Tiffany Takes a look back at WWE Smackdown, and the final final effort before Money In The Bank! Did WWE impress her on the was to Hartford?
It’s go-home time for Money in the Bank, did SmackDown get its act together?
Kofi Kingston vs Kevin Owens: I’m not a fan of New Day, though I like all three guys involved, but New Day without Big E is not quite as good. That said, it’s clear that WWE seems invested in keeping New Day together, rather than having them go their separate ways like the Shield did.
I will also say that I’m more intrigued by Sami Zayn’s inclusion in the Kingston/KO feud than I am in the actual Kingston/KO feud. With Zayn entered in Money in the Bank, it’s very likely that he could cash in on either Kingston OR his BFF, Owens, which would be an interesting tweak to their feud.
Women’s Championships: I love the history video for Charlotte vs Becky. It’s been argued that Charlotte didn’t do anything wrong when Becky attacked her at SummerSlam, but given that Charlotte hadn’t done anything to earn that spot compared to what Becky had to do and she deliberately chose to rob her so-called ‘best friend’ of her moment, it’s clear Charlotte was a shitty friend and deserved every bit of that asskicking. I do think WWE could’ve done better by saying that Becky and Charlotte had made a deal before SummerSlam and Charlotte reneged on it and that’s why Becky attacked her. Either way, I hope Becky wins and moves on from Charlotte.
As for Lacey Evans, she thinks she’s the new Scarlett O’Hara, but she’s actually Emmie Slattery and I hope she loses too.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships: I’ve complained before about the Wild Card thing and the announcement that the Usos, who are on RAW, are going to challenge SmackDown’s Tag Team Championship at Money in the Bank, doesn’t thrill me. WWE needs to use the SmackDown teams they have.
Andrade vs Balor vs Ali vs Orton: I had pretty high hopes for this match and it really didn’t live up to my expectations. It was a very formulaic match and Andrade won, giving him momentum for MitB. Ricochet’s run-in was the real highlight of the match, especially him grabbing the briefcase and taking off. He’s my favorite to win.
Aleister Black: I know Aleister Black will be wrestling at Money in the Bank, but I wish WWE would have him wrestle sooner, even though the promos have been fantastic.
Roman Reigns and Miz vs Shane McMahon and Company: It’s a pretty big cliche that whenever two unusual people get thrown into the same storyline, people start exclaiming that they NEED them to become a tag team and that is not something I see in the future of Reigns and Miz. They are definitely an unusual team, but the chemistry between them doesn’t work for me.
The handicap match was really good, but the stipulation about Miz was pretty standard for the McMahons and it made Miz’s post-match run-in less than a surprise. I’m ready for Miz and Shane to move on from each other.
Firefly Fun House Show: This is an absolute, fucking, mess. Please let this end soon.
Promos: I enjoyed Ember Moon and Bayley’s promos. I really want either of them to win, especially Ember Moon.
Kairi Sane and Asuka vs Fire and Desire: First things first, I’m not a fan of the new name for Asuka and Sane’s team – Kabuki Warriors. Kabuki is a form of Japanese drama known for its elaborate makeup. It sounds like someone, who isn’t Japanese, picked the name. The match between Pirate Empresses and Fire and Desire was really good, and it seems WWE is slowly building the feud between Rose and Deville by having Rose’s determination to get the win and the spotlight be the reason they lost. It’s interesting and hopefully it’ll come to a head at SummerSlam.
Lars Sullivan: A lot has been said about Lars Sullivan and his views, but I’m not going to comment on them. I did find it interesting that Kayla Braxton, who is biracial, didn’t seem thrilled to do the interview and I don’t blame her.
Overall Comments: How was SmackDown this week? Despite what it may seem like from my comments, it was a good show. It still wasn’t the kind of barnburner I really want for the go-home show for a PPV, even if it was just a low level PPV.
I do like that WWE is doing promo videos about the long-term history between rivals instead of just the short-term.
I’m still not thrilled abut the Wild Card rule, especially with the Tag Team Championship, but I’m banking that the Revival is going to cost the Usos the title.
SmackDown did pull itself together, but they’ve still got a ways to go to get things back on track.
Stay tuned for 205 Live!
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (5/20/19)
Big night on Raw — who stood out?
WWE Raw returned stateside this week, and we got ourselves a new championship. Who stood out?
The Third Star for WWE Raw: Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman knows how to deliver, and he delivered big time during Raw. He made the show feel like a big deal, and it did. He made both champions feel important, but put Brock Lesnar over in the process. Lesnar is so much more comfortable with Paul Heyman around, and the job done to make this briefcase situation feel unique was really solidified by Paul Heyman. Plus, his line about Rollins sitting through 7 hours of WrestleMania waiting for his girlfriend to main event the show he’s always dreamed of main eventing was clutch.
Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
You can, too!
Be like Elisa and get yours at:
The Second Star: The IIconics
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce really are national treasures. America, Australia, it doesn’t matter. They are the best, and they’ve crafted characters that don’t need to win or lose, they just need to perform their act. That’s what it takes in WWE, regardless of what we want it to be. Their promo during A Moment Of Bliss (full of people perfectly playing their characters, by the way), was outstanding. Hats off to both ladies for getting themselves to this place.
Honorable Mention: Alexa Bliss, Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans, Becky Lynch, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, the entire 24/7 crew, The Usos, The Revival, Baron Corbin (yup), Bobby Lashley (I miss Lio), Drew McIntyre, and Shane McMahon
So many great performances tonight, and I am positive I’m leaving deserving folks out.
The First Star for WWE Raw: The Miz
The Miz is on fire right now, and it comes at a time where both world champions are babyfaces. He’s world champion caliber, and needs something to sink his teeth into if the issue with Shane truly is done. Drew McIntyre is a fine option, but I really want a top flight program for Miz. Maybe he’s the guy to elevate Drew? I’m not sure. I don’t feel like we turn Miz, but the best options for him (to me) are AJ Styles and Seth Rollins.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
7 Best Candidates To Win New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors 26
Who is the front runner?
Abe takes a look at the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors tournament and who is on pace to pick up the overall win.
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament kicked off just last week and plenty of quality wrestling has already taken place. For the first time ever, twenty total men make up the tournament field. That means a few more sleeper candidates could potentially sneak their way into the finals.
Best Chance of Winning The New Japan Best Of The Super Juniors
At the time of this being written, Takagi is still undefeated since making his debut in NJPW. That includes the matches he’s already competed in during this year’s tournament. I don’t believe they’ll pull the trigger on him going the whole tournament without a loss but it’s definitely something to monitor. He’s been an incredible addition to Los Ingobernables de Japan as well as to the company as a whole.
Takagi has already taken shots at current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Dragon Lee for overlooking the field and only thinking about impending return of Hiromu Takahashi. Dragon Lee and Shingo are the favorites in their block. Takagi’s reason for winning the block could be that Lee was too focused on the future.
After winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in Madison Square Garden, there is nobody in the tournament with more momentum. The current champion winning the tournament is very uncommon but there is already a story in place as I mentioned. If the current champion wins the entire BOSJ tournament, he will get to select who challenges him for the championship at Dominion. Hiromu Takahashi is the man he wont stop talking about. Almost a year ago, Dragon Lee was the guy that put his biggest rival on the shelf. Hiromu had to vacate the title as a result of the injury suffered in that match. If Takahashi is cleared to compete, there is no better person to accept the challenge.
Who Else Has A Chance?
He hasn’t won the tournament in three years and is competing with the heavyweights more and more. Among the current field, Ospreay almost certainly has the most high-profile matches under his belt. He’s the clear betting favorite to make it to the finals in his block. If there’s anything that’ll stop him, it’s that NJPW may already be trying to transition him into a heavyweight.
Ishimori made it to the finals of the BOSJ tournament last year but only finished as the runner-up. He was also the most recent IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Since his official rebranding as Bullet Club’s “Bone Soldier” last year, he’s maintained a spot near the top of the junior division. If they want to continue his recently-formed feud with Dragon Lee, the opportunity is right there.
The newest member of the NJPW roster is in a similar position to the one Taiji Ishimori was in last year. El Phantasmo was introduced as the newest member of the Bullet Club mere days before BOSJ. The aforementioned Ishimori did actually end up going all the finals and Phantasmo is off to a 3-0 start this year. The only man in the B Block that’s a real threat to his path there is Will Ospreay but that’s going to be a tough ask.
Most fans think of him as a comedy wrestler but if you’ve seen him in longer, more competitive matches, you know that he’s one of the most talented guys New Japan has. It’s rare to find someone that can balance entertainment with in-ring skill the way he does. Taguchi is a two-time Junior Heavyweight Champion, former BOSJ winner, leader of his own faction, and one of the veterans of the locker room. It sounds strange but I wouldn’t put my money on Ospreay or Phantasmo as long as Taguchi is hovering near the top of the standings. He’s my dark horse in this year’s tournament.
This definitely wont happen but he is worth mentioning. SHO isn’t going to win the tournament as long as he’s attached to YOH and Rocky Romero as a part of Roppongi 3K. However, with three matches in, SHO has already wrestled the two longest and best matches of the tournament. He’s only 1-2 so far but that could make things more interesting. Watching him storm back and go on a serious winning streak would be something amazing to see.