WWE, coming off the best WrestleMania in the last few years – How do the main roster shows follow up?
Gotta admit, even though the Go Home week was really lackluster, WrestleMania 35 showed up and showed out. A great combination of sports entertainment and wrestling.
Do the main roster shows follow suit?
Let’s find out!
- Raw Tag Team Championships Match: The Revival vs Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder (c): Hawkins wins via Roll-Up – **
- Alexa Bliss vs Bayley: Alexa wins via Bliss DDT – * ½
- Aleister Black & Ricochet vs Bobby Roode & Chad Gable: Ricochet wins via Code Breaker – ***
- Intercontinental Championship Match: Sami Zayn vs Finn Balor (c): Balor wins via Coup de Grace – *** ½
- Universal & WWE Championships Winner Take All: Seth Rollins (c) vs Kofi Kingston (c): Kofi wins via DQ – **
- Kofi Kingston & Seth Rollins vs The Bar: Seth wins via Stomp – ** 3/4
Now it should be no surprise to anyone that Rollins hasn’t done anything for me since his Wrestling Society X days and he would Do It For Her with Jimmy Jacobs. But when Kofi shows up and wants a winner take all match, I was intrigued. I expected a non-finish, but I was still interested to see where it was going.
WrestleMania rematch with goofy nostalgia and The Revival. I didn’t hate the match, it was fine, I just don’t really like what WWE has been doing with The Revival. FTR – Forever the Revival.
Baron Corbin sucks, but he’s doing the heel thing well enough. Kurt gets a measure of revenge and then Lars Sullivan debuts on the main roster finally, in a pointless spot…but sure, it’s something unexpected.
Alexa and Bayley have never really had good chemistry and this continued that trend. Alexa and Bayley just never seem on the same page, but at least we see that Alexa is cleared and no longer injured. So I’m happy Alexa is back completely.
Becky taking full advantage of the fact she can say nothing and the crowd doesn’t care cause we all love her. She forces the Becky 2 Belts chants, but it’s a little rough. Lacey Evans walks out, looks the titles up and down…then…sucker punches The Man?! The Lady versus The Man? I mean I like the juxtaposition, so I’m curious where this goes.
Black O’Shea, Air Strike, whatever we call them against the Glorious duo. Okay so the Glorious ones are gonna “do whatever it takes” but lose the match and then attack for heat. I mean I don’t hate this, I just don’t care about any of them aside from the fact that you know they can all put on good matches.
Dean Ambrose’s last match is supposed to be against Lashley, but once Lashley says ” I’ll take care of your wife”, Ambrose attacks before the bell. Two dumb things here. 1. Renee on commentary saying “What’s that supposed to mean”. Everyone over the age of 14 knows what that means, don’t be dumb. 2. Ambrose, the lunatic, who they always say is ‘in his element’ when it’s more lawless…hasn’t won a match or brawl with no rules in like forever. So talk about burying a gimmick. You can’t keep saying the person should have the advantage and then they end up dead in rubble.
Mojo, with weird eye paint. K…
I didn’t mind the impromptu Intercontinental match. Zayn was still pretty damn good, Finn is coming more into his own so he’s not just happy to be here with great abs. Sami’s turn err…return to where he was before the injury, was nice too. Could be easily botched, but we’ll see.
Dana Brooke…stop it. That is all.
Elias. in my Mania write up I said I wanted him to be in a wrestling storyline out of personal desire. I acknowledged being in the same segment as Cena again was big, and now we get a rare appearance by Undertaker?! Elias’ reaction became a meme, but he’s getting great rubs with all of these legends. Now let’s turn that into a run for a title and some wrestling! Elias could be gigantic.
So we get the main event, that was starting to build and…then the non-finish we expected. I find it laughable that people just very plainly, didn’t want it to be The Bar. As Greg and Patrick O’Dowd say, Playlist Mentality skewed everyone’s perception of this. Instead of being angry they had Kofi lose in 1 day, people just wanted to see a “cool” wrestler interfere. I saw names like Undisputed Era floating around, or a New Day member turning, so the crowd proceeded to crap on the subsequent tag match just because it wasn’t WHO they wanted involved.
Let’s remember, Shakeup is next week. Can we just let the stories get there and then see how the scenes play out instead of being bothered by every little thing? Come on now, be better than that.
Overall Score: 7/10
Damn Good show. I think the hangover of a great WrestleMania being so good helped me accept some of the slap dashery a little more than it would’ve other weeks. If we get Sheamus and Cesaro moving back into singles, or Lacey becoming a legit force or even Sami being the voice of the anti-smarks, it gives us enough questions to tune in next week.
The use of the cross pollination set up many Whys, which drive repeat business.
SmackDown Live Ratings:
- Ali, Aleister Black & Ricochet vs Shinsuke Nakamura, Andrade & Rusev: Ali wins via 450 – ** ½
- Women’s Tag Team Titles: IIconics (c) vs Brooklyn Belles: Peyton retains via Tandem Knee Strike – *
- SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs Hardy Boyz: Jeff wins via Swanton Bomb – *** – TITLE CHANGE!!!
- New Day vs The Bar & Drew McIntyre: Kofi wins via Trouble in Paradise – ** 3/4
New Day opens up the show with the Kofi celebration. I could nitpick about it going too long, or some of the New Day shtick not being as endearing as it used to be. But frankly, we all know the significance of Kofi’s victory, so they could’ve done 30 minutes in a Chuck E Cheese ball pit and I’d be fine with it.
The Bar comes out, says snarky heel things and challenges New Day to a match tonight with their new friend, Drew McIntyre. Okay…I’m a little interested.
Then we get a 6 man with tangentially relevant to one another people, and I went from caring about the show…to looking for a snack. The match was fine, nothing was awful, but no one has a reason to care about the people in this match at the moment. The best part were the random run ins from Randy Orton and Kevin Owens afterwards.
R-Truth and Carmella have a goofy little moment, Samoa Joe is looking to pick fights, chokes out R-Truth. After dispatching of the previous US champ easily, he talks some crap and Braun Strowman shows up…cause part of the fun in the whole roster being in the same city is random cross overs, especially with the Shakeup on the horizon. I still don’t care about Braun.
IIconics are adorable. A little cringey at times, sure. But I don’t mind their gimmick and you can tell it’s just friends having fun. I also like them trying to hype up the job squad as some undefeated Brooklyn elite team. As for the match, it was fine. Not a clinic but entertaining enough. Apparently triggering Paige to need to go find a team to make an example of the IIconics.
As much as I enjoy Shane as a heel. This bullying the announcer isn’t really something I need to see more of. Last week it was funny when Greg Hamilton saw Shane grab the mic and knee jerked to announce him, but this whole segment was just painful.
Usos and Hardyz were a solid TV match. Many of us expected the Hardyz to win, once we saw the match was made. I’d like to see them get a PPV match, but I like the fact the Hardyz got another belt for their EXPEDITION of GOLD! Lars Sullivan comes out and smashes the Hardyz after…ok…sure…
Becky…I love you, but you said nothing for the second night in a row. The best part was Lacey’s sneak attack Woman’s Right. If Lacey is over the nerves we saw during the Women’s Royal Rumble, this could be special.
Honestly, I didn’t care to much about this main event. It feels very filler, and I’m glad all 6 men involved were on TV, but I really lost most of my interest in this episode of SmackDown with all the rehashing.
Overall Score: 6/10
The show was alright, but a lot of beats felt reused from Raw. Lars Sullivan, Lacey Evans, Becky’s promo, Drew McIntyre’s cross pollination, all felt like a rerun from the previous night. So this felt like one of the rare week’s where the 2 hour format hurt because they decided to focus on further establishing post-Mania storylines started on Raw, as opposed to doing their own thing.
Yes, Superstar Shakeup next week doesn’t really give them the opportunity to set things up when they don’t know their roster moving forward. But even though it’s excusable, it doesn’t mean boring rehashes are any more palatable. The special appearances didn’t feel as special this episode either. But maybe for those who enjoy Braun more would feel differently.
Stone Cold Fever: Is Kevin Owens the Next Big Thing in WWE?
Is this rendition of KO Mania real?
Kevin Owens is quickly becoming the hottest Superstar in WWE. The former Universal champion is embarking on a war with Shane McMahon and while that war is only just beginning, KO is already reaping the benefits.
Owens is getting over and there’s no denying that. Many fans believe that this is just the beginning of something epic for KO and it’s hard to argue that point. But as with everything in WWE, Owens’ future depends on his booking and how much the company truly wants to invest in him. So will Kevin Owens be the next big thing in WWE?
It’s as if WWE suddenly flipped a switch and activated this new KO. The man that so many felt was on his way to superstardom in the company has always been just on the verge of greatness, but he always seemed to fall just short. It’s been through no fault of his own however as Owens has consistently always delivered, both in the ring and on the mic.
