TJRWrestling AEW Full Gear 2019 Preview (Jericho vs. Cody, Moxley vs. Omega)

John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling AEW Full Gear preview. It’s the third ever AEW pay-per-view (not counting All In last year) after they did Double or Nothing and All Out earlier this year. However, the first one that has been built up using the AEW Dynamite TV show that started over a month ago. The plan as far as we know is for AEW to have four PPV events per year starting next year. That means they should have about three months between PPVs, which is great and will allow them to properly build to these shows.

I think the build for the top two matches of Jericho vs. Cody and Moxley vs. Omega has been tremendous. In the case of Moxley/Omega, they have six months of footage they can air from when Moxley debuted in AEW at Double or Nothing in May, so it’s hard not to get excited about that. Jericho vs. Cody feels like a huge match with the AEW World Title on the line as well. The last match of the night is expected to be Moxley vs. Omega because it’s a Lights Out match that is Unsanctioned, so the idea is the show ends with Jericho vs. Cody, but then we get this extra match as a bonus and it gets to be in the main event spot.

If you want to order AEW Full Gear on pay-per-view, AEW has a post on their website with all the info on how to watch in your part of the world. I’m going to pay and order it on B/R Live here in Canada.

Joining me for the preview are Kurt Zamora and Lance Augustine, who does the AEW Dark reviews for us on TJRWrestling every week.

Kurt: It’s great to be back writing something for TJR. My real life commitments have taken most of my free time away, but I love writing for the site so thanks to John for asking me to join this preview. I’ve been on board with AEW since the beginning as the WWE product has made me quite jaded. Thankfully, AEW has presented, for the most part, a product I can buy into. I thought the build for the second half of this card could’ve been better, but they did a great job building the top matches and overall, I am stoked to see this show on Saturday.

(Note: All graphics are from AEW. The banner up top is courtesy of our friend Melo Man.)

 

Dr. Britt Baker vs. Bea Priestly (BUY IN PRE-SHOW)  

Kurt: Is Britt a dentist? Asking for a friend. Britt SHOULD be the star of the division, but I don’t think they’ve done her any favors since the TV product started. Her appearance as a guest commentator a few weeks back was not good and made me tune her out. Then they built up her return home to Pittsburgh, and in a match where she should’ve been put over strong, she was booked to have a long struggle against an opponent the announcers basically told the audience was an enhancement talent. There’s a lot of issues with the Women’s division, more of which I’ll get into later, but one of the two biggest issues to me is how they’ve booked Britt. This has at least a rivalry feel to it since this is based around Bea giving Britt a concussion at Fight for the Fallen, but this needs to be a decisive win for Britt to get her back on track.

Winner: Dr. Britt Baker

Lance: This match stems from Bea knocking Britt out at Fight for the Fallen. Baker is out for revenge and I am pretty sure she gets it here.

Winner: Britt Baker

John: They started this rivalry earlier in the year, but then in the last few weeks there was barely anything done to further the story. I think this is only here so the announcers can remind us 37 times that Britt Baker is a dentist. I don’t know that much about Bea. Baker is one of the women they want to push the most, so she would win. I’m surprised they didn’t put a tag team match on the pre-show to get the crowd excited for the show more.

Winner: Britt Baker

 

Shawn Spears (w/Tully Blanchard) vs. Joey Janela  

Kurt: There’s a lot to like about AEW Dark, and how this match came together is one of them. Two hours on TV can be hard sometimes to fit everything in for a PPV. AEW Dark can make the “dark” matches for the crowd feel important, which makes it better for all parties, and it gives you more time to develop your undercard. I enjoyed the brief segment this week after Janela’s tag match where Tully confronted him about a previous transgression Janela had made, and then Spears showed up and proceeded to pull pliers out to pull Janela’s tongue out and as the camera panned away, he seemingly put out a cigarette on Janela’s tongue. This week on TV they were able to further that story and built what should be a fun PPV match around it. This seems like the start of a bigger story for Spears, and he’s a big star waiting to happen. I LOVE pairing Tully with him. I wish they had more promo time together because Tully can really sell him as a top heel.

Winner: Shawn Spears

Lance: Spears attacked Janela at the end of Dark this week and put a cigarette out on his tongue, which was gnarly. Janela has been on a little bit of a role lately, so I think he gets the win here.

Winner: Joey Janela

John: There’s not much of a story here. It just started on Dark last week, then furthered a bit on Dynamite this week and we’re supposed to care now. I like Spears more than Janela, but you can’t deny that Janela has a strong connection with the crowd. The hardcore AEW fans love the guy. I’m going with Spears getting a much needed win thanks to interference from Tully Blanchard. If you’re going to have a manager out there, make them a factor in the results of matches.

Winner: Shawn Spears

 

AEW Women’s Championship: Riho (c) vs. Emi Sakura  

Kurt: The one sore subject I have with AEW currently. If there was one thing it was going to be hard to compete with WWE/NXT on, it was the women’s division. Where as AEW’s male singles division had a lot of established stars, their women’s division did not. Their most established female was Brandi Rhodes and I don’t think the plan has been or ever was to be for her to wrestle on a consistent basis. So it was going to be tough to get people behind the division. Based on crowd reactions on TV, perhaps I’m in the minority here but I just cannot buy into Riho. How she beat Nyla Rose is beyond me. I think their first champion needed to be someone that has charisma & can cut a strong promo. Riho has neither of those. If I could sign one person to any roster, I would give Tessa Blanchard a blank check to sign with AEW. Then you have Emi Sakura, who I legitimately had to find the match graphic to see who she was. AEW just puts out these women, they have fun/solid matches, but none of them have a story to get behind. This is just a match to me, so thus I don’t see any chance of a title change.

Winner: Riho retains

Lance: AEW seems to be firmly behind Riho at this point and I don’t think she is losing the title this early after winning it. Emi Sakura has put in some good work, but Riho wins here.

Winner and STILL AEW Women’s champion: Riho

John: This has the worst build on the card. It’s just a match they added on Wednesday and then Sakura pinned Riho in a tag team match to give her the momentum going into it. The bigger backstory for them is Sakura trained Riho to wrestle and they know eachother well. I’m hoping after the match is over we see Awesome Kong (with Brandi Rhodes by her side) go in the ring and destroy the tiny champion Riho and set up a feud. Anyway, this should be a win for Riho, who has the AEW crowd strongly behind her every time she’s out there. I hope AEW tells better stories for the women’s division because right now that’s an area where they have been lacking so far.

Winner: Riho

 

“Hangman” Adam Page vs. “The Bastard” Pac 

Kurt: I appreciate how when AEW has been thrown a curve ball twice in their top matches, they don’t just completely scrap it. They have enough long-term sense to find ways to come back to them. We have both those examples on this PPV with the main event and this match. The irony of this match happening after being pulled from Double or Nothing, is that depending on who you believe, Pac was supposed to win that match and I don’t think he’s going to win this match. Pac is a great heel, but with a top heel stable now in structure, there’s a ceiling for him. However, there is plenty of room for top babyface status and Page is going to be that guy for the company. I love the “Cowboy Shit” from Page and he just feels like a modern-day Barry Windham.

Winner: Hangman Page

Lance: Pac has been on a tear as of late, with his only loss being in a tag team match. Page is part of the “Elite” but seems to be the most expendable. I think Pac is in line for some big things and there is no reason for him to lose here, making him 2-0 against Page.

Winner: Pac

John: Pac is one of my favorite wrestlers in AEW. He’s a pure heel that has no interest in trying to pop the crowd or do anything to please there. Here’s there to be an asshole and I think calling him “The Bastard” is perfect for him too. I like Page as a babyface that’s on the rise. He’s a guy that’s in his late 20s, he’s got a good look and the crowd supports him. The “cowboy shit” chants make me laugh too. If there was a singles men’s secondary title then this would be the perfect match to crown the champion. Perhaps that is something to consider for down the road.

I think Page probably needs the win more since he’s lost to Pac in the past and he lost to Jericho at the last PPV. However, if they went with a Pac win that would build him up to another level as a legit main eventer. I’m going with a Pac win although I think it’s a tough call. I can see it going either way. It should be an awesome match too.

Winner: Pac

 

AEW World Tag Team Championships: So Cal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) (c) vs. Lucha Brothers (Pentagon and Fenix) vs. Private Party (Marq Quen and Isiah Kassidy)  

Kurt: Kudos to whoever decided to book the win for SCU with an inside cradle. I love how legitimate it makes the match feel and doesn’t take anything away from the Lucha Bros. I can’t help but feel though, that the win for SCU was a booking decision from the EVP’s to give their buddies a notch in their belts to always be remembered as the first tag champions of the company. I don’t think it’s meant to last long, however.

The Lucha Bros are the best tag team not only in the company, but in the world. The division should revolve around them. They work well with SCU and I think they’re going to have a long rivalry revolving around the titles, especially when Christopher Daniels is cleared to return. Private Party will stand out in this match, but I think they were thrown in to be beat by Lucha Bros, so SCU has a bigger gripe about how Lucha Bros never beat them for the titles. If there’s a show stealer on the card, this is it.

Winners: New AEW Tag Champions, Lucha Bros

Lance: This has the potential to be the match of the night. SCU and The Lucha Brothers had a hell of a finals match and Private Party are slowly becoming one of my favorite tag teams. Like I said with Riho, it’s hard to imagine SCU losing the titles so quick so I will go with them.

Winner(s) and STILL AEW Tag Team Champions: SCU

John: I’m not a huge fan of triple threat tag team matches. I don’t like triple threat matches in general, so when you have six guys out there it can get confusing to watch. They are going to ignore tag team rules for most of the match since this is AEW and they don’t do a good job of establishing rules. It’s not a major complaint. It’s just an observation. I fully expect these awesome teams to do some incredible tag team moves throughout the match. There’s been a story with SCU/Lucha Brothers for a few weeks while Private Party were just added to the match this week. I’m sure I’ll be saying “wow” a lot during this match. It should be outstanding.

I’ll go with SCU retaining, but it wouldn’t shock me if Lucha Brothers won. I think Private Party is the team that needs to be built up long term to where AEW can make it a priority to put the titles on them eventually in like six months. It’s not their time yet, though.

Winners: So Cal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky)

 

Santana and Ortiz vs. The Young Bucks

Kurt: The first match I ever saw with Santana and Ortiz was earlier this year in their Full Metal Mayhem match with the Lucha Bros for Impact Wrestling. I knew immediately that they would be a superstar tag team for someone. Here we are a few months later, and they’re in a semi-main spot against arguably the most popular tag team in all of pro wrestling. If you asked me what tag team makes most sense for Jericho’s Inner Circle, I wouldn’t say Santana and Ortiz, but they’ve made it work so far. They’re believable and their work is solid. I loved the use of the Rock and Roll Express to get more heat on them, then following that up with the attack in the crowd on the Young Bucks. The Bucks are coming off a “spotfest” feud with the Lucha Bros, so it’s going to be nice to see them do a different style in this match. That’s what makes them so good, you can put them in any type of tag match against any type of opponent, and they still thrive.

I think that whoever wins this match will dictate who wins the AEW title match. Meaning, between the two matches, each faction will win a match. I have a stronger feeling for who I think is going to win the title match than I do this one, so based on that, I’m picking the Young Bucks to win this one. Not just for that reason, but they’ve taken a couple big losses recently, so not that they need a big win, but it’s just time for one for them.

Winners: The Young Bucks

Lance: This is the first of what I think will be many matches between these two teams. Santana and Ortiz have been playing great heels and have thwarted The Young Bucks at every pass. I think The Young Bucks get theirs and win the match, though.

Winners: The Young Bucks

John: It’s another awesome match on this show. I like how Santana and Ortiz has been booked as heels that are a part of the Inner Circle group, but they haven’t been in a big match in the AEW yet. This is huge for them and I know they are outstanding wrestlers. The Young Bucks are always having outstanding matches as long as you don’t get frustrated by the parts of matches where they go several minutes ignoring tag team match rules. I’m used to it and I don’t mind it that much anymore. Either side could win and I don’t think it matters that much because they are both going to be major factors in the tag team division for years to come.

I’ll go with Santana and Ortiz to win because I think the Bucks, as Executive VPs in AEW, have no problem putting over teams like they did for Private Party. If Santana and Ortiz win here, it’s huge for them as well as the Inner Circle group and they can always go back to this match down the road.

Winners: Santana and Ortiz

 

AEW World Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Cody 

(Notes: If Cody fails to win, he’ll never compete for the AEW World Title again according to what Cody said on Dynamite this week. There’s a 60-Minute time limit with three judges to name a winner if it goes 60 minutes without a winner.)

Kurt: One could argue that they’ve packed too much into this match. If you feel this way, I wouldn’t disagree with you. Between the 60-minute time limit, having judges ringside if it goes 60 minutes, and now Cody’s declaration that he will never challenge for the title again if he loses, it’s a lot to take in. Thankfully though, with the video packages and promos both men have done for this match, you can look past all that and just be excited to see these guys lock horns and see who the better man is. The odd man out in the entire Inner Circle vs. Elite feuding these last couple weeks has been MJF. I know the story with he and Cody, but he’s not actually in The Elite. He’s felt shoehorned into the angle, and now that Cody has put in the stipulation should he lose, I think we know why MJF has been put into the mix. This just screams MJF turning on Cody and having a real blood feud with him. When you’re a new company like AEW, you can’t have as many title changes as WWE has. These titles need to be established for a while with their champions. Plus, Jericho is your most household name. Have him keep the title for a long time.

I really can’t see any way Cody wins. I could see an MJF-less finish with them actually going the full 60 minutes and having the judges decide who wins, but I don’t think the crowd will be big fans of that. I think you need an actual pinfall finish here and with an MJF turn, it keeps Cody white hot as a top babyface and leaves Jericho to go against the winner of Omega/Mox more than likely.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Lance: This match here is one that we as AEW fans have looked forward to since the first episode of Dynamite. The promo that Cody just cut on Wednesday night was legendary and the Jericho vignette was amazing too. The 60-minute time limit has to come into play here, right? You also have the MJF factor of turning on Cody and costing him everything. All of these seem like possible solutions, but if I had to narrow it down I would say that the MJF heel turn would be too early. I think the match goes a little longer, but maybe not the distance. I’m going with a Cody win here only because I find it hard to believe he never challenges for the title again. Although, I do feel like it is a mistake taking the title off Jericho already, but we have booked ourselves into a little bit of a corner here.

Winner and NEW AEW Champion: Cody   

John: There’s a lot to digest here. I like that they announced that if it goes 60 minutes then there are going to be judges ringside to determine the winner. I really doubt they go that long or close to that long, but I guess it’s a possibility. Cody’s promo on Dynamite was fantastic. It was one of the best wrestling promos I have heard in a long time. I don’t think they should have done the stipulation where Cody never receives another title shot if he fails to win the AEW World Title. This is only the first Jericho/Cody match. That should be a stipulation for a second or third match, not the first match. Does it add intrigue to the match? Sure it does, but I don’t think you need to add stipulations just to do it. If Cody loses and he’s not allowed to get allowed to have a title shot, is it really forever? This is pro wrestling. People retire and come back months later. AEW can say they’re different and all that, but it’s still a pro wrestling show. Anyway, all of those things come into play when thinking about the match.

I think they should have a very good match. Cody’s in-ring performance of late has been the best I’ve seen of him and I’ve been reviewing his matches regularly for over a decade. He’s in his prime, he’s in the best shape of his life and when you listen to the crowd reacting to him, he’s more popular than ever. Cody is getting the biggest reactions of his career. Jericho is still awesome 30 years after he started wrestling because he’s a smart, savvy heel that knows how to work a crowd and is the most established character on this show. The match quality is still there for Jericho as well.

Picking a winner is hard. I think Cody losing because his buddy MJF turns on him is an option they can go with. Maybe MJF accidentally costs Cody because Jake Hager will probably be there to support Jericho, so they could do a finish like that. I don’t think they should do the MJF turn on Cody yet, but that’s obviously coming and will be a big feud next year at some point. It could work easily with MJF joining the Inner Circle group too. However, I’m going with a Cody win. I think they have built him up well as the top babyface in AEW and it’s not like they need to keep the title on Jericho for six months. Jericho is the first champion, will always be the first champion, but that doesn’t mean there has to be a long first title reign. This should be a very good 25-30 minute match.

Winner AND NEW AEW World Champion: Cody

 

Lights Out Unsanctioned Match: Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega 

Kurt: As you can tell from my glowing remarks from pretty much everything on this card, I don’t have much complaints on AEW besides the women’s division. If I did have a small complaint, it would be the fact that they are already beating to death all of the “Lights Out/Falls Count Anywhere” type matches. It seems like every show has some sort of hardcore/extreme match. I know they’re of the philosophy that there’s something for everyone, but if you do these types of matches at such a rapid pace, soon the crowd will just stop caring.

For this match in particular, Moxley has already put Omega through a glass table, so where do you go from there? That’s pretty extreme. On the flip side, one of my favorite things about AEW is how most of the Dynamite episodes end with a chaotic brawl finish, and this past week’s episode was the best yet. These two were at the forefront. They came back to these guys three times during the final minutes and it just helped the build keep climbing and climbing. It was great television.

Omega is in this interesting spot where he’s in The Elite, which is the big babyface group, but clearly by his actions in his promos and on the BTE YouTube shows, he’s showing a lot of heel tendencies. Is this the point where we see a full heel turn from him? I think it’s possible. Moxley’s injury that took him out of All Out may have actually been a blessing in disguise because it’s given them a lot of quality promo time to build this match and make it feel like a legit hatred between these two. This is the hardest match to pick for me, as Omega has already taken a loss on PPV and I can’t imagine there will be too many of those for him. However, Mox needs a big win to establish himself as a top guy in the company and with the anticipation of seeing him compete in a big match since his debut in May, I can’t really see him losing his first PPV match.

Winner: Jon Moxley

Lance: I have a feeling this match is going to be something we haven’t seen in years. By that I mean I think blood will be shed. Especially because most of the buildup of this match has revolved around the use of barbed wire objects. This is going to be an all out war that I think rightfully should go on last. It isn’t because I don’t hold the AEW Title in high esteem, because I do. With this particular stipulation though, I think all the matches happen before this one. Moxley has gotten a couple of wins in AEW thus far, and Omega hasn’t been too shabby himself. This was one of the harder matches to predict with feet to the fire though, I will go with Moxley. I don’t think anyone really loses, though.

Winner: Jon Moxley  

John: This is my favorite match of the night. Kenny Omega is my favorite wrestler in AEW because I’m a biased Canadian, but also because he’s so amazing in the ring. Jon Moxley with a chip on his shoulder is the best version of that man and I’ve always been a fan. We have been waiting six months to see it after Moxley’s AEW debut, so I’m sure they are as excited about it as we are.

