The John Report: WWE Extreme Rules 2019 Review

Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of WWE Extreme Rules. There are twelve advertised matches counting the Kickoff Show, so that’s more than usual. Let’s get to it.

WWE Extreme Rules
From the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
July 14, 2019

The first Kickoff Show match saw Shinsuke Nakamura beat Finn Balor to win the Intercontinental Title after about 8 minutes. Balor’s title reign was unimpressive, and I don’t know why, but I’m fine with Nakamura getting some positive momentum again. I’ll probably watch it after the show if I have the energy to do it.

The announcers for the Cruiserweight Title match were Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness and Aiden English.

Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak vs. Tony Nese

Gulak was cheered for his entrance because is from Philly. Nese with a back elbow, he avoided a clothesline, kick to the chest and a sweep kick. Nese with a clothesline that sent Gulak over the top to the floor. The fans booed Nese even though he was the face because it was in Drew’s hometown. Gulak jumped off the apron with a clothesline on the floor. Gulak grabbed a chinlock as they cut to the split screen with a commercial for the PPV. Gulak with a dropkick followed by another chinlock. Nese powered out of it with a powerslam for a two count. Gulak worked over Nese with kicks, but then Nese got a hold of him and hit a German Suplex into the turnbuckle. Gulak with an elbow to the face, Nese to the apron, Nese with a forearm and Nese hit a moonsault off the middle turnbuckle while Nese was on the middle ropes. That was unique. Both guys were down for a bit. Nese went up top with a 450 Splash and it was good for a two count. That was a rough landing because Nese’s knees hit the chest of Gulak, so that probably hurt more than Nese landing on his chest. When Nese went for a leapfrog, Gulak rolled him up, then Nese rolled through and went for a slam. Gulak countered a Powerbomb attempt into a Powerbomb of his own for a two count. Gulak lifted Nese up onto his shoulders and hit the Cyclone Clash slam for the pinfall win at 7:25.

Winner by pinfall: Drew Gulak

Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match that was a bit on the short side since they didn’t even get ten minutes. The crowd was into most of it since Gulak is from Philly. I liked the offense from both guys and the last few minutes featured some big moves from both guys. Gulak winning was expected since he just won the title last month.

That was the last Kickoff Show match. There are ten advertised matches for the main show.


Extreme Rules Main Show

The opening video package focused on the big matches of the show and it was really done as usual. The WWE video production team is outstanding.

There was a shot of the live crowd in Philadelphia and it looked like a full crowd. Michael Cole welcomed us to the show.

The video package aired to set up Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre vs. The Undertaker and Roman Reigns as the first match. Shane and Drew were beating up Roman when The Undertaker randomly showed up, so we have this match.

Shane McMahon entered first on his own with ring announcer Mike Rome giving him the special “best in the world” introduction. Greg Hamilton does it better, but Mike did better here than he did on Raw. The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young are calling the action for this match. Drew McIntyre was next to join his partner Shane. This fan was ready with a sign for Drew. For those that don’t know, The Rock used to love the use the “roodypoo” name for phrases like how he wanted to whip all your roody poo candy asses, for example.

Roman Reigns was up first for his team with Cole screaming about the “Big Dog” as usual. The Undertaker was last and he took his time to get to the ring because that’s what he does. The crowd popped big for The Undertaker. They love him as they should.

It took Undertaker about four minutes to get to the ring. The bell rang to start the first match after 18 minutes and there was no promo to start the show.

No Holds Barred Match: Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon vs. Roman Reigns and The Undertaker

There are No Holds Barred rules, yet you must tag in and out of the match. If you can’t get DQ’d, why not just stand in the ring instead of the apron? It’s not like WWE is going to explain that.

Reigns and McIntyre started with McIntyre hitting an overhead belly to belly suplex. Shane tagged in, Reigns overpowered him and Undertaker hit Shane with a shoulder tackle leading to an armbar. Taker is wrestling with a black tank top on. He is in good shape, but he’s opting for the tank top look. Taker wanted to do the rope walk, Shane blocked it and Taker hit him with a clothesline. Taker did the Old School rope walk leading to a punch to Shane’s shoulder. McIntyre tagged in for a staredown with Taker leading to punches. McIntyre with a kick, Taker no sold it and McIntyre hit a clothesline over the top to the floor. Taker with a leg drop on McIntyre while on the apron. Reigns worked over McIntyre with ten corner clotheslines followed by a boot to the face. Reigns with punch to Shane, a punch to Drew and Shane pulled the apron down leading to Reigns bumping over the top to the floor. Taker grabbed a chair and chased after Shane, who ran up the ramp. McIntyre whipped Reigns into the steel steps and went back into the ring with Drew hitting a suplex on Reigns. Shane went back to the apron as Drew hit a neckbreaker and Shane covered Reigns for a two count. McIntyre with an overhead suplex on Reigns followed by an armbar. Reigns got back into it with a Samoan Drop. The crowd cheering as Taker got the hot tag.

Taker tagged in against Shane with Taker working him over with punches, a corner clothesline, snake eyes into the turnbuckle and Taker with a boot to the face of Shane. Taker knocked McIntyre off the apron and Taker hit Shane with a clothesline over the top to the floor. Taker cleared off the English announce table, which was in the middle of the three tables at ringside. Taker was about to slam Shane through a table, but Elias showed up with a guitar to the back of Taker. Reigns punched Elias and McIntyre came back with a Claymore Kick on Reigns to send him over the barricade. Elias went after Taker, but McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick on Taker as well. Shane told Drew and Elias put Taker on the announce table. Shane went into the ring, he went up top and Shane jumped off the top rope with an elbow drop that put Undertaker through the table. McIntyre and Elias brought Undertaker into the ring and set him up against the turnbuckle. Shane placed a trash can in front of Taker. Elias held the trash can. Shane did the throat slash motion while he stood on the top rope and Shane hit the Coast to Coast dropkick into the trash can in Undertaker’s face. Reigns got back into it with a Superman Punch on Elias. McIntyre dropped Reigns with a Russian legsweep on the floor. Shane pulled Undertaker to the middle of the ring, but Taker sat up and gave Shane a Chokeslam. Undertaker gave Elias a Chokeslam as well. Taker faced the hard cam like a good company man and did the throat slash. McIntyre charged, but Reigns saved Undertaker with a Spear. Reigns whipped Shane to Taker and Taker hit Shane with a Tombstone Piledriver for the pinfall win at 17:01

Winners by pinfall: Roman Reigns and The Undertaker

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a solid match that featured some big spots with Shane getting his high spots in. They did what I expected with Elias out there to make it look like the heels would win, but Reigns and Taker were too much for them. I’m glad it was Shane that took the pin instead of Drew because it was time for Shane to get beat in a match like that. The bad thing about this match is they said it’s No Holds Barred with tags, then they did tags for the first half and then it was ignored. It could have been ignored the whole time, so again that’s something I wish WWE was more aware of when they set up these matches.

Post match, Undertaker stared at Reigns and tapped him on the chest as a sign of respect. Reigns left as replays of the key spots in the match aired.

The Undertaker’s music hit as the 54-year-old legend did his posing in the crowd. It was noted by Cole that we don’t know how many more times we’ll be able to witness Undertaker and that’s a good point. It’s up to Undertaker. The Undertaker did his posing in the ring, then his long walk up the ramp and his fist raise to say goodbye for now.

Analysis: The Undertaker did well here. He was a lot better in this match than he was in his match against Goldberg last month.

Becky Lynch, the Raw Women’s Champion and WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins were interviewed backstage by Sarah Schreiber. Rollins said they know what is at stake and they know they are in the city of Brotherly Love in Philadelphia, PA. Rollins said that Philly’s Liberty Bell has a crack in it like the crack he’ll put on Baron’s head. Lynch said if they put up a statue of Lacey Evans then it would be covered in pigeon crap like her career after tonight. Rollins was confident and Lynch said the only thing that’s not an option is losing.

There was a commercial for Raw Reunion one week from tomorrow (July 22) on USA Network.

Analysis: Get a bunch of former stars on the show to try to boost the ratings. That’s fine with me.

The Revival were up next as the Raw Tag Team Champions. The Usos did a quick promo on their way to the ring.

Raw Tag Team Championships: The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso)

There were a lot of quick tags early on. The Usos hit a double kick to Wilder, but when they went for a superkick, Dawson pulled Wilder out of the ring. The Revival went back in the ring, but The Usos tossed them out of the ring and The Usos hit dives over the top to take out both guys. Wilder drew Jey out of the ring, Dawson hit Jey with a clothesline and The Revival whipped Jey into the barricade to take control. Back in the ring, Dawson with a leg drop, elbow and headbutt. Dawson slammed Wilder onto Jey for a two count. Wilder with a catapult that sent Jey into the bottom rope. Dawson tagged in, he prevented Jey from tagging out and Jey hit Dawson with a belly to back suplex. Wilder went after Jimmy, the referee made Dawson leave the ring, so he didn’t see Jimmy get the tag. The Revival worked over Jey with punches. Wilder tagged in with an elbow drop off the ropes. The fans chanted “Uso” to try to help Jey get going as Dawson set up Jey for a superplex. Jey with a headbutt (I think) on Dawson while they were on the top rope and they both landed on the floor. Wilder got the tag, but Jey broke free and tagged in Jimmy, who hit Wilder with a cross body block for two. Jimmy with a Samoan Drop on Wilder and a Samoan Drop on Dawson. Jimmy hit a running hip attack on Dawson and Wilder came back with a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Dawson and Wilder charged, Jimmy kicked them and a corkscrew off the top for two. Jey tagged in, Jimmy launched him into a Samoan Drop from Jey for a two count. Dawson with a punch to knock Jimmy off the apron, Dawson with a kick to Jey and a brainbuster got a two count. Dawson hit a superplex on Jey, Wilder tagged in and hit a splash off the top, but Jimmy broke that up with an Uso Splash. Jey covered Wilder, but Dawson broke it up. All four guys were down selling. Jey got back up with a superkick on Dawson and Wilder. Jimmy got the tag, Dawson pulled Jey out of the ring and Dawson made a blind tag leading to the Shatter Machine double team move for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The Revival

Analysis: *** It was a good WWE tag team match with a lot of moments where it looked like either team could win. The Usos selling is always excellent, which is why they are one of the best babyface teams ever because they know how to build up to the big comeback. The crowd wasn’t into the whole match, but they got into it by the end. It was a relatively clean win for The Revival, who I expected to win.

A commercial aired for SummerSlam in Toronto on April 11. It’s over two hours away from me, but I don’t know if I’m going.

The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton took over. A video package aired to see how this Aleister Black vs. Cesaro match was set up.

Cesaro made his entrance. They showed the international row of announcers: Portuguese, Russian, French, Hindi, Japanese (hey Funaki) and Mandarin. That led to the usual Graves joke about hanging out with the Mandarin announcers.





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TJRWrestling WWE Extreme Rules 2019 Preview

Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Extreme Rules preview. It is the 11th straight year where WWE has held an Extreme Rules event although the month has changed because it’s taken place in April, May, June and for the last two years, in July. The concept behind Extreme Rules is to set up some gimmick/stipulation matches to make it feel different from a regular WWE show. This year, they only have a few of those types of matches, so they definitely didn’t overdo it in terms of trying to spice things up a bit.

There are currently ten advertised matches with no plans to add anything more according to the Wrestling Observer, but they could always change their mind. I think you could make a case for Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler being on this card, but maybe WWE is saving those matches for a bigger show like SummerSlam next month.

I think the lineup is better than what they set up for Stomping Grounds last month. The thing about Stomping Grounds was that even though the matches weren’t that interesting going in, the work in the ring was pretty good and it exceeded the expectations of most people, including mine. For Extreme Rules, I think there are better matches “on paper” like Ricochet vs. Styles, Black vs. Cesaro, Kingston vs. Joe and Revival vs. Usos. Those four matches I mentioned all have the potential to hit four stars out of five (or higher) on my ratings scale, so when you have that many great matches on one show, then it’s a reason to get more excited about what we will see on Sunday night.

There is also some behind the scenes intrigue for Extreme Rules because Paul Heyman was hired as the Executive Director of Raw while Eric Bischoff was hired as the Executive Director of Smackdown. In the two weeks since those announcements, Heyman has had his fingerprints on Raw a bit although he’s not fully “in power” I guess you could say. Bischoff hasn’t been at Smackdown and he said he’s not even going to Extreme Rules because he’s driving his family to his new home in Stamford, Connecticut, which is where WWE’s headquarters are. The expectation is that after Extreme Rules, Heyman and Bischoff will both be more involved in their brands, but as we all know, Vince McMahon still has the final say on everything. What I do hope WWE does going forward is they stop the “Wild Card Rule” that they have largely ignored because both shows are better when wrestlers are exclusive to one brand. From a creative standpoint, it’s probably easier to book the shows that way too. On this show, we have Raw’s Samoa Joe and Alexa Bliss challenging for titles on Smackdown, so that’s something I would like to see come to an end because there’s enough talent on both brands that they don’t need to have people crossing over every week. Anyway, we’ll see if that gets changed on the road to SummerSlam.

