SmackDown prepares for the Extreme!
Extreme Rules is around the corner, so SmackDown is rising to the occasion! Before they battle for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, The New Day, Heavy Machinery and the Planet’s Tag Team Champions meet for a SmackDown Summit! Will there be peace this close to the Triple Threat tag war?
- Finn Balor VS Shinsuke Nakamura; Nakamura wins.
- Nikki Cross VS Carmella; Cross wins.
- Triple Threat: Otis Dozovic w/ Tucker Knight VS Xavier Woods w/ Big E VS Daniel Bryan w/ Rowan; Dozovic wins.
- Roman Reigns VS Dolph Ziggler w/ Shane McMahon, Elias & Drew McIntyre; Reigns wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Footage from earlier, as Dolph Ziggler arrives at SmackDown.
Kayla Braxton asks Ziggler about the implosion between him and his tag partner, Kevin Owens. Partner? That “worthless tub of excuses” Kevin Owens? Ziggler carried Kevin like he has the entire WWE for a decade. But Kevin pulls up behind Ziggler and honks his horn. Kevin then parks and Ziggler complains about the interview. Oh what? Was Ziggler going to say it should’ve been him again? Or maybe that he steals the show? Only because Ziggler does! A brawl breaks out and other superstars hurries to pull them apart! Kevin shoves the Singh Brothers off him to keep brawling with Ziggler! The B-Team hold Kevin back and then Shane rushes out.
Shane tells Ziggler to go inside, and then tells Kevin to leave the parking lot. Kevin, bloody lip and all, is told to take the night off. Kevin doesn’t want to cool off, but he has no choice. Will he get back at Ziggler before Extreme Rules on Sunday?
Cut to Shane McMahon backstage.
His response to that brawl was to cancel the scheduled main event. It is his job to keep superstars from fighting outside the ring. Kevin is sent home and Ziggler stays, but what is the new main event? He has some ideas and will circle back to an interview when he has made a decision. What will replace the grudge match now that we DON’T get Prizefighter VS Show-Off?
Kevin Owens invades SmackDown!
The Prizefighter doesn’t care about the ban! He spoke the truth about Ziggler, and now he’ll speak the truth about Shane! Kevin’s tried to be a good company guy, but he’s done! Kevin saw the McMahon Family say “from now on, we’re going to listen to the fans,” but the only thing we’ve gotten is SHANE becoming an abuser of power and hogger of spotlight! Now we sit back and watch Shane claim he’s the Best in the World. It makes Kevin want to smash his head on the announce desk! Speaking of, Kevin gets on the desk! Shane comes out and cuts Kevin’s mic. But Kevin just grabs another mic! “Hey guess what, idiot? There’s more than one microphone!”
And as he was saying, Shane hogging the spotlight is an insult to wrestlers who work so hard to be part of the WWE! And when Shane calls himself the Best in the World, everyone wants to tell Shane, “Kiss my ass!” Another mick goes off, so he takes Byron Saxton’s headset! Security is told to take Kevin out as Kevin rants about all the superstars who are left off the show because of Shane. Kevin gets away from security and Shane is satisfied, but the fans are cheering for Kevin. Is this the last Shane has heard from an irate Prizefighter?
Finn Balor VS Shinsuke Nakamura!
The Extraordinary Man is still the WWE Intercontinental Champion, but the King of Strong Style might look to change that. Can Nakamura prove himself against Finn tonight to cut the line to a title match?
SmackDown returns as Nakamura makes his entrance. Finn follows with his entrance, and throws up some Too Sweets. The bell rings and we begin!
Nakamura and Finn circle and tie up. Fans duel as Nakamura waistlocks. Finn standing switches but Nakamura elbows out hard! Nakamura rains down those elbows, then whips Finn to ropes. Finn reverses but Nakamura sunset flips, only for Finn to roll through and dropkick him down! Finn drags Nakamura up but Nakamura powers him to a corner. Nakamura rams his shoulder in over and over, but backs off at the ref’s count. He comes back to stomp Finn as SmackDown goes picture in picture. Nakamura backs off again and Finn catches his breath. Nakamura chokes Finn on the ropes but lets up at the count. He drags Finn around in a facelock to grind him down. Finn endures and fights his way up, only for Nakakura to snapmare and drop a knee! Cover, TWO!
Nakamura keeps his cool as he kicks away on Finn. Nakamura drags Finn up for knees. Finn blocks a kick! But Nakaura comes from the other side! Cover, TWO! Nakamura keeps on Finn with another chinlock. Finn fights his way up and fights out of the hold. He runs but into Nakamura’s knee! Nakamura covers, TWO! Nakamura stomps Finn more then drags him back into the facelock. He stands Finn up and suplexes for a gourd buster! ANd he rams in his knees! Cover, ONE! Nakamura grows annoyed but he keeps on Finn by pulling him into a chinlock. Nakamura stretches Finn back but Finn fights his way up, only to be wrangled back down. The chinlock returns and Finn endures again.
Nakamura suddenly lets Finn go to stomp him more. Nakamura toys with Finn as he puts the chinlock back on. SmackDown returns to single picture as Finn fights up out of the cobra clutch. Finn gets free but Nakamura knees low. Nakamura whips corner to corner but Finn boots him back. Finn runs and rallies with forearms! Finn whips but Nakamura reverses, only to get forearms! And the takedown to double stomps! Finn fires up with the fans as Nakamura gets to a corner. Finn runs in to CHOP and whip! Nakamura reverses but misses a kick, to get the elbow drop DDT! Cover, TWO!
Finn keeps his cool as he aims from a corner. Nakamura stops the Slingblade and shoves Finn, to block the boots and KICK Finn in the back. Sliding German Suplex! Nakamura takes aim from a corner now, but Finn Slingblades back! Finn hurries up top as Nakamura is down! But Nakamura is up fast to trip Finn up! Top Shelf Knee! Finn tumbles to the apron but Nakamura follows. Nakamura aims from the second rope, FLYING KNEE! Finn falls to the floor but Nakamura pursues. Nakamura drags Finn up and brings him around to throw right into the post! Then the barriers! Then as the count reaches 6, back into the post! Nakamura gets in at 9, but Finn is in at 9.5! Nakamura throws Finn back out and follows again. Finn stands, KINSHASA!
Nakamura returns into the ring and lets the count climb. Finn stirs at 8, and is back in at 9.5 again! But another knee from Nakamura sends him back out! Nakamura shows no mercy as he whips Finn into barriers, then into steel steps! He knees Finn into the steps, then waits until 8 to reenter the ring. Finn’s in at 9.5 again?! KINSHASA! Cover, Nakamura wins!
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura, by pinfall
It took a third time, but the King of Strong Style puts Finn down for the count! Will Nakamura turn up the intensity even more when it’s for the title?
Shane talks with Elias and Drew McIntyre.
They had Roman Reigns where they wanted, but then Cedric Alexander ruined things. Shane and McIntyre still won even though Roman and Cedric tried to cheat, so now the Best in the World has the physical and mental advantage. Elias has the perfect funeral song for Undertaker, too. It’s very spooky. But Ziggler comes by to complain about not getting to end “that mouth breather” Kevin Owens. Shane knows that he was going to do that in the parking lot, but he couldn’t allow that. Kevin is gone, but since Ziggler still wants to be in the main event, he will be. Ziggler can help Shane out against Roman Reigns. Ziggler’s in for that, especially with Shane and crew ringside for him. Will this main event conspiracy go Shane’s way?
Samoa Joe speaks.
“You can deny the truth all you want, but that does not change the facts.” Joe offered Kofi Kingston mercy and safety, but he knew Kofi wouldn’t accept it. Kofi is everything Joe says he is. Kofi is a hustler, and at Extreme Rules, Joe will tear away that lie and beat him down to the bear essence of his true self. And when that’s done, Joe puts Kofi to sleep. “For all those who you call brother, for all those you have called family,” that he stood on and walked over, Joe will take all of that back. But most of all, Joe will take the WWE World Championship. Will Joe’s twisted truth become reality?
Kayla Braxton presides over the SmackDown Women’s Championship contract signing.
First out, representing herself and Alexa Bliss, it’s Nikki Cross! The Loony Lass won a Beat the Clock Challenge on last night’s Raw to make sure The Goddess got the stipulation she wanted. And what better stipulation for the miniature manipulator than to make it a Handicap Match? Therefore, Nikki is here to sign for both herself and Alexa. Bayley makes her entrance next and takes her seat across from Nikki. We all know the stipulation has been set to put pressure on Bayley. Is that why she attacked after talking? Bayley says she’s not here to fight, she just wants to talk. She’s not surprised Alexa didn’t show up, and is glad Nikki did. Bayley and Nikki are actually a lot alike. Bayley was starstruck, naive, and then grew up enough to see her “friend” only used her. That’s when Bayley became a champion on her own.
Oh so the one that dropped an elbow on Nikki is the “real” Bayley? Good to know Alexa was right! No, are you not seeing what Alexa is doing to you? She’s in Nikki’s head, controlling her! Nikki is doing Alexa’s dirty work! Because Alexa knows Nikki can handle herself! Bayley wants Nikki to ask herself something: “Are you really okay with helping someone else win a championship?” Nikki gets upset again, so Bayley says it’s fine. Bayley knows she’s in awful odds. Nikki is formidable, she doesn’t need Alexa. But Byaley will bring everything she has and will do anything to win. So what happens when they still lose, and Alexa blames Nikki?
Bayley signs her part, and Nikki says she’s doing this to help her friend. Not that Bayley would know what that’s like. All Bayley’s friends abandoned her! So don’t try to drive a wedge between her and Alexa! Alexa isn’t using Nikki! Alexa promised that when they win, she’ll share the title as the first-ever SmackDown Women’s co-champions! And with that, the contract is signed! Nikki tells Bayley to stick around for Nikki’s match with Carmella. Then Bayley will see that when it’s time to play, Nikki has all the fun. Carmella makes her entrance, because that match is next!
Nikki Cross VS Carmella!
SmackDown returns with the bell, and Nikki crossbodies immediately! Nikki rains down furious fists, then powers Carmella into a corner. She rams her shoulder in over and over then stomps a mudhole into Carmella! The ref backs Nikki off but Nikki snapmares Carmella for a dropkick! Cover, ONE! Nikki grins then glares at Bayley as she bounces Carmella’s face off the mat. Nikki thrashes Carmella and bounces her head off the mat again. Carmella gets to a corner and Bayley cheers her own but Nikki clubs Carmella down. Nikki snapmares Carmella and covers, TWO! Nikki keeps on Carmella with a modified Rings of Saturn, but fans rally up. Carmella endures and pops to a cover, TWO!
Nikki is on Carmella again with a half nelson and chinbar. Carmella fights her way up and fights out! Carmella rains down rights but Nikki shoves her away to clothesline her down! Nikki makes sure Bayley watches as she says, “This is on you!” But Carmella SLAPS Nikki! Nikki fires off and whips, but Carmella reverses to duck the crossbody! Both women are down but Carmella gets up. She rallies with clotheslines on Nikki, then gives her an atomic drop! Carmella bumps Nikki off her boot, to moonwalk and come back with the FABULOUS Bronco Buster! Nikki staggers up but blocks the Fabulous Kick. Nikki fishermans, but Carmella cradle counters! TWO, but Carmella mule kicks. Nikki blocks the kick again, PURGE! Cover, Nikki wins!
Winner: Nikki Cross, by pinfall
The Twisted Sister grins at Bayley, and Bayley nods. Bayley respects Nikki, but she’ll have to worry about both her and Alexa. Will Bayley be able to overcome two opponents at once to stay THE SmackDown Women’s Champion?
SmackDown shares footage from WWE Tokyo!
The live event in Japan a couple of weeks ago pit the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, the IIconics, against Kairi Sane and Asuka, aka the Kabuki Warriors! Japan was excited to have the Pirate Princess and Empress of Tomorrow back for the night as the home team! And that home team defeated Peyton Royce and Billie Kay with an InSane Elbow! Now the Kabuki Warriors are lined up for a title shot!
The IIconics encounter the Kabuki Warriors and Paige backstage!
So remember the bet they made? They need to schedule a match for the titles. How about tonight? Sorry, can’t! Billie’s feeling ill. What does she have? Mad Cow Bird Flu… Stop stalling! This is so annoying! Ever since they won the titles, they just run and make excuses! All they ever do is run their mouths. They’re just “overrated, underwhelming, shrill, cowardly clowns!” And before Billie can retort, Paige SLAPS her! But they can’t fight back, right? They’re “sick”. But this match is coming. Will the Kabuki Warriors take those titles as easily as they took that win in Japan?
Backstage interview with Roman Reigns!
The Big Dog returns to SmackDown to speak on the new main event with Dolph Ziggler. But the deck is stacked again. Will Roman make it to Extreme Rules? Roman loves being against the odds! Roman is ready but Ziggler ain’t. And then Roman and the Deadman will be ready at Extreme Rules. Shane and his boys will #RestInPeace!
It’s time for the SmackDown Tag Team Summit!
Awwww~ Manchester~! Before their Triple Threat Tag match for the titles, the three teams are going to meet in the ring for a peaceful talk. Out first is the New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods, but surprisingly no pancakes. Xavier speaks first that tonight he will be in a triple threat match with Daniel Bryan and Otis Dozovic. This will help ya bois get ready for THE triple threat tag match. Unfortunately, Big E was hoping for some other kind of three way. But hey, that means the New Day can touch championships! The New Day will be six~ time- Dang it, the Planet’s Tag Team Championships have to interrupt here?
Daniel Bryan clears his throat as he can’t believe the fans boo him. The fans should boo the New Day. Despite Bryan pinning Big E last week and Rowan slamming Xavier through a table, the New Day continues to make lewd jokes. And people wonder why they’re not taking this match seriously. That’s because when the New Day wins tag titles, no one else takes them seriously. Xavier says Bryan talks too much without actually saying things. And second, what does Big Red Rowan have to say? Strong silent type confuses Xavier. First Rowan takes orders from Bray, then Harper, and now Bryan? Who is Rowan’s daddy? Rowan is furious but Bryan keeps him back. Fans taunt with “Who’s Your Daddy?!”
Ignorant people follow ignorant leaders. The New Day deflect criticism with humor. But the New Day are among the best tag teams in the WWE! They’ve had some of the best tag matches in WWE history! Yet they’re somehow never out of the midcard, and are nothing more than a comedy act. They are the worst thing for the WWE tag team division. No, actually, Heavy Machinery would be worse. Those two follow in the New Day’s example, making jokes and walking like hot garbage- Speaking of, Heavy Machinery arrives! Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic have mics, too. Tucker gets it, the champs are so great. But at Stomping Grounds, in their first attempt at those titles, Tucker and Otis took them to their limits.
Heavy Machinery proved who they were about. They lost but they didn’t feel sorry. They got back to work in the gym. Heavy Machinery earned their place in this Triple Threat! “Because Tucky, we’re Blue Collar Solid~!” That means overcoming any obstacle, even if it’s the longest-reigning champions, The New Day. Five times is great and all, but that sixth will have to wait. Heavy Machinery wants to be the NEW, W, W, E, Smack, Down, Tag, Team, CHAMPIONS~! Feels good. And when Heavy Machinery will show you there’s no party like a Blue Collar Party~! But that’s Sunday. Tonight, Dozer wants Woods and Bryan to know… “I’m COMIIIIN’~!” Dozer heads for the ring because that match is after the break!
