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.