I am running solo for this preview because my usual PPV preview partners, Mike Holland and Matthew J. Douglas, have been busy with work commitments.

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


Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese

This should be a good match between two former allies. Nese is the former champion that lost the title in a three-way with Akira Tozawa when Gulak pinned Tozawa (as I predicted last month), which was done to set up this match. I expect this to be on the Kickoff Show, which will allow them to get 10-15 minutes to have a very good match that’s competitive and fun to watch. The crowd usually gets into these matches towards the end. I’ll go with Gulak for the win because there’s no reason to take the title off him so soon after he won it.

Winner: Drew Gulak


Aleister Black vs. Cesaro

I like this match a lot. It’s the first Raw guy (Cesaro) vs. Smackdown guy (Black), but as we know, the brand extension is ignored now. There’s not much of a story going in because Black sat in a dark room doing promos for two months about how he wanted somebody to knock on his door to fight him. We found out on Smackdown that Cesaro was the guy that knocked, so here we are. Black is from the Netherlands while Cesaro is from Switzerland, so I’m sure both guys are excited about having a hard-hitting European style of match.

If I was booking, Black would win every match he has for the first four months as a singles act. Build him up to be a big star. Black has already been on the main roster when he teamed up with Ricochet for months, but this also feels like a “debut” for him, so I doubt Black is going to lose. I just hope they get more than ten minutes to have an awesome match.

Winner: Aleister Black


Smackdown Women’s Championship Handicap Match: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross

Note: Nikki Cross said on Smackdown that if they win the match, then she and Bliss will be co-champions. It would be like Laycool nine years ago.

The reason this is a Handicap Match is because Bliss has been dealing with a sinus infection for over a week, which caused her to miss Raw and Smackdown this week. I think a title change is a possibility because the co-Smackdown Women’s Champions idea could be fun, but I would rather see Bayley hold onto the title. What they’ll probably do is have Bliss/Cross dominate most of the match, Bayley makes the comeback and then Cross accidentally hits Bliss with a move, which leads to Bayley hitting her Bayley to Belly on Bliss for the pinfall win. That way, Cross can be apologetic towards Bliss, which would lead to Bliss using Cross for her own personal benefit for a few weeks more until Cross realizes what is happening.

It’s also possible that Sasha Banks returns at this show to help Bayley win the match. That can lead to Banks/Bayley being on the same page for a while until Banks turns on her. I’d rather see heel Banks on Raw against Becky Lynch, but it makes sense to do Banks/Bayley too as a former best friends storyline. If Banks isn’t back by this show (she has been in Japan in the past week) then it will probably be SummerSlam when she returns.

Winner: Bayley


Raw Tag Team Championships: The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) 

These teams have wrestled several times with The Usos winning in non-title situations, so I’m happy that they are getting a PPV match. I’m also glad that they got rid of some of the silly comedy bits that hurt this rivalry a few months ago. The Revival recently won the titles, which makes it hard to predict a title change. It’s more fun when the face team is chasing the heel team in a scenario like this, so I expect The Revival to find a way to win. A DQ result is possible too. I have had some readers contact me in recent weeks about how they saw these teams in house show matches getting around 20 minutes and those matches were outstanding. I’m not surprised by that. This is another match where people will be raving about how good it is if they get time to show what they can do. I’ll go with The Revival winning in cheap fashion with a rematch coming at SummerSlam as well.

Winners: The Revival


Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) vs. Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis) 

This match has sleeper potential to be very good. I really liked how the triple threat match on Smackdown between Bryan, Woods and Otis was put together. Bryan and Woods made Otis look like a star while Otis gets more comfortable every week. I’m glad that Heavy Machinery are not booked like jokes. I expect AOP to get back in the tag team scene very soon because they are healthy again.

It’s tough to make a prediction here because my head says Bryan and Rowan retain because they are doing well as heel tag team champions, but my heart wants Daniel Bryan to get a singles push again going into SummerSlam. That means a title change makes a lot of sense. I feel like they put Bryan in a team to take it easy on his body for a few months. I think he’ll go back to being in the WWE Title hunt or maybe the Universal Title if WWE continues to ignore the brand extension. I’m going with New Day to win because then they’ll have the titles while Kofi Kingston also in WWE Champion (I guess I gave that prediction away), so it will be happy times for the New Day trio. If Heavy Machinery wins the titles then that’s fine with me, but I would save it and keep building them up for a few more months.

Winners and New Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods)


Last Man Standing Match: Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley 

The stunt angle they did on Raw where Strowman tackled Lashley through the LED boards on the Raw stage was a cool moment that has helped this feud a lot. The match at Super Showdown wasn’t good, the arm wrestling and tug of war competitions were boring, but once you tackle a guy and set off explosions, that makes a feud look a lot better. It was funny how WWE teased the idea that Strowman had a serious injury like a ruptured spleen (a serious injury) two weeks ago, yet now he’s fine and having a Last Man Standing Match.

I think they are doing this kind of match to have Strowman lose without getting pinned. Strowman should be selling the injuries from two weeks ago while Lashley should be more healthy, which can lead to Lashley getting a much-needed win. I don’t remember the last significant win that Lashley has had, so he’s my pick to win this match. They can do a rematch with another stipulation at SummerSlam and Strowman should get the win there.

Winner: Bobby Lashley


United States Championship: Ricochet (c) vs. AJ Styles 

This is the match of the night…if they get time. Yes, I have mentioned wrestlers having time to have a great match a few times because it’s a major factor in terms of match quality. If they don’t get at least 15 minutes I’ll be surprised. Their two matches on Raw were both under ten minutes due to WWE’s ridiculous “no wrestling during commercials” rule that they have followed for the last month. This time, in a PPV setting, they have the chance to have more of an outstanding wrestling match that fans expect from wrestlers as good as Ricochet and Styles.

I had a few people complaining to me about this match because they did it twice on Raw. I don’t mind that at all. The reason why they did it twice was to put Styles over, then have Ricochet go over and Styles turned heel, so now when they have the third match, not only is it 1-1 but there’s more of a story with Ricochet wanting revenge for AJ’s cheap attack on him. It’s a good storyline that is designed to get Ricochet over more as a babyface on the rise that hopefully can be a PPV main eventer next year. I think Ricochet is outstanding, so the more screen time he gets, the better it is for everybody in WWE.

It’s a tough match to predict because Ricochet has only had the title for about one month while you can make a case that Styles doesn’t “need” it, so Ricochet going over makes a lot of sense. I don’t like picking champions to have very short reigns either. However, Styles just turned heel with his buddies Gallows and Anderson watching his back, so it makes sense if Styles gets some help to win the match and the title. They can have Ricochet chase for a few months after that to keep the feud going. I’m not sure about this prediction at all, but I’m going with a title change.

Winner and New United States Champion: AJ Styles


WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe 

I already mentioned New Day winning the Smackdown Tag Team Titles to join Kofi as a champion in WWE, so that tells you I’m expecting Kofi to retain here. This feels like the first match in a series of matches between these guys. I’m not sure if the rivalry was just thrown together to give Kingston a fresh opponent because Joe could have been booked better in the build up to this match. Yes, Joe attacked Kingston multiple times to cause him to pass out in the Coquina Clutch, but Joe should have beaten some quality opponents going into this match. At least the promo segment they did two weeks ago was very good.

It should be a match where Joe dominates most of it, Kofi makes the big comeback and finds a way to win. Kofi has been booked so well as the champion with his only loss since WrestleMania coming against Joe in the tag team match a few weeks ago.

My prediction is that Kofi will probably lose the WWE Title at SummerSlam to Joe or Daniel Bryan or maybe even Roman Reigns. I just have a hunch there might be a 4-Way at SummerSlam. I don’t have any info. It’s just a feeling I have. Even Brock Lesnar is a possibility via Money in the Bank cash-in. I think by the time we get to the Smackdown debut on Fox in October, the WWE Champion is going to be Lesnar or Reigns. For now, I’ll go with Kofi for the win.

Winner: Kofi Kingston


Extreme Rules Match for the Universal and Raw Women’s Championships: Seth Rollins (c) and Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans

Note: This is a one fall match for both titles. If Corbin pins or submits Rollins, then he is Universal Champion while Evans is Raw Women’s Champion. If Evans pins or submits Lynch, then she is Raw Women’s Champion while Corbin is Universal Champion. The other part of the deal is that if Corbin and Evans lose, then they get no more title shots at Seth and Becky.

Did you know Seth and Becky were dating? Even if you don’t care, you probably know they are dating since WWE mentions it all the time. An Extreme Rules Match should mean that there are no tags needed and that they can just pair off to wrestle all over the arena. However, this is WWE, so they might have wrestlers wait for tags even though there are no rules.

I feel like this is an easy match to predict with Rollins and Lynch getting the win to move on from these boring rivalries. I think WWE realized the fans rejected Corbin and Evans as challengers, which is why they announce the “no more title shots” stipulation. Corbin and Evans also were not on Raw that much in the last two weeks. That tells me WWE is going to phase them out for a bit. I don’t expect a great match. I just hope WWE has better feuds planned for Rollins and Lynch coming out of this show because Rollins and Lynch have both lost a lot of positive momentum.

Winners: Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch

BONUS: I don’t expect Brock Lesnar to leave Extreme Rules with the Universal or WWE Championship. I know Paul Heyman teased it on Raw. Lesnar might be there, but I feel like Seth and/or Kofi will avoid losing their title. It might be SummerSlam when it happens (if it happens at all) or perhaps in October when Smackdown is Fox. It wouldn’t shock me if WWE waited until next year either. Lesnar and Heyman are heels. They are supposed to lie. Fans shouldn’t be upset about it when a heel lies. That’s their job!


No Holds Barred Match: Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs. Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon

I feel like this is going to be the main event because The Undertaker’s involved, Roman Reigns is a part of it and I expect their babyface team to get the win. The “No Holds Barred” stipulation is another way of saying “Extreme Rules” or anything goes, so again, this is another match where there shouldn’t be any tags. They will be able to brawl all around the arena, which is probably good for The Undertaker at this point in his career.

I know there are reports that there are not current plans to do The Undertaker vs. McIntyre at SummerSlam, but to me that’s the obvious direction to go in after this match. Why would Undertaker return for Extreme Rules and not build to a match at SummerSlam? Perhaps the plan is to do Undertaker vs. Shane at SummerSlam, but I would rather see Miz beat Shane to end their feud if Shane is going to have a match. Another possibility for Undertaker at SummerSlam is Bray Wyatt, who could be returning to action as soon as next week.

They should have a decent match, but with Undertaker and Shane as two older guys, it would be foolish to expect greatness. Shane will probably do some crazy bump through a table at ringside or elsewhere in the arena. Elias will likely interfere, which could lead to The Miz or Kevin Owens to come out to stop him from costing Reigns/Undertaker the match since Miz and Owens have issues with Shane.

My prediction is Reigns pins Shane in a match that gets around 15 minutes. I think Roman will be in the WWE Title picture sooner rather than later, so getting the win in this match might set him up for that WWE Title push at SummerSlam or soon after that.

Winners: Roman Reigns and The Undertaker



The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

I like Ricochet vs. Styles getting 20 minutes the most, but Black vs. Cesaro is right there too. I’ll never get tired of Revival vs. Usos either.

The Match I Care About The Least

Seth Rollins (c) and Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans. I like Seth and Becky a lot. However, these rivalries have done more harm than good for them. Nobody is going to look back on Seth vs. Baron or Becky vs. Lacey as feuds that were great for either champion.

Longest Match

Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe. A few matches might go over 20 minutes. This is one of them.

Shortest Match

Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley in a Last Man Standing Match. I just have a feeling it will be around ten minutes. Bayley’s Handicap Match should be short too.

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

I’m at 7 out of 10 for this show. I like several of the matches as I mentioned in the introduction of this preview. One of the most frustrating parts about WWE TV in the past month are the shorter matches, so that makes me excited to see a show without commercials forcing the matches to be shorter. What prevents the show from being higher than a 7/10 is that the two main matches are tag team matches with similar stipulations. Neither match excites me that much.


Final Thoughts

I’ll be back with a review of Extreme Rules on live on Sunday night, so check it out during the show or after it’s over.

Contact me on Twitter @johnreport with any comments or questions.

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



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The John Report: WWE Stomping Grounds 2019 Review

Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of WWE Stomping Grounds. It’s the first ever Stomping Grounds PPV where they are using the “kick ass and take names” phrase to try to make the fans excited about the show. I don’t think it’s a great PPV name. If it was me, the June PPV would be called the Great American Bash, but it’s not up to me.

