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Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Monday Night Raw (10/8/2018)

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Drew McIntyre Braun Strowman Dolph Ziggler Three Stars WWE Raw

A look at the Three Stars Of The Night for the October 8, 2018 edition of WWE Monday Night Raw!

Sadly, you won’t see Shawn Michaels on this list. Not because he’s officially coming out of retirement, but because the “announcement” of his return was buried by a Triple H catchphrase. If Shawn’s gonna do it, don’t have Triple H say it was a foregone conclusion and put himself over instead.

Now, with that out of the way…

Who stood out in Chicago on Monday night? Find out now, because it’s the Three Stars, BAYBAY!

The Third Star:
Bobby Lashley (and Lio Rush)

I’ve been saying for a while now that Bobby Lashley needs two things to get his WWE return on track: a mouthpiece and a heel turn.

Welp, he now has both!

It’ll be interesting to see if this is a double turn that also makes Kevin Owens a face (it should, by the way),

The Second Star:
Ember Moon

A frequent visitor to this list, Ember Moon once again made someone on the main roster look like a million bucks. If, for some reason, she never gets a title run, Ember should remain employed for years simply based on her ability to deliver with anyone they place opposite her.

Nia Jax is back, still not like other girls, and back to her old ways—being terrible in the ring. I’m sorry but it’s true.

And yet we have Ember Moon, already the unsung hero of the division, making her look credible. I am glad Ember got the win, and hopefully Nia’s return is being used to elevate a truly talented performer in Ember Moon.

Honorable Mentions:
Ronda Rousey

(For being a genuine character that we get to see learn the ropes of professional wrestling each week.)

And now… a distinction usually reserved
for the top performer of the night …the first star!

The First Star:
Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre (tie)

(Video pending WWE’s upload!)

Man, I sure did pick one hell of an episode to come back to the Three Stars, eh? In all honesty, much of this was a chore. Thankfully, my patience and persistence was rewarded with this match!

Look, I’m not a workrate guy, but this match delivered where it needed to. Raw was a mishmash of Evolution and Crown Jewel set-up, and it showed. Short of a Roman Reigns Universal Championship Match, a Seth Rollins Intercontinental Championship Match, or both, this is exactly what this show needed. All six men worked their asses off, delivering in a big way. We still got the story at the end, as a dejected and disgruntled Dean Ambrose left his Shield brethren in the ring and made his way to the back, solo.

Overall, I can’t single one out, all six get the nod for The First Star!


Who are your Three Stars of WWE Monday Night Raw? Comment on social media @ChairshotGreg, @theCHAIRSHOTcom, and use the hashtag #UseYourHead!


In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:

“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.

Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.

The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”

In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.


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WWE Evolution and Crown Jewel: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

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Juan Carlos Reneo takes a look at the differences–and also the similarities–of WWE Crown Jewel and WWE Evolution.

The next two PPVs that WWE will produce are very interesting by themselves. Crown Jewel has become a PR nightmare of WWE because of the latest news related to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile Evolution, a show a lot of people are hopping to see, has become in a way ‘’celebration’’ of women’s wrestling. Interesting enough these two shows are close to one another, making it bizarre for WWE by having praise for making evolution and a lot of bad publicity because of Crown Jewel.

In paper the WWE-Saudi Arabia deal, receiving from 450 to 500 million dollars for a 10-year deal look great but the deal had its main problem which was Saudi Arabia’s treatment on women and LGBTQ community, two communities in which WWE represents with campaigns and events. Crown Jewel as of this moment will still be celebrated despite the media and even senators of the United Stated pressuring WWE to cancel the show because of recent events. Vince McMahon who is known as stubborn man has his plan to go to Saudi Arabia and do Crown Jewel even if people and wrestlers of WWE like it or not.

Evolution at first looked like an apology PPV given to the female roster for not being able to compete in Saudi Arabia because of the laws of the country. When we first heard of Evolution people (I include myself) were excited for the concept of this PPV and a way to give the spotlight to the great female roster WWE has right now. But all the excitement and focus of Evolution went away when WWE announced the show Crown Jewel that would be celebrated only 5 days later and making Evolution into ‘’look we are progressive now but in 5 days we are not progressive anymore’’. Evolution now has become a bad apology for WWE making a deal with a country that is not fan to put it in nice words of the LGBTQ community and women despite they stating they are making cultural changes which in most cases is not true.