Triple Threat: Otis Dozovic w/ Tucker Knight VS Xavier Woods w/ Big E VS Daniel Bryan w/ Rowan!
SmackDown returns as the three men are in the ring and the bell sounds. The three circle but Bryan bails out. Fans boo but he just soaks it up. Woods and Dozer circle and Woods waistlocks to headlock. Dozer powers up but Woods holds on. Fans say “Bryan Sucks!” while Dozer powers out of the headlock. Woods dodges Dozer and slides under but still gets run over !Bryan runs in now to hop onto Dozer with a sleeper! Dozer powers Bryan to a corner and breaks free, tot hen toss Bryan across the way! Woods kicks Dozer then facelocks, but Dozer is too big to suplex. Bryan returns to actually help Woods, but that’s still not enough! Dozer double suplexes them straight up! Then slams them down! Manchester, NH loves this as Dozer covers Bryan, TWO!
Dozer gets up and whips Woods to a corner. Woods bounces off to another whip, then another! Then yet another whip, and another whip! Dozer sees Bryan come in and pops him up for a flapjack! Dozer runs at Woods but gets a boot! Rowan clobbers Woods and Dozer, no disqualifications in a Triple Threat! He even takes out Big E and Tucky! But then they power him right over the announce desk! Big E and Tucker start shoving but the referee keeps the peace. The ref says they and Rowan are EJECTED! Fans boo but that’s the only way this triple threat can continue fairly. Who recovers first as SmackDown goes picture in picture?
Bryan, Woods and Dozer are each in a corner. Bryan slips out to the apron whiel Dozer staggers up. Dozer goes after Woods but Bryan trips him up! Bryan throws Woods out of the ring to then throw him into barriers! And rain down right hands! Bryan soaks up the heat again as he returns to the ring. He stalks Dozer at the ropes to throw forearms and kicks. Bryan whips but Dozer reverses hard! Bryan hits buckles and falls, and Woods returns to dropkick Dozer! Dozer stays up so Woods hits a roaring elbow and another dropkick! Dozer tumbles out and Woods takes aim. Woods slingshots but into Dozer’s arms! Woods slips out to shove Dozer into the apron, then dropkick him into it!
Bryan returns and hits a flying knee from apron to Dozer! Dozer’s down and SmackDown returns to single picture as Woods clobbers Bryan! Woods throws Bryan into barriers hard! Then Woods throws hands and puts Bryan back in the ring. Woods climbs up fast, then leaps at Bryan for a missile dropkick! Cover, TWO! Woods keeps on Bryan with a fireman’s carry, but Bryan fights out. Bryan puts Woods in a corner then runs in, but gets an elbow. Woods rolls, but into a takedown! Bryan has the arm for the Lebelle Lock! It’s on deep, but here comes Dozer! Dozer breaks it up and Woods gets to safety. Bryan glares at Dozer and starts throwing Yes Kicks!
Fans rally behind Dozer as he takes kick after kick! Bryan aims but the buzzsaw is blocked to a scoop! And a spinning slam! Woods returns to kick Dozer, then steps in for the tornado, but Dozer blocks and throws Woods! Dozer hits a corner splash on Woods, then one on Bryan! Bryan falls like a tree while Woods is on the apron. Fans fire up as Dozer pumps it up! Dozer hits the Caterpillar Elbow! Bryan crawls away to the apron, and hotshots Dozer away! SUPERKICK from Woods to Dozer! Bryan runs but Woods shows his own strength! Trophy lift to gut buster drop! Bryan bails out again, Woods SUPERKICKS Dozer again! But Woods runs into a pop-up powerslam!! Cover, Dozer wins!!
Winner: Otis Dozovic, by pinfall
Heavy Machinery’s human wrecking ball wins one for the team! Can he and Tucker do it together when it’s all six men at once?
SmackDown takes a look at catering.
WWE 24/7 Champion Drake Maverick hides under the buffet table, but the focus is on Ember Moon. She grabs herself some things, but then Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville cut in line. Ember speaks up, but they’re the ones accusing her of skipping the line. This isn’t Twitter where you can troll and get away with it. This is real life. Yeah, and Ember was justified in what she said. And big talk from Mandy when Ember beat her. Pff, they are over with that. That actually brought these two closer together. But why doesn’t Ember go find herself a tag partner to have a match next week? If Ember can find herself a partner. Challenge accepted. And Ember will fight, even if it’s alone. Who will join the War Goddess in her fight with Fire & Desire?
SmackDown hears from Mustafa Ali.
“When you see evil, you’re supposed to run. Not me.” Ali runs towards evil. It’s not because he has no fear, no. He has fear. It’s that evil only wins when the good do nothing. So it doesn’t matter if it’s a monster, a giant or a devil, Ali has seen them all and fought them all. He saw them as a police officer and among the people he swore to protect and serve, and even those who swore to be the ones to protect and serve! There is no evil Ali will not battle. If Ali comes across the devil, he’ll square up and dance. And for those out there facing their own evil, remember that evil only wins when you don’t fight. When and where will we see the Beacon of Light fight the evil?
Aleister Black talks via titantron.
The Embodiment of the End has wanted to know who knocked on his door, but the other chair is empty. His opponent is choosing to stay anonymous until Extreme Rules itself. Aleister laughs and actually likes that. Because he sees what his opponent is doing. It is something Aleister would do, so he applauds this man for doing it. This is smart, it really is. But at this point, Aleister doesn’t even care anymore. Aleister doesn’t care who it is, he will fight whoever this is- But wait. Someone paces around the empty chair. They sit down, and it’s CESARO! Well here we go. Cesaro tells Aleister, “I’m the one who knocked at your door, because I’m here to pick. A fight. With you.” “Oh so very good, Mr. Cesaro.” Because Sunday, Aleister is ready to fight!
Shelton Benjamin thinks on Roman Reigns VS Dolph Ziggler.
And he thinks. And thinks. Then thinks some more. He smirks again, then leaves. Just what is Benjamin thinking these days?
SmackDown returns with a backstage interview of Kofi Kingston!
Paul Heyman walks by before the WWE Champion speaks on the “controversial” response to Joe’s handshake. Does Kofi worry what Joe will do to him at Extreme Rules? No, not at all! Kofi knows exactly who Joe is and what Joe does. That includes Joe getting inside his opponent’s minds. But what happened? Controversy~! Kofi got in Joe’s head and then gave him Trouble in Paradise right upside the dome! Joe is going to be Kofi’s most dangerous opponent, but by beating such opponents, that will be how Kofi becomes one of the greatest W, W, E, World, Heavy, Weight, Champion~! … BABYYYYYYYY!
Roman Reigns VS Dolph Ziggler w/ Shane McMahon, Elias & Drew McIntyre!
The Big Dog is backed against the wall again, but he doesn’t sweat it. Will he be able to keep his focus on the Show-Off while the Drifter, the Scottish Terminator and the “BEST in the WOOOOOOOOORLD” lurk nearby?
SmackDown returns once more, and the bell rings. Roman and Ziggler circle and approach. Ziggler gets a leg but gets away before Roman has him. Shane joins commentary but lets Elias and McIntyre go where they want around the ring. Ziggler ties up with Roman and pulls hair but Roman puts Ziggler in a corner. Roman lets up but Ziggler shoves. Roman shoves back and Ziggler falls down! Ziggler gets up to punch Roman then throw hands in the corner. Roman blocks to headbutt Ziggler down! Roman bumps Ziggler off buckles then again. He whips Ziggler and runs him over! Fans cheer as Roman fireman’s carries Ziggler. Ziggler slips out and kicks the leg, to then dropkick Roman down!
