We are coming into the homestretch for the first all women WWE PPV and a lot has been happening in WWE!
On RAW, the feud between the Shield and the Dogs of War takes a surprising turn. Dean Ambrose’s issues with his brothers continue to grow over the WWE World Cup. Baron Corbin looks for revenge for his humiliating loss to Kurt Angle last week. The ladies of RAW look to gain momentum heading into Evolution. The war of words between the Bellas and Ronda Rousey gets very personal, and a legit return makes waves.
On SmackDown’s 1000th episode, the final two World Cup slots are filled, with some surprising results. Edge tries to show Becky Lynch the error of her ways. The Bar gets a big assist in their match against the New Day, and AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan’s mutual respect is put to the test against the Usos.
NXT UK kicked off with an amazing Championship match, as the stars of the UK seize the chance to show off the unique British style of wrestling.
On 205 Live, Akira Tozawa’s campaign of revenge against the Party of Gulak continues. Mustafa Ali and Hideo Itami prepare for their Fall Count Anywhere match, and five top superstars jockey for position in an amazing Fatal Five Way Match.
On NXT, War Machine looks to take the tag team championship from Undisputed Era. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch gain momentum, and Nikki Cross is called to a reckoning over what happened to Aleister Black.
So how did WWE do with all this? Let’s find out!
Shield vs Dogs of War: After last week’s disappointing loss to the Dogs of War, Dean Ambrose walked out on his brothers, raising more questions about his mental state and the state of the Shield.
On Monday, a very smug Pack came out, crowing about their victory last week, claiming that they’d broken the Shield. Turning their attention to Crown Jewel, which is still on, McIntyre vowed to destroy Rollins in their qualifying match and Ziggler will do the same to Ambrose.
Reigns and Rollins, but not Ambrose come out, claiming that the Shield is still alive, which seems hollow without Ambrose there. Ziggler asks where Dean is and says he’ll take a forfeit. Rollins tells him that Ambrose runs on his own time and he’s not getting that forfeit.
As for McIntyre, Rollins says that he’s always loved Philly, and not just because they have great cheesesteaks. He loves Philly because Philly is a fighting town and since he and McIntyre are both in the same area, why don’t they just have their match right now.
Rollins vs McIntyre was great, as expected. It looked like Ziggler was going to help McIntyre steal the win by distracting Rollins and the ref, so McIntyre could hit Rollins’ shoulder with a weapon.
Fortunately for Rollins, his hour of need was Ambrose O’Clock, because the Lunatic Fringe came to his friend’s aid, helping Rollins secure a countout victory over McIntyre and qualifying for the WWE World Cup.
Backstage, the Shield were joking when Rollins made an offhand comment about Dean being on Lunatic time, which Dean didn’t appreciate.
Dean’s World Cup match didn’t go as well. Seth tried to save Dean from McIntyre’s interference and ended up costing Dean the win, which enraged Ambrose, which resulted in he and Rollins nearly coming to blows. Reigns managed to break up the fight, but it’s clear that things are at a breaking point.
Corbin came out and expressed faux concern over the situation and proposed a solution: A Six Man Tag match against the Dogs of War.
Much like Super Show-Down and last Monday, the match between the Shield and the Dogs of War was defined by chaos, but this time, the Shield’s talent for getting a victory out of chaos came through after a well-timed ducking by Reigns caused McIntyre to hit the devastating Claymore Kick on Strowman instead of Reigns. After that, Ziggler got hit with a patented Triple Powerbomb and Ambrose got the pin. The Shield celebrated, even though their brotherhood came close to disintegrating due to the machinations of Ziggler, that almost ended with Rollins taking a Dirty Deeds from an irate Ambrose.
As for the Dogs of War, well, they were never a brotherhood, they were an alliance of convenience and that alliance fell apart. Strowman attacked Ziggler for costing them the match and hit his powerslam, only to get hit with a second Claymore Kick by Drew McIntyre, who left Strowman, and his tag team partner, Ziggler, in the ring.
Raw Women’s Division: Ember Moon and Nia Jax took on Dane Brooke and Tamina. We also got another update on Evolution: There will be a battle royal for the women who don’t have one-on-one matches and the winner gets a title shot.