Timing has not been a friend of WWE lately, with first the idea of Evolution and Crown Jewel being only a few days apart and seeing the current events that happened. The hashtag #CancelCrownJewel has become very popular in the last coupe of days, but will this pressure cancel the show? When fans pointed out to WWE and Snickers why WWE shouldn’t name a battle royal after the wrestling legend Moolah, it was the right thing to do so there is a record of WWE doing the right thing in recent history.

We also must see the legal nightmare for WWE if they decide to cancel the Crown Jewel show. WWE and Saudi Arabia would enter a tenacious legal battle that most likely would see Saudi Arabia standing tall over WWE. The promotion of Vince McMahon is a corner right now that they were destined to be in from the moment they decided to accept the deal with Saudi Arabia.

Will WWE do the right thing? The best answer I could give to anyone who asked me this question is most likely not, in WWE money speaks over moral integrity, which for all of us fans and followers of the product of WWE should not be a surprised.


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Top 5: Old Wrestlers

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Terry Funk

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested that WWE could use this time of year, where business is traditionally down anyway, to try some things they hadn’t done before. They’ve gone a different direction. WWE is bringing back every legend & part-timer they can find to try & get some attention from a public more interested in the NFL, NBA rumors, the new TV season, Kanye West & almost anything else going on.

We’ve got Shawn Michaels coming back to team with Triple H against Undertaker & Kane for that sweet Saudi blood money. Trish Stratus & Lita have come back to take on their old rival Mickie James & her good friend Alexa Bliss, who honestly is just lucky she has the promo ability to be involved at this point. Brock Lesnar is hanging around because the price is right, along with John Cena finishing people off with the SIXTH MOVE OF DOOM.

I mean, it’s a strategy. It’s not one that I find particularly entertaining, but WWE has found success with it in the past. And let’s be honest, it’s one that the fans endorse every year with their money, their cheers & their chants. Every year at the Hall of Fame ceremony, there’s thousands of fans breaking into speeches with “ONE MORE MATCH”. Why wouldn’t WWE listen to these people that paid way too much money to sit in an arena & watch speeches? It makes perfect sense. People don’t care about the current WWE Superstars. They want to see the guys & gals from their childhood. WWE will bring the ones that are available.

But let’s not single WWE out here. Every wrestling promoter that has ever run a show has attempted to draw money from nostalgia at some point. Most indie feds book old WWE guys to draw a house. Once somebody appears on that television, there’s a certain recognizability factor that can get them booked for years after Vince lets them go.

Here are the Top 5 Old Wrestlers.

5. Ric Flair

Ric Flair TNA Comeback

Ric was 40 years old during what many consider to be his peak in-ring performance year, 1989. He was a wily veteran throughout WCW’s entire existence. He was supposed to be the guy that passed the torch, and he did on multiple occasions. Somehow, it always ended up back in his hands. It wasn’t his fault that nobody could carry it the way he did.

The culture of WCW wore on Flair, and towards the end of the company’s existence it seemed like he was near the end of his in-ring career. WWE breathed new life into him, and he had many more years of wily veteran left in him. He was just under 60 when he had his last WWE match, and just over 60 when he had his last wrestling match. He’d still be wrestling today if somebody would let him.

4. Jerry Lawler

The King was never the best-looking athlete, but he was always a master of psychology. He knew what the people wanted to see, and the right time to give it to them. He knew the time & place where he needed to be the chickenshit heel, and where he needed to be the babyface that got beat up and then dropped the strap. He also threw one of the best punches in the business.

Even though Lawler is more remembered as a commentator than as a wrestler in WWE, he could always go into the ring when the time called for it. He was over the age of 60 when he was feuding with The Miz & challenging for the WWE Championship, and having the best matches of Miz’s title run. A heart attack ended Lawler’s WWE in-ring career, but he still competes on the indy circuit occasionally because it’s what he knows & loves. Asking him to retire would be lunacy.

3. Minoru Suzuki

Suzuki hasn’t been around as long as the other people on this list. He’s only 50 right now. But I feel like if you had the term “old wrestler” or “grizzled veteran” in an encyclopedia, this man’s picture would be next to it. He just looks like the kind of guy that represents the old school and would slap you if you didn’t respect the business.

Suzuki is known as a co-founder of Pancrase, where he met most of the old-school MMA legends in the ring. Ken Shamrock, Bas Rutten, Frank Shamrock & Masakatsu Funaki were some of the names. He even met Jushin Thunder Liger in an MMA match. He eventually made his way to pro wrestling, first in All Japan & then in New Japan where he formed the Suzuki-gun faction. I figure if he asks you to join his faction, you pretty much have to out of fear.