Ziggler drops elbows then covers, TWO! Shane isn’t worried as Ziggler bumps Roman off buckles and throws hands. Ziggler walks away to run back in for a big splash! And then another, but gets an uppercut! Ziggler bails out but Roman follows. Roman tells Elias to back off, then goes at Ziggler to hit the Drive-By Dropkick! McIntyre also lurks and Roman sees he’s surrounded. He puts Ziggler in the ring, but the ref warns McIntyre and Elias to stay back. Ziggler grabs Roman but Roman uppercuts him away! The ref checks on Ziggler while Elias distracts Roman. McIntyre shoves Roman into a post! Shane plays dumb as Ziggler fetches Roman to whip him into barriers! Ziggler puts Roman in to cover, TWO!
Ziggler grows frustrated and drops elbows to cover, TWO! Shane isn’t worried as Ziggler puts Roman in a crossface. Fans rally up for Roman as he endures the hold. Roman fights his way up and Ziggler keeps a sleeper hold to then throw Roman down. Ziggler drags Roman up for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Shane is actually excited while Ziggler grows frustrated. Ziggler keeps on Roman with a chinlock but fans rally up again. Roman feeds off the energy and fights his way back up. Ziggler kicks low then turns Roman but Roman shoves him away, and gets him with a Samoan Drop! But Shane is still not worried.
The ref starts a standing count as both Roman and Ziggler are down. Ziggler gets up first and to the ropes. Roman follows at 5, but Ziggler runs in, only for his DDT to be denied! Roman rallies with clotheslines, then whips, but Ziggler reverses. Roman hits the leaping lariat! The Big Dog gives Ziggler point-blank clotheslines in the corner! Roman gets all 10 then BOOTS Ziggler down! Fans fire up as Roman locks ‘n’ loads! Now Shane is worried. Roman hits Elias with the SUPERMAN PUNCH! But Ziggler ZIGZAGS! Cover, TWO!! Shane is relieved that Roman is down, but Ziggler grows further frustrated. Ziggler stomps a la HBK as he waits for Roman to stand. Roman does stand, to SUPERMAN PUNCH! Cover, TWO!!
Ziggler survives but Roman isn’t done here. Fans fire up with Roman again, but McIntyre saves Ziggler. So Roman builds speed to FLY! Roman takes out Elias and McIntyre but Ziggler is safe. Shane gets in the ring to distract Roman, Ziggler SUPERKICKS Roman down! But wait, is that Kevin Owens!? STUNNER!! Shane is down but Roman and Ziggler get back in the ring! Roman denies the ZigZag to SPEAR!! Cover, Roman wins!!
Winner: Roman Reigns, by pinfall
The Big Dog overcomes the odds again! Will he and the Undertaker put the Best in the World down in the ground? Or will No Holds Barred only help Shane screw them over that much harder?
For a go-home episode, this SmackDown was much better than usual. This was certainly better than Raw just on the flow, but I don’t like that we needed a lot of recaps. We got people giving promos to help recap, and videos just take up minutes that could be used for matches and promos. But that aside, Samoa Joe and Kofi Kingston did give us good promos to keep the hype going. Rumors are that Kofi isn’t 100%, and may not be cleared for his match. Hopefully that isn’t the case, or else I fear we’ll get a quick squash like Joe VS Mysterio at Crown Jewel when Mysterio was hurt. And if that is the case, it’s now okay that this match isn’t getting a stipulation, since it’d just be a waste.
The developments with Kevin Owens were a great part of the night. His brawl with Ziggler in the parking lot and now what is basically a full Stone Cold style Face turn is going to be great for him and for SmackDown as we get deeper into the Summer. His promo on Shane was great, and his part in the main event getting at Shane was the icing on the cake. Roman VS Ziggler was a good match, even with the ringside help of McIntyre and Elias, and the Shane and Kevin stuff only added to it. Again, pretty sure Roman and Taker win despite what the math says about standing tall and all that. Taker VS McIntyre is likely at Summerslam, and now McIntyre can feud with Kevin on Shane’s behalf as the build.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this builds to Survivor Series somehow. There are enough superstars on each side for the traditional 5v5, where you don’t even need Shane or Taker in the match. Team Shane can be McIntyre, Elias, Ziggler and The Revival against Team WWE or whatever name, with Roman, the Usos, Miz and Kevin. But that’s looking a little too far ahead, even with Bischoff set to have influence starting next week. Though, one thing I’d like to see at Summerslam is the Finn VS Nakamura title match. They had a great non-title match here tonight, and if Bischoff were to help with the build, I bet they can have an even better match in Toronto. That match could go either way, which is honestly the best thing.
I was a little disappointed hearing they wanted to reveal Aleister Black’s opponent for Extreme Rules, because it takes away some of the drama. I do like that they chose Cesaro, and the way he revealed himself was well-done, but it would’ve been so much better as a surprise on Sunday. Aleister VS Cesaro is going to be an amazing match, and Aleister obviously wins for a strong singles re-debut. Ali had a solid promo, but who knows where he’s going while titles are spoken for. For that matter, what is up with Shelton Benjamin doing the “trying to solve math” meme face? Hopefully Bischoff comes up with ideas to follow Vince’s random thoughts. Maybe the Intercontinental Championship gets more active when SmackDown moves to Fox, with Benjamin and Ali included in the picture.
The tag titles, SmackDown Women’s title and Women’s Tag Titles all got some good play tonight, too. The SmackDown Tag Team Summit was great, with all the promos flying back and forth. That Triple Threat singles match we got was great, and it was big for Dozer to win, but this only reinforces that someone else wins the tag match. It would be amazing if The New Day all had titles, but that level of amazing is why it isn’t happening just yet. Probably Summerslam if we’re lucky. The Women’s Tag promos were good, especially Paige’s SLAP to Billie Kay. Kabuki Warriors might have to wait for Summerslam, too, which works since we need more matches for Asuka and Kairi.
Bayley and Nikki had good promos and Nikki VS Carmella was solid, but there’s no way we get co-champions. I still expect Alexa to blame Nikki if they lose, bringing their story about. Though, that really removes contenders for Becky on Raw. This is the one time uncertainty might not be good. We need to know there will be strong contenders on both shows so that the Wild Card Rule doesn’t actually have to be used that match. Alexa and Nikki could still feud while also getting Becky involved, I’m just not sure how that works at this point, with Vince clearly still influencing Raw. Bayley is probably fine on SmackDown, with Charlotte open to come back around, Carmella still being a good choice, and even Ember, Mandy and Sonya.
My Score: 8.1/10
Mitchell’s WWE NXT Results & Report! (7/17/19)
Who is the first to challenge the champ?
The NXT Champion returns to Full Sail, BAYBAY!
After making some stops on his Championship Celebration Tour BAYBAY, Adam Cole finally returns home! And he’s even daring to put the NXT Championship on the line tonight! Who steps up to the challenge?
- Matt Riddle VS Arturo Ruas; Riddle wins.
- NXT Breakout Tournament: Bronson Reed VS Dexter Lumis; Reed wins and advances to the next round.
- Apollo Crews VS KUSHIDA; KUSHIDA wins.
- NXT Championship: Adam Cole VS ???; No Contest.
PLAY BY PLAY
Matt Riddle VS Arturo Ruas!
Bro… NXT brings some Evolve as the Original Bro takes on the Brazilian Tiger! Both men had great wins during the Evolve 10th Anniversary Special, but who will win what is surely going to be a fight?
The bell rings and Riddle fist bumps Ruas to show this is still respectful. They test each other with jabs and kicks, but they keep their space. Riddle goes for a leg but Ruas sprawls. Riddle gets the waistlock and slam, but Ruas switches on the mat. Ruas rolls Riddle and wants a sleeper but Riddle rolls out to switch with Ruas. Fans rally and cheer for the Bro as he scrapes Ruas off his leg. Riddle and Ruas approach and Ruas tries some hands. Riddle throws them back then powers Ruas to a corner. The ref counts but Ruas turns things around, only for Riddle to hop on! But Ruas powers out to a slam! Ruas goes for the arm but Riddle holds tight. Ruas CHOPS Riddle but Riddle rolls to go for Ruas’ arm! Riddle gives back the CHOP as he works on the grip.
Ruas rolls and slips out to then get a facelock. Riddle pops out and gets his hands up, and fans cheer again. Ruas tries his capoeria stance but Riddle fires through it. Riddle has a leg but Ruas trips him up! Riddle gets the ropebreak and Ruas lets go. The two get up again and the dukes are up. Riddle tries kicks but so does Ruas. Riddle just gets Ruas with his foot! Ruas shrugs it off and tackles Riddle! But Riddle has the leg guard and elbows. Ruas tries palm strikes but Riddle gets away. Riddle comes back with hands, but misses his kick to block Ruas’ and boot Ruas down! Ruas kicks from the mat then trips Riddle up! Ruas rains down hands but Riddle heel kicks back, FINAL FLASH KNEE! Riddle rains the rights, Ruas can’t defend himself! The ref calls it!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by stoppage
Ruas gets #Broverwhelmed by Riddle, but Riddle doesn’t get to celebrate long! Someone attacks from behind! They wear a hoodie so we can’t see who they are as they stomp Riddle out! But then the hood comes off, it’s KILLIAN DAIN! And he drops big sentons on Riddle! The Beast of Belfast throws Riddle out of the ring hard, then goes out to run him over! Dain rains down rights, then throws him by his hair! Riddle crawls to retreat but Dain keeps on him with stomps. Dain CLUBS Riddle then kicks him into the apron. Dain clobbers Riddle over and over, and drops a fourth senton! Fans boo the Belfast barbarian as he rains down more rights.
Dain hauls Riddle up to throw him to the stage. Riddle crawls but Dain kicks him while he’s down. Dain runs and drops a fifth senton, and they both crash through the floor!! Dain promised to take everything from everyone, is Riddle just the first victim?
The NXT Tag Team Champions, the Street Profits, have a special edition of #StreetTalk!
This very special edition is rather quiet as they talk about the fact that, while the titles say the Street Profits are the champs, there are others that think the belts are theirs. Dawkins and Fords know Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are the ones running around trying to own the place. They disrespect the Profits. Nah, fam. These titles are serious. If the Profits weren’t serious, how did they win the ladder match? How did they win period? But if reDRagon wants to see the smoke, come see them. The Profits will still be the champs, “and that… is undisputed.” Will the Profits burn O’Reilly & Fish when they finally go 2v2?
NXT shares fan footage from Saturday.
Marina Shafir had only just pulled into the parking lot, when Mia Yim attacked! The Head Baddie in Charge gave one of the MMA Horsewomen a taste of their own medicine as she beat Marina down, and then SLAMMED the door shut on her! Is this going to get Shayna Baszler’s attention?
NXT Breakout Tournament: Bronson Reed VS Dexter Lumis!
The opening round of this inaugural tournament wraps up with perhaps the most physically imposing men of the field. First is the menacing maniac hailing from an “undisclosed location,” whose thousand yard stare into your soul might be reason enough not to fight him. Second is the bar brawler from Australia’s Black Forest, who welcomes anyone to test his Australian Strong Style. Who joins Angel Garza, Jordan Myles and Cameron Grimes in the semifinals?
Lumis frames Reed like a picture but Reed looks to crush Lumis with his hand. They tie up and Reed headlocks Lumis. Lumis pulls hair then powers out. Reed runs Lumis over but Lumis is right up! That surprises Reed, but he swings a clothesline. Lumis ducks and runs but Reed follows to run Lumis over! Reed scoops Lumis but Lumis slips out, shoves and elbows Reed out of the ring. Lumis then runs to FLY! But Reed gets free, only for Lumis to land on his feet!? Reed dodges Lumis to crossbody Lumis down! Fans fire up for this as Reed drags Lumis up. Reed puts Lumis in the ring and stands him up, but Lumis throat chops. Lumis whips and trips Reed into ropes! Reed gasps for air but Lumis rains down rabid rights. The eerily stoic Lumis is now fired up as he stomps Reed around.
Lumis frames the picture and pulls on Reed’s ears. The ref reprimands Lumis so he shifts to a neck wrench. Fans rally up and Reed fights up, but Lumis throws him back down. Lumis drops ax handles and elbows, then puts the neck wrench back on. Fans rally again and Reed endures. Lumis licks Reed?! Perhaps he wants a taste of Reed’s pain. But Reed only gets mad and fights his way up. Reed throws forearms but Lumis knees low. Lumis runs but into Reed’s powerslam! Both men are down as Lumis clutches his ribs. Lumis is up but Reed follows to rally with forearms and elbows. Reed whips and back drops Lumis high and hard! Lumis leans on the ropes, Reed runs and bounces Lumis off the ropes, and runs him over with his full body! Cover, TWO!
Reed keeps going and drags Lumis up for a suplex. Lumis slips out to back suplex Reed! And then kips up to a leg drop! Cover, TWO! Lumis keeps his cool and goes to a corner while Reed is down. Lumis climbs up top, frames the picture, and leaps, to flop! Reed lifts Lumis for a back suplex SLAM! The straps come down and now Reed climbs!? Reed leaps, SUPER SPLASH! Cover, Reed wins!
Winner: Bronson Reed, by pinfall; advances to the second round
Australian Strong Style advances! Will he continue to make a big splash when he goes up against Cameron Grimes next?
Tyler Breeze has a new NXT photoshoot.
Prince Pretty finishes up and Cathy Kelly asks for an interview. Breeze agrees, so long as they walk and talk. Cathy walks with Breeze about losing to Roderick Strong. Well the thing about NXT now is that it’s good to have someone watching your back. So Breeze either adapts or- The Forgotten Sons walk in and can’t believe there’s another “blast from the past.” But Steve Cutler tells Breeze this isn’t the old NXT, this is not the Tyler Breeze Show. This is the NXT where real men compete.
Breeze is a man, check the beard. But yeah, Breeze hasn’t been here awhile, but good to see Cutler and Wesley Blake are still stuck here. And didn’t Jaxson Ryker used to be Buddy Murphy? The Forgotten Sons say Breeze’s jokes are why he’s never been taken seriously. Ryker is a savage, and Breeze has never faced a man like him. Well guess what? Breeze has seen everything he needs. Will Breeze still be gorgeous after a going against the Gunner?
The #EvilGenius will return to action next week!
Io Shirai’s new entrance, new look and new attitude came with the simple message: “I don’t need anyone.” Will this new attitude be what she needs to make it back to the top? Her return match against American Ninja Warrior, Kacy Catanzaro, will test that theory!
Apollo Crews VS KUSHIDA!
The Time Splitter is still undefeated in NXT, and he is willing to take on anyone and everyone from within the WWE! Now SmackDown’s rising star returns to Full Sail to test the Super Junior, will Kushida’s streak continue?
