The John Report: WWE NXT 09/18/19 Review

This was the first episode of WWE NXT on USA Network in the US. The first hour was on USA Network, then the second hour was on WWE Network due to USA Network airing the final two episodes of “Suits” this week and next week. Apparently, WWE Network had a lot of issues in that second hour, but I’m watching on demand, so it’s fine now.

The bad thing for me is there’s no USA Network here in Canada and no Canadian channel picked this show up even though Sportsnet 360 (which shows Raw and Smackdown) was showing some taped poker event from years ago on Wednesday night. On Sportsnet 360 from October to April, they show NHL games on Wednesday nights, so it’s not going to be shown here unless some other deal happens. Let’s remember that WWE only did this to counter AEW on TNT in the US. They didn’t care about getting deals in other countries. That means their next biggest markets like the United Kingdom and Canada must wait 24 hours after NXT airs on USA Network for it to be on WWE Network. I realize that I can download it off a website that posts it online (shoutout to watchwrestling) on Wednesday night, but that’s not the same as getting it on cable TV that I pay for. By the way, there’s still no official news on where AEW will air in Canada either. Anyway, I’ll figure it out as I go.

As for the format of this review, I’m no longer doing play by play, detailed reviews of NXT. Once AEW starts on October 2, I’m going to review that in-depth like I do Raw and Smackdown (moving to Fridays on October 4). Three long reviews in a week, plus PPVs when they happen, is going to be enough for me on top of all the other writing and editing I do. I still want to cover NXT, so I’m going to write this article with thoughts on the show, star ratings on the matches and whatever else comes to mind. One of our new writers, Jim Kress, is doing NXT Reviews for us now and he’ll get those posted fairly quickly after the show is over. His style is different, but that’s okay and he’ll work on it as he goes forward on the site. I’m hopeful that I will do this review column on Thursday afternoons, but if it’s Friday morning when I post it then that’s okay too. Life is busier than ever for me, so I just have to find the time when I can. Let’s get to it.

Taped from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL, this is WWE NXT episode #370. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

The opening video featured Triple H talking about there being something special in the atmosphere in NXT as highlights were shown of NXT history. Great video to welcome fans to NXT on USA Network. That led to Triple H walking onto the stage and the fans chanted “NXT” as the show came on the air.

The announce team for NXT was Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Beth Phoenix, which remains the commentary team going forward.

Candice LeRae defeated Mia Yim, Bianca Belair and Io Shirai

This was a fast-paced match from the moment it began and I was very impressed by Shirai, who makes everything look so easy. They had several sequences in the match where everybody was hitting big moves and then Shirai hit an incredible moonsault onto LeRae and Yim on the floor. They went to commercial and then hit a 4-Way Tower of Doom spot leading to “NXT” chants. There were several good nearfalls near the end of the match and cool spots like Belair hitting a KOD on LeRae, but Yim broke up the pin. LeRae faced off with her former friend Shirai, who was shoved off the top by Yim to stop a moonsault. LeRae managed to hit a reverse rana and a springboard moonsault on Yim for the win. My pick going into this match was Belair, but I certainly don’t mind LeRae getting the win because she’s a natural babyface like her husband Johnny Gargano. They got about 10 minutes, but only 7 minutes shown due to the commercial. It was fun, wild, athletic and exactly what makes NXT so great. (Match Rating: ***1/2 out of five)

The win by LeRae meant that she gets to face Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Title.

There was a staredown on the stage with Baszler and LeRae along with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke supporting Baszler. I think it’s very possible that LeRae wins the title when they have their title match.

A brief video was shown about NXT Champion Adam Cole.

There was a video package that let us know there will be a Donovan Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee match next week. Please check that out if you can because they are outstanding heavyweights who always have great matches together.

Cameron Grimes defeated Sean Maluta

The bell rang, Maluta charged, Grimes hit a running double stomp to the chest and pinned Maluta to win after about five seconds. They see big things in Grimes (formerly Trevor Lee) and there’s nothing wrong with that because he has a lot of potential. (Match Rating: No point in rating it.)

A video package was shown about Damian Priest, who is one of the taller guys in NXT and will probably get a big push in the coming months.

The next match was the main event of the first hour on USA Network.

Roderick Strong defeated Velveteen Dream to win the NXT North American Championship

The first few minutes were slow paced, Dream was in full control and then as you would expect, the heel Strong took over after that with a backbreaker onto the guardrail. Strong’s offense featured a lot of submission attempts and several backbreakers because he’s known as the “Messiah of the Backbreaker” as Ranallo pointed out. When Dream tried a Sharpshooter, Strong kicked him out of the ring and Dream shoved Strong into the steel steps. That led to the second commercial break of this match.

Dream made his big comeback and got some good nearfalls with a superkick as well as DreamDT that led to “NXT” chants again. Strong had an offensive flurry of forearms and nearly won with his Boston Crab submission. Strong’s buddies Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish went to ringside. Shortly after that, Strong grabbed Dream and shoved him into the referee. Dream hit a Dream Valley Driver, but there was no referee. Dream fought off the Undisputed Era guys on the apron, Strong hit a suplex into the double knees and Dream kicked out to a huge ovation. Dream with another Dream Valley Driver, he went up top, the referee was distracted, Cole with a superkick and Strong hit the End of Heartache (suplex into double knees) for the win. Strong got the pin after 15 minutes to become the new NXT North American Champion. All of the interference keeps it from being four stars, but the finish made sense considering how close the Undisputed Era group is. It was still a great match and it’s fitting that they did a title change on the first NXT on USA Network show. (Match Rating: ***3/4)

The win by Strong meant that the Undisputed Era group all have titles with Adam Cole as the NXT Champion, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly as the NXT Tag Team Champions and now Strong as the NXT North American Champion. As they said many times, the prophecy from the Undisputed Era was fulfilled.

That was the end of the first hour on USA Network. As I noted in the opening paragraph, the two hours will be on USA Network on October 2.

When the broadcast moved over to WWE Network, Strong’s championship celebration continued. I like how the Undisputed Era’s championship celebration lasted several minutes. It made the title win feel like a bigger deal. They spent a few minutes recapping the wins of Candice LeRae and Roderick Strong from the first hour.

In two weeks, it will be Shayna Baszler vs. Candice LeRae for the NXT Women’s Title. I think there might be a title change there.

Pete Dunne defeated Arturo Ruas

As soon as this match began it was obvious Dunne was going to win, but I liked that Ruas got plenty of offense and he looked competitive during the entire match. Good strikes from both guys. I liked Nigel McGuinness comparing Dunne to Daniel Bryan. There was a gruesome moment where Dunne ripped on the toes of Ruas, who wrestled barefoot.  Dunne got the win with the submission that included a triangle choke along with a finger snap and it went about seven minutes. Pushing Dunne in NXT is fine with me. He is one of my favorites in NXT. This match went about seven minutes. (Match Rating: **3/4)

Dakota Kai returns to NXT next week. She has a bright future.

Xia Li defeated Aliyah (w/Vanessa Borne)

Li first female superstar from China in WWE history. Li went for a top rope spot, then she slipped off the top and it looked like they were confused for a bit. Li hit a few kicks after that and then a spinning kick to the back. Li has potential, but that one spot where she messed up hurt the match for sure. It only went two minutes. (Match Rating: 1/2*)

A guy named Denzel Dejournette was in the ring for a match against Kushida, but there was an interruption. The NXT UK group Imperium went into the ring to attack Dejournette with Alexander Wolfe hitting a German Suplex and there was a Powerbomb/uppercut combo. The fans chanted for Walter and that led to Walter, the UK Champion, making his entrance. The crowd reaction for Walter definitely made him feel like a huge star.

Walter said they’re Imperium and this mat is sacred. Walter issued a warning to others and Kushida made the interruption in part because he was the scheduled to have a match. Kushida took out three of the Imperium guys, then Walter threw Kushida down and Kushida hit a jumping kick to the head.

Analysis: It was a nice surprise to see Walter on NXT because he’s such a terrific all-around talent and a natural heel. Kushida showed a lot of heart going against four heels like that. Walter vs. Kushida will be an awesome match when they do it soon.

Lio Rush defeated Oney Lorcan

This was a pretty good match. This was Rush’s first match since he left WWE TV in May, so it’s nice to see he’s on good terms again and he showed off what he can do in this match. The fans were strongly behind Rush although they liked Lorcan as well. That’s the NXT fans, though, because they tend to like nearly everyone on the show. Lorcan was in control for most of the match with Rush selling a left knee injury. Rush hit an incredible move off the ropes where he did a springboard into a Stunner for a two count. That was sweet. Lorcan came back with a Powerbomb and then a single leg Boston Crab to continue working on the left knee along with a STF. When Rush got back up, he hit a Spanish Fly to counter a charging Lorcan, which was impressive. Rush went up top and hit the Five Star Frog Splash for the pinfall win. I liked the story of the match with Rush showing that babyface resolve to make the comeback for a big win. They got about 11 minutes. (Match Rating: ***1/4)

The win by Rush means he’ll get a title match against Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak.

Street Fight: Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain ended in a No Contest

This started like a fight with Dain hitting a dropkick right as the bell rang and then they left the ring. Riddle connected with a kendo stick shot, but then Dain sent Riddle into the crowd and a senton splash on the floor. They went to the backstage area, then the action spilled out to the parking lot and Dain tossed Riddle into a truck. The Imperium group was sitting a table, so Walter and his buddies attacked Riddle, which led to the Street Profits coming in for the save. Most of the NXT roster got into a wild brawl in the parking lot. Dain and Riddle ended up going back into the arena, but other wrestlers entered from the back and made it to the ringside area too. The fans chanted “NXT” again as a brawl spilled out into the arena. They set up for a big spot with Dain as the last man in the ring. Dain ran the ropes and hit a suicide dive onto a bunch of guys outside the ring. The fans chanted “Holy Shit” and that was the end of the show. They wrestled for about three minutes while the entire chaotic situation lasted about six minutes. (Match Rating: ** – Fun while it lasted, but obviously not a complete match.)

I thought this was an interesting way to end the show because they spent weeks building up the Riddle vs. Dain rivalry and then it ended up as a wild brawl with the entire roster. That means they can do Riddle vs. Dain again and they announced it in this Youtube clip after the show.

When you see how the crowd reacted to it and the chants they were doing, it was obvious that they liked this ending too. What works so well for NXT is the focus on the in-ring action. There aren’t as many promos as Raw or Smackdown. It’s about the matches, the brawls and telling the best stories they can. This ending was perfect in terms of telling viewers what NXT is all about.

 

Final Thoughts

There were several very good matches all night long and the North American Title change was treated like a big deal. I thought the opening match with the four women in a competitive battle was a smart way to begin the broadcast. It was all action that represented what NXT is all about. The ending was chaotic, which is a smart way to keep people tuned in next week to see what would happen next.

It was also cool to see that the Women’s 4-Way won by LeRae and Rush’s win over Lorcan will lead to title matches. That’s the right way to build up title matches by having wrestlers beat other contenders. On Raw or Smackdown, what we normally get is champions losing non-title matches. I’m sick of that. This is the better way to do it.

I think they did a good job of showcasing what NXT is all about. It was a bit of a surprise that Johnny Gargano wasn’t on the show at all, nor was he really mentioned considering he is arguably the top face in NXT. I think maybe he should have had a match. The tag team division wasn’t featured either, but there’s only so much time on the show.

If I rated this out of then it would be a 7.5 or 8 out of 10. Something like that. I enjoyed it.

This review was just over 2500 words. That’s what I was aiming for. If I went full details and play by play it would be at least double that. It saves me a bit of writing, but I also feel like I covered the show as well. Let me know your thoughts on the format in the comments.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

The post The John Report: WWE NXT 09/18/19 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

WWE NXT Review Sept. 18, 2019 (Debut on USA Network) by Jim Kress

Note from John Canton: Welcome Jim Kress to the site. He’s going to be our regular WWE NXT reviewer moving forward. Is his style of writing the same as mine? No, and that’s okay. Everybody is going to have their own voice and their own style. Jim will give you all the key details on the show and he’ll let you know some of his thoughts along the way as well. I plan on writing about NXT every week in a different format from my other reviews. That’s because I’m going to write in-depth about Raw, Smackdown and AEW’s show every week. We’re all figuring it out as we go. Take it away, Jim.

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The WWE NXT brand has long been considered WWE’s “developmental” division, but on September 18th, the brand made its jump to the USA Network. Let’s see what happened.

The show started with a promo from Triple H. The video was a close-up of Hunter’s face and followed him into the NXT Universe as it turned into a live shot of him walking into a sea of chanting fans. It was a very creative way to open the brand’s first episode on USA.

Fatal 4-Way: Io Shirai v Bianca Belair v Mia Yim v Candice LeRae

Shortly following the “NXT” chants, Io Shira’s music hit. She was part of a woman’s fatal 4-way to determine who will be the next challenger for Shayna Baszler’s championship belt. Shirai came out in a fury of chaos, then calmed into a quite composure as she waited for the remaining women to enter the ring. Bianca Belair was the next to enter. Nice pop from the crowd for her. She’s extremely talented. Hope to see a push for her soon. Mia Yim was the third competitor to enter the ring in this fatal 4-way. Mia Yim just had a bit of a mini push towards the Women’s NXT Championship. She pushed Baszler to her limit and had previously secured two(!) victories against Bianca Belair.

Candice LeRae was the last woman to enter and she went directly after Io Shirai. LeRae’s entire reason for entering this match was to get her hands on Io. It doesn’t take much to push a storyline in wrestling, just stay consistent with it. It’s nice to see that in the first match of the evening.

The first five minutes of this match were a wonderful showcase for each of these wrestler’s strengths and abilities. Belair showed off her power, while Yim and Io showed off their technique. It was received well from the fans before the first commercial break.

Following the break, we come back to the competitor’s performing a 4-woman Tower of Doom. The ToD was wonderfully executed and got a big pop from the crowd.

Toward the end of the match, nearly every competitor had a moment where they each performed their own finisher. Belair and Yim both had their cover’s interrupted before the “1-2-3.” In the end, Candice LeRae was the victor after an impressive offensive combination against Mia Yim. Her springboard moonsault landed really well and she grabbed the cover for the win.

Winner: Candice LeRae

Post match, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler’s music hit. She was accompanied by her squad and they surrounded LeRae as an intimidation tactic. LeRae seemed bothered by it. She’ll be the obvious underdog babyface in her match with Baszler, the bully heel champion.

Adam Cole (Bay Bay), the NXT Champion, had a video promo followed by live shots of him and the Undisputed Era in the locker room. The camera then shifted to the Velveteen Dream backstage preparing for his match.

We were then given an update that #NXT was trending on Twitter.

Dominik Dijakovic v. Keith Lee was teased for next week. Those two have clashed in the past before and those are always “must-see.” Dijakovic won the last match, so I think Lee will come out victorious next week.

Sean Maluta v Cameron Grimes

This was a no contest. As soon as the bell rang, Mulata went after Grimes and Grimes hit him with the double foot stomp. Easy 1-2-3. This was odd because last week’s match was supposed to serve as a match that made Grimes look strong too. Why make him over-the-top tonight as well? I’m sure we’ll see what’s coming up for him in the next few weeks, but be prepared to see a lot more of him.

