Back on the course of regularly scheduled programming, Andrew brings us the Ratings & Review of WWE Raw and SmackDown Live!
Well with these being ‘Go Home’ shows for Elimination Chamber or WWE in general, I come into these shows…let’s say…pensively.
Raw always tends to be the bigger unknown of these two. But the fact that SmackDown was a little flat last week, let’s just hope that was a hiccup and not a trend.
Let’s get to the shows!
- Sasha Banks & Bayley vs Nia Jax & Tamina vs Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan: Nia Jax wins via Samoan Drop – **
- Finn Balor vs Drew McIntyre: Balor wins via DQ – *
- Finn Balor, Kurt Angle & Braun Strowman vs Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley & Baron Corbin: Balor wins via Coup de Grace after restart – ** 1/4
- Ruby Riott vs Nikki Cross: Riott wins via Riott Kick – * 1/2
- EC3 vs Dean Ambrose: Ambrose wins via Cradle – 1/2
- Raw Tag Team Title Match: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) vs The Revival: Revival win via Shatter Machine – **** – TITLE CHANGE!!!
Stephanie and Trips start off the show talking, yay. Becky comes out since she saw a doctor, they say she’s cleared, but if she wants her spot she needs to apologize for last week. So the whole show is based around an apology and if Steph and Trips will screw her somehow. Hooray, “The Decision WWE Style” – ugh.
Conceptually the match is dumb since it punishes getting tagged in, but the women all played within the confines of the rules well. Forced tags on opposing teams and heels purposefully dropping off the ring apron, were all good. Sasha manages to get hurt again, so Bayley is alone again. She tags out to the Riott Squad at some point and that gives her a break. When Bayley does come back in, she shows good fire, a little bit of aggression, and overall a much needed layer to the character. But the numbers are too much, Nia Samoan Drops her and Bayley & Sasha are now one of the first two teams to wrestle in the Chamber match.
Now we get the beginning of making Raw look kind of amateurish. Elias starts his Hello, they cut to Becky Lynch talking to Finn, then he starts it again and they cut to a video package for Seth Rollins. Back to Elias a third time, visibly frustrated, tries to start again and the Lucha House Party interrupts. The most directionless, pile of crap group in WWE is the payoff, of a bad joke, in which the crowd is dead. No one cares, even Elias can’t make them care. Kalisto eats a guitar and Elias bails. This was a waste of time, but I guess Elias will be in a meaningless midcard angle with the Lucha morons. Yippee.
Lashley and Lio are ringside for the Finn versus Drew match. Writing clearly on the wall, Lashley interferes to DQ Drew, but they beat on Finn. Angle shows up, Corbin lays out Angle, Braun comes out. 6 man match of mediocrity, punctuated by an idiotic use of the in-ring ref missing a foot on the ropes, but a backstage ref corrected him and they restarted the match. THE REVIVAL LITERALLY HAVE BEEN SCREWED BY THIS A FEW WEEKS AGO! ALONG WITH NUMEROUS TECHNICALITIES THAT CAN BE OVERTURNED WITH REPLAY! -breathes- The selective application of things is very WWE, yes we all know the saying ” nothing matters, unless it does”. But the Revival being on the show later just adds to the idiocy of this bit.
Kevin Owens is back next month, yay!
Cross and Ruby was so unimportant, they interrupted the match for a backstage segment with Ronda. Can’t even pretend like the women in the ring have a shot, gonna overshadow them completely for talking. Suuure.
Rollins gives some kind of typical speech, Heyman comes out, gives a typical Heyman promo. I don’t care. Rollins will probably beat Lesnar, just cause someone has to. But I’m not looking forward to that reign at all.
Ambrose comes out while Rollins is in the ring, tells Rollins to beat the beast, and immediately babyfaces himself and repairs the bridge a little in case he doesn’t leave after Mania, or returns at some point. As for the EC3 match, I gave it half a star, it did nothing, it wasn’t good, Ambrose won with an awkward cradle.
The Revival, Roode and Gable put on a hell of a match. Gable’s speed and athleticism to crank the gears, Revival’s ability to put on solid, masterful tag team matches is great, and Roode is also a decorated tag wrestler, playing his role very well. This was such a pleasure on a show that would’ve been kinda bad up to this point. So congratulations to the new champions!