2. Terry Funk

As the Funker got older, he got crazier. Funk was already a legend when he arrived in WCW in 1989 at the age of 45 to feud with Ric Flair. Once he got done with that legendary piece of business, he decided he needed to get hardcore in order to get with the times. He did deathmatches in Japan with some dude named Cactus Jack. He did moonsaults off the top rope. He became the patron saint of Extreme Championship Wrestling.

Terry & his brother Dory Funk Jr. were an interesting pair. Dory never changed through the years. He always worked the same style throughout his entire career, which I’m pretty sure is still ongoing. Terry constantly changed. He always wanted to fit in with what was going on at the time. He was middle aged & crazy, and despite announcers’ claims to the contrary, he was the toughest SOB in the business. When you’re tough, you can go on a lot longer than people expect.

Honorable Mention: Mae Young

Mae didn’t exactly have classic matches in her advanced years, but good luck finding a tougher old broad that ever set foot in the ring. Her willingness to take any bump & do any silly thing the writers could think of made her a staple of the WWF Attitude Era at an age where most wrestlers aren’t even alive.

1. Nick Bockwinkel

One of the criticisms of Verne Gagne’s AWA was the fact that he stuck with the same guys on top forever. Longtime stars like Crusher, Baron von Raschke & Verne himself were in top spots on the card years after they should have been. When fans were looking for something new during the 1980s, all the AWA had for most of the decade were the guys that stuck around.

Bockwinkel was a good example of the AWA’s tendency to push guys forever. When Verne didn’t have the AWA Championship, it was usually Nick that had it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it led to backlashes that made Jeff Jarrett seem like a popular NWA Champion. However, the difference between Nicholas & the others previously listed was simple: the dude could still flat-out go in the ring into his 50s. Most of what people have seen of Bockwinkel’s work is from the 1980s, when he was in his late 40s & early 50s. His advanced ring psychology & technical wrestling skills made him seem ageless. His 60 minute draw with Curt Hennig in Las Vegas at the end of 1986, when Bockwinkel was 52 years old, is the best 60 minute draw I’ve ever seen. Hennig learned how to work on that night & others like it across the ring from Bockwinkel, and eventually became Perfect as a result.

Most of the people on this list evolved as they got older. Nick Bockwinkel was an evolved gentleman from the beginning.


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WWE Week in Review: October 7-13, 2018

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Chairshot WWE Week In Review

Another week of WWE mayhem is in the books! On RAW, the stress of the ongoing feud between the Shield and the Dogs of War starts to show, the Bellas make an unexpected power play, three Hall of Famers return to RAW in some very unexpected ways, the feud between Bobby Lashley and Kevin Owens gets ugly, and the AoP’s path of destruction continues. Also, the Qualifiers for the WWE World Cup kick off with a big surprise.

On SmackDown, Miz tries to stir the pot between Styles and Bryan with limited success, Charlotte learns that trying to stack the deck can bite you in the ass, English reveals more footage, but Lana gets the last laugh, a BIG star returns with hopes of entering the WWE World Cup, and we learn about Nakamura’s new challenger.

On 205, Lio Rush’s open challenge bring in two unexpected players, Cedric Alexander’s bid to bounce back from his shocking loss at Super Show-Down hits a stumbling block, and the Party of Gulak addresses the Brian Kendrick situation.

On NXT, Nikki Cross is dying to tell someone all her secrets, Keith Lee and Kona Reeves take their war of words to the ring, and Adam Cole, Ricochet, and Pete Dunne face off for the North American Championship in match that has to be seen to be believed.

So how did WWE do? Let’s find out!

RAW

 

The Shield vs Dogs of War: The months long feud between the Shield and the Dogs of War has tested all six men and it showed this week for both sides.

After their disappointing loss to the Shield on Saturday, Dolph tried to rally the troops, but was shut down by a fed up Strowman who called Ziggler a weak link and reminds Ziggler and McIntyre that their job is to make sure that Strowman wins the Universal Championship and they put down the Shield.

The Shield/Pack rematch was every bit as chaotic as it was on Saturday, but this time, the Pack managed to get a win over the Shield McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick to a distracted Ambrose for the win. The Pack celebrated, but even though Reigns and Rollins were disappointed, Ambrose was NOT happy. Without a word to anyone, he left the ringside area, and his confused and upset brothers.