Winner: Cameron Grimes

North American Championship: Velveteen Dream (c) vs. Roderick Strong

Strong was the first to enter the ring. Dream followed with a predictably entertaining intro. “Jacked Ref” was officiating this match. It looks like he’s been trying to grow a beard. Don’t forget to throw love to our refs too! They work pretty hard in this business too. Velveteen Dream was on fire to start the match. He was getting good offense in on Strong, while also effectively playing the mind game. Strong was visibly frustrated outside of the ring after a few failed offensive maneuvers.

After a brief commercial break, we found Dream still unloading on Roderick Strong. Strong eventually countered to break Dream’s momentum. We were then reminded that the 2nd hour of the episode would air on the WWE Network.

Both men had some great back and forth action until Strong went for his “End of Heartache” finisher. Dream looked done. Against all odds he kicked out after a 2 count, only to then be held in Strong’s submission hold. Dream sold this well. The entire building was on its feet cheering for him to grab the rope. He crawled in agony and stretched his arm out to grab the rope and break the hold.

After the “near tap” moment, Dream was pushed into Jacked Ref and the ref laid unconscious. The Undisputed Era showed up ringside and waited to attack the Dream. Strong nailed Dream with another back-breaker and it appeared to be Dream’s demise, Jacked Ref woke up just in time for Dream to kick out at yet another two count. Big pop from the crowd for that near fall. The Undisputed Era played their cards right, distracted the ref and helped Strong pin Dream to finish the match. Prophecy Fulfilled.

Winner and new NXT North American Champion: Roderick Strong

The first hour of NXT went off the air with the Undisputed Era draped in gold. Time to switch over to WWE Network.

The top of hour 2 showed replays of the previous match between Strong and Dream as well as the women’s fatal 4-way finale. The replays set up a graphic for the LeRae v Baszler match in 2 weeks.

Pete Dunne v Arturo Ruas

Dunne entered the ring ready to break some bones. Arturo Ruas was his competitor in the night’s match.

At first glance, I thought this was going to be another squash match (much like the one Cameron Grimes had in the 1st hour). However, Dunne and Ruas put on a good performance. Pete Dunne let Ruas get in his offense early and sold well for him. For Pete Dunne to do this for Ruas, it shows more of a balance in the roster. You start to get the feeling every person has a chance to become a champion. Great performers getting rewarded for what they can do in the ring, what a concept.

Dunne gained offensive control in the second half of the match and never let go. His offense is simply ruthless. He has absolutely earned the nickname “Bruiserweight.” Pete Dunne emerged victorious after he got Ruas to tap. Those finger snap moves don’t ever get easier to watch.

Winner: Pete Dunne

After the Dunne v Ruas match, Lio Rush(!) v Oney Lorcan match was teased. Rush hasn’t been seen in months after some controversial backstage drama. It’s good to see him back on WWE TV. He’s a great heel on the mic and a wonderful in-ring performer.

Another Dakota Kai returning promo aired. She’ll be back next week.

Xia Li v Aliyah

If you’ve already seen the match, unfortunately, Xia Li had a pretty rough botch toward the finish. Botches happen and we all certainly don’t hope to see them happen again. Outside of that one move, she was incredibly impressive. Her entrance showed an impressive display of athleticism, her theme music gets people to inadvertently clap along, she’s alarmingly quick and strikes hard in the ring. I hope this match doesn’t derail any of her confidence or momentum. Even after the botch, she quickly recovered with some hard-hitting offense and took the quick cover for the victory.

Winner: Xia Li

Kushida was teased next. The second hour started to feel a bit more like a 205 live episode. I’m sure with a 2nd hour to cover on USA, adding in 205 Live superstars should make that extra hour easy to cover with quality wrestling.

Denzel DeJeounette was mid entrance after a break. His gimmick looked like if MC Hammer and Kris Kross were fused together. He was quickly surrounded by Imperium. “Where is Walter?” chants filled the arena as he was absent from the group beating up DeJeounette.

Without delay, Walter’s music hit hard and the crowd went wild. (Please give us another Walter v Pete Dunne someday soon!) He started on the mic only to be interrupted mid-promo by Kushida. Kushida played quite the sneaky babyface in thwarting Imperium. What an absolute match Kushida v Walter will be.

Lio Rush v Oney Lorcan

Rush is back. New haircut, but same slick quickness. It’s nice to see him back. Full Sail let out a “Welcome Back” chant as well. Rush looked strong right out the gate too. He had the crowd behind him throughout the entire match.

Oney’s power caught up to Rush and he hit him with some devastating slams. He got in some powerful offense of his own as well. Near the end of the match, Oney powered up, only to be hit with a stellar Spanish Fly from Lio Rush. Rush went top rope for the frog splash and got the 1-2-3. Throw him up to Drew Gulak now, he’s ready.

Winner: Lio Rush

The win by Rush means he gets a Cruiserweight Title shot against champion Drew Gulak.

Street Fight: Matt Riddle v Killian Dain

BRO! Riddle entered first. This guy is so talented. He’s coming off of a loss to Dain in their previous encounter and Dain has been getting booked pretty strong lately. Riddle has been pretty strong in the past too, so we’ll have to wait and see which way they’re going to take this.

The match quickly found its way backstage. NXT superstar cameos piled up as Riddle and Dain made their way further backstage. Riddle got into it with Walter (ok?) after tossing Dain through a table, then all hell broke loose.

The action made its way back inside and toward the ring. Nearly every NXT superstar was in or around the ring brawling with one another. Most of them were filtered out of the ring as Dain was the last standing inside. He hit half the roster with a suicide dive and that’s how NXT went off the air.

Winner: Match was a No Contest

Closing Thoughts

Great way to start the NXT brand on USA. The first hour was impressive, showing newer talent along with more recognizable names. We also saw a title change and some storylines start to blossom. There were 7 total matches in the 2-hour span and more than half of them were very entertaining. The black and gold brand has been a reliable source of in-ring entertainment both in quality and quantity. The first episode was promising. Let’s hope to see the brand build on the hard work they’ve already put into it.

 

 

 

The post WWE NXT Review Sept. 18, 2019 (Debut on USA Network) by Jim Kress appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live 09/17/19 Review

Welcome to another WWE Smackdown Live Review right here on TJRWrestling for the second last time on a Tuesday night. There’s the September 24 Smackdown on Tuesday next week and then after that, Smackdown moves to Fridays on October 4 on Fox.

Live from Atlanta, Georgia, this is Smackdown Live for episode #1048. 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 shot of the crowd and then a highlight of from Clash of Champions when Luke Harper returned to help Erick Rowan. The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton did a rundown of what’s coming up on the show including Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair.

The New Day trio of WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods made their entrance. They had pancakes with them and the crowd cheered the popular trio. The Revival, who are the new Smackdown Tag Team Champions, entered first for their team. They were joined by their buddy Randy Orton.

Analysis: Starting with a match five minutes after the show started is a great way to begin. I prefer this over a show opening promo that we get most weeks.

The New Day – Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E vs. Randy Orton and The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder)

Big E hit a belly to belly suplex on Wilder followed by a Big E splash on the apron on Wilder. Woods tagged in with a brace on his left knee to sell his worked knee injury as Big E slammed Woods onto Wilder. When Wilder got back up, he kicked the left knee of Woods. Dawson with chops, but Woods came back with a spinning elbow to the face. Kingston tagged in with a double axehandle onto the arm of Dawson. Orton tagged in, Kingston with a springboard dropkick, there was a splash from Kingston, an elbow drop from Woods and Big E with a splash on Orton as well. The Revival got knocked off the apron. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise on Orton, but Randy bailed to the floor and that led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Dawson and Wilder working over the left knee of Woods. Dawson put the leg of Woods on the bottom rope and then he splashed onto it. Orton tagged in with a kick to the left leg of Woods. When Woods tried to fight back with punches, Orton gave him a thumb to the eye to stop him. Orton with chops to chest of Woods as Phillips noted that some of Xavier’s family was sitting ringside because he’s from Atlanta. Dawson tagged in with a leg lock on the left knee of Woods to keep him grounded. Woods kicked Dawson out of the ring, Wilder tagged in and Woods got a sunset flip on Wilder for a two count. Orton got the tag, Woods kicked Wilder and Wilder launched Woods over the top to the floor. That’s where Orton picked up Woods and gave him a belly to back slam on Woods on the announce table. The table didn’t break as usual when Orton does that move, but Woods sold it very well.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Kofi Kingston getting the hot tag with clotheslines on Orton, a dropkick on Wilder and Kingston hit the SOS slam on Orton for two because Dawson broke up the pin. Orton tossed Dawson out of the ring, Big E clothesline on Dawson, Wilder DDT on Big E, Wilder tripped up Woods on the apron, Kingston kicked Wilder down and Kingston wanted a dive, but Orton caught him with a draping DDT off the ropes. Wilder tagged in, then Dawson tagged in and the heels wanted a triple team move, but Big E sent Orton into the ring post. Kingston with a double DDT on both Revival guys. Woods up top with an elbow drop across the ring on Wilder. Dawson was left in the ring with Kingston and Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise kick on Dawson for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: The New Day – Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E vs. Randy Orton and The Revival

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a pretty good tag team match. They followed the usual tag team formula with Woods as the face in peril, then Kingston was on fire after the hot tag and New Day got the clean win. The crowd was really into the match. New Day worked so well together. They’re awesome. I’m not surprised that Kingston pinned somebody other than Orton although that feud is over now based on what happened next.

After the match, the music of Brock Lesnar hit and “The Beast” Brock Lesnar was in the arena with his advocate Paul Heyman. They were staring at New Day, especially Kofi Kingston, in the ring. Kingston told Big E and Woods to leave because he’s got this.

Analysis: The Lesnar appearance was unadvertised, so it was a surprise to me when I saw him.

Lesnar, who had a bit of a beard, walked on the apron with Heyman while Kingston stood in the ring holding the WWE Title. They went into the ring with Paul Heyman doing his introduction. Heyman said that Lesnar stands in front of him and the longevity of his title reign. Heyman said it’s a bad day for the New Day…yes it is.

Heyman said that his client Brock Lesnar hereby challenges him to a match for the WWE Championship of the world on Friday, October 4 at the Friday Night Smackdown premiere on Fox.

Kofi Kingston said when he won the WWE Title he said he was going to be a fighting champion, so as far as the challenge is concerned, he accepts. Lesnar grabbed Kingston and hit the F5 on him to leave the WWE Champion down on the mat. Lesnar grabbed the WWE Title and tossed it towards Kingston on the mat.

Analysis: There’s a big match for the first Smackdown on Fox, which was expected. I think Lesnar will win the WWE Title. I know that pisses off a lot of people that don’t like him, but Lesnar is the biggest name in WWE for casual fans and I think WWE wants to get the WWE Title on him. Lesnar wrestling on TV is rare, so obviously WWE considers the Smackdown on Fox debut to be a huge deal if they are having Lesnar vs. Kingston for the WWE Title.

Coming up next we’ll hear from Erick Rowan about his recent actions.

(Commercial)

Sasha Banks and Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley were interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Banks said she is the star of the women’s division, so she’ll take on any challenge of any jealous wannabe. Banks noted that she has been in Hell in a Cell before, but Lynch has not. Bayley said that Banks will answer all the questions about her match tonight when she’s in the ring later.

There were highlights shown from Clash of Champions when Erick Rowan beat Roman Reigns thanks to the surprising return of Brock Lesnar.

Interview with Erick Rowan

Erick Rowan did a sitdown interview with Michael Cole with Cole asking why Luke Harper chose that moment to help Rowan. That led to Rowan asking if he had a question for him. Rowan said that the attacks on Reigns were to scare the man and Cole said you tried to kill him. Rowan said he doesn’t allow anybody to speak to him like that. Rowan claimed he did what he did to Reigns to show that his dominance is an illusion while Rowan said he was underappreciated and disrespected. Rowan said that people like Reigns and Daniel Bryan think that he’s just a goon meant to do somebody else’s bidding. Rowan said he’s not a puppet, he’s not a follower and he said he’s a leader. Cole asked why Rowan betrayed Bryan. Rowan said that Bryan thinks they were intellectual equals and he claimed he was smarter than he’ll ever be. Rowan said that Roman, Bryan and all of WWE will learn to never disrespect him again.

Analysis: That was fine. Rowan continued to make his point that he didn’t want to be disrespected and he is his own man. I don’t mind WWE wanting to try a push with him because they need to utilize different people once in a while. Plus, he’s a big dude and we know Vince is always going to want to push guys like that.

Still to come: Daniel Bryan is on Smackdown for the first time since Rowan attacked him.

Ali made his entrance for a match after the break.

(Commercial)

Sami Zayn made his entrance with a neckbrace saying he was still in pain and wanted the fans to respect him. Zayn did a big introduction for the Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. He was really over the top with his introduction. Nakamura entered with his red cape.

Zayn pointed out that several weeks ago, Ali beat Nakamura and he said luck had a little to do with it. Zayn said that was before Nakamura partnered with Zayn. Zayn claimed that he respected Ali, he likes him, he’s super athletic and Ali will never be a champion.

Zayn held the leg of Ali and Nakamura hit Ali with a knee to the back of the head. Nakamura sent Ali into the turnbuckle. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa on Ali to put him down.

Analysis: No match. Just an angle. Ali already beat Nakamura non-title and then he didn’t get a title shot after it, so WWE is picking up that storyline to likely set up an IC Title match at Hell in a Cell. That’s fine with me. They’ve wrestled a few times and have good chemistry together. Plus, the presence of Zayn adds to the heat that Nakamura gets, so I think the fans will rally behind Ali, who may end up winning the title.

Kevin Owens was shown arriving to the arena with a spotlight on him and Owens sat in the crowd where there was an empty seat because he had a ticket.

Shane McMahon was in the office when referee John Cone showed up. A guy in a suit went up to Shane and gave him papers saying that he has been served. Shane opened the envelope, didn’t look happy about it and left.

A commercial aired for NXT on USA Network on Wednesday.

(Commercial)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

===

The next WWE PPV is Hell in a Cell on October 6. Here’s the official lineup so far.

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

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

That’s all for now. More matches to come.

 

 

The post The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live 09/17/19 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 09/16/19 Review

Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal review here on TJRWrestling. Here’s my WWE Clash of Champions review in case you missed it. The next PPV is Hell in a Cell on October 6th, so they have less than three weeks to build up to it.

Live from Knoxville, Tennessee, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1372 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 along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

The show began with Cole saying they were at the University of Tennessee instead of saying Knoxville (hey Kane) and it looked like a solid crowd on camera anyway.

Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins made his entrance with the Universal Title in his hands for the show opening promo. Rollins said Knoxville is loud tonight and the fans cheered his blatant sucking up. Rollins said he wasn’t happy about losing the Raw Tag Team Titles, but they had to move forward with the Universal Title on the line.

Rollins said that Braun Strowman is very large, he’s strong and gave him the fight of his life. Rollins gave “mad props” to Strowman. Rollins said when push came to shove, he put him down with The Stomp, but it wasn’t enough so he gave him a second and third stomp, plus a Pedigree and a fourth Stomp kept the big man down. Rollins said that he is happy that rematch is not happening any time soon.

Rollins said when he went up that ramp, he didn’t have time to celebrate before he was cloaked in darkness and taken down by something he can only describe as…fans chanted “Yowie Wowie” at him. Rollins said he was laying there choking half to death and the last thing he saw when he lost consciousness was the face of “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. Rollins said when he came to, Wyatt was nowhere to be found, but the good thing is in three weeks he gets to go one on one with Bray Wyatt inside Hell in a Cell.