The Cruiserweight Title match took place on the Kickoff Show. The match was Tony Nese defending the title against Drew Gulak and Akira Tozawa in a triple threat match. I don’t watch the Kickoff Show, but I caught the last few minutes and the crowd got into it. Gulak pinned Tozawa with a torture rack neckbreaker for the win after Tozawa knocked Nese off the apron. Gulak was my pick to win. Good for Drew.

WWE Stomping Grounds
From the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington
June 23, 2019

There was an opening video package hyping up the matches coming up tonight. The camera focused on the crowd making a lot of noise. The other part of the arena where the hard camera was had most of the seats blocked off.

Becky Lynch entered with the Raw Women’s Title in the same black and yellow gear she wore at WrestleMania. Michael Cole mentioned her boyfriend Seth Rollins also having a big title match later in the show. The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young were ringside to call the Raw matches.

Lacey Evans made her entrance looking like a lady, of course. The Spanish and German announce teams were also at ringside telling you to visit TJRWrestling every day. Thanks guys.

The women stood in the ring for ring announcer Mike Rome to give them the championship introductions.

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans

The crowd was hot as the match began. Lynch was in control early on as she grabbed Evans’ foot and slammed her face first into the mat. Lynch sent Evans into the turnbuckle and they messed up the corner kick spot because Evans was too far away. Lynch did it again and connected this time. Lynch with a baseball slide dropkick. Evans kicked Lynch into the announce table. Back in the ring, Lynch with a leg whip takedown. Evans hit a front facelock DDT and then she drove Lynch’s body against the ring post. There was a brief “you can’t wrestle” chant at Evans, which isn’t very nice, but some fans are cruel like that. Evans worked over the ribs of Lynch with kicks followed by a submission working over the ribs of Lynch. When Lynch got back up, Evans hit her with a shoulder tackle. Lynch bridged out and kicked her in the head. Lynch with a jumping kick, but Evans came back with a shoulder tackle to the ribs. Evans had the arm of Evans while they were on the top rope and Lynch slapped on the armbar, but Evans got to the ropes. Evans with a jumping attack on Lynch against the turnbuckle for two. Evans grabbed a tissue out of her tights, wiped her sweat and threw it on Lynch, who stuffed the tissue down Lacey’s throat. Lynch with two clotheslines, knees to the ribs and a kick to the face. Lynch with a jumping forearm to knock down Evans. Lynch went to the middle ropes for a leg drop, she jumped off and Evans moved out of the way. Evans went for her elbow drop back into the ring, but Lynch got the knees up and a rollup got two. Evans with a back elbow and then she sprung off the ropes into a stunner like move. Evans with a kick that was good for a two count. Evans went to the ropes, Lynch pulled her off and Lynch slapped on the Disarmher armbar submission and Evans tapped out quickly at 11:30.

Winner by submission: Becky Lynch

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. I didn’t expect Lynch to lose and if she did lose, it would have been disappointing because Lynch should have a long reign with that title considering how long they built her up to be in that spot. Lynch was calling the match the entire time because I could hear a few things. There were a few moments that were a bit sloppy, but for the most part, they got through it okay.

There was a video about Ali talking about protecting the innocent from harm and allow no fear to shape his faith in good. It was just Ali walking the streets and talking about the heart that he has.

Kayla Braxton was outside of Baron Corbin’s locker room door and she said Paul Heyman was in the room. Heyman was asked if he’s going to be referee in the Corbin/Rollins match later, but Heyman avoided it. Heyman simply mentioned that Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston were there, so he teased that Lesnar could be there. Heyman left. Baron Corbin walked out of the room saying if she keeps hanging out there he will think she wants more than information. That’s not a PG insinuation. Anyway, Corbin said he found his referee and he left.

Analysis: The mystery of the special referee is supposed to be the big draw of this show. We’ll find out later if it was worth all the hype.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens made their entrance. The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton took over at ringside. Big E and Xavier Woods of the New Day entered as the opponents.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Big E and Xavier Woods

Owens with a superkick on Big E to knock him off the apron. Owens hit Woods with four superkicks and a senton bomb off the top. Zayn tagged in with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count as usual with that move. Owens tagged in, he went up top and he hit a Frog Splash for a two count. Zayn worked over Woods with some kicks to the face as Big E got back on the apron. Owens with a cannonball attack on Woods against the turnbuckle. Zayn with a crossface on Woods. Owens tagged back in with a stomp to the back of Woods and Woods hit a jumping kick to the head of Owens. Zayn tagged in and knocked Big E off the apron. Woods away from Zayn, Owens tagged in and Woods hit a sunset flip type slam that sent Owens face first into the mat. Big E got the hot tag with the usual offense from him that included the two belly to belly overhead suplexes, the side belly to belly suplex and a running splash for two. Zayn teased a DDT off the turnbuckle, but Big E blocked it and hit a uranage slam for two. Woods picked up Big E on his shoulders and launched him down onto Zayn for a splash. Woods with a leg drop using the ropes for an assist for two. Owens saved Zayn and Big E tossed Owens out of the ring. Zayn shoved Big E into the ring post and a boot to the face on Woods. Zayn with a Helluva Kick on Woods and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb for two because Big E broke up the pin attempt. That was perfectly timed by Big E. Running clothesline by Big E on Zayn and Owens with a superkick on Big E. Woods with a running elbow on Owens. All four guys were down. The fans were cheering for all of them. Big E with a Spear on Zayn on the apron to knock him down. Woods went for a top rope attack on Owens, but Owens knocked him down and Owens hit a Stunner on Woods for the pinfall win at 11:10.

Winners by pinfall: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good tag team match that was fast paced and the crowd was into it. I loved the aggressiveness of Owens and Zayn from the start of the match because it set the tone. They needed the win more after losing too much in TV matches. Big E and Xavier Woods did a great job of selling as well as making the big comebacks when needed. Zayn and Owens are my favorite tag team in WWE, but I would prefer to see them used better as singles wrestlers rather than a full-time tag team. The right team got the win here.

There was some video about the Rocket League video game. I don’t play video games. There was also a WWE Shop commercial.

Alexa Bliss was shown getting ready for her Smackdown Women’s Title match. Nikki Cross showed up, she was supportive of Bliss, she said people will see Bayley’s true colors and Cross can’t wait to be in her corner. Bliss said it looks like it is them against the world.

Ricochet made his entrance for the US Title match. Samoa Joe was up next as the US Champion.

United States Championships: Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet

Joe got in some strikes early. Ricochet with a dropkick that sent Joe to the floor. Ricochet tried an attack, but Joe drove Ricochet back first into the side of the ring apron. Back in the ring, Joe with a uranage slam for two and then a hard elbow for another two count. Joe with a running corner elbow followed by a step up enziguri for two. Joe slapped on a chinlock. Ricochet with a jawbreaker to break the hold, so Joe decked him with a forearm to the face. Joe hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. They replayed Joe’s forearm to the face that looked brutal as Joe slapped on another chinlock. Joe with a hard chop to the chest, Ricochet with a step up enziguri and a jumping kick to the face. Joe with a running forearm followed by a headscissors into the corner. Ricochet with a headbutt to the ribs and a springboard clothesline, but Joe moved away a bit too early. Ricochet hit a dive over the top onto Joe on the floor where Ricochet twisted in the air. Back in the ring, Ricochet with a springboard moonsault (Lionsault) for a two count. Ricochet up top, Joe got back up and hit a running powerslam for two. Ricochet went for a springboard elbow, Joe caught him and hit a German Suplex followed by a clothesline where Ricochet did a flip bump to sell it. That was a great sequence.

Ricochet went for a kick to the gut, but Joe flipped him over leading to a spin in the air by Ricochet and he landed hard. Joe went for the Coquina Clutch, Ricochet went to the ropes and broke the hold using the ropes. Ricochet went up top, he went for the 630 Splash, Joe moved and Joe went for a clothesline, but Ricochet landed on his feet. Ricochet with Codebreaker (double knees to the face) and Ricochet went up top with the 630 Splash leading to the pinfall win at 12:25.

Winner by pinfall and New United States Champion: Ricochet

Analysis: **** That was an excellent match. It was one of my favorite Samoa Joe matches on the main roster. I liked the contrast in styles with Joe using the power game and Ricochet using his aerial attacks to make the big comebacks. They had several sequences in the match where it looked like one guy was going to hit a big move, then there was a counter and it kept getting better. In my preview of the event, I wrote that Ricochet should win because he’s a future main event star if they book him right and they need him to rack up PPV victories. That’s why it was important for Ricochet to win and I’m glad he did.

The win by Ricochet was treated as a big deal as he held up the United States Title. Ricochet was excited about being the champion. They replayed the 630 Splash that Ricochet hit to win the title.

Ricochet was shown walking backstage in the Gorilla Position where he was greeted by people like Seth Rollins, Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder, Carmella, Charlotte Flair, Heavy Machinery and Triple H (the daddy of NXT) was there too. Even Shane Helms, a Producer in WWE, gave Ricochet a tap on the chest to say good job.

Analysis: That was a cool scene there although Charlotte being there felt out of place since she’s a heel. Everybody else there was a face.

Heavy Machinery entered as the challengers for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Daniel Bryan and Rowan got a nice ovation because Bryan is from the state of Washington, so it was almost like Daniel Bryan’s hometown crowd.

The international announce teams were shown: Portuguese, Russian, Japanese (hey Funaki), Hindi, French and Mandarin with Graves making his usual joke about partying with the announcers.

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan and Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis)

Rowan was going to start, the fans chanted for Bryan and Bryan tagged in to cheers. When Otis drove Bryan to the mat, the fans booed. Otis with a press slam on Bryan. Tucker tagged in and hit a delayed suplex on Bryan. Tucker with a running clothesline on Bryan for a two count. Rowan tagged in with a running cross body block to knock down Tucker. Rowan with a running splash on Tucker and the fans did a “please recycle” chant. That was great. Bryan tagged in with a running kick to the face and Rowan with a running splash on Tucker against the ring post. Bryan drove the left leg of Tucker into the steel post. Bryan stomped on the back of the knees of Tucker. Rowan tagged back in with a running splash on Tucker for a two count. Tucker with a boot to the face, Rowan missed a corner attack and went shoulder first into the ring post. Otis got the hot tag against Bryan with Otis hitting three running shoulder tackles and a spin into a slam. Otis charged, but Bryan drove him face first into the middle turnbuckle. Bryan with two running dropkicks and he went for another one only for Otis to catch him with a Powerbomb for two. Otis went for a Vader Bomb out of the corner, but Bryan moved out of the way. Bryan worked over Otis with the Yes Kicks to the chest although Otis did his own version of hulking up to get back to his feet. Otis caught Bryan and gave him an overhead suplex. Otis with a running splash on Bryan by the turnbuckle. Otis did the Caterpillar leading to an elbow drop. Tucker got the tag, catapult and Tucker slammed Bryan for two as Rowan made the save. Bryan kicked the left leg of Tucker repeatedly, Tucker avoided a kick and slammed Bryan down. Tucker went up top, he went for a moonsault and Bryan rolled away, but Tucker’s feet got a piece of Bryan.

Rowan got the tag along with Otis as the two men squared off. They each did running clotheslines with neither guy getting the advantage. Bryan tagged himself in, Otis slammed Rowan and Bryan sent Tucker out of the ring. Bryan with a knee off the top to the face of Otis. Bryan tried a dive on Tucker, but Tucker knocked him down. Tucker jumped onto Rowan on the floor. Bryan got a small package on Tucker for the pinfall win at 14:25 Mr. Small Package strikes again!

Winners by pinfall: Daniel Bryan and Rowan

Analysis: ***1/2 That was everything it should have been in terms of match quality and the story they told. I liked it. It was smart to keep the titles on Bryan/Rowan as the heels at the top of the division while Heavy Machinery looked impressive as well. I think Otis really came off as a star by the way he held his own against Bryan and the big man showdown with Rowan. Tucker had some nice spots too. The finish was done in a way that will likely set up a rematch because it was only a win with a small package rather than a decisive finishing move. I have been perfect in my predictions so far.

A commercial aired for WWE Extreme Rules on July 14 in Philadelphia. Go Raptors. Sorry Philly fans.

There was a video package for the Smackdown Women’s Championship between Bayley and Alexa Bliss, who is from Raw.

Alexa Bliss entered with her buddy Nikki Cross. Bayley was up next as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss (w/Nikki Cross)

Bayley was aggressive early on, but then Bliss took over by sending Bayley face first into the middle turnbuckle. The fans were chanting for both women as Bliss slapped on a chinlock. When Bayley got up, Bliss drove her knee into the back on Bayley. Bliss stomped on the head of Bayley, but Bayley came back with a cross body block. Bliss with a hard slap to the face. Bayley was fired up with an elbow drop. Bliss came back with a hard punch to the face. That looked great. Bayley with a knee to the side of the face. Bayley with a knee strike to the face. They went to the floor where Bliss drove Bayley’s right shoulder into the ring post. Bayley was distracted by Cross a bit. Back in the ring, Bliss wrenched on the right arm and a knee drop. Bayley came back with a belly to back suplex for a two count. Bayley hit a running sunset flip Powerbomb that sent the back of Alexa’s head into the turnbuckle. Bliss hit a suicide dive and Bayley took out Cross because Bliss moved. Bliss shoved Bayley into the steel steps. The replay showed that Bliss put Cross in front of her on purpose. Bliss hit a sunset flip Powerbomb on Bayley on the floor. Back in the ring, Bliss went up top and Cross tried to go after Bayley, but the referee made her leave the ring. Bliss went for Twisted Bliss, Bayley got the knees up to block and Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly suplex for the pinfall win at 10:35.