Kayla Braxton caught up with Ambrose after the show as he was trying to leave the arena and his only comment was that he didn’t get it and that maybe he didn’t fit in anywhere anymore.

RAW Women’s Division: Ronda Rousey and the Bellas teamed up again to take on the Riott Squad in a rematch from Saturday. Liv Morgan was determined to get her some of Brie Bella and stiff shotted Brie square in the face, to the shock of everyone, including the other members of the Riott Squad. Rousey and the Bellas won the match, but Rousey learned one off the reasons why the Bellas dominated the Women’s Division for so long: They will turn on anyone to get what they want. Both women turned on Rousey with Nikki hitting her from behind. Rousey tried to fight back but she was quickly overwhelmed.

Ember Moon and Nia Jax faced off in a one-on-one match. Nia was pretty dominate, but both women were nearly counted out due to fighting outside the ring. Ember made it in time, but Nia accidentally hit the LED board and was counted out, giving Ember the win. Thankfully, Nia was a good sport and didn’t flatten her new friend in frustration.

The build for two highly anticipated matches for Evolution started on Monday and then took a big swerve. The Queen of Queens, Trish Stratus, returned to RAW and addressed Alexa Bliss’ blatant, and easily fact-checked, lie about her that Bliss told last week. Referring to Bliss as a ‘brat’, Stratus decides to enlighten Bliss with a Moment of Stratusfaction.

Before she could get started, Bliss and Trish’s old nemesis, Mickie James, made their arrival. Bliss was less than impressed with Trish and vice versa. After trading some pretty petty insults, Mickie steps in, reminding Trish that nothing good ever happens when the two of them are in Chicago. Trish turns her attention to Mickie, warning her former rival to ‘protect’ little Miss Bliss and also warn her about what happens when you cross the Queen of Queens, you get a Hall of Fame level ass-kicking.

As always, Mickie is unperturbed by Trish’s threats, suggesting that instead of two one-on-one matches, they have a tag match, but who could be Trish’s partner? Where oh where could Trish find a suitable partner? Well, a suitable partner presented itself in the form of fellow Hall of Famer, and Trish’s long-time best friend, and on-screen rival, Lita!

The Queen of Extreme joins Trish and the four women start throwing fists before Bliss bails out. Mickie wasn’t so lucky, she took a patented Chick Kick from Trish before Bliss could save her from a patented Lita-sault. The Hall of Fame besties hold the ring, but it could be a very different story at Evolution.

RAW Tag Team Division: Authors of Pain’s reign of terror continued on Monday. After Bobby Roode and Chad Gable got one over on the Ascension, they were unceremoniously attacked by AoP, who beat both men down before hitting them with the Super Collider.

Kevin Owens vs Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush: After the loss on Saturday to Lashley and Cena, Kevin Owens was looking for some payback. Lashley was accompanied by his hype man, Lio Rush, who talked on the mic, the ENTIRE time. Unfortunately, Owens’ obsession with Rush would cost him dearly as Lashley picked up the win after a fairly dominate performance. At Rush’s prodding, Lashley dished out more punishment to the helpless Owens.

Brothers of Destruction vs DX: On Saturday, Triple H finally defeated the Undertaker with some help from Shawn Michaels. Unfortunately, Taker and Kane weren’t in the mood to be good sports and attacked the former members of DX after having a moment with them.

DX kicked off the show and neither man was in a good mood. Triple H compared defeating Undertaker to climbing the biggest, nastiest mountain in the world and that they should be celebrating, instead they got hit by an avalanche.

Both men talk about respect and what it means and it seemed that neither man has any respect for Taker or Kane. HBK implied that he’d stayed at home because of his respect for Taker and that he’d given his word to Taker about retiring. Respect that no longer exists.

Are You Ready, Deadman Inc? Because at Crown Jewel, DX is looking for payback.

John Cena: It appears that John Cena had so much fun doing very little at Super Show-Down, he’s going to be at Crown Jewel.

Crown Jewel: There is going to be a tournament to determine who will compete in the WWE World Cup at Crown Jewel.

Match 1 – Global Battle Royal: Apparently, Corbin isn’t taking this world cup thing seriously because he assembled a motley crew of jobbers in international costumes to battle for a spot, though the guy in the luchador mask seemed to be the most over. Corbin decided to join them and won to no great surprise. Or did he? There was someone who hadn’t been eliminated: The Gold Conquistador, who showed some impressive moves, including what LOOKED like an Olympic Slam. Hmm.

