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WWE Week In Review February 4-10, 2019

With Elimination Chamber looming, how did the past week of WWE perform? Tiffany gives us her take!

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Chairshot WWE Week In Review

With Elimination Chamber looming, how did the past week of WWE perform? Tiffany gives us her take!

We’re a week out from the Royal Rumble and things are heating up in the WWE! As everyone prepares for the Elimination Chamber, how well did WWE build their matches?

RAW

Becky Lynch and Stephanie McMahon’s segment went about how I expected it to when it was announced that they would be doing a segment together. Becky definitely seems to be being built to be an Austin kind of character and she did a great job of that, even if Stephanie’s selling wasn’t as good as Vince’s.

The whole thing about Becky’s knee seems silly to me because she’s got two months to rest it, so it makes the whole point of her being ‘suspended’ kind of silly.

Ronda Rousey’s promos continue to make me cringe. She really needs a mouthpiece like Heyman is for Lesnar. Maybe make Paige Rousey’s new manager so she can just stand there and be a badass instead of opening her mouth or make her a Paul Heyman girl. I’d even settle for Lio Rush being her manager if it meant that I wouldn’t have to listen to another of her promos.

Open Challenge was a lot of fun. The look on Rousey’s face when Sarah Logan dead lifted her was hilarious. The problem with Morgan and Logan doing the challenge is that there was very little suspense, especially with Morgan. The challenge is a great idea, but it gets boring when there’s no suspense.

Ruby Riott’s interview did a great job of mixing the tropes of cowardly heel and friend who puts own ambitions aside to help her friends. I do think that Riott will be in line for the title after WrestleMania.

Boss-Hug Connection’s interview was more interesting because of the team of Nikki Cross and Alicia Fox. I like that they’re playing it more of Nikki allying with Fox just because she wants to rather than have her being a full-blown heel. Sasha still being upset about losing to Rousey was very in-character for her, as was Bayley playing the peacemaker.

The Fatal Four Way match was really good but really predictable at the same time. How many times does Revival get a title match before WWE puts the titles on them? It’s not like Glorious Alpha is setting the world on fire with tag matches. Heavy Machinery stood out as always, but I’m guessing that WWE’s going to decide which promotion they’ll go to before giving them a title run.

Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins segment was ‘eh’ for me. It would’ve been a cool segment back in the Edgehead days, but now I’m just like ‘Who cares?’. Still, I like that they’re going to try and end Hawkins’ losing streak, but I don’t really care either.

Kurt Angle’s segment was great…until Strowman, McIntyre, and Corbin showed up. I’m really over this feud. I get that WWE needs to give these guys something to do until the run up to WrestleMania, but I really don’t care and I hate them using Kurt to try and get it over.

Seth Rollins seems to be out with an injury, either in his back or his elbow. I’m a little confused as to why they’re pretending he didn’t make his decision last week.

Boss-Hug Connection vs Crazy Foxes was a very good match. RUMOR is that Sasha is injured and not cleared to wrestle, which explains why Bayley basically did the match herself, and why Fox/Cross got the jump on them. However, if Sasha was injured in her match with Ronda Rousey at Royal Rumble, WWE must be assuming that she’ll be fine in time for the Elimination Chamber match because she was at ringside and participated in the match.

Fox and Cross being annoyed with each other is interesting because this could be Nikki Crosses first ACTUAL main roster feud, but I’m not sure if crazy vs crazy is really going to be a compelling storyline for WWE.

Elias vs Jeff Jarrett. Let me preface this by saying that I’m a late-coming fan of Jeff Jarrett, mostly because of his TNA work. He’s a great competitor and has a great mind for the business. Having said that, I hated this match. I just really couldn’t get into it or into this feud, but I liked that Jarrett got some revenge on Elias and hopefully this feud is over.

Dana Brooke and Natalya’s segment was just odd. It was supposed to be funny and it just felt flat. I will admit that most of my problem is that I’m not feeling this feud and this segment didn’t help matters.

Finn Balor vs Bobby Lashley/Finn Balor vs Lio Rush was a reasonably good set of segments but what in the world was with the black bandage on Balor’s ribs? It looked like he was nursing a worse wound than hurt ribs. I find it interesting that even though Lashley is not involved in the Universal Title picture, WWE seems to be trying to build a rivalry between him and Lesnar. Lashley’s biggest problem remains his total lack of personality and charisma, which isn’t going to be cured by Balor or Rush.