But despite how much he’s accomplished, there always seems to be an asterisk by his name. The same is true of other potential main event stars as well, like Finn Bálor and Braun Strowman. All three men have excelled on the worldwide stage but for whatever reason, none of the three have truly achieved legendary status in WWE.
While the men involved may not be too concerned with such positioning, the fans have been all too consumed with it. In their minds, the time for these talents and many more, is now. Why wait, when the business is experiencing such a resurgence in popularity? The time to strike seems to be now, so why not move ahead and make a massive impact with guys that can handle the pressure?
Perhaps that is exactly what the WWE faithful are seeing right now with Kevin Owens. Owens is capable of rising to the occasion and he’s done it many times before. Maybe there’s no better time for him to prove what he can do and maybe the company finally recognizes that.
But nearly every time fans depend on “maybe,” they wind up disappointed. WWE has not always been the most reliable company when it comes to doing right by hardworking talents, especially those who deserve a shot at the next level. Owens has been counted among those talents for far too long and now he’s getting a chance to finally step up.
The good news is that so far, it’s working. The live crowds are loving what he’s doing and no one can do it quite like he can. The comparisons to Stone Cold Steve Austin are coming like never before and KO, as well as WWE, obviously see that. The fact that Owens uses the Stunner as much as he does is proof that the entire angle is a tip of the cap to The Texas Rattlesnake.
It’s not that Owens needs to use anyone else’s finisher, just as he doesn’t need to mimic anyone else’s gimmick. KO can succeed based on his own merit and everyone knows that. But he’s saluting Austin and in doing so, reminding a legion of fans why they fell in love with WWE in the first place. There is no way to really revive The Attitude Era, but that’s not the point.
Kevin Owens is bringing back a taste of the past and making it relevant to his cause, as well as to the company’s current climate. The Stunner is as much of an anti-authority move as the middle finger, both of which keep Stone Cold on the minds of fans who love him for what he did in the business.
So is WWE truly headed for a new era of relevancy in the industry? Vince McMahon’s company has always been at the forefront of the business and for many fans, they’ve been the only game in town for a very long time. But with the rise of New Japan, Ring of Honor, as well as various promotions around the world, the wrestling world is becoming a much bigger place.
Of course much of the focus on the business right now is due to the birth and evolution of AEW. Cody Rhodes’ fledgling company is making waves and turning heads, just as everyone knew it would. But AEW has also captured WWE’s attention, despite any belief to the contrary. If Owens’ new run is a result of WWE going against the grain and trying something familiar, yet new, then that’s definitely a good thing.
But the bad news is that this is still WWE, which can change plans at a moment’s notice. Things can fluctuate at any time and when they do, an entire storyline can either twist in a different direction, or end altogether. Could this happen with KO versus Shane McMahon?
Much of what happens from here depends on just how long WWE can keep the fans invested in this angle. The live crowds are connected and the same is true of the audience at home. Everyone seems truly intent on following this story and they’re all rooting for Kevin Owens to keep rising higher on the card. If KO continues to get hot and if the company really gets behind him, then the entire landscape of WWE could change.
Kevin Owens is not the next Stone Cold Steve Austin and he surely does not want to be. KO has fought his entire career to be the best he can be and this new storyline is just the latest avenue for him to rise up. Maybe it will only go up from here and maybe Kevin Owens will finally realize his potential in the company that desperately needs the next big thing.
Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 7 A Block
KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?
KENTA and Okada may start pulling away in A Block! Who falls first? The Rainmaker or The NOAH Outsider?
Aside from the big names being stuck in the middle of the pack, we’ve got poor little Zack Sabre at zero points. Can he twist Fale into a pretzel and figure it out?
Then we have Okada facing a banged up Ospreay, while KENTA takes on a rising EVIL.
Do we still have any undefeated participants in A Block after today?
- Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino: Shooter wins via Boston Crab @3:55 – ** 1/4
- Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto & Yuya Uemura: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @8:50 – ***
- Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Jay White vs Jeff Cobb, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @9:50 – ** 1/2
- Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs YOSHI-HASHI, Ren Narita & Tomohiro Ishii: BUSHI wins via MX @7:35 – **
- A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Bad Luck Fale: Sabre wins via Countout @6:30 – ** 1/4
- A Block: Lance Archer vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Victory Roll @12:00 – ** 1/2
- A Block: KENTA vs EVIL: KENTA wins via Go 2 Sleep @15:05 – *** 1/2
- A Block: Kota Ibushi vs SANADA: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @19:15 – *** 3/4
- A Block: Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Rainmaker @21:55 – **** 1/2
Still a lot of heat from their NXT past and Moxley’s debut match in NJPW. Juice and Mox don’t face each other until the end of their block schedule, but if this needed more heat…well this was gasoline. Juice and Mox stay on each other, brawl to the back while the Young Lions fight, but Mox apparently gets the best of the brawl. He returns to the ring to help Shooter, hit their Hart Attack tandem move and Shooter sinks in the Boston Crab.