It turns out that Corbin got ribbed when El Conquistador de Oro was revealed to be none other than the REAL GM of RAW, Kurt Angle. Welcome back, Kurt! Oh, it’s DAMN true!

Mixed Match Challenge: Balor and Bayley faced off against Mahal and Alicia Fox, who have been having some issues lately, issues that Sunil Singh keeps getting blamed for.

The match was surprisingly good, with Balor and Bayley getting in some unique offense. Team B&B would get the win and the woes of Team Mahalicia continue on.

 

SmackDown Live

 

WWE Championship: At Super Show-Down, AJ Styles finally vanquished Samoa Joe, ending the months of mental torture he and his family had endured at Joe’s hands. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan finally got one over on Miz and it was a doozy. He not only beat his long-time rival and tormentor, but he won a #1 Contendership in the process, setting up a dream WWE Championship match for Crown Jewel.

A very petulant Miz hosted MizTV with guests AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. Apparently, General Manager Paige had read him the riot act before the show and he promised to be professional.

Miz’s professionalism took form in belittling and insulting both of his guests and trying to stir up trouble, which failed for the most part since Styles and Bryan are familiar with each other and have a lot of respect for each other, which made the interview pretty boring.

Miz’s self-induced woes continued when his attempts to stir the pot result in Styles and Bryan picking on him, including Bryan commenting that punching Miz is a lot of fun. That was the last straw and Miz has a full-blown meltdown in the ring. The footage shows that he got his shoulder up at Super Show-Down but Paige refused to give him a rematch. Miz is angry that for all his (tainted) wins, Bryan gets one win and is the #1 Contender.

Maybe you shouldn’t have blatantly cheated to win your entire career, and insulted the General Manager every chance you got, Miz. Just a thought.

Anyway, Miz berates both Bryan and Styles, blaming the fact that the WWE Championship is usually in the mid-cards on Styles, rather than, say VINCE, who actually controls what matches go on when. Miz says he doesn’t care who wins at Crown Jewel, but he also has a surprise for Styles. Styles has a match against the man who Miz helped beat Daniel Bryan last week, Shelton Benjamin.

Styles vs Benjamin was fabulous, and Miz and Bryan were on commentary, Miz taking potshots while Bryan admired Styles’ ability. Styles would get the pinfall after a Phenomenal Forearm. Miz looks like he was weaned on a dill pickle the size of a sequoia, but Bryan is elated.

WWE United States Championship: Nakamura wasn’t in action tonight, but it was revealed that he will be participating the WWE World Cup Qualifier next week on SmackDown 1000 and his opponent will be…Rey Mysterio!

SmackDown Women’s Division: Becky Lynch showed on Saturday that she was willing to do anything to retain her SmackDown Women’s Championship, deliberately getting herself disqualified by using the belt on Charlotte Flair. Since Charlotte won by default, she was given another rematch with the added stipulation that if Becky got disqualified, she would be stripped of the title, thus giving it back to Charlotte.

Unfortunately, when Charlotte demanded that stipulation, she failed to consider that if BOTH of them were disqualified, she wouldn’t get the belt back. The reason that little oversight is important is because that’s exactly what happened. After an amazing and brutal match, both women were counted out, Becky was disqualified, but because Charlotte was also disqualified, Becky could not be stripped of the title. Enraged at again being denied the belt she felt rightly belonged to her, Charlotte charged at her former best friend, spearing her through the LED boards, badly cutting herself.

However, Charlotte will get one more chance. General Manager Paige announced that at Evolution, Charlotte and Becky will face off in a Last Woman Standing Match, the first in WWE history.

WWE World Cup: Not to be outdone by RAW, SmackDown did two qualifying matches for the WWE World Cup at Crown Jewel.

  1. Match 1 – Jeff Hardy vs Samoa Joe: Samoa Joe was looking for redemption after tapping out to AJ Styles at Super Show-Down, as was Jeff Hardy, who has been less visible since his epic bellyflop at Hell in a Cell.

This match was rough but very good. Unfortunately, Jeff Hardy would have to settle for a less than stellar victory when Joe’s still damaged leg decided to give up before Joe was ready, forcing the ref to rule in Jeff’s favor.

  1. Match 2 – Randy Orton vs Big Show: Wellllll, Big Show is back and was looking to put his big name in the WWE World Cup, but he would have to beat the borderline psychopathic Randy Orton to do it. Big Show dominated the match, but Orton was nothing if not wily and was able to pick up the win after Big Show’s temper lead him straight into an RKO, giving Orton the pinfall.

