By: Frank Hyden
This was supposed to be a strong show this week to try to counter Monday Night Football starting. Was it? Well…let’s see.
GOOD/BAD- Drew McIntyre promo and McIntyre vs. Randy Orton is an Ambulance Match
McIntyre cut a nice promo about how much being the champ means to him and how he’ll risk his health to remain champ. He challenged Orton to an Ambulance Match. Adam Pearce came out and said that in the McIntyre vs. Keith Lee match later, that if Lee wins and Orton can’t compete at Clash of Champions, that Lee will get the title match. It’s still stupid to have a guy with a “fractured jaw” cutting promos and wrestling, and an Ambulance Match will likely just be a old school Stone Cold match, with lots of punches and kicks. That doesn’t sound all that good but maybe they’ll surprise us.
GOOD/BAD- The Street Profits beat Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura
The action in the match was pretty good. I thought they all did a good job in there, but the wrong team won. It was cool to see Dawkins do the frog splash and get the win, but Cesaro and Nakamura should have won. They needed the win a lot more. The Profits have already been well-established.
BAD/GOOD- Cedric Alexander beats Ricochet
There was some prematch talking with Alexander explaining again why he joined The Hurt Business and Ricochet saying he’s weak and will regret that. Then they had a paint by numbers match which was short but also lacked the intensity that you would expect given Alexander’s betrayal. After the match, Retribution said it would destroy WWE and The Hurt Business told Adam Pearce that they would take out Retribution for a price.
GOOD/BAD- Asuka beats Mickie James
Damn, I was really wanting to see this match but it was disappointing, to be honest. I’m still going with a GOOD grade first because I’m a big Asuka fan but they clashed in this one. I’m a Mickie James fan as well but they did not work well together in this match. Mickie never submitted but passed out to the Asuka Lock. After the match, Zelina Vega came out and challenged Asuka, saying she done dealing with ingrates. I’d much rather see her remain a manager but maybe she’ll surprise us with her in-ring work?
GOOD- Bobby Lashley beats Erik
Lashley squashed Erik here. I’d much rather have seen him squash Ivar, as I think Erik is the best part of the Viking Raiders. When WWE inevitably breaks them up, as they do all good teams, Erik has a chance to be a main eventer. He still needs to improve his talking and such, but he has potential. Ivar’s ceiling is upper to middle midcarder comedy act like Otis on Smackdown. Speaking of, The Miz announced on Talking Smack that Mandy Rose has been traded to RAW. I wonder if that means Otis will be drafted to, or cash in his Money in the Bank contract on RAW? I don’t think they would have two fat guy ladies’ man gimmicks on the same show? So if that happens, does that mean the Raiders are going to Smackdown?
GOOD- Seth Rollins beats Dominik Mysterio in a steel cage
There was some pretty good action but they did a lot of Murphy interference that backfired. Rollins had told Murphy to stay away but he didn’t listen and he kept messing up, allowing Dominik to get in some offense. Eventually Rollins won and beat up Murphy, I imagine they’ll transition to Murphy turning on Rollins and feuding with him a while, but Rey’s daughter Aaliyah did check on Murphy so maybe they add that wrinkle. They have to do something to keep things fresh, though, because they’ve clearly established that Dominik can’t beat Rollins.
BAD- Braun Strowman dominates RAW Underground
Strowman came in and destroyed everyone, including Riddick Moss, Dolph Ziggler, and Titus O’Neil. I don’t like that they would just punk out those guys like that. What’s the point? Oh, I see, it’s because they want to set up Dabba Kato vs. Braun on next week’s RAW Underground. Yeah, makes sense, crush the guys you’ve been building up for a fight that most people would have been interested in based on the size of Dabba alone. I really didn’t like this.
BAD- Kevin Owens beats Aleister Black
This match was too short and had a bullshit finish. Black had been working over the leg of KO, to the point where he struggled to move. Yet somehow KO was able to do a damn superkick and then the lights flickered and distracted Black, who got the Stunner from Owens and pinned him. What the hell was that? Owens could barely move but then put all his weight on his bad leg? Then Black loses like that? That’s just dumb.
BAD- The Riott Squad squashed Lana and Natalya
I like both teams so this isn’t about them, it’s about how it played out. Natalya didn’t even get to do anything before The Riott Squad pinned Lana. Then, Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax, who were at ringside doing commentary, beat up Lana and put her through the announcer table. Do they do this because of what Mero (the former Rusev) said on AEW Dynamite last week? If so, that’s really stupid and makes no sense. I don’t know what else it would be, though, why bury Lana and Natalya like this?
GOOD- Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee interrupted, Retribution brawls with The Hurt Business
McIntyre vs. Lee was okay, though we all knew it wouldn’t really get going because Retribution was going to interfere. When they did and beat down those two, The Hurt Business showed up like badasses and brawled with them until McIntyre and Lee both did dives out of the ring onto everyone to close the show. A chaotic end, so that’s fun, but hopefully Retribution does more in the coming weeks to establish themselves.
An up and down show, sometimes even within a few minutes. Probably more good than bad, but I guess that depends on your own tastes. They set up some stuff moving forward so hopefully they pick up momentum and eliminate some of the bad stuff.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank