As many of us know, WWE isn’t high on my interest level most of the time; but this is a big show. Plus it’s a big show with a Randy Orton championship challenge. So it checked enough boxes to make me at least feign interest.
I suppose two other things that come to mind are:
- How many titles does Asuka leave with?
- It’s nice of WWE to give Sonya the space she needs after her real life situation.
Overall, this could be interesting even if I’m less than enthused. So let’s get to this Summer in the Thunder Dome!
- United States Championship: Apollo Crews (c) vs MVP: Crews retains via The Chariot @6:40 – ** ½
- SmackDown Women’s Championship: Asuka vs Bayley (c): Bayley retains via Roll-Up @11:35 – *** ¼
- Raw Tag Team Championship: Angel Garza & Andrade w/Zelina Vega vs Street Profits: Street Profits retain via Frog Splash @7:50 – *** ¼
- NO DQ Loser Leaves WWE: Mandy Rose vs Sonya DeVille: Rose wins via Mandy Trigger @10:05 – ** ½
- Street Fight: Seth Rollins w/ Buddy Murphy vs Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio: Rollins wins via Stomp @22:35 – ** ¾
- Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka vs Sasha Banks (c) w/ Bayley: Asuka wins via Asuka Lock @11:25 – *** ¾ – TITLE CHANGE!!!
- WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs Drew McIntyre (c): McIntyre retains via Backslide Pin @20:35 – *** ½
- Universal Championship: Braun Strowman (c) vs Bray Wyatt: Fiend wins via Sister Abigail @12:00 – **- TITLE CHANGE!!
United States Championship: Apollo Crews (c) vs MVP
Very fundamentally basic match. MVP tried his hand at a straight up match, and then started laying back, taking a few shortcuts and trying to make an opening. Playmaker gets countered, Apollo hits The Chariot to retain.
Not a lot to really talk about, but it wasn’t bad, just very there.
SmackDown Women’s Championship
This was a really physical and solid match. Bayley broke out a few submissions, her Turnbuckle Sunset Flip, a few violent elbows while Asuka was in the ropes…just a lot of good viciousness. Bayley went after Asuka’s knee, and that caused a few hiccups in her offense, which helped the story along nicely.
Sasha made her presence felt toward the end. She distracted Asuka to evoke some aggression from the challenger, and then she popped up on the apron to eat a Hip Attack, protecting Bayley. Bayley sees the opening, gets the Roll Up, and retains.
This sets up hopefully for during Sasha’s match, Bayley doesn’t take the extra step and costs Sasha the Raw title. Since we’ve seen Sasha doing a lot to prove her loyalty to Bayley and Bayley doesn’t always repay the kindness.
Raw Tag Team Championship: Angel Garza & Andrade w/Zelina Vega vs Street Profits
Montez was isolated for most of this match, and it was decent strategy, just a lot of camera cuts, unnecessary pose spots and just gimmicks. The ring work was fine, and the fact that Garza has been testing Zelina’s patience with his flirting, the fact that he knocked Montez into her which caused the distraction for Andrade; yeah we know this is blowing up to something.
The match was fine, the wrinkle with Garza shooting the team in the foot in a way is interesting, but nothing spectacular.
NO DQ Loser Leaves WWE: Mandy Rose vs Sonya DeVille
The stipulation was changed on SmackDown following the real life situation that occurred with Sonya, and it was a very obvious finish. Not a bad thing, and actually quite a nice pivot from WWE, but no one is shocked by the outcome.
That being said, it wasn’t too bad. Mandy had a few flubs with struggle with the table, a few wimpy looking Knee Strikes and hesitations on strike exchanges. But for what we all expected, this turned out pretty decent. Sonya with the CHAIRSHOT out of nowhere when it took Mandy forever to set up the table was cool. Air Hockey with chairs was kinda dumb to be honest.
All in all, a decent match with solid physicality.
Street Fight: Seth Rollins w/ Buddy Murphy vs Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio
Holy over booked and way too long match Batman. To be fair, Dominik did a solid job early on hanging in the match and even turning the tides on occasion. But for all the good that Dominik did, the constant stalls in action to bark at Rey, just to drag things out, didn’t add to suspense, it made the match a longer chore.