There’s not a face/heel dynamic in this match. The fans love both guys, they see them as huge names in the company and they are going to be hot for the entire match. Picking a winner is tough because each guy could benefit from the win, yet we also know that AEW said that this match won’t count as a win or a loss because it’s unsanctioned. I’m going with Omega for the win in what should be a wild, bloody and intense brawl all around the building. I don’t want to say it’s going to be the match of the night because it’s so tough to predict on a card with so many incredible matches. I just think if everything goes right, we could be talking about a legit match of the year contender. It can be that good, no doubt about it. I can see them having the longest match of the show in the 35-40 minute range.

Winner: Kenny Omega

 

BONUS TOPICS!

The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

Kurt: They packed a lot into it, but the video packages and promos have pushed Cody & Jericho to the top for me.

Lance: Tag Team Title and AEW Title Match.

John: Moxley vs. Omega with Jericho vs. Cody right behind it.

 

The Match I Care About The Least

Kurt: Women’s title match.

Lance: Spears vs. Janela.

John: Baker vs. Priestley.

 

Longest Match

Kurt: Cody/Jericho.

Lance: Cody vs. Jericho.

John: Moxley vs. Omega.

 

Shortest Match

Kurt: Spears/Janela.

Lance: Riho vs. Emi Sakura.

John: Riho vs. Emi Sakura for me as well.

 

Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)

Kurt: It’s a solid 8 or 9. I’m not as excited as I was for Double or Nothing or All Out, but it’s close. The top 4 matches should be spectacular and I’m still in the honeymoon period with this company.

Lance: I would say a 7.5. The two big matches have a lot of hype and Wednesday night did nothing but boost interest in the PPV. Plus, this is the first big show since Dynamite has begun so we have a lot more to sink our teeth into. The other matches are interesting, so it should be a good night overall.

John: I’m going with 8 out of 10. In my weekly reviews, my average score for Dynamite is nearly 8 and I feel like the match quality on this show is going to be amazing. Will they deliver interesting stories to get us excited even more? I’m not sure, but when I look at the matches there at least five of them where I think to myself they are all going to excellent. That’s a good sign.

 

Final Thoughts

John: I’ll be back with a review of Full Gear on TJRWrestling.net on Saturday night. Check it out during the show or after it’s over.

Thanks for reading. You can follow Kurt on Twitter @KTankTJR and Lance is on Twitter @CollectiveHeel as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport or email to mrjohncanton@gmail.com for any questions or comments.

I’m going to leave you with this incredible AEW Full Gear Countdown video that AEW posted on their Youtube channel after Dynamite this week. It’s well worth 30 minutes of your time if you’re a fan of this company. Check it out below.

The post TJRWrestling AEW Full Gear 2019 Preview (Jericho vs. Cody, Moxley vs. Omega) appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: WWE Crown Jewel 2019 Review

Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of WWE Crown Jewel. It’s an afternoon show for me on this Halloween Thursday with a 1pmET start time and it’s 8pm in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the start of the main portion of the event on WWE Network.

The Kickoff show saw Humberto Carrillo win the battle royal to earn a shot at AJ Styles and the US Title later in the show. I picked Carrillo in my preview of the show. During the match, R-Truth also won back the 24/7 Title from Sunil Singh. I didn’t see that match. I’m starting the main show with a full review below. I’ll add in the Kickoff Show match later this evening.

WWE Crown Jewel  
From King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
October 6, 2019

The opening video was terrific by showing clips of the key people involved in the show. The video packages have been a strength of WWE’s production team for decades as most WWE fans know.

There was an impressive fireworks display in the stadium leading to a lot of cheers from the fans. The set of Crown Jewel is similar to last year. Michael Cole welcomed us to the show because he’s calling the Smackdown action with Corey Graves.

Brock Lesnar made his entrance to a huge ovation from the crowd. Paul Heyman was by his side. I think the pop should be credited to Lesnar being a huge star, so when the fans heard the music they reacted to it in a big way. It doesn’t mean Lesnar is a babyface. They showed Cole and Graves at ringside. The Arabic announce team was also at ringside.

Rey Mysterio made his entrance with his left arm still in a sling. Cain Velasquez was next as Lesnar’s opponent. Velasquez was in black tights and leg pads along with MMA gloves on his hands just like Lesnar has worn for years. This is Cain’s WWE debut match.

Analysis: It’s an interesting strategy to put the WWE Title match on first. If you’re not going to be in the main event then going on first is the next best place to be because that’s when the crowd is the hottest. They also have the Team Hogan vs. Team Flair match to go on last, which has a lot of star power.

There was a tale of the tape graphic before the match. Lesnar and Velasquez stood in the ring as Greg Hamilton introduced Velasquez and Heyman did a wonderful introduction of Lesnar as usual. The fans were cheering Lesnar more.

WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Cain Velasquez (w/Rey Mysterio)

There were some kicks to the ribs from Velasquez, but they didn’t connect that well. Lesnar drove Velasquez to the corner and hit some knees to the ribs. They broke out of the corner, Velasquez with punches and Lesnar hugged Velasquez into the other turnbuckle. Velasquez with a kick to the ribs and a kick to the head that knocked Lesnar down. Velasquez tried to attack, but Lesnar kicked the knee and Lesnar slapped on the Kimura Lock on Velasquez and Velasquez tapped out for the submission victory for Lesnar after two minutes.

Winner by submission: Brock Lesnar

Analysis: 1/2* A quick match to put over Lesnar while Velasquez didn’t get to show that much. I think it’s a case of WWE wanting to put over how Lesnar is to avenge his loss in the UFC against Velasquez from nine years ago. Is a two minute WWE Title match going to make fans happy? No. It’s frustrating to a lot of fans including me. I think WWE wants to book Lesnar like this to make him out to be a dominant champion. That way it means more when he loses…whenever that is.

After the match, Lesnar kept the Kimura Lock on Velasquez’ left arm. Mysterio went into the ring and hit Lesnar in the back with a steel chair. Lesnar gave Mysterio a body slam over the top to the floor.

Lesnar grabbed the chair and hit Velasquez in the left arm/shoulder with the chair a few times. Lesnar hit Velasquez with an F5 on the steel chair. Mysterio went back in the ring, he hit Lesnar with multiple chair shots including to the face with Lesnar getting a hand up to block it. Lesnar bailed to the floor.

They showed replays of the action. Graves said this issue is “far, far from resolved,” which is another way of saying the feud will continue.

Analysis: It was a good post match angle with Lesnar doing the heelish thing by being relentless with the attack. It also keeps the feud going for when Velasquez eventually comes back after selling the arm injury. They can have Cain get more training at the Performance Center and do the match again down the road. I don’t know if that’s WrestleMania or another show, but I assume we’ll get Lesnar and Velasquez again. Mysterio did well with his attack on Lesnar to finally get Lesnar out of there.

The Revival duo of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder were backstage with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. They uttered a phrase about this being the most important Tag Team Turmoil match in history as if people are going to rank TTT matches. Anyway, they said they are going to win just like every team in the match says that.

The Revival duo of Erik and Ivar were in a darkened room in a red light with the Raw Tag Team Titles. They said that everyone will fall because the raid is here.

A video aired for WWE Network content coming soon.

It’s Tag Team Turmoil time with a “Tag Team World Cup” trophy at ringside.

It’s Tag Team Turmoil time with a “Tag Team World Cup” trophy at ringside. There are nine teams in this match. I’m going to rate the whole thing with an overall grade rather than the individual matches.

Tag Team Turmoil Match #1: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. Lucha House Party’s Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik

Ziggler took control with an elbow to the face and a dropkick on Dorado. Roode tagged in, Dorado with a jawbreaker and a cartwheel off the ropes into a Stunner. Metalik walked on Dorado’s shoulders leading to a splash on Roode and Dorado splashed onto Roode for a two count. Roode hit a backbreaker on Dorado as the heel side took over. Ziggler tagged in with a Fameasser on Dorado for a two count. Roode stomped on Dorado against the turnbuckle followed by a suplex for two. Dorado got some momentum going with a cross body block off the top on Ziggler. Roode tagged in, Dorado brought in Metalik, who did some flips and a headscissors out of the corner. Metalik with kicks to the thighs, he walked the ropes and hit a missile dropkick for two. Dorado went up top with a headscissors off the top to send Ziggler out of the ring. Dorado went up top, Roode shoved him off and Ziggler hit a superkick on Dorado. Metalik with a step up enziguri on Roode. That led to Roode going down, the referee checked on him, Ziggler with a superkick on Metalik and Roode hit a Glorious DDT on Metalik to pin him. That match went about six minutes.

Lucha House Party Eliminated

Tag Team Turmoil Match #2: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins

Ryder hit a Rough Ryder on Ziggler to send him out of the ring. There was a double team neckbreaker by Roode and Hawkins. Ziggler came back with a superkick on Hawkins to knock him out of the ring. Roode picked up Ryder into a Zig Zag from Ziggler for the pinfall to eliminate Ryder and Hawkins. This fall went one minute.

Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins Eliminated

Tag Team Turmoil Match #3: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis)

Tucker sent Ziggler into the top turnbuckle with a catapult. Tucker hit a cross body off the middle ropes on Ziggler. Roode saved Ziggler from a corner attack. Roode sent Tucker into the turnbuckle and Ziggler got in a cheap shot punch. Ziggler hit an elbow drop on Tucker for a two count. There were quick tags from Ziggler and Roode as they continued to work on Tucker, but then Tucker broke free with a clothesline on Roode. Otis got the tag, the fans popped big for him and Otis was slamming both of his opponents. The fans loved the hijinks of Otis with his belly shaking. Otis hit an overhead suplex on Roode followed by a splash on Roode and Ziggler against the turnbuckle. Otis tried for the Caterpillar, but Ziggler pulled Roode out of the ring to save him. Tucker clotheslined Ziggler on the floor. Otis caught Roode off the ropes, Tucker tagged in and they hit the Compactor double team move with Tucker pinning Roode. The fans loved that.

Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode Eliminated

The New Day were next and they got pyro for their entrance.

Tag Team Turmoil Match #4: Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis) vs. The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston)

The big men Tucker and Big E showed off their athleticism followed by a double clothesline spot to knock both guys down. Otis tagged in against Kingston with chops, he jumped in the air and Otis caught him with a body slam. Otis with a running splash on Kingston against the turnbuckle. Otis did the Caterpillar with an elbow drop on Kingston for a two count. Kingston was launched into the air by Otis and Kingston hit a DDT on Tucker. Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise on Otis to knock him out of the ring. Big E tagged in, Tucker hooked the arms and hit a double underhook overhead suplex for two. That was pretty cool. Tucker missed a cross body block off the middle ropes. Kingston tagged in, Big E picked up Tucker and New Day hit the Midnight Hour (double team big ending) to eliminate them after about four minutes.

Heavy Machinery Eliminated

Tag Team Turmoil Match #5: The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) vs. The B Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas)

There was no reaction for The B Team for their entrance. Axel took down Big E with a clothesline and Dallas tagged in with knee drops on Big E. Axel tried a slam on Big E, but Big E slammed him down. Big E tossed Dallas out of the ring. Kingston hit a cross body block on Dallas on the floor. Big E hit the Big Ending on Axel to eliminate him. The B Team were only in there for about two minutes.

The B Team Eliminated

The Revival were next. They defend the Smackdown Tag Team Titles against New Day on Smackdown tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

The post The John Report: WWE Crown Jewel 2019 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

TJRWrestling WWE Crown Jewel 2019 Preview

Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Crown Jewel preview. It’s a unique card with two matches featuring athletes from other sports making their WWE debuts.

Cain Velasquez has moved on from his UFC days to become a pro wrestler and he gets a WWE Title shot against Brock Lesnar just because Velasquez beat Lesnar in a UFC cage nine years ago. Also, undefeated pro boxer Tyson Fury faces off with Braun Strowman in a battle between two guys that are nearly seven feet tall. I don’t think either of these matches are going to appeal that much to the hardcore WWE fan that wants to see 20-minute classic wrestling matches. They are more for the spectacle being in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. They are attraction matches and not necessarily expected to be technical wrestling classics. I guess what I’m saying is we should probably lower our expectations. This will be one of WWE’s most profitable shows of the year along with the Super Showdown show from Saudi Arabia earlier this year, so to WWE, it’s very important even if the quality of the show is poor. Last year’s Crown Jewel was the worst PPV of 2018 and this year’s Super Showdown is the worst WWE PPV so far this year.

The phrase “glorified house show” has been mentioned for these WWE events in Saudi Arabia where the babyfaces usually get the wins to make the fans happy. I expect a lot of that on this show. I think my favorite thing about it is that I can watch it at 1pmET on a Thursday and it will probably run for four hours, but I’ll have my evening free after it’s over. It’s a lot better than these shows that end at 11pmET and writing about them live can be exhausting.

There are only three titles on the line on the show, so that hurts the card because fans typically like title changes. There was some bigger news earlier today when WWE announced the first-ever women’s match in Saudi Arabia with Natalya set to face off with Lacey Evans. More on that later.

WWE Crown Jewel emanates from the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, streaming live Thursday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. ET / 8 AST on WWE Network. The WWE Crown Jewel Kickoff begins at 12 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. AST on WWE Network, WWE.com, the WWE App, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Twitch.

(Note: All graphics are from WWE. The banner up top is courtesy of our friend Melo Man.)

 

Battle Royal: The Winner Earns US Title Match (KICKOFF SHOW) – Apollo Crews, Buddy Murphy, Andrade, Drake Maverick, Eric Young, Luke Harper, Cedric Alexander, Heath Slater, Humberto Carrillo, No Way Jose, Champion Sunil Singh, Mojo Rawley, Erick Rowan, R-Truth, Sin Cara, Brian Kendrick, Titus O’Neil, Tony Nese, Akira Tozawa and Shelton Benjamin

There’s a mix of talent here featuring some guys that are relatively new to the main roster along with plenty of veterans in there. Since the winner of the match gets to face the heel United States Champion AJ Styles then that likely means a babyface winner. I’ll go with a final four of Humberto Carrillo, Andrade, Erick Rowan and Buddy Murphy.

My pick for the winner is Carrillo because he had a good match with AJ Styles on Raw, which he lost and then after the match, Styles attacked him with a Styles Clash. That tells me they are likely to have another match.

Winner: Humberto Carrillo  

 

Lacey Evans vs. Natalya

I’m happy that WWE is finally being allowed to have a women’s match in Saudi Arabia. I’m sure they will be bragging and celebrating this during the whole show as well as months in advance. As soon as I posted about this earlier today, people were asking why did they pick these two? It’s not up to me, but I think with Natalya it’s a sign of respect since she has had more matches in WWE history than any other woman. I know she’s had the most on PPV too. As for Evans, WWE has high hopes for her and they want to feature her more. Could they have picked Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bayley or Sasha Banks? Sure, but they didn’t. It’s not up to us. That’s a WWE decision.

Evans and Natalya wrestled many times in the last few months. Now Evans is on Smackdown while Natalya remains on Raw, so this will probably be their last match for a while. I’ll go with Natalya getting the win since she’s the face and Evans is continuing her heel act.

Winner: Natalya

 

Mansoor vs. Cesaro

Mansoor is from Saudi Arabia and announced as being from Riyadh where Crown Jewel is taking place, so this is about getting the hometown guy on the show. Mansoor was signed after last year’s Greatest Royal Rumble event and earlier this year, he won a battle royal at Super Showdown. Cesaro is one of the best wrestlers in WWE and he can have a good match with anybody. I’m sure they got a chance to practice the match at the Performance Center in the weeks leading up to this. Due to the lack of storyline, there’s not much to analyze, but I fully expect the crowd to be into it rooting for their countryman Mansoor. I also expect a win for Mansoor, which is going to piss off the hardcore WWE fans that fail to understand this is basically a house show to put over the good guys. Should Cesaro be booked better? Absolutely, but I totally expect him to take the loss here.

Winner: Mansoor

 

Tag Team Turmoil Match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E), Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder), Raw Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar), Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis), Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado), The OC (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson), and The B Team (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel)

It’s another World Cup trophy like last year when Shane McMahon won a tournament he wasn’t even a part of, which led to his heel turn. This time it’s all about the tag teams. A Tag Team Turmoil match means that two teams start and then there are tag team matches with eliminations until all nine teams have been in the ring. As is the case with a lot of matches on this show, I’m expecting a babyface win.

Since the Viking Raiders are undefeated in WWE, they are definitely favorites to win. I think if they were to lose here to another Raw team (like The OC for example) then that could set up a title feud. That would allow another babyface team like The New Day or Heavy Machinery to win the match. The good thing about putting over Heavy Machinery is they have never been Smackdown Tag Team Champions, so they can use the momentum from winning this “World Cup” to get a title shot at The Revival soon. The New Day are the most popular team in the match, so that’s an easy choice. I’m going with the Viking Raiders just to have them remain undefeated in tag team action, but if it’s Heavy Machinery then that’s a good choice too.

Winners: The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)

 

United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Winner of Battle Royal

I have Humberto Carrillo winning the battle royal as you saw earlier, so it would be a rematch of their match on Raw. As I think about this as a match, I think it would be smart to have Styles get disqualified when he realizes he can’t find a way to beat him. Either that or have Styles cheat to retain. That way it shows Carrillo has improved from their match on Raw and it can continue the story. I would then have Carrillo beat Styles for the title before the end of the year. I want that to happen because I want Styles in the Universal Title picture even though I have enjoyed his US Title run. I’m going with the heel Styles to cheat to retain the title for a rare heel win on this show.

Winner: AJ Styles 

 

Five on Five Tag Team Match: Team Hulk Hogan (Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ricochet, Ali and Shorty G) vs. Team Ric Flair (Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, Shinsuke Nakamura and Drew McIntyre)

It’s Survivor Series a few weeks early although it’s not an elimination match as far as we know. It’s just a one fall match that will probably get 20+ minutes because they will want everybody to get in there at some point. If it’s an elimination match that would be better, but that hasn’t been announced yet. I fully expect some Hogan/Flair physicality that may include Hogan giving Flair a body slam on the floor or at least a punch to the head leading to a ridiculous Flair bump. That should pop the crowd huge towards the end of the match.

There’s not that much to discuss in terms of storyline other than the Rusev and Lashley angle that has received a lot of attention on Raw. Rusev’s wife and Lashley’s on-screen girlfriend Lana flew to Crown Jewel as well, so she may be at ringside for this match. While I’m sure there will be some big Rusev/Lashley singles match in the future, I expect Rusev to get revenge on Lashley for what happened on Raw.

A win by the faces is the obvious outcome here. Reigns is the biggest name, so he might be the one that gets the win for his team, but on Smackdown last week he deferred to Ali to get the win in the main event. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ricochet was the one that got the win here just because he needs a big victory. They could also have Rusev pin Lashley. I’ll go with Reigns hitting a Spear on Corbin for the win for his team. It should be a fun match to watch because usually books these multi-man matches well with plenty of big spots (everybody hitting finishing moves) leading to an exciting finish.

Winners: Team Hulk Hogan (Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ricochet, Ali and Shorty G)

 

Tyson Fury vs. Braun Strowman

There’s a lot of unknown here because Fury has never had a pro wrestling match. Triple H and others have said that Fury has been impressive in getting ready for this match. Fury has been training at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando for most of the last month and Strowman lives there in Orlando (check his Instagram), so I’m sure they got the chance to practice the match a lot. They will probably do classic big man spots like body slams where they sell them as a big deal, maybe we’ll see a bearhug and of course the dreaded running shoulder tackles.