Full Sail “Welcome Back!” Apollo as he heads to the ring. The bell rings and Apollo shakes hands with Kushida to show this is a respectful match. The two circle and tie up, and Apollo gets out of Kushida’s grip. Apollo comes back to get the waistlock and throw Kushida down. Kushida works his way up and around to waistlock and facelock. They roll around and Kushida holds on to then float all over Apollo, back to a gator roll and cover, TWO! Apollo ducks the Penalty Kick just in time, and Kushida lets him know how close it was. Fans duel as the two circle and tie up again. Apollo headlocks but Kushida powers out, only for Apollo to run him over. Things speed up and Apollo shows his agility, but so does Kushida! They keep moving and Apollo dropkicks Kushida right down!
Apollo strikes a pose before he wrenches and whips Kushida corner to corner. Apollo hits a corner clothesline then whips again, but Kushida slides out. Kushida plays cat ‘n’ mouse to then handspring heel kick Apollo down! Apollo is down but Kushida goes out to fetch him. Kushida puts Apollo in, then goes after the arm. Kushida headbutts the shoulder then runs, but into a pop-up gutbuster! Both men are down and fans rally up. Apollo stands to drag Kushida up, then suplexes and holds Kushida up for over 20 counts! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps on Kushida with a chinlock and thrashes him about. Kushida endures and fans rally up.
Kushida stands, fights back, then runs, but into Apollo’s elbow! Apollo drags Kushida back up to throw haymakers. Apollo throws hands in the corner then whips Kushida corner to corner again. He hits a big splash then a big overhead suplex! Cover, TWO! Apollo drags Kushida up again for forearms, backing Kushida down to a corner. He whips Kushida corner to corner agian but misses the splash this time! Kushida throws forearms back! Apollo mule kicks, runs to a corner, but Kushida catches his headscissors to KICK Apollo down! Fans rally as Kushida gets up first.
Kushida forearms Apollo at the ropes but Apollo reverses the whip. Kushida handsprings to back elbow Apollo down! Apollo is in the corner, Kushida runs in, but Apollo boots Kushida away. Apollo runs but into Kushida’s hip toss! Kushida cartwheels and dropkicks to add on! Apollo gets to a corner as fans fire up with Kushida. Kushida goes to the apron to kick Apollo out of the corner! Then step-in springboards in for a tornado DDT! Cover, TWO! Kushida drags Apollo up and wrenches the arm to a shoulder breaker. Kushida runs and slides under to kick away on the arm. Apollo catches the kick, then blocks the takedown counter! He fireman’s carries but Kuhisda slips out to a waistlock. Apollo standing switches, but Kushida elbows free. Kushida runs into a BOOT! Cover, TWO!
Kushida survives but Apollo drags him up for a deadlift German Suplex! But Apollo holds on for a second, a la the Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle! The third German is a release, and leads to a standing shooting star! Cover, TWO!! Kushida survives again and Apollo is shocked. Full Sail is thunderous for “Both These Guys!” as Apollo stands Kushida up again. Apollo trophy lifts but Kushida slips out. Kushida catches Apollo to give him a buckle shot! Then Kushida springboards, huricanrana but Apollo rolls through, TWO!! Kushida Peles but Apollo enziguris! Both men are down and fans are loving “NXT! NXT!” for this match.
A standing count begins and Apollo slowly sits up. Apollo gets up at 4 to go to the apron. Apollo then climbs, but Kushida hurries over. Kushida stops Apollo with a forearm, then throws more as he climbs. Apollo gives forearms back, and the two start trading. Apollo sends Kushida down, but Kushida is up to handspring heel kick Apollo back! Kushida climbs up and stands Apollo, for a SUPER ARMBAR TAKEDOWN! Apollo flails and works his way up to his feet. He drags Kushida but Kushida rolls Apollo away, SAKURABA LOCK! Apollo endures the kimura but taps out, Kushida wins!!
Winner: KUSHIDA, by submission
An incredible battle brings Apollo and Kushida to their limits, but it is the Super Junior’s streak that continues! How long will it take the Time Splitter to fight for a title?
Backstage interview with Keith Lee.
The Limitless One moves into his second year in NXT beginning, but what are his feelings towards his tenure here? “Tenure” makes Lee think of “progress,” but what progress has he made with his stop-and-go momentum? Lee has been here a year now, but what is the real keyword? Opportunity. Opportunities were supposed to be set at his feet, but… It feels more like Lee has been passed over. There is the Breakout Tournament, but why wasn’t that here when Lee arrived? And now there’s this new guy, Damien Priest, and he’s all the buzz. But maybe Lee should change the narrative. Maybe Lee should be the one that replaces Priest in everyone’s conversations. Will Limitless #LiveForever against the Archer of Infamy?
NXT Championship: Adam Cole VS ???
He’s back, BAYBAY! Adam Cole’s victory lap finishes with Full Sail, and he’s promised a title defense just for the fun of it. Cole picks up a mic to say, “For the past few weeks, I’ve been traveling all across the globe on the BAYBAY Championship Tour.” What he did is to show the morons what a true champion is. He showed us what true power is! And while he’s been gone, the Undisputed Era has been taking care of business. There is now an #UndisputedPowerSwitch in NXT, but Cole is a fighting champion. Anyone, anytime, anywhere! And that starts tonight! And against… Johnny Gargano?!
A video of Gargano plays, from when he shared the NXT Championship belt with the aspiring wrestlers in Cleveland. It was such a surreal moment for those young stars, and so… “Twan Tucker, c’mon down!” And he’s here in NXT! Cole says it’s good to see him again. Hopefully Twan realizes this is the opportunity of a life time. And he promises this will just be the two of them, no Undisputed Era around. This is a fair chance to slap the taste out of Cole’s mouth. Oh so it’s just Cole and Twan? Too bad, because Twan didn’t come alone! Twan brought JOHNNY GARGANO!! Cole is in shock as Johnny Wrestling storms out and past Twan, to brawl with Cole! Gargano rallies, blocks a superkick and gives a SUPERKICK! Then one from the apron!
Gargano chases Cole and throws hands as they go around the outside. Cole throws Gargano into railing and retreats up the stands, but Gargano still chases him down! Gargano rains down hands and Full Sail is thunderous! Gargano CHOPS and punches Cole against the railing, then pushes him back to ringside. Cole keeps retreating, but Johnny Badass keeps coming. But Cole elbows Gargnao back! Cole whips but Gargano reverses to send Cole through barriers! Gargano hops on to rain down hands and bounce Cole off the floor! Referees rush out to drag Gargano away. Cole stands tall with his title, until Gargano FLIES off the stage!!
Referees go after Gargano again but he still goes after Cole! They end up in the ring, Cole kicks low to run, but gets a SUPERKICK! And then the DIY style, into GargaNO Escape! Cole taps, but it doesn’t matter right now, Gargano wants to hurt the cocky champ! Referees pry at the grip around Cole’s neck, but Gargano lets go when he’s satisfied! Gargano defended the honor of The Land, but will he bring the title back in yet another match with Adam Cole, BAYBAY?
NXT GM William Regal responds to this chaotic ending!
As seen on WWE’s YouTube, Regal sees things between Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano will not be over so easily. So his choice is to give Gargano and Cole another Best 2 Out of 3 Falls, but where Gargano chooses one stipulation, Cole chooses another, and if need be, Regal chooses the third. In other words, NXT brings back the Three Stages of Hell!! What will Gargano and Cole choose to do to each other in order to finally, decisively, and indisputably end this feud?!