Then when Angie came out I thought the Network auto-switched to the Spanish Announcers, but I realized it was just Rey trying to talk her down. Either way, what could’ve been an interesting turning point with his mother coming out, was just awkward with her standing there for the last like 5 minutes. Just overbooked, cornball, cartoon villainy with making a “helpless” “half blind” Rey Mysterio watch a wrestling move from up close.
The last few minutes really killed what was a decent match. Dominik showed a lot, but over booking hurt the entire level of this match.
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka vs Sasha Banks (c) w/ Bayley
Asuka came in with an injury and a previous match under her belt, so that was an obvious bullseye. Asuka sold the leg injury from entrance and Sasha did manage to attack the spots and take advantage of a half speed Asuka for most of the match.
Asuka had moments when she was ahead, but the slight hesitation gave Sasha space to dodge or get out of bad positions, or counter the Asuka Lock most times. As things wind down, Sasha is in the corner and we hear Bayley talking her up, saying she’s better than Asuka and how she’s got this…then the moment of truth. A replica of the spot that won Bayley the match happens, but instead of eating the Hip Attack (like Sasha did), Bayley side steps and eats a Spinning Elbow. Sasha tries to capitalize, but Asuka gets out of the Bank Statement attempt, locks in the Asuka Lock and Bayley can’t regain her faculties fast enough to help Sasha.
Asuka wins, Sasha fails, and Bayley continues the trend of really just being a selfish friend. This will probably come to a head when they defend the tag titles, but you can see it stewing more prominently right now.
WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs Drew McIntyre (c)
We knew this was going to be a fight, but McIntyre showed a lot more preparation than I think most people expected. Every time Randy punched, Drew had a counter. One would kick one in the knee, the other would repay in kind. It really seemed like Randy wasn’t expecting Drew to be so well prepared, or even bust out a Figure Four to send a message.
Both men got color at some point, and it was just a great slugfest. Drew counters the Punt with a Pop Up Powerbomb, Randy ducks under the Claymore, and tries to take advantage of the miss with an RKO; but Drew had an answer. Drew turned the RKO attempt into a Backslide, and flail as he might, the Viper got caught.
Damn good match, with a finish to push the story forward. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a rematch at Payback.
Universal Championship: Braun Strowman (c) vs Bray Wyatt
Well this was crock-pot slow. A few big spots, but mostly a molasses in winter level of slow. Braun needed like 4 Powerslams to beat Goldberg and was somehow shocked when The Fiend didn’t stay down after 1?
They sortuv brawl or something to Gorilla, then come back…and I think I might’ve passed out with my eyes open here. Next thing that’s noticeable is that Braun has a box cutter to…cut up the canvas to expose the wood. So when EVERYONE ELSE does this, they just work towards undoing the apron or peeling stuff back. But no, in Braun’s infinite wisdom he cuts it up sloppy, slow and stupid…then surprise, surprise, he gets caught.
Bray winning via Sister Abigail is a little different than how The Fiend usually wins, but hey, the belt is off Braun so thank god for that.
OMG! Roman is back! He kills everyone! The Samoan Sex Machine returns, and the shirt “Wreck Everyone & Leave” is a pretty good tag line.
Overall Score: 6.25/10
Well even if nothing was god awful, this show didn’t really do much to excite anything. The Asuka story was pretty good; Bayley’s selfishness is a nice bit of consistent storytelling, Drew out foxing Orton is a good bit of babyface vengeance and the belt is off Braun. So there were things to enjoy, at least for me. OH! And Dominik did look pretty damn good, save for the overbooking of the match.
Then of course the return of our Samoan Sex Machine, looking all pissed off and bad boy. Tama Tonga shaved his beard and gave some of that badass swag to Roman. I really appreciate how Roman took out both Bray and Braun, so that buys him some time to work up and not have to go right after Fiend for people who would prefer a decent title reign.
All in all, I was a bit bored and generally uninterested by a lot, but there were still little nuggets to enjoy.