Moon/Jax vs Brooke/Snuka was really good. Dana Brooke has improved so much and we got a pretty good exchange between Tamina and Nia. Ember and Nia would pick up the win after Ember hit the Eclipse on Brooke. Afterwards an enraged Tamina attacked Nia and then threw her over the top rope, then Ember moved to throw Tamina out and both were eliminated by Dana Brooke.
Ronda Rousey and the Bella Twins’ war of words went from social media to RAW with…mixed results. Rousey wanted an explanation and the Bella explanation is that Ronda wouldn’t be in WWE if not for them.
According to Ronda, the Bellas were using her for her spotlight, which both Bellas scoff at. They don’t need Ronda’s spotlight, they have their own spotlight. Not only are they successful as a pair, Nikki is the longest reigning Diva’s Champion of all time. They made the term ‘Diva’ mean something more than mediocre, they made it strong. Total Divas is a huge success.
Rousey claims that she’s trying to be respectful since the Bellas were there first, which rings hollow when she calls the Bellas ‘talentless disease’ Nikki points out that for ‘talentless diseases’ the name ‘Bella’ has gotten more attention than anything else going and tells Rousey ‘You’re welcome’. and then throws Nikki’s past relationship with John Cena, which pissed Nikki off.
Just when it looked like things were going to get physical, Nikki does her trademark hip swing and sends out security, who promptly get their asses handed to them. The Bellas took off, but it’s clear that this match has gotten deeply personal for both sides.
The Riott Squad, still smarting from their string of defeats, were wreaking havoc backstage when they ran into Bayley and mocked her and also defaced Nattie’s dressing room. Nattie and Ruby Riott faced off, but Nattie had a couple of tricks up her sleeve, namely Bayley and the returning Sasha Banks. The match was fantastic, but Nattie and company would have to settle for a moral victory as Sarah Logan interfered to give Nattie a DQ victory instead of a pinfall. Hopefully, this will be a six woman tag match for Evolution, instead of all six women being lumped into the battle royal.
Team Hall of Fame Besties were in the house again. They talked about their upcoming tag match with Bliss and James, but before they could get started, Team Disingenuous came out.
Bliss mocked Stratus and Lita, stating that they must be so intimidated by the thought of facing herself and James. Never mind that Trish and Lita have both faced people a lot scarier than Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. Why would they be intimidated by Bliss and James? Because they ‘know’ Bliss will humiliate them by running circles around them at Evolution.
James chimes in, agreeing with Bliss. She knows Trish better than just about anyone and Trish knows that Mickie likes to take it up a notch every night. Plus, Women’s Royal Rumble aside, Trish and Lita haven’t been in the ring for a very long time.
Bliss chimes in again and says that James is spot on. Trish and Lita are great for nostalgia but the thought they’re going to come off the couch and beat superstars like James and Bliss is ludicrous. Bliss suggests that Trish and Lita go home and practice.
By this point, Trish and Lita have had enough of this nonsense. Trish points out that the point of Evolution is to elevate the Women’s Division. However, Trish and Lita are willing to practice, if Bliss and James are willing to get in the ring, Trish and Lita will be willing to ‘practice’ on them right now. Bliss and James decline to have practice time this week, they’ll wait until Evolution.
Finn Balor (with Bayley) vs Jinder Mahal (with the Singh Brothers and Alicia Fox): The never-ending feud between Team B and B and Mahalicia continued on Monday and, much like previous encounters, Mahalicia came out on the short end. Even the return of Samir Singh couldn’t save Mahal from an ignominious 2 minute defeat. While Balor and Bayley were celebrating, they were confronted by Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush.
Rush wasted no time talking up Lashley to Balor’s detriment, while Lashley showed off. However, Bayley pulled Balor away before things could get ugly.
Bobby Lashley (with Lio Rush) vs Tyler Breeze: Sadly, there isn’t much to say about this match. Lashley basically beat the snot out of Breeze, got the pinfall and then beat him up some more while Rush kept talking.
RAW Tag Team Division: Authors of Pain have been on a path of destruction since teaming up with Drake Maverick. This week, they took part in a handicap match against Kurt Angle, who is still on vacation, judging by his…interesting outfit. Angle was put in the match by Baron Corbin who wanted revenge for his humiliation last week.