Paige’s return should’ve been about more than promoting her movie. She’s a great talent and should be used for more than just promoting a moving.

Moment of Bliss continues to be a mess. I can’t think of a single episode that hasn’t been cringe-inducing. EC3’s debut on the show was a big ‘F’ for me. I’ve watched EC3 in TNA and NXT and he’s got the personality of a mop and average ring skills. He’s one of those guys that’s good to look at, if you ignore the fact that he constantly looks constipated.

I did love the return of funny!Dean Ambrose, it was a refreshing breath of fresh air after months of WWE’s confusing heel turn with Ambrose. Plus, it was a nice contrast to the human yawn that is EC3.

Dean Ambrose vs EC3: I have avoided talking about the rumors that Ambrose is leaving after WrestleMania because I’m firmly up the River Denial and think it’s a work. If Ambrose is leaving, him losing to EC3 makes sense, except for the fact that the way Ambrose lost did more for him than it did for EC3. 3, the debuting superstar got a cheap win over an established, top tier, star, which protects Ambrose and leaves open a couple of storyline possibilities for Ambrose.

Kurt and Braun Strowman’s segment was interesting. If Angle is retiring, him becoming Strowman’s manager makes sense since Strowman’s mic skills aren’t the best.

Mojo Rawley’s segment would be good with a higher tier star.

Braun Strowman and Kurt Angle vs Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre’s match was interesting but I’m still not interested in the feud. It was a mediocre main event for the most part, which was disappointing given how good Angle was.

Thoughts: This was an underwhelming RAW. The lack of Shield members, except for Ambrose, was very telling. Thankfully, WWE still has plenty of time to build up the WrestleMania card because the card isn’t looking great right now.

SmackDown

Charlotte/Beck Lynch/Triple H segment was interesting and sets Lynch up as a Stone Cold Steve Austin type character for the Women’s Division, but I don’t like how they seemed to be finding a way to shoehorn Charlotte into a match that doesn’t need her. Also the whole thing about Lynch’s knee shows WWE’s ‘hand’ a little too much, but we’ll see what transpires between now and March.

Rusev and Nakamura vs Good Brothers match was okay. I’m hoping that WWE has bigger plans for this team and will give them time to gel because this first outing was kind of rough. Plus, the inclusion of Lana in the match, with a walking cast on her leg stinks of hypocrisy given that Lynch was suspended for not getting a tweaked knee looked at. I feel bad that the Good Brothers have been excluded from the title picture and are putting teams over so much because they were definitely the better team in this match.

Mustafa Ali is a STAR and his promo segment proved it to me. He’s got a ton of charisma and is a great underdog for the WWE Universe to get behind.

Paige’s return to SmackDown just to promote her movie just felt lousy. I wish WWE would find something else for her.

The Usos are proof of what a heel turn done right can do for Superstars, and they’ll have a good match with Shane and Miz, but I’m just not feeling it right now, it just feels like more of the same old stuff.

Mustafa Ali vs Randy Orton was a great match! Ali continues to wow in his matches, just like Rey Mysterio used to in his prime. Ali also proved that he can hang with any superstar and look great even in defeat, but I’m going to make a bold prediction: Samoa Joe is going to be the first person eliminated from Elimination Chamber because he’s been getting the jump on everyone with the Coquina Clutch. I did find Joe being put off by Rowan interesting.

Samoa Joe’s segment proved something: Joe’s not a physics major, but the segment was interesting and makes him seem like a viable threat for the WWE Championship.

Daniel Bryan’s segment was boring, to be honest. I’m over the whole ‘New Daniel Bryan’ thing. His whole shtick of being an outsider is pretty much nonsense that it’s amazing that they keep it going. It was funny to see people making their own Hempionship belts, but that was about the only really standout thing about this segment.

Jeff Hardy’s promo response to Bryan was very good and typical of Hardy’s underrated promo skills, and the hint of a feud between him and Styles is a dream that I hope we get to see.

Triple Threat Tag Match: Let me preface this by saying that I LOVE Feel the Fabulous, but why have them lose the tag match if you’re going to put them in the Elimination Chamber match for the Tag Titles? Also, can we scrap the Naomi/Mandy Rose feud, please? It’s not doing anything for either of them.

Andrade Almas’ promo against Mysterio was great and keeps their feud going without either of them competing on Tuesday, which is always good, but I hope we’ll get a definitive match for this feud sooner or later.

