Greg DeMarco has the fastest finger in the west–on the FAST FORWARD button! How much of WWE Smackdown did he breeze through this time?
The experiment continies! What happens this week when Smackdown goes…yellow? The NXT 4 hits the blue brand this time around.
Shane McMahon enters!
- FAST FORWARD the video package
- Shane needs a haircut.
- This was a good segment, except Miz and Shane aren’t cool.
- ANOTHER INTERRUPTION!
FAST FORWARD the entrance and the commercials
Aleister Black vs. ANDRADE! (with Zelina GAWDDAMM Vega)
- Notice they’re still using the NXT graphics
- FAST FORWARD the video package
- Accompanied by Aleister Black’s wife…ANDRADE!
- Great start, but now it’s COMMERCIAL TIME!
- It’s cool that we get to see the action during commercials, but you know nothing major will happen. FAST FORWARD!
- This pairing could main event WrestleMania 38. Let’s make it happen!
KAYLA BRAXTON interviews Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano
- Two guys are talking but it doesn’t matter BECAUSE KAYLA BRAXTON
- Cesaro did far too much talking here. And he kicked out Kayla!
FAST FORWARD entrances and commercials
The Bar vs. Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano
- Notice that we have had “heel vs. heel” tag matches two nights in a row
- Oh, btw, faces and heels no longer exist
- FAST FORWARD the commercials
- Ciampa and Gargano look really small against The Bar
- And it was basically a fluke win for DIY
FAST FORWARD promo package and entrances
Asuka vs. Mandy Rose
- But first…KAYLA BRAXTON!
- This is just a reminder of why Asuka shouldn’t promo–can we please get Mandy out here!
- YES! MANDY IS HERE! BLURRY SONYA!
- Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Mandy is talking.
- Mandy’s been taking promo lessons from The Miz, eh?
- How dare Lacey Evans interrupt a Mandy Rose match?!?!
- FAST FORWARD the commercials
- Mandy throws a better V-Trigger than Kenny Omega
- I think Sonya missed a spot there
- It doesn’t matter, because MANDY WINS!
FAST FORWARD replays, videos, and entrances
Ricochet vs. Eric Young
- SAnitY got booked? Woohoo! Too bad it’s against an NXT guy–they’re a surer bet than Ruthless Aggression era John Cena.
- We could probably play a fun game of “Where has SAnitY been hiding?”
- Another good showing for Ricochet, and it was good to see Eric Young, nothing to be critical of here.
- And Ricochet ends with his Mr. Kennedy impersonation
- Yeah The New Day was there, too.
FAST FORWARD all sorts of stuff
Kofi Kingston, AJ Styles, & Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, & WWE Champion The New Daniel Bryan
- Kofi is part of a trio, but doesn’t team with his partners.
- FAST FORWARD more commercials
- The action was good, but this was all about Kofi.
- And Kofi gets the pin!
- And Kofi gets the title shot!
- Basically, this was the Kofi Kingston show.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re done.
Timestamp: 1:07:48 (Real time: 2:00:00)
Time saved: 52:12
Overall: Good show, better than Raw, but still an odd pace. Let’s see what happens next week.
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (3/18/19)
Who delivered the biggest performances of the night on Raw?
Greg DeMarco brings the Three Stars of The Night back with the March 18 episode of WWE Raw from Chicago!
Raw was live from Chicago, on the Road To WrestleMania, and it seemed like the perfect night to revive the Three Stars! I mean, it’s a mega city for the company and a very important Raw. I figured the entire roster would step up in a huge way. I was wrong…
But we did get a packed WWE Raw, including Kurt Angle’s opponent being revealed as Baron Corbin, Beth Phoenix officially returning to the ring, and the heat being turned to 11 on Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins. Now, it’s Three Stars time…shall we?
The Third Star: Leo Rush
I know people find Lio Rush annoying, and it means he’s doing his job. In reality, he delivers in a big way on a weekly basis, making Bobby Lashley more relevant and usually putting in a great in-ring performance. This week was no different, especially when he was selling for Braun Strowman. Bobby Lashley also let it happen to Lio Rush, which is another way Lio delivered–letting Lashley’s character develop even further. Hate on Lio Rush if you must, but he continues to enhance Bobby Lashley’s entire act on a weekly basis.
The Second Star: Elias
Few people have a better grasp on their character than Elias (Alexa Bliss being one of them), and he’s gotten it to a point where it’s effortless. To me, that means we may see a big push coming for him after WrestleMania. In this segment he delivered a strong promo, interacted brilliantly with Alexa, got the desired reactions out of the crowd, and perfectly foreshadowed a WrestleMania interruption that very well might be John Cena. Count me in as walking with Elias.
