, national networks so a pushing of the envelope has to be pushed softly and not with a Myles Garrett over-the-head helmet shot.
Aside from Triple H, isn’t it refreshing to see a brand supremacy battle not being waged with a McMahon vs. McMahon vs. McMahon as the theme? While we love Stephanie McMahon as the ultimate heel villain when she really turns it on and not trying to be a brand ambassador, it is nice to see the superstars telling the story. Kudos for not defaulting into a tired storyline WWE. Thank you!
Thanks for letting us share our thoughts! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions! You can also check out my blog, The Crowe’s Nest as we delve into more pro wrestling, sports entertainment and the World of Sports. My apologies ahead of time – I AM a Patriots and Red Sox fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND!