By: Frank Hyden
GOOD- Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman promo
Roman has a unique way of talking, with an almost monotone inflection. It’s better suited to being a heel, in my opinion. That said, he didn’t do much talking here, as Heyman carried the load there. This promo was good and effective at setting up the story of Reigns feeling as though he was disrespected and tossed aside during the pandemic. Yeah, it falls apart if you think about too hard but that’s part of what makes it effective. It’s just believable enough to work and now the announcers and other wrestlers in the company can point out why it’s not true and be right but with a tiny bit of doubt that any heel can seize on.
BAD- Heavy Machinery beats Miz and John Morrison
I hate putting this as BAD because I kind of like MC Miz and and I really like Johnny Drip-Drip but this was just a eh kind of match that mostly consisted of Miz and Morrison selling for Tucker and Otis. After Heavy Machinery won, Morrison grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase and ran away, though we later found out the contract is in a lunch pail Otis carries and the briefcase has his lunch in it.
GOOD/GREAT- Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax beat Bayley and Sasha Banks to defend the tag titles
Jax took a powerbomb to the outside like Asuka did, but Jax landed on her butt first, which must have been jarring. She was gone until the finish. Before then, Banks did some great selling as she first missed her double flying knees at Baszler into the corner post. Then, Shayna attacked her and targeted her knee. Sasha’s screams of pain and her flopping and flailing around were very effective, she was fantastic with her selling. Jax came back for the finish, hitting The Golden Role Models with a double cross body and pinning them both. It was smart to have Baszler do most of the working for the their team. Jax did well in her spots, though.
It was all about what happened next, though. They were going to stretcher Sasha out but she refused. Bayley was helping her out of the ring when she suddenly snapped and attacked her. She went after the knee, stomping on it, throwing it into the ring steps and basically just beating the hell out of Banks. She even took a chair and wrapped it around Sasha’s neck and jumped on it from the second rope. Michael Cole and Corey Graves were good in their role here as well, with their shock and disgust. Bayley was good here, with her sick smiling, but Sasha was great with her selling. It puts her in a sympathetic place where now she’s the top face and can return at The Royal Rumble, win, and go on to WrestleMania next year and challenge Bayley. Of course, WWE could take the belt off of Bayley before then to elevate someone else and make their match all about their personal rivalry.
GOOD- Jey Uso beats Matt Riddle, King Corbin, and Sheamus to become #1 contender
Big E was supposed to be in this match but Sheamus attacked him and hit him with White Noise through a car windshield so he was replaced with Jey Uso. The match was fast-paced and full of action. The finish came when Sheamus hit Corbin with a Brogue Kick, Riddle hit Sheamus with a Bro To Sleep, then Jey hit Riddle with a top rope splash and pinned him. I was surprised and happy Jey won. We all know there’s no way in hell Roman is going to lose his first title defense, new champs in WWE pretty much never lose their first few defenses, that’s one of the things that makes WWE more boring than it needs to be.
So, we all know Roman was going to beat whoever won this match. Sheamus and Corbin are both heels so they’re out. They shouldn’t have even been in the match to begin with because they just lost at Payback but whatever. So that left Riddle and (originally) Big E. Well, Big E’s not losing for at least a few more months, it’s just like the championship thing. So I figured Riddle was going to be served up to Roman, which I didn’t care for. To be quite blunt, I think there’s a lot more money in Riddle than in Reigns. If Riddle got pushed anywhere close to as hard as Reigns does. Riddle would be more popular and sell more merchandise than Reigns does. Riddle is a much better wrestler and I think his promos are better. Reigns has the same kind of polish that Randy Orton does, where they’re both sound but they also have the possibility of putting you to sleep because you know exactly what they’re going to say before they say it, and they take these pauses in between every few words and drag everything out that by the end, you’re yelling at them to get to the punchline.
So anyway, I was glad to see Jey put into this match. For one, I didn’t want to see Riddle lose like he would to Roman, where he gets dominated. Two, it elevates Jey a bit to be in a big title match. Not a whole lot because he’s going to get destroyed but it’s better than what he’s been doing, which has been nothing. Three, it allows them to do some “Roman has turned on his own family!” stuff that might be interesting. I liked the end of this match, it had the best possible outcome, in my opinion.
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