With the return of the Samoan Sex Machine and WWE Fastlane in the horizon; how do the shows match up?
Returns galore, twists and turns…WWE definitely gave everyone stuff to work with. Now even though both shows have a solid amount of talking points, that doesn’t mean they were both great, or even good.
Time to see what happened.
- Ricochet & Aleister Black vs The Revival: Aleister wins via Black Mass – *
- Ronda Rousey & Natalya vs Sarah Logan & Ruby Riott: No…contest? – * ½
- Jinder Mahal vs Kurt Angle: Angle wins via Ankle Lock – *
- Intercontinental Championship Match: Finn Balor (c) vs Lio Rush: Balor retains via Coup de Grace – ** ¼
- No DQ Match: Drew McIntyre vs Dean Ambrose: McIntyre wins via Claymore – **
- Bayley vs Nia Jax: Bayley wins via Flying Elbow Drop – * ½
So we kick off with Roman Reigns giving his update. The crowd showers him with love, you can tell his touched by the moment, so yes, maybe it runs a little long, maybe he gets a little too in love with biblical imagery, but it was a great feel good moment. He announces the Leukemia is in remission and he’s back! Funny note there was a brief swell of boos, but they were quickly stopped, and Roman noticed and kinda smirked at the situation. Great way to kick things off with the Samoan Sex Machine!
The first actual match, gets like no time and is even interrupted by commercial. Then to boot, you have the still new tag team champions, lose for a second week in a row to call ups. Yes you’re trying to make the new guys look strong, but making your champions look inept isn’t the way to go.
Corbin says something about his job as GM and being an active wrestler was more stressful than cancer. I mean I guess this was an attempt at douchebag cheap heat, but we need to care what Corbin says to react…and we don’t.
Elias! And he’s still being interrupted immediately, firstly it’s Lacey Evans, so that’s okay. She’s a snack and I’m just curious where this is going, but I still have hope for Lacey on the main roster. THEN – Dean Ambrose comes out, starts requesting songs and ends with a request for Dirty Deeds. One telegraphed spot later, he hits Elias with Dirty Deeds and walks off.
Now we get a women’s tag that actually doesn’t matter. Riott Squad are positioned as a joke, Ruby has no chance against Ronda, and this was just an avenue to get to Becky showing up. The odd thing I’ve noticed about a lot of matches involving Natalya are, well, how they just end. Ronda was in position to get a pinfall win after Piper’s Pit, but when Becky shows up, things just fall apart. I’m not sure if this is officially a No Contest or DQ in favor of the Ronda team, but as a match it was a dumb ending.
Hell even the scuffle was awkward. It looks like Ronda took the crutch from Becky and then gave it back to her, and there wasn’t the right level of heat. Sure the fact that it was more security, agents and cops keeping Becky at bay, opposed to the usual pile of mid carders holding both back, was different. But it still wasn’t great. Then Ronda stamping her feet to reinstate Becky, no immediately getting her way, dropping the belt at Stephanie’s feet and stomping off…was…immature. What was supposed to be a significant moment of a meal ticket walking off, turned into a super fake ‘arrest’ and a temper tantrum.
Jinder is mad he wasn’t invited to Ric Flair’s birthday. So he sends out an open challenge to anyone who was invited. REALLY?! REALLY?! REALLY?! What the f– nope…just nope. This is stupid, premise is dumb, of course Angle wins, this made me lose brain cells, I’m sure of it.
Moment of Bliss! Surely we have no reason to assume this will get ruined like every other one since the inception of the show! Alexa tells Finn he shouldn’t wear the belt around his waist, and to show his abs. She says if he shows his abs, she’ll show him her – LIO RUSH! Yup, to no one’s surprise, and only many male fans’ broken fantasies of what she was going to say. Yadda yadda yadda – Finn says you lost the match, you should try to win it back for yourself or something. Alexa makes the match happen right now, cause apparently she can’t get an uninterrupted show, but she can make matches.
The match itself was alright, but there’s problems with that. Lio has already proven in the past to be no match for Finn, so even taking advantage of an injured leg, shouldn’t make the match this close. Plus, we all knew there was no chance in hell that Lio wins this match. So suspension of disbelief was a severe detriment. So ring work was probably a little higher than the final rating, but the overall package of the match is what sank the rating.
Heavy Machinery are working with the Wasteland Job Squad. This is dumb as well…so I’ve got nothing.
Strowman and Lashley are supposed to have a match, but Lashley tries to get an early jump, Braun eventually gets his bearings and then runs everyone over and just leaves – content with his work. What?
As for the match, the most entertaining part was listening to Renee yell bias commentary and things like “MOVE!” when Dean was about to get run over. Elias interfered as pay back for earlier, Drew wins, then Lashley and Corbin show up. BUT WAIT! Rollins actually comes out this week and Roman follows him to the ring. Superman Punches for everyone and even one spear, as the crowd pops huge for the save…but mostly Roman.
Nia is painful in the ring. Oddly though she wasn’t as bad as usual in this match, save for one Sunset Flip Sitdown, that she aimed forward, so it looked like Bayley didn’t even need to move. But this match just kinda happened. Bayley picks up the win with the Flying Elbow, so I’m guessing Sasha loses next week to Tamina to set up an event playing field going into Fastlane.
Ric Flair’s birthday celebration is the main event! A nice video package plays after legends like Ricky Steamboat and Sting enter the ring, awaiting Ric. When Ric doesn’t come out, we see Batista dragging a camera man to a dressing room and then he drags Ric out by his suit jacket. Basically asks Hunter if he has his attention now, and that was all that needed to be said. Trips ran to the back to check on Flair and Batista was gone.
Overall Score: 5/10
Aside from the feel good moment to open the show and the actually cool/interesting ending, I don’t get the positive response for this show. On a whole we didn’t get any stories moving forward. Ronda/Becky isn’t forward movement, it’s awkward lateral movement. Sure maybe the obvious foreshadowing to a Shield match could be there, but it wasn’t built by this show. The in-ring work was lacking. So really it was a show of 2 segments.
Hell I was going to give it a 4.5 if it wasn’t for my personal hatred of Lucha House Party, so a lack of their presence bumps it up a half point. (For backstory, listen to Raw Reaction)
SmackDown Live Ratings:
- Hardy Boyz vs The Bar: Hardys win via Swanton – ** ½
- United States Championship Triple Threat: R-Truth (c) vs Andrade vs Rey Mysterio – Truth wins via Roll-up – **
- Ricochet & Aleister Black vs Rusev & Nakamura: Black wins via Black Mass – *** ¼
- Kofi Kingston & Kevin Owens vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan: Owens wins via Stunner – *** 1/2
SmackDown Live Review:
We kick off with the contract signing and a video package showcasing all of Kofi’s accomplishments over the 11 years. Shane and Stephanie seem very happy with what they’re presenting, and right before Kofi can sign the contract, Vince’s music hits. Vince basically says Kofi has done well, but he’s not a big enough ‘box office’ name of Fastlane. FOR FASTLANE, the B Rated SyFy movie of a PPV. ANYWAY- he tells Kofi he’s out and inserts a returning Kevin Owens!
Kevin Owens talks to Shane and Steph in the back and says that Kofi is just as deserving, and he’d like to tag with him against Daniel and Rowan later. The McMahon’s grant the request.
AGAIN, another return! Even though they were expecting DIY, The Bar gets surprised by…the Hardy Boyz! Being in Carolina, it makes plenty of sense to have the Hardys back together. Solid match, signature Hardy stuff and Jeff ending the match with the Swanton is so 2002.
Aleister and Ricochet talk…not a strength of either of them. Let’s not do much of this WWE, kay?
R-Truth and Carmella head to the ring, so he can continue the tradition of his childhood hero John Cena, in doing US Open Challenges. Andrade answers first, but Mysterio’s music hits and he rushes down the ramp, bowling over Andrade and sliding in the ring first. Truth has a decision to make, Carmella tells him John Cena would take on both. Truth initially doesn’t like the idea, but decides if his hero would do it, so can he.
Charlotte talks, I have to go wash dishes as to not slip into a coma. Mushmouth from Fat Albert cuts a better promo than Charlotte.
So then we get the tag team match of two fairly new teams. Ric and Aleister versus Rusev and Nakamura. This wasn’t a bad match, quite competitive and had decent moments where you could buy in to the NXT team losing. One of the highlights was Rusev berating both Ricochet and Aleister with calling them rookies. Rusev really commits to the gimmick and I appreciate that. Nakamura eats the Black Mass and the pin, which I suppose is alright. But at some point it would be nice to see main roster guys get a win over the NXT guys. Especially a throw together team.
The main event happens, and delivers well. Kofi continues his saga of being the good employee, just like they were getting across with the past 11 years. Hell, even Owens stayed true to the concept of not being a bad guy. He tagged himself in for hot tags, tagged out to Kofi and even after the match seemed to maybe have on of those “If I win you’re first up” kind of conversations. So seeing what Owens does in the coming weeks should be interesting.
Overall Score: 8/10
See now this show moved stories along well. Everything mattered, hell there was even a backstage interaction with AJ Styles and Orton that will probably lead to match. They continued the feud with Andrade and Rey, all while adding a logical wrinkle. The whole shake up with Kofi sent the IWC into a tizzy. So yeah, this was a great episode, did so much better with the time it’s allotted than Raw.
Greg DeMarco: Box Office Brock Lesnar And The New WWE
After a hard-hitting WWE Money In The Bank, Greg DeMarco offers perspective on Brock Lesnar winning the Money In The Bank briefcase and the obvious shift in the WWE product & presentation.
I know you read that headline and wondered what in the hell I was smoking. Brock Lesnar leaves Hartford with the Money In The Bank briefcase, and I’m calling it a new WWE? I have to be insane, right? Well, that perspective is 100% wrong. (I mean…I may be insane–but not for that reason!) WWE Money In The Bank was shock and awe from start to finish, and you have every reason to be excited. The reactions I am seeing prove that the online community doesn’t want to enjoy WWE. Hopefully, for me, some mainstream fans will read this article too!
Box Office Brock Lesnar
I know what you’re thinking…same ol’ sh*t, right? I can’t say I agree. On the technicality side, Brock Lesnar has never held the Money In The Bank briefcase, so it’s wrong there. But I get it, you’re tired of seeing Brock on top. The truth of it is, he’s Box Office. And WWE needs box office.
What is “Box Office,” exactly? It’s the ability to get fans to spend money, which is how WWE makes money. Brock Lesnar sells the WWE product–to fans, to viewers, to advertisers, and to networks. Wrestling Twitter is a vocal minority, and appeasing them got WWE nowhere with WrestleMania 35, or as I was calling it for the months leading up to it, “HappyMania.” Brock is back, and I think it’s fantastic.
Disagree with me? Great, but the sold out crowd in Hartford blew the roof off the joint when his music hit, so they obviously agree. Brock will likely cash-in in advance, proclaiming his championship opportunity for WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on June 7. Then we get to give the briefcases a rest, as we continue to shuffle the rosters up and use fun words like Wild Card (bitches…yeehaw!).
One prevailing thought I have seen is that the other seven guys in the match busted their asses for no payoff. I can’t agree with that either–their payoff is a paycheck. They’re businessmen. Those who complain about how they are booked don’t get the business. And as All Elite Wrestling is proving, they don’t take too kindly to people complaining about booking, either.
A New WWE?
I know a lot of people don’t see it, because they’re too worried about booking. But the WWE product shifted tonight. And as dangerous as it is, I hope it sticks.
The product got way more physical at WWE Money In The Bank–way more physical. It started with the Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match, which in reality doesn’t need a gender specific distinction. Money In The Bank describes both ladder matches tonight, as both delivered in both brutality and story. Everyone put their bodies through hell during those matches, and they deserve to be praised.
But it didn’t end there:
- Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe…brutality.
- Shane McMahon vs. The Miz…brutality.
- Tony Nese vs. Ariya Daivari…brutality.
- The entire segment with the Women’s Championships…brutality.
- Roman Reigns vs. Elias…brutality.
- Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles…brutality.
- Lars Sullivan and The Lucha House Party…brutality.
- Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens…say it with me…brutality.
Sense a theme, here? WWE provided a more physical product, and did things that make sense. Yes, there were botches that everyone wants to blame on the refs. In each instance, it appeared to me that the talent messed up, and the commentators covered by blaming the officiating. And that makes sense to me. You didn’t think they were going to blame the wrestlers, did you?
It’s really funny that this comes after AEW reveals that they’ll present a more realistic, athletic oriented product after the onset of their TV deal. It’s probably the single bad move they’ve made (okay, maybe second to the whole PAC/Page ordeal), announcing their plans to the world and giving WWE a heads up on what’s coming so they can beat AEW to it.
Seriously, it’s like they went “Here’s our formula!” without even realizing WWE had a high profile PPV to air 6-days before Double Or Nothing. C’mon guys… #UseYourHead.
At the end, it looks WWE is going back to what works for them: giving the fans what they need, and not what they want. Imagine going to the doctor and misdiagnosing yourself. Would you rather the doctor provides you with what you want and now what you need? You’d sue that doctor for malpractice! It’s getting to be that same way with WWE. Prescribe to us what we need, Vince. Even if we don’t like the taste when it goes down, it’s for the best in the end.
Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 5/19/2019
Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!
Best of Super Juniors 26 and Money in the Bank are the big things this week. Let’s see what matches made the cut, and if there were any surprises!
Last week was an interesting week since it wasn’t a normal Top 5 and we had two Sami Callihan matches. When it came down to it though, IMPACT: oVe Rules 8 Man: oVe vs Tommy Dreamer vs Fallah Bahh vs Rich Swann vs Willie Mack, won the vote for the week. I’m always a happy when less popular matches or companies get a fair shake in the rundown.
Either way, let’s see exactly how much New Japan shows up and if anything from Money in the Bank was worth a watch!
5. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Ryusuke Taguchi vs YOH
Taguchi has been having a crisis of character so to speak. He’s become more of a comedy wrestler who’s history doesn’t really inject respect or fear into his opponents. YOH is up and coming, and was trained by Taguchi in the New Japan Dojo. So YOH is trying to establish himself beyond the tag realm and Taguchi is trying to refind himself.
We saw an interesting match. Taguchi showed a little of both worlds from comedy to more of his extensive moveset. YOH was a walking reference to older wrestlers; he even mastered the Paradise Lock apparently. Taguchi picks up the win with the variation of the Dodon that he used to remove Prince Devitt from New Japan. Very good match.
Winner: Taguchi via Dodon’s Throne
4. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Will Ospreay vs Rocky Romero
This was a little similar to the earlier Taguchi match. Rocky had something to prove. CHAOS members, and Rocky is perceived as being past his prime, but he wanted to prove he can still hang. It’s been 3 years since his last BOSJ, how does the most decorated Junior Tag wrestler fair against the Aerial Assassin?
We got a great match. Rocky had numerous hope spots, hit the Forever Lariats, his half of Strong Zero and reversed the Stormbreaker first attempt into a legit Huricanrana. Ospreay turned out too be just a little too big, a little too athletic and a Shooting Star Press followed by a Stormbreaker ends this great match. Very good.
Winner: Ospreay via Stormbringer
Rating: **** 1/4
3. IMPACT: Michael Elgin vs Rich Swann
From My Analysis:
So damn this main event went 2 commercial breaks, but it was really solid. Swann wouldn’t stay down and even had great hope spots. A Super Frankensteiner countering the Avalanche Powerbomb, Lethal Injection, 450, but Elgin kicked out. Swann tried a top rope Phoenix Splash, and missed. Elgin hits Splash Mountain, and Rich kicks out. Elgin rolls to the outside, catches Rich and repeatedly Powerbombs him into the post. Kid Ref tries to get the match back in the ring, Elgin pushes Kid Ref and Powerbombs Swann again for posterity. Kid Ref calls for the DQ and then runs for his life. This was a great match, the “non-finish” is rather annoying coming out of a roughly 25 minute match. But love him or hate him, Elgin can wrestle.
