By: Frank Hyden
The first part of the WWE Draft was on this episode, with the second part being Monday night on RAW. There was some big moves during the Draft. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- 1st round draft picks
Stephanie McMahon came out and announced the 1st round picks. RAW chose WWE World Champion Drew McIntyre, RAW Women’s Champion Asuka, and The Hurt Business. Smackdown chose WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, the first person to change brands. No surprise with the picks there, though it’s nice to see some movement with Rollins. Maybe this will give him a fresh slate?
GOOD- Big E beat Sheamus in a Falls Count Anywhere match
I really liked this match. They both took a lot of punishment, including kendo stick shots (which the bruising and bleeding really stuck out on Sheamus) as well as moves on cars. At one point, Sheamus kicked the door of a car trunk clean off with a Brogue Kick. He also hit Big E with White Noise onto a windshield. E powerbombed Sheamus onto the hood of a car and Sheamus slid right off onto the concrete. The match ended when Big E hit Sheamus with the Big Ending off a car through a table and pinned him. This was the Match of the Night for me, I really liked it.
GOOD/BAD- New Day returns, Jey Uso and Roman Reigns speak, 2nd round draft picks
After the break, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods both returned and surprised Big E. Jey Uso called out Roman Reigns, who eventually announced that their match at Hell in a Cell will be an I Quit match. He also repeated that there would be consequences for not acknowledging him as The Tribal Chief but he didn’t say what they would be, which is lame but maybe they’ll reveal them next week? Stephanie came out and announced the 2nd round drat picks. RAW chose AJ Styles and Naomi, who both move from Smackdown, and the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Shayna Bazsler and Nia Jax. Smackdown chose Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair, moving from RAW. Those are some good choices, we’re seeing some more movement now.
GOOD- Matt Riddle and Jeff Hardy beat Miz and John Morrison, Lars Sullivan returns
This match was fairly good for being so short, no surprise considering the men involved. After a commercial, which I’m so sick of these companies taking breaks shortly into a match, Riddle hit the Bro Derek on Miz and pinned him. Afterwards, Lars Sullivan returned and decimated Riddle, Hardy, and Miz. He yelled and screamed a bit. This is my first time really seeing this guy so I thought he was all right. A new face is always welcome.
GOOD/BAD- 3rd round draft picks and Sasha Banks vs. Bayley ends in DQ
Stephanie came back out to reveal that RAW has picked Ricochet, Mandy Rose, and Miz and Morrison. Smackdown has picked Jey Uso and Rey and Dominik Mysterio. So much for their feud with Seth Rollins being over… As for the match, I understand why they did the whole pomp and circumstance and all that, but I can’t imagine anyone didn’t see the DQ finish coming a mile away. That aside, I really like both of these women but WWE has really blown this. They spent months building this up, slowly showing cracks in their friendship and side eye glances and all that. They did the Two Woman Power Trip and all that before finally having one of them turn on the other. They did a great job with Bayley’s attack and Banks selling it in the moment. But then, Sasha is off TV for…a few weeks? We’re expected to believe that Sasha has returned from a career-threatening neck injury in a few weeks? After Bayley got DQ’d, Sasha wrapped the chair around her neck and was going to jump off the middle rope onto it, replicating what Bayley did to her. Michael Cole and Corey Graves are yelling “Don’t do it, Sasha!”. Why not? She might miss a few weeks at most so who cares? Her career is most certainly not in danger, yet the announcers are yelling like it is. There’s no consequences. I know Vince McMahon has this thing where he wants to wrestlers to be superhuman but there has to be consequences equivalent to what happened. If you want us to believe the brutality of gimmick matches, you can’t have the people involved wrestling the next week. I don’t care how much you have them sell or how much the announcers say it, no one is going to believe that these matches are so brutal they’ll shorten your career. The sad thing is, people know how painful some of these bumps really are, but you completely undercut that when you have them wrestle again so soon after taking them. We know the wrestlers are in real pain sometimes but that’s undermined when they keep wrestling.
Sasha Banks should have been off television for months. Not a couple weeks, at least a couple months. Then, when she returned, she should have still been wearing a neck brace and moving slowly and talk about how she was going to get her revenge on Bayley when she was healthy. Then, Bayley says it’s a shame she’s still hurt because she would give her a title shot right now. All the while, you have Sasha rip off her neck brace behind Bayley’s back and attack her. Bayley does the chickenshit heel bit and refuses to face her so Sasha is forced to enter the Royal Rumble. You have it where it’s some contract thing they signed long ago or something like that to explain why Sasha can’t get a title shot. So Sasha has to win the Royal Rumble in order to get a shot but Bayley screws her and Sasha has to enter at #1. Sasha wins in dramatic fashion, driven by her anger towards Bayley and her desire to beat her, and goes on to WrestleMania where she beats Bayley for the belt. I think that would be much better than having her come back after a few weeks but anyway.
BAD/GOOD- New Day beat Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura to win the Smackdown Tag Team Titles
I really don’t like the idea of taking the belts off Cesaro and Nakamura. They need the belts more, especially more than Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods making their returns. They only had them win because Stephanie came out and announced the 4th round draft picks. Kofi and Xavier were chosen by RAW while Big E was chosen by Smackdown. They couldn’t have done that without taking the belts off Cesaro and Nakamura? The other RAW picks were Dana Brooke and Angel Garza while Smackdown chose Otis. So the Smackdown tag belts are on RAW, which means either the RAW champs the Street Profits are moving to Smackdown or some team will beat them Monday and get drafted themselves.
GOOD- The Fiend beat Kevin Owens
I may not be a big fan of the Firefly Funhouse stuff but The Fiend’s entrance is great. From the music and lighting, to just the way he comes to the ring with that lantern, and the way the announcers sell it, it’s a great spectacle entrance. The match was pretty good, too. Owens would hit The Fiend with everything he had but he kept coming and finally pinned KO with the Mandible Claw. They should have had the tag title match main event the show because it’s a title match, but this was a good way to end the night. In the build-up recap of last week, they showed Alexa Bliss being interviewed by KO before he got dropped by The Fiend and then Bliss and The Fiend holding hands before she turns and smiles at the camera, correcting the mistake the director made last week when he cut away at the exact wrong moment. They did something similar this week as they held hands at the top of the ramp before they both looked at KO laying in the ring as the show went off the air.
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