Asuka: Part of the reason I don’t want Charlotte involved in the RAW Women’s Match is because of Asuka. I don’t really see anyone in the SmackDown Women’s Division that could really go toe-to-toe with Asuka in a believable way at WrestleMania other than Charlotte.

Jeff Hardy vs Daniel Bryan was a fantastic match and a much better main event than the one RAW put on. Even the DQ finish didn’t hurt anything because it protected Bryan and Hardy. The run-in by the Chamber participants was expected since we’re about a week out from Elimination Chamber. Styles being the last man standing was interesting and raises doubts about Bryan walking out as Champion.

Bryan’s Promo after the show was stereotypical crybaby heel stuff and him trying to say that the other competitors running AFTER the match was interference but Rowan causing an ACTUAL DQ wasn’t, is a level of mental gymnastics I didn’t know existed in the human mind. It was Right Wing radio level and was very funny, though I’m not sure it was supposed to be.

Thoughts: A better, if not exactly awe-inspiring, SmackDown. They put on a more interesting show than RAW, but the long build toward WrestleMania is already starting to show.

205 Live

The Opener of 205 is always good and gets people excited…ish for the show and I kind of wish they’d do something like this for RAW and SmackDown.

Mike Kanellis vs Brian Kendrick: What in the heck is WWE doing with Mike Kanellis? He’s a great talent, Maria is a great heel manager, and their gimmick is nauseating enough to work in a heel capacity. Why is he on 205 and looking out of his depth? The match was really good, but it just feels like WWE has no idea what they’re doing with the Kanellises and it’s frustrating.

Ariya Daivari’s promo on Hideo Itami is baffling since rumor is that Itami was granted his release last week. Is WWE working everyone to have an actually shocking departure?

The promos  for the main event were pretty standard ‘I’m going to win because I’m the best and everyone else is a loser’ stuff, but it’s always fun to watch the heels have selective memory loss when one of the faces have gotten the better of them, i.e Lio Rush about Cedric Alexander, who beat Rush fair and square.

Drake Maverick’s Office was an interesting segment. Gulak and Gallagher have had very little direction since the end of their feud with Kendrick and Tozawa. I did find it a little cringe inducing to hear to white guys talk about keeping a POC performer on the right path and thinking they need to accompany him. It’s just…ugh.

I love that Noam Dar has bounced back so quickly from the attack last week and I’m glad we’re getting a No DQ match out of this feud, even if the build has been a little lacking

The #1 Contendership Match was a lot of fun and pretty much what I expected from a 205 main event. I love that it came down to Alexander and Tozawa, no offense to Rush or Carrilllo, but these two could have a MONEY feud if WWE plays the cards right. I am stoked for Tozawa vs Murphy. I don’t think Tozawa will win, but it promises to be a great match.

Thought: GREAT 205, good matches and a great main event, but the lack of Mustafa Ali is still telling. His amazing skills aside, Ali was truly the heart of 205 and was easy for the audience to get behind and there really isn’t someone to fill that hole. Alexander is close, but he’s been champion, so has Tozawa, and Kendrick. Noam Dar could do the job, but it wouldn’t be a good. If they revamped Mike Kanellis and made the gimmick less gag-inducing, he would do a pretty good job.

NXT UK

Mark Andrews vs El Ligero  was a fabulous match and could easily have main evented the show. It’s really hard to do face vs face matches, especially when the faces have very similar styles, but Andrews and Ligero did a really great job. This was a match where it didn’t really matter who won because the match was so good.

Oney Lorcan’s promo was really good, but Lorcan and Burch are better as the silent, beat-the-holy-hell out of someone type of team. I’m assuming that NXT UK shot a couple of episodes or another TakeOver in Phoenix because it keeps being referred to, so hopefully we’ll see those soon.

Pete Dunne’s promo about Walter was really good and sets the stage for Dunne vs Walter and Walter vs Mark Coffey.

Xia Brookside vs Candy Floss was another face vs face match that you had to watch carefully because both women had similar hair colors. That said, it was a really good match and I hope Candy gets signed to NXT UK soon because she’s a heck of a talent. It was nice to see Xia get a singles win, finally, since I predict that she’ll be a STAR in a few years. The addition of Rhea and Toni honestly didn’t make sense to me. Why would Rhea attack two women who weren’t even involved in her feud with Toni? Why not just attack Toni in the backstage area. Ripley standing tall wasn’t a total surprise, but the rest of it was just…why?