The match between AoP and El Conquistador de Oro was a surprisingly quick one. Could the legendary Kurt Angle be vanquished so easily? Well, not quite. When they took off El Conquistador’s mask, they found out that it wasn’t Angle at all, just some poor schlub that got put in the costume.
While Corbin was distracted by yelling at AoP over the non-Angle conquistador (like it’s their fault), he was treated to an Angle Slam by the real Kurt Angle, still in his vacation clothes and the audience was treated to a little dancing by the Olympic Hero.
DX vs Brothers of Destruction: We got video promo from Undertaker and Kane about respect. BoD said that they lost their respect for DX at Melbourne because of their dishonesty and that HBK stayed away from fear of being humiliated by Undertaker again.
Elias: Elias was doing his usual musical insult to the crowd when he was confronted by Apollo Crews. Apparently, Apollo has split from Titus Worldwide and he’s got a fire lit under him. Apollo says that he’s tired of being overlooked and he’s looking to make a statement. Elias insults Crews’ talent, saying that he’s never seen the talent Crews is supposed to have and that Crews could never hope to be as great as Elias.
That turned out to be the wrong thing to say. Apollo hit Elias with an enzuguri and then held him in a trophy hold for ten seconds before pressing him and dropping him on the mat. It seems that Elias has poured some gasoline on this fire and got burned.
This week was the 1000th episode of SmackDown and so the show was full of moments and memories. One of the big stories going into SmackDown was that Evolution, the Four Horsemen knock-off from the mid-2000s was coming back, which was surprising since Evolution had never been on SmackDown during it’s original big run. ANYWAY, after Batista’s sob-inducing tribute to Eddie Guerrero, there was a lot of mutual praising and ass-kissing, until Batista pointed out that the only thing Triple H hasn’t done in WWE is beat him (Batista), which Triple H didn’t appreciate, guess we know what will coming down the road.
WWE Championship: AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, who will be facing off at Crown Jewel, teamed up this week against the Usos. This match was really good with plenty of back and forth, but it took a miscued punch from Bryan to Styles to turn the tables, allowing the Usos to pick up the victory. Guess Team Sweet Beetz need to work on the teamwork some more.
After the match, neither man was very happy with each other and we got a staredown before a montage of great SmackDown moments.
SmackDown Women’s Division: The Cutting Edge is back! Edge made his triumphant return to SmackDown and discussed his long history with the show and all the great moments he’s been part of. Now he’s back to discuss the current situation in the Women’s Division between Charlotte and Becky. Edge confronted Becky about her conduct, but his attempts to get her to change her ways was met with scorn by both Becky and the crowd. In Edge’s defense, he was speaking from experience and probably see Becky making the same mistakes he did.
Becky, tired of what she viewed as Edge’s condescension, told the Rated-R Superstar, that she doesn’t hate herself for what she did, she loves herself for what she did to Charlotte. She then suggested that Edge get out of her ring and watch his neck, so he doesn’t break it again.
By this point, Charlotte had come out to ‘save’ Edge, though what she thought she was saving him from is a little beyond me since Becky hadn’t touched him. Charlotte trashed Becky for her comments, stating that if Becky loves herself for what she’s done, she’ll love what Charlotte’s going to do to her.
The fight between Becky and Charlotte was a quick one, the refs and security must’ve been warned by Paige to make sure things didn’t get out of hand. In the end, Becky was holding the ring as security got Charlotte into the back.
SmackDown Tag Division: The Bar got another chance to take the tag titles off of New Day and join the 5 Time Champs club and they seized on it, with a big amount of help.
The match itself was pretty good, as expected, but New Day had the numbers advantage, as usual. The real surprise came when Big Show came out during the match. No one knew what to expect, until Show chokeslammed Kofi Kingston, who was the odd man out in the New Day equation this week, through the announce table. The distraction was enough to let Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick on Big E, giving the Bar the win and we have NEW SmackDown Tag Team Champions! Congrats to The Bar!
WWE World Cup Qualifiers: With the RAW card for the World Cup finalized, SmackDown had two qualifiers of its own to fill out the card.