There was a Firefly Fun House video on the screen with Bray Wyatt on his set. Wyatt said it’s his future best friend the Universal Champion Seth Rollins. Wyatt said he’s glad Seth is there, he’s super glad he is okay and Rollins told him he needs some help. Rambling Rabbit told Seth to run and Wyatt told him no. Wyatt said there’s no need for name-calling while adding that mistakes happen because Seth should know…lots of mistakes and plenty of people have forgiven him. Wyatt said that just like he told his fireflies last week, friends forgive, but “HE” never forgets and that’s why he said hello at Clash of Champion. Bray said that “HE” might have more to say to you tonight. Wyatt laughed: “See you in hell!”

Analysis: The Wyatt gimmick as The Fiend is very popular with the fans, so it’s a smart idea to say that The Fiend might see Rollins again later in the night. I think the fans are happy to see Wyatt in the title picture. The Rollins promo was fine. It was typical for the night after a PPV where they recap what happened the one night earlier.

Still to come: King of the Ring finals is Baron Corbin vs. Chad Gable. The graphics were upside down. Also, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley. Renee asked if the graphics were upside down. Seth Rollins will face Robert Roode. The graphics ended there.

Analysis: The idea behind the upside down graphics is that they were caused by The Fiend, so it was intentional for the angle.

Braun Strowman showed up looking angry. Charly Caruso said he wasn’t expected to be there and he said the next person that goes to the ring is going to “get these hands.” Braun left. Charly is attractive. Just saying.

A commercial aired for NXT on USA Network this Wednesday. The first hour is on USA Network and the second hour is on WWE Network. It will be that way for two weeks because USA is airing Suits at 9pmET for those two weeks. On October 2, the two hours will be on USA Network only.

(Commercial)

Tag Team Summit

The new Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode entered with the titles around their waist. Ziggler was in his street clothesline while Roode was in his wrestling gear. This is supposed to be a tag team summit according to the announcers.

The Revival duo of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder entered as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions in their ring gear. They entered the ring with the other champions.

Robert Roode did a promo saying nobody could believe that he and Ziggler could be a success while even pointing out Michael Cole didn’t believe in them with Roode saying Cole thinks he knows everything. Roode said take a look at the new champions.

Braun Strowman made his entrance and he went down to the ring. Strowman decked Dawson with a punch and he tossed Wilder into the barricade. Roode left the ring, Strowman kicked Ziggler in the face and left the ring. Strowman left the ring with shoulder tackles on Dawson, Wilder and Ziggler while Roode ran up the ramp to get away. Strowman celebrated in the ring with the fans cheering him.

Analysis: There wasn’t much to that other than Strowman taking out his frustrations on the two sets of tag team champions. The fans enjoy Strowman doing his running shoulder tackle routine, so it did pop the crowd at least.

Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were backstage drinking their coffee. They gloated about their win at Clash of Champions. Bliss said they’ll show Sasha and Bayley how to value the titles and be good friends.

There was another plug for Bliss/Cross vs. Bayley/Banks. The graphics were fixed after they were mistakenly upside down earlier.

AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance.

(Commercial)

There was a very short commercial break. The team of Cedric Alexander and The Viking Warriors made their entrance.

AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Cedric Alexander and The Viking Warriors (Erik and Ivar)

Alexander was aggressive with punches on Styles followed by a rising knee to the face. Alexander with another knee strike and a running kick. Erik tagged in with a knee to Styles. Erik with a punch to the face, Ivar tagged in and Erik bodyslammed Ivar onto Anderson for a two count. Gallows tagged in against Erik, who missed a corner attack and Gallows dumped Erik out of the ring. Styles whipped Erik into the barricade and Anderson with a kick to the jaw of Erik leading to a break.

(Commercial)

Erik was still the face in peril, he gave an arm drag to Anderson and a knee to the face. Ivar tagged in with a cross body block on Gallows, jumping senton on Styles and a cartwheel and a clothesline on Anderson. Alexander tagged in with a springboard clothesline on Anderson. Gallows cleaned house, Erik took him out, Anderson with a neckbreaker on Erik. Alexander with a handspring into a kick to the head and Styles made a blind tag. Alexander knocked down Anderson while Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm off the top on Alexander for the pinfall win after 8 minutes. Alexander sold it with a flip bump.

Winners by pinfall: AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid tag team match with Styles using his veteran savvy to win after a blind tag and his forearm finisher. They are putting over The OC well as a strong heel stable although they did lose a tag team match last week. The offense from the Viking Raiders is very impressive and the crowd reacts to everything they do.

After the match, Styles stomped away on Alexander. The Viking Warriors battled Gallows and Anderson in the ring, then they went to the floor and Ivar hit a somersault dive onto Erik, Gallows and Anderson. It looked like Ivar bumped right onto his back, so that was probably a painful landing for him. Styles tried an attack on Alexander off the top, but Alexander fought him. Alexander went for a hurricanrana off the top, Styles caught him and hit a Styles Clash off the middle ropes. That looked brutal. It was a safe landing, but it just looks like a vicious move when it’s off the ropes.

Analysis: Styles continuing to get the advantage over Alexander is interesting, but I don’t think it hurts Alexander too much either since Styles is a main eventer. If it leads to Alexander being off TV then that’s bad, but I think he’ll still be featured.

The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young were shown on camera setting up some 24/7 Title hijinks.

There was a clip from “earlier today” with R-Truth and Carmella at a museum in Knoxville. Carmella talked about championship teams from the University of Tennessee. Kane, the mayor of Knoxville, showed up in a suit. Kane talked about Pat Summit, the legendary basketball coach. Truth wondered if he knew him and Kane told him he was Glenn Jacobs, the mayor of Knoxville. Jacobs told Truth he’s got a limo outside if he wants to get a tour of Nashville. Truth asked if he had service. Jacobs said no.

Analysis: I think that’s the first appearance for Kane using his real name Glenn Jacobs. I’m not surprised that he was on this show when WWE was in his city of Knoxville. It’s good to see him again.

Baron Corbin made his entrance for the King of the Ring finals. He was in his black tank top, which is his wrestling gear. The announce team plugged matches and events still to come.

There was a tale of the tape for Baron Corbin and Chad Gable with Graves putting over Corbin’s height advantage 6’8″ to 5’8″ for Gable.

There was a No Way Jose commercial for Kit Kat chocolate bar. The guy is barely on TV, so congrats to him on getting a commercial spot. I’m not sure if he’s going to help Kit Kat sales, though.

(Commercial)

Chad Gable, who made the tournament finals representing Smackdown, made his entrance to a mild ovation. Gable blew kisses to somebody in the crowd, so it was likely some family members. Gable and Corbin stood in the ring for the introductions.

King of the Ring Finals: Chad Gable vs. Baron Corbin

Gable grabbed the ankle of Corbin, who got to the ropes and Gable took him down with a front facelock. Corbin came back with a punch to the face. As Corbin worked over Gable, Graves claimed that Gable let America down because he didn’t win a medal in the Olympics and Cole called him out for being ridiculous. Gable sent Corbin out of the ring with a dropkick.  Gable charged at Corbin on the floor and Corbin gave him a back body drop onto a leather chair by the timekeeper’s area.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Corbin still in control as Gable got back in the ring. Corbin with a punch to the face for a two count. Corbin worked over Gable with elbows followed by a chinlock. Gable came back with punches, Corbin charged, he slid under the bottom rope and went back in the ring for a clothesline for two. Gable sold that by flipping over and landing on his stomach. Corbin sent Gable into the ropes and hit him with a forearm to the back. Gable with forearms to the face, Corbin bounced off the ropes and hit a boot to the face. Corbin yelled “No Chance” at the fans as they booed him loudly. Corbin with a hard whip into the corner that Gable sold sternum first into the turnbuckle. Corbin with punches while Renee noted that Gable’s daughter was there, so yeah it’s his family at ringside. Corbin with a Powerbomb to counter Gable’s strikes and that was good for a two count. Corbin slapped on a chinlock and when Gable broke free, Corbin knocked him down again. Corbin sent Gable into the ropes, Gable bounced off and slapped on the Ankle Lock submission on the left foot. Corbin broke free with a punch, Corbin moved, Gable moved and Corbin went shoulder first into the ring post. Typical big man bump that we see all the time in WWE. Gable went up top and hit a missile dropkick to send Corbin across the ring. Gable charged with a rolling kick to the face two times. Gable hit a third running kick that didn’t connect very well. Gable charged, Corbin caught him and tossed him into the air leading to a powerslam for two. The fans were starting to get into this more as the nearfalls continue. They left the ring with Corbin sending Gable into the barricade two times. Corbin sent Gable into the barricade again. Corbin charged, Gable moved and Corbin went shoulder first into the steel steps. When Corbin went back into the ring, Gable drove the left leg into the steel ring post two times. Gable with a dropkick to the left leg. Gable said “you’re my size now” and beat on Corbin with punches. Gable charged off the ropes and Corbin hit a Deep Six Slam for a two count, which is the usual result for that move. Gable avoided a Corbin charge and hit a roll into a German Suplex for a two count. It is called the Chaos Theory and it’s so impressive. Gable up top, he went for a moonsault, Corbin moved and Gable came back with the Ankle Lock. Corbin tried to get to the ropes, but Gable dropped down with a heel hook around the Ankle Lock. Corbin managed to crawl to the bottom ropes and that broke the hold. The crowd was really into that and thought that was it. Corbin got a hold of Gable, spun him around his shoulders and hit the End of Days slam for the pinfall win.

Winner by pinfall and 2019 King of the Ring: Baron Corbin

Analysis: ***3/4 That was an excellent match. Gable was incredible in selling the beating, making the believable comeback and getting the fans behind him. The Ankle Lock spot with the heel hook on the mat really seemed believable because the fans thought Gable was going to win at that moment. Corbin’s cockiness throughout the match made me think he was going to lose because he was so obnoxious and overbearing, but then he still got the win. I think the crowd would have come unglued if Gable kicked out of the End of Days slam. They could have had Gable do that, then go to it a minute later and finished it that way. I really enjoyed this match. That match was better than any match at Clash of Champions.

Baron Corbin celebrated his King of the Ring victory while Graves said “All Hail King Corbin” repeatedly. Corbin walked over to the King of the Ring throne and they cut away instead of showing him put on his King gear.

Analysis: The result isn’t going to make a lot of fans happy, but Corbin did well in the tournament in terms of having good matches on a consistent basis. I think he has improved a lot in the ring over the past few months. I also know some fans are always going to hate him and turn the show off when he’s on, so he may have been a bad choice.

The Street Profits were backstage with other wrestlers for the Maria Kanellis Gender Reveal Party coming up next.

The announce team talked about NXT on Wednesday on USA Network. That led to a NXT video package.

(Commercial)

Maria Kanellis Gender Reveal Party

Montez Ford of The Street Profits welcomed us to the Gender Reveal Party. Maria Kanellis walked into the room to reveal the gender of her baby. Mike Kanellis was there beside his wife and Maria revealed that it’s a boy. Everybody celebrated. Maria told Mike who the father is of her child and she said it’s Ricochet. Ricochet said she is obviously lying, he never did it and said he would never do it, then said not that he would ever do it and Mike slapped Ricochet. Mike told Ricochet he’s going to the ring. Titus O’Neil told Ricochet to go to the ring to settle this. Angelo Dawkins told Ford he thought it would be his baby, Ford was shocked by that and they joked about the situation.

Analysis: That was bizarre. Cheesy WWE comedy doesn’t work a lot of the time and this was one of those times. I do enjoy the Street Profits, though.

Mike Kanellis made his entrance in his street clothes, which is plain black t-shirt and jeans. Ricochet made his entrance and at least he had his ring gear on.

Ricochet vs. Mike Kanellis

Ricochet tried to reason to Kanellis and tell him that Maria was lying. Mike slapped Ricochet in the face. Ricochet hit a superkick, enziguri kick to the head and the Recoil double knees to the face for the pinfall win after one minute. The commentary was making jokes throughout the match.

Winner by pinfall: Ricochet

Analysis: 1/4* Easy win for Ricochet over Kanellis, who is barely on television.

There was a Firefly Fun House segment with Bray Wyatt talking about his “wall of friendship” that had picture frames of Jerry Lawler, Kurt Angle, Finn Balor and Mick Foley on it. Bray said he needs to add more friends to his wall.

(Commercial)

The show returned with Maria Kanellis on the stage while Mike Kanellis sitting on the ring apron. Maria said Ricochet is not the father. Maria thought that maybe she could motivate Mike and then she said she thought she would reveal the real father…and Rusev made his entrance.

Rusev has a mustache on his face and he was without his wife Lana. Rusev had been off TV for several months.

Mike Kanellis said he was having a really bad day and an even worse night. Mike said he’s not looking for a fight or a match. Mike said if Rusev is the father, congratulations. Rusev looks shredded and more tanned than ever. Mike tried to run away, but Rusev ran over him with a clothesline. Rusev whipped Kanellis into the side of the ring and the barricade. Rusev whipped Kanellis into the barricade by the announce table. Rusev tossed Mike back into the ring and the referee rang the bell to start the match.

Rusev vs. Mike Kanellis

Rusev hit a superkick on Mike. Rusev slapped on the Accolade submission. Mike tapped out, so Rusev won in about 30 seconds.

Winner by submission: Rusev

Analysis: No point in rating that. Welcome back Rusev. I missed him and he looks to be in the best shape of his career. That doesn’t mean he was out of shape before. I just mean he’s looking ready to go.

It was back to R-Truth and Glenn Jacobs from earlier today. They went onto the football field that was home of the Tennessee Volunteers. Truth thought there were volunteers instead of the school nickname. Truth referred to Kane as the President. Jacobs talked about the great people of Knoxville and introduced a policeman, who had a referee shirt under his cop outfit. R-Truth ran away, then hit the goal post in the football stadium. Jacobs went over to Truth, covered him and the referee counted the pin.

Winner and New 24/7 Champion: Glenn Jacobs (Kane)

Kane grabbed the title, he said he was the 24/7 Champion and chanted “I still got it” for himself. That was funny.

Analysis: Congrats to Mayor Jacobs adding another title to his WWE career. If you need a dentist, he knows a guy for that too.

Sasha Banks and Bayley were shown getting ready for the match later.

(Commercial)

There were highlights shown from the King of the Ring finals with Baron Corbin beating Chad Gable in a great match.

They announced that Corbin’s celebration will be on Smackdown Live on Tuesday night.

Rey Mysterio entered for a match. Cesaro said that Rey shouldn’t have listened to his son and if he shows up, Cesaro will beat the hell out of him like he will do to Rey now.

Rey Mysterio vs. Cesaro

Mysterio attacked outside the ring. Cesaro was in street clothes and he wrestled the match in tights and sneakers instead of his wrestling boots. Cesaro with an uppercut and an elbow drop. Cesaro with a hard whip into the corner with Mysterio going sternum first into the turnbuckle (the Bret Hart bump). Mysterio came back with a hurricanrana that sent Cesaro shoulder first into the ring post. Mysterio charged, but Cesaro stopped him with an uppercut. Mysterio hit a 619 kick to the ribs while Cesaro was standing on the apron and then Mysterio hit a suicide dive into a Tornado DDT on the floor for two.