Winner by pinfall: Bayley

Analysis: **3/4 It was fine with the predictable finish of Cross accidentally costing Bliss the win because Bliss couldn’t do her finisher when she wanted due to Cross getting in the ring. I was surprised by some of the spots they did like Bayley giving Bliss a Powerbomb into the turnbuckle because Bliss has had numerous concussions in the past year, so that’s one of those bumps you don’t want to see her take. Bliss appeared to be fine, but that just stood out to me. Bayley was my pick to retain here. There are a lot of babyface champions in WWE right now, so some of them will lose their titles soon, but Bayley needs to have a decent reign.

There was a commercial for Gold Bond powder and for NXT this Wednesday.

The announce team talked about the 24/7 Title changes with R-Truth beating Drave Maverick for the title at Drake’s wedding last Thursday. The clips were shown. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is deadly, my friends.

Ricochet was shown getting a photoshoot with the US Title. The team of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson walked up to him. AJ Styles walked up to them and they all posed together. Styles congratulated Ricochet and said he would see him tomorrow night.

Analysis: Ricochet vs. Styles on Raw? That will be amazing.

The video package aired for Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre in a feud that featured Shane McMahon heavily as well.

Shane McMahon was introduced first with Greg Hamilton giving him the special “Best in the World” introduction. Drew McIntyre was next looking intense as usual with Cole calling him a machine. Roman Reigns was up next as the opponent and he got a pretty good pop.

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre (w/Shane McMahon)

Reigns was aggressive with punches followed by a clothesline that sent McIntyre over the top to the floor. Reigns rans the ropes and hit a dive over the top onto McIntyre on the floor. Shane moved out of the way to avoid the attack. Reigns chased Shane into the crowd, then Shane ran into another section and back to the ringside area. Reigns tried a leaping attack, but McIntyre punched Reigns to stop it. McIntyre whipped Reigns into the steel steps. Back in the ring, McIntyre hit an overhead belly to belly suplex on Reigns for two. Shane choked Reigns across the middle rope leading to Drew slapping on an armbar. McIntyre sent Reigns into the ropes followed by a back elbow and a stomp to the head. McIntyre wanted a suplex, but Reigns countered into a suplex of his own. Shane grabbed Reigns and snapped the neck across the top rope leading to McIntyre hitting a spinebuster for two. McIntyre with a suplex leading to another armbar. When Reigns got moving again, McIntyre dropped him with a clothesline. McIntyre had Reigns trapped on the match in a submission where he pulled back on the arms. Reigns started the comeback with a Samoan Drop. There was an exchange of punches, then Reigns hit three clotheslines. Reigns hit the ten clotheslines against the turnbuckle followed by a running boot to the face. Reigns loaded up in the corner, Shane to the apron and Reigns hit him a Superman Punch. Reigns with another Superman Punch on Shane on the floor. McIntyre avoided the Drive By kick on the apron and McIntyre with the reverse Alabama Slam that sent Reigns chest first into the announce table. McIntyre hit a Bossman Slam for a two count.

McIntyre set up Reigns on the top rope, Reigns punched him off a bit and then McIntyre recovered to deliver a superplex for two. Cole was screaming that this could be the finish, but that’s not a finishing move and the fans know it. McIntyre did a kip up back to his feet. McIntyre set up in the corner, he charged for the Claymore Kick, but Reigns avoided it and got a backslide pin. McIntyre with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt. McIntyre went up top, he jumped off with nothing and Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch for two. Reigns set up for a Spear, McIntyre kicked him in the head. Reigns with a punch, McIntyre with a headbutt, Reigns bounced off the ropes and hit a Spear on McIntyre. Reigns covered for one…two…but Shane pulled the referee out of the ring. Shane attacked Reigns and set him up against the turnbuckle. Shane hit the Coast to Coast dropkick on Reigns against the turnbuckle. Shane put McIntyre on top of Reigns and it got a two count with Reigns getting his shoulder up. The referee was selling a left knee injury. McIntyre got up for the Claymore Kick, but Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch. Reigns tossed Shane out of the ring and Reigns hit a Spear on McIntyre for the pinfall win at 17:50.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: **3/4 A solid match that was better than what they did at WrestleMania and it was about eight minutes longer too. The spot where Shane pulled the referee out of the ring should have led to a DQ finish right there, but they could explain that by saying that the referee was too afraid to disqualify Shane because Shane is the boss. McIntyre hit some cool moves throughout the match and he continues to impress, but losing twice to Reigns on PPV makes it tough to justify a monster push for him. I picked Reigns to win although I thought they might go with a DQ. A decisive win for Reigns was the right way to do it, so I’m glad they did it that way.

Reigns celebrated the victory. The announcers spoke as if this was the end of the rivalry, but I don’t know about that. Shane and Drew looked frustrated at ringside.

There was a commercial for Alexa Bliss 365 on WWE Network that premiered after Stomping Grounds. I’ll check it out on WWE Network after the show. Yes, her pet pig was in the preview clip.

The SD announce team recapped Drew Gulak winning the Cruiserweight Title on the Kickoff Show.

The steel cage was lowered on the ring. There was a video package to set up Kingston vs. Ziggler for the WWE Title in the steel cage.

Dolph Ziggler made his entrance as the steel cage was around the ring. Ziggler was booed. Kofi Kingston was up last with the WWE Championship. Nice pop for Kingston. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions.

WWE Championship Steel Cage Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler

There are four ways to win a WWE cage match: Pinfall, submission, climb out of the cage or walk out of the door. If it was up to me the only way to win would be to climb out of the cage. That would be more interesting.

Kingston nearly hit Trouble in Paradise, but Ziggler avoided it. They did some trash talk. Ziggler hit a dropkick and he tried to walk out of the cage, but Kingston caught him. Ziggler with a catapult into the cage, Kingston climbed up and hit a dropkick for two. Ziggler sent Kingston into the cage. Ziggler hit a neckbreaker followed by another whip into the cage. Ziggler whipped Kingston face first into the cage for a two count. Ziggler slapped on an armbar, which led to Kingston getting back up to his feet with a jawbreaker. Ziggler charged, Kingston with a back elbow and a springboard dropkick off the middle turnbuckle. Kingston with a dropkick to Ziggler and then Ziggler came back by shoving Kingston into the cage. Kingston took control as he whipped Ziggler into the cage three times. Ziggler with a kick to the knee. Kingston avoided the Fameasser, he shoved Ziggler into the steel cage and Kingston rolled up Ziggler for two. Kingston climbed up the cage, but Ziggler held on to Kofi’s foot. Kingston sent Ziggler into the cage to knock him down. Kingston jumped onto the top rope leading to a cross body block off the top for two. Nice move.

Kingston tried to climb out of the cage again, but Ziggler held on. Ziggler climbed up, but Kingston climbed up the cage with him, so they were both sitting on top of the cage. Ziggler’s legs were out of the cage, but Kingston held onto him and they were back on the top rope. After a headbutt by Ziggler, they fell into the ring. They battled in the ring again with Kingston hitting the SOS trip into a slam for two. Kingston tried an attack, Ziggler moved and Kingston favored his right leg. Ziggler tripped up Kingston and wrenched the right leg of Kingston. When Kingston got to the rope, the referee told him there’s no break, so Kofi used the ropes to climb back to his feet. Ziggler grabbed the leg of Kingston and hit him with a superkick that nearly sent Kingston out of the cage to give Kofi in the win, but Ziggler prevented it. Ziggler slapped on a knee bar submission on the right leg. Kingston managed to get Ziggler off him. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, but Ziggler caught the foot and slapped on an Ankle Lock submission. Kingston turned it around into an Ankle Lock of his own, but Ziggler fought out of it. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag for a two count because that’s not his finisher anymore. Ziggler wanted a superkick, but Kingston blocked it and took Ziggler down with a front facelock. Ziggler had two feet out of the ring, but they were not touching the floor. Kingston wanted a suplex, Ziggler avoided it and Ziggler tried to climb out. Kingston dragged Ziggler back in the ring. Ziggler with a thumb to the eye followed by a kick to the face. Ziggler crawled out the door, but Kingston ended up jumping out of the ring and landing on the floor first. Ziggler went to the floor right after him. It went 20:02.

Winner: Kofi Kingston

Analysis: *** It was a bit too long, but I give them a lot of credit for a creative finish. I think what hurt the match was that there were not enough nearfalls, not enough moments where they tried to climb out of the cage and the submission attempts by Ziggler barely got a reaction because everybody knew that Kingston would get out of it. The finish was awesome because while it looked like Ziggler was going to win, Kingston came up with a clever way to beat him. I don’t recall somebody doing that to finish a cage match, so give them a lot of credit for coming up with that ending. Ziggler never felt like a guy that was going to win the title. I just thought he was there for Kofi to beat at Super Showdown and Stomping Grounds, which is what he was. I have been perfect in my predictions with one more match to go.

Kofi Kingston celebrated with his New Day boys Big E and Xavier Woods. Charly Caruso showed up for an interview. Kingston said that Ziggler was a hell of a competitor, but Kingston said he would leave with his WWE Title and that’s what he did. New Day continued to celebrate.

There were commercials for WWE Shop and Extreme Rules.

Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon were shown walking backstage where Kayla Braxton showed up for an interview. Shane McMahon announced that Drew and Shane will face Roman Reigns in a 2 on 1 handicap match on Raw.

Analysis: That will probably lead to Drew pinning Roman to get Drew some positive momentum again.

The video package aired for the WWE Universal Championship match between champion Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin.

Baron Corbin made his entrance to boos from the crowd. Corbin made ring announcer Mike Rome read the cue cards listing the credentials for Corbin, which always gets heat from the crowd. Seth Rollins made his entrance with the Universal Championship around his waist and a steel chair in his hands. Good pop for the champ.

Corbin grabbed the microphone to announce the referee, but Rollins left the ring to scare. Rollins grabbed the microphone. Rollins said he didn’t know who Corbin got to be the referee, but if they think they can take Seth’s title, they will get the same (chair) treatment as everybody else.

The special referee is…Lacey Evans, who was booed by the crowd. Evans had a tight referee shirt on and she got in Seth’s face. The announcers immediately pointed out Lacey’s issues with Seth’s girlfriend Becky Lynch. Lacey made Rollins drop the chair and Corbin attacked Rollins with the chair.

WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin (Lacey Evans is the special referee)

Corbin got in a two count as Evans counted fast. Corbin whipped Rollins into the barricade. Some fans chanted “this is stupid” at this. Evans didn’t count at all while the guys were out of the ring. Back in the ring, Corbin with a clothesline. Some fans were chanting “AEW” although it wasn’t that loud. Corbin hit a DDT and there were “Daniel Bryan” chants. Corbin whipped Rollins sternum first into the turnbuckle leading to a “CM Punk” chant. Corbin whipped Rollins into the turnbuckle with Rollins going upside down to sell it. The fans chanted “boring” with Cole saying that the fans were all over Corbin to try to get the heat on Corbin. Rollins tried a top rope attack, Corbin moved, punch to the throat by Corbin and a double axehandle to the back of Rollins. Corbin did his slide out of the ring leading to Rollins hitting an enziguri kick to the head. Rollins finally got some offense going with a Slingblade followed by the Blockbuster and a clothesline that sent Corbin out of the ring. Rollins hit a suicide dive to send Corbin into the barricade. Rollins jumped off the top with a springboard knee to the jaw and a superkick leading to Evans doing a slow count. That drew boos from the crowd. Rollins went for an attack off the apron, but Corbin blocked it with a punch to the face. Rollins sent Corbin throat first into the top rope and followed up with a Powerbomb that sent Corbin through the English announce table. Rollins told Evans to count, so Evans did a very slow count. Evans got up to an eight count. Evans told the ring announcer that there will be no countouts in this match.

Rollins sent Corbin back in the ring, Rollins with a kick to the gut and Corbin left the ring. Corbin with a forearm to block a suicide dive, but Rollins was relentless with another dive attempt. Corbin with a Chokeslam on the side of the ring apron. Corbin with a Chokeslam in the ring for a two count with Evans counting at normal speed. Rollins avoided an attack and hit a superkick. Rollins went up top and hit a Frog Splash for one…two…and Evans pretended as if her right shoulder was hurting. Graves claimed it was Becky Lynch’s fault for hurting her earlier. Cole said there was no way for Rollins to combat this. Corbin hit Rollins in the ribs with the chair. Corbin hit Rollins in the back with the chair two times. Back in the ring, Corbin hit Rollins three more times in the back. Evans announced that this will be a no disqualification match. The fans were chanting for Becky.