Jordan Devlin is definitely establishing himself as a top tier heel and it seems like his feud with Travis Banks is on the backburner for now, but the upcoming match with Noam Dar seem like it’ll be a really great one to watch and see if Dar will hang his hat in NXT UK.

Mike Hitchman vs Joseph Conners was a really good, if random and rough, match. It was enjoyable, the guys worked really well together, but I had no real investment in the match, which I’m actually okay with for now. Conners winning was a big surprise, but it seems like he might be getting groomed for bigger things, for some reason, so we’ll see what the future holds.

Jinny is a superstar I don’t get and the more I see her the less I like her. Her gimmick might not be so bad if she didn’t seem so average in the ring, but that’s me.

Ashton Smith vs Joe Coffey was a fantastic, if short match, and the outcome wasn’t a surprise, but I’m glad WWE’s continuing to book Joe strong even after losing to Dunne and Walter. Gallus is a great heel faction, so I’m hoping Wolfgang and Mark will get similar booking.

Walter vs Mark Coffey. I’ve said before that I don’t get Walter or his appeal, but he’s a good wrestler, even if he’s not my cup of tea. I just…I don’t get it. It was still a good match, but I’m not getting into Walter or his hype.

Thought: That was an okay NXT UK. There were lots of great matches, but some of the pairings seemed a little random. We haven’t seen the Tag Champs defend the titles yet, and Storm hasn’t defended her Women’s Championship since winning it in Blackpool. It just felt a little underwhelming.

NXT

Johnny Gargano/Velveteen Dream/Tommaso Ciampa was a really interesting segment. Since Dream seems to be getting handed the rocket, him choosing to face Gargano over Ciampa was a weird choice. Unless he views Gargano as a weak link. Also, the whole ‘will they, won’t they’ with the DIY reunion looks a lot like the Rollins/Ambrose reunion from 2017, without the extra drama. Given some of the ‘spoilers’ coming out about the upcoming Gargano/Dream match, it’ll be interesting to see what the future will hold for DIY.

Jaxon Ryker vs Mansoor that was a great match. Mansoor, or ‘Manny’, competed in the Greatest Royal Rumble last year and has finally made it to WWE TV. I was a little disappointed that Manny didn’t get a better showing, but WWE is clearly grooming Forgotten Sons to be contenders and possible rivals for Undisputed Era. Hopefully, Manny will get a better showing next time.

Ricochet’s promo with Cathy Kelly was really good and kept his feud with Adam Cole going, though I wonder if there will be as much interest in it without titles being attached since Undisputed Era is beltless right now.

Drew Gulak vs Eric Bugenhagen was a big ‘WTF’ for me. I’m not a fan of Gulak’s gimmick, it reminds me too much of RL politics, but the guy’s a heck of a talent, so to watch him deal with Bugenhagen was just ‘What?’.

I was actually cheering for Gulak when he won, to give you my opinion of Bugenhagen. Matt Riddle coming out made me roll my eyes SO hard, but the prospect of Riddle/Gulak was interesting enough to keep me watching.

Drew Gulak vs Matt Riddle: I have been quite vocal about the fact that I don’t like Matt Riddle, but I’ll give him his due, he and Gulak put on a great match and the show of respect after Riddle’s victory was nice. Riddle still annoys the hell out of me though.

Six Woman Tag was a really good main event. Even though I don’t care for Belair, she makes a good addition to Team Sky Pirates against the Horsewomen. Shafir and Duke are making good progress in their transition from the Octagon to WWE but they still have a ways to go, and that’s fine. I love that Io Shirai got the pin on Baszler, putting her in line for a title short, but it also sets up conflict with Belair which will be interesting.

Thoughts: Another solid, but largely uneventful episode. The matches were good and there was storyline progress, but nothing earthshaking.

Overall Thoughts: Other than RAW, WWE put on a very solid week of programming. Every show, including RAW had good matches and moved their stories forward, but it’s clear that WWE is playing it safe until March when the real ramp up to WrestleMania will start. Until then, I’m guessing that we’ll have more weeks of uneventful shows to watch, but as long as the storylines go forward, it should be fine.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Opinion

WWE Fears AEW

Are Vince McMahon and WWE running scared from AEW? The signs, for Juan, point to yes.

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AEW All Elite Wrestling

Are Vince McMahon and WWE running scared from AEW? The signs, for Juan, point to yes.