Match 1 – Miz vs Rusev: This really promised to be a great match. Both men were eager to make it to the World Cup finals. However, Adrian English, still smarting from his humiliation last week on SmackDown, was looking for revenge and he got it. With Miz’s help, English was able to distract Rusev enough to let Miz get the roll up win and advance to the World Cup. Rusev and Lana are furious! I have a feeling Rusev is going to make English regret this over and over again.
Match 2: Rey Mysterio vs Shinsuke Nakamura: After a three-year absence, the biggest little man in wrestling is back! Rey Mysterio made his triumphant return to the show that made him a WWE legend in a dream match against United States Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura.
The match was really good, if a little typical for a Rey Mysterio match, a lot of ducking, fading, and kicking to a much bigger opponent. However, Nakamura gave as good as he got, but Mysterio would hit his magic combination of 619 and Droppin’ Tha Dime to get the pinfall victory and advancement to the World Cup. Welcome back, Rey!
Truth TV: Truth TV is back!! Truth and Carmella started us off with a nice dance off and introduced their guest: The first General Manager of Smackdown, Stephanie McMahon. Before the interview could really get going, current Commissioner of SmackDown, Shane McMahon, who then introduced Vince. Vince wasn’t interested in the usual arguments that characterize anytime the McMahons get together, he wanted to dance.
NXT UK Championship: Pete Dunne, who is currently the longest reigning champion in WWE, took on Scottish Supernova, Noam Dar in an amazing Main event to bookend the first episode of NXT UK!
It was Dar’s birthday and he was looking for the best birthday gift of all, to become the man to take the UK Championship from Pete Dunne, but Dunne wasn’t in the mood to cooperate with that little plan.
The match was amazing, both men seemed determined to end the pilot episode of NXT UK on a big note and they succeeded. The crowd was firmly behind Dunne, but both men got plenty of respect from the crowd.
Dunne would pick up the victory after hitting the Bitter End on Dar. The crowd loves it and we get a great moment to end the first episode of NXT UK.
NXT UK Women’s Division: The Gold Coast Rock n Roller, Toni Storm took on Nina Samuels. As of the time this show was taped, NXT UK didn’t have a women’s champion, but it’s clear that these ladies aren’t strangers, and each is jockeying to put herself on top of the fledgling women’s division.
Toni was clearly the fan favorite, but she had her hands full with Samuels, who was a great wrestler in her own right.
Samuels dominated much of the match, but Storm proved that she was nothing if not tough. She took the best that Storm could throw at her before finally hitting a Storm Zero to pick up the pinfall.
Mark Andrews vs Joe Coffey (with Mark Coffey): The Coffey brothers made quite an impression during the last UK Championship Tournament back in the spring, beating up several superstars, including Andrews.
The match was a great showcase for British Strong Style, which is a lot stiffer looking than the US Style. Andrews and Coffey took each other to the limit, but Coffey would eventually prevail with a little assist from his brother. However, the Coffeys aren’t satisfied with the win, they attack Andrews some more, which brings out Flash Morgan Webster, who sticks out like a sore thumb. Very…flashily dressed compared to the stock trunks and boots favored by most of the UK competitors, or at least the ones that I’ve seen.
Anyway, Webster comes to Andrews’ rescue and chases away the Coffeys. It looks like our first tag team feud just got started.
Dave Mastiff vs Sid Scala: Dave Mastiff certainly lives up to his name, he’s a BIG dude, even on TV and Sid Scala didn’t have a prayer, though God knows he tried.
Mercifully, this was quick. Mastiff made quick work of Scala, putting the hapless young chap away with a cannonball for the win.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy wasn’t in action, but he was full of confidence as his buddy, Tony Nese, will be facing four other superstars in a Fatal Five Way. Murphy and Nese promise that the competitors of 205 are going to find out that everything runs through them.
Hideo Itami vs Mustafa Ali: Next week will be the Fall Count Anywhere match, which should put an end to this feud, though I hope not.
Itami sent out a dire warning: Ali should’ve walked away when he had the chance and showed Itami the respect he deserved. Since he wouldn’t, Itami vowed to end Ali’s career in the Falls Count Anywhere match.
