We’ve got the WWE Superstar Shakeup! Andrew gives you thoughts and ratings, all based around his – experience. See what I did there?
There really aren’t any storylines to lead into these shows.
Who’s moving? Who’s staying? Do we see call ups?
Let’s find out.
- Hawkins & Ryder & Aleister Black & Ricochet vs The Revival & The Viking Experience: Vikings win via Fallout – ** ½
- Andrade w/Zelina Vega vs Finn Balor: Andrade wins via Hammerlock DDT – *** ¾
- The Usos vs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable: Usos win via Double Uce – ** ¼
- IIconics vs Bayley & Naomi: Naomi wins via Thicc Legged Moonsault – N/A
- Becky Lynch vs Ruby Riott: Lynch wins via DisARM Her – **
- Lacey Evans vs Natalya: Lacey wins via Moonsault – ** ¼
- Lashley, Baron Corbin & Drew McIntyre vs Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & AJ Styles: Styles wins via Phenomenal Forearm – ***
The show kicks off with Stephanie and Shane talking, and it’s more cringe than usual. Thank God the first trade was The Miz and he showed up, got color the hard way and at least made something about the first 30 minutes not suck.
Our first official match is an 8 man tag. Yipee. So it features the 3 main teams in the Raw tag title picture and…oh I guess a trade. Hey! I know that music! WAR WAR WA-What? The Viking Experience? Well drop me down a flight of steps and stomp on my balls. Who in the blue hell thought of this name? Cause they should be shot. Now we all know the performers are great, and we have seen the likes of Ringmaster, Kerwin White and the Demon Deacon Batista be speed bumps for sure, but not a death knell. I hate the name, it’s moronic, but Bengals fans still like Chad Johnson when he lost his mind and became Chad Ochocinco. Let’s wait and see I suppose…ugh.
Yeah there was a match too, it was fine, but I was too busy stopping myself from throwing up to the name to really care.
Cedric Alexander video package. If they can give him opportunities to show some personality, I don’t hate this.
Finn Balor gets a mystery opponent and it is…EL IDOLO AND LA MUNECA! Now this is huge. Andrade is box office and with a more wide open upper card, he could finally get that push he deserves. Great match save for the botched lariat to the outside spot, but still, fantastic. Plus it was nice that they established Zelina getting involved for anyone who doesn’t watch SmackDown or NXT. You got a great snapshot of who they both are.
Elias…yeah he gets interrupted after saying “whoever interrupts me won’t be able to show their face”, so Rey Mysterio comes out. The cute little telegraphing line is already wearing thin on me. Lars Sullivan comes out to eat Rey and his lunch made it a little better for me. I love Rey of course, but I don’t really want him in that segment.
The Glorious Duo lays out an open challenge, and The Usos respond. So this is a huge acquisition and assuming The Revival don’t get traded or quit and go to AEW, Usos vs Revival will be great. As for the match, it’s what we can expect from these four, solid, but not a ton of time and good enough for a TV match.
Moment of Bliss was great. We got to see Sami Zayn play the Montreal crowd like a violin, and it was nice to see the smarmy aspects of his character back in full force. Bliss even tried to be a good host and play a little Devil’s advocate, but Sami was on point nicely. Quality entertainment.
IIconics poke fun at Bayley and then Bayley says she’ll find another partner while Sasha isn’t there. So an impromptu match, Naomi getting traded to Raw and what felt like less than 4 minutes, is all we need to really know. Bayley got a level of revenge, but this was mostly worthless. EXCEPT! For Naomi using that Thicc Legged Moonsault as her finish. She needs to call it that dammit.
EC3 got destroyed by Braun, I giggled. I never understood why so many people were so high on EC3 when he was the top guy in TNA during the worst period in the company. So being at the top of the bottom isn’t something to be proud of. I’m not a fan of Braun, but I will enjoy it if this continues and Braun uses EC3 for target practice in the coming weeks.
Stop – Giving – Ruby – Riott – Matches – Against – The – Champion. In the last month she’s been squashed in 15 seconds and proven to be unable to get in offense without distraction and then she gets handled anyway. She is effectively worthless at the moment. That can change obviously, but stop making her look like a joke when announcers are trying to hype her as something to care about. Showing the audience she’s garbage but having the announcers give a different narrative comes off stupid.
Oh no, Natalya is coming out to talk. She says typical crap, uses Bret’s line cause she’s unoriginal but THANK YOU LACEY! Lacey Evan saves the segment and the title scene but sauntering out proclaiming that her and Nattie will have a number 1 contender match for the Raw Women’s title.
The match isn’t bad, Lacey is obviously over her butterflies from the Women’s Royal Rumble when she couldn’t even do a Kip Up. Match was fine, Women’s Right is a signature and she wins with a Moonsault variation. All of this is great for the story telling so far and I’m a fan of Lacey. I don’t want her to beat Becky, but I’m a fan of this feud.