For the last 18 years WWE has controlled the wrestling world with an iron fist but in recent years poor decisions booking wise made promotions like NJPW and ROH rise and gain popularity. Now WWE has with AEW a direct competitor that in just one month has shaken the wrestling world for the better. Like it or not WWE fears the potential AEW could have in the wrestling world.

The shirt scandal

The best example WWE not only fears but has taken notice of AEW, is the fact they banned AEW shirts in some WWE events for a limited time, but this ended very quickly. This showed WWE in a weak position and afraid of having a direct competitor as it once had with WCW.

This controversy made AEW the underdog of the situation and, in reality WWE made them a favor by giving them the title of ‘’rebels’’ against the evil empire. People like to cheer and support the underdog and now that brief controversy made WWE look bad in all ways possible. Also, the Being The Elite show made a reference to this events and most fans understood the reference very quickly.

Talent want to leave

Is no secret that WWE’s booking and talent management has been terrible in the main roster and the talent had no choice but to stay in WWE. The birth of AEW has challenge the wrestling business in a big way. With AEW, wrestlers have more options to see their career change for the better or they can just use AEW as a business strategy to make more money from WWE.

WWE lately in an attempt to make talent happier has been giving pushes left and right to wrestler in a way to stop them from living and going to AEW. The Revival, Almas and other cases are the example of this strategy from WWE’s part. Other cases like AJ Styles whose contract ends soon has yet to re-sign with WWE in the best position to take the best offer possible right now. Other wrestlers in a similar case like Styles are Gallows, Anderson and Nakamura whom WWE creative has not been kind to them recently.

AEW are the rebels

WWE and AEW have this dynamic of the evil empire and rebels like I mentioned previously. AEW is taking advantage of this ‘’gimmick’’ in a way to be the real alternative the wrestling business has been looking for years since the death of WCW.

WWE being this evil empire has been the norm for years now and people considered NJPW and ROH the rebels, but they never were able to compete directly with WWE but AEW in just two months has been able to get in the head of Vince McMahon already, making them a huge threat to his wrestling monopoly.

AEW needs to live up to the hype

Not everything is perfect in AEW. The promotion needs to deliver in a big way in this Double or Nothing show in a way to show the world they are the alternative to WWE. For now, AEW has been doing the right moves and signing all kinds of interesting talent.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Opinion

WWE Week in Review: February 11-17, 2019

Tiffany gives us her thoughts on the Elimination Chamber week in review! 

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Chairshot WWE Week In Review

Tiffany gives us her thoughts on the Elimination Chamber week in review!

RAW

Becky Lynch vs The McMahons:  Since this was an episode long story, I’m just going to include it all here. This was pretty much Austin vs McMahon with less swearing and middle fingers. I think everyone knew that the whole apology thing was BS before they finished saying it, but seeing Becky mull her options was interesting.

That said, I’m NOT happy about Charlotte Flair being shoehorned into this. She’s excess baggage in a match that doesn’t need her. Becky Lynch was the talk of sports, not just wrestling, SPORTS, last year, not Charlotte Flair. All WWE had to do was not screw up Rousey vs Lynch and they screwed it up MASSIVELY. Hopefully, this will get fixed before April.

Boss Hug Connection vs Riott Squad vs Nia and Tamina was a go-home match with stakes attached: the loser will be the first entry in the Elimination Chamber, meaning that they’ll have to stay in the longest of the six teams involved.

It was a really good match, Liv Morgan showed herself to be very scrappy, taking on Nia Jax who outsized her in every respect. Normally, I would say that Boss Hug Connection losing means that they’ll win at Elimination Chamber, but I really think WWE’s going to build Nia and Tamina as an unstoppable team for WrestleMania.

Elias/Lucha House Party was a weird segment considering all the commercial breaks and cut aways. It makes me wonder if there were some technical problems that they were trying to work out. Add in the absolute randomness of LHP coming out and it not being for a match. It was just a weird segment and I’m not sure what the point was.

Drew McIntyre vs Finn Balor/Six Man Tag went WAY too long and was BORING on top of it. I sort of got the McIntyre/Balor thing because McIntyre is allied with Lashley, but the whole run-in and thing with Angle and Strowman and the six man was just…UGH!

Speaking of Angle, this is really hard for me to say but, he needs to retire. I get that he wants to give back and get the young guys over, but it was pretty obvious that the Wrestling Machine can’t go the way he used to and it was really sad to watch.

