Welcome to another WWE Raw Deal review right here on TJRWrestling. This is the last Raw before the WWE Super Showdown event on Thursday. I will have a preview of that up on Tuesday afternoon most likely and then I’ll write a review of it on Thursday afternoon as well. This Raw is in my home country of Canada in Winnipeg. I’ve never been to Winnipeg, but I know that WWE running Raw there is very rare, so I expect them to be a vocal crowd.
Live from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1396 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage, insightful columns from our team along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Let’s roll.
I’ll be back shortly after 8pmET for the live review.
The next WWE Network special is called Super Showdown on Thursday, February 27 from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Here’s the lineup so far.
WWE Universal Championship: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Bill Goldberg
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Ricochet
Steel Cage Match: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (c) vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Raw Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins and Murphy (c) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Naomi
Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match: United States Champion Andrade, Rusev, R-Truth, AJ Styles, Erick Rowan and Bobby Lashley
WWE Super Showdown comes to International Arena at The Boulevard in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 12 p.m. ET/8 p.m. AST, streaming live on the award-winning WWE Network. (I grab that sentence from the WWE.com preview.)
Welcome to another WWE Smackdown review here on TJRWrestling. It’s the last Smackdown before Super Showdown takes place next Thursday, February 27. Let’s get to it.
Live from Phoenix, Arizona, this is Smackdown for episode #1070. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
The show began with a video promoting Goldberg will be live on Fox. That means in the arena this time as opposed to via satellite two weeks ago.
The Smackdown “Are You Ready” introduction video played. That was followed by a pyro display in the arena to fire up the crowd in Phoenix (or Glendale).
The announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves promoted what was to come on this week’s show including Carmella vs. Naomi, the “legendary” Bella Twins are on Alexa Bliss’ talk show and Braun Strowman teams up with Elias against Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura in a “Symphony of Destruction” tag team match.
The Usos made their entrance with the crowd popping for them since they’re a popular team in WWE. They are in an eight-man tag team match this week. Jimmy Uso said that last week they couldn’t be here and it was very hard for them to be missed with Jey saying that Miz and Morrison couldn’t keep their names out of their mouth. They said that they are back in the building, they’re having a superkick party and everybody is invited. They asked “who” their partners could be leading to the New Day making their entrance.
Analysis: The superkick party line was interesting because that’s what The Young Bucks have said for years. It doesn’t mean there’s a match coming since they are in different companies. It was just a bit of a surprise to hear that term.
The New Day’s Big E and Kofi Kingston entered with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles along with pancakes. The Usos said that they are the most dominant teams on Smackdown with Jimmy saying they hope The New Day keep the titles warm for them. Kofi called The Usos future Hall of Famers no doubt while mentioning they are 6-time Tag Team Champions. Jimmy made Kofi repeat it. Big E said that’s incredible, but it’s one less tag team title reign than New Day, which makes New Day better than The Usos. Jey said that after they get through Miz and Morrison at Super Showdown, they can do this one more time.
The Miz and John Morrison made their entrance. They will challenge New Day at Super Showdown for the SD Tag Team Titles. Miz and Morrison said they need something catchy for fans to say about them. They came up with “Miz and Morrison hey hey ho ho” that led to awkward chanting from the heels while the fans booed it. They said they’re the greatest tag team of the 21st century: “Be Jealous.” Morrison said one of their partners had a winning Valentine’s Day. Dolph Ziggler made his entrance with Robert Roode as Cole ripped on Ziggler for stealing Otis’ date with Mandy Rose. Roode and Ziggler greeted their partners around ringside while the faces were around the ring. The Usos and New Day were in the ring with Usos saying they can start this match right now.
The four heels surrounded the ring, they went to the apron and then the faces scared them to knock them off the apron to the floor.
Analysis: The match was already announced before the show, so they really didn’t need to do promos. I guess the reason to do them is to shine a bit of spotlight on the tag team division. I’m not sure what the WrestleMania direction is, but a Tag Team Ladder Match with these four teams plus Heavy Machinery (and maybe The Revival if they’re still around) sounds like a good idea.
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) and The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) vs. Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, The Miz and John Morrison
The babyface team did quick tags as all four guys attacked Ziggler in their corner. Big E with a back body drop on Roode, both Usos hit the running corner splash on Ziggler and Kingston hit a dropkick on Ziggler. Roode distracted the referee, so Morrison used his legs to pull Kingston over the top to the floor. Miz with a boot to the face of Kingston on the floor. The heels worked over Kingston on the floor. Morrison with an elbow drop. Graves said that Cole’s trashing of Miz and Morrison sounded like the internet on Reddit, Twitter and told people to be jealous of them. The heels continued to do cheap attacks behind the ref’s back. Miz riled up the crowd, which drew boos. Kingston tried to fight out of the heel corner with a headbutt and kicks, but Morrison hit a leaping kick to the head of Kingston to knock him down to the floor. That led to a break.
The show returned with Kingston as the face in peril as Ziggler hit him with a dropkick. Kingston with a back body drop on Ziggler and then a running stomp to the chest of Roode, who was legal. Big E got the tag against Miz with the usual hot tag offense from Big E including two overhead belly to belly suplex, then a side belly to belly and some hip-swiveling followed by the running splash. Morrison got the tag, Big E charged, Morrison with a knee to the face, Morrison charged and Big E hit the uranage slam for a two count. There was some technical difficulties thing on the screen that is a tease for something, but I don’t know what yet. There was some envelope. Big E was looking outside the ring, Morrison with a springboard kick, a running knee and a standing Shooting Star Press got a two count as Kingston broke it up. Kingston with a clothesline to send Miz over the top to the floor. Morrison with a corkscrew cross body block on Kingston. Jey and Roode were the legal men with Jay sending Morrison to the floor. Jey got a rollup on Roode for two, Ziggler went into the ring and Roode/Ziggler hit a spinebuster/Zig Zag combo although Ziggler did not do his part well. That got a two count. Jimmy with a superkick on Ziggler, then a superkick on Miz and Roode hit a Glorious DDT on Jimmy. Jey missed a kick on Roode, but Jey slipped out of a DDT attempt and hit a superkick for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) and The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston)
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a very good tag team match following the usual formula with Kingston as the face in peril, then he got the hot tag and the last few minutes were great to watch. The finish put over The Usos to suggest that they’re going to get a push. I thought they would do one of those sequences towards the end where everybody hit big moves like most WWE multi-man tags, but then it ended rather abruptly. The Usos winning is fine with me. It didn’t really get me more excited about New Day vs. Miz/Morrison on Thursday, but I think Miz/Morrison are winning the titles in that match.
Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage with Drew Gulak walking up to him saying he noticed that Bryan had some holes in his game. Gulak said he has a Powerpoint Presentation to teach Bryan. Gulak mentioned Bryan’s matches with The Fiend, a tag team match and his match with Heath Slater, who happened to be standing right there. Slater said that Bryan stomped his brains in and made his kids cry while claiming that nobody makes his kids cry, but him. I guess that was funny. Slater claimed he wasn’t ready. Bryan asked if he is ready right now and Slater said he wants a rematch tonight, which Bryan agreed to. Bryan suggested that maybe Gulak can help Slater and Bryan left.
Analysis: I really hope WWE can come up with something good for Bryan at WrestleMania. To me, he’s the best wrestler in the company and he needs to be featured more than he is. I know Bryan has refused doing the Saudi shows in the past, so that’s why he’s not going to Super Showdown. I just hope there’s something meaningful for him at WrestleMania this year.
They promoted Goldberg’s first time on Smackdown on Fox. Goldberg has been on Smackdown before, but not since the Fox deal in October. Also, the Mandy/Otis Valentine’s Day date fallout is next.
A video package aired about Mandy Rose’s date with Otis that did not turn out well on Valentine’s Day last week. Mandy went to the restaurant first, Otis showed up late due to a text she sent and then Dolph Ziggler was there to steal the date with Mandy. Otis saw Dolph sitting with Mandy, Otis dropped his flowers and he left. Poor Otis.
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville were shown talking backstage when Tucker (Otis’ tag team partner) showed up. Tucker said that Mandy hurt his boy. Tucker complained about how Mandy invited Dolph Ziggler while noting that Otis got her flowers, combed his hair and got new underwear. Tucker said he’s never seen Otis so hurt and he didn’t even want to leave the hotel room. Mandy claimed she didn’t mean to embarrass Otis, she ran into Dolph after Otis didn’t show up and Tucker asked then why did you text Otis saying you were running late? Mandy: “What text?” Tucker said that Otis is the sweetest man that he knows, he always sees the best in everyone, but he was a fool to think that Mandy had good intentions. Tucker left. The fans chanted “Otis” as Mandy talked to Sonya asking what text is he talking about? Sonya said that Tucker was sticking up for his boy and she said that Mandy had a good time with Dolph. Mandy said she was looking forward to hanging out with Otis, Sonya said that Dolph is more of Mandy’s type so don’t worry about.
Analysis: The big thing to take away from that is that Mandy had no idea about a text that Otis received last week saying that she was running late. So who sent the text? Maybe it was Sonya Deville, who doesn’t want Mandy to date Otis because Sonya has feelings for Mandy? Maybe it was Dolph Ziggler who somehow got Mandy’s phone and sent the text? I don’t know if it’s going to be revealed who did it, but that’s likely the next step.
Lacey Evans Interview with Renee Young
Lacey Evans was seated on a chair backstage with Renee Young for an interview. Young said this is Lacey’s first time on Smackdown since the Royal Rumble about four weeks ago. Evans said that she takes pride in putting her best foot forward and not stopping. Evans called Bayley a bully. Young mentioned that not too long ago, Evans was being a bully to people calling them a “nasty” all the time. Evans explained it saying it’s a term of endearment while showing how to say it in a friendly way. Evans said that she was a bully, but coming to Smackdown she saw how Bayley and Sasha Banks treated the women’s division. Evans said when they were tormenting Lacey’s child was when she realized how much of a bully she was herself. Evans said that grandpa used to say that if your pen sticks then you’re probably the big. Evans said it’s up to her to set the proper example. Renee asked what is next for her. Evans said that her sights are set at the Elimination Chamber and she said she had to take out five women to get the opportunity to become the champion at WrestleMania. Renee thanked her and wished her the best of luck.
Analysis: I think WWE is really wanting to push Evans as a top woman on Smackdown, so this was a way to get back into the title hunt. Evans mentioning Elimination Chamber means that there will probably be a Smackdown women’s EC match along with a Raw women’s EC match and I assume a men’s EC match too. Three EC matches on the same show seems like overkill, but that’s where we’re headed. Evans winning the SD Women’s Title at WrestleMania wouldn’t surprise me at all.
There were musical instruments set up around ringside for a “Symphony of Destruction Match” where you can use the weapons at ringside.
Cesaro made his entrance along with Shinsuke Nakamura and their manager/liberator Sami Zayn.
They showed a highlight of last Friday when Cesaro and Zayn attacked Elias, Braun Strowman made the save and the heels ran away. Strowman tossed a guy over the top onto other security guys on the floor.