Picking a winner is tough, but I have leaned towards Fury since the match was announced. I find it hard to believe that Fury would agree to work a WWE match where he was booked to lose considering he has never lost as a professional boxer. It’s the Floyd Mayweather thing from 2008 against Big Show. It felt obvious to me that Floyd was going to win since he’s undefeated in boxing and I expect the same for Fury. It will probably be something where Fury nails Strowman with a punch to the jaw and Strowman sells it like he is knocked out. It will be shitty for Strowman and fans will complain about a WWE full-timer losing to a one night rental, but that’s what this show is about. I expect Fury to win in a short match.

Winner by pinfall (or knockout): Tyson Fury

 

Falls Count Anywhere Match for the Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

(It has been announced by WWE that this match “can’t be stopped for any reason.”)

The frustrating thing about this match is that WWE hasn’t attempted to try to explain what happens if Wyatt/Fiend won the Universal Title. Does that mean the Universal Title is on Wyatt/Fiend on Smackdown, which would leave no major title on Raw? I doubt that very match. Does it mean that Wyatt/Fiend would be on Raw only while he’s the Universal Champion? That’s a possibility, but once again it’s not like WWE lets us know this stuff. In order to tell a story properly, you need to tell the fans what would happen after the match if Wyatt were to win. When you don’t, it’s only frustrating fans that have questions that are not being answered. Don’t frustrate the audience! Give them more information! It’s not that hard.

I expect a brawl all around the arena and it would be a surprise if there was a title change. I’m not sure how Rollins is going to win, but I fully expect him to retain. I remember going into Hell in a Cell I thought Wyatt/Fiend would leave with the Universal Title. However, that was before WWE drafted Wyatt/Fiend to Smackdown. If Wyatt/Fiend loses they need to be very creative about the finish because he should look strong even in defeat. I’m hoping it’s a better match than what they did at Hell in a Cell. The finish has to be better, right? It can’t be as bad as what they did at Hell in a Cell. I sure hope not. I’ll go with Rollins, but I fully admit I’m not that sure about it.

Winner: Seth Rollins

As a follow up, I expect Seth’s next feud on Raw to be with Drew McIntyre, who is back fresh and being booked strong. I’m not sure how WWE will book The Fiend going forward, but a rivalry with Roman Reigns makes a lot of sense on Smackdown.

 

WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Cain Velasquez

There are a few differences between this match and the Strowman/Fury match. Obviously, the WWE Title is on the line, which seems ridiculous considering Velasquez is in his first WWE match ever. There’s also a backstory here, so that helps. The most important difference is that Velasquez has signed a multi-year deal with WWE, which means he’s going to be around for a few years and this is a match they can do again down the road. If this wasn’t for the WWE Title then I think Velasquez may win, but I doubt that Cain is going to win the title in his first match. I certainly wouldn’t do that. I’m not saying it’s impossible. I just think Lesnar is going to keep the gold.

I saw Cain’s two matches earlier this year with the AAA promotion and he moves around well for a bigger guy. This match feels like they will hit more of the bigger moves, put over the striking ability of both guys and try to tell the story that one knockout could win it for either guy. I’m going with Lesnar for the pinfall win after hitting about three F5’s to finally put Cain away. My other expectation is that this match will be better than most fans anticipate because of Cain’s brief experience in wrestling.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

 

BONUS TOPICS!

The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

There’s really nothing that stand out, but I’ll go with the 5 on 5 tag team match because it will probably be the best match. I’m intrigued by Lesnar/Velasquez too.

The Match I Care About The Least

Battle Royal. They aren’t that interesting to me.

Longest Match

If I were to count Tag Team Turmoil as just one match then that’s it, but I don’t think it’s right to count. I expect the 5 on 5 tag team match to go 20+ minutes. Nothing else should go over 20 minutes.

Shortest Match

Tyson Fury vs. Braun Strowman. I can’t see them going past 10 minutes. Half of that is fine. No reason for Fury to do crazy stuff and risk injury.

Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)

5. I can’t pretend like I’m overly excited about Crown Jewel. It’s just a basic show with mostly babyfaces going over while providing some entertainment for wrestling fans in Saudi Arabia that pay a lot of money for two average shows every year.

 

Final Thoughts

I’ll be back with a review of Crown Jewel on TJRWrestling.net live on Thursday afternoon on Halloween day. Check it out during the show or after it’s over.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go Los Angeles Rams, NBA World Champion Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

The post TJRWrestling WWE Crown Jewel 2019 Preview appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: WWE Hell in a Cell 2019 Review

Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of WWE Hell in a Cell for a show that only had four matches promoted going into it. They added more matches to it as expected. I went to see the movie Joker on Sunday night, so I didn’t see Hell in a Cell live. Joker is amazing especially as a movie theatre experience. Great storytelling throughout and some incredible character development too. That’s what we want on wrestling shows too. Anyway, I highly recommend Joker. I know people say it will have Oscar buzz or whatever. That doesn’t matter to me that much. It’s just an awesome movie worth checking out. Anyway, let’s get to this PPV.

The Kickoff show saw Natalya defeat Lacey Evans. That was the only Kickoff show match.

WWE Hell in a Cell  
From the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA
October 6, 2019

There was an opening video package about the Hell in a Cell structure where it tried to tell us that it is so evil it changes the lives of the people in the match. The rest of the video package focused on the big matches on the show.

There was a pyro display in the arena because pyro is back. The PPV stage looks similar to the previous stage design that WWE had for a few years, but not exactly the same. There’s more lighting present and some of the entrances have pyro, so that helps.

The Raw announce team of Vic Joseph, Dio Maddin and Jerry “The King” Lawler were at ringside. The red Hell in a Cell structure was above the ring because a Hell in a Cell match was up first.

Sasha Banks made her entrance for the Raw Women’s Champion match as the heel challenger. The Spanish and German announce teams were introduced to us from their seats at ringside. “The Man” Becky Lynch made her entrance with the Raw Women’s Championship looking ready to go. Lynch has some smoke on the stage for her entrance. It was noted by Joseph that this was the 41st Hell in a Cell match in WWE history.

Analysis: Going on first on the PPV is the second best spot you can have on the card because the crowd is hotter in the opening match than at any other point in the show. It’s also a good idea to separate the two Hell in a Cell matches by putting them in the opening match and main event.

Banks attacked Lynch before the cell was officially lowered. They left the ring, Banks whipped Lynch into the cell and hit a suplex onto the steel ramp at ringside. Banks whipped Lynch into the side of the cell. Banks rolled into the ring to boos while Lynch was outside the cell. Lynch kicked the cell door into Banks and both women were inside the cell. The bell rang to start the match.

Raw Women’s Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks

Lynch left the ring and grabbed the steel chain from the referee that tried to lock the door. Lynch with punches on Banks using the chain and she knocked her out of the ring. Lynch whipped Banks into the cell. Lynch locked the cell door. Banks came back with a kick and she whipped Lynch into the cell. Lynch sent Banks into the steel steps. Lynch grabbed a steel chair and ladder from under the ring, but Banks came back with a chair shot to the back. Lynch threw the chair at Banks and Lynch hit a chair shot to the back of Banks. Back in the ring, Banks got a few nearfalls and Lynch whipped Banks head first into the steel chair that was opened up in the ring. Banks came back with a dropkick that sent the chair into Lynch’s face for a two count. Lynch hit the Bexploder suplex, Banks was set out of the ring, and Lynch hit three running dropkicks that sent Banks face first into the cell. Banks came back with a kick to the face followed by the double knees to the face Meteora that sent Lynch into a ladder that was up against the cell. Banks sent Lynch out of the ring. Banks grabbed Lynch’s arm and put it in between the cell door to cause more damage to the arm. Banks used the chair to wrench on the left arm of Lynch and then did an armbar to whip Lynch into the mat. Banks put Lynch on a chair followed by a Meteora double knee attack off the turnbuckle for a two count. Banks was frustrated that it wasn’t enough to win the match. Banks grabbed a chair and put it in the rungs of the cell. Banks with another chair, Lynch got a rollup and kicked the chair into the ribs of Banks. Lynch with a dropkick while Banks was on the apron and sent Banks into the cell. They left the ring where Lynch hit the Bexploder suplex into the cell. Lynch hit a drop toe hold into the legs of a chair and a bulldog into the legs of the chair for a two count. Lynch hit a dropkick off the ropes into the chair that Banks was holding to knock Banks down. Banks rolled out of the ring again. When Lynch went out to the floor, Banks had a kendo stick and she hit Lynch repeatedly with the kendo stick. Banks put two kendo sticks up against the cell, Lynch blocked an attack on the floor and Lynch sent Banks into the two kendo sticks. Lynch set up a chair against the kendo sticks and put a third kendo stick by the chair. Lynch put Banks on the chair against the cell, Lynch ran off the apron and hit a dropkick into Banks into the cell. That was a unique spot that drew a big pop from the crowd! There were “Holy Shit” and “This is awesome” chants as well.

They went back into the ring where Lynch hit a top rope leg drop for a two count with Banks getting her right shoulder up. Lynch was shocked by that. Lynch set up a table, but Banks came back with a Backstabber double knee attack to the back of Lynch. Banks teased a superplex through the table that was obviously never going to happen based on their setup, Lynch fought out of it and Banks hit a Meteora double knee attack that put Lynch through the table. That spot was set up really well and it looked great. The crowd popped huge for the spot as well as Lynch kicking out of it. Banks grabbed a kendo stick to use it for assistance for a Bank Statement submission, but Lynch managed to fight her way out of the hold. Lynch hit Banks with the kendo stick. They were outside the ring with Banks whipping Lynch into the steel chair that Banks had placed against the cell earlier in the match. Banks threw seven steel chairs in the ring, then she found some more and I counted about twelve chairs in the ring. Banks hit Lynch with chair shots although it was more like Banks just hitting other chairs to make some noise. Banks went to the turnbuckle, Lynch hit her with a chair and Lynch hit a Bexploder Suplex onto the pile of chairs in the ring. Lynch slapped on the Disarmher submission on Banks and Banks tried to fight it by grabbing a chair, but she couldn’t do it. Banks tapped out to give Lynch the win at 21:50.

Winner by submission: Becky Lynch

Analysis: **** That was a very good match that felt like a fight the moment it began because they brought the intensity as soon as the bell rang. The weapons they used were a smart move because it was fitting for a Hell in a Cell match that may be the end of this rivalry for now. They deserve a lot of credit for coming up with some innovative spots with the weapons they used in different spots. We have seen Hell in a Cell matches using chairs, tables and other weapons, but to their credit, they came up with some different uses that worked well for this match. The aggressiveness of Banks was perfect for her heel persona and I have always felt that she was better as a heel. Lynch did an excellent job of being the babyface that was fighting from underneath by matching the intensity of Lynch and finding a way to get the win. The crowd was really into the match, which again shows that it was the right decision to put them on as the first match of the PPV. I thought Banks was going to win because it would have been good for her as a heel, but obviously WWE wants a very long title reign for Lynch.

There were replays of Lynch’s win and Lynch celebrated with the title while Banks looked on from the stage. The crowd gave Lynch a nice ovation for a hard-fought victory.

There were commercials for WWE Shop and Total Divas.

The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves took over for the first Smackdown match of the show.

A video package aired for Erick Rowan and Luke Harper facing Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. It’s been a long story over several months with Rowan trying to earn respect.

Roman Reigns made his entrance, which looks better now because he’s got a nice pyro display when he puts his fist onto the stage. Daniel Bryan was up next, but Bryan did not do the “YES” chants even though he is back in a babyface role. The fans did “YES” chants at him. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper entered together looking ready to go.

Tornado Tag Team Match: Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper

This was made a Tornado Tag Team Rules match prior to the show. That means there are no tags in the match, the first fall wins and it’s essentially Street Fight rules.

Rowan sent Reigns out of the ring with a clothesline. Bryan was on the top rope and hit Rowan with a missile dropkick followed by Bryan hitting a suicide dive on Harper. Reigns came back with a Superman Punch on Rowan. Back in the ring, Rowan hit a dropkick on Reigns, which was a bit of a surprise, but it looked good enough. Rowan missed a splash and Reigns hit a Samoan Drop for two. Harper went back in with a boot to the face of Reigns. The action spilled to the floor with Harper sending Bryan into the barricade and Rowan hitting a running cross body block on Reigns on the floor. Rowan picked up the steel steps and hit Reigns in the head with it. Back in the ring, Harper whipped Bryan into a spinning heel kick from Rowan. Reigns knocked Harper off the ropes, Rowan knocked Reigns down and Rowan hit a shoulder block on Bryan. Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock briefly, but Harper broke it up. Rowan hit a suplex on Bryan for a two count. Bryan sent Rowan into the ring post, he ran at Harper and Harper hit a Michinoku Driver on Bryan for a two count because Reigns made the save. Reigns with a leaping clothesline on Harper followed by ten corner clothesline. Rowan sent Reigns out of the ring. Bryan kicked Rowan off the apron and Bryan kicked Harper in the arm. Bryan charged and hit a dropkick to the left knee of Harper. Bryan worked over Harper with the Yes Kicks to the upper body, Rowan tripped up Bryan and pulled him out of the ring. Reigns with a Drive By pick on Rowan. Harper hit a suicide dive on Reigns on the floor where Harper’s forehead went into a table at ringside. That looked like a rough landing for Harper, but he was okay. All four guys were down on the floor by the announce tables.

Rowan and Harper cleared off the three announce tables at ringside. Rowan and Harper sent Bryan face first onto the side of the ring apron. Rowan with a body slam on Reigns on the floor followed by Rowan hitting a body slam on Harper onto Reigns. Rowan picked up part of the barricade, Graves led by saying it may be a few hundred pounds and Rowan hit Reigns with the barricade to send Reigns over the railing at ringside. Rowan broke a pencil at ringside as well. That poor pencil! Harper and Rowan set up Bryan for a move on the table, but Bryan hit a hurricanrana on Harper. Reigns followed that with a Spear on a table that led to Rowan crashing through another table. That was a really cool spot and the fans popped big for it. Reigns was grabbing his right knee. Back in the ring, Bryan was on offense with three running dropkicks on Harper against the turnbuckle. Bryan went for a hurricanrana off the top, but Harper caught him and hit him with a Powerbomb off the top rope for a two count. Great spot and nearfall. Harper hit a Dragon Suplex two times. Bryan countered a third attempt by landing on his feet. Bryan dodged a Harper charge, Reigns went into the ring with a Superman Punch, Bryan with a running knee on Harper and Reigns hit a Spear on Harper for the pinfall win at 16:45.

Winners by pinfall: Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan

Analysis: ***3/4 It was a fun tag team match with Bryan and Reigns doing an excellent job of taking an ass kicking and then finding a way to win like the babyfaces they are. The last few minutes were outstanding especially when they went outside the ring to set up the table spots. That table spot with Reigns and Rowan was set up really well and it looked awesome when they went through it. I thought Bryan was outstanding in the match as he reminded us again that he’s probably the best wrestler in the company and in my opinion, Bryan needs to be in main events again. He’s so great in terms of always having excellent matches. The result didn’t surprise me since Bryan remained a face. It just makes sense to have the faces win to put an end to the storyline. It’s also not a shock that Harper was the one that was pinned since he was a late addition to the storyline to set up the tag team match and Harper was sitting at home for five months doing nothing after he asked for his release. I’m glad Harper’s back in the ring doing his thing. Bryan and Rowan were the stars of the match, but Harper and Rowan did very well too.

Post match, Bryan slowly got back to his feet as Reigns stared at him. Bryan extended his hand for a shake, but then he pulled the hand away. Bryan opened up his arms for a hug. The fans chanted “YES” for this hug it out moment. Reigns wasn’t sure of it, the fans chanted “YES” some more and Reigns hugged Bryan. Reigns and Bryan raised their hands followed by a handshake. The fans loved it.

Analysis: I thought Bryan might go back to being a heel, but it didn’t happen. I’m fine with Bryan as a face because he’s arguably the best babyface that WWE has had this decade in many ways. I just loved Bryan’s heel persona, so I’ll miss Bryan as a heel. Bryan has a lot of value as a face too, obviously. I’m just saying from an entertainment standpoint, heel Daniel Bryan has been my favorite WWE character over the last year.

If the show ended here after one hour then it would be considered a great success. Sadly, there were over two more hours to go.

Seth Rollins was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. Rollins said he’s done a lot in his career, but he’s never encountered anything or faced anyone like The Fiend Bray Wyatt. Rollins said that the psychological warfare will be the greatest test of his career. Rollins said when the bell rings, he’ll have no choice but to be ready, to survive and no choice but to burn it down…at least he hopes so.

A commercial aired for the WWE 2K20 video game that is out on October 22 and you can pre-order now.

A commercial aired for the Crown Jewel pay-per-view on WWE Network on Thursday, October 31 at 1pmET. I’m all for afternoon shows, but last year’s Crown Jewel was terrible and this year’s Super Showdown was bad too.

Randy Orton made his entrance for a match. Ali got a decent reaction from the crowd. This was set up during a backstage segment on the Kickoff Show. Orton is the captain of Team Flair in the 5 on 5 match against Team Hogan at Crown Jewel.

Randy Orton vs. Ali

Orton was in control early with a hard chop to the chest. Ali came back with punches, Orton with an eye poke, Ali got in a shot, Ali went up top and Orton tripped up Ali to send him crashing to the floor. Orton gave Ali a front suplex onto the announce table. Orton picked Ali up and gave him a back suplex onto the announce table like he loves to do. Orton stomped on the chest of Ali and dumped Ali out of the ring again. Orton went for another suplex on the table, but Ali hit a dropkick to knock Orton down. Orton whipped Ali into the ring post and Ali sells that bump so well. It’s not really the ring post because there are screens covering it, but I’m not sure what else to call it. Back in the ring, Orton got a two count followed by an armbar while the camera zoomed in on Ali’s ribs having a big scar due to a table bump earlier. Ali got back up, Orton hit him with a knee to the ribs and Ali connected with a dropkick. Ali with a suicide dive that sent Orton over the announce table. The fans were dead for most of this even as Ali attacked Orton with punches. Orton with a punch to the ribs, then he sent Ali into the ring and Ali kicked Orton in the face. Ali with a kick to the face followed by a roll through into an X-Factor for two. Orton came back with a powerslam for a two count. The fans were chanting “RKO” even though Orton is the heel in the match. Ali with a spinning heel kick to the face. Ali went up top, he jumped off with the splash, Orton moved and Ali managed to come back with a Tornado DDT. Ali went up top and he missed the 450 Splash because Orton moved, so Ali hit the mat hard. Orton connected with a draping DDT off the middle ropes. Orton set up for a RKO, but Ali countered it with a headstand and got a rollup for two. Ali with a kick to the face for two, Ali rolled back into the ring and went for a move, but Orton hit a RKO for the pinfall win at 12:10. After the match, Orton tapped Ali’s leg as if to say “good job, kid.”