Rusev vs Aiden English: Anyone actually believing that Aiden English had anything really damning on Lana or that Lana was a dumb blond were both greatly disappointed on Tuesday. Aiden English has spent weeks claiming that something had happened between him and Lana in Milwaukee and seemed to have delivered the goods, showing Lana seeming to come on to him, confirming the accusations. Or did it? Nothing on the footage shown last week showed anything truly untoward, but people have dirty, suspicious minds.

This week, to silence the skeptics, English showed more of the footage, which seemed equally damning, at least at first. Lana asks English to show how much he loves Rusev, and tells him how much she appreciates his help after English praises Rusev to the moon and back. The video cuts out just as the action looks ready to start. English tells Indy that he’ll only show the rest if Rusev comes out.

A very angry Rusev comes out and, instead of rolling the rest of the video, English lays out his case, demanding that Rusev ditch Lana and reform the original Team Rusev Day with English.

Lana comes and to ‘reason’ with Rusev, but it seems like Rusev’s mind is made up, but Lana has some tricks up her non-existent sleeves. She asks that the rest of the footage be shown, which English denies since SmackDown is a family show.

Wait. What? Why would English suddenly shy away from showing his hand and if he’s got a full house? Could it be that his ace in the hole is actually the joker? Lana reveals that she hacked English’s phone, his password was ‘I <3 Rusev’, and has the FULL footage of what happened that night in Milwaukee. Turns out that the only person coming on to anyone was Rusev coming onto Lana, and she turned him down. Now English looks like an idiot and makes the situation worse by telling Lana that the offer stands. That’s enough for Rusev, who chases down English and beats the hell out of him before English escapes.

205

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy was still in Melbourne, celebrating his victory, and spending time with his family.

Lio Rush Open Challenge: Lio Rush has been on quite a roll recently, he’s undefeated on 205 Live and he’s managing Bobby Lashley to great success on RAW. So now, he wants to share his greatness with other on the 205 roster because it’s Rush Hour. The first person to step up is Lucha House Party’s Lince Dorado. Rush is intrigued and like the ‘Lucha lucha’ and isn’t even put out when Dorado corrects him.

This match was incredible. Rush and Dorado really tore the house down with plenty of back and forth. Lio mocked ‘the kitty cat’, even tries to take his mask off, but quickly learned that you don’t piss off a lynx (which is what ‘lince’ translates to).

Just when it seemed that Dorado was going to be the one to finally hang a loss on the man of the hour, a figure appeared on the ramp, and it was Maria Kanellis, who has been out for a year due to her pregnancy and a wrist injury. Why Maria is here becomes very obvious when Mike Kanellis appears out of nowhere and shoves Dorado off the top turnbuckle, actually giving Rush his first defeat, albeit by technicality.

Cedric Alexander vs Tony Nese: If Cedric Alexander was feeling any regrets about his loss at Super Show-Down, he wasn’t owning up to them, at least to long time friend, Mustafa Ali, who expressed concern that Alexander was taking Nese’s bait too soon after the loss to Murphy. Cedric brushed off the concerns, saying that he’ll do what he does best, win and steal the show. And he’ll make sure Murphy got the message in Australia, so he’ll be prepared when Alexander invokes his rematch clause.

Alexander vs Nese was a very good match, but it seems like both men were feeling the effects of their grueling matches last week (yes, I know that Nese/Gargano happened about a month ago, but let’s stay in kayfabe, hmm?).

Nese took great pleasure in mocking Alexander and proving what a great athlete he was, which irritated Alexander greatly. Despite a valiant effort by both men, who beat each other from pillar to post, Nese would finally pick the win with a 450 splash. Maybe Ali was right to be concerned about Alexander’s state of mind.

Party of Gulak vs Brian Kendrick: Last week, Drew Gulak and Jack Gallagher turned on fellow Party member, Brian Kendrick, after Gallagher lost a match, despite Gulak’s best efforts. This week, Gulak and Gallagher offered up an explanation for their actions, stating that their partnership was based on being dirty, rotten, scoundrels, but Kendrick had changed. To them, Kendrick had grown sentimental and soft and that is unacceptable. Gulak and Gallagher claimed to deeply regret what had happened, but Gulak says that it should’ve happened sooner and that next week, they’ll take care of Akira Tozawa, who Gallagher lost to, in their unending bid to ‘Create a better 205’ by taking all the fun out of it.