WOW that was an incredible episode for NXT! We waste little time getting to hard hitting action as Arturo Ruas makes his debut (ignore when he was Adrian Jaoude) and against Matt Riddle. It was great to see legit MMA-trained wrestlers give us just samples of what they can legitimately do, and what a great choice to make this a TKO, referee stoppage win as opposed to a pin or submission. It really ups Riddle’s power, which he’ll need after Big Damo destroyed him. It was a great spot to have them break the stage, but it was easy to see the exact panel on the stage they were going to break. I’m reminded of old cartoons, where you could tell if something was about to move because it was slightly different in shade. That aside, Dain VS Riddle is going to be awesome!
We got an awesome “fan filmed” section where Mia Yim went off on Marina Shafir. I’m surprised they didn’t have a response promo from Shayna, but we can definitely get that next week. If anything, Mia might do something like this to Jessamyn Duke so Shayna will have no one in Toronto. Meanwhile, Io Shirai’s Heel persona starting her in-ring journey is going to be great, but I’m sure this all leads to her and Candice LeRae for at least the “post” TakeOver episode. Reed VS Lumis was a pretty solid opening round finale, and both guys got great shine. The second round is going to be even greater with Garza VS Myles and Grimes VS Reed. Street Profits gave us a quiet but strong promo, solidifying that Toronto will feature all parts of Undisputed Era to either make or break the #drapedingold prediction.
Kushida VS Apollo, WOW! This is the Apollo we’ve been wanting to see back in the ring, but the main roster doesn’t use him nearly enough. Kushida keeps rolling, so he’ll definitely be primed for a title match after Toronto onto Chicago for Survivor Series weekend. And the announcement of Cole having a title match on NXT TV set up expectations, such as a ridiculous squash, what we got was so much better! Twan let Gargano go right after Cole and their brawl all over the arena was great. And now hearing that we’re getting the (not officially named) return of Three Stages of Hell, this is going to give us the truly decisive and truly over-the-top finale to this saga between Gargano and Cole. There are any number of things the three falls can be, and you know they’re doing all three falls, Toronto is going to be insane.
My Score: 8.6/10
The WWE TV YouTube Experiment (Week 5: RAW/ July 15, 2019)
Monday Night RAW happened. Or did it? Let’s talk about what we saw on YouTube and discuss whether anything actually occurred at all.
The WWE TV YouTube Experiment
Monday Night RAW/ July 15, 2019/ Long Island, New York
I had Night 3 of New Japan’s G1 Climax to watch on Sunday (and Night 4 on Monday), so I didn’t see Extreme Rules. The results seemed okay, but it’s worthless to cover it here if I didn’t actually see it. I did, however, take advantage of a 3-month subscription for 99 cents a couple of days ago, which follows the 2-month subscription for 99 cents that ended this week. So that’s awesome. I can justify spending what translates into less than 40 cents a month on the WWE Network. I can’t justify 10 bucks a month. And it has nothing to do with the current product.
I’m not going to get on a soapbox, but in short, I signed up on day one and kept my subscription even after I stopped watching regularly, and even after I stopped watching altogether. But when they signed the Saudi deal, I was not happy. And then they doubled down by continuing on with the show after the murder of an innocent journalist. It runs deeper than that, but that’s the gist. As soon as they decided to run that show, I decided that morally, I couldn’t give them $120 bucks a year any longer. So that’s that. I started a free trial at the end of January. Got a second one at the beginning of April, and then accepted 2 months for 99 cents in May and 3 months for 99 cents in July. A buck ninety-eight for 9 months? Yeah, I don’t have a moral obligation that stops me from throwing couch change at someone. In reality, when my subscription ends in mid-October, I’ll have paid 22 cents a month. Hey, I’m even doing numbers analysis up here. How about that?
Monday Night RAW 7/15/2019
Total Number of Clips: 13
Total Time: 34 minutes, 18 seconds
*Note: In the interest of saving space, I won’t be embedding every clip, only the ones that I feel are necessary.*
Brock Lesnar’s SummerSlam opponent to be revealed (4 minutes, 56 seconds)
This was the longest clip of the small batch this week, running more than a full minute longer than the second longest, and that one (Truth, Maverick, and the 24/7 Title) was one YouTube clip but 3 actual TV segments. The next longest video that was only one segment was a full minute and 56 seconds shorter than this. The Women’s 4-Way and angle afterward got a 3-minute video. More on that later. This was fine, standard fare from Heyman, and although the outcome at the end of the night was disappointing, at least based on this segment it felt like maybe someone fresh would get a title match. Good enough. (1 for 1)
2-out-of-3 Falls Six-Man Tag Team Match (2 minutes, 59 seconds)
This got Robert Roode on TV, which is good. He actually feels like a guy who would fit well as a regular partner/ally for The Revival. Match seemed fine, and the aftermath was good, with Ricochet getting taken out by The Club, which means they aren’t done with him even though AJ took his belt at the PPV. I hope something big happens with The Club and it’s not just AJ as a mid-card guy with 2 guys as his backup. Or even AJ as a main event guy with 2 guys as his backup, like they did in his feud with Roman Reigns in 2016. If that’s all they do, eh, it’s fine, but it’s nothing special. Finn has to become part of this when he returns in the fall, right? (2 for 2)
The Viking Raiders vs. Vinny Gruner & Jackson James (1 minute, 36 seconds)
Man, they came really close to killing that guy with the pop-up powerslam finish. It’s good to see these guys aren’t getting the Ascension treatment, but they have been on TV for exactly 3 months as of this episode of RAW. It’s time to start doing something with them because the crowd doesn’t seem to care very much. It was just an inoffensive squash and they’re not being beaten up by 60-year-old men every week, so I’ll take it. Next week is the RAW Reunion, though. If I were these guys, I might consider not showing up. (3 for 3)
Cedric Alexander vs. Drew McIntyre (2 minutes, 17 seconds)
After the unbelievably bad angle they did last week to close the show, they needed to give Cedric something, and thankfully they did in the form of a quick win over Drew McIntyre. I get the feeling Drew probably isn’t going to be challenging, much less defeating, The Undertaker at SummerSlam. He’ll probably just be in Shane’s corner for his match against Kevin Owens. Oh well. That’s close, right? I’m interested in seeing if they follow up with Cedric now, or if this was just an apology match for the shit that happened on the previous show. Either way, this was exactly what they needed to do. (4 for 4)
Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe (1 minute, 47 seconds)
Joe picks up another win in extremely quick fashion (the match was under a minute and a half long), which is good after losing his 50th title match in a row. Getting beat up by Finn immediately after was completely unnecessary, though. I know that Finn is a fighter, but why bother? Instead of Joe getting what was essentially just a fluke roll-up, why not have him tap Finn or choke him out? Finn is leaving in a few weeks, and it’s going to be The Demon, not Finn Balor, who is going to take on Bray at SummerSlam, so at this moment Finn Balor is a disposable entity. This did nothing for Joe. (4 for 5)
Bray Wyatt returns and attacks Finn Balor (1 minute, 21 seconds)
I will say, the mask is definitely scarier in the ring the way it was presented here than it was when it was revealed in the Firefly Fun House vignettes. It looked like a corny, failed attempt to look scary, at least to me. I liked the outfit with the striped pants and whatnot since it’s a different attire than he was wearing when he left, but the mask was uninspiring. It was scary as shit on Monday, though. This was very well done, and I really hope Bray beats The Demon at SummerSlam. Hopefully, they can do that and then drop the silly gimmick that The Demon is a creature that uses Finn as a host (that’s pretty much what they’ve made it) and just let Finn be Finn, a cool dude in a leather jacket who sometimes likes to paint himself up because he enjoys the showmanship of it. This was about as good as they were going to get for the re-debut of Wyatt. I hope, almost exactly 6 years after his original main roster debut, they get it right this time. I also wonder if he’s going to wrestle in the mask and if the mask looks a little different because it’s not the exact same one from the promos, and instead has been altered to be worn in the ring. (5 for 6)