Now the main event talking segment was done well. Becky apologized half heartedly, Trips and Steph didn’t screw her, said she’s getting her match. Ronda comes out happy that the match is going to happen because she wants it as well. HOWEVER – Vinny Mac shows up, says he’s THE MAN, and Becky is suspended for 60 days and Charlotte is his choice to take her spot and take the title from Ronda. Yes, many of us saw this coming one way or the other, but the framing of this is great. It frames Becky as the underdog, Ronda as the fighting champion who wanted her face off with Ronda and Charlotte as the corporate face of disdain. So after 2 weeks of Ronda getting booed to frustration, Ronda is now babyfaced since she is framed to be “pro Becky”. So if Ronda plays a part in getting Becky back into the match, I won’t be surprised.
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Honestly, the last two bits, the tag match and the Becky, Vince, Charlotte segment made this show a little better than average. It dragged and was downright awful or dumb looking at times. But they had a great wrestling match, where the deserving team finally won. As well as giving more depth and breathing time to their main storyline. At least they’re doing the big ticket stuff well.
SmackDown Live Ratings:
- Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose vs Carmella & Naomi vs The IIconics – Naomi wins via Thicc-Legged Moonsault – **
- Chamber Gauntlet Match:
- Daniel Bryan vs Kofi Kingston: Kofi wins via Trouble in Paradise
- Kofi Kingston vs Jeff Hardy: Kofi wins via S.O.S.
- Kofi Kingston vs Samoa Joe: Kofi wins via Sleeper Hold Counter Pin
- Kofi Kingston vs AJ Styles: Styles wins via Calf Crusher
- AJ Styles vs Randy Orton: Orton wins via RKO – **** 1/4
Video package review of how Raw signed off Monday, followed by Charlotte in the ring. Gives a solid nasty bitch heel promo, plays well to the crowd for the heat. I’ve never really been a fan of how Charlotte gives promos, but this was actually pretty solid. The “point to the sign and chant Becky” line came off awkward, but still not terrible.
The same as Raw, Triple Threat, loser is first to fight in the chamber match! Peyton starts off with Carmella and immediately tags Mandy. The IIconics did the perfect thing in this match for heels, they never got in the match. They literally dropped off the apron and ran away from confrontation at times. Naomi pins Mandy with the Thicc-Legged Moonsault and the former Absolution duo will start off against Sasha and Bayley. IIconics ambush the other teams after the bell to stand and look strong, after not being involved in the match. Clever girls…
Mustafa Ali video saying his injured but he’ll get even.
McMiz TV, Shane will be on NCIS:LA, Miz is acting super happy and babyface. The fact that Miz is just happy and loses the snarky douche persona is refreshing and nearly cute. He literally seems ecstatic in this angle with Shane, so if they lose at Chamber and break apart, I kinda hope Shane turns on Miz, keeping Miz more of the babyface/fan support side of the feud. Usos dominate the promo aspect, though Miz and Shane have a great moment when they were trying to prove they knew each other as well as Jimmy and Jey. Usos just weren’t having their shit and Superkick them and leave them laying.
Now comes the gauntlet and the New Day reveal of who they’re picking as the fill in for Mustafa. Kofi and Daniel Bryan start things off, and this alone was a solid match. Now it did great things by showing Daniel is vulnerable without help. New Day got banished, Rowan did as well, and in his scrambling to try and win quickly, Bryan gets caught by a Trouble in Paradise, Kofi gets the pinfall. Jeff Hardy comes out and immediately tries to throw some of his bigger signature moves on an already weakened opponent. Hardy misses a lot, and then gets caught in the S.O.S. Now with Joe coming out at 3, most of us probably saw this going the same way as Rollins from last year, and here’s where the plucky workhorse loses, but nay! Kofi manages to reverse the Sleeper Hold into a pin. Joe being the angry man he is, sinks in the Coquina Clutch after the loss, so AJ has to break it up. Now AJ does what Cena didn’t do well last year. Trying to play the whole ” You don’t need to continue, you’re hurt, just stop” angle. AJ showed real concern cause he helped him back into the ring and seemed sincere. Kofi got fired up and what we saw wasn’t bad at all. Kofi versus AJ could definitely be a good number 1 contender match, maybe at Fastlane or Mania. AJ catches Kofi with the Calf Crusher, and awaits Randy Orton. As the crowd gives Kofi the standing ovation, Randy flies in from off camera and hits and RKO out of nowhere for the 1-2-3, right at 10 eastern. Perfect punctuation. Yes a couple spots here or there were a little sloppy, but generally speaking this was a great match. Maybe even better than last year’s Raw gauntlet.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
When a gauntlet takes up an entire hour, it doesn’t allow for many talking points, but yeah, that was great. Fantastic story telling, legitimizing Kofi, Kofi showing the hunger to be champion after 11 years during his stand off with Styles. It’s all great. And of course, Orton out of nowhere is always magic. Damn good show, not a ton of storyline beats, but everything it did do, moved things along nicely.
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.