(Commercial)

Cesaro was in control with a clothesline and a chinlock. Mysterio tried to make the comeback, but Cesaro hit him with a clothesline that sent him out of the ring. Cesaro with a senton splash over the ropes for a two count. The crowd was quiet at Cesaro slapped on another chinlock. They did a spot with Mysterio jumping on Cesaro’s back leading to crucifix slam. Mysterio clapped to get the crowd going and he hit another impressive DDT after a springboard attack off the ropes for a two count. Mysterio went off the ropes leading to Cesaro hitting a boot to the face. Mysterio with an enziguri kick, he wanted a 619 after that, but Cesaro caught him and hit a gutbuster knee to the ribs. Cesaro with two vertical suplexes, but Mysterio countered the third with a hurricanrana into a 619 kick and Mysterio up top for another attack. Cesaro caught Mysterio and Mysterio turned it into a Sunset Bomb for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio

Analysis: *** Good match between two veterans that work well together and their styles mesh very well. Cesaro is one of the better big guys at working with Rey because he’s so quick and can work any style in the ring. The crowd was dead for most of it even though there were some cool spots. I think the problem with the match is there was no storyline or anything going into it to make people care that much. Some fans want more than just “here’s a good match” as a reason to have a match, so when that happens, you might get a crowd like this that didn’t seem to care about these guys.

The announcers put over Mysterio with Cole wondering how Mysterio still does it. The crowd cheered Rey, but it wasn’t that loud.

There was a shot of the Firefly Fun House with Bray putting a picture frame of Seth Rollins on his wall. Wyatt smiled and there were images of The Fiend as well.

(Commercial)

The were images shown with the announcers talking about the WWE Draft on October 11 on Smackdown and October 14 on Raw. Cole: “No more wildcard rule.” They made a point to say that superstars would be brand exclusive meaning one show only.

There was a video package featuring the AOP (Authors of Pain) tag team. They were in suits with Rezar and Akam speaking in English telling us their names. The video continued with them talking in a foreign language (I think Albanian) while the words appeared on the screen. They talked about how every WWE tag team is soft and they are scared to face them. They’re excited about their future while noting “that future will be written in pain.”

Analysis: It will be good to see the AOP back in action soon. I know Akam was out of action for a few months earlier this year due to injury and then WWE hasn’t done anything with them. They both speak perfect English, but they opted to go with the foreign language probably to make them be more evil? I don’t know. It’s just classic wrestling to have people speak in another language to get heat.

Sasha Banks was up first followed by Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley. Graves ripped on Cole for not screaming “It’s Boss Time” anymore with Cole saying he was disgusted by Sasha’s actions. The inflatable tube men are still part of Bayley’s entrance even though she’s a heel.

The Women’s Tag Team Championship duo of Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss entered with their titles. This is a matchup of the current champions against the first champions. Renee was shocked that Graves didn’t freak out about Bliss, Graves said “nope, over it” and that was it. Bliss is more of a face now, so that’s probably why.

Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley

This is not for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. Bliss did her knee drop attacks to the ribs of Bayley. Bliss with a boot to the face and a sunset flip bomb for two. That’s like what Rey used to win the previous match. Bliss hit a running dive onto Bayley and Bliss on the floor. Bliss favored her right knee when she landed. Bayley brought Cross to her corner and Banks hit a knee attack to the ribs. Banks with a suplex on Cross for a two count. Cross with a boot to the face of Banks, then Cross tossed Bayley out of the ring. Bayley grabbed Bliss off the apron, Bliss was grabbing at her right knee and Bayley drove Bliss knee first into the steel steps. Bayley sent Bliss’ knee into the steel steps. The WWE medical team, who were clearly indy wrestlers, checked on Bliss.

(Commercial)

Cross was alone with Bayley hitting a clothesline on her. Bliss was taken to the back due to the knee injury storyline. Banks hit a running splash on Cross. Bayley tagged in and Cross took her down with punches. Banks tossed Cross out of the ring. Cross did the pull the apron spot (hey Finlay) leading to punches on Banks and Cross sent Bayley into the barricade. Cross went up top and she hit a cross body block on Bayley for a two count. Cross with punches to the face, corner splash and a running bulldog. Cross with a dropkick to keep Banks down on the floor. Cross got a rollup on Bayley for a two count. Cross hit a DDT on Bayley coming out of the turnbuckle and it looked like a rough landing for Bayley. Cross hit a her twisting neckbreaker off the top rope for two as Banks went back in the ring to make the save. Banks tagged herself in, Cross got a cradle and Banks came back with the backstabber double knees followed by the Bank Statement submission, which led to Cross tapping out for the loss after 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Sasha Banks and Bayley

Analysis: ***1/4 That was pretty good with the champs losing non-title, which is a booking move WWE loves to do. Banks and Bayley are awesome together, Cross continues to impress every chance she gets and Bliss sold that injury well. I liked the story of the match. This will probably lead to a Women’s Tag Team Title match between the two teams. The crowd wasn’t loud during the match, but they have been a quiet crowd for much of the show.

Banks brought a chair into the ring after the match. Becky Lynch ran out for the predictable save with a chair of her own. Banks and Lynch had a chair duel, there were some weak chair attempts from both women where they obviously trying to miss eachother and Bayley was in there with a chair of her own beside Banks. Charlotte babyface Flair showed up in street clothes, Bayley went after her and Flair gave her a boot to the face to the chair while she was in heels. Flair hit Bayley with a chair to the back. Graves talked about how strange it was to have Flair come to the aide of Lynch. Banks tried an attack on Lynch, but Lynch avoided it and Lynch hit Banks in the back with a steel chair. There were “Becky” chants from the crowd as Lynch stood tall in the ring with Flair joining her while Banks and Bayley were on the floor.

Analysis: I enjoyed that. Lynch and Flair getting revenge after the way Clash of Champions ended for them was the right way to book it. The fans wanted revenge for what happened and that’s what happened. Good reaction from the crowd, which had been silent for the past hour. These four women are awesome working together.

(Commercial)

Sasha Banks did a promo in the locker room where she spoke into the camera. Banks said she is the star of the women’s division and she’s challenging Lynch to a rematch at Hell in a Cell. Banks said that’s only if Lynch is man enough to accept. Banks: “That’s only if you’re man enough, bitch.”

Analysis: The Paul Heyman influence on creative is promos like that because they never used to do them in WWE, but Heyman probably feels they are more effective, which is true.

They showed an earlier today clip of Mayor Glenn Jacobs (Kane) arriving in a limo with R-Truth on top of it. When Jacobs got out of the limo, Truth gave him the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and a referee was there to count the pin.

Winner and New 24/7 Champion…again: R-Truth

Jacobs grabbed Truth by the throat with Truth telling “Mr. President” that when you’re 24/7 Champion you have to defend it all the time and he knows Jacobs is busy all the time as the mayor. Truth said let’s call a truce, Jacobs said I guess you’re right. They said let’s go to Raw, Jacobs said Raw is always home and Truth told him he’s still got it.

Analysis: Riveting 24/7 Title action. That’s all I got.

Becky Lynch did a backstage promo talking to the camera. Lynch said she’s focused on Banks even though Lynch was fined $10,000 for inadvertently hitting a referee with a steel chair. Lynch said Banks brought the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view into their business just like Banks brought that chair into the mix. Lynch said she’s not interested in facing Banks at Hell in a Cell, she’s interested in destroying Banks IN Hell in a Cell.

Analysis: It was obvious they were heading to a Hell in a Cell match after what happened at Clash of Champions. It should be one of the better matches of the show.

Lacey Evans, who actually main evented a PPV this year, made her entrance for a match.

(Commercial)

Dana Brooke entered as the opponent for a rare Raw match. Brooke usually wrestles on Main Event and I think she has improved in the ring. There was not much of a reaction to her.

Lacey Evans vs. Dana Brooke

Brooke got in a few shots including a kick to the back and forearms while against the turnbuckle. Brooke with a handspring elbow in the corner followed by a dropkick. The crowd is dead quiet for this. Brooke worked over Evans with chops to the chest by the apron, but Evans came back with a legsweep. Evans with a double boot to the face of Brooke for a two count. Brooke came back with two clotheslines, a body slam and a cartwheel attack failed because Evans got her knees up to block. Evans hit the Woman’s Right punch to the jaw. If that is a finishing move, then why even do anything else? Anyway, Evans set up Brooke in a Sharpshooter and said this was for Natalya. Evans did the Sharpshooter with her left knee on the ground, so it wasn’t right. Brooke tapped out to give Evans the win after three minutes.

Winner by submission: Lacey Evans

Analysis: 1/2* It was just a short match to put over Evans since she has a TV feud with Natalya over the last few weeks. Brooke is full of energy and her offense looks good. I don’t think Evans should try to do the Sharpshooter if she’s unable to do it right although maybe the reason she did it was to do it wrong and get heat for doing it wrong.

The announcers plugged NXT on USA Network on Wednesday with Velveteen Dream defending the North American Title against Roderick Strong. That should be an awesome match. I’ll have a review of that NXT show on TJRWrestling on Thursday morning.

Seth Rollins was shown getting ready for his match.

(Commercial)

Seth Rollins, the Universal Champion, made his entrance for the main event. Robert Roode, who is one half of the Raw Tag Team Champions, made his entrance with tag team partner Dolph Ziggler by his side. Next week’s Raw is in San Francisco at the new Chase Center.

Seth Rollins vs. Robert Roode (w/Dolph Ziggler)

This is not for Seth’s Universal Title. Roode worked over Rollins with chops, Rollins came back with a body slam, knee drop and a kick to the back. Roode came back with a knee to the ribs. Rollins came back with a clothesline that sent Roode over the top to the floor. Ziggler went on the apron to distract Rollins, who ran after him and Rollins sent Roode into the apron. Rollins with a jumping knee to the face of Roode. After a Ziggler distraction, Roode knocked Rollins off the apron and into the barricade. Ziggler punched Rollins on the floor. Roode with a suplex onto the top of the barricade leading a break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Roode hitting a backbreaker for a two count. Rollins was on the floor, he stopped a Ziggler attack with a superkick and Rollins sent Roode into the barricade. Back in the ring, Rollins with a Slingblade neckbreaker. Roode wanted a spinebuster, but Rollins countered into a Falcon Arrow slam for a two count. The fans did a mild “burn it down” chant because they woke up a bit, but it wasn’t much. Rollins got a hold of Roode and gave him the Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle. Rollins hit The Stomp on Roode and covered, but Ziggler attacked for the DQ finish at 10 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Seth Rollins

Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match, but it was also hard to get into it because it was obvious they would go with a DQ finish since Ziggler was at ringside. I think it’s worrisome that the crowd was so dead for a main event match featuring the Universal Champion Rollins. For a top guy like Rollins, the fans should be more interested in the match. They just didn’t seem to care about the match at all.

After the match, Rollins and Ziggler got into a brawl. AJ Styles ran down to the ring with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows to join in the attack on Rollins. Ziggler hit a superkick on Rollins. Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer on Rollins. Styles hit Rollins with a Styles Clash in the middle of the ring. The five heels stomped on Rollins. Ziggler hit a superkick on Rollins.

Who made the save? IT’S GOTTA BE KANE! Sorry. I had flashbacks, but it was Kane that made the save and the fans popped for their mayor. Kane was in full Kane gear with the mask. Kane punched Ziggler and Roode in the aisle. Kane went into the ring with a Chokeslam on Gallows. Kane hit a double Chokeslam on Anderson and Styles although he did not lift them up that high. The fans popped big for Kane, so it was nice of him to wake them up.

Kane tried to do his famous spot where he sets the ring posts on fire, but there was an interruption with flickering light that stopped it. The lights flashed in the arena and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt was behind Kane. When Kane turned around, The Fiend gave Kane the Mandible Claw, which meant Kane was just another victim.

The Fiend crawled over to his Hell in a Cell opponent Seth Rollins against the turnbuckle. The Fiend stared at him while the lights flashed on and off and Rollins was there trembling while Wyatt laughed at him.

There was about one minute of the Firefly Fun House song and graphic that kept having technical difficulties. The colors kept screwing up, the song had issues and it was even upside down like earlier in the show. I think it’s a way to show The Fiend can control anything he wants.

Analysis: That was a strong ending to the show with The Fiend looking dominant once again. Kane’s one-night only return drew a big pop, so it was smart to book him in that spot to save Rollins from a 5 on 1 attack. It also set up the attack from The Fiend. Good booking once again.

They utilized The Fiend a lot on this show, which is not a surprise since he’s going for the Universal Title at Hell in a Cell and I assume he’s going to win the title as well.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Chad Gable
  2. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
  3. Baron Corbin

Welcome back to Rusev.

 

The Scoreboard

7 out of 10

Last week: 8

2019 Average: 5.81 (Smackdown is 6.74)

Last 5 Weeks: 8, 6, 7.5, 6.5, 6

2019 High: 8 (September 9)

2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)

 

Final Thoughts

This week’s Raw gets a 7 out of 10.

I liked most of the show. I thought last week’s Raw was better, but there were plenty of good things here and it was above average from my average Raw grade for this year. The Corbin/Gable match was the best match that was better than anything at Clash of Champions. There were other good matches as well. The Fiend was utilized a lot more than we have seen because he’s against Rollins at Hell in a Cell. They booked the Kane return in a smart way because he was another guy for The Fiend to attack.

I liked the way Banks/Bayley were booked as aggressive heels in their match and then Lynch/Flair got revenge on them. The crowd was dead for most of the second half of the show after they seemed to have a lot of energy in the first half. The “gender reveal” angle was lame. Bad WWE comedy can definitely hurt a show and that’s what happened there.

Welcome back to Rusev, who looks trimmer than ever with a mustache as well. He was never in bad shape in his career, but losing the weight will probably help his speed and agility.

The next WWE PPV is Hell in a Cell on October 6. Here’s the official lineup so far.

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

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

You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

The post The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 09/16/19 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: WWE NXT 09/11/19 Review

Welcome to the TJRWrestling review of NXT. This is the last NXT that’s WWE Network only. Next Wednesday, NXT becomes a live show. The first hour on September 18 and September 25 will be on USA Network (for those of you in the US) while the second hour will be on WWE Network. That’s because USA Network is showing the final two episodes of their long running TV show Suits at 9pmET those weeks. On October 2, NXT will be live on USA Network for two hours from 8-10pmET. Anyway, this is the last taped NXT episode, so let’s get to it.

Taped from Full Sail University in Orlando, FL, this is WWE NXT episode #369. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

There was a shot of Chevy truck pulling up to the arena and the driver opened the door to reveal Rhea Ripley, who is in action on this show against Shayna Baszler. Ripley walked into Full Sail University.

The NXT intro video aired. They might have a new intro video next week on USA Network. They showed the crowd chanting “NXT” as the show came on the air and noted that Johnny Gargano will be there later.

Damian Priest vs. Boa

Priest has a big size advantage here. I don’t know much about Boa other than he was in the Breakout Tournament and he is from China. Priest with a shoulder tackle. Boa wanted him to run the ropes to do it again, so Priest just punched him in the face instead. Priest with a jumping kick to the head, a corner splash and a Falcon Arrow slam. Boa avoided strikes, two kicks to the chest and he hit a running kick to the head. Boa ran the ropes and Priest came back with a spinning lariat. Priest with a jumping kick to the head followed by The Reckoning neckbreaker for the pinfall win after three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Damian Priest

Analysis: * Easy win for Priest, who continues to get a pretty good push in NXT as one of the taller guys on the roster. I can see Priest having a bigger role in NXT in the future. Boa is an athletic guy that may get a push down the road, but not any time soon.