The Street Profits predict Brock Lesnar’s next challenger (1 minute, 59 seconds)
Can they be done with this now, please? It started off as amusing, but now it’s getting annoying. This is a terrible use of a pair of guys who are absolutely terrific. If they aren’t joining the RAW tag division, please just keep them in NXT. (5 for 7)
Zack Ryder vs. Mike Kanellis (1 minute, 50 seconds)
Next. (5 for 8)
Lucha House Party vs. The Club (2 minutes, 51 seconds)
This was exactly what it needed to be, with AJ, Gallows, and Anderson picking up a win as a team in what appeared to be a solid match. My big issue with this is similar to other omissions that don’t make much sense. Ricochet interfered in this match and went after AJ (it’s what they used to stop the match for the commercial break). Why not show that? It’s important in the build of the feud that Ricochet isn’t going to let these guys walk all over him. Outside of that, this was still an entertaining clip and the right thing to do for The Club, so I won’t let that drag it down. (6 for 9)
Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Carmella vs. Alexa Bliss
I assume that between entrances, the match, and the post-match promo this probably took around 40 minutes of the show to itself, and that would be why this week there are only 13 clips instead of the usual 17-to-19. The only parts of the match that they showed were the 3 eliminations, which means I only saw a minute and 21 seconds of what everyone is agreeing was a Very Bad 25-minute match. That means to me, as a viewer of only the YouTube content, this was actually just fine. Sadly, the last fall did include the “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” dueling chant, along with a very, very brief “Goldberg” chant immediately after. Natalya is suddenly a heel, maybe, or maybe she’s just trying to get on Becky’s level in terms of being a loose cannon on the microphone. I guess we’ll see next week. It was a bit cringeworthy, but I also like Natalya more than a lot of people do, so I’m okay with this. Thanks to the fact that the only parts of the match they showed here were good, this gets a thumbs up from me. (7 for 10)
The Miz pummels Dolph Ziggler on “Miz TV” (2 minutes, 57 seconds)
It was a different promo than the one that Ziggler has been cutting for the last 3 years, so that was good. The last thing we need is another feud between these two. I have enjoyed most of the stuff they’ve done together over the years, but we don’t need more. I sort of thought this was going in the direction of Ziggler helping Miz get his head back on straight, possibly leading to them forming a tag team that would be somewhat similar to the Awesome Truth. Maybe that is the plan. I’ll wait and see with this. I also might be the last person outside of Vince McMahon and Dolph Ziggler himself who still thinks DZ can be rehabbed and do something good, so I may be judging this on a bit of a curve. Going with a thumbs up for this. (8 for 11)
R-Truth Invades Drake Maverick’s hotel room (3 minutes, 52 seconds)
As I mentioned earlier, this video was all 3 of the night’s segments all put together, which made sense to do. This may have been the best 24/7 stuff I’ve seen since I started 4 weeks ago. This was a lot of fun. (9 for 12)
Cross-Branded All-Star Top 10 Battle Royal (2 minutes, 53 seconds)
Boy, oh boy, there is a LOT to unpack from the name of this match. I won’t do it, but wow. That’s something. I don’t know… the excerpts from the match itself were good, as you would expect with the talented guys involved. The winner was disappointing but Seth was really the most obvious winner, and nobody should have expected WWE to go an unexpected route like Big E, even though the crowd seemed to be supporting him the most, and the fact that he’s been ready for the spot for like 3 years, or more. Again, this was fine. I don’t really care very much. I will say, though, that I thought Rollins was showing a ton of fire in the post-match promo, and it almost made me care. And then he had to shoe-horn in the “reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion” line, and it ruined the whole thing for me. I’m listing this as a negative because I wish they would explore different directions. This was a perfect opportunity. Whatever. (9 for 13)
The July 8 episode, the final RAW before Extreme Rules, was really quite awful. I hated it. This week is a step above that. I’m mostly apathetic toward it. I felt nonplussed by pretty much everything. I’m glad that it was under 35 minutes long because it went by extraordinarily quickly, but when I was done it felt like I watched a whole lot of nothing. With the exception of the Bray Wyatt return, this week’s episode could have not happened at all, and nothing would be different.
Come to think of it, that’s probably worse than a bad show because contrary to what I said last week it wasn’t bad TV that drove me to stop watching. It was the fact that with the exception of some really strong matches, the show was the same thing every single week. There were a number of occasions where I would miss 2 weeks and not check out the reviews, and when I saw the show again, there had been such a minimal amount of storyline progression that the episodes I missed might not have even existed at all. I hope something happens next week. At least they appear to be doing fun stuff on SmackDown, with Kevin Owens if nothing else.
Average Clip Length
Week 5: 2 minutes, 38 seconds
Week 4: 2 minutes, 10 seconds
Week 3: 2 minutes, 33 seconds
Week 2: 2 minutes, 44 seconds
Week 1: 2 minutes, 32 seconds
The average length of each clip is back on par with the first 3 weeks after last week’s sizeable drop. After a little under 48 hours, here are some viewership numbers:
- Bray Wyatt’s return has over 2.5 million views
- Just over 2 million views for R-Truth pinning Drake in the hotel
- The Battle Royal has over 1.7 million views, as one might expect
- The Women’s 4-Way has 555k views
- Over 400k for Cedric vs. Drew
- Viking Raiders at under 87k views, by far the least-watched
Bray’s return came very close to outclassing, in under 48 hours, the most-watched clip from last week’s show, which was the Roman/Cedric vs. Shane/Drew match. That had around 2.6 million views as of last Friday night, more than 2 days longer than the Bray return clip. As of the writing of this, Wednesday evening July 17th, that clip has only earned about another 100,000 views, at just over 2.7 million.
The 24/7 Championship saga must have had some buzz, which it hasn’t had for the last 2 weeks. It’s the second-most-watched clip for the July 15th RAW. The 24/7 stuff didn’t even earn enough views last week for me to even mention it in more than a single sentence — there were 3 clips (probably should have just put them all together in one) and only one of them was over 100k. The one with the word “consummation” in the title was just under 300k last Friday and sits at 662k as of Wednesday evening. The other two videos are well below 350k. Hitting over 2 million views this week is back up to form and makes me happy.
I don’t recall any other video featuring the women’s division going above 300,000 views, especially not in under 48 hours. I would wager that the reason it’s at more than half a million views is that people heard the match was awful, and they were curious to see it for themselves. Those people were likely both disappointed and relieved at the same time. No disrespect to the women, but this match had a ton of buzz online and it wasn’t positive attention. Very few people checked the 4-way match video out because they were interested in the outcome, and Becky Lynch isn’t in the thumbnail, her name isn’t in the title of the video, and the title doesn’t even specify that the match was for a title shot.
The Viking Raiders continue to be one of, if not the least-viewed videos every week. After just under 48 hours, they have well under 100,000 views, Even the Street Profits hit 104k. Also, after hitting 1.4 million for Maria’s in-ring destruction of Mike Kanellis a few weeks ago, that angle has stalled out big time both in development and in YouTube hits. Ryder squashing Kanellis has only 284k views. The “pickles and ice cream” video from the July 8th episode, which was the awful follow-up to the original angle from July 1st (which peaked at 1.8 million as of this writing) is at a pitiful 184k after more than a week. Maybe they should be glad that nobody is checking them out. The fewer eyes, the better.
Well, that’s all I have for this week. I’m officially at the halfway mark, as there are 3 more episodes of RAW before SummerSlam and my last will be the night after. So far, I’m not leaning toward going back to being a regular RAW viewer. I might start checking out SmackDown, though. It seems like fun.
Nick Marsico/ Writer (kinda)
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