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

Analysis: **3/4 Good match with the veteran Orton getting the win since he’s a team captain at Crown Jewel, so it makes sense to keep Orton strong. Ali did a great job of selling for most of the match and his offense is exciting. The problem with the match is there was no storyline, so the crowd was dead for a lot of it. The last couple of minutes were great and I liked the innovative RKO counter by Ali before Orton connected with a RKO for the win. I think Ali is a face that could do well if they get him an interesting storyline.

There was a commercial for Raw promoting Tyson Fury going to Raw to confront Braun Strowman based on the angle on Smackdown.

Highlights were shown of Natalya beating Lacey Evans on the Kickoff Show with a Sharpshooter submission. After the match, Natalya decked Evans with a Woman’s Right punch of her own. It was announced that Natalya will face Lacey Evans in a Last Woman Standing match on Raw. This feud must continue apparently. Lacey will probably get her win back to end the rivalry.

The Women’s Tag Team Championship duo of Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross entered for a title defense that has no build. The Kabuki Warriors duo of Asuka and Kairi Sane entered as the challengers. The crowd still pops for Asuka’s music even though Asuka is not booked well.

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane)

Asuka started out hot with a running hip attack on Bliss and a running knee on Cross for two. Bliss got the tag with a STO trip on Asuka followed by the knee attacks to the ribs and a hard slap got a two count. Bliss with another hard slap and Cross got a two count. Cross with a jawbreaker, Asuka sent Cross to the floor and Cross did her pull the apron spot to trap Asuka. Bliss joined in on the fun, but Asuka came back with a kick to the head. Asuka whipped Bliss into the barricade to take control. Sane with a hard slap on Bliss, then a kick to the back and Asuka was brought back in. Asuka whipped Bliss into the turnbuckle, flying hip attack and Asuka stretched Bliss’ back against the ropes. Asuka slapped on an Ankle Lock, Bliss tried to fight it, but Asuka hooked her leg and then Asuka turned it into a Boston Crab. Asuka let go of that leading to Asuka slamming Bliss’ head to the mat. Sane with a plank walk, poke to the eyes on Cross and Sane hit a running kick. Asuka slapped on the Ankle Lock again, Bliss rolled out of it and sent Asuka into the ropes. Cross got the hot tag with punches on Sane, who was legal and a corner splash connected followed by a bulldog. Cross with a kick to knock Asuka down. Cross was up top and hit a cross body block on Sane for two. Sane with an Alabama Slam on Cross. Sane went up top and she went for the Insane Elbow drop, but Cross got the knees up to block. Cross hit a neckbreaker off the ropes and Asuka was there to break up the pin. Asuka tagged in, she worked over Cross with kicks to the chest and Cross blocked a roundhouse kick. Cross came back with a clothesline. Sane went after Bliss on the apron, Bliss kicked her away and Bliss hit a dive onto Sane on the floor. The referee was distracted by that, so Asuka spit green mist into the eyes of Cross. The dreaded green mist! Anyway, Asuka hit a roundhouse kick to the head of Cross for the pinfall win at 10:25.

Winners by pinfall and New Women’s Tag Team Champions: The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane)

Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match with a surprising finish due to the title change that came out of nowhere since the champs had no feud going into this show. Asuka stood out as the best performer in this match with some great offense, her facial expressions are always great and I liked the green mist usage. Going into the match, I didn’t expect a title change, but the tiles were barely featured anyway. I’m not sure if Asuka and Sane will continue to be more heelish like they were a bit here or if they’ll continue to be a face team. Bliss and Cross may be broken up in the Draft, so maybe that’s why they lost the titles, but I think they have been good together.

Post match, Asuka and Sane celebrated with the titles. Graves mentioned Japanese legends like The Great Kabuki and The Great Muta using the mist in the past. Tajiri too! Asuka had green mist all over her face. Bliss was at ringside wondering what happened with Cross in the ring. Asuka and Sane left with the titles.

A commercial aired for WWE Smackdown on Fox.

The announce team of Cole and Graves talked about this Friday’s Smackdown on Fox in Las Vegas. It’s the start of the WWE Draft on October 11th.

A video package aired showing highlights of this past Friday’s Smackdown on Fox debut. A lot of the video focused on The Rock. It was mostly a good show that had a fresh look to it, but it wasn’t that special either. Let’s see how they do long term.

The OC trio of US Champion AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson entered for a tag team match. The Viking Raiders duo of Erik and Ivar made their entrance with a mystery partner.

The partner of The Viking Raiders was…Braun Strowman. Three dudes with big beards. It might as well be him since he had nothing else to do.

Braun Strowman and The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) vs. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

Ivar with a shoulder tackle on Anderson followed by an armbar. Anderson came back with a punch to the throat, Gallows tagged in and punched Ivar. Erik got the tag with a forearm to Gallows followed by a corner dropkick and an overhead suplex. When Erik tried a running attack, Styles kicked him in the head to give the heels control of the match as Gallows hit a roundhouse kick to the head of Erik. Gallows with a fallaway slam on Erik. Styles tagged in, he tried punching the faces on the apron, but Strowman blocked it and Gallows kicked Strowman after a cheap shot. Styles with a Pele Kick on Erik for a two count. Anderson tagged in with a spinebuster on Erik. Styles tagged in, punched Ivar off the apron and Erik hit a back body drop on Styles. Strowman got the hot tag to a big pop and ran over Styles with shoulder tackles. Strowman with a running corner clothesline on Styles. The three heels were on the floor, so Strowman did his shoulder tackle train to run over Gallows, Anderson and Styles. Back in the ring, Strowman charged, Styles moved and Strowman went running shoulder first into the ring post. Strowman does that bump in nearly every match. Styles slapped on the Calf Crusher submission on Strowman. Erik with a knee on Styles, Erik tossed Anderson out of the ring, Gallows kicked Erik out of the ring, Ivar did his cartwheel spot into a clothesline on Gallows. Styles came back with a Phenomenal Forearm on Ivar. Strowman picked up Styles looking for the Powerslam, but Anderson hit a chop block on Strowman’s left leg. Gallows kicked Strowman in the head. Anderson stomped on Strowman leading to a quick DQ call by the referee at 8:15. The fans booed that finish.

Winners by disqualification: Braun Strowman and The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)

Analysis: *3/4 It was just a decent match with a weak finish. I’m not sure why they needed to do the cheap DQ ending and not just have Strowman get the win. It’s probably because they’ll do the match again on Raw. It’s not like there was a storyline going into this.

The Viking Raiders duo went back in the ring. They cleared the ring by sending Styles, Gallows and Anderson to the floor. Erik and Ivar hit suicide dives to take out Gallows and Anderson. Strowman sent Styles into the corner, Styles with a Phenomenal Forearm attempt, but Strowman blocked it with a punch to the face. The announcer Vic Joseph wondered if it was a direct message to boxer Tyson Fury.

It was announced that Tyson Fury will be on Raw to talk about his situation with Braun Strowman.

Styles did a good job of selling the attack by telling Gallows and Anderson that he was fine. Instead, Styles was hobbling around the ring while G&A tried to help him get out of there. When Styles posed with the US Title on the stage, he fell over.

Analysis: The Strowman angle with Fury was set up at Smackdown, so that’s why they had Strowman knock out Styles with one punch. It puts over the idea that Strowman has knockout power.

The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins were there for a backstage promo. Ford was talking about the show while Dawkins was looking at his phone. They said that there’s a “Draft Showcase” on Raw this week. Ford asked Dawkins who he has top five in the draft. Dawkins told him he didn’t even have a Wikipedia page. There was some commotion as Tamina appeared and gave the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to 24/7 Champion Carmella to win the title. R-Truth was there and he was knocked down as well.

New WWE 24/7 Champion: Tamina

Tamina grabbed the title, Tyler Breeze showed up and Tamina decked him with one punch. Truth asked what way they went, Street Profits pointed in opposite directions and Truth told Carmella they should go to the stairs. Carmella wondered what stairs.

It was back to the announce team with Cole asking Graves if he’ll be okay (because Corey’s girlfriend Carmella lost the 24/7 Title) and Graves said he’ll be fine.

There was a video package about the feud between Baron Corbin and Chad Gable with Corbin becoming King of the Ring while Gable ruined his coronation ceremony.

They introduced Baron Corbin as “King Corbin” with Corbin wearing the robe, crown and scepter. The fans booed. There were some brief “STD” chants after Rock started that on Smackdown, but it wasn’t much. Chad Gable entered as the opponent.

Corbin left the ring for a promo with the fans chanting “STD” (super tough dude) at him. Corbin said he was disappointed that he had to face Gable again especially after Smackdown when put The Rock in his place. Corbin said he’s out there to give us all a little glimmer of hope. Corbin said no matter how bad you have it, Chad Gable always has it worse. Corbin said that Gable isn’t going to be tall enough to be taken seriously and he said he hopes his career is just like his legs…short. Corbin said that as our king, he now dubs thee as “Shorty Gable.”

Analysis: The short jokes are so lame. I know WWE thinks that it will get sympathy for Gable, but it’s reached a point where it’s just annoying and isn’t going to help anybody. Also, there were rumors that WWE may change Gable’s official ring name to “Shorty Gable,” which would be awful.

“King” Baron Corbin vs. Chad Gable

Gable with a rolling kick on Corbin against the ropes. Corbin came back with a move where he slid Gable under the bottom ropes, which sent Gable shoulder first into the ring post. Corbin whipped Gable hard into the turnbuckle. Graves claimed that the KC Royals are called that name because of Corbin being the King now and Cole noted they have had that name over 50 years. It was a weak joke by Graves. Corbin punched Gable out of the ring after fans chanted “STD” at Corbin. Gable got back into the ring, they exchanged moves and Corbin did his slide out of the ring, go back in spot for a clothesline that Gable sold with a flip. Corbin worked over Gable with forearms to the back. Graves continued the short jokes about “Shorty Gable” with Cole continuing to say Chad. Gable started a comeback with a missile dropkick. Corbin missed a charge, he did his slide back in the ring and Gable tried an attack off the ropes, but Corbin hit a spinebuster for two. Gable hit a headscissors followed by a basement dropkick. Gable hit the impressive Chaos Theory roll into a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Gable with two running kicks into the turnbuckle, he went for another one and Corbin hit a Powerbomb for two. Gable wrenched the left arm of Corbin against the top rope and Gable drove Corbin’s left leg into the ring post two times. Gable got a rollup. Corbin hit the Deep Six slam for a two count, which is the usual for that move. Corbin punched Gable repeatedly and told him to stay down. Gable was sent to the apron, shoulder to the ribs, Gable with a kick to the ribs and a flipping neckbreaker. Gable up top and he hit a perfect moonsault for a two count. Good nearfall there. Gable slapped on the Ankle Lock submission, Corbin crawled under the bottom rope and went to the floor. Gable charged, Corbin grabbed him and hit a Chokeslam on the apron. Corbin grabbed his black scepter from ringside, he went in the ring, the referee took the scepter and Gable hit the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Corbin for the pinfall win at 12:40.

Winner by pinfall: Chad Gable

It was announced that “Shorty Gable” was the winner of the match. Cole yelled about Greg Hamilton saying Shorty Gable and Graves said that was his name.

Analysis: **1/2 It was fine, but not at the level of their previous matches. That ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is so deadly as we all know. The King of the Ring final match was nearly four stars, so this really wasn’t close to what they did there. The booking of Corbin since winning King of the Ring hasn’t been good at all. Gable’s a tremendous wrestler that sells everything so well and his offense is believable. Corbin usually has better matches with Gable than this, but this just felt like they were off their game a bit. Since WWE loves 50/50 booking so much, Corbin will probably beat Gable on TV this week.

A commercial aired for NXT on USA Network this Wednesday.

A commercial aired promoting the WWE Draft on Smackdown on October 11 and Raw on October 14.

It was back to Cole and Graves at ringside talking about the WWE Draft. They did not specify who is picking the superstars for Raw and Smackdown. Graves said that the battle for brand supremacy will begin anew. It would be nice if they explained some more about it like if they are starting over completely or just moving people around. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance and she got a brief pyro display for her entrance. Replays aired from Smackdown with Flair making Bayley tap out to the Figure Eight submission in a tag team match. Bayley was up next as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Bayley noted on social media that she’s wrestled on every PPV this year, so that’s mildly impressive by her.

The international announcer’s row was shown: Portuguese, Russian, Mandarin, Hindi, French and Japanese (hey Funaki). They showed Tamina walking around with the 24/7 Title. She went over to where the announcers was and she went over to where Funaki was. Truth teased a martial arts fight with Funaki, who did some posing of his own and Tamina pushed Funaki away. Carmella showed up, hit Tamina with a superkick and Truth pinned Tamina to win the 24/7 Title.

New 24/7 Champion: R-Truth

Truth ran away with Carmella on his back. Graves said that he hopes he can finally get some sleep (since girlfriend Carmella is no longer champion). That means Truth is now a 20-time WWE 24/7 Champion.

Flair and Bayley stood in the ring for the introductions. They were both cheered to some degree. When they said Bayley was from San Jose, fans cheered because it’s close to Sacramento. In terms of storylines, Bayley is more of a heel and Flair is back to being a face.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair

Flair with a neckbreaker followed by a head whip slam into the mat. Flair with hard chops. Bayley missed a cross body block and Flair slapped on a Boston Crab submission. Bayley got out of it, then Bayley did an eye rake while the referee was keeping Flair back and Bayley took over with punches. Flair with chops followed by an overhead suplex. Flair decked Bayley with a forearm. Bayley grabbed the legs of Flair and pulled her from the apron onto the floor. Bayley drove the left foot of Flair into the LED boards at ringside three times. Bayley continued working on the leg by whipping Flair’s left leg into the ring post. The crowd was dead for this match at this point. Bayley hit a neckbreaker off the ropes. Bayley wanted a Figure Four Leglock, but Flair countered into a two count pin attempt. Flair was on the apron and she kicked Bayley in the head to knock her down. Flair drove Bayley’s left leg into the ring post two times followed by a chop block to the left knee. Flair kicked the back of the leg of Bayley. Flair hit the Natural Selection neckbreaker for a two count because Bayley got her hand on the ropes. The fans barely reacted to that. Flair with a jumping knee drop to the leg of Bayley. Flair went up top and went for a moonsault, but Bayley got the knees up to block. Flair was bleeding from a lip or a tooth. She had some blood in the mouth. Sometimes it’s hard to notice stuff like that considering how big Charlotte’s…teeth are. Yeah…teeth. Anyway, Bayley charged at Flair and Flair hit an overhead suplex on the floor. The fans chanted for both women as Flair sent Bayley’s leg into the LED board. Back in the ring, Bayley got a small package for two. Bayley got a rollup by the ropes and put her legs on the ropes for leverage, but the referee saw it and correctly stopped the count. Bayley talked to the referee about it. Flair with a boot to the face. Flair slapped on the Figure Four leading to the bridge into the Figure Eight submission and Bayley tapped out for the loss at 10:15.

Winner by submission and New Smackdown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair

The win means that Flair is a 10-time Women’s Champion on the main roster. She has the most title reigns of any woman in WWE history and she’s only been on the main roster for four years.

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. Flair has had some great matches with Lynch and Banks, but when it comes to Bayley the matches are just average. That’s not a knock on Bayley, who had some great matches against Banks in the past as well, but it’s just a comment about the styles of matches these two women have. Each woman worked over the knee of the other, but then they didn’t sell that much. Anyway, Flair winning the title didn’t surprise me because she has been pushed so heavily on Smackdown in the marketing of the show and in interviews. I can see Bayley being moved to Raw after this, which is why I picked Flair to win the title.

Flair held up the title in the air as Cole and Graves talked about how great Flair has been because she made history again as a 10-time champion. Graves noted it was a bad night for Bayley and Banks after losing their title matches. Flair laughed at Bayley and left with her title. Bayley threw a tantrum at ringside and knocked the ring steps over. Flair’s music stopped and the camera focused on Bayley. Bayley: “Why does it always have to happen to me?” Bayley shoved the referee and she cried about the loss.

Analysis: The camera focusing on Bayley after the loss so much is rare. It was likely done because they might make Bayley more of an aggressive heel after she lost the title. Her heel turn has been okay so far, but she hasn’t embraced it. This may lead to Bayley doing more of a heel thing where she rips on the fans, stops having the “Bayley buddies” for entrance and maybe changing her look a bit too.

There were commercials for WWE Shop and Crown Jewel on October 31.

Chad Gable was shown walking backstage with a smile on his face. Kayla Braxton showed up and called him “Shorty” and Gable said it’s fine because he won the match. Gable told her to find Baron Corbin to ask him how it felt to come up “short” in the match. Gable said that Corbin called him a joke, but tonight we finally saw that Gable is the bigger man. Gable walked down the hallway and Corbin punched him repeatedly for a cheap attack. Corbin tossed him into a door and Gable was down by a stairwell.

Analysis: What I said earlier about Corbin likely getting the win back is probably going to happen especially after this attack.

There was a video package for the Universal Championship match between Seth Rollins and The Fiend Bray Wyatt. Basically, Wyatt scared Rollins repeatedly and Rollins was made to look like a bitch over the last month and WWE wants fans to support a guy like that.

Seth Rollins made his entrance with the Universal Championship around his waist. Rollins got a decent reaction, but it wasn’t anything special for a main event champion. Rollins entered the red Hell in a Cell structure looking ready to go.

The Fiend Bray Wyatt made his entrance that looked spectacular with the lights going out in the arena and then there were red spotlights as The Fiend made his entrance. It’s very cool to see the entrance for just the second time after he beat Finn Balor easily at SummerSlam two months ago.

WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

The red light remained during the match, which isn’t what I hoped they would do, but it was about The Fiend being in his element. Fiend hit a headbutt to the chest with Rollins bailing to the floor. Rollins grabbed a kendo stick, he attacked with it, Fiend no sold it and Fiend hit a uranage slam. Fiend whipped Rollins into the cage two times. Fiend with a running splash on Rollins against the cell. Fiend whipped Rollins into the steel steps at ringside two times in a row. Rollins grabbed the steel steps and hit Fiend with the steps three times. Rollins brought a table into the ring. Rollins with a suicide dive that sent Fiend into the cell and Rollins did it a second time. Rollins set up the table in the ring, he went for another suicide dive, but Fiend caught him and sent Rollins face first into the cell. Back in the ring, Rollins fought off an attack with a kick to the head and a superkick. Rollins went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Fiend through the table. It looked like Rollins nearly jumped too far, but the table still broke. Fiend got up first. Rollins with a kick to the ribs, Rollins hit The Stomp and Fiend stood up from that with the fans cheering. Rollins charged again, but Fiend stopped him with the Sister Abigail neckbreaker for a two count. Good nearfall. Fiend did a necksnap move where he twisted on the neck of Rollins.