Corbin teased a slam on the chair, but Rollins countered with a Falcon Arrow slam on the chair. Evans did not count the pin while Cole counted to seven and Corbin didn’t move. Rollins was pissed off and got in Lacey’s face. Evans with a hard slap to Seth’s face. Seth laughed about it, so Evans slapped him again. Evans kicked Rollins and a low blow. Corbin hit the End of Days slam on Rollins. Becky Lynch finally ran out for the save with punches on Evans. Lynch with a forearm on Evans and a Bexploder Suplex on the floor as Cole correctly pointed out it was a No DQ match, so Lynch was allowed to do it. Corbin called referee John Cone to be in the ring and then he complained about it. Corbin went for the End of Days, Rollins avoided it, Rollins with the kick and The Stomp for the pinfall win at 18:25.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Analysis: *3/4 This was a storyline driven match with the corrupt referee out there to try to help the heel challenger, but everybody watching this knew that Lynch was going to make the save at some point. As soon as Evans announced it would be No DQ, that set the stage for the Lynch involvement because she would be allowed to attack Evans and that’s what she did. Rollins did the best he could to carry the match, but I just think with the story they were telling, it would have been hard for any two people to have an outstanding match. I don’t mind Corbin as much as some people. He’s a classic, old school heel. The problem is fans are sick of the guy getting pushed too much and WWE needs to make him look like more of a star because looking like a restaurant waiter isn’t helping. Rollins retaining the title was the right decision. I had no doubt that he would keep the gold.

Post match, Becky raised Seth’s hand and they hugged in the ring. They raised eachother’s hands and hugged again. Lynch even patted Seth on the back. Graves said that Seth is Becky’s boyfriend and not the other way around. Renee said he was “The Man’s man.” I guess that’s the right way to say it. Seth and Becky sat together on the apron as replays aired.

Rollins and Lynch walked up the ramp together as the fans cheered them. They posed on the stage with Seth kissing her head and that was it.

Analysis: The whole point of this may have just been to make the point that Rollins and Lynch are dating, so now WWE is going to feature that more in their storyline. On Twitter, they are using the hashtag #BROLLINS to really push the relationship. I’m sure we’ll see more of it on Raw in the weeks to come.

This show had a runtime of 3:18:35 on WWE Network.


Five Stars of the Show

  1. Ricochet
  2. Samoa Joe
  3. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens
  4. Xavier Woods/Big E
  5. Kofi Kingston


Final Thoughts

It gets a 6.5 out of 10 from me.

The 6.5 out of 10 score means that it was pretty good for the most part. The lack of a great main event hurt a bit. I thought the best match was Ricochet vs. Samoa Joe as a classic athletic guy overcoming the odds against a bigger guy. The two tag team matches were very good too. Reigns/McIntyre and Kingston/Ziggler were fine as well, but maybe a bit too long. The problem with a show like this is there was nothing “must see” on it, so if you missed it, you really didn’t miss much.

There are babyfaces holding the WWE, Universal, Intercontinental, United States and both Women’s Titles right now. That’s rare to have that many faces holding onto the gold. It won’t last much longer because some heels will get those titles soon.

It was a predictable show because I got every pick right in my preview of the event. In the Reigns match, I noted that it could be a DQ ending, but it was clean. I’m going to give myself that one. Predictable doesn’t mean bad. The matches were good for the most part.

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

Stomping Grounds – 6.5

Money in the Bank – 6

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.


Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook


The post The John Report: WWE Stomping Grounds 2019 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

TJRWrestling WWE Stomping Grounds 2019 Preview

John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Stomping Grounds preview. Stomping Grounds is a PPV name? Yes, it really is. They have been using the tagline saying the show is about kicking ass and taking names, which is a classic phrase from movies and other things over the years. There are nine matches advertised with a one hour Kickoff Show at 6pmET/3pmPT and then the main show starts at 7pmET/4pmPT with an expected run time of about four hours. When it comes to WWE shows, you never really know how long it’s going to last. As always, you can watch the show live on Sunday night on WWE Network or watch it on demand.

The lineup is okay, but not great. I think they are missing a clear main event match because I could see Rollins/Corbin, Kingston/Ziggler or even Reigns/McIntyre as the last match, but none of them really stand out to me. There are also too many matches on this card that are rematches from shows like Super Showdown (which was bad), Money in the Bank and even WrestleMania over two months ago. Due to all of the rematches, the WWE product has become very stale although I think both Raw and Smackdown were better in their go-home shows this week.

I don’t think the card will be full of bad matches. I feel like we’ll get several good matches (around three stars out of five in my ratings system), but nothing will really stand out from the pack. I hope Joe vs. Ricochet does, but I don’t know if they will get enough time to do that. With no storyline that really stands out as being great and no matches that stick out as being special, it’s tough to be that excited about Stomping Grounds.

Joining me for the preview are Mike Holland and Matthew J. Douglas.

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


Cruiserweight Championship: Tony Nese (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak

Mike: I’ve been fine with Tony Nese’s run as Cruiserweight champeen at this point, as a change needed to be made with Buddy Murphy heading to the main roster, but it’s been rather uninspired thus far. Nese’s in-ring work, like the bulk of the division, is without question largely excellent, but in terms of generating a true character and presentation that will achieve some level of notoriety, we are a long way from Murphy or Jack Gallagher. It’s nothing against Tony, per se, but either of the challengers would look better sporting the gold.​

Tozawa has already had a couple of bites at this particular apple, though I completely acknowledge his ridiculous less-than-a-week reign as the Cruisers’ top dog was unfitting a man of his talents. It is the underappreciated Drew Gulak, though, who deserves a run with this belt. Gulak has been quietly stellar during his entire 205 Live tenure, whether it’s PowerPoint presentations or introducing his mat-based techniques to a more high flying roster. (What can I say, I’m a sucker for good mat wrestling. There’s a reason Dean Malenko is Top 5 in my world.) It’s high time for Drew to get the rub for a change.

Winner (and NEW Cruiserweight Champion): Drew Gulak

Matthew: I feel bad because I know that there are great matches happening on 205 Live pretty much every week, and that the fellas on that brand do pretty inspired work, but I simply don’t have enough time to consume all the content the WWE keeps pumping out every week. Which brings me to this match. I know nothing about this rivalry or lack thereof. I know nothing about how this came together, where the story may be headed, or who I’d like to see win. Yet still, I know this match will probably rock.

Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Tony Nese (because optimistically I’m imagining he’s been a solid Champion and should get to extend his run)

John: I’m glad that they are doing a triple threat because they have done singles matches so many times on PPVs that they feel repetitive. Gulak has done well of late and I think he has adapted to the WWE style well. Tozawa is a lot of fun to watch, as is Nese. Since Nese has held the title for over two months now, I think a title change is possible. I’m going with Gulak for the win just because I feel like they need to change it up. He can beat Tozawa to win, which can lead to Nese trying to win back his title and they can build up other contenders. They should have a good match, but as we know with Cruiserweight Title matches, the crowds don’t get into them that much due to 205 Live not being a big show.

Winner and New Cruiserweight Champion: Drew Gulak


The New Day (Xavier Woods and Big E) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

Mike: It’s been a parlor game of some renown determining which names jump ship from WWE to AEW ahead of their prime time TV debut this fall, but Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn would appear to be two guys who might want to at least think about it given their booking of late. Zayn, in particular, has borne the brunt of creative’s ill will, returning from injury to flounder about with ridiculous Q&A promos with very little to report about aside from offhand remarks about, you guessed it, AEW. It seems no matter what chapter of Sami’s main roster WWE career you turn to, you’ll find the pages a sad tale indeed.​

It is for that reason I’m very torn about this match, which frankly feels like filler to me. The easy answer would be to take New Day to coast to a win, because the Canadian buddies just don’t do a lot of that pretty much ever. I’m hoping against hope that doesn’t happen here, not only because O&Z deserve better but also because showing some potential fractures in the stalwart TND relationship would add a dimension to Kofi’s title reign that has been sorely lacking.

Winners: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

Matthew: You know what I hate? The Wild Card rule. I only bring it up here because when the Superstar Shakeup occurred, I was kind of interested in seeing where Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens would end up independent of one another. Their stories have been so intertwined in the WWE, it was almost refreshing to imagine what each could do, now that they were on different brands and not bound together. Then this stupid Wild Card rule, and after what feels like minimal time apart, Kevin and Sami are attached at the hip once more. I guess the WWE can’t give the pairing a rest… and truth be told what else would they be doing?

All four guys in this match can go, and if given some time, I’m sure they can tell a pretty rad story. As a New Day sycophant, I must support my boys.

Winners: The New Day (because they rock of course)

John: It feels like Owens and Zayn have lost every match in the past three months. I know they haven’t, but I’m just saying that there’s been a lot of losing for them. That’s because there are babyface champions like Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston right now, so WWE feels like they need heels to put them over constantly, which is the role that Owens and Zayn have filled. Owens could be contending for the WWE Title again, but he didn’t want to go to Saudi Arabia for Super Showdown and that’s why Ziggler was brought back to be in that spot.

This match could be a way to give Woods and Big E a win to set them up as future Tag Team Title contenders, likely on Smackdown although it’s not like the brand split is enforced anymore. I’ll go with Owens and Zayn because they need it more.

Winners: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn


Smackdown Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis) 

Mike: No matter what other nightmares have occurred weekly on WWE programming, one thing we’ve been able to count on as solid entertainment is, of course, Daniel Bryan. While Bryan’s tag team reign with Rowan hasn’t come close to reaching the heights of his WWE Title tenure, mostly due to the simple fact that they continue to leave him off of major cards or stuck in neutral on the pre-show, it’s been enjoyable nonetheless.​

You could do worse for opponents than the very likable duo of Heavy Machinery, although the build for this (as with many matches on this questionable card) has been lacking to say the least. I think this has the makings of a great feud, since Tucker and Otis are the epitome of what Bryan’s excellent promos rail against. We just aren’t there yet. Heavy Machinery are more than capable of winning here, as they’ve been booked relatively strongly against generally lame opposition, but I’m unconvinced the time is right to take the straps off D-Bry and friend just yet. The tag scene on SmackDown specifically has been relatively uninspired, so here’s hoping this kicks off a series of matches to get things cooking.

Winners (and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions): Daniel Bryan and Rowan

Matthew: I’m not really that into Heavy Machinery. Sorry. They just don’t really do much for me as a viewer. I kind of tune out when they come out and start checking my phone. Did you know how many scandals are happening on Love Island in the UK right now? I didn’t until Otis and Tucker hit the ring and I went down a google rabbit hole that led me to write-ups on said scandalous behaviour.

Where was I? Oh yes, they have a Tag Team Title match this Sunday. For reasons I don’t remember (must’ve zoned out). I don’t expect or want them to win. Keep the belts on the Planet’s Greatest Tag Team because there are far more interesting routes to go in the Tag Team Division going forward. Maybe a feud with Heart and Soul (the should be Tag Team of Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander).

Winners and Still Smackdown Tag Team Champions: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (because I can’t imagine Tucker and Otis with the Belts)

John: The tag team division on Smackdown is so thin right now that Heavy Machinery were basically put into this spot instead of having them beat other teams to earn the title shot. Yes, they did beat a couple of no name guys recently, but that’s hardly a credible win to build a team up. I think this will be one of those matches where Heavy Machinery comes close to winning several times, the crowd will get behind them (the fans really do like them), but they will come up short.

I’m okay with Daniel Bryan being a tag team wrestler for now, but he has been the best performer in the company since his heel turn last November. I want to see more of the “Planet’s Champion” this year. Don’t keep him in a tag team for too long. Bryan should be wrestling in main events. I guess the positive of being in a tag team is it won’t wear him down physically. Anyway, I expect Bryan and Rowan to retain while WWE hopefully builds up other tag teams (or uses this loss to keep building Heavy Machinery) to challenge them.

Winners: Daniel Bryan and Rowan


Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans 

Mike: I’m not necessarily against Lacey Evans being booked with another opportunity to unseat Becky Lynch, mainly because Evans has shown enough in her promos to keep me passably entertained. I wish I could say the same for Becky, but sadly without Ronda Rousey to belittle on social media, the shine has begun to wear a bit. I shudder to think that a bit of that could be due to her now highly public relationship with Seth Rollins, because badass Becky was a thing at some point, wasn’t it? This seems like Becky Lite, with a mushy relationship and much less intensity and pizzazz.​

Evans already had a chance at Becky’s belt, though that encounter was overshadowed by Lynch competing in another title bout the very same night. So now WWE creative is left with the unenviable Sophie’s Choice of either having the promising Evans drop another match to the champ or Becky Two-Belts becoming Becky Nil-Belts. There is no question all of this could be leading to a surprise Lacey victory, but for my money I don’t see it happening here. Lynch’s second title drop should be more of a moment in my view.​

Winner (and STILL Raw Women’s Champion): Becky Lynch

Matthew: This feud is still going? I’m legitimately stunned. I mean I could have sworn it was definitively shown that Becky was the better woman and was moving onto the next thing. I guess not and we are getting another round in this soon to be storied rivalry. I imagine we’ll one day tell our grandkids about how lucky we were to see the second high profile match between Becky and Lacey at Stomping Grounds (I hope that read as sarcastic, because as sarcastic as it probably reads, I assure you it is dripping with even more sarcasm).