Kevin Owens: I’m not a Kevin Owens fan, so his segment didn’t do much for me, personally, but I’m glad he’s recovered from his surgeries.

Nikki Cross vs Ruby Riott was a match straight out of NXT, where they actually did have a rivalry when Nikki first debuted with SaniTy and it was really great. I was a little disappointed that Nikki lost, but Riott needs the momentum for her match at Elimination Chamber, so her winning didn’t hurt my feelings and she and Nikki looked great.

Seth Rollins’ segment alone and with Heyman was really good. It’s still not clear that Seth will be able to beat Lesnar on his own, but he made it clear that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to do so. I loved Rollins saying what a lot of people have felt about Brock Lesnar and his Universal Title runs.

Rumor is that Dean Ambrose changed the script of his segment with Rollins and what he said was more in character for Ambrose than whatever Vince had in mind. It also teases possible way for Rollins to beat Lesnar at WrestleMania.

Dean Ambrose vs EC3 was an okay match, but the important thing is that Ambrose won the match, even with a roll up, giving 3 a taste of his own medicine. Even though the crowd was DEAD after a very lackluster show, Ambrose got quite a pop when he won, so hopefully face!Dean will stick around for awhile longer.

Revival vs Rood/Gable: Last week, I voiced my frustration over the booking of the Revival and how they should’ve been tag champions by now and it FINALLY happened. After months of screwy, and sometimes downright STUPID, losses, the Revival are the RAW Tag Team Champions after a fantastic match with Roode and Gable.

Thoughts: This was a BORING RAW. The cuts and segments were all over the place. It was like they couldn’t figure out the show sequence and were just winging it.

SmackDown

Pedro Morales: Pedro was before my time, but in his day, he was a great babyface champion and took the title off of Ivan Koloff after Ivan’s shocking victory over Bruno Sammartino after Sammartino had held the title for seven years. He was also a two time Intercontinental Champion and holds the record for most days as Intercontinental Champion. Rest in Peace, Pedro.

Charlotte Flair: I’ve been pretty vocal about not being happy about Charlotte being shoe-horned into the RAW Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania, and I still feel that way. I don’t care if Charlotte vs Ronda Rousey was always the plan, plans can change and there’s no reason why Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey needs to be a Triple Threat when every other member of the Four Horsewomen got a one on one with Rousey. However, Charlotte did a good job of embracing the hate that she’s getting, but it’s clear that WWE’s really angered the fans with this decision and will have to tread carefully or they’re going to turn the fans completely against the show in general.

Mustafa Ali being out of the Elimination Chamber match SUCKS! However, I’m hoping the concussion won’t keep him out for too long.

Triple Threat Tag Match was a good bookend for the tag match on RAW, but why in the world were the IIconics not involved? They could’ve just done commentary or something. That said, it was nice to see Naomi finally get some revenge on Mandy Rose and get a pinfall win on her. Also, Naomi/Carmella has turned into my favorite SmackDown tag team for the Women’s Division.

McMiz TV was about what I expected it to be: cringey and over the top, but it was a good segment and I loved the Usos standing tall while casting doubts on McMiz’s chances on Sunday.

Elimination Chamber Gauntlet Match was amazing for one reason: Kofi Kingston. Kofi has been a staple of WWE TV for over a decade and it was nice to see him really get a chance to shine away from New Day. I could be wrong, but I believe Kofi set a record by lasting an hour in the match. After he was finally eliminated, the match was a lot less interesting, and Randy Orton’s sneaky win wasn’t a surprise when I realized that there was five minutes left and Kofi was still in. Do I think Kofi will be champion off of this? No, not really, because he’s been performing like this for a decade and it’s never gotten him closer than the Intercontinental Championship, and he hasn’t held that in years, but we’ll see on Sunday.

Thoughts: A solid show overshadowed by the Gauntlet Match, but got everything in place for the two big matches on Sunday. My biggest issue with SmackDown was that the Gauntlet match was really the only exciting match and that stopped after Kingston was eliminated. Other than that, the show was forgettable. Hopefully that will change next week.

205 Live

Lucha House Party are always fun to watch in the ring, but I’ve never thought of them as compelling promo guys, but their in ring promo on Tuesday was pretty good.