The Fiend went under the ring where he grabbed a huge mallet. Fiend used the mallet to drive Rollins back first into the cell. Rollins came back with two superkicks, then another kick and Rollins hit The Stomp on Wyatt’s head onto the mallet. Back in the ring, Rollins with a springboard knee to the face two times. Rollins with two more superkicks and The Stomp by Rollins again. Rollins hit The Stomp again, The Stomp again, The Stomp again (the fans were booing) and Fiend got back up as the fans cheered. Rollins hit a Pedigree in the center of the ring and another Stomp for a one count. Fiend got back to his knees, Rollins hit another Stomp, then another Stomp, the Stomp connected again (more booing from the fans) and yet another Stomp from Rollins. Fiend tried getting up, but Rollins hit him with another Stomp. Rollins bailed to the floor where he brought a steel chair into the ring. Rollins stood over Fiend and it looked like a chair to the head, but clearly he hit the mat with the chair. Fiend kicked out at one. Rollins grabbed a ladder, he put the chair on Fiend’s head and Rollins drove the ladder into the chair for a two count. The fans cheered for the kickout. Rollins brought a toolbox into the ring. Rollins grabbed the toolbox and hit it against the ladder and chair that was on the head of Wyatt. The fans were booing this even though Rollins was supposed to be the babyface. Rollins grabbed a sledgehammer from under the ring, which was the preferred weapon of choice of Triple H. Rollins wanted to use the sledgehammer, but the referee Rod Zapata told Rollins not to do that. Rollins ended up using the sledgehammer against the ladder and chair that was on Fiend’s head. The referee called for the bell right there. It went 17:30. The fans booed loudly for that finish.

Match Result: No Contest (Seth Rollins remains Universal Champion)

(There was a lot of confusion about the finish and the result. A lot of people thought it was a DQ, but PWInsider reported that the “official idea is the bout was stopped” so that would be No Contest. On WWE.com’s writeup of the match, they said “match stoppage” was the ending. If I was writing live I would have thought it was a disqualification too. Nothing was announced, though.)

Analysis: 1/2* Brutal. That was a terrible finish to this match. I absolutely hated it. I guess it’s a case of WWE not wanting Rollins to lose the title and realizing that The Fiend doesn’t need the title. If that’s the case then why book the match in the first place? The first half of the match was The Fiend in control for most of it and then the last five minutes was pretty much all Rollins, yet you heard the crowd booing because they hated how the match was booked. I don’t blame them. I hated it too. This is one of the worst WWE PPV main event finishes in a long time and I remember them all pretty well. I’m also not a fan of the red light for the whole match. They should have it for Bray’s entrance, but it’s not needed for the match. This match made Rollins look like such a loser as well and he’s supposed to be your top babyface on the show! No wonder the fans were booing the guy while he was hitting his finishing move. What was the point of hitting The Stomp so many times? I guess the story could be that The Fiend kept getting up from it and that showed how tough The Fiend was, but it was terrible for Rollins because it made him look so weak. Perhaps you can say this was a positive match for The Fiend in terms of making him look like a badass that you can’t put away, but The Fiend also laid on his back for like five minutes doing absolutely nothing while Rollins tried to beat him. It dragged on as a match and the result didn’t help either guy in the long run.

There was no official announcement on the match result. The red light remained around the ring as the Hell in a Cell structure was raised. The fans chanted “Bullshit” for that ending. There were EMTs in the ring checking on Wyatt and there were “AEW” chants. Rollins checked on The Fiend, but then The Fiend got back up and put the Mandible Claw on Rollins. The fans cheered for that. The Fiend hit the Sister Abigail neckbreaker outside the ring. I think the fans were chanting “restart the match” at this point. Fiend pulled the mat off the cement floor, he grabbed Rollins and hit the Sister Abigail neckbreaker on Rollins on the cement.

The Fiend gave Rollins the Mandible Claw submission move again. The lights flickered on and off in the arena again. The fans were booing loudly again.

The Fiend was shown on the stage, the spotlight was on and off him, he laughed and you could still hear fans booing. The Wyatt laugh played. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: The fans were right to shit all over this because if I was there I would be booing too. Clearly, WWE didn’t want to book an actual finish and this was the best idea they could come up with, which was a terrible idea after all. I’m pretty sure anybody watching this is going to remember the fans booing and chanting about how much they hated this match more than they are going to remember the storyline WWE tried to tell us. This match did not help The Fiend character at all. It was almost as bad as the House of Horrors match against Randy Orton two years ago too. The fans were strongly behind The Fiend for being different and now because of this match, his character has been hurt.

If we are to blame anybody for this then it’s probably on Vince McMahon, who has the final say on everything. I’m not sure if somebody else came up with this idea, but it’s up to Vince to approve things. I can’t imagine coming up with this idea and thinking that’s a great idea. As I have said and many others I’m sure, it was not the right move to do Rollins vs. The Fiend for the Universal Title. It felt like it was too soon and then when you see how this was booked, clearly WWE didn’t know how to book a good finish for it.

There used to be some prestige surrounding Hell in a Cell matches to make them feel like a big deal. Instead, for the second year in a row, they had a non-finish to the main event of the HIAC PPV. It’s as if WWE wants to kill the gimmick of the cell. Bad booking will do that.

If you turn on closed captioning for the final scene of the PPV, this is what you’ll see.

I think that says it all. Crowd boos. And they should.

This event had a run time of 3:17:00 on WWE Network.

If there’s a positive thing to say about the show it’s that it didn’t run too long at just over three hours. They could have cut out some of it and ended before three hours too and I think it would have helped a bit.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. Becky Lynch
  2. Sasha Banks
  3. Daniel Bryan
  4. Roman Reigns
  5. Erick Rowan/Luke Harper

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 3.5 out of 10 from me.

This was a bad PPV where WWE only promoted three matches for the last month, added a fourth after Smackdown and everything else was thrown together on the day of the show. Weak effort. You have to be better than this WWE if you don’t want fans chanting “AEW” and “refund” during your damn main event! This was the worst of the PPVs that have taken place in America, but I think Super Showdown was worse. The reason I say that is because I really enjoyed the Lynch/Banks and Tornado Tag Team matches. Everything else was just average or awful including the finish to the main event, which was ridiculous. There’s probably somebody reading this thinking I am “too nice” for not giving a lower score, but those first two matches were very good and I thought some of the others were decent even though they were not built up at all. Yes, the main event was bad, but I’m not giving a show a score of 2 when there’s two strong matches to start the show.

It was a poor effort by WWE’s creative team when it comes to this show. I don’t blame the talent. They work hard and do the best they can. I realize that WWE’s main focus was Smackdown two days before this show, but they still could have done more to make Hell in a Cell feel more important. I’m shocked that WWE can produce a PPV this bad considering how talented the roster is. I don’t blame the fans for being negative about Hell in a Cell 2019. It was a shitty show. WWE needs to be better than this.

 

Here are my rankings of 2019 WWE PPVs so far with a score out of 10:

WrestleMania 35 – 7.5

Elimination Chamber – 7.5

Fastlane – 7.5

Royal Rumble – 7

SummerSlam – 7

Extreme Rules – 7

Stomping Grounds – 6.5

Money in the Bank – 6

Clash of Champions – 5.5

Hell in a Cell – 3.5

Super Showdown – 3

I’m sure people reading this today will think Hell in a Cell was worse, but read the Super Showdown review again. At least HIAC had two very good matches. Super Showdown had nothing above average.

===

Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as usual.

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

 

The post The John Report: WWE Hell in a Cell 2019 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

TJRWrestling WWE Hell in a Cell 2019 Preview

John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Hell in a Cell preview. This is one of the most bizarre PPV previews I’ve ever written because WWE only advertised three matches going into the show for the last several weeks. A fourth match was made official after Smackdown last night, but as I sit here on Saturday afternoon, that’s all we know right now. I assume they will add some more matches before Sunday. The lack of build for this card has been so poor. I think WWE needs to do a better job of making people care for PPV events.

What we will do here is offer up some in-depth predictions on the three main matches that have been advertised for several weeks, plus the one match added on Friday night. If WWE adds more matches then I’ll mention them briefly, but otherwise we can only write about what WWE has set up for the show.

Joining me for the preview is Matthew J. Douglas.

(Note: All graphics are from WWE. The banner up top is courtesy of our friend Melo Man.)

 

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

Matthew: This was just added overnight and given the lack of depth on this card, they might actually get some time. Maybe a double-digit minute duration. Some nearfalls. Signature spots and thrilling moments. You know, a match!

I am hopeful that Bayley retains as I am truly enjoying what she’s doing these days. I want a finish that involves her cheating to win, and then her denying or spinning it to be a positive message for the kids watching around the world, because she’s a role model obviously.

Winner and Still Champion: Bayley (because something about Becky and Charlotte both having titles feels a little on the nose for me)

John: This was made official after Smackdown this week. I think Bayley is going to get moved back to Raw where her buddy Sasha Banks is, so I’m going with Flair winning the title and staying on Smackdown. When you see how WWE has promoted Smackdown on Fox, Flair is all over the advertising and I think she’s going to win the title to become the top woman on Smackdown again.

Winner: Charlotte Flair

 

Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper

Matthew: This isn’t the most exciting match that has ever been offered up on a PPV card. When you factor in that there are only 4 matches announced, it’s not hard to see why this is a hard event to sell to a fanbase.

I’m happy to have Harper back on TV, but this entire storyline has simply felt pretty wonky. I’m still waiting for another shoe to drop, but am slowly accepting that this just might be what it is. I half expect Daniel Bryan to turn on Roman on Sunday, despite that happening making very little logical sense. With that said, this is lacking some spice and I just need a little flavor here.

As a match, it should be pretty good given the names involved. I don’t expect a classic, but something fun with a couple cool moments is the least they can do, right?

Winners: Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan (because as much as I am wary of a double cross, I am getting the sense that WWE wants to move in new directions going into next week)

John: This one has my interest because I’m not sure what Daniel Bryan is going to do. Bryan will either be a genuine good guy that shook Roman Reigns’ hand on Smackdown because Bryan was attacked by his former buddy Erick Rowan…or Bryan will be back to his heelish ways as he let’s us know that he was the guy that was really behind the attacks on Reigns. The thought of Bryan as a leader of a heel stable with Rowan and Harper as his buddies is so interesting to me. I loved Bryan’s heel run over the last ten months. I don’t want it to end, but if it does end then I get it because Bryan is one of the best babyfaces WWE has ever had and probably the best this decade. Bryan has a lot of value in either role. Bryan’s my favorite male wrestler in WWE and I just want to see him featured no matter what.

I think I’m going with the Bryan turn. It’s just more interesting to me. That will lead to Rowan and Harper getting the while Bryan will have a long-term feud with Reigns, which should be awesome. They can also bring in other wrestlers to help Reigns whether that’s Seth Rollins or they can get some other faces on the show. If Bryan remains a face then maybe that’s because they’ll move him to Raw and this match will be a way to end the storyline. There are a lot of ways this can go.

Winners: Erick Rowan and Luke Harper

 

Raw Women’s Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Sasha Banks

Matthew: I don’t have too much to say here. Not in a negative way. This build has been steady and good, if not a little unremarkable. I’m expecting this to be one of the best matches on the card and I know these two women will deliver. As far as analysis, it’s difficult. I can definitely see Sasha winning the title with help from Bayley, and then Becky being drafted to the new “A” show next Friday and Charlotte being drafted to Raw, setting up Becky v Bayley and Charlotte v Sasha for each show’s respective Women’s Championship. In fact, I like that, so let’s go with it.

 Winner and New Champion: Sasha Banks (because she could use the win and it sets up for a necessary move a week from now)

John: I picked Banks to win the Raw Women’s Title at Clash of Champions because I thought they would do the rematch here with Lynch trying to get the title back. Instead, Banks won by DQ when a steel chair got involved. Banks has been booked strongly because she has won all of her singles matches since returning and in tag matches, it’s Bayley that did the job for her team. Do I predict Banks to win again? Yeah, I am.

I think Becky Lynch is heading back to Smackdown when WWE has their Draft on October 11 and October 14. Lynch was all over Smackdown on Fox advertising, she was the first person on the Fox debut show and all of that tells me that she’s likely going to be featured on Smackdown. That means she must lose the Raw Women’s Title. I can see something where Bayley finds a way to cheat to help Banks. Maybe they do a spot where the women break the door open and that leads to Bayley helping Banks. I doubt Lynch loses clean, but I think Banks winning makes a lot of sense to continue her positive momentum as a heel. This should be a very good match and depending on whatever else WWE puts on the card, it could be the match of the night.

Winner and New Raw Women’s Champion: Sasha Banks

 

Universal Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

Matthew: I don’t know what they do here. Like they’re kind of in a weird corner. I can’t imagine Bray as Champion, but I can’t imagine “The Fiend” losing a match this soon. So one of these things is going to happen. All signs point to a Bray Wyatt win I think. Firstly, beating him at this point kind of neuters the character and the threat he presents. Secondly, if Survivor Series has the same format as the last few years, I seriously don’t have any desire to see Seth vs. Brock again in a Champion vs. Champion Match. Finally, If it’s simply about getting people intrigued and tuning into the TV show, Bray has to be victorious here. Right now “The Fiend” and the Firefly Funhouse move the needle, while Seth doesn’t exactly get the creative juices flowing.

Seth can throw himself completely into the Team Hogan/Team Flair thing, and an oddball reign of terror with “The Fiend” as Universal Champion can take things in a totally weird, but totally new direction.

Winner and New Universal Champion: The Fiend (because I don’t see a finish with him losing)

John: This is a hard match to predict because Bray Wyatt as The Fiend has only had one match on television when he beat Finn Balor at SummerSlam. After that, they said he gets the Universal Title match at this PPV and it’s also in Hell in a Cell. Over the last month, The Fiend has scared Seth Rollins multiple times and made Rollins look like such a loser in being afraid of everything The Fiend has done. Will it be a competitive match or does The Fiend just win in under ten minutes? I’m leaning towards something more competitive and they get about 15 minutes or so.

I’ll go with The Fiend winning the title because I find it hard to believe that he would lose. Why have him take a pin or get defeated in any way? It would hurt the character too much. I’m not sure when or who will beat The Fiend, but I feel like WWE is doing this match at this show because they know how much the fans react to The Fiend. It may be the end of Rollins on Raw too, so The Fiend winning the Big Red Belt (not exactly as cool as the “Big Gold Belt” was) is what I think is going to happen.

What happens after The Fiend is the Universal Champion? I’m not really sure who he might feud with next or if that means he’ll face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. There are so many questions to come out of this and I don’t have the answers, which is fine, because it’s more interesting this way.

Winner and New Universal Champion: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

I think the engaged couple of Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch will both be on Smackdown after the draft on October 11 and 14, so that’s why I have them both losing their titles.

We are not doing our usual predictions of longest match, shortest match and stuff like that. It’s not a full card, so it’s hard to do a regular preview.

 

Final Thoughts

John: I’m going with three title changes and Daniel Bryan going back to his ways. Some bold predictions on my part. I just think with the Draft coming next week, it’s a good time to change things up again.

I’ll be back with a review of Hell in a Cell on TJRWrestling.net most likely on Monday morning because I won’t be watching it live, so check it out when it gets posted.

Matthew – @MJDP_GSE

John – @johnreport

If you want to send an email, send it to me at mrjohncanton@gmail.com as well. Thanks for reading.

The post TJRWrestling WWE Hell in a Cell 2019 Preview appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: WWE Clash of Champions 2019 Review

Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of WWE Clash of Champions with every title in WWE on the line. Let’s get to it.

The Kickoff show results:

Drew Gulak defeated Lince Dorado and Humberto Carrillo to retain the Cruiserweight Title.

AJ Styles defeated Cedric Alexander to retain the United States Title. The match went only 4:55, which is disappointing.

WWE Clash of Champions
From the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC
September 15, 2019

There was an opening video package hyping up the matches for the show and the idea that all the titles are on the line. I think we get the point.

The Raw Tag Team Titles were on the line first with Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman entering separately. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode followed. The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Renee Young and Corey Graves called the action for the Raw brand matches. The Spanish and German announce tables were also at ringside.

Raw Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode

Strowman started the match by shoving Roode onto his back to show off his power. Strowman tossed Roode into the turnbuckle, so Ziggler tagged in. After a Roode distraction, Ziggler jumped on Strowman’s back and then Strowman kicked Ziggler in the head. Rollins laughed about it. Strowman with a running clothesline on Ziggler against the turnbuckle, Rollins tagged in with a forearm to Ziggler and a shoulder tackle from Strowman got a two count. Ziggler elbow to Rollins, Roode tagged in and hit a forearm to the back to send Rollins to the floor. Ziggler hit Rollins with a DDT on the floor. Ziggler tagged back in with a chinlock on Rollins, who was the face in peril. When Rollins broke free, Ziggler hit a Fameasser for a two count. Roode back in with a suplex, cheap shot by Ziggler that the referee didn’t see and the heels remained in control. Rollins fought out of the heel corner with a Blockbuster neckbreaker off the middle ropes. Ziggler tagged in with a sunset flip for two and then he jumped on Seth’s back with a sleeper. Rollins avoided a DDT and countered into a Falcon Arrow slam. Strowman got the hot tag, shoulder tackle on Ziggler two times, then a corner splash and Strowman left the ring to run over Roode and run over Ziggler on the floor. Back in the ring, Strowman with a corner clothesline on Ziggler, then Dolph sent him into the ring post. Roode tried a Glorious DDT, Strowman pushed him off and Rollins tagged back in. Rollins with a springboard knee to the face of Roode followed by a superkick. Ziggler grabbed the foot of Rollins, so Rollins hit a Slingblade on Roode and a suicide dive by Rollins on Ziggler. Roode came back with a spinebuster on Rollins for two. Strowman went into the ring, shoulder tackle to Roode into Rollins into the turnbuckle, Ziggler sent Strowman out of the ring and Roode hit a Glorious DDT on Rollins for the pinfall win at 9:30.

Winners by pinfall and New Raw Tag Team Champions: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match with some fun moments. The result was an outcome that I expected with Rollins taking the pin for his team. Strowman was only in the ring for a few minutes and was dominant for all of it. The finish worked well because Strowman accidentally cost Rollins because Roode bumping into Rollins into the turnbuckle is what stunned Rollins leading for the finish. I like Roode and Ziggler as a team because they are two veteran heels that work well together.

Post match, Ziggler and Roode celebrated with their titles. Rollins had a frustrated look on his face as he stared at Strowman. There was also frustration on Braun’s face, but they didn’t say a word to eachother.

Braun Strowman was shown walking backstage. Charly Caruso showed up for an interview. Strowman said that he didn’t lose the tag championships, Seth did and that’s going to happen again later tonight against Strowman for the Universal Title when he…gets these hands. Way to work in the catchphrase.

A commercial aired for WWE NXT this Wednesday at 8pmET/7pmCT on USA Network. For the first two weeks it’s one hour on USA and then the second hour on WWE Network. That’s because Suits has two more episodes. After that, the two hours will be on USA Network.

Becky Lynch was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Lynch said she disagreed with Braun because her and Seth are going to remain champions. Lynch said that Sasha Banks is the one with everything to prove. Lynch said she’s not talking about Sasha in NXT or her run four years ago. Lynch wondered if Banks has what it takes while Lynch pointed out that she has had the greatest year in the history of the company (I wouldn’t go that far), she claimed she had a match of the year (the match with Charlotte at Evolution was awesome, but not match of the year to me) and Lynch kept on talking about her accomplishments. Lynch said it doesn’t get any bigger than this because tonight The Man comes around.