Elias did his usual shtick about how WWE stands for “Walk with Elias” with the crowd chanting along right on cue. Elias had a song where he introduced his partner, the “Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman, who is the Intercontinental Champion. Strowman carried a stand up bass down to the ring. The first Symphony of Destruction match was on Raw with Strowman beating Elias.
Symphony of Destruction Match: Braun Strowman and Elias vs. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura (w/Sami Zayn)
This is essentially a Falls Count Anywhere match with musical instruments at ringside that are allowed to be used in this match.
Nakamura started with Elias even though I figured it would be more of a Tornado Tag since weapons are allowed. Why would you wait for a tag when you can just use a weapon to attack somebody? Anyway, Elias hit a hiptoss. Nakamura tried to attack with a tambourine, but Elias used it to hit Nakamura in the back and the chest. Elias with a jumping knee to knock Nakamura out of the ring. Elias had a big drum, Cesaro took it from him and Strowman crushed the drum over Cesaro’s body. Zayn hit Strowman in the back with a ukulele. Strowman ran after him and Nakamura hit Strowman in the ribs with a guitar. So why were they going for tags like a regular match? That made no sense to me.
A commercial aired promoting John Cena on next week’s Smackdown. Do we need this while a match is going on in the ring? Odd timing.
The match returned with Cole calling Cena the “greatest of all time” as the match continued with Cesaro using a cowboy. Elias wanted to suplex Cesaro through a table, Zayn grabbed Elias’ foot and Nakamura kicked Elias off the apron to put him through a table on the floor. Strowman with a running shoulder tackle on Cesaro and he tripped up Nakamura on the apron. Strowman tossed Cesaro across the announce table. Strowman sent Nakamura into the steel steps and into the barricade. Strowman gave Cesaro a Chokeslam onto the edge of the ring apron. Strowman looked at the huge bass at ringside as Zayn hit Strowman in the back with a keyboard. Cesaro and Nakamura gave Strowman a double suplex through the bass leading to a two count on the floor for Cesaro. A bass is not very thick, so it’s not like it’s a big bump, but it sounds loud at least. Elias sent Nakamura into the barricade. Nakamura with a spin kick on Elias. Nakamura went for a running knee. Elias moved and Nakamura went knee first into a gong cymbal that was at ringside. Elias hit Cesaro wit ha guitar to the back. Elias went up top Nakamura grabbed him, Strowman got Elias and Strowman tossed Nakamura over the announce table. Elias jumped off the top with an elbow onto Cesaro to break the table. Strowman gave Nakamura a powerslam off the announce table into the top of a piano that was at ringside. The piano split in half pretty much. Strowman covered Nakamura on the floor for the pinfall win after about 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Braun Strowman and Elias
Analysis: *** The match was fun at times, silly at other times and overall it seemed like the fans liked it because the babyfaces got the win. The finish was well done with the faces hitting the big spots to win the match. That spot with Strowman hitting a Powerslam off the announce table onto a piano is something I have never seen in WWE before, so that’s unique and I gotta give them credit for coming up with something creative like that. I ask the question again, though, why were they working this as a regular tag team match in the first few minutes? That made no sense to me. This feud has done nothing to help Cesaro/Nakamura and Zayn because they get their asses kicked nearly every week while looking like chicken shit heels all the time.
Nakamura ended up with a cut in the back of his head from the piano bump. This is why they don’t bump on pianos! Check out the photo from his Instagram below.
There was a video package about the Roman Reigns feud with Corbin since they have a Steel Cage match at Super Showdown next Thursday.
Analysis: This feud has been going on for about four months. It might end at Super Showdown with a Reigns win, but I’m not sure if that will really be the end of it.
King Corbin was interviewed by Kayla Braxton with Corbin saying it’s the end of Roman Reigns as the face of WWE. Corbin said that Reigns hides behind his hoodlum cousins. Corbin claimed that Reigns has never beaten him in a one on one match (he did at Royal Rumble) while saying nobody can help him in the Steel Cage match. Corbin said after Super Showdown, Reigns will be replaced by Corbin and Corbin’s face will be all over WWE advertising and on Fox. Corbin said that the entire WWE Universe will bow down to King Corbin…believe that.
Analysis: I am picking Reigns to win at Super Showdown. That’s for sure.
There was another plug for Goldberg later on Smackdown.
Carmella and Naomi were shown in separate parts of the backstage area getting ready for their match.
The Bella Twins as guests on “A Moment of Bliss” talk show is next.
Next Monday on Raw, who will Randy Orton strike next? Plus, Becky Lynch is going after Shayna Baszler and Brock Lesnar is back on Raw.
A Moment of Bliss with The Bella Twins
Alexa Bliss made her way onto the stage to host her talk show called A Moment of Bliss. Alexa said that this is a special Hall of Fame moment of Bliss. Alexa said let’s take a look at the 2020 Hall of Fame Class so far. They showed Batista on the screen along with the New World Order’s Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman. I still think it should just be the first three guys there, no offense to Sean or anybody else. Alexa announced the Bella Twins in the WWE Hall of Fame 2020 class as well.
The Bella Twins duo of Nikki and Brie made their entrance with both of them in red dresses and they are both pregnant as well. I believe they live in the Phoenix area. They got a pretty good pop. Nikki said they’re so excited, so honored and it was special for them to be in their hometown. Nikki said they’re beyond grateful for the Bella Army while saying they wouldn’t be where they have been without them or broken barriers without the Bella Army. What barriers? I don’t get it. Anyway, Brie put over Bliss for having the first female talk show in WWE history. Brie said that the female WWE superstars keep raising the bar and they are so honored to be there.
Brie mentioned that they are twins that are both pregnant. Brie said they are a week and half apart in their pregnancies while Nikki recently got engaged (to a guy named Artem). Brie said it meant a lot to be there on Smackdown where they got started. Nikki thanked the fans while adding they want to see the Bella Army in Tampa for WrestleMania. The women hugged on the stage. Daniel Bryan, who is married to Brie, walked out with their young daughter Birdie and they shared hugs. Bryan led the crowd in “yes” chants for his match up next.
Analysis: Congrats to the Bella Twins. I think they both worked hard to improve throughout their careers, so I respect them for that. I think Nikki was clearly the better of the two women especially in the last four years of their careers. Nikki had better matches and was the better actress of the two. Nikki also had a very long reign as Divas Champion, so she was pushed a lot. With that said, I thought their rivalry in 2014 was absolutely awful and was the winner of my Johnny Award for the Worst Feud of the Year. I think most fans would agree that the level of acting that took place during that rivalry was really bad. I’ll never forget that “I wish you died in the womb” line that was so lame. They aren’t favorites of mine by any means, but WWE has pushed them so much in their careers especially after they got the reality shows that it’s easy to see why WWE wants to put them in their Hall of Fame. Could WWE waited a bit until they got a bit older to put them in the Hall of Fame? Probably. There are women that have been retired for several years that are probably getting in at some point, yet the Bella Twins got in before them. It’s the WWE Hall of Fame, though. There’s no explanation or reason for the picks. There might somebody that has been retired for ten years in the HOF class one year and then the next year they might put recent retirees like the Bella Twins, who are two of the youngest Hall of Famers since they are just 36 years old. Who knows? It’s just all the whim of Vince McMahon. I don’t really complain too much about people going into the WWE Hall of Fame. They let a lot of people in and there are many questionable picks that go in years before deserving people ever get to go in. I know it means a lot to the performers to get in, so that’s why I’ll always say congratulations to them.
Heath Slater vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan pulled down Slater by the arm, Cole said Slater was on commentary and it was really Drew Gulak, so Graves ripped on Graves for it. Slater got some offense with a shoulder to the back of the leg and he drove the left leg into the mat. Bryan jumped off the top, grabbed at his knee and then Slater hit a DDT for a two count. Slater went up top, Gulak told him not to and he told him to get down, but Slater jumped off the top to hit nothing because Bryan moved. Bryan with the Yes Kicks to the chest followed by a roundhouse kick to the head. Bryan led the crowd in “Yes” chants, he went for the knee, Slater avoided it and got a rollup for two. Bryan came back with the running knee to the face for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Daniel Bryan
Analysis: *1/2 Bryan got the win as expected, but Slater got in a bit of offense there. Gulak working with Slater gives those two guys something to do after doing nothing for months on Smackdown. Bryan will need a more high profile rivalry and I hope he gets that before WrestleMania. I don’t know what heel there is to face whether it’s Baron Corbin or Sheamus. Something good, hopefully.
Post match, Gulak stood up and told Bryan that Slater almost had him a couple of times.
Mandy Rose was backstage by the door looking at her phone with her luggage. The screen was messed up again with a graphic that looked like an envelope of some kind. Dolph Ziggler walked up to Mandy, she said she was waiting for her ride, Dolph said that he has car and she can ride with him. Mandy said sure. Otis was hiding behind some boxes, so when Mandy left, Otis walked out with a sad look on his face.
Analysis: Poor Otis. That’s all I got.
Naomi made her glow entrance to a good reaction plus some quality dance moves.
Next Tuesday on WWE on WWE Backstage on FS1 hosted by Renee Young and Booker T, their guests are Daniel Bryan and The Bella Twins.
Sheamus was shown backstage in a darkened room. Sheamus mentioned Shorty G and Apollo Crews while saying he sent them running like rats from a sinking ship. Sheamus said that Smackdown’s problems are far from over. Sheamus said that it’s time for him go after bigger prey and the time has come to exterminate every rat in that locker room. Sheamus said he’ll do it when he enters the Elimination Chamber.
Analysis: Sheamus has talked about going after the IC Title in the past since it’s the only title he hasn’t won. The Elimination Chamber match will be for a shot for the Universal Title, I expect Reigns to win that, but they can do something with Sheamus and Strowman in the match to set up an IC Title match at WrestleMania. Maybe Sheamus costs Strowman in the Chamber match after Sheamus is eliminated. It would be easy to set up.
Apollo Crews and Shorty G were shown in the locker room. Shorty said Sheamus is a bully and it makes him sick while adding he’s not backing down. Crews told Shorty he didn’t need his pep talk while telling him you can handle Sheamus your way and Crews can handle business his way.
Analysis: Perhaps this will lead to a heel turn for Crews. Clearly, Crews hasn’t gone anywhere as a face, so it could be a good thing for him.
Bayley was at ringside with the Smackdown Women’s Title to watch the match. Carmella made her entrance and she got some pyro as well. They replayed last week when Bayley cheated to win to beat Carmella. Naomi attacked Bayley after the match, so that’s how we got this match.
Number One Contender’s Match for the Smackdown Women’s Title: Naomi vs. Carmella
The winner of this match gets to challenge Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Title at Super Showdown next Thursday.