Winner and Still Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch (because duh)

John: When Becky became “Becky Two Belts” at WrestleMania, my expectation was that she would lose the Smackdown Women’s Title first while holding onto the Raw Women’s Title longer. That’s what happened although I didn’t expect her to lose the SD Women’s Title in her first PPV title defense. Now that Lynch is mainly a Raw wrestler, I think it’s smart to keep the title on her long term. Plus, Evans is still green in a lot of ways even though WWE obviously likes her background as a US Marine and she’s got the tall, blonde look that Vince McMahon likes a lot. That match that Evans had with Charlotte Flair was awful while reminding us that Evans still has to improve. If they want to put the title on Evans later in the year then that’s fine, but I think it’s too soon to do it now.

Winner: Becky Lynch


United States Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet

Mike: We finally get to a match I am excited to see, both due to the fact that it’s a fresh pairing and also because both of the combatants can really get it done inside the squared circle. The entire Samoa Joe/Rey Mysterio thing has left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth, and while there can always be a legitimate creative reason for things being booked the way they are, I am starting to truly feel like Joe is just another monster made elsewhere being booked to oblivion by the oblivious. We’ll give him the US Title, sure, but every time there is a chance to take a major step forward we’ll backslide a bit to remind everyone he’s not our guy.​

Ricochet is dazzling to watch, and as we’ve said a million times seemingly in these previews, another sterling example of what happens when someone with buzz gets called up. Following his odd pairing with Aleister Black, Ricochet is now free to pursue a solo career in the big dance and hopefully get some more eyeballs on his amazing offense. Does that begin with a title win here? I wouldn’t have an issue with it, but I can’t see them stop/starting Joe as champion yet again so soon. I hope not, anyway.

Winner (and STILL United States Champion): Samoa Joe

Matthew: This match came together pretty much a couple days ago. So there isn’t much to say as far as a rivalry. I’m hoping this can kickstart something longterm between these two superstars, because both are in dire need of a program they can sink their teeth into. Ricochet is a great replacement for Rey too, because of the high octane offence both bring to their bouts and their abilities to sell for Joe as diminutive heroes.

Both of these guys are incredible performers and I pray they are given the time to do something special here that gets us all interested in the next time they go head to head.

Winner and New United States Champion: Ricochet (because I have too many titles being retained on this show, so hoping for at least one switch)

John: This is one of my favorite matches on the card because it’s fresh and a lot of the show is full of rematches. I believe I wrote in the last Raw Deal review I did that they should build Ricochet up and have him win the US Title at SummerSlam. As I thought about it a bit more while writing this preview, my opinion has changed. I think they should do the title change right here, then continue the feud for another one or two PPVs and have Ricochet retain the title. The push of Ricochet is important. Get the title on him right here. Plus, Joe losing the US Title means that he can be pushed as a top heel going after the Universal Title again, which is where he should be. I hope they get close to 15 minutes to have a great match. Let this be a breakout performance for Ricochet on the main roster.

Winner and New United States Champion: Ricochet


Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss (w/Nikki Cross)

Mike: If enthusiasm exists for another Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss contest, I’m “blissfully” unaware of it. (See what I did there?) This match bothers me from the get-go, starting with the point that Bayley is the Smackdown Women’s Champion and is defending against a competitor from the Raw roster. I get that people can show up on different shows every week, blah blah blah, but this stuff is getting so Mad Libs fill-in-the-blank scratch and sniff silly that it’s time to hoist the Brand Split up on its own petard and end the damn thing. ​

Rant over, most likely. The build going into this match is the presence of Nikki Cross, who appears to be aligned with Bliss following some silly Babysitter’s Club writing. I think Cross is a bit of a swerve here, as she is presented as unstable at best and will likely be more than happy to turn on Bliss and feud with her when things fall apart here. Sasha Banks may very well appear here, but to be completely honest I’d prefer she didn’t. This is Bayley’s moment, finally, and she’s doing well. Let’s not upset the apple cart and walk back her reign so soon.

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

Matthew: I’ve always been a fan of Bayley. I think her ring work is underrated and that her character’s potential has often gone unrealized. I was thrilled when she became Smackdown Women’s Champion, and I’ve been really into her work since getting the title. Alexa has been on a bit of a strange run of late. Not really wrestling, returning, then not wrestling again. She had moments where she was kind of playing a hero, but then finds herself a heel again. I had thought they were building her and Nikki up for the Tag Titles, so this match and feud caught me a little off guard.

That said I really enjoyed their segment to build up this match on Smackdown. There was some pretty cool story stuff in there and it got me interested in seeing these two characters settle it in the ring.

Winner and Still Smackdown Women’s Champion: Bayley (because it means a lot to see her conquer her past pitfalls and evolve as a character and performer)

John: Their segment on the last Smackdown prior to Stomping Grounds was very good. Alexa’s gimmick as the “girl that likes coffee” is lame, but once she’s allowed to cut loose in a promo, she’s awesome and I like watching her. The fact that Bliss is a Raw wrestler getting a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Title is lame too although it’s a reminder of why we should not take this “Wild Card Rule” seriously when WWE chooses to ignore their own rules. Anyway, I think Bliss is just an opponent for Bayley to beat because Bliss won their feud in the past, so when you have Bayley get the win here, it shows that Bayley has improved. That’s the story they should tell. I think the finish will be something where Alexa wants Nikki to try to cheat for her, Nikki is reluctant to do it or fails at it and Bayley capitalizes to win.

Winner: Bayley


Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre (w/Shane McMahon)

Mike: Ugh, ugh and double ugh. I hate everything about this putrid stink of a match, from the involvement of the supremely irritating Shane McMahon to the reminder that WWE already had the opportunity to book Drew McIntyre over Roman Reigns CLEAN in a way that made sense at WrestleMania and predictably blew it. McIntyre and Reigns as a feud is more than fine with me, but Shane McMahon’s fingerprints over everything can take something good and turn it into horror in a hurry. McMahon of course pinned Reigns in Saudi Arabia (verboten for anyone else on the roster, fine for the issuance of the sainted grapefruits) and here we go again. Just stop with the insanity.​

Out of duty to TJR and the reading audience, I am compelled to offer a prediction on this match. I don’t see Reigns losing two big matches in a row, but I also can’t see them having the same result as the last time with Reigns winning a relatively boring, slo-mo affair. So, two predictions for the price of none: Shane McMahon chicanery provides another opportunity to humble Roman, and I contemplate the void from the confines of the water closet.

Winner: Either McIntyre by DQ, or no-contest

Matthew: Who could care about this match? We have a professional lackey in Drew McIntyre taking on Roman Reigns for the umpteenth time, with an overexposed Shane McMahon thrown in for good measure. Is there any doubt that this match turns into chaotic scene involving Shane, The Revival, The Usos, The Miz and whoever else they can throw out there to make things seem unpredictable and crazy?

I don’t know how accurate reports of wrestlers being frustrated with Shane’s current push, but I can tell you that I am. It’s not so much what he’s doing but how much he’s doing. He’s all over these shows, in a way that is quite frankly a waste of my damn time as a viewer. And for all those that say I don’t have to watch, trust me, I skip out on a bunch of his segments. If I skipped out on any more, I could get through Raw and Smackdown in a breezy 45 minutes… combined. There are countless more interesting things that time could be spent on. Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be talking about Roman and Drew.

Winner: Drew McIntyre (because of the chaotic schmozzy finish I can see coming a mile away)

John: This is a rematch from WrestleMania when Roman Reigns beat Drew McIntyre clean in about ten minutes. Two weeks ago, Reigns lost to Shane McMahon at Super Showdown in an average match thanks to McIntyre interfering. If Roman Reigns loses this match, that means it will be two straight PPV (if you want to call Super Showdown a PPV) losses for him in just over two weeks. McIntyre will likely have Shane in his corner for this match while guys like Elias and The Revival may be around too. It’s classic WWE booking to have the babyface deal with the corrupt boss, but the difference is this is not leading to more viewers or bigger crowds the way Austin-McMahon did twenty years ago.

I want Drew to be a main event heel. I just don’t think this feud is working that well due to Shane being too involved. I’m going with Reigns for the win and it might be a disqualification. I think if McIntyre goes over then it would be a way to set him up for a Universal Title shot soon. However, I have a tough time going against Reigns. The chances are good that it’s going to be a cheap finish rather than anything clean, so if Drew wins it will be cheap like Shane’s win over Roman. If Roman wins then he might get his ass kicked after the match by the heel group in order to keep them strong.

Winner Roman Reigns (It might be DQ.)


WWE Championship Steel Cage Match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler 

Mike: Unfortunately for this big title match, it doesn’t feel very fresh. This is ground we’ve covered many, many times before, and while both guys are more than talented, I can’t say I have a lot of enthusiasm going into this one. Perhaps that’s due to the reign of Kingston, whose various feuds since unseating Bryan for the title have been less than inspired. Perhaps it’s due to the presence of Ziggler, who is finally being utilized again but merely repeating the trope of “it should have been me” like some muscle-bound Tonya Harding. Or maybe it’s that the only wrinkle thinly disguised here is the presence of the steel cage, meant to add some foreboding for Kofi as it keeps his friends at bay but likely going to serve as the impetus for another bland and boring, current WWE-era cage match. In my WWE experience, the cage doesn’t work far more than it does. I’m okay with hauling it out for special occasions and special measures, but here it just feels tacked on because it is.​

It’s not to say this bout is bad, as it’s reasonable enough. It just feels as reheated and uninteresting as most of the rest of this card. It’s pretty clear to me that Kofi is a stopgap champion, so the only real question is whether he hangs onto the belt until inevitably dropping it prior to Smackdown’s upcoming national exposure. For my money I would say he does. Ziggler is a credible enough champ, to be sure, but I see no reason to hand him the gold when the real story is going to be told down the line. I get the sense from Smackdown that everyone is biding their time for later. The unfortunate by-product of that way of thinking is that decent matches and competitors get lost in the shuffle. We could have had it so much better.​

Winner (and STILL WWE Champion): Kofi Kingston

Matthew: I’ve loved the way that Kofi has been booked as Champion. He has plenty of strong wins under his belt and isn’t being made to look like a fluke or a joke. As somebody that dreamt of him becoming Champion, this is beyond my wildest dreams and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how things have been unfolding with him. He’s an awesome babyface Champion.

I’ve also really quite enjoyed this feud with Dolph. Dolph seems to have gone to the Triple H school of longwinded promo delivery, but the main point of him believing that it should have been him that found himself elevated into the main event of Wrestlemania works for me, because it makes sense for his character to feel that way about the situation. Now do I wish he had changed something about himself after being away for a while…yeah I do. But I guess I can’t always expect evolution or change to these characters.

I thought they were shortchanged on time in their first match (barely over 10 minutes I read, key word being read, because I wasn’t watching that show). Hopefully, they are given close to 20 to put on a show inside the steel cage. This Kofi run has been too good to be true and I have to actively convince myself that a shoe isn’t about to drop at any moment. I’m riding with my guy!

Winner and Still WWE Champion: Kofi Kingston (because I never want this magic to stop)

John: I think Ziggler is just a guy for Kingston to beat and there’s not much more to it than that. Ziggler was on a “WWE vacation” as he put it earlier in the year, he worked the Royal Rumble and was brought back for Super Showdown because Kevin Owens refused to work that show. I’m not sure who Kingston is going to feud with after this, but I would be shocked if Kingston were to lose the WWE Title in this match. They should have a pretty good match as usual, but WWE cage matches don’t excite me much. It’s not a gimmick that the average fan would consider a draw, plus we just saw Shane vs. Miz in a Steel Cage match last month.

A reason for WWE to take the WWE Title off Kingston is because Smackdown ratings are poor right now. The viewership numbers on Smackdown go down nearly every week (it was around 1.8 million this week) and they’re down about 20% of where they were at last year. If we’re going to praise the main champions when things are going well then the main champions will likely get some heat for when things are not going well. I like Kingston and I think booking him to win every match he’s had in the last couple of months is smart, but he might be losing that WWE Title soon. I don’t know if it’s going to be Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens or even Brock Lesnar. I sure hope it’s not going to be Shane McMahon. I just get the sense that Kingston’s run as WWE Champion might not last much longer.

Winner: Kofi Kingston


Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin

Note: Corbin gets to pick the special referee, but no name has been announced yet.