The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton took over. That led to the video package about Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Title.

Charlotte Flair got a nice ovation from the crowd in her hometown. It looks like her gear is a bit different because it covers up “the goods” more than her usual outfits. I’m observant. Even though Bayley is probably a heel now, she still has the Bayley buddies inflatable objects for her entrance. I like how they are having the wrestlers stand in the ring under a spotlight for the in-ring championship introductions for every match. Lots of cheers for Charlotte and boos for Bayley after the introductions.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair

Flair with a boot to the face right off the bat led to a two count. Bayley left the ring, Flair chased her back in and hit chops to the chest. Bayley did a hair whip to pull Flair down to the mat. Flair with an overhead suplex and a kip up. Bayley left the ring again, so Flair whipped Bayley into the barricade two times. Back in the ring, Flair continued her dominance with a forearm to the face and she did a knee drop to knee of Bayley. There was a quick rollup from Bayley, but Flair came back with a boot to the face. Flair stomped on the back of Bayley against the turnbuckle, the referee made Flair back up and while that was happening, Bayley took the bottom turnbuckle cover off. When Flair charged, Bayley tripped her and sent Flair face first into the exposed steel turnbuckle. Evil Bayley! Bayley covered Flair for the pinfall win at 3:45.

Winner by pinfall: Bayley

Analysis: *3/4 A short match that was disappointing because they could have done so much more. This was more of a story where Flair was dominant until Bayley hit a cheap move and capitalized to win. It was different from any Bayley match we’ve ever seen because it put over Bayley’s new heelish attitude. Flair losing in a match that short is rare and it’s another example of WWE booking somebody to lose in their hometown. My prediction for this was Bayley by DQ to keep the feud going, but Bayley by cheap tactics could still keep the feud going as well.

After the match, Bayley grabbed the Smackdown Women’s Title and ran up the ramp to the back. They replayed the heel tactics of Bayley to win the match. Flair was frustrated about the loss.

There was a commercial for WWE Shop.

The New Day trio were also featured in a Skittles commercial.

They showed clips from Smackdown with Chad Gable beating Shane McMahon with an ankle while Kevin Owens was the referee. After the match, Shane attacked Owens from behind and told him he was fired.

Analysis: It’s possible that Owens will be moved to NXT, but that’s not confirmed. Owens has a lot of value wherever he goes.

The Revival entered first for the Smackdown Tag Team Title match. The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods entered with Woods wearing a brace on his left knee. Woods’ left knee was targeted by The Revival about three weeks ago and Woods was kept off TV to sell the idea that he was hurt.

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)

Wilder targeted the left knee of Woods as soon as the match began. Dawson got involved, so Big E gave him a clothesline on the floor. Big E tagged in with a uranage slam on Wilder for a two count. While Big E was battling Wilder on the apron, Dawson pulled off Woods off the apron and Wilder gave Big E a clothesline on the apron. The Revival took over with Dawson slamming Wilder on Big E for a two count. Wilder drove Big E into the turnbuckle leading to several punches by The Revival. Dawson with a back elbow on Big E while Woods was still down on the floor. Dawson worked over Big E with a forearm against the turnbuckle. Big E whipped Dawson into the turnbuckle for a sternum first bump. Wilder tagged in, Big E hit him with a belly to belly suplex and Woods got the tag. Woods with a forearm to the face of Dawson, then two kicks and Woods with a flying headscissors. Wilder in, so Woods hit him with the Honor Roll clothesline. Woods back in the ring with a DDT off the ropes on Dawson for two as Wilder kicked Woods in the knee to break up the pin. Big E back in, Wilder avoided a charge, suicide dive, Big E caught him and The Revival hit Big E with the Shatter Machine on the floor. Back in the ring, Woods tried to fight off both guys, but Wilder hit him a shoulder tackle to the back of the left knee. The Revival hit a Shatter Machine double team move. Woods was out, but they didn’t pin him. They ripped off the knee brace of Woods and Dawson applied a leg lock submission. Woods tapped out to give The Revival the win at 10:03.

Winners by pinfall and New Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The Revival

The win by The Revival means they are the first team to win the NXT Tag Team Titles, the Raw Tag Team Titles and the Smackdown Tag Team Titles.

Analysis: ***1/4 Good match with The Revival doing their usual efficient work by focusing on Big E after they took out Woods. When Woods got in there, the story worked well with Woods unable to be effective because of the knee injury and that played into the finish well. I’m fine with the title change because The Revival are my favorite team in WWE. This put over The Revival very well as merciless heels that wanted to hurt Woods to win the titles.

The Revival did a post match promo on the stage. Dawson said you are welcome and the fans booed them. Dawson said no longer are the champions covered by proverbial pancake batter and you can consider yourselves revived. Wilder said no more trombones or hip swivels because the old school has finally quieted the new noise. Dawson said there will be a new WWE Champion when Randy Orton extinguishes the flame that Kofi Kingston lit at WrestleMania and finally it will be a new day…yes it will.

Analysis: They are currently Raw guys, but it’s not like that matters in WWE today. It should matter in October when the WWE draft happens, so I assume they’ll be kept on Smackdown at that point.

The Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. They didn’t say much when it was interrupted. R-Truth was holding the boom microphone with Carmella and he called Bliss “other Carmella” when he saw her. Bliss spoke into the microphone saying R-Truth is on the set, so if you want the 24/7 Title come get him. Truth left and midcard wrestlers went after him.

There was a commercial for WWE Hell in a Cell on October 6, so that’s three weeks away.

The Fire and Desire team of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville got their own theme song that sounds like a remix of their two songs. Cole and Young wondered how Graves can get through this match with Rose and Bliss in the same match. They already wrestled non-title with Rose and Deville winning that match, so he got through it fine. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross entered to their own songs with Bliss up last for her team. Bliss looked tremendous in a Harley Quinn style outfit. I like Mandy more, but it’s close.

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Fire and Desire (Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose)

Rose with a body slam on Cross, then Cross hit a clothesline and did some taunting mocking Rose. Cross whipped Deville into the turnbuckle, Bliss tagged in and hit a suplex on Deville for two. When Rose tagged in, Bliss hit a drop toe hold to knock her down. Bliss with a slap to the face of Rose, so Rose complained about getting slapped in the face and Bliss did it two times in a row. Bliss with two double knee drops to the ribs. R-Truth and Carmella ran down to the ring with midcard wrestlers chasing after them for Truth’s 24/7 Title. Graves: “Oh great, another woman who’s going to get me in trouble” when speaking about his girlfriend Carmella. Bliss did a rollup on Truth for a two count. Truth ran away with Carmella on his back and the wrestlers chased after them. That was it. Back to the match, Deville tagged in with a kick to the ribs of Bliss for two. Rose tagged back in with kicks and a delayed vertical suplex. Deville with a running knee on Bliss for a two count. Rose back in with forearms on Bliss. Rose and Bliss did a spot where they hit forearms to the face at the same time. Cross got the hot tag against Deville with Cross hitting three forearms, a corner clothesline and a bulldog. Cross dumped Rose out of the ring. Cross hit a belly to back suplex with a rough landing for Deville, but she was okay. Cross went up top and hit a cross body block for two. Bliss got the tag, she went up top, Deville pushed Cross into the ropes to knock Bliss down and Deville slammed Bliss off the top. Rose and Deville did a high/low attack with a kick to the back of the leg and a Rose knee to the face. Cross made the save, so Deville did the double team move and didn’t think about taking out the other partner. Cross tagged in, Rose avoided an attack, Cross knocked Deville off the apron, Rose missed a running knee and Cross set up Rose on the top leading to a neckbreaker by Cross for the pinfall win at 8:05.

Winners by pinfall: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross

Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay with the champs retaining as expected. Good finish. It was better than the match they had on TV. Cross has been booked very well as part of this team because it’s getting her personality over and the fans are reacting to her like a star. Bliss is a face now, which makes sense because fans like her. I think Rose/Deville are future champions, but I don’t mind Bliss and Cross keeping the titles.

There was a video about WWE’s fight against pediatric cancer.

They showed highlights of the Kickoff Show match with Gulak pinning Dorado to retain the Cruiserweight Title. Also, AJ Styles beat Cedric Alexander to retain the US Title with the Styles Clash. It’s rare to see Styles in a Kickoff Show match.

The Miz entered for the Intercontinental Championship for the ninth time. He’s an eight-time IC Champion and the record is nine for Chris Jericho, who isn’t mentioned by WWE anymore for obvious reasons (AEW). The international announce teams were shown: Portuguese, Russian, Japanese (hey Funaki), Hindi, French and Mandarin. That led to Graves making his monthly joke about partying with the international announcers. Saxton asked how come nobody invites him out and Graves said it was because nobody likes him.

Sami Zayn did a promo with a neckbrace on since The Undertaker gave him a Chokeslam on Smackdown. Zayn complained about disrespect from the fans and The Undertaker with Zayn claiming he sustained a neck injury. Zayn said that he’s still there to support the man that he liberated, the artist, the King of Strong Style and the Intercontinental Champion…Shinsuke Nakamura. They showed a clip of Undertaker giving Zayn the Chokeslam on Smackdown. Miz had a “Charlotte is Awesome” shirt pandering to the fans. Nakamura has a red cape with him for his entrance.

Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Sami Zayn) vs. The Miz

Nakamura slapped on a waist lock with Zayn on the microphone and Zayn got some cheap heat saying Miz looked about as good as Carolina on Thursday (the Panthers lost). Zayn mocked Miz for his “soft style” wrestling. Zayn’s microphone was cut off as Miz opened up on Nakamura with chops to the chest, then a running boot to the face and that got a two count. The action spilled to the floor, Miz tossed Zayn’s microphone up the ramp and after a Zayn distraction, Nakamura kicked Miz off the apron to the floor. Nakamura with a knee drop to the back of the neck. Nakamura with kicks to the chest, then an enziguri kick and Miz came back with a kick to the back of the left leg. Miz with the double knee attacks, then a corner clothesline and a weak looking double axehandle for two. Nakamura slapped on an armbar, Miz countered into a pin attempt and Miz with a kick to the leg followed by a DDT for a two count. Miz worked over Nakamura with kicks to the chest, Nakamura ducked a kick and got a rollup for two. Nakamura with a spinning lefty kick to the face with Zayn laughing about it. Nakamura with a kick to the back of the neck and a snap German Suplex. That’s such a great spot. Miz sent Nakamura to the turnbuckle, Miz drove Nakamura’s leg into his shoulder and Miz slapped on a “WOO” Figure Four Leglock as the fans cheered loudly. Nakamura managed to get to the bottom rope to break the hold. Nakamura got an inside cradle for two. Miz to the ropes, Zayn grabbed the leg while the referee wasn’t looking and Nakamura hit a running knee to the back of the neck for a two count. Nakamura charged, Miz avoided it and hit a Skull Crushing Finale with a cover, but the referee was dealing with Zayn on the apron. Miz chased after Zayn, which led to Nakamura hitting a jumping kick to the face of Miz on the floor. Back in the ring, Nakamura hit Miz with the Kinshasa knee strike to the face for the pinfall win at 9:32.

Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura

Analysis: *** It was a fun match with some good back and forth action. The cheap finish was perfect for Nakamura as the heel champion with a new ally/manager in Zayn. The crowd was into this match more than I expected them to care about it, which is a credit to the performers for putting on a good match. Since Zayn with Nakamura is a new thing, it was the right decision to have Nakamura get the win in part thanks to Zayn. In our preview I wrote that this was the most predictable outcome on the card and I was right about that.

There was a commercial for Smackdown moving to Fox on October 4. It’s getting closer.

The announcers talked about the two-night WWE draft on Friday Night Smackdown on October 11 on Fox and Monday Night Raw on October 14 on Raw. That’s when the superstars will be brand exclusive again…until WWE changes their mind.

A video package aired about the Raw Women’s Championship match between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks.

Sasha Banks entered first to boos. I’m glad she’s a heel again because that’s when she is at her best. Becky Lynch was next and got a huge ovation from the crowd. It’s weird listening to the introductions from Mike Rome because Banks is introduced from Boston while he didn’t say where Lynch was from. He didn’t even say Ireland. I don’t know if they do that every time. I don’t always pay attention to that stuff.

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks

Lynch went for her finisher early on, but Banks bailed to the floor to get away. Lynch with a baseball slide dropkick that knocked Banks down. Lynch with a forearm. Back in the ring, Lynch with two kicks and she went up top. Banks tripped up Lynch and stomped away with kicks. The fans were chanting for both women. Banks put her foot into the back while pulling back on Lynch’s arms. Banks drove Lynch’s face into the knee followed by a kick for two. Lynch came back with a kick against the turnbuckle. Banks fought back with a kick, but when Banks jumped off the turnbuckle, Lynch hit her with a dropkick to the ribs. Lynch with a Bexploder Suplex that sent Banks across the ring. Lynch went for a clothesline, Banks avoided it and slapped on the Bank Statement. The fans popped big for that, but Lynch got out of it and hit a Bexploder to the corner. Lynch with a leg drop off the middle ropes for two. Banks came back with the Meteora (double knees) off the ropes for two. Banks screamed about not being able to win with that. Good nearfall. Banks with the double knees against the turnbuckle and Lynch avoided a Bank Statement attempt. Lynch slapped on the Disarmher on the left arm of Banks, but Banks managed to move around to get her foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Lynch with a dropkick while Banks was against the ropes. Lynch with a missile dropkick off the top for a two count. The fans were chanting “this is awesome” although it wasn’t a loud chant. Banks came back with the Backstabber two times in a row with the second one leading to the Bank Statement submission move. Lynch countered and they got tangled up in the ropes. Banks pulled on the left arm against the bottom rope. Banks slid a steel chair into the ring, the dumbass referee tossed it out and Banks hit Lynch in the ribs with another chair (the referee never saw it). Banks hit a Shining Wizard knee for a two count. Great nearfall with the fans cheering when Lynch kicked out. Banks was shocked that her Eddie Guerrero-like tactics failed, which the announcers pointing out that Banks idolized Eddie. Banks brought the chair back in the ring, the referee stopped her, Lynch grabbed the chair, she swung it at Banks, but she moved and Lynch hit referee Dan Engler in the shoulder with the chair.

Lynch hit Banks in the ribs and the back with the steel chair. Banks tried to run away, so Lynch followed her up the stairs in the crowd. Lynch gave Banks the Disarmher against the guard rail. Banks tapped out, but that didn’t mean anything. Banks and Lynch walked out onto the concourse area where some fans were hanging out instead of watching the match in the arena. Lynch tossed Banks into a wall. They went back in the arena, down the stairs and over the barricade. Banks drove Lynch back first into the barricade. The referee was still down after several minutes with nobody checking on him. Banks tossed Lynch back into the ring. Cole said on commentary that Lynch was disqualified and is still the champion. Banks brought a chair into the ring, Lynch kicked her and grabbed the chair. Lynch hit Banks in the back with the chair repeatedly as payback for when Banks did it to Lynch on Raw several weeks ago. Lynch put the Disarmher on Banks’ left arm while using the chair. Referees and producers finally made their way to the ring. The match went about 15:00.

Lynch was given the Raw Women’s Championship and it was announced that Lynch was disqualified for striking an official.

Winner by disqualification: Sasha Banks (Becky Lynch remains champion)

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match by two of the best women in the company. I think the fans cared about this more than anything else that happened earlier in the show, which is no surprise because Lynch and Banks did a great job of building this match up. This felt like a fight from the moment the bell rang, it was intense the whole time and when they went for their submission moves, the fans reacted to them in a big way. Banks is terrific as a heel and I liked the Eddie Guerrero tribute spot as well. That was fun to see. The non-finish isn’t a surprise because we know Hell in a Cell next month and obviously this feud is going to continue. They could have announced the result earlier.

Lynch celebrated with the Raw Women’s Title while Banks remained down in the ring selling her left arm injury.

Analysis: When fans watch PPV matches they want a winner and a loser, but sometimes you need to book a DQ finish to keep the feud going. I think they booked this in a smart way because Lynch stood tall at the end of the match and got revenge for Banks attacking her last month.

There was a commercial for Batista as a character in the Gears 5 video game.

The video package aired for the WWE Championship match.

Randy Orton made his slow walking entrance with a serious look on his face. Orton did a “you can’t see me” hand gesture to a dad and son in the crowd wearing John Cena gear. Kofi Kingston made his entrance alone with the WWE Championship around his waist and he tossed pancakes into the crowd.

WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton

Orton used his size advantage for a shoulder tackle, Kingston with two leap frogs and a back elbow to the face. Kingston with two forearm smashes and Orton bailed to the floor. Kingston worked over Orton with hard chops to the chest. Orton got a thumb to the eye that the referee didn’t see. Kingston was on the apron, he connected with a kick to the head and Orton knocked Kingston off the apron to send him into the barricade. Orton gave Kingston suplex into the top of the barricade and then a suplex on the floor. Orton picked up Kingston and gave him a belly to back slam onto the German announce table. Orton picked up Kingston and did a belly to back slam onto the table again. Back in the ring, that got a two count for Orton. Kingston was whipped into the corner and hit a missile dropkick. Orton faked a shoulder injury leading to Orton sending Kingston shoulder first into the ring post. Kingston came back with punches, but Orton stopped that by sending him face first into the steel steps. When they got back into the ring, Kingston hit a clothesline and both guys were down. Kingston hit a springboard attack off the top with a chop to the head. Kingston hit a leaping clothesline. The fans were not into it that much as Kingston hit a Boom Drop double legdrop. Orton with a modified backbreaker for a two count. Orton wanted the DDT off the ropes, but Kingston countered with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Kingston ran the ropes leading to a dive over the top where he landed back first onto Orton. Kingston went up top and hit a cross body block, but Orton rolled through for two. Orton countered SOS and hit a dropkick for two.

Kingston got back up with punches, but Orton did another eye gouge to stop his momentum. Kingston came back with the SOS trip into a slam for two. Kingston went up top and Orton tripped him up to crotch him on the top rope. Orton went for a superplex, Kingston fought him off, he sent Orton face first into the top turnbuckle and Orton came back with a powerslam for a two count. Orton hit a DDT off the ropes. Orton teased the RKO by slapping the mat repeatedly, Kingston avoided it and got a rollup for two. Kingston with boots to the face while on the apron. Both guys were slowly walking out of the ring and Orton hit the RKO on Kingston near the ropes. Orton covered, but he didn’t hook the far leg, so Kingston had his foot on the bottom rope to make it a two count. Saxton put over Kingston’s awareness while Graves said it was luck. Orton was frustrated by it. Orton teased The Punt, he charged, Kingston got back up, avoided a charge from Orton and Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise. Orton crumbled to the mat to give (good call by Phillips) and Kingston covered for the pinfall win at 20:50.