There was a video package showing what we saw last week when Roderick Strong burned Velveteen Dream’s couch. Dream had a message for Strong that he was ready for their match.

Next week on NXT on USA Network: Velveteen Dream defends the North American Title against Roderick Strong. McGuinness said it will be in the first hour of NXT next week, so that part is on USA Network.

Let’s Hear from Johnny Gargano

Johnny Gargano made his entrance in his street clothes including a jacket, shirt and jeans. The fans gave him a nice ovation as he greeted some fans at ringside. There were “Johnny Wrestling” chants (plus “clap clap clap”) for him that lasted about two minutes. It might have been more. I didn’t time it, but it was long.

Gargano joked that he told them in the back that he wouldn’t be there for long, but now they chanted. Gargano said that everybody has asked him, including his mom, what the future holds for him. The fans chanted “please don’t go” at him. Gargano said the last time he was in this ring, he fell 20 feet from a steel cage and he woke up with 20,000 people chanting “Thank You Johnny” at him. These fans chanted that as well. Johnny said he appreciated that and he thanked the fans as well. Gargano said that we built this place together and he says this with every bit of his heart, he absolutely loves everything about NXT…everything about this place. There were “NXT” chants.

Gargano said that this place is about people like him, like that locker room and pouring their hearts out to put on the best professional wrestling show that this world has to offer. Professional wrestling and not sports entertainment? That’s nice to hear. Gargano said he’s seen a lot of people come and go while noting that they have a say in their choice. Gargano said he made his choice…the fans have had his back since day one so he wanted to tell them that he is officially…and here comes Shane Thorne for the interruption.

Thorne did a promo on his way to the ring as the fans booed him for complaining about Gargano getting promo time. Thorne said that Gargano could have taken a selfie or put a tweet out, but oh no…he has to be there. Thorne got into the ring. Thorne said that Gargano is a pillar of NXT because he’s Johnny Takeover. Thorne said that this place is going to be just fine without Johnny and he added that with the right person in the spotlight, it’s going to be even better. Thorne told Gargano to take a bow and take a walk.

Gargano said that Shane is right that he is NXT and he is not going anywhere. Gargano hit a superkick on Thorne and stood over him. Gargano did hand gestures to the camera saying, “NXT 4 Life.” The fans cheered loudly for all of this. They loved it.

Analysis: There were rumors that Gargano would be moved to Raw or Smackdown after the last Takeover because of how it ended, but when they taped this last month and he announced he was staying in NXT I think that made a lot of people happy. I feel like NXT is the perfect place for him because he is established as one of the greatest NXT stars ever thanks to so many main events and classic matches. Thorne hasn’t done much as a singles wrestler after being in a tag team for many years, so this is a nice opportunity for him to show what he can do against a top NXT guy like Gargano. I assume we’ll get Gargano vs. Thorne either next week or the week after.

There was a commercial for WWE Clash of Champions this Sunday on WWE Network.

A video package aired about the Forgotten Sons trio that showed highlights of some of the destruction they have caused in NXT. They said they will not be forgotten anymore.

Pete Dunne entered for a match. He is expected to be a regular in NXT moving forward. Angel Garza entered as the opponent and he let an old lady kiss him on the cheek.

Pete Dunne vs. Angel Garza

Dunne tripped up Garza and twisted the foot. Dunne wrenched back on the left arm of Garza and did the dreaded finger snap move that always gets a good reaction because it looks brutal. Garza came back with an armbar, Dunne countered with a headscissors and they had a staredown. They did a sequence where they ran the ropes, did some leap frogs and Dunne hit a clothesline. Dunne kicked the arm of Garza. Garza grabbed the arm of Dunne, then he pulled off his tights to reveal trunks underneath. Dunne went for a diving attempt, Garza avoided it and hit a superkick while Dunne was upside down on the apron. Dunne got back in the ring, he set up Dunne on the turnbuckle and hit a running knee to the ribs. Dunne sent Garza to the turnbuckle, Dunne with chops to the chest and a step up enziguri kick to the head. Dunne with a release German Suplex that sent Garza across the ring. Dunne stomped on the hands and followed with a kick to the head for a two count. Garza with a dropkick to the face. Dunne came back with a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Garza with a rollup for two. Dunne to the turnbuckle, Garza tripped him up and Garza hit a dropkick to the side of the knee for a two count. Garza worked over Dunne with punches. Dunne came back with a takedown, then a roll through, stomps to the chest and Dunne hit a kick to the head. Dunne with a kick to the ribs, then he sent Garza to the other turnbuckle and Garza hit a kick to ribs. Garza went for a moonsault off the ropes, Dunne moved and Dunne slapped on a triangle choke plus a finger snap for the submission win after about eight minutes.

Winner: Pete Dunne

Analysis: **3/4 It was a competitive match with the crowd cheering for both guys. You could tell they liked the charisma that Garza showed, but it was no surprise that Dunne got the win since he’s the more established name in NXT. The more wins for Dunne the better because he is one of my favorite wrestlers in NXT, so I’m in favor of a push for him.

There was a shot of Rhea Ripley getting ready backstage. Shayna Baszler was also shown warming up for her match.

A video package aired about WWE’s work in raising money for Pediatric Cancer awareness.

There was a video featuring The Street Profits from Monday when they were on Raw in Madison Square Garden. Montez Ford said it was amazing and Angelo Dawkins said it’s not the same without the NXT Tag Team Titles. Dawkins said that if they had the titles it would have been special. Ford said what better way to make a statement on September 18 NXT than showing up and taking back the NXT Tag Team Champions. Dawkins said they need to go handle their business at MSG. Ford and Dawkins were standing on a rock, they asked a fan where MSG was and he said it was about two blocks away, so they left.

Cameron Grimes vs. Raul Mendoza

Mendoza got a cradle pin attempt to start the match. Mendoza with a headscissors takeover. Mendoza with chops to the chest, Mendoza to the apron and Grime got some momentum with a dropkick that sent Mendoza to the floor. Grimes with a running clothesline for a two count. Grimes grounded Mendoza with an armbar on the left arm. Mendoza with a punch to the face, then a kick and a dropkick. Mendoza with a running kick, then went up top, walked the ropes and hit a dropkick. Mendoza hit a running Shooting Star Press for a two count. Grimes drove Mendoza’s face into the ropes. Mendoza with a kick to the ribs and an enziguri kick to the head. Mendoza up top, he went for a Phoenix Splash, Grimes avoided it and hit a jumping double stomp to the shoulders for the pinfall win after about four minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Cameron Grimes

Analysis: ** It was a decent match with Mendoza getting a lot of offense, but Grimes made the comeback by avoiding a big move and hitting his finisher to win. I remember when Kofi Kingston added that jumping double stomp to the shoulders when Trevor Lee was doing it in Impact and now they are in the same company. Anyway, I like Grimes’ heel attitude and it’s not a surprise that they want to give him a push.

There was a shot of GM William Regal in his office where Candice LeRae complained about Io Shirai in an upcoming triple threat. Regal said that instead of a triple threat match next week, it will be a Fatal 4-Way and the winner of that will face Shayna Baszler for the NXT Title. Regal said if Ripley wins tonight then it would be a 5-Way match. LeRae said as long as she can get her hands on Shirai next week then she doesn’t care who else is in the match.

The commercial aired for NXT on USA Network next week on September 18.

A video aired about Dakota Kai, who told us she is the captain of Team Kick. It said “Dakota Kai” returns soon.

Next week: Velveteen Dream defends the North American Title against Roderick Strong in the first hour and Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain in a Street Fight in the second hour.

Rhea Ripley, who is from Australia, made her entrance for the main event match. Shayna Baszler entered with the NXT Women’s Title. This is not a title match.

Rhea Ripley vs. Shayna Baszler

Baszler went for an armbar, Ripley got to the ropes and tripped her up. Ripley with a body slam. Ripley with repeated shoulder tackles to the ribs against the turnbuckle. Baszler got a rollup and Ripley came back with a dropkick. Ripley was tied up in the ropes after missing a kick, so Baszler kicked her in the back. Ripley tried to come back with a dropkick, but Baszler moved and slapped on a hanging sleeper on the turnbuckle. With Baszler seated on the top, Ripley hit a dropkick to send Baszler to the floor. Ripley followed to the floor and picked up Baszler on her shoulders followed by Ripley sending Baszler into the steel steps. That led to Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke to go to ringside to help Baszler, so Ripley kicked Shafir down. Baszler capitalized with a jumping knee to the face. Duke handed Baszler a steel chair, Ripley blocked the chair shot and Ripley hit Baszler in the back for the DQ finish after about six minutes of action.

Winner by disqualification: Shayna Baszler

Analysis: **1/4 A short match to tease something down the road between them. The chair finish was a way to say Ripley lost the match without pinning her. I think their styles mesh well together with Baszler as a submission specialist and Ripley is more of a well rounded wrestler with some power.

Post match, Ripley had the steel chair in her hand while Baszler and friends left up the ramp. Ripley had a staredown with Baszler with Ranallo saying that this issue between the two women is just beginning. In other words, it’s a new feud that is just getting started.

There was a pre-taped promo featuring The Undisputed Era where they said NXT is on USA Network because of them. Adam Cole said that Roderick Strong is gong to beat Velveteen to win the North American Championship next week. Strong said he’s going to get what is finally his and that’s the North American Championship, so then they will have every title in the group. Cole said that NXT is getting bigger and badder thanks to them. They posed to end it.

Analysis: Good promo. I’m a big fan of all four guys and the Undisputed Era as a group is a polished group. They are definitely the centerpiece of NXT these days.

This show had a run time of 57:00 on WWE Network.

 

Final Thoughts

This episode was mostly about building stuff for next week when NXT is live for two hours. There wasn’t a standout match and everything was kept under ten minutes. I would have liked to see more from Baszler/Ripley in the main event, but obviously WWE is building up to more from them down the road. That’s a future feud for sure.

I’m really looking forward to Dream vs. Strong next week and the women’s 4-way match.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

 

The post The John Report: WWE NXT 09/11/19 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live 09/10/19 Review

Welcome to another WWE Smackdown Live Review right here on TJRWrestling for the last Smackdown before Clash of Champions on Sunday. There are only three more episodes of Tuesday Smackdown left and then on October 4th it becomes “Friday Night Smackdown” once again when it moves to Fox. They didn’t advertise much going into this show other than The Undertaker will be there and Elias suffered a legitimate ankle injury, so he’s out of the King of the Ring Tournament.

Live from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York (for the second night in a row), this is Smackdown Live for episode #1047. 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.

There was a shot of the mostly packed house in New York City and The Undertaker’s gong sounded in the arena. The fans screamed loudly for The Undertaker as the Deadman made his slow entrance to the ring. The Undertaker was in his full wrestling gear including the black hat on his head. The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton talked about The Undertaker’s legacy. After nearly four minutes, The Undertaker got into the ring.

Let’s Hear from The Undertaker

There were “Undertaker” chants from the crowd. There’s a “Wyatt or We Riot” sign in the crowd. The fan holding the sign won’t do anything. Good effort, though.

The Undertaker said that for 30 years he’s been coming here and he doesn’t know how many more times he’ll be back. The Undertaker spoke about the legends and heroes that were created right here in Madison Square Garden. Taker said that for each of those souls, he took a piece of them. Taker said they will not be forgotten because the echoes of their memories will go through these always for all of eternity. Taker said now we usher in a new era of superstar…and here comes Sami Zayn.

Zayn walked out with a microphone as the fans booed him while Taker had a look of disgust on his face. Zayn said he knows that New York City respects legends and The Undertaker is a legend. Zayn said what he finds most impressive is Undertaker has been selling out this arena for 30 years and Madison Square Garden has been his yard. Zayn got in the ring and told Undertaker he has the utmost respect for him, but however it shouldn’t be Undertaker opening Smackdown Live in MSG. Zayn said it should have been him opening the show. Zayn asked “when is enough, enough?” Zayn talked about how everything Undertaker has done is paving the way for the future and Zayn told him the future is here, the future is now and the future is Sami Zayn. The fans booed that idea. Zayn said the unruly fans want him to take out The Undertaker, which led to “you suck” chants. Zayn told Undertaker to turn around and leave this ring right now. Taker was not impressed.

Taker put the microphone into Zayn’s chest, which shocked Zayn and Taker teased leaving. When Taker got to the apron, Zayn laughed about it, so Taker went back in the ring, shook his head “no” and gave Zayn a Chokeslam. The fans loved that. Graves said Zayn needs to learn when to be quiet. Taker did his slow walk out of the ring, posed on the stage and the fans cheered some more. Undertaker left.

Analysis: It was a basic opening segment to pop the crowd by having Undertaker beat up an annoying heel like Zayn. I like Zayn and his schtick is entertaining to me, but it’s not like WWE is going to have him get the advantage over The Undertaker here. This was all about creating a MSG moment by having Undertaker on the show as a special occasion. For the people that want Bray Wyatt to attack The Undertaker, keep waiting. It didn’t happen here.

There was a shot of Shane McMahon backstage watching on a TV backstage. Chad Gable showed up in the office. Shane complimented Chad for his matches in the King of the Ring tournament. Shane said that Elias has “broken his ankle” and Gable thought that meant he was going to the finals. Shane said he knows about tournaments. Shane said Gable wants to earn his way and Gable said yes. Shane said that the opponent could be somebody from Raw, Smackdown or somebody that has been eliminated already. Gable said thanks and Shane said he’ll let him know.

Analysis: I’m not sure if Elias broke his ankle like Shane said, but it is an ankle injury for Elias. We don’t know how long he’ll be out of action.

The Miz entered for his match against Andrade after the break.

(Commercial)

The end of Andrade’s entrance was shown with Zelina Vega by his side. Shinsuke Nakamura was on commentary with the IC Title at his table. Nakamura faces Miz at Clash of Champions.

The Miz vs. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega)

Miz worked over Andrade with arm drags. Nakamura spoke in Japanese, Graves claimed he said “shut up Saxton” and that made me laugh at least. Andrade did his tranquilo pose on the ropes. Miz came back with a flapjack followed by a tranquilo pose of his own. Miz sent Andrade over the top with a monkey flip. Miz ran the ropes, Vega got on the apron, Miz avoided Andrade and got a rollup. Nakamura kept talking in Japanese while he was on commentary. Vega with an eye gouge to Miz that the referee didn’t see, so Andrade hit a dropkick followed by a double knee attack against the turnbuckle for two.

(Commercial)

The Miz was in control with his backbreaker into a neckbreaker combo. Nakamura kept on talking in Japanese. Miz with the It Kicks to the chest, Andrade avoided the roundhouse kick, Miz hit a kick to the head and Miz hit more kicks to the chest. Miz with running knees against the turnbuckle two times, Andrade tried an attack, but Miz moved and Andrade went over the top to the floor. Miz with a running kick through the ropes. Nakamura got in the face of Miz, so Miz whipped Andrade into Nakamura by the announce table. Miz back in the ring, Vega grabbed his foot and Andrade hit a spinning back elbow for a two count. Andrade went up top, moonsault missed twice, Miz hung onto him and hit a Skull Crushing Finale for the pinfall win after ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: The Miz

Analysis: **3/4 It was a good match with Miz getting a lot of offense and getting the win because he’s in a PPV match while Andrade is not. They could have done a better job of setting up some believable nearfalls for Andrade because there was really only one moment where I thought he might win, but even then I didn’t expect it. Miz winning was the predictable outcome.