Lince Dorado vs Jack Gallagher was a really good match, and it was nice to see Gallagher in action since WWE hasn’t seemed to know what to do with him and Gulak if they’re not feuding with Kendrick and Tozawa. Gulak’s gimmick still bothers me because he reminds me too much of RL politicians, but it makes it easy to hate him. Gallagher getting a win was a surprise, but it wasn’t an unwelcome one and it looks like it’s going to be LHP vs Party of Gulak for now.

Humberto Carrillo’s interview was really interesting. I’m still not a fan of the whole Gulak thing of showing a POC the ‘proper’ way to do something they’re obviously good at or saying that their style is lack, but Carrillo is a great wrestler and it makes for an interesting first feud for him.

Ariya Daivari’s promo was interesting. He basically bashed everyone he’s been attached to without naming names. I think he’ll make a great #1 Contender but I don’t see WWE doing a Heel vs Heel storyline for the Cruiserweight Championship just yet.

Mike and Maria’s promo was much in the same vein as Daivari’s: Been working for x number of years and not gotten the recognition they deserved and is better than the people he lost to. I do like the whole ‘Not the losses but the process’ thing, but I think WWE still doesn’t know what to do with them and that really needs to change. Kanellis would be a great babyface challenger for Murphy.

Tony Nese vs Noam Dar was a fantastic main event for 205, which is par for the course for them. This started as a small feud, but it’s definitely the most interesting feud right now. I was a little disappointed that Dar lost, but if that means this feud continues, I’m all for it.

The only problem with 205 doing No DQ matches is having to work around SmackDown and/or dealing with a crowd that might be worn out from two hours of main roster wrestling.

Murphy vs Tozawa Contract Signing went about as well as any contract signing in WWE could be expected. There was a lot of trash talk and vows of victory. I was surprised that blows weren’t exchanged though, it’s almost become a staple of contract signings that someone gets beat up.

Thoughts: A pretty good episode of 205, but not a wowzer. It had goo matches, but nothing really jaw-dropping. Nese vs Dar was fantastic, but the crowd wasn’t into it after SmackDown, which is a real problem.

NXT UK

Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley’s promo was really fantastic. I’ve been a little disappointed that Toni hasn’t defended her title since winning it off of Ripley when Ripley defended the title almost ever week or so. WWE kept things simple by having Ripley use the usual heel excuse of dumb luck to explain the face’s victory, but Ripley stating outright that she hates Storm because of everyone comparing her to Storm was interesting as you seldom have a heel stating that they HATE the face for whatever reason. I loved the fight between the two and am really looking forward to the rematch.

Jordan Devlin vs Noam Dar was every bit as great as I thought it would be. Devlin’s done a great job of building his brand as a loud-mouthed heel, but there’s no denying that he’s super talented. Dar is extremely underrated, in my opinion. I was a little surprised that Devlin lost but having the loss be due to Travis Banks protected Devlin and got that feud back on track. Plus, it gave Dar a win he really needed.

Jinny vs Mia Yim: I believe I said last week that I don’t get Jinny and this week’s match solidified that feeling. I. Don’t. Get. It! There is nothing interesting about Jinny. She’s got an average look, average promo skills, and average in-ring ability, there’s really nothing about her that explains why she should’ve beaten Mia Yim, who is better than her in every respect as far as the ring goes.

That said, the match was good, but I’m not thrilled with Mia Yim getting beaten by someone she should’ve wiped the mat with.

Pete Dunne vs Wolfgang was a FABULOUS match! Wolfgang gets overlooked a lot since he joined Gallus, but it’s not often that you see a big guy that can move like he can. I found it odd that Walter, who is apparently being pushed to face Dunne didn’t get involved, but it was a great match and Pete Dunne looks unstoppable, so that’s all that matters.

NXT

Shane Thorne vs Dominik Dijakovic was exactly what I expected from any match with Dijakovic: Rough and tumble. It was a good match, but I can’t say I’m overwhelmingly impressed with Dijakovic since he almost never has a match longer than five minutes.

Undisputed Era’s promo was really good. Usually a faction losing all their belts is a sign that a split is coming, but that doesn’t seem to be happening with Undisputed Era, at least not right now.

Sky Pirates and Bianca Belair’s Promo was really good and established that Belair isn’t a face now, though her assertion that she’s still undefeated is kind of stupid.

Street Profits vs Humberto Carrillo and Stacy Ervin Jr would’ve been a good, if random, match if WWE had just let them wrestle instead of adding Ohno and Lee for no real reason and then having European Alliance and the War Raiders run in at the end. It just made the segment feel very disorganized.