Winner by pinfall: Kofi Kingston

Analysis: **3/4 A long match with the right finish with Kingston winning clean to continue his reign as WWE Champion and finally getting a big win over Orton. I think if they shaved off 5-7 minutes it would have been a lot more intense and a hotter match. By going 20 minutes, the crowd wasn’t into it that much the entire way. The RKO nearfall spot worked very well and led to the crowd reacting more to the action that followed. They did pop big for the finish when Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise. I liked the story of the match. It just felt like it went too long and when you’re three hours into a show (counting the pre-show) then it’s tough for a crowd to be hot for an entire 20-minute match even when it’s a WWE Title match.

Kingston celebrated with the WWE Title. He has been WWE Champion for over five months, which might be longer than most people thought he would be champion.

Analysis: I think Kingston has been booked very well as WWE Champion with a lot of big wins that prove he’s a worthy champion, but none of the feuds have been that interesting. The rivalry between Kingston and Orton may continue to Hell in a Cell, but if they found somebody else for Kingston that would be fine too.

There was a shot of The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins celebrating the win for Kingston. Ford said Monday’s Raw is the King of the Ring finals with Baron Corbin and Chad Gable. Dawkins is picking Gable, then Ford started shouting some Lion King things. Ford said “Rikishi” and Dawkins said it was “Rafiki.” Dawkins had a funny line saying he didn’t mind a good Stinkface and then said “PAUSE.” That was funny. They said there will be a new king and then Booker T showed up in his King Booker (Bookah?) attire. Booker said he’s here to give his royal declaration of who he thinks will win it. Dawkins asked to be knighted and he wanted to tell girls he’s the “Black Knight, Sir Angelo Dawkins.” Booker said you cannot be serious and yelled at them to get their mind right. Booker did his “now can you dig that, sucka” line to end it.

Analysis: The Street Profits are great. I’m excited about their future in NXT or Raw/Smackdown no matter where they end up.

There was a commercial for game called Guns of Glory that I have never heard of.

There was a long video package showing the Roman Reigns feud with Erick Rowan leading to this No Disqualification match.

Roman Reigns entered first to a pretty good ovation. The announcers were trying to put this over as a big deal, but it was ridiculous when Saxton said this was the battle of Roman’s life. Obviously, the battle with leukemia comes to mind and Reigns has had many bigger matches than this. Erick Rowan entered alone with his generic theme song. Reigns attacked with punches out of the ring. Then they went into the ring and the bell rang to start the match.

No Disqualification Match: Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan

Reigns with punches, then he charged and Rowan with an elbow smash to the head. Rowan whipped Reigns into the barricade. Rowan slammed Reigns face first into the German announce table. Rowan sent Reigns into the barricade again. Rowan charged, Reigns moved and Rowan went crashing into the steel steps. Reigns grabbed a kendo stick from under the ring, but Rowan hit him with the steel steps that knocked Reigns into the crowd. Rowan with a kendo stick to the back. Rowans and Reigns brawled into the crowd where Rowan tossed a trash can into Reigns. Reigns came back with punches, then a headbutt and they were back to ringside. Reigns with a Drive By dropkick on the apron. Reigns was trying to clean off the announce table, but Rowan gave him a running cross body block to knock him down. Rowan put his boot onto the throat of Rowan against the turnbuckle. The announcers kept talking about how big Rowan was as if we can’t see it. Rowan hit a running splash on Reigns. Rowan with a back elbow off the middle ropes to knock Reigns down for a two count. When Reigns tried to make a comeback with punches, Rowan dropped him with a side slam for two. The fans were not into this match very much at this point. Reigns with a clothesline that sent Rowan out of the ring, but Rowan landed on the floor and Rowan whipped Reigns into the ring post. Rowan exposed a cover on the top of an LED board and slammed Reigns into it, so it was the side of the apron. Rowan got a two count out of that. Rowan tossed the steel steps inside the ring. Rowan charged with the steel steps in his hands, but Reigns caught him and gave him a Samoan Drop for two. Reigns was selling a back injury after that. Reigns came back with the steel steps to the face and a Superman Punch for a two count.

Rowan left the ring, so Reigns tried a Superman Punch on him, but Rowan caught him. Rowan picked up Reigns and gave him a Powerbomb through the English announce table. Rowan quickly brought Reigns back into the ring and that got a two count for him. That was a great nearfall. Rowan sent Reigns out of the ring again. Rowan with a ring bell to the back of the neck of Reigns. They went out to the crowd again. Reigns hit Rowan with a microphone stand and they were over by the tech area. Rowan grabbed Reigns and gave him the Iron Claw slam through a table. Rowan put Reigns on his shoulders, which led to Rowan putting Reigns on the stage. Rowan grabbed the camera jig like last week on Smackdown, but Reigns hit him in the ribs with some metal weapon. Reigns sent the camera jig into Reigns two times in a row to put the big man down. Reigns with a Superman Punch that sent Rowan going down the ramp toward the ring. Reigns charged at Rowan by running down the ramp, but Luke Harper showed up and gave Reigns a boot to the face! He’s back! Yes! Harper hit Reigns with a discus clothesline in the ring. Rowan picked up Reigns and hit the Iron Claw slam on Reigns for the pinfall win.

Winner by pinfall: Erick Rowan

Analysis: **1/2 It was a decent brawl with Rowan controlling most of the action, Reigns making the comeback and then the cheap finish to give Rowan the biggest win of his singles career. The cheap finish makes sense because Reigns doesn’t lose singles matches that often, so when he does, it’s probably going to happen after interference. I think the crowd was dead for some of it because there was a lot of Rowan offense and it’s not that exciting to watch. However, they built up to the finish well with Reigns making the big comeback. I’m also very happy that Harper is back for the first time since the battle royal at WrestleMania. This could lead to Daniel Bryan back in a face role siding with Reigns although I love Bryan so much as a heel that I don’t want to see a turn. It does make sense in the storyline, though.

Post match, Rowan got a big hug from his buddy Harper. Rowan and Harper posed together in the ring. Rowan and Harper backed up the ramp together with confident looks on their faces.

Analysis: The story with Harper was that he had asked WWE for a release since he wasn’t being used. They said no. Vince McMahon apparently wasn’t impressed by a match he had during WrestleMania weekend, so Harper has been home since that weekend. There were rumors that WWE was going to keep him off TV until his deal is up in April (I believe that’s when it expires), but obviously we are back to Rowan and Harper together again, which is fine with me. I’m a huge fan of Harper as an in-ring performer. Welcome back, Luke!

There were commercials for the WWE Network special on Sasha Banks and a WWE Shop commercial as well.

Seth Rollins was shown warming up backstage. Charly Caruso told Rollins that Strowman said Rollins was responsible for losing the Tag Team Titles. Rollins didn’t care what Braun thought. Rollins said he respects Strowman and he considers him a friend, but after slaying a beast at SummerSlam, he’s going to add a monster to his collection.

The Raw announce team talked over highlights of Rollins and Strowman losing the Raw Tag Team Titles earlier in the night.

Braun Strowman entered first for the main event and Seth Rollins was next with the Universal Championship around his waist. The reaction for both guys were not that strong because the fans saw them earlier.

Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Braun Strowman

Strowman ran over Rollins with a shoulder tackle followed by two running splashes against the turnbuckle. Rollins avoided a powerslam, he kicked the leg of Strowman two times and Rollins hit three superkicks. Rollins went up top and hit a Frog Splash that didn’t even get a one count because Strowman pushed him away. Rollins jumped, Strowman caught him and slammed him to the mat. Strowman tossed Rollins across the ring two times followed by a headbutt. Strowman told Rollins he’s tougher than this. Strowman with a headbutt. Strowman charged, Rollins moved and Strowman went shoulder first into the steel ring post. That’s a typical Strowman bump. Rollins with a jumping knee off the top ropes, he went up top again and jumped, but Strowman gave him a forearm to the chest. Rollins was on the floor, so Strowman ran him over with a running shoulder tackle. Strowman hit another running shoulder tackle on the floor. Strowman tossed Rollins back into the ring. Strowman went for another running charge, Rollins gave him a drop toe hold and Strowman went crashing over the German announce table. Strowman’s bumping usually leads to him running into things. Rollins with a suicide dive that sent Strowman into the side of the announce table. Rollins hit another suicide dive that sent Strowman into the announce table again and it broke the table. Strowman was bleeding from the nose. Rollins charged again, Strowman caught him and Rollins hit a superkick to the face to put Strowman on the Spanish announce table. Rollins went up top, Strowman got back to the apron and pushed Rollins down. Strowman was seated on the top rope, he stood up, the fans stood up and Strowman hit a Superfly Splash on Rollins for a two count. Strowman was holding his left knee after the splash to sell an injury. The splash looked pretty good from Strowman. Rollins grabbed Strowman in a sleeper, Strowman was down to his knees and then he flipped Rollins over to fight back. Rollins with The Stomp for a one count. Rollins hit The Stomp for a second time for a two count. Rollins hit The Stomp for a third time and it got a two count although this time there was no power kickout from Strowman – he just got his shoulder up. Rollins charged, Strowman went for a Powerslam, but his knee gave out. Rollins hit The Pedigree and then The Stomp for the fourth time for the pinfall win at 10:57.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

There were some boos when Rollins won the match. It wasn’t most of the crowd, but you could hear it.

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a fast-paced main event match that was exactly as it should have been in terms of the time. They didn’t need to go 20 minutes. They hit big moves from the moment the bell rang and it was booked evenly. Rollins winning was what I expected, but it also makes Strowman look weak because he has come up short several times when he had a shot to win the Universal Title in his career. I don’t think it’s going to hurt Strowman that much since it took Rollins hitting The Stomp four times to win. Strowman hitting the Superfly Splash on Rollins was one of the best spots of the match. Rollins going to the Pedigree again leading to The Stomp for the fourth time was a smart way to end it.

Seth Rollins was on the stage celebrating with the Universal Title, there was a graphic on the screen telling us it was the end of the night and then the lights were off because Bray Wyatt as “The Fiend” was there. The fans popped huge as The Fiend held Rollins and gave him the Sister Abigail neckbreaker on the stage. The Fiend also gave Rollins the Mandible Claw as the lights flickered on and off around them. The fans cheered for The Fiend as the lights went off and the Wyatt laugh played in the arena. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: The main event of Hell in a Cell is Rollins vs. The Fiend for the Universal Title in a Hell in a Cell match, so it was a good ending to get people excited about that match.

This event had a run time of 3:27:24 on WWE Network.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. Luke Harper – I missed him.
  2. Becky Lynch
  3. Sasha Banks
  4. The Revival
  5. Seth Rollins

 

Final Thoughts

It gets a 5.5 out of 10 from me.

It was an average show. I didn’t have great expectations going into it, but I thought there would be better matches. I think with the kind of roster that WWE has, they should be able to put on a card with multiple excellent matches (over four stars). Instead, we got no matches that really stood out. It’s not wrong of me to expect better shows. They have the talent to do it. Raw has been better in the last three months since Paul Heyman has had more influence and Smackdown is usually pretty good. This show just didn’t seem like a big deal at all.

The match between Lynch and Banks was my favorite of the night even with the DQ finish. I just liked the intensity of it and they worked well together. It was also great to see Luke Harper return after sitting at home for the past five months. I’m a fan of Harper, so I’m glad to see him back in action.

Based on my PPV ratings so far this year, it was the second worst WWE PPV of 2019 with Super Showdown as the only one that was worse.

 

Here are my rankings of 2019 WWE PPVs so far with a score out of 10:

WrestleMania 35 – 7.5

Elimination Chamber – 7.5

Fastlane – 7.5

Royal Rumble – 7

SummerSlam – 7

Extreme Rules – 7

Stomping Grounds – 6.5

Money in the Bank – 6

Clash of Champions – 5.5

Super Showdown – 3.5

===

Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as usual.

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

 

 

 

The post The John Report: WWE Clash of Champions 2019 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

TJRWrestling WWE Clash of Champions 2019 Preview

John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Clash of Champions preview. It is the one PPV in the year where WWE will get all their main roster titles on the card because that’s the theme of the show. Most PPVs feature many title matches, but at least with this one we know that there will be ten title matches, plus the Reigns/Rowan No Disqualification match. There isn’t a 24/7 Title match advertised for the show, but it should be featured on the show in some form.

The show will begin at 6pmET/3pmPT for the Kickoff Show and the main show begins at 7pmET/4pmPT with an expected run time of anywhere from three to four hours on WWE Network. As always, you can watch the show live on Sunday night on WWE Network or catch it on demand any time you want.

I think the lineup is pretty good. Most of the card features fresh matchups featuring storylines that started after SummerSlam while the WWE Title match is a rematch from SummerSlam. It’s important to keep in mind that the next WWE pay-per-view is Hell in a Cell on October 6, so some of these rivalries are going to continue and we’ll get two or three matches inside the cell at that show. Some of my favorite guys in the company like Daniel Bryan, Ricochet, Kevin Owens (now “fired”), Sami Zayn (just a manager), Ali and Andrade, to name a few, aren’t in matches on the show, which is a shame, but that’s what happens when WWE has such a huge roster.

Joining me for the preview is Mike Holland while Matthew J. Douglas couldn’t join us for this one due to work commitments.

(Note: All graphics are from WWE. The banner up top is courtesy of our friend Melo Man.)

TJRWRESTLING WRITER SEARCH: We are looking for writers to contribute on TJRWrestling.net for columns, reviews, news and more. It’s a great opportunity on a growing site. All the details are in the post. The deadline to apply is Monday, September 16, so there is still time. For all the details on how to apply, CLICK HERE. We have received a lot of submissions that I am reading every day and I’ll announce some final decisions on the site on September 16. Thank you for your support.

 

Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo vs. Lince Dorado 

Mike: Given that Cruiserweight Championship matches already have their fair share of difficulty getting onto a main card, the fact that Clash has eleven matches and counting does not bode well for the participants here. I am an unabashed fan of Gulak, and on record as such, but the lack of opportunity for him to get any additional eyeballs on him during this reign has been unfortunate. Then again, as we’ve seen with previous champion Buddy Murphy, getting the main roster promotion isn’t the be-all and end-all either.​

Carrillo has an extensive wrestling history in his family tree and both he and Dorado typify the high-flying style Gulak contrasts so nicely with. There has been plenty of discussion regarding the future of 205 Live as it pertains to NXT moving from the Network to TV, and that’s one very big reason why I don’t foresee a change in direction here. Frankly, WWE loves adding third guys into championship matches for the very specific reason of easily ensuring the current titleholder doesn’t lose it. I don’t see this as necessary affirmation for Drew but rather the desire to make it a bigger deal when he drops it. On a pre-show.

Winner (and STILL Cruiserweight Champion): Drew Gulak

John: The story here is that WWE has been giving Carrillo a big push on 205 Live in the last few months. He’s a young Latin star that wrestles an exciting style and he’s fun to watch. Gulak is a good champion that is heelish, but it’s not like he’s getting that much heat. I don’t think Carrillo is going to win the title here, though. The finish will probably see Gulak pin Dorado in order to keep Carrillo looking strong because the long-term story will probably be Carrillo beating Gulak for the title at another show. Dorado is there to take the pin.

Winner: Drew Gulak

 

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross (c) vs. Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville)

Mike: My first thought is that seeing Fire & Desire as a team name takes me back to the salad days of yesteryear when newspapers were not just delivered to your door but read, Saturday morning cartoons were not only a thing but a really wicked awesome thing, and all pro wrestling tag teams had to have a randomly generated moniker that sounded pretty cool. If you told me this was a GLOW tag team I would likely believe it.​

My second thought is I don’t find this to be a particularly inspired or interesting championship match on a card with plenty of them. You as always must be careful what you wish for, and the rush to understandably present both genders equally has resulted in obvious ramifications, like tag team belts with relatively few folks to challenge for them. Rose and Deville are good enough, but this just feels like filler and an opportunity to make sure all belts are on the line Sunday. As for Bliss, WWE’s obsession with her is apparent, and I’m okay enough with that since she’s absolute money on the microphone. Are she and Cross full-fledged faces now that the “ugly” insult has been tossed? Unclear.

Winners (and STILL Women’s Tag Team Champions): Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross

John: The Women’s Tag Team Titles have been hurt by a lack of meaningful title defenses and no memorable rivalries to this point. They’re also seriously lacking in face teams. The Bliss/Cross team are usually heels, but they will be faces in this matchup. Perhaps WWE has a goal of turning Bliss face, which is a fine idea in theory although I think she’s at her best as a heel. There’s not much to the story other than Rose/Deville beating Bliss/Cross non-title to earn the title shot. I think the Bliss/Cross team will retain since WWE loves pushing Bliss and keeping her on television as much as they possibly can. Rose/Deville could be future champions, but it doesn’t seem like the right time to do a title change.

Winners: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross

 

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods (c) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) 

Mike: Hopefully the upcoming Smackdown on FOX debut will put an end once and for all to these head-scratching, brand-split-defying showdowns. It’s not that I have an issue ever with seeing these two teams in particular wage hostilities, but the goofball Wildcard rule with its infinite deviations and exceptions has been the most wrestling idea ever. Try explaining it to someone who isn’t familiar with this stuff at all and see how far you get. Hell, try explaining it to someone who WRITES about the stuff and fail to get much further.​

As for the match itself, it’s simple to me. I think the Revival did a fine job as Raw champions, and they are more than qualified to represent either brand. Their presence here really has more to do with backing Randy Orton in his ongoing challenge to Kofi Kingston’s throne, and thus both main event title matches have preceding bouts with at least tangential implications. The story here is that Xavier Woods goes into this at far less than 100% due to his attack at the hands of the nefarious trio, and that’s solid enough as these things go. I don’t see Smackdown champs losing to Raw challengers on the eve of national debuts.

Winners (and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions): The New Day

John: This will be one of the better matches on the show even though they have barely been on television in the last month. I think Xavier Woods has been off for about three weeks after they did an angle where The Revival attacked his left knee. If you follow Woods on social media you know he’s been busy going to video game conventions and things of that nature. The Revival are technically a Raw team, but in today’s WWE world none of that stuff matters. In October, it’s supposed to matter…until plans change again. Whether this is on the main card or the Kickoff Show, they will probably get 10-15 minutes and it will be a very good, old school kind of tag team match. I’ll go with New Day retaining.

Winners: The New Day

 

Intercontinental Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) (w/Sami Zayn) vs. The Miz

Mike: Sometimes working for WWE has to be a bit of a humbling experience. You fight tooth and nail for some type of consistent TV time, only to find yourself getting that time in the worst way possible. That’s what I imagine it’s like for Sami Zayn, the darling of many an indie wrestling fan who is indeed getting into some storylines…mostly to conduct overlong ring rants with sad face fan plants and get decimated by part-time gurus like The Undertaker. A job’s a job, right?​

During the course of those things, though, Zayn has rather improbably found himself as the mouthpiece for Shinsuke Nakamura, a role that we knew someone would find themselves in essentially since Nakamura started in WWE. I can’t argue it’s given Shinsuke a bit of a jolt, and it’s about damn time really, isn’t it? Nakamura’s Intercontinental Reign has been notable for the solid matches it’s produced while not getting noticed very much. Enter The Miz, whose entire persona is built on being noticed, and you’ve got the makings for something interesting at least. The fact Miz’s reality show gets mentioned every time he shows up on screen is not an accident. It doesn’t help, usually.