Post match, Nakamura with a kick to the back of the head of Miz. Nakamura followed up with the Kinshasa knee strike to put Miz down. Nakamura’s music played to end it.

Analysis: I don’t expect Nakamura to lose the IC Title at Clash of Champions, but the fact that he got the upper hand here could mean The Miz will win it. I’ll probably pick Nakamura.

Still to come: Erick Rowan will prove he is nobody’s puppet.

Matt Hardy and Apollo Crews were in the locker room with Shane McMahon walking into the room. Shane asked them where Gable was and then he made a short joke. Shane said he found a guy right outside, then he left the room, walked back in and said Gable will face himself…Shane McMahon.

Mandy Rose, who is definitely a favorite of mine, made her entrance with Sonya Deville for her match up next.

(Commercial)

A graphic let us know that Chad Gable vs. Shane McMahon is coming up in the King of the Ring semifinals.

Mandy Rose had a microphone in hand in the ring. Rose said that last week, she told Nikki Cross she’ll never be like her and she would be embarrassed if she looked like Cross. Rose said that she is beautiful while Cross is ugly. They showed images of Rose and Cross on the Titantron. Rose said that handsome men open doors for her, they slam doors shut on Nikki and she said that Nikki looks like an oversized rat crawling out of the Lincoln Tunnel.

Analysis: It was an evil heel promo making fun of Cross to make Cross into more of a face. I think WWE wants Bliss and Cross to be the faces in this rivalry, so that promo was done to make Rose come across as a mean girl.

Alexa Bliss made her entrance and she is one half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions. Nikki Cross made her entrance with the Women’s Tag Team Title in her hands. Nikki ran down to the ring to attack Rose to start the match.

Nikki Cross (w/Alexa Bliss) vs. Mandy Rose (w/Sonya Deville)

Cross jumped on Rose’s back and grabbed her in a headlock. Cross ran the ropes, Rose caught her and hit a fallaway slam. Rose slapped on a chinlock while trash talking Cross by saying she’ll never look like her. Cross made her comeback by no selling her head being whipped into the turnbuckle and Cross hit a bulldog. Cross went up top, Deville to the apron, Bliss pulled her off the apron and Cross missed a diving attack. Rose went for a running knee, Cross moved and Cross got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win after about three minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nikki Cross

Analysis: *1/2 It was fine for a short match. The ROLLUP OF DEATH~! strikes again because it’s so deadly. It was Rose and Deville bating Cross and Bliss last week, so this was Cross getting the payback.

The Heavy Machinery team of Otis and Tucker were drinking shakes ahead of their match.

(Commercial)

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There was a video about WWE’s fight against Pediatric Cancer. Go to ConnortheCrusher.com now to donate.

Bayley was in the women’s locker room. Ember Moon walked up to her asking what’s happening with her. Bayley said that what she did was for the women’s division and it’s about the title. Moon wondered how Bayley attacking Lynch was for the good of the women’s division. Moon pointed out that Bayley lost to Charlotte Flair last night on Raw. Bayley had a remark about Moon not knowing what it’s like being a champion. Moon was champion in NXT, but not the main roster. Anyway, Moon told Bayley to save that energy for the ring later, so they have a match later in the show.

Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) vs. Johnny Silver and Alex Keaton

Tucker with an arm drag on one guy, then a boot to the face and a clothesline. Otis got the tag and he did a running splash on both opponents. Otis did his Caterpillar move into an elbow drop. Tucker got the tag and they hit the Compactor double team move for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker)

Analysis: 1/2* This was just a squash match to get Heavy Machinery on the show. They haven’t had anything meaningful to do for a few months.

Shane McMahon was backstage talking to a guy in a headset. Kevin Owens walked into the office because Shane wanted to see him. Shane said he knows Kevin was there last week (KO said it was a few weeks ago), then Shane said yeah it was a few weeks ago and Shane said he’s reconsidered the $100,000 fine against Owens. Shane talked about wanting to be the King along with being the Best in the World. Shane said he’s got something for Owens to do and he gave him a referee shirt. Shane told Owens if he does his job correctly then he won’t have the fine and to think about his family. Owens wondered what if he didn’t do it correctly, but then he just left.

Analysis: That was the end of the first hour. It wasn’t that interesting, but they did set up some things for the second hour at least.

(Commercial)

The video package aired for the Roman Reigns storyline with Erick Rowan admitting that he was the one that did the mystery attacks on Reigns. Rowan beat up Reigns on Smackdown and he also beat up Bryan because he was sick of taking orders from him.

Let’s Hear from Erick Rowan

Erick Rowan made his entrance alone. The theme song had a slow beat to it and it came off as intimidating just like him. He will face Roman Reigns at Clash of Champions on Sunday.

Rowan said that all of his life, people just don’t seem to get him or get to know him. Rowan said you all think somebody tells him what to do until last week. Rowan said that all of you need to look at him in the eyes and see what it is that makes him tick. The fans were chanting “WHAT?” at him. Rowan said all you people see is a big brute that brutalizes and terrorizes just like he did to Roman Reigns last week.

Analysis: The promo was boring, but it was only about two minutes until the interruption. Keeping it short was the right call.

Roman Reigns made his entrance. Reigns went into the ring and he hit a Superman Punch on Rowan to send him out f the ring. Rowan came back with a kick, Reigns with a punch and Reigns sent Rowan over the barricade into the crowd. They went brawling into the crowd a bit, then Rowan sent Reigns back to ringside and Reigns hit a Superman Punch. There as security, referees and producers that tried to break it up. Rowan picked up a fan that’s obviously a plant and tossed him onto Reigns and others. Rowan ran around the ring and hit a running cross body block to knock down Reigns on the floor. Rowan slammed Reigns’ face into the ramp. Reigns got back up with another Superman Punch on the stage and they were on the King of the Ring throne area. Rowan got a hold of a camera that’s on a crane and he whipped it into Reigns. Rowan yelled “Sunday” at Reigns, who was down. Rowan went to the back.

They showed replays of the brawl. Reigns slowly got back to his feet and the fans were behind him with “Roman” chants.

Analysis: Good brawl that was exactly what it needed to be with Rowan looking dominant once again. The attack with the camera was unique because it’s not something we normally see. I also liked how even though there were guys there to try to break it up, the fight kept going because they wanted to get at eachother so much. They are trying to push Rowan as a singles heel, so he needs to have the advantage in a segment like that and I think Rowan should win at Clash of Champions too although I’m not sure if that part will happen.

(Commercial)

There was a replay of Rowan shoving the camera crane into Roman’s face.

There was a shot of Rowan backstage where he was pacing around and kept saying “Roman” repeatedly.

The announcers did a rundown of the Clash of Champions card. You can check out the card below. I will have a preview up on Friday.

Charlotte Flair was on commentary for the next match. Bayley made her entrance with Flair saying that she is glad that Bayley’s true colors are finally showing. Ember Moon entered as the opponent in this rematch from SummerSlam.

Bayley vs. Ember Moon

Bayley’s Smackdown Women’s Title is not on the line here. Moon with a jumping kick to the head. Moon with an arm drag, Bayley went to the floor, Moon went up the barricade and Bayley tripped her up. Bayley with a rising knee strike on Moon leading to a break.

(Commercial)

Moon was in control with kicks to the head, a forearm to the face and a springboard cross body block got two. Bayley came back with a headscissors takedown. Bayley kicked Moon out of the ring, but when she charged to the ropes, Moon kicked Bayley in the ribs. Moon went up top, she wanted the Eclipse, but Bayley avoided it and Bayley hit the Bayley to Belly suplex for the pinfall. It went about five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bayley

Analysis: *3/4 A simple match to put over Bayley after she was pinned on Raw. There wasn’t a moment in the match where anybody thought Moon was going to win. They should have given Moon more offense.

Post match, Charlotte Flair went into the ring and clapped in Bayley’s face. Flair pointed at the Smackdown Women’s Title as the fans chanted “WOO” for her. Bayley backed out of the ring and left. Flair flashed ten fingers because she thinks she’ll be the 10-time Women’s Champion. Bayley left.

Analysis: The build for Bayley/Flair has just been decent. The Lynch/Banks match has been built up a lot better.

Kevin Owens was shown backstage in a referee shirt where he was thinking about what he’s going to do later tonight.

Kofi Kingston was shown looking at a photo of him and Randy Orton from ten years ago. Kofi is up next.

(Commercial)

Kofi Kingston made his entrance alone with the WWE Championship around his waist. Good pop for him along with some “Kofi” chants.

Let’s Hear from Kofi Kingston

Kingston said it feels good to be back in Madison Square Garden, baby. Kingston said it was in this building where his career changed forever. Kingston said it was here where he stepped up to a top WWE superstar to prove he belonged here and that’s what he did when he whooped Randy Orton’ ass in this entire building. Kingston said he beat him up in the arena and then he put his ass through a table. Kingston said that the arena was chanting his name, so there were “Kofi” chants. Kofi said that he knew one day he would be back here standing before you as the WWE Champion.

Kingston said there might be some kids that don’t remember what happened or they might have forgotten. Kofi called for the clip, so they showed the November 16, 2009 episode of Raw with Kofi doing the boom drop leg drop on Orton through a table.

Randy Orton interrupted the promo by saying “stupid” repeatedly. Orton spoke about how in the last ten years he won the WWE Title seven times and two Royal Rumble. Orton talked about Kofi being fake like that Jamaican accent or that phony “Power of Positivity” shit. It got bleeped here in Canada.

Kingston was mad, so he left the ring and went after Orton to the side of the ramp. Kingston ran at him and Orton him in the ribs with a steel chair. Orton hit Kingston in the back with the chair two more times. Orton whipped Kingston into a steel railing. Orton teased a DDT off a table, but Kingston fought back with punches. Kingston came back with chair shots to the back four times in a row. Kingston pulled out a table near a railing. Kingston said they will relive history, but Orton stopped him with punches. Kingston kicked Orton with a chair and the table broke while Kofi was sitting on a table. Kingston grabbed another table and he put Orton back first onto a table. Kingston hit Orton in the left arm with a chair. Kingston climbed up a railing, he stood on it and he jumped off with a Boom Drop double leg drop that put Orton through the table. The fans loved it and Kingston celebrated the attack.

Analysis: It was a big spot that looked familiar because it was like what they did ten years ago although it was not in the same location. Kofi got a lot of height on the leap, so it looked impressive. The issue with a segment like this is these guys brawled for five minutes and nobody tried to break it up, yet with Rowan and Reigns there were about a dozen people out there. Maybe the storyline explanation was that they wanted to let these guys fight, but it’s not like the announcers are going to mention it. Anyway, it was effective in terms of advancing this storyline. It’s possible that Orton wins the WWE Title at Clash of Champions, but it would be better for Kofi if he were to retain.

Up next: Shane McMahon vs. Chad Gable with Kevin Owens as the special guest referee.

(Commercial)

It was announced that Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan is now a No Disqualification Match.

Kevin Owens was in the ring in a referee shirt. Chad Gable made his entrance and before he got to the ring, Shane McMahon’s music hit. Shane had the Best in the World trophy with him.

King of the Ring Semifinals: Shane McMahon vs. Chad Gable (Kevin Owens is the referee)

Shane got onto his knees to tease fighting to mock Gable for his (lack of) height. Gable hit a rolling German Suplex into a pinfall and Kevin Owens counted the pin to give Gable the victory after about 20 seconds.

Winner by pinfall: Chad Gable

Post match, Shane announced that this match is now two out of three falls. The fans chanted “Asshole” at Shane for changing the match.

Shane attacked Gable with a clothesline to the back and then he whipped Gable into the announce table repeatedly. Shane tossed Gable over the barricade leading to a break.

(Commercial)

The show returned with about six minutes left. Shane was in control with punches. Gable came back by hooking the arms of Shane and had a pin attempt, but Owens did a slow count because he was there to try to be nice to Shane. When Shane got a rollup, Owens did a fast count and Gable kicked out at two. Gable with a kick, a rolling kick to the head and a spinning neckbreaker. Gable went up top and he hit a perfect moonsault, but Owens did a slow count and Shane got his shoulder up. The fans booed while Owens looked mad at himself. Shane with a neckbreaker using the top rope, clothesline to the back and Shane put Gabel on the shoulders leading into a slam for two. Shane brought a chair into the ring, Owens tried to tell him not to use it, so Shane gave it to Owens and told Owens to put it out of the ring. Shane tried a low blow kick, but Gable caught the leg and Gable slapped on the Ankle Lock into the Heel Hook. Shane tapped out to give Gable the win after about 12 minutes.

Winner by submission: Chad Gable

Analysis: *1/2 Good finish with the right guy going over, but it was more about the Shane/Owens angle instead of making people care about the match. I’m all for Gable using the Ankle Lock like Kurt Angle because it’s perfect for him.

After the match, we found out that the King of the Ring Finals have been moved to Raw with Baron Corbin facing Chad Gable. It was advertised for Clash of Champions, but that changed.

After the match, Shane and Owens were in the ring. Owens said there was nothing he could do because Shane tapped out. When Owens tried to leave, Shane attacked him with a clothesline to the back. Shane to Owens: “You’re fired.” Shane told him he was fired repeatedly. I could hear some “AEW” chants as the show went off the air.

Analysis: I don’t really care about firing angles. They have been done so many times over the last twenty years and the fans never buy it, so it ends up coming across as a lame angle to try to get heat. I’m so tired of Shane McMahon in this role. Raw has been refreshing of late because they don’t have an authority figure, yet here we are on Smackdown with the same Shane stuff they do way too often.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Kofi Kingston
  2. Randy Orton
  3. The Miz

 

The Scoreboard

5.5 out of 10

Last week: 5.5

2019 Average: 6.74 (Raw is 5.78)

Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 7, 8, 6.5, 7.5

2019 High: 8.5 (February 26)

2019 Low: 5 (January 15, June 11)

 

Final Thoughts

I give this week’s Smackdown a 5.5 out of 10.

This felt like a below average episode of Smackdown (as you can see above the SD average is pretty high this year) that was lacking in terms of great matches that we often see on this show. The Undertaker’s opening segment with Sami Zayn didn’t do much other than popping the crowd. The brawling segments with Rowan/Reigns and Kingston/Orton were similar although one of them had referees trying to break it up while the other one had nothing of the sort.

The main event match between Shane and Gable was not a classic match by any means. Gable winning was the right call, but then they had Shane fire Owens. Firing angles don’t interest me that much.

Raw was clearly better than Smackdown this week. It wasn’t even close, really.

The next WWE PPV is Clash of Champions, which takes place this Sunday, September 15. Here’s the official lineup so far.

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

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

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

No Disqualification Match: Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As noted above, the King of the Ring finals has been moved to Raw instead of Clash of Champions.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling on Facebook

 

The post The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live 09/10/19 Review appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 09/09/19 Review

Welcome to another edition of the WWE Raw Deal review here on TJRWrestling. It’s the last Raw before Sunday’s WWE Clash of Champions pay-per-view.

Live from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1371 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 along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

The show began with a shot of the crowd in MSG, then there was a buzz of anticipation and that’s when the glass broke leading to the entrance of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to a huge ovation. Austin looked great wearing of his Stone Cold shirts designed for the New York crowd. They gave him a huge ovation as expected. Austin was heavily advertised for the show. The announce team of Michael Cole, Renee Young and Corey Graves were excited just like the fans. Austin was thrown two beers, which were the Stone Cold IPA beers, he smashed them together and drank them to a huge pop.