Mike: This is a classic case of the stipulation being far more interesting than the match itself. That’s an especially bad sign when it’s for the Universal Championship, ostensibly the promotion’s biggest deal. Seth Rollins has had a rather “meh” (to use the scientific vernacular) reign for me, meaning it’s been decent but without too many big moments. A lot of that has to do with WWE’s insistence to have Baron Corbin of all people be at the top of his challenger list. Whatever WWE’s fascination with Corbin is, it just needs to stop already. I have heard the arguments that he generates heat, and there’s no doubt he does. It’s just all the wrong kind for all the wrong reasons. Corbin doesn’t belong at the top of this card and he certainly doesn’t belong in the critical match on said card. It’s an exercise in annoyance and frustration.​

I wouldn’t put much past Vinnie Mac’s booking, but I don’t see Corbin really having any chance winning here unless it’s to allow Lesnar to immediately cash in and beat him. I look at this more as Corbin trying and failing to outsmart Rollins while furthering the storyline of Lesnar cashing in the briefcase. (I’ve written recently about the whole briefcase fiasco, but it’s Waiting for Guffman at this point. In terms of him never arriving, not my enjoyment level.) This leaves the only real issue to concern ourselves with, that being who the special guest referee is, which incidentally is another angle that was supposed to have been resolved about seven shows before now.​​

The natural choice to me in that regard is Paul Heyman, who could easily manipulate Corbin into thinking he was stacking the deck while really allowing for his client to blindside Rollins and get the drop on him after his victory. Should it, in fact, be Heyman, I think Lesnar cashes in and wins the Universal Title back. If Brock appears on this show, it could only be to win the belt. I’m not really loving that result personally, but I think it closes the show with a bit of shock value which WWE can hope carries into their next couple weeks of programming. That’s likely the best they can do with a main event so questionable.​

Winner (and STILL Universal Champion): Seth Rollins, but Lesnar cashes in and wins

Winner and New Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar

Matthew: I can’t begin to try to care about this match. I don’t care about Baron Corbin vs. Seth Rollins. Seth caught fire last year but it’s all but extinguished for me now. I don’t find him or his character interesting or compelling. He’s rather ordinary. His matches can be phenomenal but as a personality, he bores me.

Do I need to explain why I’m not into Baron Corbin?

This match is not meant for me I suppose and thus I resolve not to lay my eyes on it. I wouldn’t watch it on a train. I wouldn’t watch it on a plane. I wouldn’t watch it with a normal referee. I wouldn’t watch if the official was Keanu Reeves. Who cares who is donning the hallowed striped shirt? Does it matter, even minimally? We all know how this story ends.

Winner and Still Universal Champion: Seth Rollins (because you really think they’d put the title on Corbin in this landscape?)

John: The special guest referee storyline is a way to differentiate it from their last match. I don’t mind having a surprise as a special referee either because Corbin’s a heel. Fans today get so mad about the Lesnar teased cash-in and things like Corbin not announcing his referee choice. Guess what? He’s a heel and heels are supposed to lie! I’ll never complain about a heel lying to me. That’s their role. I have no idea who the special guest referee will be. I’m not even going to guess.

I don’t think this is a very interesting matchup at all and I think WWE knows that too, which is why they did the special referee stipulation. I think Corbin is just a guy for Rollins to beat. The next PPV could be a multi-man or maybe they will try to get Drew McIntyre or Samoa Joe ready for Rollins. My feeling on Brock Lesnar is that he’ll become WWE Champion either at SummerSlam or the first Smackdown on Fox in October. I think Lesnar targeting Rollins is all a smokescreen to fool the fans, but I could be wrong on that. I’m just saying it’s a possibility.

Anyway, this should be a win for Rollins over Corbin, who needs to change his ring gear. The restaurant waiter look has got to go. I’m surprised Vince McMahon allows it. Their last match was fine, but I don’t think the crowd cares too much about it, nor do they think of Corbin as a credible threat to the Universal Title. Hopefully, a Rollins win here is the end of this feud.

Winner: Seth Rollins



The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

Mike: Samoa Joe/Ricochet. Not even close.

Matthew: I think the matches that have the best chance to deliver the goods are Kofi vs. Dolph and the Cruiserweight Title Match.

John: Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet.


The Match I Care About The Least

Mike: Rollins/Corbin. Sad state of affairs.

Matthew: I hate to say it, but Rollins vs. Corbin.

John: Becky Lynch vs. Lacey Evans. I like Becky a lot, but it’s hard to be excited about Lacey Evans matches.


Longest Match

Mike: I’ll go Kingston/Ziggler in the cage. Should be competitive and the cage adds time.

Matthew: Roman vs. Drew.

John: Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet.


Shortest Match

Mike: Bryan/Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery. Big men don’t do long matches generally.

Matthew: Smackdown Tag Titles.

John: Bryan/Rowan vs. Heavy Machinery. I agree with the others that it shouldn’t be too long.


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

Mike: Sad to say I am going with a 3.5 here. Is this a special event or an episode of Raw? Even your doctor doesn’t know for sure.

Matthew: It’s a lowly 2.5 from me.

John: I’ll go with a 5.5 because as I said earlier, there’s enough talent on the card to deliver some good matches. I just don’t have high expectations for anything to really stand out. I also think the storylines are lacking, so that hurts the show as well.


Final Thoughts

John: I’ll be back with a review of Stomping Grounds on live on Sunday night, so check it out during the show or after it’s over.

Mike – @DharmanRockwell

Matthew – @MJDP_GSE

John – @johnreport

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





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The John Report: WWE Super Showdown 2019 Review

Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of WWE Super Showdown 2019. It’s an afternoon show for me, so that’s nice to have an event earlier in the day.

The Kickoff Show match saw The Usos beat The Revival. I only caught the last few minutes. I’ll add in the full review of that match later today.

WWE Super Showdown
From King Abdullah International Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
June 7, 2019

The opening video package promoted epic battles like the 50-man battle royal, unfinished business between Randy Orton and Triple H, Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Title, Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon, Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin with the Brock Lesnar tease and The Undertaker vs. Goldberg for the first time ever. The “Legends Rise” theme song for the show isn’t bad, but I am sick of hearing it too.

There was a huge stage in the outdoor stadium in Jeddah and an impressive pyro display. It’s the same venue as Greatest Royal Rumble last year. The crowd was excited. Michael Cole welcomed us to the show with Corey Graves and Renee Young joining him on commentary.

Seth Rollins, the Universal Champion, made his entrance to a big ovation. They aired a video package of Brock Lesnar beating up Rollins on Monday’s Raw. Rollins had his ribs taped up to sell the attack from Raw. Baron Corbin made his entrance as Seth’s challenger.

They showed the announce team at ringside and there was the Arabic announce team at ringside as well.

The wrestlers stood in the ring as ring announcer Greg Hamilton read Corbin’s special introduction prior to the match. The fans booed. Big ovation for Rollins when he was introduced.

WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin


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TJRWrestling WWE Super Showdown 2019 Preview (The Undertaker vs. Goldberg)

Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Super Showdown. I’m going to do this one solo because frankly, this doesn’t feel like that big of a show even though WWE claims that it is. We know it’s going to be a very profitable show for them.

Super Showdown takes place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia even though WWE has refused to say “Saudi Arabia” on their television shows. They have said Jeddah at least. It’s because of the controversy that exists with Saudi Arabia. The reason WWE is there is because of the ten-year deal with the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority that pays WWE something like $80 million per year for two shows. Easy money for WWE. Some companies have pulled out from their deals with Saudi Arabia, but WWE marches on.

The start time of Super Showdown is 9pm local time in Jeddah, which is 2pmET here in my time zone, that’s 11amPT and it’s 7pm for my friends in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It’s similar to Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel last year. I like having an afternoon show to write about. That’s why I wish there was a UK PPV.

There is some controversy surrounding the show because some male wrestlers in WWE are not going to take part. Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens have chosen not to go. Aleister Black isn’t going because of some tattoos on his body that may upset people in Saudi Arabia. Sami Zayn is not going perhaps because it is his choice, but also because he is Syrian and there are safety concerns. Zayn announced that he is partnering with the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) to launch a mobile clinic in Syria to bring medical aid to those in desperate need. The fundraiser is going to start on Friday at 2pmET, which is when Super Showdown starts. Check it out on Sami’s Twitter account. Good for him for doing that. AJ Styles, who is on the banner up top, isn’t wrestling because he’s dealing with a sore back and is going to miss about one month of action. That means five of WWE’s most talented wrestlers will not be there.

The card currently has ten matches with one more possibly being added. As I noted yesterday, Natalya and Alexa Bliss flew over to Jeddah with the WWE crew because they might have a match. One of the main issues that WWE fans have the company doing these Saudi Arabia shows is that women’s matches were banned last year, but apparently, this match may be allowed now. There have been other women’s sporting events held in Saudi Arabia, so it’s not like WWE would be the first. However, I’m sure that if it does happen, Stephanie McMahon will brag about it because that’s what she does. Anyway, I hope Natalya and Alexa get to have the match.

That’s enough rambling from me. I’m not going to write as much as usual because this show feels like a glorified WWE live event in a lot of ways. I’m not that excited about it, but covering WWE is what I do, so I’ll be watching and reviewing it.

(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)


The Usos vs. The Revival (Kickoff Show)

Before I start, can we get the Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins a storyline? They have had nothing to do for the past month.  These teams always have great matches, so it should be the usual solid effort between them. The bad comedy skits have stopped because WWE probably realized that they weren’t helping either side. This is about finding out who the better team is. I think The Usos will get the win here although there will probably be more matches between them in the months ahead, so the outcome doesn’t matter that much.

Winners: The Usos


50-Man Battle Royal

My interest in this match is very low and WWE hasn’t tried very hard to promote it. Wrestlers aren’t doing promos about how they want to win. There’s no reward for the winner as far as we know. It’s just the “largest battle royal” in WWE history or however they want to promote it. Since I’m here to pick a winner, I’ll go with a babyface wrestler. My pick will be The Miz because he could use a win. Ricochet would be a cool choice too.

Winner: The Miz


Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado) vs. Lars Sullivan 

It’s the first official match on the main roster for Sullivan. He’s not going to lose. It should be a match where the Lucha House Party trio gets in a decent amount of offense, but then Sullivan will dominate and win. Keep it under five minutes. If Lars Sullivan loses a match on television this year I would be surprised. I hope they get him a manager soon because his promo on Smackdown wasn’t good.

Winner: Lars Sullivan


Intercontinental Championship: “Demon” Finn Balor (c) vs. Andrade

This will be one of the best matches on the show and it should be great to watch. They have wrestled a few times in the last two months. They clearly have a lot of chemistry together because they are both experienced guys that can work different styles. If they get 15-20 minutes, then they will probably have one of the best matches of the night. If it’s closer to ten minutes, then I’ll be disappointed. Anyway, Balor is the “Demon” gear so that means he’ll get the win. I think Andrade has a very good chance of being the next Intercontinental Champion and I’d like to see it, but it’s not happening here.

Winner: Finn Balor


Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley

Please keep this short. It’s not that complicated. Lashley gets in some offense for a few minutes, Strowman makes the comeback with some yelling and gets the win with the Powerslam. Lashley had the advantage on Raw, so it makes sense for Strowman to win here. It’s amazing how inept WWE’s creative team is as far as Strowman goes because he’s a popular guy, yet they never seem to want to push him. He has had nothing interesting to do this year.

Winner: Braun Strowman


WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

I think the build for this match has been pretty good for the last three weeks. Ziggler returned as a surprise because he’s been on a “WWE vacation” as he’s called it for most of the year. Ziggler’s issue is that he felt it should have been him in the WWE Championship spot at WrestleMania and because it was Kingston, he wants revenge. Simple enough. Ziggler was brought back apparently because WWE realized they couldn’t book Kingston against Kevin Owens or Daniel Bryan since they refused to work this show. As a result, WWE needed a heel to face Kingston and that led to Ziggler coming in.

These two guys have wrestled so many times that WWE released a playlist of 27 televised matches between them. That’s just televised. Add in all the house show matches and they have wrestled dozens of times by now. The good thing is that they haven’t wrestled recently, so it will feel fresh. Anyway, I’ll go with Kofi Kingston here in what should be a pretty good match that gets around 15-20 minutes.

There is something to remember about this match also. Brock Lesnar said he would cash in the Money in the Bank on Friday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be on Seth Rollins. It could be on Kofi Kingston. I don’t think it will happen. I’m just throwing it out there as a possibility.

Winner: Kofi Kingston


Triple H vs. Randy Orton

Triple H will turn 50 years old next month and he’s only had one match this year when he beat Batista at WrestleMania. Randy Orton is 39 years old, which might be younger than some people think because he started on the main roster when he was only 22 years old. These guys have wrestled dozens of times, but like with Kingston/Ziggler, it has been a long time since their last match. It will probably be fine as a three-star level match that gets around 10-15 minutes.