Winner: Swann via DQ
Rating: **** 1/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 3: Dragon Lee vs SHO
Winner: Dragon Lee via Desnucadora
WWE MiTB: Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Drew McIntyre vs Baron Corbin vs Finn Balor vs Ricochet vs Andrade vs Randy Orton vs Ali vs Brock Lesnar
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: Dragon Lee vs Taiji Ishimori
Winner: Ishimori via Bloody Cross
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE MitB: WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs Kevin Owens
Winner: Kofi via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT UK: Ligero vs Jordan Devlin
Winner: Devlin via Snap Saito Suplex
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: Robbie Eagles vs Rocky Romero
Winner: Eagles via Ron Miller Special
SmackDown Live: Randy Orton vs Finn Balor vs Andrade vs Ali
Winner: Andrade via Hammerlock DDT
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 2: El Phantasmo vs Bandido
Winner: Phantsmo via Greetings from Chasewood Park
205 Live: Tony Nese vs Ligero
Winner: Nese via Running Kneese
WWE Raw: Fall Count Anywhere: Braun Strowman vs Sami Zayn
Winner: Zayn via Claymore
NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 4: Ren Narita vs Robbie Eagles
Winner: Eagles via Turbo Backpack
WWE MitB: The Usos vs Rowan & Daniel Bryan
Winner: Usos via Double Uce
2. WWE MitB: Universal Championship: AJ Styles vs Seth Rollins (c)
Snippet from Mitchell’s Coverage:
Now it’s Rollins who has to come up with something else to put Styles away. Fans rally up as Rollins stands. Rollins still has the tried and true, “Burn It Down!” He mule kicks then runs, but Styles dodges to roll Rollins to a Calf Crusher! Rollins endures but Styles cranks back hard! Rollins rolls it back and kicks Styles away! His leg is free but it is hurting! Styles crawls away but Rollins pursues. Styles hops up, moonsault DDT! Cover, TWO!! Rollins escapes with one good leg! Styles gets back up and waits for Rollins. Rollins stands and SUPERKICKS Styles down! Both men are down again, but fans rally and duel again. Styles and Rollins crawl for each other to start throwing hands! Rollins hits, Styles hits, repeat. Rollins CHOPS but Styles punches again.
Fans duel, Styles goes for the Phenomenal Blitz, but Rollins dodges to enziguri! And dodges the Pele! Mule kick! Curb Stomp countered! STYLES CLASH!! Cover, TWO!?! Rollins survives THE Styles Clash?! No one can believe it, but the fans are loving it! Styles grits his teeth as Rollins starts sitting up. Styles goes to the apron, takes aim and springboards. Phenomenal misses! Revolution Knee hits! And then, SUPERKICK! Styles is on his face, but Rollins gets back up! CURB STOMP!! Rollins put so much into that, he has to crawl to a cover! Rollins wins!!
Winner: Rollins via The Stomp
Rating: **** 1/4
1. NJPW BOSJ 26 Night 1: SHO vs Shingo Takagi
This match has had a great build all year. SHO is the power of Roppongi 3k, and throughout the LIJ and Roppongi feud for the Junior Tag Titles, we always saw SHO try to go at Shingo. Shingo called him out a little and this is a great rivalry. SHO has something to prove, but Shingo doesn’t want to be upstaged by someone who was a Young Boy only a few years ago.
We saw the story unfold beautifully. Shingo dominated early, until SHO fired up and showed he wasn’t just going to roll over. As the match progressed SHO started to anticipate Shingo’s moves and stay a step ahead. Both men hit all of their signature moves, and neither wanted to really budge. This was just so well done, and more of a heavyweight style because they are both bigger Juniors. Shingo edged out SHO by hitting Last of the Dragons after numerous Pumping Bombers. But damn this was great.
Winner: Shingo via Last of the Dragons
Rating: **** 1/2
Shingo and SHO, there is no other answer. This has been a feud that started at the end of last year and persisted through the entire year so far. Long term booking is always fun, and when both men put on a great story telling match, it’s even better. Plus there’s no guarantee it’s over since SHO still has to surpass Shingo to feel completed.
Don’t sleep on Ospreay and Romero though, that was a great match, just didn’t quite match up to SHO and Shingo.