By: Frank Hyden
GOOD- The Riott Squad beats The Iconics
I really like both of these teams so I’m probably being biased here, but I liked this match. It wasn’t anything all that great but it was a solid kickoff show match.
GOOD- Bobby Lashley beats Apollo Crews to win the U.S. Championship
Crews showed off his varied offense but Lashley really showed his power. I like Lashley winning here because it continues the strong build they’ve had with him. I really hope they don’t try to tease some dissension within The Hurt Business by having MVP act jealous or anything like that. WWE can be really bad about breaking up teams or factions after just a short period. If anything, they should add a 4th person to the group to have them go after the tag titles as well. Make it somebody who’s a good wrestler but isn’t a great talker. Chad Gable is the first person that pops into my head but if they wanted to keep it a black faction, that’s fine too. There’s plenty of guys they could add, especially if they wanted to add a young and green guy, or get a guy off the indie circuit. Whatever they do, add a guy or not, just don’t break up the group. They’re just getting started.
GOOD- Big E beats Sheamus
You knew Big E was going to win here, you can tell they plan on pushing him hard. Hopefully they push him into the title picture, either Intercontinental or Universal Title. A new face there is always welcome. The match itself was a pretty good power match. I still hate Big E’s finisher and wish it would change but it doesn’t take away from the match.
GOOD- Matt Riddle beats King Corbin
These guys really made it look like a struggle out there, in a good way. Riddle is able to have these types of matches, that look like a fight. It’s sort of similar to matches Steve (later William) Regal would have with Fit Finlay, or Dave Taylor as well. I could list other names as well. This wasn’t the same type of style but it was the same genre, so to speak. Another good match.
GOOD/GREAT- Shauna Baszler and Nia Jax beat Bayley and Sasha Banks to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles
This was a really strong match. They limited Jax’s involvement and allowed Baszler to carry things more. Things kept ramping up until the finish, which saw Baszler put the Muta Lock on Sasha and the Kirifuda Clutch on Bayley and got the submission to win the belts. I’m assuming Bayley makes a snide comment about Sasha’s arm causing her to submit or something that pushes Sasha over the edge and makes her attack her. Or something like that, I just know I’m really looking forward to their feud.
GREAT- Keith Lee beats Randy Orton
This was a short match, almost too short, but Lee got the dominant victory over Orton with the Spirit Bomb. This is awesome to see. First Matt Riddle beats AJ Styles in his Smackdown debut then Lee beats Orton in his big debut. They’re really putting over NXT people. They should have done the same with Shayna Baszler beating Becky Lynch when she debuted but I guess they’ve learned from that.
GOOD- Rey and Dominik Mysterio beat Seth Rollins and Murphy
This was a fast-paced match with constant movement. They did some dissension stuff with Rollins and Murphy that led to the finish but this was an exciting match. Dominik continues this hot start to his career, he looked good again here.
GOOD/BAD- Roman Reigns beats The Fiend and Braun Strowman to win the WWE Universal Title
The Fiend and Braun brawled to begin the match. They smashed a lot of stuff and had a wild Mankind vs. Undertaker kind of brawl. They did the ring breaking spot on a superplex, which finally brought out Reigns. He tried to get the cowardly pin but they kept kicking out, which undermines the ring breaking. He finally got the win with a spear to Braun. I really don’t like how Roman came across like a chickenshit here. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves in wrestling. As a face, he’s the ultimate badass who’s unstoppable but the moment he turns heel, he’s an utter pussy who seemingly can’t beat a jobber without cheating.
Roman was too dominant before, he crushed everyone, which earned him the crowd’s ire because he got the SuperCena push. It doesn’t help that his moveset is so limited that he doesn’t even have Kevin Nash’s 6 Moves of Doom. But then he had cancer and everyone felt bad about the nuclear heat they gave him. When he returned, everyone was so happy that he became a mega-face. Roman has very rarely lost, and usually those losses involve interference and stuff. However, now he’s turning heel and it seems they’re going to turn him chickenshit instead of just lowering the dominance down a few notches.
They did the same with Stone Cold. He beat everyone and pretty much never lost. Then he turned heel and had to cheat to win in every match. One of the reasons I hate it is that it’s just absurd. This will be highlighted even more when they inevitably turn Roman back to face. I don’t think this will be like The Big Show, where he turns every handful of months, but you know Roman will turn back face eventually. And odds are he’ll go right back to dominating.
Back to the match, Roman has already added some newness to things and with Paul Heyman at his side, that should continue. Having him win the title is the right move and I’m interested to see where they go next.
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