Ali, for his part, showed no fear of Itami. Ali says that they’ve been on this road for a long time, but now it’s time for both of them to find new paths. Ali vows that this path has no twists and turns, just collision.
Drew Gulak (with Jack Gallagher) vs Akira Tozawa: Tozawa has already gotten his revenge on Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher for Gulak’s post-SummerSlam temper tantrum, now he looks to take a pound of flesh out of Drew Gulak.
The match was fast moving and rough. It honestly could’ve gone either way, but when Gallagher was caught trying to trip up Tozawa, the ref disqualified Gulak, giving Tozawa a moral victory, if nothing else.
Enraged, Gulak and Gallagher attacked Tozawa, even though it was Gallagher’s fault Gulak got disqualified. At this point, Kendrick runs out and chases Gulak and Gallagher away, much to the surprise of Tozawa. It looks like we’ve got a new team to counter Un-Gentlemen.
Fatal Five Way Match – Tony Nese vs Cedric Alexander vs Lio Rush vs Gran Metalik vs TJP: I’m going to be honest, I hate multi-man matches with no stakes involved, which is what this was. The goal was jockey for position and nothing more.
That issue aside, this was a really great match. Everyone really left it all in the ring and there was a great mix of high spots and wrestling. Ultimately, Tony Nese would pick up the win when it looked like Cedric Alexander. This means that Nese, ostensibly, should be first in line for a title shot against his friend, Buddy Murphy, leaving Alexander in the cold.
NXT Women’s Division: To say that Shayna Baszler has been in a bad mood since her loss to Kairi Sane at TakeOver: Brooklyn, would be putting it mildly. The Queen of Spades cannot accept that Kairi beat her by being the better woman, it has been easier for Baszler to believe that Sane got lucky. Needless to say, two months of stewing about it, and undergoing some rigorous new training, Baszler has developed an even bigger mean streak, that she put on display against Britt Baker. Baker put on a great effort, but Baszler’s nasty side was unleashed, causing the ref to stop the match and give Baszler the win. Not satisfied, Baszler attacked Baker again, just because she could.
For weeks, Nikki Cross has been dying to tell someone what she knew about the attack on Aleister Black, problem is that she hasn’t been as inclined to tell William Regal just what that secret was, and Regal’s getting tired of waiting.
Before she dealt with that, Nikki finally got her second round of ‘playtime’ with the EST of NXT, Bianca Belair. The last time these two met, it ended in a double countout, preserving Belair’s undefeated streak, but not adding to it either.
The rematch between Belair and Cross was as great as their first meeting. Both women were looking to put the other away in a definitive manner. Unfortunately, Nikki’s assertions that she knows who attacked Aleister Black had gotten around and just as Cross and Belair were recovering from a superplex, the light went out. When they came back on, Aleister Black was sitting across from Nikki. They need to talk.
NXT Tag Division: Undisputed Era faced the War Machine in an incredible match put together by William Regal after the Undisputed Era made the mistake of insulting the NXT General Manager.
This match was odd. The War Machine are humongous and have been a two-man wrecking crew worthy of the Road Warrior, but they somehow couldn’t put Strong and O’Reilly away. Just when it FINALLY seemed that the Machine had the titles in the bag, they were attacked by the returning Bobby Fish, giving the War Machine a Disqualification win, but not the titles. To add insult to injury, Fish continued to attack Hanson, and then Rowe with a chair.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch have been on a tear since returning to NXT a few weeks ago. This week, they took on Tian Bing and Rocky.
This was a quick one. Bing and Rocky put up a heck of a fight, but the Bald Brawlers have been on a tear since their return and Bing and Rocky were just in their way. They quickly put Rocky way with a DDT and got the pinfall. I think it’s safe to say that Undisputed Era needs to be VERY worried about these two.
Aleister Black Mystery: Nikki Cross finally spilled her secret…to Aleister Black. Black interrupted Cross’ match with Bianca Belair and demanded to know what Nikki’s secret was. Nikki whispered the secret into Black’s ear and cleared out as Black looked angrier than he had after Gargano cost him the title.