There’s history between Taichi and Goto centering around the NEVER Openweight Title, Yano and Suzuki have fun history and it looks like Uemura is stepping up to Suzuki. So there’s a lot of fun moments, Uemura has a death wish trying to fight Suzuki, but it’s still fun. A lot of moving pieces in this one that kept it very entertaining.
Honma got put through the paces, Jay White got tossed around a little bit by Jeff Cobb, but the Bullet Club tag partners proved to be more useful than Cobb’s. Chase has picked up a few wins in the tag matches, so he might get some kind of push coming soon.
BUSHI continues to pick up pinfalls in these tag matches, and this sort of builds for Ishii and Naito, but not a ton happens. YOSHI-HASHI is there, Shingo looks like a million bucks and BUSHI wins the match, LOL. This was very paint by numbers.
Sabre jumps all over Fale at the start and tries a plethora of submissions to no avail. A kendo stick shot from Jado pushes the action to the outside. Fale and Bullet Club look to have an advantage, but Sabre dodges some double team tactics, grounds Fale with a Triangle Arm Bar, and then races to the ring to beat the 20 count. Fale couldn’t make it back fast enough, so Sabre gets the first Countout win of this year’s tournament.
Tanahashi is really showing the age and injuries this year, so all of these flukey wins just come off as forced. The match was slow, had moments of being interesting, but Tanahashi not even being 50% of what he used to be makes these hard to watch at times. Archer is getting over well, but Tanahashi winning at this point does hurt the credibility a little. I get the story they’re telling, but unlike last year where Tanahashi could push through injuries, this year, they are much more obvious, and he’s much more hampered.
EVIL took the fight to KENTA and then they went to the outside. Through the back and then into the crowd area next to the ramp. EVIL went for Darkness Falls on a bunch of a chairs, but KENTA stopped him and suplexed him onto said chairs. When it got back in the ring, EVIL tried to weaken the legs and KENTA went after EVIL’s upper body to mitigate the power advantage. Heavily booed, KENTA played up heel nicely (I guess WWE did help for something), and eventually he gets the best of EVIL and lets him take a nap. KENTA moves to 4-0.
We get a solid match between two guys who are right on the precipice of the Main Event scene. Kota outsmarts SANADA early by not going for the stupid dueling Dropkick spot, and from then on it was an interesting struggle. Between fan support and the general “anything you can do, I can do better” pacing, this was entertaining, yet slow and felt too long in some spots. Both looked pretty good, but this could’ve been told faster and SANADA’s perpetual struggles are a little frustrating for anyone who is a fan of his.
Okada and Ospreay were expected to blow the roof off, and well I’d say this was a damn good shot. Ospreay is obviously dinged up, but he fought through the pain and pulled off numerous flipping counters and found a few different ways to hit the Os-Cutter. They both let their personalities fly and this was a lot of fun to watch. Okada always has this older brother aura since he’s the one that brought Ospreay to New Japan and Chaos, so whenever they get together, it’s very much like two siblings trying to outdo the other. Ospreay had a great flurry at the end, flipping through a Rainmaker attempt, to try his Stormbreaker, but Okada flipped through that and hit a short arm lariat. Rolling Rainmaker and a normal Rainmaker later, Okada edges out the little brother. Great match.
Overall Score: 7/10
Well this night struggled cause the first two Block matches were really weak. The next two amped-up the intensity a little, but fell short of a memorable match. The main event was fantastic, but generally speaking this felt like it was slow, plateau’d for a while and only picked up at the end. Nothing out right awful, but a lot of matches that could’ve been a little better.
Still a solid enough night if you’re following it all, but only the main event is worthy of seeking out individually. It is nice to see that everyone is on the board with some points. So if Okada and KENTA stumble a little, the rest of the block could plausibly catch up.
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 4-0 (8 Points)
- KENTA: 4-0 (8 Points)
- Lance Archer: 2-2 (4 Points)
- EVIL: 2-2 (4 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 2-2 (4 Points)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 2-2 (4 Points)
- SANADA: 1-3 (2 Points)
- Will Ospreay: 1-3 (2 Points)
- Bad Luck Fale: 1-3 (2 Points)
- Zack Sabre Jr: 1-3 (2 Points)