Carmella with a shoulder tackle, Naomi with a leapfrog and a running back elbow. It was mentioned by Cole that Bayley’s title reign has reached 273 days. Naomi kicked Carmella down followed by a running clothesline for two. Naomi hit a full nelson slam into a pin followed by two more nearfalls. Carmella did her headscissors spot, but Naomi came back with a kick to the face. Back in the ring, Naomi with a cross body block off the top for a two count. Naomi went to the middle turnbuckle, Bayley distracted and Carmella hit a headscissors off the ropes. Bayley went over to Naomi to trash talk her, so referee Jessika Karr ejected Bayley from ringside. Carmella hit a suicide dive under the middle rope to take out Naomi on the floor.
The match returned with Naomi making a comeback with a backbreaker. Naomi kicked Carmella in the legs, but Carmella tripped her up for a two count. Carmella hit a neckbreaker on Naomi for two. Naomi with a jawbreaker followed by a springboard kick to the head with Graves saying Carmella avoided contact, which is another way of saying the kick missed. Naomi hitting a twisting dive to the floor, Carmella wanted to catch her, but Naomi didn’t go far enough, so she crashed onto Carmella’s lower half. That’s not a fun landing. They went back into the ring with Naomi getting a two count. Naomi missed a corner splash, Carmella went up top and hit a cross body block for two. Naomi with a kick to the face, then a sunset flip into the ring and that looked like they were off a bit. Carmella and Naomi each got multiple nearfalls. Carmella slapped on her Code of Silence submission move with her legs around the throat, but Naomi got to the ropes. Naomi with a kick to the jaw and the Rear View (aka The Jumping Ass Attack) by Naomi got a two count. Carmella pulled Naomi off the ropes and kicked her in the face for a two count. Naomi with a knee followed by a blockbuster neckbreaker off the ropes. That was not a smooth landing. Naomi hit a split-legged moonsault off the top for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall Naomi
Analysis: **3/4 This was okay with a few moments that were shaky, but they got through it fine and the finishing sequence was well done. The shaky moments included the Naomi kick that obviously missed as well as the dive onto the floor where she landed too low and it looked like a rough landing. Those are little things, but it’s hard not to notice them. They booked it as an even match with Carmella getting several nearfalls throughout the match, which was the right way to do it. Naomi getting the win was the right call because Carmella just had a title shot last week.
The win by Naomi means she’ll challenge Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Title at Super Showdown. It will be the first women’s title match at a WWE show in Saudi Arabia. I’m probably picking Bayley to retain there.
Goldberg’s locker room was shown because he’s up next in the main event segment.
A video aired promoting John Cena on Smackdown next Friday night in Boston.
Let’s Hear from Goldberg
Bill Goldberg was shown leaving his locker room with security joining him as he walked towards the arena. Goldberg entered the arena to a big pop with the full classic Goldberg entrance. Goldberg was in a Goldberg shirt and jeans. Goldberg was introduced as a WWE Hall of Famer because he was the headliner in the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame. Goldberg gets to challenge The Fiend for the Universal Championship at Super Showdown next Thursday.
Goldberg showed a lot of energy while saying that it’s good to be back. Goldberg called out The Fiend saying that he’s ready and Bray Wyatt appeared on the Firefly Fun House.
Wyatt stood in front of the frames on the wall on the Firefly Fun House set. Goldberg said that he’s not here to talk, he’s here to take the Universal Championship. Wyatt said that he’s not taking anything. Wyatt introduced Goldberg to special friends of his while showing the puppets in the Fun House. Ramblin’ Rabbit said he loved Goldberg, so Wyatt called him a traitor. Wyatt said he knew somebody that was tying to meet him.
The lights went out in the arena and when they came back on, Goldberg said that The Fiend was right behind him. That was true because The Fiend was standing there as fans chanted “Goldberg.” The Fiend charged, but Goldberg was ready and Goldberg hit The Fiend with a Spear. Goldberg wanted The Fiend to get back up, then the lights went out and when the lights went back on, The Fiend had disappeared. The Fiend’s laughter played in the arena as Goldberg posed while the fans chanted “Goldberg” and that was the end of Smackdown.
Analysis: This went just how I thought it would go. From my Smackdown preview on Friday morning: “I think Goldberg will do something that will cause The Fiend to retreat, so maybe there’s a Spear or something like that.” Sometimes I need to pat myself on the back for being right.
Since The Fiend is likely winning at Super Showdown, it’s not a surprise that Goldberg got the upper hand here. The fans popped big for everything Goldberg did at well, so it shows that they still really like the guy even as a 53-year-old part-timer. Goldberg still looks like a badass and he looks credible, so WWE is going to keep booking him.
Three Stars of the Show
The Usos/New Day
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2020 Average: 6.4
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 5.75, 5.75, 7, 7.25
I give this week’s Smackdown a 6.5 out of 10.
Smackdown feels like an average show most weeks where there’s enough good to keep me from ripping it too much and the bad isn’t terrible enough for me to hate it. Is it ever that exciting? Not really. I keep waiting for them to put on an amazing show from top to bottom, but it’s always in that range where I’m giving it between a 5 to 7 out of 10.
This episode was slightly above average. The babyfaces had a dominant showing all night with wins for New Day/The Usos, then Strowman and Elias had an emphatic victory, Daniel Bryan won and then Naomi in the main event although Naomi was against another face in Carmella. Goldberg standing tall over The Fiend is also a good thing for the faces. The Goldberg/Fiend segment went exactly as it should have gone to make it seem like Goldberg could win the Universal Title. I don’t expect that to happen, but it’s certainly a possibility.
There was no Roman Reigns on the show, which was a bit of a surprise. Reigns did wrestle in a dark match after the show for the crowd in Phoenix. I guess WWE felt like Roman needed a break from being on TV, so that’s why he was off. That’s fine.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Super Showdown on Thursday, February 27. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Universal Championship: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Bill Goldberg
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Ricochet
Steel Cage Match: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (c) vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Raw Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins and Murphy (c) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Naomi
Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match: United States Champion Andrade, Rusev, R-Truth, AJ Styles, Erick Rowan and Bobby Lashley
WWE Super Showdown comes to International Arena at The Boulevard in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 12 p.m. ET/8 p.m. AST, streaming live on the award-winning WWE Network. (I grab that sentence from the WWE.com preview.)
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Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of WWE NXT UK. Last week, we had an average show that had a strong promo by the Grizzled Young Veterans and a good tag team match in the main event between Gallus and Danny Birch and Oney Lorcan for the NXT UK Tag Team Titles. Outside of that, there wasn’t much else of note on the show. It was also announced this weekend that the NXT UK brand will be getting another Takeover event in April in Dublin, Ireland. This will mark the first time the event will take place in a different country and we should start to see the buildup for the show in the coming weeks. Let’s get this party started.
WWE NXT UK from York, England 2/20/2020
The show opens with Joe Coffey watching the video from the events that transpired at Takeover: Blackpool 2 between him and Ilja Dragunov. The package does a good job building up the match between the two later on tonight. Coffey says this ends tonight.
We are inside the NXT UK arena as Tom Phillips and Aiden English welcome us to the show and go down to the ring for the opening match of the night.
Tyler Bate vs. Joseph Connors
This is a match that has had a little bit of history to it, with Connors feeling like Bate has taken all the spotlight and he has been overlooked and passed over for opportunities.
They lock up and Bate takes him down to the mat. Both men exchange some counters but it ends in a stalemate. Bate grabs a headlock and follows that up with a hurricanrana and a series of dropkicks that knocks Connors to the outside. Connors is frustrated and grabs a chair but heeds the referees wanting and doesn’t bring it in the ring. He jumps back in and Bate locks in an armbar. Connors fights out, but Bate stays on the offensive and hits a Monkey Flip. Bate climbs to the top rope but Connors knocks him off and he falls to the floor. Connors capitalizes and continues to beat on Bate on the outside. He rolls him back in and covers Bate for a near fall. Connors hits a clothesline followed by another near fall. He hits an elbow and covers for a 2 count. Connors continues with the advantage and outs Bate in a neck lock. Bate fights his way out and hits some European Uppercuts but Connors recovers and both men have a test of strength backslide. Bate gets to his feet and climbs to the top and hits a flying elbow, followed by another elbow strike in the corner. Bate hits an Exploder Suplex and a standing shooting star press and gets a near fall. Bate picks him up for the Airplane Spin but Connors counters into a roll-up for two. Bate comes back with an uppercut and gets another near fall. Bate is back to his feet and attempts the Tyler Driver but Connors reverses it. Connors comes back with a bulldog for a two count. He goes for a moonsault, but Bate rolls out of the way. Bate goes climbing to the top but jumps down and is met with a slam by Connors. Both men exchange blows and Bate is knocked out of the ring. Connors follows right behind him with a suicide dive and hits a slingshot Flatliner for a two count. Connors works him into the corner and hits a series of shots that knocks Bate down to the mat again. Connors tells Bate that he took everything from him, and both men start to exchange shots in the middle of the ring. Bate hits a Cartwheel Kick and goes for the Tyler Driver again, but Connors fights out and rolls to the floor. Bate follows him out with a senton. Connors recovers and hits a drop toe hold on the chair he brought out earlier. Connors rolls him in and hits a move and gets a two count. Connors goes for the Dublin Down but Bate reserves it into a DDT. Bate hits some strikes and finally hits Connors with the Tyler Driver ‘97 and picks up the win in about 10 minutes.
Winner: Tyler Bate Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a strong opening match between two guys that can really go. Tyler Bate is impressive for how young he is, and is a good mix of athleticism and power. He isn’t the biggest guy in the world but he stuff looks great. Joseph Connors looked strong here as well and really showed that he can hang with the top performers on the brand. The match was a perfect length and didn’t feel like it drug on forever. Great way to start the show.
There is a package hyping up the submission match next week for the NXT UK Women’s Championship between Kay Lee Ray and Toni Storm. The match has an added stipulation that is Storm loses, she will never be able to challenge for the title again as long as Kay is the champion. The package was good and the match next week should be a good one.
Backstage, Walter and Dave Mastiff are face to face and it is announced that in two weeks, Walter will be defending the NXT UK Championship against Mastiff. Walter says that he is the best wrestler in all of Europe and Mastiff is going to find that out the hard way. Walter says the belt isn’t going anywhere and he walks off.
Tom Phillips and Aiden English talk about the upcoming title match in two weeks but are cut off by Jinny, who climbs on top of the announcer’s table and has a mic in hand. She says that she is the queen of NXT UK. She says that ever since she was a little girl every command she had given had been obeyed. She says she doesn’t tolerate unprofessionalism and that she gave Jazzy Gabert her 15 minutes of fame and she wasted it. She said she might do it again if someone is lucky enough to be in her presence. She says that no one will ever disrespect her again.