I’m going with Orton for the win. Last year at the first Saudi Arabia show, Triple put over John Cena clean. This year, I think it’s Randy Orton’s turn to beat Triple H clean. I can see WWE wanting Orton to get the win and perhaps it will lead to him getting a push against Roman Reigns

Winner: Randy Orton


Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon

I’m so tired of Shane McMahon getting pushed and being in featured matches. He has had a match at every WWE PPV this year. The guy is 49 years old. I realize that in this case, WWE is using Shane to try to help Drew McIntyre and Elias get more heat. However, in doing so, it makes those guys look like Shane’s lackeys instead of looking like bigger stars because Shane is hanging out with them. Anyway, this should be kept simple with Reigns winning after ten minutes. McIntyre will probably try to help Shane win, but Reigns should win and then Reigns has the match with McIntyre later this month at Stomping Grounds.

Winner: Roman Reigns


Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin

Speaking of people I’m so tired of, here’s Baron Corbin getting a Universal Championship match. The storyline is that Rollins got his ass kicked by Brock Lesnar on Monday’s Raw, which led to Rollins getting taken away in an ambulance to sell the devastating injuries. That should lead to a match where Corbin is on offense for 90% of it, the announcers will talk about how Rollins can’t come back and of course, the babyface Rollins finds a way to come back and win.

Winner: Seth Rollins

Will Brock Lesnar successfully cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase here? My prediction is no. I honestly think that if it happens, then it will be later this year at SummerSlam or perhaps the first Smackdown on Fox in October. Those shows are more important. This is a glorified house show. There is no need to take the Universal Title off Rollins right now when he’s only held the title for two months. Give Rollins more of a chance as Universal Champion. I think WWE will do that.

What they might do here is tease the Lesnar cash in, but Rollins will find a way to fight him off and Lesnar won’t cash in. They can follow up with Heyman getting mad at Lesnar for not cashing in on Monday’s Raw when he had a better chance to do it. If I had to guess, August or October is more likely for Lesnar’s cash-in attempt and I think it will be the WWE Title. Could I be wrong? Of course. I’m just offering up my guess.


The Undertaker vs. Bill Goldberg

This match between the 54-year-old Undertaker and 52-year-old Goldberg has been hyped up as the main event of the show. Whether it goes last or not, I’m not sure, but it makes sense to put them on last because it’s the attraction match. Some people might call it a “dream” match although I can’t say I dreamed about this match. There’s not much to say storyline wise, but I liked the end of Smackdown with their staredown.

They have had a lot of time to prepare for this match and both guys look to be in pretty good shape. The Undertaker has lost weight, which is good for a guy that’s had hip and knee issues for many years. Goldberg hasn’t had a match in two years, so obviously he’s going to be rusty, but he has known about the match for at least or month or two. I think he’ll do fine. They’ll keep it simple, brawl around ringside a bit and probably go about 7-10 minutes at most. I’ll pick Undertaker to win because he’s more likely to keep wrestling while this may be the end for Goldberg…but it’s wrestling, so does anybody ever retire? It never stops. Anyway, here’s hoping it doesn’t suck.

Winner: The Undertaker



The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

Finn Balor vs. Andrade.

The Match I Care About The Least

50-Man Battle Royal. I just don’t care.

Longest Match

Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler. Around 20 minutes.

Shortest Match

Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley.

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

I’m at about a 5 for this show. I don’t expect a great show. The lineup just isn’t that strong, but I hope the weak matches are better than I think and that the better matches live up to the hype.


Final Thoughts

I think I’m writing a live review, but it may be later on Friday. I don’t know yet. Check back to TJRWrestling on Friday to find out.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below. Go Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays.

John Canton


Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook


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The John Report: WWE NXT Takeover XXV 06/01/19 Review

This is the third NXT Takeover of 2019. It’s the only one that won’t be sharing the weekend with a major WWE PPV event. It’s a strong lineup as usual. Let’s get to it.

WWE NXT Takeover XXV
From Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut
June 1, 2019

There was an opening video package showing some highlights of the previous 24 editions of Takeover as we head into Takeover 25 tonight. Good stuff as usual from a WWE video package. Here’s that video.

There was also a video package about this Takeover event hyping up the matches.

There was a shot of the live crowd in Bridgeport looking excited about tonight’s show. The announce team of Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuiness and Beth Phoenix welcomed us to the show. Phoenix recently replaced Percy Watson on the announce team with Watson choosing to leave WWE.

Roderick Strong entered first alone without his Undisputed Era buddies since they have their own matches. The “Bro” Matt Riddle made his entrance to a pretty good pop. Riddle kicked his flip flops in Strong’s direction during his entrance.

Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong

Strong worked over Riddle with a knee to the ribs followed by a chop. The lights were turned off in the crowd and there was a spotlight on the ring. Riddle hit a few gutwrench suplexes on Strong. When Strong left the ring, Riddle hit him with a forearm to the face. They battled on the ring apron with Strong shoving Riddle back first into the turnbuckle and Strong drove Riddle back first onto the ring apron, which is the hardest part of the ring as Ranallo mentioned. Strong sent Riddle ribs first into the top rope. Strong hit backbreaker for a two count followed by punches. Strong slapped chinlock as fans chanted “Undisputed / Let’s go Bro” for both guys. Strong continued to work on the ribs, Riddle with punches and he got a rollup for two. Strong with a kick to the ribs followed by an Olympic Slam (hey Kurt Angle) for a two count. Riddle countered a backbreaker attempt and hit a brainbuster. Riddle with a jumping forearm followed by a jump kick. Riddle with two more forearms and an exploder suplex out of the corner. Riddle with a broton followed by a running penalty kick for two. Riddle worked over Strong with kicks to the chest. Strong with a ripcord knee, but Riddle came back with the Go To Sleep and a bridging German Suplex for a two count. Strong with boots to the face, Riddle got a kick and then Strong hit a step up enziguri while Riddle was on the top rope. Strong hit a perfect superplex for a two count. They each tried for big moves, Riddle was favoring his back and Strong hit a jumping knee strong followed by three forearms to the face and a lifting slam for a two count. Huge “NXT” chant for that because that sequence from Strong was amazing. Riddle with a roundhouse kick, ripcord knee, Powerbomb and a final flash knee strike for the two count. Riddle up top with a twisting attack, but Strong got the knees up to the back. Strong with a knee to the face, backbreaker and a sitout Powerbomb got two for Strong. Boston Crab by Strong, then he turned it into more of a Liontamer and Riddle was able to get out of it. Strong missed a strike, Riddle with elbow strikes and Riddle went for the Bromission. Riddle picked up Strong in Tombstone like position and hit a sitout slam for the pinfall win after 14 minutes. The move was called the Bro Derek apparently. Mauro said it, but it was hard to hear it at first.

Winner by pinfall: Matt Riddle

Analysis: ****1/4 That was awesome. It was an excellent choice for an opener. It was a hard-hitting match as expected from these two. Riddle getting the win was obvious since he’s an ascending star that’s probably going to be a main eventer soon. Strong was impressive even in defeat. That sequence where Strong was on a flurry on offense and nearly got the win is what really got the crowd going with loud reactions. Riddle couldn’t win with the Bro-mission due to the back injury he was selling, so going with something else worked pretty well. I liked the psychology of the match with the babyface Riddle finding a way to come back from the back injury to win.

Post match, Riddle celebrated the win. As I said, he’s going to be a main eventer in NXT soon.

There were commercials for Super Showdown on Friday and WWE Shop.

A video package aired to set up the NXT Tag Team Championships Ladder Match.

The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins made their entrance first to a big pop. They are a very popular team. It’s their first Takeover as a tag team. The Forgotten Sons team of Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler were next with no Jaxson Ryker and the fans were booing them. The team of Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch were next. The last team were The Undisputed Era duo of Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, who are heels, but the group does get cheered a lot too.

NXT Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler) vs. Oney Lorcan and Burch vs. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish)

The Undisputed Era duo were in control early as they cleared the ring. Cutler was sent out of the ring as O’Reilly and Fish faced off with Lorcan and Burch with strikes by all four guys. Lorcan worked over O’Reilly with chops and O’Reilly kicked the leg of Lorcan to send him out of the ring. Dawkins on the apron, so O’Reilly kicked him to the floor. O’Reilly and Fish grabbed ladders from the aisle with Blake hitting a suicide dive onto the Undisputed Era. There were six guys brawling on the floor, so Dawkins went up top and hit a cross body block splash on them. Big pop for that. Ford and Dawkins set up a ladder that was way too short, O’Reilly and Fish stopped that climb and Blake took down that ladder to knock down the Undisputed Era. Ladder shot to the chest of Burch and Lorcan. Forgotten Sons with ladder shots to two teams and then Burch/Lorcan hit double German Suplexes on Forgotten Sons at the same time while a ladder fell onto O’Reilly. Ouch. Dawkins with a spinebuster and Ford with a Frog Splash on Lorcan. Blake was set up across a ladder, so Ford did a leapfrog splash onto Blake’s back on a ladder. Street Profits with a flapjack to Cutler on a ladder. Fish with a forearm to Ford and O’Reilly with a missile dropkick on Dawkins. Fans chanted “this is awesome” as O’Reilly and Fish hit a double team DDT followed by a suplex onto a ladder. Fish tried to climb up the ladder, but Blake gave O’Reilly a Powerbomb into the ladder to knock down Finish. O’Reilly took a lot of punishment in the first ten minutes of this match. He may have lost a tooth too. The referees around the ring all had gloves on, so there was some bleeding among the eight guys too.

Cutler tried to climb a ladder above O’Reilly, but O’Reilly slapped on a leg submission on a ladder rung and Blake tossed O’Reilly out of the ring. Fish with kicks to Cutler. Blake with a reverse DDT while Cutler hit a stomp off the ladder on the chest of Fish. That was a cool spot. Lorcan with a forearm to Cutler off the top while Burch had Cutler on his shoulders. Dawkins had Blake on his shoulders with Ford hitting a Blockbuster neckbreaker off the top on Blake. That was cool. O’Reilly tried to climb, but Jaxson Ryker showed up in the aisle. Ryker grabbed O’Reilly and gave him a Powerbomb into a ladder. Ryker with a Chokeslam to Burch. Ryker launched Ford over the top to the floor. Ryker with a uranage slam to Fish. Dawkins tried to climb, but Ryker tipped the ladder over to knock him down. Ryker whipped a ladder into Dawkins against the turnbuckle. Lorcan charged at Ryker, who gave him a back body drop into the ladder against the turnbuckle. Ford hit Ryker in the back with a forearm and then O’Reilly and Fish worked on Ryker. They were joined by Burch, Dawkins and Ford. The wrestlers in the match worked together and slammed a ladder repeatedly into the back of Ryker about six times, so Ryker crawled to the apron. O’Reilly and Fish hit Ryker in the head with a ladder to knock him down to the floor. Ford followed up with a tope con hilo (somersault dive) over the top rope onto Ryker on the floor. Ryker was back up, so Lorcan hit a dive onto Ryker on the floor. Fish and O’Reilly hit Dawkins with a ladder, but Burch dropkicked the ladder to knock Fish and O’Reilly down. Lorcan and Burch whipped Fish into the ring post. German Suplex by Lorcan to O’Reilly. Burch and Lorcan attacked everybody with ladders and they tossed a ladder onto the three Forgotten Sons on the floor. Lorcan and Burch set up a ladder for a climb, but O’Reilly and Fish stopped that, which led to two ladders getting set up. The two teams reached for the titles, then it turned into a slug fest and the Forgotten Sons shoved over both ladders leading to all four guys going down with Ranallo saying it was a “Jenga tower collapsing.” Jenga rules! Blake and Cutler tried to climb a ladder, but Dawkins hit a Spear. Ford did a springboard attack off the top onto the ladder, he knocked Blake off the ladder with a punch and Ford grabbed the titles to win the match after 22 minutes. The crowd popped huge for the win.

Winners and NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)

Analysis: ****1/2 It was an outstanding ladder match full of huge moments and I think the right team went over in the end. O’Reilly took a beating throughout the match including possibly a lost tooth or at least a bloody mouth. All eight guys bumped their asses off to put on a show here  and they didn’t do anything too crazy, but there several bumps where guys were thrown into ladders, which leads to a rough landing. The Street Profits were the right pick to win since they were the most popular team and it was a big deal when they grabbed the titles. Along with O’Reilly, I thought Ford was the best performer in the match because they set up his spots really well and he stood out with his athleticism, including the final spot to grab the titles.

After the match and some replays, The Street Profits went into the crowd with their titles to celebrate wit the crowd. It was a solo cup party.

A commercial aired for WWE 24 about Ronda Rousey that will air on WWE Network on Monday after Raw.

There was a shot of Io Shirai warming up backstage with Candice Lerae saying she was there for her.

Velveteen Dream vs. Tyler Breeze is next and they get a video package for their North American Title match.

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