Aliyah vs Taynara Conti: I’ve been saying for awhile that NXT needs to do something with Aliyah. She’s a great talent and is a great heel, but she tends to get overlooked. That said, I was shocked when she got Conti, a LEGIT blackbelt in Judo, to tap out to the Total Aliyanation, which isn’t the most elegant or impressive thing I’ve ever seen but it definitely did the job.

I HATED the Horsewomen running in on a match that didn’t concern them just to prove how ‘bad’ they were, especially since Aliyah, Borne, and Conti are tweeners/heels. Just a stupid ending to a really good match.

Ricochet vs Adam Cole was AMAZING, as I expected it to be.  I really can’t think of much more to say than that. I wasn’t surprised by Ricochet’s win or the Undisputed Era standing tall. I was surprised by Aleister Black’s run-in, but I’m not against it. It at least gives Ricochet an ally against the UE.

Elimination Chamber

Men’s Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship: The men’s Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship was the main event, and not a deserving main event, in my opinion. I think the Women’s Tag Championship should’ve main evented.

The match was okay. Elimination Chamber matches can be a little hit or miss and this was a hit. Styles being eliminated was a surprise because I really thought it would be down to him and Bryan. Kofi Kingston’s performance was AMAZING and it was a damn shame that WWE chickened out of giving the crowd a truly shocking moment on the Road to WrestleMania, but Bryan retained, just like I though he would.

Women’s Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: I have to admit that I was very unhappy about this match being starting match because it definitely had a lot more interest than the Men’s Chamber match.

Overall, this was a really good match, but it was ROUGH, as is usual for a Chamber match. Riott Squad were my favorites coming out of the box, but I still rooted for Boss-Hug Connection. I was SHOCKED when Boss-Hug won it, my money was on Samoan Dynasty or even the IIconics.

Intercontinental Championship: I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really care about this match. I like Balor, but Lashley bores me rigid and I don’t really care about Rush other than to say he’s annoying.

The match was okay, but I wasn’t into it. However, I am THRILLED that Balor won and FINALLY has a title after being on the main roster almost two years and with only a one day reign as Universal Champion to his name. The end of the Lashley/Rush feud was an unexpected bonus, but I’m not sure what they’re going to do with Lashley without Rush because Lashley has the personality of a dry mop.

RAW Women’s Championship: Not gonna lie, I skipped Charlotte’s promo because I’d rather have my eardrums ruptured than listen to her and because my wifi kind of stinks, I was a little behind. I LOVED that Ronda ditched her usual shorts because watching her tug at them drove me nuts.

I feel bad for Ruby Riott that that pitifully short match was all she got just so WWE can build a match we’ve already seen and nobody wants to see again. Thank God, Becky showed up to save us all. Watching her beat the living hell out of Charlotte AND Rousey was very satisfying, but the use of Riott was utter BS.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: This was a really good, very physical match. I’m a huge fan of Tozawa and I was very impressed with his, and Murphy’s, performance. I was not surprised that Murphy won, but I was disappointed. Murphy’s a good champion, but it’s time for someone else to hold the belt.

Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin: The neverending, feud between Corbin and Strowman got another airing as the two took each other on in a No DQ match. The match was every bit as bad as I expected it to be and worse, and my expectations were LOW. I can’t say the end was a shock, but I was hoping that this feud would end and it’s not. Mocking the Shield? Not cool and I hope Dean stays in WWE long enough for the Shield to beat all of them up.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship: First and foremost, congrats to Miz and Maryse on their second child!

I’m going to admit that I haven’t been feeling this whole Miz/Shane thing and I still don’t since Shane has never been the best wrestler in the world and Miz gets on my last nerve.

The match against the Usos was as good as can be expected. I was shocked, given what happened with Jimmy Uso last week, that WWE would put the belts on the Usos, but I’m very happy about it. It looked like McMiz would steal it from the Usos, but Shane’s bravado got the better of him.

Thoughts

This was another okay week for WWE, I can’t say it’s one of the best ones they’ve had on the road to WrestleMania. Every show had its solid points, but WWE was definitely playing it safe, which is understandable since the company’s biggest PPV is coming up.

Elimination Chamber was okay, it was definitely a B-PPV, but there were enough nice surprises to keep it from being a total snoozer. Now we have Fastlane in three weeks and WWE’s going to really have to ramp up the build to get people into WrestleMania.


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