RAW: Dean having a problem with being called ‘Lunatic’ isn’t new, but it’s very interesting to see it addressed. My theory is that the ‘Lunatic Fringe’ name is linked to goofy, funny Ambrose, and that character is gone.
I’m not a fan of everyone throwing Nikki’s past relationship with Cena in her face. Also, I love Ronda, but I was out of her promo after ‘eviscerated like smallpox’. It made her sound incredibly stupid.
Welcome back Tamina! The exchange between Tamina and Nia was interesting.
Dana Brooke has improved so much, I really hope she wins this battle royal.
The implosion of the Dogs of War was interesting.
Welcome back, Sasha! RAW hasn’t been the same without the Boss!
SmackDown: The McMahons should never try to dance like Truth and Carmella again.
I was surprised to see Styles and Bryan lose, but it progressed their story.
Rusev/Miz did more for the Rusev/English story than anything else.
Adding the Evolution stable to SmackDown caused a lot of confusion since that stable was never on SmackDown, but it gave us the seeds of Batista/Triple H.
The Bar are FINALLY champions!!!
Becky and Charlotte on The Cutting Edge was fantastic!
Kudos to WWE for including at least one picture of Eddie Guerrero in every montage and all the tributes and nods. Eddie’s run on SmackDown was only three years, but he made such a huge impact on the show during the first Brand Extension.
NXT UK: I’m pretty intrigued by what I saw of NXT UK so far. The British style is so different from the US style, it looks like bare knuckle boxing and fighting.
I like the effect of having things shake when Mastiff comes out.
I like that we’re building towards the NXT Women’s Championship.
205 Live: I’m not a fan of Alexander not getting his rematch right away and having to earn the shot. I get that they want to make 205 more competitive, but Alexander’s rematch is in his contract.
I love watching Akira Tozawa get some revenge on the Party of Gulak and that the Kendrick storyline is being continued. That suicide headbutt of Tozawa’s scares me.
I’m intrigued by the storyline of Alexander being on a losing streak after he was so dominant for most of 2018.
NXT: That tag match hurt War Machine more than anything. They should’ve torn the Undisputed Era apart.
I feel bad that Britt Baker was fed to Shayna Baszler because she’s a really great talent.
I’m guessing that Oney and Lorcan will be the ones to take the tag titles away from Undisputed Era.
I’m not a fan of NXT’s version of War Games, I like the original War Games concept too much.
Black and Cross is magic!
Mae Young Classic: I honestly thought Lane/Satomura was going to be a squash, but Lacey really proved herself. Hope she sticks around.
I feel bad for Deonna Purrazzo. Would have loved to see her vs Toni Storm.
Poor Tegan Nox. The fact that she kept fighting is a testament to how badly she wanted this opportunity. Hopefully, she’ll be back before too long. I’m guessing she’ll be a surprise entrant in the 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble.
Yim vs Storm wasn’t the barn burner I was expecting, but it was still really good. Toni Storm also acts like she’s not sure what’s going on.
Can we talk about how WWE Evolution is supposed be about the empowered women of WWE, yet a promo for the main event match had the RAW Women’s Champion saying that her opponent, who worked very hard, came back from a career-threatening injury, and has become a successful entrepreneur, slept her way to the top? Seriously? You don’t have to like the Bellas, but to say that Nikki Bella didn’t work her ass off to get where she is because she was dating Cena is nonsense.
I’ve been seeing some criticism of the reactions of Naomi, Lana, Peyton, and Carmella to the announcement that they were going to be in a battle royal at Evolution. Just going by WWE’s MO of telling people things and reading between the lines, it sounds like the ladies of SmackDown thought they were going to be doing something else at Evolution and only found out about the battle royal when the rest of us did. It’s not entitlement to feel disappointed that you’re not being given a better spot on a show that your hard work helped make possible, it’s a human reaction.
If people really want WWE to cancel Crown Jewel and take a big financial loss, that puts superstar jobs on the line, they need to do more than just complain. Start a GoFundMe or petition their congressmen to offer to pay WWE back whatever they stand to lose by breaking the Saudi contract, otherwise, shush.
That’s it for WWE Week in Review! I’ll be back next week with all the happenings of WWE as well as Evolution results. Have a great week and be good to each other!