Amanda Why (@manda_why)
We’re back with a new site, a new style, and a lot to get through.
Drew Gulak def. Lice Dorado and Humberto Carrillo
AJ Styles def. Cedric Alexander
Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode def. Seth Rollin & Braun Strowman
Bayley def. Charlotte Flair
The Revival def. The New Day
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross def. Fire & Desire
Shinsuke Nakamura def. The Miz
Sasha Banks def. Becky Lynch
Kofi Kingston def. Randy Orton
Erick Rowan def. Roman Reigns
Seth Rollins def. Braun Strowman
Drew Gulak (C) vs Lince Dorado vs Humberto Carrillo – Cruiserweight Championship Kickoff Show match – was a hell of a way to kickoff a Kickoff show. It’s always bugged me that WWE hide away some of their best talents on 205 Live and only roll them out to deliver incredible Kickoff Show matches like this one. They have to do something with Humberto Carrillo, find him some character, have a main roster guy single him out, something. Gulak retained this time around though.
AJ Styles (C) vs Cedric Alexander – United States Championship Kickoff Show match – had a proper grudge match feel after everything The OC have put him through in the last few weeks. Alexander is done with Styles’ shit, and nearly pinned him a couple of times in the first minute. AJ Styles had a clear pinning opportunity but pulled Alexander up at two so he could punish him a bit more. He did, for a while, then he finished him with a Phenomenal Forearm and a Styles Clash.
The post-match OC beatdown was definite overkill. Weird match, one minute of Cedric Alexander looking awesome followed by four minutes of AJ Styles destroying him.
Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman (C) vs Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode – RAW Tag Team Championship match – Rollins and Strowman took the honour of both opening and closing the main card. There was a lot of doubt over whether their teamwork would hold up in the light of the Universal Championship match, but it mostly did. Whatever my personal feelings about the implied disrespect to the tag division of having thrown together teams as both champions and challengers, it was a decent opener for the PPV proper. Roode and Ziggler picked up the win, and the titles, and set the stage for the main event when Strowman knocked Roode into Rollins. Rollins wiped out in the corner and got pinned by Robert Roode with a Glorious DDT.
Post-match, Strowman blamed Seth Rollins for the loss and claimed it was the tart of Rollins losing streak.
Bayley (C) vs Charlotte Flair – SmackDown Women’s Championship match – Flair was going for her tenth championship, which would give her yet another entry in the record books. I’ve seen a lot of complaining about the four horsewomen being on top again, but honestly, it’s needed. WWE have done so poorly by their women’s divisions in the last few months that they need to put their biggest existing stars back on top and start again. The talent is there in ridiculous numbers, but they need Bayley, Flair, Banks, and Lynch to be a benchmark that means something.
The take-home from this one was, Bayley cheated to win. She took the turnbuckle pad off, off-camera and while the ref was distracted, then rammed Charlotte Flair’s face into the exposed turnbuckle and got the pin. The second the bell rang Bayley grabbed the title and ran off up the ramp. That’s going to Hell in a Cell, isn’t it?
It’s weird that they are having the King of the Ring finals on RAW the day after a perfectly good PPV.
The New Day (C) vs The Revival – SmackDown Tag Team Championship match – Xavier Woods is barely back from a knee injury and he spent half the match laid out at ringside, teasing New Day’s downfall by leaving Big E with no one to tag. Actually, it was the Shatter Machine to Big E on the outside that signified the beginning of the end. Once The Revival staggered back to the ring, a chop block to Woods’ injured knee left him helpless and a Shatter Machine should have been the end, but they took off his knee brace and tapped him out in an inverted figure four instead. We have new SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
They made a long and gloating speech afterwards and predicted a Randy Orton win over Kofi Kingston
R-Truth and Carmella interrupted Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross’ pre-match interview. He was chased off by the mid-card after Bliss announced his presence but the 24/7 Championship must be defended tonight.
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (C) vs Fire & Desire – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match – Rose and Deville had a new entrance, Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss have coordinated gear. The match was interrupted by R-Truth and the chasing pack, and Bliss nearly won the 24/7 title. A Fire & Desire double team on Bliss would have got them the pin if Nikki Cross hadn’t managed to break it up at the last moment. It was Cross who secured the win for her team as well, with an elevated neckbreaker on Mandy Rose. Great showing from all four. The tag titles are almost feeling important again.
Shinsuke Nakamura (C) vs The Miz – Intercontinental Championship match – Sami Zayn accompanied Nakamura and provided commentary until they finally cut his mic. The match was really good and definitely didn’t need Sami Zayn jabbering over it. It didn’t need his interference either, but it got it. He caused a distraction that got Nakamura a two count, and another that prevented Miz getting the pin. That was too much for The Miz. He chased Zayn, got ambushed by Nakamura, took a Kinshasa and got pinned.
Becky Lynch (C) vs Sasha Banks – RAW Women’s Championship match – had the crowd good and loud, as well they should have been. Great match, for as long as it was a match. Banks hit Lynch in the gut with a chair after distracting the ref with a decoy chair, but it wasn’t enough for the pin. The ref took another chair off her and Lynch swung at her with it while Banks was arguing with him. The chair hit the ref, and the fight moved into the crowd while he was down. They used the steps and the railings and took it right out to the concourse before making their way back to the ring. The official was still down at that point, and commentary told us that Becky Lynch had been disqualified and this was just a fight. Lynch had Banks tapping to a Dis-Arm-Her through the chair Lynch was sitting on when officials finally came down to break it up. Lynch didn’t want to leave but finally did after being given her title belt. Only then was the result announced to the crowd.
Kind of a messy thing, but it ensures all four horsewomen stay as the focal point of their respective divisions for a little longer. The crowd were into it too, which helps a lot.
Kofi Kingston (C) vs Randy Orton – WWE Championship match – The match was long and I am tired and there are still two matches to go. It wasn’t bad, the word I’m going to go with is ‘methodical’. It suited the mind games style of The Viper, but after the high emotion scrapfest it followed, the pace just made it drag and they lost the crowd for a lot of it. Kingston retained with Trouble in Paradise.
King Booker interrupted the Street Profits segment when they were previewing the King of the Ring final on RAW, Lion King style. Angelo Dawkins asked Booker to knight him because it would help him pull… it didn’t go down well. Love the Street Profits, they should have a massive career ahead of them.
Roman Reigns vs Erick Rowan started on the ramp when Reigns came out to meet Rowan. After Reigns’ strong start, he got destroyed by Rowan for the majority of the match. They destroyed an announce desk and went off around the arena. We had steel steps and kendo sticks and various fixtures and fittings, and Reigns was on the receiving end of all of them. Reigns had his moments as well, but Rowan effectively stopped him building any serious momentum. When Roman Reigns finally did start to pull it back, with the help of the camera gib, Luke Harper appeared from nowhere, cut Reigns off in the runup to a superman punch, and helped Rowan beat him down for the win.
The ‘Welcome Back’ chant for Luke Harper was nice and much deserved. I’d love to say there are few people who have been as poorly utilised as Luke Harper, but we know that’s not true. He has a place high up on that very long list though.
Seth Rollins (C) vs Braun Strowman – Universal Championship match – Rollins started strong then settled into being decimated for a bit. Braun Strowman landed a frogsplash from the top turnbuckle (there was a wobble on the top), and hurt his knee in the process. Rollins still kicked out. Strowman kicked out of the first Stomp on one, and the second and third on two. A pedigree and another Stomp, after Strowman’s knee gave out when he attempted the running powerslam, finally put the Monster Among Men down for the pin.
When Rollins was celebrating on the stage the lights went out and The Fiend appeared. Rollins took a Sister Abigail and a Mandible Claw to close out the show.
Not a bad PPV by any stretch, but it felt like a building show. Very few storylines were resolved, lots of things were built upon, and a few new threads began. Solid B-PPV.