Mustafa Ali vs Hideo Itami: We found out that the next encounter between Hideo Itami and Mustafa Ali will take place on October 24th and it will be a Falls Count Anywhere match.

 

NXT

 

NXT Championship: If the NXT Universe has their way, Tommaso Ciampa might have an unexpected challenger for the NXT Championship: Nikki Cross! How’d that happen? Well, let’s start at the beginning.

Ciampa kicked off NXT and he’s got new entrance music as opposed to the silence from before. Ciampa likes it because it quiets the sheep. He then addresses Velveteen Dream, who has been making noises about Ciampa being involved with what happened to Black. As far as Ciampa’s concerned, Dream just wants attention, but he should be careful because bad things happen when you get the Blackheart’s attention.

Dream comes out and takes exception to Ciampa’s comments. He firmly believes that Ciampa had everything to do with what happened to Aleister Black. Furthermore, he believes that the NXT Championship deserves better than to be around the waist of an angry, bald, little man like Ciampa.

Ciampa is amused by Dream saying that what Dream wants is the main event and the spotlight, attention, which is why he’s making accusations about what happened to Black, which Ciampa doesn’t think Dream believes. He thinks that the reason Dream is making accusations instead of being straight forward is because Dream doesn’t think he’s tough enough to take Ciampa on.

Into this testosterone fest careens the Twisted Sister of NXT, Nikki Cross. The crowd is ecstatic and demands a triple threat between Ciampa, Dream, and Cross. Nikki, for her part, doesn’t have much to add to the conversation except to say that she knows what they did to both Ciampa and Dream.

To add some more strangeness to this whole situation, it seems that Nikki is a belt whisperer. The NXT Championship belt is talking to her and telling her all Ciampa’s secrets. Maybe the NXT Championship has found someone it likes more than Tomasso Ciampa.

NXT North American Championship: After the shenanigans of two weeks ago, General Manager Regal gave Pete Dunne a second chance at becoming a dual champion by booking the Adam Cole/Ricochet rematch for the North American Championship as a triple threat.

The match started off with Dunne and Ricochet ganging up on Cole before turning their attention to each other.

This match was amazing and more than lived up to the hype. Only problem is that with the announcement of NXT UK debuting soon, it kind of killed any tension for the match, at least for me. It also stinks because Dunne/Ricochet feuding for the title is definitely a money feud.

Despite amazing efforts by Cole and Dunne, Ricochet would retain his championship after hitting a 450 splash on Dunne. Amazing effort by all three men!

NXT Women’s Division: Shayna Baszler gave us an update on her training to get ready for Evolution. She still refuses to admit that Kairi Sane beat her because she was the better woman. No, it’s because Baszler had a misstep and Sane got lucky. At Evolution, however, Baszler vows to fix that mistake and get her title back. Whatever helps you sleep at night, Shayna.

As for Kairi Sane, she is super excited to be apart of Evolution and says that Shayna can train all she wants because everyone knows that Sane will beat her again, just like at TakeOver.

Aleister Black Mystery: Ever since Nikki Cross finally disclosed that she knows who attacked Aleister Black back in August, she’s been bursting to tell someone, which is good because General Manager Regal is eager to hear what Nikki Cross knows since his investigation can’t move forward until Nikki tells him what she saw.

However, it seems that Nikki might have more secrets to tell than just who attacked Black, or we might have a swerve on our hands. Kassius Ohno confronted Regal about his demand to be put in a better spot on NXT or get his hand on the next shiny new toy of Regal’s. Regal ignores the bait, only stating that Ohno has been cleared of suspicion, until Nikki Cross comes up saying only that she ‘knows’ what Ohno did.

Keith Lee vs Kona Reeves: After a testy war of words last week, the Unlimited Keith Lee met Kona Reeves in one-on-one action this week. Unlike most of Lee’s matches, this wasn’t a squash. Reeves got in some pretty good offense, but it wasn’t enough to stop someone with no limits. Lee handily put Reeves away with a powerslam for the three.

Tiffany’s Takeaways

 

RAW: I hate to be the fly in the ointment, but Taker and Kane have a right to be mad at Hunter and HBK. Hunter changed the rules so HBK could help him win instead of winning on his own.

I’m ‘eh’ on DX returning right now, but if I get Shield vs DX, I’ll be much happier.  Or just give me HBK vs Seth Rollins for the IC title and I’ll be happy.