Analysis: Great reaction for Austin. No surprise there.

Universal Championship Contract Signing with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Austin said it was good to be back there in Madison Square Garden and Austin said that somebody told him it’s been about 20 years since he’s been to the Garden with fans chanting “What” during his speech. Austin said he wanted to go down memory lane one more time. Austin talked about Survivor Series against Bret Hart (that’s 1996 in an amazing match) and Austin spoke about how it was a heavy-duty moment in his career. Austin said he remembered when he hurt his neck, Vince McMahon was trying to serenade him and Austin hit him with the first Stone Cold Stunner that Vince ever took. That was September 1997. It was a very memorable moment. The fans loved that. Austin spoke about SummerSlam 1998 against The Undertaker for the WWE Title in the “Highway to Hell” match. Austin said Undertaker’s head hit him in the chin, Austin was knocked out, Earl Hebner asked him if he was okay, Austin asked where he was and Earl let him know he was in the Garden. The fans cheered. Austin ended up finishing the match without a problem. Austin said he had so many good times here and there were more good times to come.

Austin asked the fans if they want to see the Universal Championship contract signed, give him a “HELL YEAH” so of course, the fans did that. Austin introduced one half of the Raw Tag Team Champions Braun Strowman, who got a nice reaction from the crowd. Strowman got into the ring, he extended his hand for a shake, Austin stared at him and then Austin introduced Universal Champion Seth Freakin’ Rollins. That led to Seth’s entrance with the Universal Championship and Raw Tag Team Championships in his possession.

Austin shook the hands of both guys. There was a table in the middle of the ring along with two leather chairs and the contract was on the table.

Rollins fired up the crowd by mentioning the city they are in and said his “Burn it Down” catchphrase. Rollins told Austin that Strowman thinks that Austin might have it in for him. Rollins said normally he hates the “What” chants, but with Austin there, he is okay with it. Austin said that they need to sign the contract. Rollins told Strowman nobody is stabbing anybody in the back and after Clash of Champions, he’ll still be the best wrestler on the planet. Rollins signed the contract.

Strowman said that he grew up watching Austin and he has nothing but respect for him. Strowman said that a Rattlesnake is still a rattlesnake. Strowman said he’s not going to turn his back on Seth because he likes being Tag Champs, but he will love being Universal Champion. Strowman quoted Austin saying he’ll open a can of whoop ass…and you’re going to get these hands. Strowman signed the contract, so it’s official.

AJ Styles, the Universal Champion, showed up with his buddies in The OC Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Styles said they didn’t want to get the Rattlesnake riled up and then he did a pretty good Stone Cold impression. Styles asked if anybody still cares about that? Fans cheered and chanted yes. Styles told fans to shut up with the “WHAT” chants, which is a classic heel move to get them to chant it even more. Styles told Austin to sit this out or he might get hurt and fans chanted “WHAT” at Styles. AJ told Austin it has nothing to do with Austin, but it has everything to do with Strowman and Rollins, so fans chanted “WHAT” at Styles and Styles said this is why nobody likes coming to New York. Austin told Styles to put some more bass in his voice, so Styles told him to shut up. Styles complained about Rollins and Strowman not giving The OC a rematch. The fans chanted “Asshole” at Styles, so Austin did his classic line where he let Styles know there were about 18,000 people calling AJ an asshole! That brought back some fond memories!

Styles went into the ring with Gallows and Anderson to tell Austin in his old age, he looks like an asshole. That drew boos. Styles complained about Strowman getting a Universal Championship shot just by looking at Seth’s title. Styles said Austin has been in this business for so long and he called him an “old fart.” Austin pulled the table out of the way.

Austin said he didn’t know where AJ was coming from, but he knew where he was going. Strowman and Rollins cleaned house. Strowman with a running shoulder tackle on Gallows and a forearm to the back of Anderson. Rollins went after Styles, but Styles managed to toss him over the top. Austin went behind Styles, the crowd cheered loudly and BOOM…Austin with a kick to the gut and then he hit Styles with a Stone Cold Stunner to a huge pop. Great sell by Styles by bumping to his back and then flipping over onto his stomach. That was outstanding. Austin celebrated with some beers with the MSG crowd cheering loudly. When Austin left, Styles was selling the attack in the ring.

Analysis: That was excellent. Did it run too long at nearly 20 minutes? I didn’t mind it because the presence of Austin made it feel more special. You could feel the energy of the crowd that went wild for Austin and he was the main reason a lot of them were there, so it was giving the people what they wanted. If Austin was out there for only five minutes then people would complain that it was too short. It was a lot of fun to see Austin back in his element and the fans absolutely loved seeing him. The contract was signed while they also set up a match for later based on what happened in the segment. Styles did an excellent job of working with Austin in terms of his promo, then getting into it with the crowd and then taking the Stunner much to the delight of the fans. I enjoyed this a lot. It was one of the better and more memorable opening segments on Raw this year.

Still to come: Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks.

(Commercial)

AJ Styles was in the ring and his opponent Cedric Alexander made his entrance.

AJ Styles vs. Cedric Alexander

This is not for AJ’s US Title. Alexander was aggressive, Styles went to the floor and Alexander attacked by sending him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Alexander with shoulder tackles, a headscissors, dropkick to the knee and a dropkick to the face. Styles with a thrust to the throat, forearms to the face and Alexander came back with a springboard off the ropes with a kick to the head that sent Styles to the floor. Alexander followed up with a somersault dive over the top onto Styles on the floor. Styles to the apron, he pulled on the left arm of Alexander and hit a single arm DDT to take control.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Styles continued working on the left arm, but Alexander hit him with a kick to head. Styles with a kick only for Alexander to come back with a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Alexander with an elbow smash to the head, then a kick to the head, but Anderson and Gallows attacked Alexander leading to the DQ finish after about 9 minutes.

Winner by disqualification: Cedric Alexander

Analysis: *** Good match with Alexander getting a victory that should lead to the US Title shot at Clash of Champions with the story being that Styles was unable to put him away. Anderson and Gallows showing up for the DQ was a predictable outcome just because it fits what The OC likes to do as a group with the cheap attacks.

After the match, Gallows and Anderson stomped on Alexander. The Viking Raiders duo of Erik and Ivar made the save. They knocked down Anderson and Gallows. Erik with knees for Styles and Anderson. Ivar with a running splash on Gallows, knee by Erik on Gallows and Erik slammed Ivar into Gallows. Alexander with a dropkick to Styles and the Viking Raiders hit their Viking Experience double team powerslam on Anderson to stand tall.

Analysis: That means the Viking Raiders are faces. I noted that last week because even though they looked like heels from when they started on Raw, it’s obvious now they are going to be a face team. There are a lack of face teams, so it makes sense.

Sasha Banks and Bayley did a backstage promo. No interviewer. They just talked to the camera. Banks said it’s too bad if Becky and Charlotte are mad about what they did while Bayley said there’s no stronger connection than what they have there. Banks said they’ll take this to the ring and you can take that to the bank.

Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were shown in the locker room staring at eachother with looks as if to say they don’t trust eachother, which makes sense considering their rivalry.

Bray Wyatt was shown saying that later tonight he’ll be hosting a brand new episode of the Firefly Fun House.

(Commercial)

The announcers talked about how it is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month. There was a video showing some kids fighting cancer.

Roman Reigns appeared on the stage for a promo. Reigns said that it was nearly one year ago where he told us that leukemia had returned in his body. Reigns said he wanted to use the WWE platform to raise awareness and create that momentum for others the way fans did for him. Reigns said he has visited several pediatric cancer hospitals recently and they were in New York City in the past where they met these great kids. Reigns said the kids were from New York and New Jersey. The kids appeared on the stage with Reigns and they all had wrestler-inspired names: Julius “The Sarcoma” Warrior, Antonio The Arrival, The Mighty M, Liam the Red Ninja and Liana Lilly Terror.

Reigns talked about how they have been through the biggest fights of their young lives and they are still standing here as strong as ever. Reigns said it’s on us to help them, support them and have their backs. Reigns told us to support tomorrow’s superstars today. Go to ConnorTheCrusher.com to learn about how to donate if you can. The fans cheered all of this as you would expect. Great reaction for those kids that will help them a lot.

Analysis: That’s a great moment for those kids that are going through a tough battle and I hope they can all beat cancer. This means a lot for Reigns considering what he’s been through and he’s the right guy to be on the stage with those kids. I don’t mind WWE spending five to ten minutes paying tribute to them.

(Commercial)

TJRWRESTLING WRITER SEARCH: We are looking for writers to contribute on TJRWrestling.net for columns, reviews, news and more. It’s a great opportunity on a growing site. All the details are in the post. The deadline to apply is next Monday, September 16, so there is plenty of time. For all the details on how to apply, CLICK HERE. Thank you for your support.

Becky Lynch entered with the Raw Women’s Championship. She got a good ovation and she will defend that title against Sasha Banks at Clash of Champions on Sunday. Charlotte Flair was next as Becky’s partner even though they are rivals. Flair will challenge Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Title at Clash of Champions on Sunday.

A video package aired from last week’s Raw where Bayley attacked Becky Lynch with a steel chair with her buddy Banks to show that Bayley might be a heel now. On Smackdown, Bayley said she’s loyal to her friend Banks. That led to Bayley and Banks attacking Charlotte Flair with a steel chair as well.

Sasha Banks was out first for her team. Bayley was not cheered for her entrance, but the inflatable Bayley buddies were still a part of the entrance.

Analysis: These four women are known as WWE’s Four Horsewomen. They all came up in WWE’s NXT developmental system at the same time earlier in the decade. It was four years ago when Charlotte, Becky and Sasha were called up to the main roster at the same time. Bayley was there the following year. Lynch and Flair are legit best friends while Banks and Bayley are also best friends.

Flair and Lynch tried to attack on the floor at the same time, but Banks and Bayley fought back. Lynch attacked Banks with punches and hit an Exploder Suplex on the floor. Bayley attacked Lynch to save Banks and Flair brought in a chair to end that.

(Commercial)

The match began when the show returned from a break.

Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair

Lynch tossed Bayley out of the ring and whipped Lynch whipped Bayley into the barricade a few times. They went back in the ring with Flair tagging in and stomping on Bayley. Flair tried a suplex, but Bayley took her down with a hair whip. Banks and Bayley whipped Flair back first into the turnbuckle and then slammed Flair down. Flair came back with a forearm to Bayley in her corner, so Lynch tagged in and hit a jumping kick to the face of Bayley. Lynch was on the apron, she kicked Banks down and Bayley hit a neckbreaker. Banks with a cheap shot on Lynch on the floor. Banks tagged in, she was in control for a few minutes, Bayley got the tag and Lynch hit her with a reverse DDT. Flair got the tag with two clotheslines, chops to the chest of Banks and Flair hit a fallaway slam on Banks. Flair with a running boot to knock Bayley to the floor. Flair with a neckbreaker and then she sent Banks face first into the turnbuckle. Flair with a neckbreaker on Banks for a two count. Banks took down Flair, she went for the Bank Statement, but Flair countered it and slapped on the Figure Eight submission on Banks. Bayley tried to make a save, Lynch got in the way and Bayley pushed Lynch into Flair to break the hold. That was a clever spot. The fans chanted “this is awesome” as all four women were down in the ring. Banks with a double knee attack on Flair on the floor.

(Commercial)

The match returned with Banks in control with a double knee attack on Flair against the turnbuckle. Bayley tagged in with chops to the chest of Flair. When Flair came back with a forearm, Bayley grounded her with a headlock. Flair came back by sending Bayley throat first into the ropes. Lynch got the hot tag, forearm off the ropes and another forearm. Lynch caught Banks and gave her a Bexploder Suplex followed by a baseball slide to knock Banks to the floor. Lynch with a clothesline on Banks. Lynch with kicks to Bayley, but Bayley came back with a knee. Lynch blocked a finisher attempt and then Banks went back in the ring with a Backstabber on Lynch. Flair with a boot to the face on Banks that didn’t come close to connecting (she kicked the hand), but Banks sold it anyway and Graves wondered if Flair got all of the boot to the face as a way to cover what happened. Bayley knocked down Flair. After Flair avoided a double suplex, Lynch hit a double missile dropkick on Bayley and Banks. Good spot. Lynch with a leg drop off the ropes on Bayley. Flair tagged in, up top with a moonsault and she jumped too far, landed on her feet and then jumped onto Bayley. Oops. That wasn’t good. Banks broke up the pin attempt. Lynch pulled Banks out of the ring, uppercut and a whip into the steel steps. Lynch slapped on the Disarmher on Banks on the floor. Bayley kicked Lynch, Bayley with a Bayley to Belly on Lynch into the barricade and then Bayley hit a German Suplex on Flair on the floor. The fans chanted “this is awesome” again. Bayley went up top, she jumped off with an elbow drop, but Flair got her knees up to hit Bayley in the arm. Banks grabbed Flair, Banks got knocked down, Bayley got a rollup on Flair for two and Flair hit the Natural Selection on Bayley for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a pretty good tag team match that was given a lot of time as you would expect for the four top women in the company. They’re all great in the ring, so I’m not surprised that they delivered a quality match like that. Flair had a few moments in there where she was off, which is not normal for her. It’s hard to ignore that moonsault spot where she jumped too far. If not for a few sloppy moments this would have been around four stars out of five. The good news is the crowd was really invested in the match, they chanted “this is awesome” multiple times for them and they got louder as the match went on as well. Flair getting the win was fine as the finish because I didn’t want to see Lynch of Banks take a fall while Bayley losing is okay since it builds up Flair more going into their title match.

After the match, Lynch and Flair celebrated although it was not something where they were on the same page. It was more about just being happy they got the win while Banks and Bayley were together on the floor.

Analysis: My prediction for Clash of Champions right now is that Banks will beat Lynch for the Raw Women’s Title while Bayley will keep her title. I might change my mind before writing the preview on Friday. I’m not sure if Flair is a face now. I prefer her more as a heel.

Still to come: King of the Ring semifinals with Samoa Joe vs. Ricochet vs. Baron Corbin. Also, a new episode of the Firefly Fun House with Bray Wyatt.

A replay aired of the opening segment that included Steve Austin hitting AJ Styles with a Stone Cold Stunner.

The OC trio of Styles, Gallows and Anderson were interviewed by Sarah Schreiber. Styles said that The OC runs this place. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode showed up for a chat. Ziggler said that they could be running the place if they enlisted the help of Ziggler and Roode. Ziggler said they had some common enemies. Styles agreed, so they shook hands to agree to team up.

Rey Mysterio made his entrance to a good pop from the crowd.

(Commercial)

Gran Metalik made his entrance without his Lucha House Party buddies. He’s a great worker who isn’t pushed much in WWE, but he is capable of a lot more than what WWE gives him.