Main event time, Seth and Roman’s mystery partner is…AJ STYLES! Okay so I look at this two ways. Firstly, it’s stupid to have him win the match against Randy Orton for ‘who built SmackDown’ for him to get traded. Secondly, I’m just happy Styles has finished the journey. Going for a couple Cruiserweight Tag matches as Air Raid in WCW, the face of TNA, redefining himself in New Japan, being the biggest fish on the “B” show and now he’s finally on the flag ship. Good for AJ.
The match is fine. Nothing overly crazy, basic TV match stuff. Finisher spam at the end of the debuting wrestler’s team to stand tall.
Overall Score: 6.5/10
Aside from my hatred of The Viking Experience, it was a good show. Enough surprises, returns, debuts, and I guess this counts as Lacey’s in-ring debut on Raw. All in all, it wasn’t even close to bad. Where the wrestling itself may have lacked at times, the non-wrestling segments were still solid.
Two weeks in a row where I actually kind of enjoyed Raw…I may be dying. Call someone.
SmackDown Live Ratings:
- Finn Balor vs Ali: Balor wins via Coup de Grace – *** ½
- Charlotte Flair vs Carmella: Flair wins via Figure Eight – **
- Kairi Sane, Asuka, Bayley & Ember Moon vs IIconics, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville: Sane wins via Insane Elbow – ** ½
- Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Cesaro vs Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Kevin Owens: Owens wins via Stunner – ***
Well Kevin Owens is a treasure. His talk show is always good, and Big O, was an amusing thread that ran through the whole show. Yes, as Chris Platt said on POD is WAR, he thought of Oscar Robertson. However, I immediately thought of The Big O, the anime on Adult Swim in 2001.
I hope that Cesaro, Sheamus, Rusev and Nakamura being closely associated lately won’t lead to a League of Nations 2.0
Finn Balor’s blue trunks lately where foreshadowing the move! Intercontinental Championship back on SmackDown! Ali of course is a solid performer, and Balor worked a faster style than we’ve really seen him do lately. Reminded me a bit more of his New Japan work, but solid match. Good stuff.
Kofi and Xavier convince Big O he has to eat a plate of cold pancakes as initiation. Like I said previously, this was a fun little thread they played with the entire show. Maybe it’s just me, but I was amused every time they came on.
Charlotte and Carmella next and it wasn’t bad. Carmella has gotten better, but Charlotte has a tendency to be rigid at times. Now I’m not sure if that’s because she’s embodying that arrogant persona and doesn’t feel the need to sell much. So some spots were awkward, but it’s nice to see Carmella’s growth.
Lars Sullivan apparently is officially on SmackDown now and goes to kill R-Truth and scare the crap out of Carmella.
Becky comes out and much like last week, it’s a little rinse and repeat on her Monday and Tuesday promos. This was all to set up new faces and flesh out the Women’s Tag Division on SmackDown. Fire and Desire think Paige is about to announce an Absolution Reunion, but that doesn’t seem to fly. Ember Moon and Bayley are officially on SmackDown now to boot. But Paige’s tag team is what got my interest since she announces Asuka and Kairi Sane! Now fans can stop bitching that Asuka doesn’t speak English well and Paige can talk for them. The Pirates of Tomorrow, have to be considered early favorites to destroy the IIconics.
The match was a thing. IIconics will never win workrate accolades, but they play their parts well. Bayley looks to have a chip on her shoulder (Canada even booed her), Ember still needs to learn to slow down a little and Kairi picked up the pin with the best elbow in the business, the Insane Elbow!
Buddy Murphy…meh…I’m already bored thinking about him.
Big O gets coached by the rest of the New Day to do Big E’s portion of the entrance. The match itself was really fun. Owens being a little off on the New Day shtick was funny but didn’t take away from having great wrestlers in the ring. All in all good fun, except for how Rusev sold the Stunner more like a Snapmare.
Vince comes out to close the show with the biggest acquisition in SmackDown history! ELIAS!
After some pointless chatter and Elias being his usual arrogant self, he gets ready to play a song…but he’s not the last addition. The Samoan Sex Machine, is now on SmackDown! AJ built the house, Roman can tend to the yard. As long as Roman isn’t immediately vaulted into the main event scene and has real struggle, this is perfect for him. SmackDown has always been seen as the more wrestling based program, so Roman having to go up against people who are more wrestlers than entertainers may help to earn him respect with the hardcores who think he sucks.
Overall Score: 7/10
Good show. Now my bias for most of the trades is probably why I gave it a bit higher than Raw. Kairi, Ember and Roman added to Orton and Asuka will make it very easy for me to enjoy SmackDown Live. Owens was also hilarious, so seeing where this goes and if he eventually turns on them is something to watch.
Also, even though she got booed pretty hard, Bayley’s new edge will be interesting. Hugs and wacky waving inflatable idiots don’t really scream a serious wrestler. And yes, for those that noticed I called Kairi and Asuka The Pirates of Tomorrow, it is so that Io can fit into the team easily. Sky Captain, and the Pirates of Tomorrow!
Yeah I’m tired, shut up. I like to amuse myself on occasion.
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.