Winner (and STILL Intercontinental Champion): Shinsuke Nakamura 

John: I like both guys a lot, but this was set up poorly where they just had Nakamura attack Miz on his talk show and that led to Miz getting a title shot. Miz is technically a Raw guy and I think he’s just here as a guy for Nakamura to beat. This is the same Miz that lost in the first round of King of Ring, lost to Shane McMahon at two PPVs this year and really hasn’t done much as a babyface. I guess the reason for the match is because Miz has 8 IC Title reigns, which is the second-most ever. This just feels like a match on the card that’s there because it’s called Clash of Champions. On a more positive note, I like Zayn’s pairing with Nakamura. If that’s a long term thing then it can lead to a feud between them when they split and I’m all for more Zayn/Nakamura matches after they had the WWE match of the year three years ago at NXT Takeover Dallas. I think Nakamura winning is one of the safest predictions on this card.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

 

United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Cedric Alexander 

Mike: The surprising return of Cedric Alexander to the main roster was a good development, and hopefully the result of WWE’s recent decision to allow Messrs. Heyman and Bischoff to take some creative control. That is a good thing (sorry, DDP!) because it can and should allow both gentlemen to pick some current active members of each roster to get behind as it relates to stories. Both did a good job with telling tales while running their dearly departed promotions, and it’s hard not to get behind someone like Alexander, who is an unfortunate classic case of a guy with a head full of steam making it to the big dance and then stalling on the tracks. Been there, done that, too many times it seems.​

You can draw some easy similarities to AJ’s recent feud with Ricochet, and while those matches were always more than watchable, they often didn’t get enough time to tell the story the participants likely would have imagined. This is apt to suffer the same fate, as the card just has a ton going on. It’s certainly possible Alexander surprises everyone again and unseats Styles, especially if he’s main event bound. Too soon for me, though, as I think that area will feature a much different nemesis.

Winner (and STILL United States Champion): AJ Styles

John: I feel like this AJ Styles US Title reign is like John Cena about four years ago when he would face different opponents and they would call it an open challenge. With Styles as a heel champion, they aren’t going to do it the same way, but I’m in favor of Styles wrestling different people such as Cedric Alexander, who will have the biggest match of his WWE career against Styles for the US Title. It was set up in a simple way with Alexander getting attacked backstage two weeks ago, then Alexander pinned Styles in the main event tag match on Raw earlier this week and now they are going to have this match. I think it’s going to be one of those matches where Alexander comes close to winning a few times, Styles cheats to win (maybe gets help from Gallows & Anderson) and Alexander looks great in defeat. I’m all for Alexander getting more time and I think they’re going to deliver an awesome match.

Winner: AJ Styles

 

Raw Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode 

Mike: Tale as old as time isn’t just about Beauty and the Beast, it also perfectly describes the idea of two unwitting and mismatched partners thrust together in a match where their hold on the titles is tenuous at best given their personal histories in bigger and better things. We’re not dealing with the Mega-Powers here, unfortunately, and the same buzz hasn’t really taken hold of Braun and Seth. Some of that discussion can be rightly tabled for later, but this contest feels more setting-the-table storyline than important to me. Ziggler and Roode are quite capable, but slapdash championship material? Ehh.​

I think Roode, in particular, has been a bit reinvigorated with the aforementioned creative changes, and he’s another fellow who’s never gotten his true WWE due since his excellent NXT days. It would make utter sense to have two guys who in WWE’s world at least would never have a chance at beating Architect Mountain capitalize on the champs having issues with each other and protecting themselves for their match to come. I personally don’t see a Braun decimation happening here, though. That was the expected outcome many moons ago, but this is a brave new world where everyone can be disappointed equally.

Winners (and NEW Raw Tag Team Champions): Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode

John: As soon as Rollins and Strowman won the Raw Tag Team Titles, I don’t think many people expected them to have a long reign. The Ziggler/Roode team has been slapped together mainly because they had nothing else to do and that’s fine with me. There are so many talented wrestlers in WWE that are sitting backstage in catering every week doing nothing. All they have to do is find the right kind of team or gimmick for that person. Roode went from doing nothing for months to now being featured on a PPV where he should be because he’s a tremendous all-around performer.

I think Ziggler and Roode will win the titles because there will be some miscommunication spot with Strowman and Rollins where maybe Strowman accidentally hits Rollins, which can lead to a superkick by Ziggler on Rollins for the pin. With the Viking Raiders booked as faces on Raw now, they can feud with heel champions Ziggler and Roode.

Winners and New Raw Tag Team Champions: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode

 

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair 

Mike: I’m not sure what to make of Bayley’s apparent heel turn on Raw, except that it was all very…odd. From a storyline perspective, I am more than fine with it. It adds a needed dimension to a character that is fun but without very much depth to it, and it amps up the intensity a bit for this match with Charlotte. That said, they don’t seem fully committed to it yet, because, well, SHE doesn’t seem to be. I’m fine with letting things play out, but I can’t imagine they don’t go full heel mode as early as here, merchandising be damned!​

Charlotte is a very good wrestler, this we know, but her constant opportunities are a bit lame in my view. She appears to be front and center for Smackdown advertising, which may very well mean the winds of title change are indeed blowing, but she has already crafted a persona that sustains itself to some degree without the need of gold. Had you asked me this outcome prior to Bayley’s attack on Becky Lynch, I would unreservedly say Charlotte got the duke. Now I’m positively opposite of that take, and that’s to their credit I suppose. Bayley cheats to win.

Winner (and STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion): Bayley

John: Let me start by asking this question: Is Bayley really a heel? I’m not so sure. It’s not like Bayley has done a promo where she ripped on the fans about how they have treated her. All Bayley has really done is shown her loyalty to her best friend Sasha Banks, who happens to be a heel now. I don’t mind shades of grey with fans trying to figure it out because it’s about evolving the characters.

It’s a tough match to predict because I think Bayley should keep the title even though WWE loves Charlotte Flair and may want the title on her by the time Smackdown is on Fox on October 4. I think we’ll see some kind of finish where Bayley gets frustrated that she can’t put Flair away, Flair keeps coming back and then when Bayley is so frustrated by not being able to win, she ends up being disqualified. Since Bayley attacked Flair (and Lynch) with a chair to the back recently, I think Bayley will attack with a chair to get disqualified. It might be a chair to the back or chair to the knee. That way, Flair gets the win by DQ while Bayley keeps the title and the feud can continue. Perhaps they do the title change on the Smackdown on Fox debut on October 4. That would make a lot of sense.

Winner by disqualification: Charlotte Flair (Bayley remains champion)

 

No Disqualification Match: Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan

Mike: Oh, heavens. WWE has botched this puppy start to finish, really, reverting to their constant soap opera roots to finely craft a “mystery” storyline that seemed to last all summer long just to lead to…well, whatever this is. I suppose the one very good outcome to arise from this dumpster fire of a drama was that Erick Rowan reacquired his first name (and apparently his genius-level, Rubik’s-cube solving mental prowess, remember that?!?) in one fell swoop. The main outcome, though, is we all got swerved from an obvious Reigns/Bryan match into this thing. No manner of Superman punches will make this an outstanding match, but WWE is clearly letting the big guys (Lashley, Strowman, etc.) act as such and that creates some valid “Holy Shit!” moments that can be fun if not brilliant storytelling.​

The other good news is this convoluted mishmash allows Bryan to not have to lose to Reigns just yet. Rowan is being served up here on a platter, and anyone who doesn’t think Bryan is the one pulling those strings for his benefit probably hasn’t tuned in for a while. The money is on that feud, so this suffices for now.

Winner: Roman Reigns

John: I know that picking against Roman Reigns might be considered a bad idea, but as soon as this was announced as a No Disqualification Match, I immediately thought that Rowan was going to win. Why? Because I fully expect Daniel Bryan to show up, reveal that he’s still working with Rowan (even after Rowan put him through a table) and then Bryan’s presence is going to allow Rowan to get the win in this match. I don’t think it would be smart to have Rowan appear to be on the receiving end of a push and then have him lose a PPV match. If he wins in cheap fashion, that’s fine because that’s what heels do. If Reigns wins, then that hurts Rowan.

As a storyline, this could be a lot better and I wish they booked it in a more sensible way week to week, but I don’t mind Rowan getting pushed. I want to see different people getting a shot. I think it’ll be a decent match too.

Winner: Erick Rowan

 

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Sasha Banks 

Mike: I for one am happy to see Sasha back, mostly because it’s given us a reason to believe Becky Lynch could actually lose. Lynch has bulldozed through predictable opponents since Ronda Rousey took off, and while I’m not a fan of Banks’s rumored theatrics while being MIA from a WWE ring, she is far better when presented as a heel and going up against Becky is a rock solid smart idea. Lynch’s rise to the top has been frankly meteoric, but she’s hitting the ceiling because there’s nowhere else to go. Banks provides that, and turns what could have been another yawn-inducing Lacey Evans challenge into a possibly stellar contest with all kinds of fun dramatic interpretations. Good stuff.​

I am quite simply of two minds on this, and I love that. Banks is definitely primed to get the job done here. We all know that Becky as a challenger is a must-watch, and her persona is a hell of a lot more interesting when she has a chip on her shoulder. The abruptness of her “Two-Belts” thing ending shows you that very clearly. These two are more than familiar with each other, and have already had some very good and emotionally draining matchups. ​​

That said, Becky is a major focal point for WWE right now as we know. Her high-profile relationship with Seth Rollins is unquestionably a part of that, but make no mistake: if anything, that “softer” side has alienated a big part of her fanbase because it seems very out of character. That’s why WWE has done cartwheels trying to make sure we all know she is still badass. Banks most likely will be winning this belt, whether because of backstage sit-ins or plain old storylines. I don’t think it happens here, though. Lynch gets it done but faces down the threat of Banks and Bayley out to get her at any cost.

Winner (and STILL Raw Women’s Champion): Becky Lynch, likely by DQ

John: The four-month vacation was a good thing for Banks because she’s back as a fresh heel, which is the best role for her. I felt like her face run was very forced for a couple of years. She’s better as a bitchy, arrogant heel especially because I remember her doing it so well in NXT four years ago. The match has been built up well with Banks doing the cheap attacks on Lynch and Banks hasn’t lost a singles match since returning. Banks did lose the tag with Bayley against Lynch and Charlotte on Raw, but that was Charlotte pinning Bayley. That was the right finish because it was important to keep Banks strong.

My prediction for this match is tough because I think Banks should win to show that her new attitude has paid off. They could do a finish where Lynch wins and then Banks attacks post match to keep the rivalry going, but I’d rather see Banks win the title. If Lynch loses the title, I don’t think she’ll be hurt by it. What a Lynch loss would do is keep the feud going because fans are going to want to see Lynch get the title back. Plus, who knows what show either woman will be on next month when WWE does another draft? If Becky loses the title, then moving her to Smackdown could be the reason (it would also mean future husband Seth Rollins to Smackdown too). Another thing to consider is Lynch is on the cover of the WWE 2K20 video game, so WWE may want to keep the title on her through October when the game is out. Who knows? There’s a lot to factor in here. I may be overthinking a bit, but that’s how I am when it comes to this stuff.

I like the idea of Bayley and Banks holding the titles at the same time and after this show, that’s what I think is going to happen. I’m very interested in seeing how great of a match they have, but also how it is booked. If Banks wins, it will probably be cheap and it will leave us wanting to see a rematch. That’s what Hell in a Cell is for.

Winner and New Raw Women’s Champion: Sasha Banks

 

WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton

Mike: Orton and Kingston have been at each other’s throats for a while now, and it’s actually produced some of the more compelling television at it pertains to Kingston as champion. Kofi has met every challenge he has faced as champ so far and passed with flying colors, but there’s still something missing in the eyes of many. Orton is solid opposition and my view is he is here to keep trying to get Kofi looked at as more than an interim champion. It’s unclear what is next for this belt, obviously, and that plays into things too. Therefore there are really only two ways this thing can go: Champ loses and we get their final match at HIAC, or champ wins and this feud ends to make way for something else. You can guess which one I pick.​

I felt pretty comfortable with this prediction before Kofi was left standing tall over Orton this past week, and that all but guaranteed it for me. It is entirely possible that Kingston loses this match (disqualification being the most likely) but does not lose the title with it, but the issue with that for me is that the ultimate outcome here is Kofi looking good as a deserving champ. Orton is a steady hand, but it’s more than unlikely he’s going to be given a lengthy run with the big belt at this stage. Better to have Kingston lose in the short term to get it right back and look even better doing so. In addition, you can bet that Hell In A Cell will afford him the opportunity to execute another high-impact jaw-dropper on Randy. I, therefore, predict a bit of an upset here in favor of longer-term storytelling.​

Winner (and NEW WWE Champion): Randy Orton

John: This is a rematch from SummerSlam when they did a double countout finish, which drew boos because fans expect clean finishes at PPVs for some reason. I thought the match was good and the finish was fine with me because I wanted to see more matches from them. They needed to do that kind of ending to keep it going. Kingston got the advantage on Orton on Smackdown when he put Orton through a table just like he did ten years ago. I agree with Mike that the feud is probably going to continue at Hell in a Cell, but I don’t think they will do a title change here. Kingston will win here, Orton will keep attacking and then challenge Kingston to try to beat him at Hell in a Cell in the cell match. Maybe Orton wins the title at HIAC, but I just feel like the way this story has gone, Kingston must beat Orton to prove he is a main event level guy. If Kingston loses, then that hurts his status as a top guy because he failed to beat Orton.

This will probably be one of the best matches on the show. They work well together, so I hope they can deliver a great match. They’ll probably get 15-20 minutes and I’m going with Kingston to retain. A name to think about as the next WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar. With Smackdown moving to Fox in October, I expect Lesnar on Fox and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him holding the WWE Title before the end of the year.

Winner: Kofi Kingston

 

WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Braun Strowman

Mike: I want to like this a lot more, but it’s just not working out for me. I have seen Strowman in a bajillion championship matches at this point, and the results are basically always the same: Braun looks epic, Braun knocks stuff over onto people, Braun shows up and loses. The longer we keep saying Strowman is due to get his due, the more we start thinking it’s the day that never comes. The reality is eventually it will happen of course, but I’d be hard-pressed to imagine it comes at the expense of Seth Rollins, particularly when he just got the job done against the previous mega-monster Brock Lesnar.​

The mission of their tag match (which I predict to be an obvious loss), then, is to make it appear that Braun is definitely going to demolish Seth. Whether they can effectively do that without making Gramps Strowman full out heel is highly debatable, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Where WWE screwed this up for me is by revealing that the winner will face The Fiend. That guarantees his creepily strange character will be showing up here, and it won’t be for a puppet show. Wyatt will use the drama to his advantage and take out one or both to set a bigger stage for what is to come at HIAC.​​

That also plays in to how Strowman can lose here and still not be booked poorly, by the textbook definition anyway. If Wyatt mucks things up, you can have a no-contest. If he takes out Strowman after a super solid showing, Rollins can inadvertently get the win and make things even more complicated. They can even go the ever-popular “Triple Threat” route if they so choose. I see plenty of options but absolutely none of them result in Strowman doing what he should in fact do, which is toss Seth Rollins into oblivion and get “these hands” on the gold he has deserved for a long while now. Feel free to prove me wrong on that one, WWE.

Winner (and STILL WWE Universal Champion): Seth Rollins, with an “assist” from Yowie Wowie

John: This main event doesn’t interest me that much. For one thing, they didn’t set it up well because all they did was have Braun Strowman stare at the title and just because of that, he gets a title shot. Why not win a match to earn the shot at least? The lack of effort in setting up the match was disappointing. I’m also not a fan of face vs. face matches for a major title especially when it might be a boring match. Earlier this year, we got Rollins vs. Styles for this title when Styles was still a face and that was great, but it’s obviously going to be different with Strowman in there.

There’s also an outside factor involved in this match because we know Bray Wyatt as “The Fiend” is getting the next Universal Title match against the winner of this match at Hell in a Cell next month. That makes me think they might do a non-finish where The Fiend attacks both guys and it sets up a triple threat match inside Hell in a Cell. That way, they don’t have to put the title on The Fiend because Rollins can pin Strowman and it protects The Fiend.

I hope this is a good match, but I’m not sure if it will be. Strowman had plenty of awesome matches with Roman Reigns because they worked together so much and developed that chemistry. Rollins is a better worker than Reigns although that doesn’t necessarily mean this will be an excellent match. Everybody is different, of course. I think The Fiend will appear during the match and if it ends in a non-finish it wouldn’t surprise me at all. For the sake of predictions, I’ll say Rollins is the winner even though I’m unsure of how they get there. I just feel like Seth will remain the champion at the end of the show.

Winner: Seth Rollins

 

BONUS TOPICS!

The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

Mike: From an in-ring standpoint, it’s 100% AJ/Cedric. But for storyline purposes, it’s hard not to dig Lynch/Banks.

John: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks. I have high expectations for it.

 

The Match I Care About The Least

Mike: Without a doubt, Reigns/Rowan.

John: Gulak vs. Carrillo vs. Dorado.

 

Longest Match

Mike: I imagine it will be Kofi/Orton. They can go and they’ve got a big story to tell.

John: Styles vs. Alexander.

 

Shortest Match

Mike: Plenty of contenders, but I’ll say Bliss & Cross vs. Fire & Desire.

John: Bliss and Cross vs. Rose and Deville.

 

Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)

Mike: I will go 8 here. I think there is a good mix of matches and title matches can compensate where storylines fail.

John: It’s about a 7 for me. There are some compelling matches and things that I am looking forward to, but nothing jumps out at me as a must-see match. Plus, the main event just doesn’t interest me that much.

 

Final Thoughts

Mike: You’d be silly to think WWE isn’t feeling the pressure a bit here, and that’s a good thing for all involved as many in the wrestling world have said. The “PPV” cards have atrophied steadily except for the biggies since the installation of the Network, and that makes sense: WWE doesn’t need to rely on those numbers as they once did. If you are a subscriber, you’re automatically tuning in whether you do or not. The emergence of some genuine competition and all the television stuff shaping up for this fall is awesome, no matter who you’re rooting for. If you like WWE, one very big benefit is more cards like this.​

I also appreciate that all titles (likely including 24/7) are on the line here, because it is Clash of Champions after all. The name is from a competitor WWE bested. A guy who ran that promotion during its most successful period is now helping to run WWE’s Smackdown, which is about to be on national television. And all this while a new threat emerges. You have to appreciate the irony, and you have to appreciate the potential excellent consequences. I am so looking forward to it.

John: I’ll be back with a review of Clash of Champions on TJRWrestling.net most likely on Monday morning because I won’t be watching it live, so please check it out when it gets posted.

Mike – @DharmanRockwell

John – @johnreport

If you want to send an email, send it to me at mrjohncanton@gmail.com as well. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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