Rey Mysterio vs. Gran Metalik

Metalik did a monkey flip, Mysterio landed on his feet, they each did some athletic moves and counters that are tough to describe because they are so quick. Mysterio with a headscissors into the ropes. Metalik ducked a 619 attempt and got a rollup for two. Mysterio used his legs to send Metalik to the floor. Mysterio went for a sliding attack out of the ring, Metalik moved and hit a superkick on the floor. Metalik ran the ropes, stepped on the middle rope and jumped over the top onto Mysterio. That was amazing. Metalik landed with his butt right on the head of Mysterio. Back in the ring, Metalik with a springboard senton for a two count. Mysterio came back with a headscissors that sent Metalik into the turnbuckle. Mysterio up top, he hit a seated senton on Metalik, but Metalik came back with a kick and then a dropkick off the middle ropes. They went to the turnbuckle, Mysterio with a headbutt and then Metalik came back with a hurricanrana off the top rope (while Rey was sitting on the ropes) for two. Mysterio came back with a counter into a Sunset Bomb for a two count. Mysterio jumped off the middle ropes, headscissors, 619 double kick by Rey and Mysterio went up top with a Frog Splash for the pinfall win after 7 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio

Analysis: ***1/4 That was a fun, exciting match by two quick superstars who can do so much in the air. Metalik is one of the most underused guys on the roster and I’m happy he got a chance to show what he can do here. Mysterio continues to amaze me in his mid-40s and I’m interested to see where things go for him. The somersault senton by Metalik was the most spectacular spot in the match. They definitely made the most of their time given. If they had a match that got double that amount of time they really would have had a classic match.

Post match, Mysterio picked up Metalik and they shook hands. I’m sure that was a cool moment for Metalik to be in a match with Rey like that.

Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman were backstage talking to Cedric Alexander, but we couldn’t hear it.

(Commercial)

A 10-man tag team match was made official: Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Cedric Alexander and the Viking Raiders vs. AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode.

The NXT tag team The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) did a promo hyping up things still to come. Ford mentioned Charlotte pinned Bayley ahead of their Clash of Champions match this Sunday. Dawkins said he’s going with Sasha Banks over Becky Lynch and he said Sasha is right…blue is her color. The fans cheered Dawkins thirsting over Banks. Ford moved on talking about Rollins vs. Strowman at Clash of Champions.

There was a video package about the Roman Reigns storyline with Erick Rowan and Daniel Bryan. Last week on Smackdown, Rowan admitted he was the one that attacked Reigns two times. Rowan also attacked Reigns on Smackdown and he attacked Bryan as well. Rowan said nobody can control him anymore.

The match at Clash of Champions is Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan. It’s the second straight PPV where there’s no Daniel Bryan match, which makes me sad.

Samoa Joe made his entrance for the King of the Ring semifinal match.

(Commercial)

The end of Baron Corbin’s entrance was shown as the man that wrestles in a tank top was ready to go. Ricochet was up last and the fans were excited to see him. They showed a video of Ricochet having a draw with Joe to set up this triple threat match.

King of the Ring Semifinals: Ricochet vs. Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe

Corbin bailed to the floor, so Joe hit Ricochet in the back with a clothesline. Ricochet with a headscissors on Joe, then a dropkick and Corbin came back in with a shoulder tackle. Ricochet with a kick to the face of Corbin followed by a springboard clothesline and a standing Shooting Star Press. Ricochet with a dropkick on the apron. Ricochet with a step up enziguri on Corbin and a suicide dive on Joe. Ricochet with a corkscrew dive over the top onto Corbin on the floor. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The match continued with Ricochet jumping onto Corbin on the floor, Corbin caught him and launched Ricochet into the ring post. Joe followed that with a running forearm that knocked down Corbin on the floor. Joe whipped Ricochet into the ring post. Joe took over on Corbin with an atomic drop, kick to the face and a senton splash for two as Ricochet made the save. Joe hit a spinning powerslam on Ricochet for a two count.  Joe battled Ricochet by the turnbuckle, Ricochet fought out of it with a punch, but Corbin decked Ricochet with a clothesline. Joe with a running splash on Corbin followed by a jumping kick to the face. Ricochet hit a superkick on Joe and all three guys were down, which led to cheers from the crowd that was enjoying the match. The guys got back into it with Ricochet hitting a dropkick on Corbin, but Corbin came back with a kick to the face. Corbin hit a Powerbomb followed by a Deep Six slam for two as Joe pulled Corbin out of the ring. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch on Corbin on the floor with the crowd screaming for this. The fans were into it. Joe took down Corbin with the Coquina Clutch on the floor, so Ricochet hit a running Shooting Star Press off the apron onto Joe and Corbin on the floor. Ricochet landed more on Corbin than he did on Joe. There were “Let’s Go Corbin/Corbin sucks” chants from the crowd. I think that’s what they were saying. Back in the ring, Joe avoided a 630 Splash, Joe went for the Coquina Clutch, Ricochet fought out of it and hit the Recoil double knees to the face. Ricochet went up top and hit the 630 Splash on Joe. Corbin got back in the ring, pulled Ricochet to the floor and tossed Ricochet over the barricade. Corbin went back into the ring and he covered Joe for the pinfall win after 14 minutes. Cole: “Corbin steals it!” Yep. That’s the idea with that finish.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good triple threat match with the classic “heel steals the pin” finish that we have seen many times with Corbin tossing Ricochet out of the ring after Ricochet finished off Joe. The hot crowd helped the match a lot as well. I wanted Ricochet to win because I think winning this tournament would have been huge for him, but I am not surprised that Corbin won this match to go to the finals. My issue isn’t with Corbin as a worker because I think he performed well in this match and he’s done fine in his matches of late. I just think it would have helped Ricochet more if he won.

Corbin’s win means that he moves on to the King of the Ring finals at Clash of Champions against Elias or Chad Gable.

Corbin celebrated the win while Ricochet was shocked and Joe was getting checked out by a doctor. Graves put over Corbin for being smart in capitalizing on the situation. Corbin walked over to the King of the Ring throne with Graves saying “All Hail King Corbin” as he has done many times.

Analysis: I assume Gable will beat Elias to set up heel Corbin vs. face Gable and I hope Gable wins it, but my predictions have been off for the entire tournament. I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Lacey Evans made her entrance in red, white and blue attire.

(Commercial)

There was a plug for the People’s Choice Awards where Raw is nominated as the best show of 2019 against some actual great shows. Raw is not a great show. Maybe Smackdown. I had no idea the People’s Choice Awards still exist, to be fair.

They showed a replay of last week with Lacey Evans beating Natalya after the dreaded TISSUE TO THE FACE~! followed by the Woman’s Right punch. Natalya made her entrance.

Lacey Evans vs. Natalya

Natalya worked over the legs of Evans with a twisting leg lock, but Evans got to the ropes. The fans must have been bored because I think they were chanting “CM Punk” as Natalya punched Evans. There was a rollup by Evans, but Natalya rolled through and hit a discus clothesline. Evans got to the ropes to avoid a Sharpshooter attempt. When Natalya left the ring, Evans hit a neckbreaker on the floor. Back in the ring, Evans with an elbow drop. Evans with a running splash on Natalya against the turnbuckle. Graves called the Statue Of Liberty a “nasty” and said he would replace the statue with Lacey Evans, so the other announcers laughed about it. Evans went for a moonsault, Natalya rolled out of the way and Evans came back with a kick to the ribs. Evans pulled out a tissue from her cleavage, tossed it at Natalya and Natalya kicked Evans. Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter, Evans was near the ropes, but she didn’t fight it much and Evans tapped out to give Natalya the win after five minutes.

Winner by submission Natalya

Analysis: **1/4 Solid wrestling match. I liked how aggressive Natalya was, then Evans looked good on offense and Natalya managed to make the comeback for the win. Natalya is probably the best opponent to help Evans improve. I figured Evans would win again to continue to give her some positive momentum, but I don’t have a problem with Natalya getting a win either. It makes things even after last week, which should lead to another match where I assume Evans will get the win.

Firefly Fun House is up next.

(Commercial)

There was a plug for Steve Austin on Straight Up Steve Austin on USA Network after Raw with Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the guest.

There was a clip from earlier in the night with the NBA’s Enes Kanter in the ring being interviewed when R-Truth went to the ring with the 24/7 Title. Kanter is a former member of the New York Knicks. Kanter, who is a 7-footer, pushed Truth down and covered to win the 24/7 Title. Truth came back with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to win back the 24/7 Championship. Truth is now a 15-time 24/7 Champion.

The announcers noted that Truth will defend the 24/7 Championship in some form at Clash of Champions, but we don’t know the match yet. The announcers went over some of the Clash of Champions matches. The full lineup is at the bottom of this post. We will have a full preview up on Friday.

Firefly Fun House

Bray Wyatt was on his talk show set while wearing a sweater. Ramblin’ Rabbit appeared to tell Wyatt there was a stranger and Wyatt asked if it was Steve Austin. The other puppets were there and there was a clock with 3:16 on it. The puppets kept saying “stranger danger” repeatedly. Wyatt yelled at them to be quiet. Wyatt hit the clock with a hammer two times and it said 11:19 on it. Wyatt said that Steve is just an old rattlesnake and you can’t blame a rattlesnake for doing rattlesnake things. Wyatt said that strangers are friends you haven’t made yet. Wyatt said that now Seth and Braun have a trio of new friends. Wyatt said unfortunately friends won’t help where you’re going because friends forget, but The Fiend never forgets. We got a quick image of The Fiend and Wyatt said bye.

Analysis: I’m not sure what the 11:19 numbers reference, but I saw some Twitter chatter about it. The Undertaker’s debut in the WWF was on November 19, 1990 on a taped show a few days before Survivor Series that year, so it could be that. The Undertaker is on Smackdown this week as well. There are also a few 11:19 bible references that it could be mentioning. The “hell” reference was because Wyatt faces Rollins or Strowman for the Universal Title at Hell in a Cell next month. Anyway, this was produced well as usual.

The ten-man tag team match is the main event up next.

(Commercial)

There was a plug for Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch on the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine.

The entrance of Seth Rollins was shown while his teammates were already in the ring. They showed the entrances of the five heel wrestlers.

Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Cedric Alexander, Erik and Ivar vs. AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode

Rollins started with Ziggler with a hiptoss by Rollins. Ivar with a knee to the ribs, Erik tagged in and slammed Ivar onto Ziggler. Styles went after Ziggler, so Alexander went after Styles. Everybody was on the floor except Ziggler trying to attack Strowman, which didn’t work because Strowman hit a Chokeslam on Ziggler. That led to a break.

(Commercial)

The heels were in control with stomping way on Alexander against the turnbuckle. Alexander came back with a leaping flatliner as the crowd started doing the wave. Styles with an arm wringer to keep Alexander grounded. Gallows stomped on Alexander followed by an arm wringer takedown. Roode slapped on an armbar and then he drove Alexander to the mat by wrenching on the left arm. Alexander hit a spinning back elbow to the face of Roode. Rollins got the tag against Alexander with a Slingblade, Rollins with an enziguri kick to Gallows and Rollins with a springboard knee on Anderson. Rollins with a Falcon Arrow slam on Anderson for two as Roode made the save. Alexander clothesline on Roode, Ziggler superkick on Alexander, Erik with a punch to Ziggler, Gallows with a boot to Erik and Ivar with a clothesline to Gallows. Styles with a springboard Phenomenal Forearm to Ivar. Rollins hit a superkick to Styles with the fans going wild. Strowman got the tag with running shoulder tackles on Gallows and Anderson while Rollins hit suicide dives as well. Strowman with a Running Powerslam on Anderson and Rollins was pushed by Roode onto Strowman to break up the pin. That was clever. Strowman was mad about it because he thought Rollins did it on purpose. Strowman said that he had him beat. They went to break with Seth and Braun arguing. Another commercial.

(Commercial)

There were about six minutes left in the show when they returned. Rollins was the face in peril, he tried to break free, but Anderson gave him a spinebuster for two. Roode tagged in and Rollins hit a Blockbuster neckbreaker on Roode. Ziggler tagged in, he wanted the Fameasser, but Rollins gave him a Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle. Styles tagged back in, Rollins avoided an attack and brought in Strowman. Strowman with two running shoulder tackles on Styles, a boot to the face, Strowman punched Gallows out of the ring and Strowman went running into the ring post because Styles moved. Erik tagged himself in, overhead suplex on Ziggler, knee to the face of Roode and Styles hit a Pele Kick on Erik. Ivar tagged in with a jumping knee attack on Styles to put him down. Ivar went up top and he hit a somersault dive on the guys on the floor. That was impressive! The fans were chanting “this is awesome” for them. Styles with a forearm on Alexander, Styles jumped off the top going for a move, but Alexander moved and Alexander hit the Lumbar Check on Styles for the pinfall win after 20 minutes. Alexander reacted as if he was shocked that he won. Good pop from the crowd too.

Winners by pinfall: Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Cedric Alexander, Erik and Ivar

Analysis: ***3/4 Great match that was given a lot of time with a hot crowd. I think it was the right finish where Alexander got the pinfall on Styles, which will likely lead to the US Title match at Clash of Champions. Yes, it’s predictable, but it’s also the right way to end the match. I thought they planned the match well with some fun moments throughout including where everybody hit big moves, then some issues between Rollins/Strowman, Ivar with a dive onto the other guys on the floor and the finish of the match was really well done. The Lumbar Check is one of my favorite finishing moves in WWE. Styles putting over Alexander like that is huge for Cedric’s career.

As soon as the bell rang, Steve Austin’s music hit as Stone Cold went down to the ring for a celebration. There were about two minutes left in the show, so Austin quickly went into the ring with the babyfaces Rollins, Strowman, Eric, Ivar and Alexander. Everybody was handed a beer. They smashed the beers together and they joined Austin in a beer bash. The fans loved it. They continued the celebration and that was the end of the show.

Analysis: It was a happy way to end the show with the fans popping big for a classic Austin beer bash. By having Austin celebrating with the babyface wrestlers, it also puts those guys ever because it showed that Austin liked them and appreciated them.

After the show was over, Steve Austin had a beer bash celebrating with the faces and he also gave AJ Styles another Stunner. Good times.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Steve Austin
  2. AJ Styles
  3. Cedric Alexander

I could have picked a lot of people. Great show.

 

The Scoreboard

8 out of 10

Last week: 6

2019 Average: 5.78 (Smackdown is 6.78)

Last 5 Weeks: 6, 7.5, 6.5, 6, 7

2019 High: 8 (September 9)

2019 Low: 3.5 (May 27)

 

Final Thoughts

This week’s Raw gets an 8 out of 10.

That’s my highest score for a Raw this year. There were some very good matches all night long, the presence of Steve Austin made it feel more special and the MSG crowd was loud for almost the entire night. I don’t think there was a Raw this year with five matches around three stars or better the way there was on this show. The main event 10-man tag was my favorite match. I would have preferred a Ricochet win in the King of the Ring semifinals over Baron Corbin, but it was still an exciting match to watch. Some things on the show were off like Charlotte doing that moonsault that wasn’t that close. She should stop doing that move, I think. Other than that, though, it was a well-booked show with a lot of great wrestling. I wasn’t bored by the show at all. Most weeks have more boring segments. This felt like more of a complete wrestling show thanks to the great in-ring action and the entertaining opening segment with Stone Cold.

The build to Clash of Champions has been pretty good as well. Is the Clash of the Champions card the best of the year? Probably not, but they have some fresh matchups. Our preview goes up on Friday.

The next WWE PPV is Clash of Champions on September 15. Here’s the official lineup so far.

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

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

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

Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan

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

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

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

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

King of the Ring Tournament Finals: Baron Corbin vs. Smackdown wrestler (Elias or Chad Gable)

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

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

AJ Styles defending the US Title against Cedric Alexander will likely be added as well. They also said the 24/7 Title will be defended in some form, but there’s no specific match announced yet.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Thanks for reading.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport

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