The double turn of Lashley, Rush, and Owens was interesting, but what I wanted someone to do with that mic to Rush is still illegal in some states.

Liv Morgan beating the s**t out of Brie is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Even the Riott Squad couldn’t believe it.

Bellas turning on Rousey wasn’t a total surprise, but it was still fun.

Welcome back, Kurt Angle.

I’m not sure what to make of a potential babyface!Kevin Owens. His personality doesn’t seem suited to that role.

I’m guess that the decision to make Alexa/Trish and Mickie/Lita into a tag match was to protect both sides since Alexa has been inactive due to injury and Trish and Lita haven’t wrestled a real match in a VERY long time.

Given that Sasha Banks is being advertised for house shows right before Evolution, I’ve got a theory that she’s going to insert herself in the Bliss/James vs Stratus/Lita match.

Ember Moon beating Nia was unexpected but done in a way that protects Nia, which is good.

Dean Ambrose walking away after the Shield lost is interesting, but WWE’s not going to pull the trigger on that one JUST yet.

SmackDown: I think that spear through the LED boards wasn’t thought through very well, but it didn’t hurt a great match. Charlotte getting another rematch feeds into the narrative of her being an entitled brat who can’t stand that she’s not champion not that Becky is a heel.

I’m over Miz and Bryan, I’m all for Bryan/AJ and Miz going to do another movie.

I love Lana being the one to expose the fact that English was scamming everyone and why he was doing it.

Stoked for Rey Mysterio to be at SmackDown 1000.

Welcome back, Big Show!

205: I’m not a fan of Mike Kanellis or Maria, or at least their gimmick, but putting Kanellis on 205 means that he’ll get a lot more exposure than he was getting on RAW or SmackDown.

I heard some griping about the RAW storylines that involve Maverick and Rush not being included, but to me, it makes sense to only talk about them. AoP and Lashley have no reason to be on 205, so why have them on?

I cannot wait for the Last Man Standing match between Ali and Itami!

NXT: Have I mentioned that I love Nikki Cross and that she’s my favorite part of NXT?

The segment between Ciampa, Dream, and Nikki Cross was hilarious.

Shayna Baszler’s refusal to accept that Kairi Sane was better than her is very heelish.

The Triple Threat North American Championship more than lived up to the hype.

The NXT crowd is a little annoying.

Mae Young Classic: I love Michael Cole’s enthusiasm for the Mae Young Classic.

Is it wrong to say that I got Zeuxius and Io Shirai mixed up because they were both wearing masks at the start?

Shirai/Zeuxius was amazing, I wish they could’ve both advanced.

The fact that Deonna Purrazzo wasn’t signed to WWE sooner is a crying shame.

Watching Tegan Nox in this tournament is hard because she’s so good.

I hope Kaitlyn sticks around after her defeat this week. Maybe go through NXT again to work out the kinks or just go to the main roster.

Tiff’s Tantrums

Kudos to Paige for calling out Alberto Del Rio’s nasty comments this week on ‘Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia’.

The build to Evolution got kicked into high gear tonight, can we please can the narrative that WWE is doing nothing to build this?

Can we stop pretending that Nikki Bella isn’t a legit talented athlete who was an integral part of the Women’s Revolution that WWE Evolution is celebrating? Her being on Total Divas and Total Bellas doesn’t negate the fact that she’s a great athlete. By the standards people are trying to set, Trish Stratus and Lita shouldn’t be part of this show either.

I’m SO over the constant griping about Saudi Arabia and how WWE should cancel the event. It’s not that simple. WWE has a contract with Saudi Arabia, and breaking the terms of that contract could be a lot more difficult than just saying ‘We’re not coming’.

I understand that a lot of the naysayers have genuine concerns about what’s going on and I share them, but to think that WWE can just cancel a big event at the drop of a hat is nonsense, as is the fact that people are more concerned about WWE doing business with Saudi Arabia than they are with Donald Trump and the US Government doing the same thing. An entertainment business should not be held to more accountability than the government.

Someone on Twitter actually implied that WWE made up Sasha’s health issue, rumored to be another back problem, because Sasha got a tattoo, played with puppies, and basically lived her life. Really? She was injured, not dead, and she’s been off all social media for several weeks, presumably to focus on her recovery from whatever was going on.

That’s it for the WWE Week in Review! Next week, we’ll be discussing NXT UK, which is going to start on Wednesday! Have a great week and be good to each other.


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