Honorable Mention: Paul Heyman, Alexa Bliss, Ronda Rousey, and Sasha Banks
And now… a distinction usually reserved
for the top performer of the night …the first star!
The First Star: Seth Rollins
If there was any question who has taken up the mantle of leading WWE Raw, it should be answered now. Seth Rollins delivered in a big way on Raw. Last year he carried things as Intercontinental Champion, and I think he’s more than ready to be the Universal Champion. I look forward to seeing his run, with opponents like Drew McIntyre waiting in the wings after WrestleMania.
But can I put in for a Rollins vs. Batista program post-WrestleMania? Please? Nothing would make me happier than seeing Big Dave put Seth over before heading back to Hollywood.
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.
Greg DeMarco’s WWE NXT Star Ratings & Review (3/13/19 edition)
Two great matches, and three great storyline developments. That’s good TV!
Greg DeMarco takes you inside a blockbuster edition of WWE NXT as we have the semifinals of the Dusty Classic and more!
We have quite the edition of WWE NXT here, with three major matches and almost no filler! NXT sometimes finds themselves in a rush to get to Takeover, but in this case I’ll take it.
Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinal Match: The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler, with Jaxson Ryker) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) – ***1/4
- Moustache Mountain have to be two of the most likable wrestlers on any WWE brand. You can legitimately imagine hanging out with them at a bar (where they will drink you under the table).
- This tournament is tailor made for The Forgotten Sons, who could be huge with a win. Granted, the same can be said for The Street Profits and Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner–all who lost in the opening round.
- Ryker putting Blake’s foot on the rope to break up a pinfall is so old school–I love it.
- Still wonder why this can’t be Blake & Murphy on the main roster.
- Led by some heel shenanigans, The Forgotten Sons win and head to the finals.
#1 Contender’s Match: Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair – ***
- Side note: Shayna Baszler on commentary is fantastic. “One’s a nobody from Japan, and the other I’ve already beaten.”
- Shirai and Belair, along with Kairi Sane and Mia Yim, are revitalizing and basically reloading the NXT Women’s Division.
- Belair is a great example of a “fighter,” a WWE character who isn’t a face nor a heel, and it works. Shirai, of course, is a mega-babyface. I don’t need to tell you Baszler is a heel…and one of the best in the business.
- Great match was going before Baszler got involved, bringing Kairi Sane out as well. It all made sense, and I am fine with it.
Side Note: I kinda love Dominik Dijakovic trying to fight Keith Lee in a Performance Center ring. When you want to fight someone–when it’s become personal–it doesn’t matter where. Nice touch.
Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinal Match: Black Flash (Aleister Black & Ricochet) vs. #DIY (NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) – ****
- DIY wearing matching tights, and having a new Titan Tron video is such a great touch.
- Ciampa clutching Goldie while looking at Gargano, who “knows what he’s doing” is a level if deep subtlety that you just don’t see anymore. That’s Ole Anderson level shit.
- I do need to point out that this is typical for WWE tag teams, meeting the requirements of Patrick O’Dowd’s Vicious Cycle Of WWE Tag Team Booking.
- It wasn’t that long ago in WWE where this would have been the obvious TV main event two weeks before Takeover Phoenix.
- Ricochet looking at Aleister Black as to make sure it’s okay that he’s sitting next to him in the ring? Another great touch.
- Tommaso Ciampa applies the best chinlock in WWE today. Yes, this is a real thing. Randy Orton would be proud.
- Actually, Ciampa has stolen a good bit of his act from Randy Orton. Don’t @ me.
- Gargano gets hurt, and Ciampa has to go it alone. This, of course, is a throwback to Takeover: Chicago, when Ciampa got hurt…and we all know what happened there! (Ciampa turned on Gargano.) It’s coming.
- It took two finishers after a 2-on-1 advantage to pin the NXT Champion. That’s how it should be.
- Black Flash wins, and they’ll face The Forgotten Sons in the finals. If you know anything about WWE booking, you know this ends up. #SaveTagTeamWrestling
- The post-match developments with Gargano and Ciampa were nothing short of brilliant. I am not mad that Ciampa ended up hurt, at least in terms of the storyline. I’d give the show ending segment five stars, easy. A small detail is Ciampa tossing the NXT Championship–something he’s obsessed with–aside for it, showing that he has one obsession bigger than Goldie. Gargano’s smile when he stopped Ciampa’s turn–brilliant.
- The whole thing–brilliant.
I know we don’t get Gargano vs. Ciampa at Takeover: New York, and I am okay with that. They can revisit this down the road on the main roster. For now, I see it as a satisfying ending.
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