Noam Dar vs. Josh Morrell
The bell sounds and both men circle each other in the ring. They lock up, and Dar works him into the corner. He lets up and works him into the corner again. Dar taunts him and Morrell pushes him away. They start to wrestle, but Dar continues the mind games. They lock hands and have a test of strength with Dar slapping Morrell and Morrell slaps him right back. Dar locks on an armbar but Morrell fights out and both men exchange counters before Morrell hits a dropkick. He continues to work on Dar in the corner and throws him into the opposite side and follows it up with a stiff elbow. Morrell hits a springboard moonsault but only gets a two count. He rolls Dar up and gets another near fall. Dar recovers and tosses him to the outside. He kicks his legs out from under him and brings him in the ring by the arm. Dar hits a forearm and covers for a two. Dar continues to pound on Morrell and locks in a sleeper but breaks the hold. Dar hits some strikes and elbows but as he goes in to keep the advantage, Morrell hits an elbow. He tries to mount some momentum but Dar recovers and hits a kick to the face. He follows that up with the Nova Roller and picks up the win in about 5 minutes.
Winner: Noam Dar Match Rating: 2.75/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a fun match that was a little on the short side. Both men showed great athleticism with Dar being the standout in the match. Dar used some power moves in there as well, and it was the right move for him to pick up the win here. Josh Morrell came off strong even in a loss, but Dar was the focal point. He should stay on this brand for a while and if he does, I could see them pushing him significantly.
There is a promo by The Hunt who has a bone to kick with the Grizzled Young Veterans. They said they should watch their backs because now they are the hunted. It is announced that the two teams will go head to head next week.
They talk about NXT UK having a special start time next week of 10 AM EST and also mention the Takeover: Dublin event coming up in April.
Jordan Devlin is being interviewed backstage. They ask what he has been up to lately, and he says since he has been champion everyone has been asking him to come in. He said he has been working hard, so a little relaxing won’t hurt him much. He says that he will be back when he is ready. It’s time for the main event.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Joe Coffey (w/Gallus)
Gallus leaves Coffey at the entranceway and he comes down to the ring alone. Last week, Gallus left Dragunov laying as the show went off the air.
The match begins with both men looking for an early advantage. They lock up and both men exchange moves and counters. Coffey with a shot to the midsection. Coffey locks in a front face lock, but Dragunov fights out and locks in one of his own. Coffey regains the advantage and gets a headlock locked in. Dragunov throws him into the ropes, but Coffey hits a shoulder block. Both men meet in the middle of the ring and we have a standoff. Dragunov tells him to bring it, and he hits a splash for a two count. He hits Coffey with a kick to the face that sends him to the outside. He climbs to the top and hits Coffey with a splash to the outside. Dragunov rolls him back in the ring and climbs back to the top but misses a stomp. Coffey comes back with the Glasgow Sendoff that knocks Dragunov to the outside. Coffey follows him out and hits some punches to the head and midsection. Coffey sends Dragunov into the stairs but as he comes in Dragunov hits a chop. He climbs up on the apron but Coffey pulls him down and he comes down hard on his knee. Both men exchange stuff shots and chops in the ring. Coffey kicks out the bad knee of Dragunov and continues to work on it as Dragunov is on the mat. Dragunov gets a boot up and climbs to the top rope but Coffey follows him up and hits a shin breaker from the top. Coffey continues the assault and locks in a leg lock, followed by a Boston Crab. Dragunov uses all the power he had and gets to the bottom rope to break the hold. Coffey continues stomping on the leg but Dragunov fights out and gets back to his feet. He tries to mount some offense, but Coffey goes back to the leg. Dragunov kicks him off with the other leg, and they both duck under attacks and Dragunov hits a clothesline. He charges in and hits a high knee in the corner. Coffey fights out of a waist lock, but Dragunov hits an Enziguri followed by a Russian Suplex for a two count. Dragunov goes to the top again and hits a senton but only gets a two count. Dragunov goes to the top but he can’t put pressure on his leg and he falls down. Coffey takes advantage and hits multiple uppercuts. He goes up top and attempts a Belly to Belly but Dragunov fights out temporarily, but Coffey eventually hits the move. Both men charge each other and Dragunov hits a high knee. Coffey comes off the rope and Dragunov catches him but Coffey fights out. Dragunov hits a Death Valley Driver sending Coffey into the corner. He makes his way up top again and hits a Coast to Coast a Dropkick. That was impressive. Both men get back to their feet and charge in but Dragunov hits the Torpedo Moscow before Coffey can hit the Best of the Bells and he picks up the win after about 15 minutes.
Winner: Ilja Dragunov
Match Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a fast-paced main event that was back and forth for the entire thing. Coffey tried to hit the Best of the Bells throughout the match but Dragunov always had an answer. Both men hit a slew of power offense but also had moments for the athletics to the shine. They also had some great counters to each other and the whole match was entertaining and it didn’t really slow down all that much. They had a lot of sequences of each man getting shots in and it just came off as an evenly matched contest. Great way to end the show, and presumably, end the feud as well.
After the match, Gallus hit the ring and Coffey and Draganov have a staredown. Coffey says that they are square now and they leave Draganov in the ring as the show comes to an end.
Overall Show Rating: 7.25 out of 10
This show was a perfect example of quality over quantity. There were only three matches, but all three had their place and were quality wrestling matches. The opener between Bate and Connors really set the tone and had a lot of back and forth action. Connors proved he can wrestle with the top of the NXT UK brand, and Bate proved that he is in the conversation for being a top star in NXT UK. The match between Noam Dar and Josh Morrell served its purpose and did a good job putting Dar over while not making Morrell look like a total goof. The main event between Dragunov and Coffey was a great match that had some spots in it that really impressed. I think that is Joe Coffey’s best match to date. Overall, it was a strong show that really put an emphasis on wrestling and got us hyped about the upcoming weeks of television and started the road to NXT UK Takeover: Dublin.
What did you guys think of this week’s episode of WWE NXT UK? Loved it? Hated it? Still haven’t checked it out? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site. Support each other. I’ll be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.
Welcome to another AEW Dynamite review on TJRWrestling. The AEW Dynamite PPV is ten days from this week’s show on Saturday, February 29, so let’s see what AEW has in store for us this week.
Live from Atlanta, Georgia, this is episode #20 of AEW Dynamite. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Here’s my AEW Dynamite TV review archive. I’m watching on TSN2 in Canada as usual.
The show began with Jim Ross welcoming us to the show as pyro went off. Ring announcer Justin Roberts was at the top of the ramp because it’s time for action. The wrestlers were in the ring for the Tag Team Battle Royal match and the bell rang to start it.
Battle Royal Featuring AEW Tag Team Teams
The announcers said that both guys in the team had to be eliminated. The winners of this match face the AEW Tag Team Champions at Revolution on February 29th.
They did a spot with Kazarian and Sky going to the top and they jumped onto a pile of wrestlers in the ring to knock them down. Jack Evans went up top, did a 450 splash, he got caught and thrown out. It looked like Santana and Ortiz were standing outside the ring instead of being in the ring to compete in the match. Isaiah Kassidy with a DDT on Cima and I thought Cima was eliminated there, but he was not. Kazarian with a clothesline on Angelico. Reynolds and Silver from Dark Order attacked SCU from behind, but then Sky and Kazarian knocked them down with clotheslines. The Dark Order promo guy mentioned Daniels was not supporting SCU at ringside, then teased the Exalted One coming soon and the two Dark Order guys eliminated SCU. Young Bucks got rid of Reynolds and Silver after that. Sky hit a dive onto Dark Order guys in the crowd, then SCU and Dark Order went brawling to the back. It was noticeable that former wrestler Raven was sitting right there in the crowd. He’s from Atlanta and he was just sitting there watching the show although maybe it’s a tease for a future appearance for him. I don’t know. Cima with a flipping slam on Trent. Santana and Ortiz finally went into the ring. Cima and Jungle Boy battled on the apron, but Luchasaurus eliminated Cima. Boy with a headscissors, then a dropkick and Luchasaurus with a boot to the face of Marq Quen. Double team by Luchasaurus and Boy knocked down Quen. Dark Order offered Cima a mask to join their group, Cima took the mask and walked to the back. Nick Jackson jumped over the top with an X-Factor like move on Angelico. Nick unleashed with kicks on about six guys in a row, then a running knee on Santana, Ortiz, Butcher and Blade. Butcher sent Nick over the top to the floor. Kassidy did a comedic scream, then Butcher hit a back body drop on Boy onto three other wrestlers.
Luchasaurus and Butcher had a staredown as two of the biggest guys in the match. The fans were into it. They exchanged punches, Luchasaurus with a headbutt with neither guy selling it and Luchasaurus with a spin kick followed by Butcher knocking Luchasaurus down. Santana and Ortiz managed to get rid of Quen and then Santana/Ortiz tossed Kassidy out too. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy got rid of Angelico. Sammy Guevara grabbed Boy’s foot, so Santana and Ortiz got rid of Jungle Boy. Four men teamed up to get rid of Luchasaurus.
The remaining men were two Best Friends (Trent and Taylor), The Butcher and The Blade, Matt Jackson, Santana and Ortiz. Best Friends battled with Butcher and Blade on the floor. Taylor and Trent hit a boot into a suplex combination. Butcher went back in to eliminate Taylor. Trent avoided an elimination there with Trent landing on Orange Cassidy’s shoulders and Trent was back in the ring. Trent with a Tornado DDT on Blade. Trent and Matt worked together to dropkick Blade out of the ring. It’s five guys left with four teams represented. The babyfaces Matt and Trent worked together to knock down the heels, then they hugged in the ring to cheers, which led to Butcher running over Matt and Trent with clotheslines. Butcher with a running clothesline on Trent. Butcher nearly eliminated Trent, but Trent held onto the bottom rope to avoid elimination. Trent pulled Butcher over the top to the apron with Cassidy there to catch Trent. The Bunny walked up to Cassidy and she kicked him in the groin. Butcher eliminated Trent right after that. Matt with a Spear on Butcher to tackle him through the middle rope. That eliminated Butcher, but Matt was still in it.
The final three were Matt Jackson of the Young Bucks against Santana and Ortiz, who are a team. Matt hit a double Northern Lights Suplex on Santana/Ortiz. When Matt ran the ropes, Guevara tripped up Matt and Santana/Ortiz hit the Street Sweeper double team neckbreaker. Matt tried to fight back, Ortiz with a back rake, Matt sent Ortiz to the ropes and Matt eliminated Santana with a superkick. Guevara with a springboard attack and Matt gave him a superkick! That was impressive. Matt eliminated Santana with to win the match. This went about 18 minutes. The crowd popped big for that finish.
Winners: The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
The win for the Young Bucks means they get to challenge for the AEW Tag Team Titles at Revolution on February 29.
Analysis: ***3/4 That was a very interesting battle royal with an exciting finish where Matt Jackson of the popular Young Bucks team getting the win. The rules of the match were unique with both teams having to be eliminated in the match, so that made for some interesting scenarios especially with Matt and Trent working together against the heels. Matt was tremendous in the match as he battled against two heels, found a way to break free and won the match for his team. I liked the way Santana/Ortiz were booked while The Butcher had a strong showing in the match too. That Trent/Cassidy spot was funny. I figured it would be the Young Bucks getting the PPV title match and have no problem with that happening.
After the match, Nick Jackson went to the ring to celebrate with his brother. They showed Kenny Omega and Adam Page watching on a TV backstage because they are the current champions.
(Commercial – The split screen showed us the Young Bucks celebrating at ringside. Wardlow and MJF were shown getting ready backstage for Wardlow’s Steel Cage match with Cody. There were some crowd shots after that.)
Cody was shown backstage walking his dog Pharaoh with wife Brandi Rhodes by his side. They live in Atlanta.
The announce team of Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur were shown on camera welcoming us to the show while plugging what was coming up later.
The announcers were joined by Dr. Britt Baker for this women’s match. Baker mentioned a Starbucks joke to insult Tony with JR wondering if Blue Chew was in it. That was funny.
Shanna vs. “The Galaxy’s Greatest Alien” Kris Statlander
Statlander touched the referee’s nose because that’s her way of communicating. JR asked about what Statlander is doing, then Excalibur tried to explain that Statlander’s ship crash landed and JR said enough with it because it was ridiculous. Statlander did some cartwheels followed by a headscissors and she touched Shanna’s nose with the fans cheering it. Tony’s cup of coffee has his face on it with Toney spelled wrong as “Toney.” That’s the joke, I guess. The women did the nose touching repeatedly with the fans cheering along for it. Shanna got a knee to the ribs to take control.
(Commercial – Shanna remained in control with a kick to the face. Shanna connected with a clothesline. Shanna grabbed a headlock.)
Statlander got some momentum going with a kick to the head. Statlander with a lifting uppercut, a running knee and a spinning sitout Powerbomb got a two count. Statlander went up top, she took too long and Shanna kicked her down. Shanna with a kick to the back. Shanna went up top and jumped off with a double foot stomp for a two count. Shanna did a sweet counter into a twisting DDT for a two count. Shanna with a running dropkick while Statlander was near the ropes leading to another two count. Statlander picked up Shanna, hooked the arms and dropped down on her knees like a piledriver for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kris Statlander
Analysis: *** This was pretty good when they got to the wrestling. I think the finish could have been better because Shanna hit a bunch of moves to nearly win and then Statlander just won out of nowhere without setting it up much. They could have done more there. The nose touching is stupid and so is the alien gimmick. I’m all for fun in wrestling along with creativity, but if it’s stupid then it detracts from the show. It is among the most stupid things I have seen in wrestling recently. They even have babyface announcers like JR and Tony mocking the gimmick, which isn’t helping anybody. It’s also not necessary because Statlander is very talented. If they can put an end to the Nightmare Collective gimmick without explaining it then they can end the stupid alien schtick too. I’m all for a Statlander push based on her ability in the ring, but the gimmick isn’t working for me.
There were highlights shown from last week’s AEW Women’s Title match when Nyla Rose beat Riho to win the title.
Nyla Rose was interviewed at the top of the ramp with Tony Schiavone conducting the interview. As mentioned, Rose is the new AEW Women’s Champion.
Rose complained about the fans booing her when she walked out there. Rose said she should have been the first champion, she should be the highest paid locker room and she should be on all the graphics and posters. Rose said that she “breaks bitches” when she’s hungry, so she broke Riho. Tony mentioned Riho’s courage, so Rose took the microphone to say she represents unbridled power. Rose said that one fact remains because she’s the Queen Bee in this hive. Rose said she’ll be a one time champion and nobody is a beast like her.
Kris Statlander walked onto the stage and did her point gimmick by putting her finger on to the AEW Women’s Title. Big Swole walked onto the stage and flexed in front of Rose. Referees and security broke it up before anything happened.
Analysis: There wasn’t much to this other than Rose doing a heel promo insulting the fans while talking about her dominance. I review this show every week, yet I barely know anything about Big Swole. You can’t just throw somebody out there wanting a title shot without really developing them as a threat.
A video aired about Jeff Cobb promoting his match against Jon Moxley on this week’s show.
Jon Moxley made his entrance with the black bandage covering his right eye and a new Paradigm Shift. I think it’s new. I don’t buy wrestling shirts. Jeff Cobb made his entrance for his first AEW match.
Chris Jericho entered along with his Inner Circle buddies Jake Hager and Sammy Guevara. They sat at ringside because they had tickets for seats that were not on sale because of where they put the chairs. The fans sang along to Jericho’s “Judas” song as usual. That’s always great to hear.
Jon Moxley vs. Jeff Cobb
Taz was on commentary for this match. I like him on commentary and wish he was there regularly. Cobb with an overhead belly to belly suplex followed by a dropkick. They left the ring with Moxley hitting a low dropkick followed by a slingshot dive over the top onto Cobb on the floor. When they went back into the ring, Cobb hit a shoulder tackle to knock Moxley down. Moxley had taped ribs to sell an injury from last week. Cobb whipped Moxley into the turnbuckle leading to Moxley bumping sternum first into the turnbuckle. Cobb was talking to Moxley, so JR said that Cobb was trash talking. Good cover by Jim. Cobb sent Moxley to the apron and then knocked him off the apron to send him into the barricade.
(Commercial – Cobb continued the attack by whipping Moxley into the barricade near Jericho. That led to Jericho hitting Moxley with the AEW Title to the ribs. I assume the referee was distracted, but we didn’t see that visually. They went back into the ring with Cobb ripping off some of the tape on the ribs.)
Moxley charged, Cobb caught him, Moxley broke free and hit a kneebreaker to the shoulder. Moxley hit a running dropkick into the left leg while it was against the ropes. Moxley whipped Cobb’s left leg into the ring post three times. Cobb hit a spinning back suplex on Moxley and then picked him up after teasing a pin attempt. Moxley came back with a sleeper hold, then a heel hook on the left leg and Cobb got to the ribs to break it up. Moxley went for an attack on the floor, Cobb caught him and hit a belly to back suplex on the floor. They got a shot of a fan that said “oh shit” for that so JR said that was his reaction too. Cobb slammed Moxley with a powerslam. Moxley with a knee strike, then he charged, Cobb hit a snap German Suplex, Moxley popped right up and hit a clothesline. Cobb with a superkick, Moxley clothesline had no effect and Cobb hit another clothesline to knock him on his ass. Cobb sent Moxley into the turnbuckle with a running uppercut. Cob hit a superplex off the ropes and Moxley landed on top while hooking the legs to give Moxley the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley
Analysis: ***1/4 Good showing from both guys as Moxley won as expected. Moxley is undefeated in singles match in AEW, which is smart booking and I’m glad it has continued. I don’t think anybody watching this thought that Moxley was going to lose, which can hurt a match like this. It was still a very competitive match. Having Cobb lose his first match isn’t very good for him, but the finish was done in a way that showed it was a close win for Moxley. It was one of those “out of nowhere” type of finishes.
After the match was over, Jericho ran into the ring with Hager and Guevara to attack Moxley. Cobb joined in on the attack as well. Cue the save with Dustin Rhodes going out to the ring to try to save Moxley since he is feuding with Hager. That didn’t last long as the four heels beat up Dustin easily. The lights went out because Darby Allin apparently has those powers and Allin went on a skateboard down to the ring. Huge pop from the crowd and Taz said “what a pop” to react to it. That pop was huge. Allin has been out a few weeks selling a throat injury. Allin attacked with the skateboard, he took out Guevara with the skateboard as Rhodes hit a clothesline on Hager. Allin avoided an attack from Cobb and Moxley hit a Paradigm Shift on Cobb to take him out. Allin whipped Cobb into the steel steps. Jericho and Moxley got into a brawl that began with a hockey fight style punches, then Jericho bailed to the floor and grabbed the AEW World Title. Moxley and Allin stood in the ring staring at Jericho and Guevara, which could be a tag team match next week.
Analysis: It was a dominant heel beating for The Inner Circle last week, so it’s no surprise that they got their asses kicked this week. That pop for Allin was impressive. I assume they will do Allin vs. Guevara at Revolution on Feb. 29 and then after that they really have to consider giving Allin a bigger push because the fans love the guy. The best comparison I can make is Jeff Hardy when he was on fire as a singles guy in the late 2000s. They didn’t give away too much of Moxley vs. Jericho, which is smart because it makes people care about their PPV match that much more.
(Commercial – There was some staring from Moxley and Allin in the ring to Jericho and Guevara in the aisle. Allin held signs to the camera saying that Sammy is finished in 10 days at Revolution in Chicago on February. Allin had a sign saying Mox will take the title, but he will take so much more including Sammy’s voice and livelihood at Revolution.)
The Lucha Brothers team of Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix made their entrance. They are the fifth-ranked tag team in AEW, but they also have wins over Omega/Page in matches recently, so that’s why they get title shots. At least that’s how Excalibur tried to explain it. Tony was back on commentary replacing Taz. With all due respect to Tony, I prefer it when Taz is there.
The cowboy “Hangman” Adam Page was up next for the champions. A clip aired from December 18, 2019 when Lucha Bros beat Page and Omega in a tag team match. Two weeks ago, Lucha Bros also won in an 8-man tag team match that Page and Omega were in. Kenny Omega was up last and he got a huge pop as always.
AEW Tag Team Championships: Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix)
The fans chanted “Cowboy Shit” for Page as he battled Fenix with Page hitting a boot to the face. Omega tagged in with the Kitaro crusher leg drop to the back of the head. Omega hit a backbreaker. Page tagged back in with chops on Fenix and then a fallaway slam into a pin for two as Pentagon broke up the pin. Omega with a rolling senton, Page with a standing SSP and Omega hit a moonsault for two as Page knocked Pentagon down as well. Fenix came back with a kick to Omega. The Lucha Brothers did some double team kicks, Fenix with a headscissors on Page, a kick on Omega and Pentagon with a splash on Omega against the corner. Fenix with a running dropkick on Omega. They were both in the ring for way more than ten seconds, so much so that the announcers joked about it, but that’s AEW ignoring tag team rules as they tend to do.
(Commercial – Fenix slammed Omega, then Pentagon went up top and hit a dropkick to the legs of Omega. Pentagon hit a superkick leading to Omega bumping to the floor and then Fenix threw Omega back in.)
The show returned with Lucha Brothers working over Omega some more with Pentagon hitting a kick to the head. Omega ran the ropes, which led to a jumping DDT. Page got the tag against Pentagon with Page hitting a clothesline followed by a shoulder tackle. Page with a boot that knocked Fenix off the apron. Page with a fallaway slam on Pentagon and a slingshot dive over the top on Fenix. Hangman with a clothesline on Pentagon for two. All four guys were in the ring again, Pentagon with a kick and then Omega tossed Pentagon into a German Suplex by Page. Omega tossed Fenix in the air, but Fenix hit a Cutter on Page. Pentagon jumped off Page’s back and hit a Canadian Destroyer on Omega. That was very impressive! Wow. That was sweet. All four guys were down after that sequence as fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Pentagon and Omega exchanged chops while they were on the apron, Omega with a rising knee and Fenix walked the ropes leading to a kick on Omega. Omega with a back body drop on Pentagon on the apron. Fenix jumped over the top rope with a hurricanrana on Omega on the floor. Page went up top and hit a moonsault onto Fenix on the floor. That was another very exciting sequence. Page got the tag with a discus lariat on Pentagon to get a two count. Omega tagged in, Pentagon with a Slingblade on Page and Fenix jumped off the top with a missile dropkick on Omega. Pentagon with a kick on Page, but then Page hit a Powerbomb. Omega with a knee to the back of the head of Pentagon. Page went for the Buckshot Lariat, Fenix moved and Page hit Omega with a forearm by accident. Dropkick by Fenix knocked Page out of the ring. Fenix with a superkick on Page and then Fenix ran the ropes leading to a twisting dive onto Page on the floor. That looked amazing. Pentagon hit a Penta Driver for a sitout pin attempt that got a two count. Fenix tagged in to remind us that it’s a regular tag team match where they are supposed to have rules. Omega with a Snapdragon Suplex on Pentagon, then Fenix waits to jump off the top, then he does the dive and Omega got the knees up to block. Omega hit the Tiger Driver ’98 sitout into a pin for just two. That could have been it, but the match continues. Page tagged in, Omega ducked a Fenix kick and Page hit the Buckshot Lariat at the same time as Omega hit the V-Trigger knee to the back and Page pinned Fenix for the victory after 15 minutes of action.
Winners by pinfall: Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page
Analysis: ****1/4 This was an outstanding tag team match and one of the best matches on AEW TV. The last five minutes had several moments that really popped the crowd as well as me watching it. They really busted their asses to come up with some great stuff in this match. The win by Omega and Page was impressive because it gave them another quality win over a great team. I hate how much Lucha Brothers have been losing in AEW, but you can’t put everybody over all the time. Page continues to be one of the most interesting guys in AEW with his unique character traits while Omega is arguably the best AEW wrestler in the ring. Fenix is amazing as well and Pentagon is right there too. This match had a few minutes where they ignored tag team rules, which has become the norm in AEW. That’s always going to frustrate me because if you ignore the rules then why have them? They need to get better at paying attention to the rules. It’s still an awesome match, though.
Post match, The Young Bucks went down to the ring to check on their buddies Omega and Page. These two teams are matching up at Evolution on February 29. Page grabbed Omega by the arm to help his partner up while Kenny didn’t seem thrilled about the Young Bucks helping him. Omega grabbed a beer from a fan and drank it. Omega drank another beer from a fan at ringside.
Analysis: I think the Young Bucks are going to win the titles at Revolution. Omega and Page are just a short-term team anyway, so it makes sense to move the titles. All signs are pointing to Page turning heel at some point although I think the fans really like the guy and want to get behind him thanks to his beer drinking gimmick, which makes it hard for me to back a Page heel turn.
(Commercial – Omega left through the crowd where he gave a fan a smaller cup of beer to take the fan’s bigger cup of beer. That was funny. The Young Bucks checked on Omega at ringside, then they left together to the back.)
A video aired about AEW announcing the new AEW action figures. It was Dana Massie talking about it. She is the wife of Matt Jackson of the Young Bucks tag team. We have a post all about it here as well.
Next week on Dynamite in Kansas City: Kenny Omega vs. Pac in a 30-Minute Ironman Match. Also, The Butcher & The Blade vs. Best Friends.
It was also announced that at Revolution on February 29 it will be Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page vs. The Young Bucks for the AEW Tag Team Titles. We already knew that, but now there’s a graphic for it.
There was a great video package covering the Cody feud with MJF where MJF had stipulations that Cody had to accept if he wants to face MJF at Revolution. Cody wasn’t allowed to touch MJF, Cody took the ten lashes from MJF two weeks ago in what was a great angle and now Cody has to beat MJF in a Steel Cage match. There were also comments from Cody and others in the video. It was very well done.
The first-ever AEW Steel Cage was about to begin as the cage was lowered with JR letting us know the cage was 26 feet by 26 feet, 20 feet tall and it weighs six tonnes. JR said the winner will win by pinfall or submission and they do not have escape the cage rules. JR said that’s how it should be all along.
Analysis: I agree with doing it pinfall or submission to win. If they did it where you can win by escape the cage only by climbing out of the cage then that’s fine too. I don’t like how in WWE where you can win by escaping the cage, going out the door, pinfall or submission. That’s too many options. Make it harder to win.
Wardlow made his entrance for his first match in AEW and it’s a Steel Cage match in the main event. Maxwell Jacob Friedman led Wardlow to the ring. The announcers put over the physique of Wardlow while noting that we have only seen him in a suit in AEW, which is true. I don’t know much about Wardlow, but now he has a chance to show what he can do.
Cody got a big ovation along with a dramatic entrance since he’s at home in Atlanta, GA where he lives. There were loud “Cody” chants for him, the pyro went off and Cody was fired up. Cody was joined by the coach Arn Anderson and the wife Brandi Rhodes to support him. Cody climbed up part of the cage to fire up the crowd some more.
Steel Cage Match: Cody (w/Arn Anderson and Brandi Rhodes) vs. Wardlow (w/MJF)
The winner is determined by a pinfall or submission. Cody has to win this match in order to get MJF at Revolution later this month.
Cody with a rising kick to the jaw of Wardlow. Wardlow shoved Cody towards the turnbuckle, Cody came back with a Rhodes uppercut punch and Cody with a springboard Disaster Kick. Cody ran the ropes right into a clothesline by Wardlow as MJF encouraged him at ringside. Wardlow whipped Cody over the top so that Cody’s body went into the cage. Wardlow sent Cody’s head into the cage although it was more like the side of the head. Cody came up bleeding, so it only took him about two minutes to bleed.
(Commercial – Wardlow stomped away on Cody and Wardlow tossed Cody into the cage again. Wardlow hit a Powerbomb that sent Cody back first into the cage. Wardlow sent Cody into the cage again. Wardlow with a suplex into a slam across the ring.)
Wardlow with another suplex into a slam across the ring. They replayed the spot with Cody getting whipped into the cage leading to the cut. Good blade job by Cody because he was bleeding a lot as he hit a suplex followed by a springboard Cutter. Cody worked over Wardlow with punches to the head and an elbow. Wardlow came back with the classic heel move that saw him hit a back kick to the groin of Cody. The low blow led to Wardlow taking over again with a spinning slam off the shoulders. They went over to the part of the cage where Cody was near the door and Wardlow shoved him into it. The door opened, JR mentioned that is irrelevant to winning the match and that led to MJF and Anderson having a staredown. MJF told Anderson to slam the cage door on Cody like Arn did to Cody’s daddy Dusty Rhodes, but Arn slammed the door into MJF’s face. The fans loved that. Wardlow wanted a Powerbomb, Cody got out of that and hit three running clotheslines to take the big man down. Cody whipped Wardlow into the cage. Wardlow ran right into a powerslam from Cody for a two count. Cody went up top, Wardlow with a punch and Wardlow gave Cody a press slam into the steel cage. Wardlow went up top and hit a Senton Bomb off the top on Cody for a two count. That was impressive. MJF gave Wardlow the diamond ring that Wardlow put on his finger, but Cody came back with a low blow kick. Cody put the ring on his right hand, MJF freaked out and MJF climbed part of the cage. Brandi hit MJF in the back two times. Anderson saved her by tossing MJF over the barricade. Cody hit the Cross Rhodes neckbreaker for a two count. Cod looked up to the top of the cage. Cody climbed up to the top of the cage, he stood up, Cody didn’t even look back and he jumped off with a moonsault onto a standing Wardlow to knock the big guy down. Cody covered right away for the pinfall win. In watching the replay, I think the referee let Wardlow know when to stand because Cody didn’t even look back when he was up there. The match went 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Cody
Analysis: ***1/2 I thought it was pretty good with Cody getting the obvious win. The finish was spectacular and that’s what everybody is going to remember about the match, which is fine because it was an amazing visual. I’m glad that the moonsault finished the match as well because there was no need for more moves. Cody is a tremendous babyface in terms of selling moves, getting the crowd into the match and making the big comeback that gets the fans more into the match. I liked the way they utilized MJF, Arn and Brandi in the match with Arn stopping MJF from interfering and from attacking Brandi. Wardlow deserves a lot of credit for doing very well in his first TV match too. Wardlow was there to be the power guy that weakened Cody and he looked impressive throughout the match. The whole thing was well booked with a very memorable ending.
The win by Cody means his match against MJF at Revolution is official now.
After the match, Brandi and Arn went into the ring to check on Cody, who was down selling. They replayed the moonsault from two different angles. Cody climbed up the cage as he was announced as the winner. Cody yelled at MJF who was walking up the aisle. There were more replays of the moonsault by Cody. From three more different angles including a roof cam. Cody stared at MJF as JR plugged next week’s Dynamite as the last stop for Revolution. Cody continued to celebrate on the cage to end the show.
Here’s a video of a Cody speech to the crowd after the show was over.
Analysis: This was an awesome speech. You can tell he really affected some fans that were literally crying in the crowd. You don’t see that kind of reaction very often, but they found a guy crying on camera. Cody is putting on the best performances of his career in the ring and on the microphone. I’m sure that he is making his father Dusty proud.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Cody – That moonsault spot deserves the top spot.
2. Kenny Omega/Adam Page
3. (tie) Lucha Brothers
3. (tie) Matt Jackson
This week: 8.5 (out of 10)
Last week: 8
2020 Average: 7.21
Last 5 Weeks: 8, 8, 7.5, 6.25, 7.75
This week’s Dynamite gets an 8.5 out of 10.
I thought this was an excellent show with awesome wrestling all night long. They set up some things for the Revolution PPV as well. I think that’s my highest score for a Dynamite episode so far and it’s the highest this year. A lot of the babyfaces had a strong showing too, which is nice to see because sometimes things get heel heavy, but this week’s show had a lot of happy moments. That moonsault press off the top of the cage from Cody to Wardlow looked very impressive and is probably the coolest visual I’ve seen from an AEW show. It’s not an easy thing to pull off, but it went just about as well as you would hope when you plan something like that. The Omega/Page vs. Lucha Brothers match was as good as any match on AEW Dynamite so far. The battle royal was very entertaining with an awesome finish. The women’s division still needs some work, though, so that’s where things need to improve.
AEW is doing a great job in building up to the Revolution PPV that takes place in nine days. We don’t know the full card yet, but enough big matches have been announced to make me care about it. I’m really looking forward to it.
The next AEW PPV is called Revolution on Saturday, February 29 in Chicago. Here’s what we know so far.
AEW World Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Jon Moxley
Cody vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman
AEW Tag Team Championships: Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson)
Dustin Rhodes vs. Jake Hager
Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara – I believe it’s official based on Allin holding up signs during the show. They did not make that clear.
That’s all for now.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. Go NBA Champion Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of WWE NXT. Last week, we saw a lot of build to the NXT Takeover: Portland show, with the main event between Adam Cole and Kushida being a good way to end the show. The Takeover: Portland event on Sunday was excellent and you can check out John’s review of the show here. As a quick side note, I went 5-1 in my predictions for the show but as John eluded to on Twitter, a predictable show doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a bad show. Let’s find out how they continue the road to NXT Takeover: Tampa Bay, which is a big part of Wrestlemania weekend.
WWE NXT from Full Sail University 2/19/2020
The show starts with a recap of the Takeover event this past Sunday, while the performance by Poppy is played over top.
They have packages going over the match tonight between Velveteen Dream and Roderick Strong in Dream’s first match back in 5 months.
The Undisputed Era music hits and out comes Roderick Strong, Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish. Cole is the only remaining champion in the group after Takeover. Cole grabs a mic and says that he told everyone that he would walk out of Takeover still holding the gold. He says that the UE is the measuring stick in NXT. He says that Strong is going to put an end to the charade that is the Velveteen Dream. Just as Strong goes to say something, they are interrupted by Dream himself. He says that if Strong was man enough he would let them face off one on one without the backup. Strong cuts him off and says that he swears on his family that he is taking out Dream tonight.
Collective Thoughts: That was a short promo to hype up the main event between Strong and Dream. Cole did most of the talking and really put over his victory at Takeover: Portland. If you haven’t seen the match yet, do it, because it was excellent. It was a good promo because it didn’t drag on for 20 minutes like Raw opening promos tend to do, but at the same time, it was kind of weird because it was so short. I have mixed feelings about it.
We are greeted to the show by Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, and Nigel McGuinness. They talk about the shocking heel turn by Johnny Gargano at Takeover: Portland before sending it down to the ring for the opening match of the night.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship
“The Irish Ace” Jordan Devlin (c) vs. Lio Rush
Rush earned this opportunity last week by defeating Angel Garza. They get the championship introductions before the match begins.
Both men lock up with Devlin pushing Rush into the corner. Rush fights out and both men go back and forth with some counter wrestling as they go to a double screen.
*Commercial Break* Devlin gets back in the ring and hits a kick to the midsection. He continues working on Rush in the corner, before Rush counters with an elbow. He follows that up with a kick to the head for a two count. Devlin goes for a punch but misses and Rush continues working on him in the corner. He pulls him out and hits a snap suplex for a two. Rush hits another kick to the head and rams Devlin into the corner. He lays in the boots, followed by a snapmare and kick to the back for a two count. He locks on the front face lock, but Devlin fights out. Before he can gain too much, Rush hits an elbow and takes him down to the mat. Rush locks in a chinlock, but Devlin rises to his feet and knocks him off. Devlin is out on the apron but Rush knocks him off. Devlin regains the advantage and hits a corkscrew for a two count as they come back to full screen.
Devlin continues to pound on Rush. He hits a stiff shot to the head and a backbreaker. He works him into the corner, but Rush comes back with some strikes of his own. Devlin slams him down and goes for the standing moonsault but Rush counters. Devlin with a German Suplex for a two count. Devlin is back to his feet and hits a knee strike to the gut for another two count. Devlin stalks over Rush and hits a Butterfly Suplex for a near fall. Devlin locks in the Camel Clutch in the middle of the ring. Devlin drops the hold but hits another shot to the head and stomps on the back. He works Rush over to the ropes and chokes him on the middle rope. Rush tries to fight back but Devlin snuffs him out and hits a chop, followed by a European Uppercut. He starts to taunt Rush, and as Rush tries to fight back, Devlin hits a kick to the face. Rush comes back and attempts a move but Devlin counters into the elevator backbreaker for a two count. Rush comes back with an uppercut, followed by a hard chop. He follows that up with a few more, but as he goes for the advantage, Devlin hits a jawbreaker. Both men are down as they go to a commercial break.
They come back from the break with both men hitting a double crossbody. Both men make their way back to their feet and Rush knocks Devlin over the top rope. He follows that up with a Suicide Dive to the outside. Rush rolls him back in and hits a cross body from the top for a two count. Rush pulls him up but Devlin pushes him off. Devlin is thrown into the corner but comes back with a cutter over the top. He tosses Rush outside and hits a punt to the face. Both men trade splashes to the outside with Rush coming out on top with a corkscrew plancha. He rolls Devlin back in the ring, but Devlin recovers and goes for a kick to the midsection but Rush rolls him up for two. Devlin gets to his feet and hits a stand Spanish Fly for a two count. As they are down, Rush locks in a submission hold, but a Devlin gets to the ropes. Rush goes up top, but Devlin knocks him down. He climbs to the top but Rush hits a reverse Poisionrana. He hits the Come Up but only gets a two count when Devlin got his foot on the bottom rope. What a nearfall. He goes for the final Hour, but Devlin scouts it and moves out of the way. Devlin hits a headbutt, followed by the Devlin side suplex and picks up the win in about 19 minutes.
Winner and STILL NXT Cruiserweight Champion: Jordan Devlin
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This was a match I was very much looking forward to and while it was an exciting back and forth battle, it didn’t really get out of second gear for me. Both men had some impressive offense with Lio Rush being a big standout to me the last couple of weeks. He had some great athletic spots here and doesn’t look bad in a loss. Devlin is a star and I think his reign with the title should be a long one. A solid way to start the show.
Backstage, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzales are being interviewed. Raquel says that Kai has been overlooked and so has she. She said this is the last time anyone is going to overlook them. Kai takes the mic and says that together they are untouchable. William Regal comes in and says they are untouchable together, but Kai will be facing Tegan Nox in 2 weeks in a Steel Cage Match as the segment ends.
Tommaso Ciampa is shown walking backstage as they go to a commercial break.
They come back from break with Mauro talking about Charlotte laying down the challenge for Wrestlemania against Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship. Rhea is shown in a backstage interview after Takeover and says that Charlottle played right into her hands and got exactly what she wanted.
Austin Theory makes his entrance but his soon interrupted by Ciampa. Ciampa grabs a mic and completely ignores Theory in the ring. He starts talking about Takeover and Theory comes up beside him and Ciampa tells him “not tonight”. Ciampa says that he was so focused on getting goldie back that he didn’t look around to his surroundings. He says that he should have listened to his inner voices. He says that the one constant with him and the NXT Title has been Johnny Gargano. He says he isn’t asking himself “why Johnny why?” Because he knows why. Johnny knows why. Theory goes to attack Ciampa but Ciampa takes him out. He said to get his life back, there can be no Johnny Gargano in NXT. He leaves the ring and Austin Theory tries to attack him again. Ciampa unleashes on Theory and throws him into each guardrail multiple times, and Theory is laid out as Ciampa leaves the arena.
Collective Thoughts: Looks like we are continuing with the Ciampa/Gargano feud which was a foregone conclusion after Sunday. It’s not a bad thing because the matches they have had have been some classics. I expect them to have a match at a Takeover: Tampa Bay but I could be wrong. Ciampa was very good here with his promo work and got his point across well, that he wants Gargano out of NXT. Their match should be a special one.
Chelsea Green is backstage getting some pictures taken and is getting ready for her rematch against Kayden Carter coming up tonight.
Back from break, we are shown a package showcasing Finn Balor. He says next week you will see his next move.
Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde vs. The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)
Gibson and Wilde lock up not the middle of the ring with Wilde hitting a dropkick. Gibson recovers and makes a tag into Drake. He comes in and exchanges some offense with Wilde before Wilde hits a hurricanrana. Drake comes back and makes a tag to Gibson and they hit some double team offense on Wilde. Drake is back in and hits a left hand to the face of Wilde. He follows that up with a backbreaker, and Gibson and Drake hit another double team backbreaker on the outside. They trade tags back and forth and get a nearfall after a splash. Wilde fights out and hits a moonsault. Wilde and Drake both make tags, and Mendoza takes out everyone in the ring. Gibson grabs him from behind, but Mendoza fights out and hits a springboard dropkick on Gibson. Gibson comes back and hits a thrust to the throat. He hits a suplex and tags Drake back in. He dropkicks Wilde off the apron and they hit the Ticket to Mayhem and pick up the win. The match went for about 5 minutes.
Winner(s): The Grizzled Young Veterans Match Rating: 2.25/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: Both teams got some offense in, but The a Grizzled Young Vets controlled most of it. They exchanged a ton of tags in the match and they function as a textbook tag team should. The double team offense was smooth and they will be a force both here in NXT and in NXT UK. Wilde and Mendoza are on 205 Live most of the time and they have a matchup against each other this week.
After the match, Gibson grabs the mic and they talk about American being the homes of the neckbeards. He says that they will soon be recognized as the top team in all the land. They leave the ring as they go to a commercial break.
They are back and start to hype up NXT Takeover: Dublin, which was announced last Sunday at Takeover: Portland.
The Broserweights (Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle) vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Birch
Dunne and Riddle are coming off their victory at Takeover: Portland where they won the NXT Tag Team Titles by beating Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. It was another standout match from that show. Both men grab a mic, and Riddle asks where their golf cart was. Dunne tells him that he managed to get his impounded and the only thing that matters is that they are the NXT Tag Team Champions. Riddle says that the celebration continues and that they partied hard after their victory on Sunday. Riddle says that The Dusty Cup partied a little too hard though, which caused him to fail a test for the wellness policy and is suspended for 30 days. There’s the weekly weed joke. He is interrupted by the music of Birth and Lorcan and they make their way down to the ring.
Birch and Dunne are starting things off. Dunne comes out and locks on the arm of Birch. He stretches him out and ties his legs up in the middle of the ring. Dunne continues putting the pressure on but Birch fights out with a kick to the head. They go into a test of strength and Birch comes out and sweeps the leg. Dunne comes back up and goes for an armbar followed by a roll-up for a two count. Dunne and Birch both make tags, and Riddle and Lorcan start to wrestle. Dunne comes in and they hit double Gutwrenches on both Birch and Lorcan. Dunne and Riddle hit a pair of dropkicks that knocks both men to the outside as they go to a commercial break.
They come back from break and Lorcan and Birch are in the offensive. Lorcan locks Riddle in a Single Leg Crab and turns it into an STF. Riddle gets back to his feet and hits a knee to the face and has enough to make the tag to Dunne. He is in and takes out both men in quick fashion. He hits Birch with a suplex into an armbar, and Birch is in a world of pain. Dunne makes a tag to Riddle, and they hit a double team kick to the head. They hit another move and Riddle almost gets a three but Lorcan breaks it up. Ripcord knee to Lorcan. Birch recovers and hits Riddle with a German Suplex and a lariat for a near fall. Dunne comes in and hits both men with kicks to the head. All four men fall to the mat, with Dunne getting to his corner so Riddle can make a tag. Riddle is cut off before he can get there, but Riddle hits Birch with a knee and a powerbomb. Dunne and Lorcan both get the tags in and Lorcan takes out Dunne with some fast-paced offense. Dunne grabs his fingers and breaks them and they hit the double team finisher and pick up the win in about 13 minutes.
Winner(s): The Broserweights
Match Rating: 3/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a back and forth tag team match with the Broserweights winning a non-title match. Who would have thought? Riddle and Dunne have worked well together thus far and could be a force in the tag team division for a good bit of time moving forward. Both members of the Broserweights have offenses that are so stiff and believable. Lorcan and Birch have been on the NXT UK brand as well, and they have shown they are a good team. Solid match all around.
After the match, The Broserweights celebrate the victory with the fans.
Backstage, Roderick Strong tells the rest of the Undisputed Era that he has to do this by himself tonight. They all agree and they pump him up as they go to commercial break.
Back from break, The Forgotten Sons are on Twitter and took offense to the words The Grizzled Young Veterans said earlier. They said that maybe they will have to beat them up and teach them a lesson.
Keith Lee makes his way down to the ring. They show his recent appearance on WWE Backstage on Tuesday night. Lee grabs a mic but just as he is about it talk, he is interrupted by Kona Reeves. Lee pounces him into the corner and tells the ref to ring the bell.
Keith Lee vs. Kona Reeves
Lee hits the Big Bang Catastrophe and wins in about 5 seconds.
Winner: Keith Lee Match Rating: Squash
Collective Thoughts: That was a far cry from Lee’s match against Dijakovic last Sunday.
After the match, Dominik Dijakovic comes out and tells Lee he isn’t ready to move on yet. He said they both know that he had Lee beat at Takeover: Portland. He said the Spanish Fly was supposed to be the end. Lee cuts him off and says we all have excuses. He says that no matter what he says, Lee won the match. He says that everywhere they have been, he has heard the same thing as the fans chant “fight forever”. Lee says that if he can talk Regal into it, they can actually fight forever. Lee leaves the ring and they go to a commercial break.
Collective Thoughts: Good promos by both Lee and Dijakovic that keep the feud going. Their match at Takeover: Portland might have been one of my favorite big man matches ever, so I am all for them continuing to go at it. I don’t think Dijakovic will be the one who beats Lee for the title, but they could have some great matches coming up in the future.
They come back from break with Kayden Carter making her entrance for the next match. Robert Stone announces his client Chelsea Green and says she’s the face of the NXT Women’s Division. Keep dreaming, buddy. This is a rematch from a couple of weeks ago when Carter picked up the upset win over Green.
Chelsea Green vs. Kayden Carter
The match begins with Green kicking Carter in the midsection. Carter fights back and rolls her up for a two count. Green gets back to her feet but Carter takes her down with a clothesline. Green gets back up and comes off the ropes but is met with a Carter superkick and Carter scores a nearfall. Carter goes to the corner but slips getting up and Green takes advantage and slams her down. Green maintains control and hits some strikes and covers for a two count. Green locks in the Camel Clutch and smashes down on Carter’s back as she gets up. Carter crawls to the ropes but Green is right there and catapults her into the second rope throat first. Green whips her into the corner but Carter fights out but isn’t in control for long and Green stomps down on her. Bianca Belair comes out of nowhere with a mic and tells them to get out of the ring. She says she happy that they got some TV time and she is going to let them finish but she has something to say. She says you aren’t even from here, but now she wants you here. She says that when she crosses paths with Charlotte Flair again, she is going to whip her ass. She doesn’t care if it’s in NXT or on Raw. She is coming for Flair. She leaves the ring and Green rolls Carter up for a two count as the match continues. Green goes for a backslide for another two count. Green goes for a cradle for two. Carter recovers and hits a superkick that sends Green out of the ring. Carter follows her out but as she gets back in, Robert Stone trips her. Green takes advantage and hits the Unprettier to pick up the win after about 5 minutes.
Winner: Chelsea Green Match Rating: 1.25/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: The match was alright, but there wasn’t much to it. Belair interrupting the match was bizarre and made the two women in this match feel like a step below the rest of the women’s division. Belair and Flair will probably have a match on NXT TV which should be a good one when it goes down. After watching Green and Carter have two matches now, you can see they still need some work, but both women have worked hard, so I’ll give them props for that.
Chelsea Green and Robert Stone celebrate the victory in the ring.
Velveteen Dream is shown getting ready to make his entrance for the main event as they go to commercial break.
They come back and announce that Tommaso Ciampa vs. Austin Theory is official for next week, as well as Finn Balor making his return to the show. They also confirm that Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai will have a Steel Cage Match in two weeks. It’s time for the main event.
Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong
Dream is out first and makes his long-awaited return to the ring after an injury kept him out for nearly 6 months. This rivalry was going on before the injury and the Undisputed Era attacked Dream to add fuel to the fire and to put him out of action. Dream continues with the mind games by waving and saying “Hi Marina” into the camera.
Dream starts the match by jumping out of the ring when Strong shot in to start the match. Dream gets in the ring and both men lock up and Strong takes him down to the mat. Strong gets him up against the ropes and uses all the five-count from the referee. Both men miss the mark with right hands, and Strong slides out of the ring as Dream taunts him. Strong goes to get back in the ring, but Dream takes his weight belt off and goes to hit Strong with it but Strong nails and remains outside. Strong gets back in the ring and shoots the double leg and takes Dream down to the mat. Both men start to scrap back and forth with Strong getting Dream in a front face lock and uses the whole five-count again. Strong misses with a clothesline and Dream slides out of the ring. He starts to circle the ring and Strong jumps outside to give chase. Dream rolls in the ring and Strong is quick to follow and Dream hits a dropkick as he is coming in. He works Strong into the corner and slaps him in the face and hits a kick to the midsection before whipping him with force into the opposite corner. Dream slaps Strong in the face again, before getting him in the corner and hitting a hard chop. Strong goes to the other corner but Dream is right behind and hits him with an elbow. Dream hits another chop and puts Strong in a front face lock but Strong gets to the ropes forcing the break. Dream goes to work on Strong some more in the ropes, but Strong gets a thumb to the eye and throws Dream into the corner. Strong hits some chops in the corner and follows that up with some shots and boots as Dream falls to the mat. Strong hits a backbreaker and Dream rolls out of the ring in some serious pain. Strong waits for him to get back in but eventually comes out to meet him but Dream comes back with a clothesline. Dream goes to capitalize, but Strong pushes him into the apron and slams his head into it. He does it again, but Dream comes back and tosses Strong headfirst into the stairs as they go to the split-screen.
*Commercial Break* Both men are on the outside in a world of hurt. Dream gets to his feet and throws Strong into the guardrail. He hits some shots on the outside and tosses him into the guardrail on the other side of the ring. Dream drops him throat first in the rail and goes up top and hits an ax handle to the outside. Strong tries to get away but Dream pushes him into the guardrail again. As Dream climbs into the ring, Strong grabs his foot and pulls him off and hits a belly to back suplex on the guardrail. Strong rolls back in the ring and as Dream climbs up on the apron, Strong suplexes him into the ring. Strong hits a chop and works Dream into the corner. He goes up top for the ten punches but Dream fights out and grabs Strong by the neck, only to have Strong hit him with a right hand. Strong covers and gets a two count and puts Dream in a front face lock. He keeps him there and hits a high knee strike and covers for another two count as they go back to full screen.
Strong puts a chinlock on Dream. Dream fights his way back to his feet and hits some elbows to the midsection. Strong comes back and goes for a Double Underhook Powerbomb but Dream reverses into a back body drop. Strong is the first one to his feet and both men exchange blows, with Strong hitting a huge shot that knocks Dream to the mat. Dream goes for the Dream Valley Driver but Strong fights out and as Dream charges in, he runs into the back of Strong’s head. Both men exchange chops and right hands before Dream hits Strong with a clothesline. Dream slams his head into the corner and follows that up with a backbreaker. Dreams hits another backbreaker but as he tries to follow up, Strong hits him with a shot that knocks him to the mat. Strong pulls Dream up but Dream recovers and hits a DDT and covers him for a two count. Dream climbs to the top and hits another ax handle smash. Dream hits some chops and punches before throwing Strong into the ring and hitting a knee to the top of the head. That looked a little sloppy. Dream hits some elbows and leaps to the top but Strong pushes him down onto the top rope. Strong follows him up but Dream hits him with some elbows and picks him up on his shoulders but Strong fights out and hits a backbreaker on the top rope. That was a cool looking spot. Strong covers for a near fall. Strong attempts a suplex but Dream fights out. He goes for it again but Dream fights out a second time and starts to smash on Strong with some clubbing blows. Dream goes for a clothesline but Strong sucks and hits him with a Double Underhook Powerbomb and gets a two count. Strong follows that up by locking Dream in the Stronghold. Dream pulls himself across the ring and grabs the ropes but Strong doesn’t let go and the referee uses the five-count again. Strong goes for the Stronghold again, but Dream kicks him off and he falls to the outside. Strong slowly gets back up on the apron and hits a Sunset Flip but Dream rolls through and slaps Strong in the face. Both men exchange blows and Dream eventually kicks Strong away. Strong hits some shots and Dream counters with some of his own and Strong jumps up but Dream catches him with a superkick to the stomach. Dream hits the Dream Valley Driver and takes his tights off to reveal the tights that have Strong’s wife airbrushed on them. He goes up top, but the Undisputed Era comes out and he takes them out instead on the outside. Dream springboards off the top rope but Strong hits him with a high knee on the way down. He covers Dream and gets a near fall. He brings Dream back up to his feet but Dream recovers and hits the Dream Valley Driver and picks up the win in about 15 minutes.
Winner: Velveteen Dream Match Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: The match had a strong final couple of minutes but was slower than I expected at times. They spent a lot of time outside of the ring, which is fine, but it slowed the pace down significantly. I think it was a very good match overall, but parts of it felt a bit off. Dream has been out for a while but didn’t seem to have a whole lot of ring rust, although, some spots were a bit fumbled. Roderick Strong is one of the best workers in the business, so his matches will always be entertaining and this was no different. Overall, I was entertained by the match but maybe expected a touch more between these two. The rivalry will continue and they will have more chances to put on classic matches. Good main event match.
After the match, the Undisputed Era hit the ring and attack Dream from behind. Fish and O’Reilly hit the High Low and Strong finishes it off by hitting The End of Heartache. The Undisputed Era stand over Dream in the ring as the show goes off the air.
Overall Show Grade: 7 out of 10
It was another NXT show that showcased how deep their roster is but was a bit clunky in spots. The opening promo with the Undisputed Era was on the short side and seemed a bit out of place. The two standout matches were the NXT Cruiserweight Title match between Jordan Devlin and Lio Rush and the main event between Roderick Strong and Velveteen Dream. Both matches had a lot of hype going into them, and for the most part, lived up to most of it. The Broserweights had a good non-title match and I think they may be at the top of the division for a little bit longer. Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic had a nice face to face and will probably have another match down the line. Bianca Belair, intentional or not, interrupting the Chelsea Green/Kayden Carter match made them feel like second-tier Women’s stars, which is about right. Green and Carter aren’t bad but just seem to need some more work before they are on the level with the Women’s division in NXT, which is the best in the business. Overall, it was a good, not great, NXT show coming off an excellent Takeover: Portland show.
What did you think of NXT this week? Loved it? Hated it? Watched Dynamite again this week? As always, follow me over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site. Support each other. I’ll be back soon enough with some Collective Thoughts.