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.