Hogan is backstage. Fuck yeah. It’s been long enough.
KICKOFF SHOW: SIN CARA VS. ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS
Almas is bigger, stronger, faster, and has a manager that will do anything she can to make sure he wins. This will likely be a very entertaining match but it’s painfully obvious who is going to win. I love the spot where Sin Cara goes for a suicide dive and gets launched into the barricade. This is a very good spot for this match. Almas is still being introduced to the main roster crowd, and they want to make this feud important, but it’s not big enough to be on the main card. I often disagree with the matches that end up on the kickoff show but I think this one is perfect.
Sin Cara hit a sick-looking reverse spike hurracanrana off what looked like an Alabama Slam attempt by Almas. Whatever it was it looked awesome and planted Almas’ head in the mat. Almas gets tossed off the top rope back first onto the apron, and he probably should have sold it more but he was up very quickly. It led to another awesome hurracanrana with Sin Cara coming off the top rope as Almas was standing on the apron and both men went to the floor.
Vega does what she does best, distracting the referee after a Sin Cara frog splash, and Almas takes full advantage with the knees and the hammerlock DDT for the win. Excellent match. It was not a squash like it could have been, both men looked terrific, Almos won dirty, and he got a win over a quality veteran opponent, regardless of the fact that Sin Cara has mostly become a jobber. Very well done and a great match to warm up the crowd.
Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals
Shinsuke Nakamura does an “ask Shinsuke” segment where he won’t answer anything. He’s extremely frustrating and a great heel. The mind games are maddening and build his character.
TAG TEAM TABLES MATCH: THE NEW DAY VS. SANITY
I don’t see the carnage ending here when the match is over. SAnitY should win and then continue to beat down New Day and put the remaining members through tables as well. It’ll be a mistake if they just keep teasing someone going through the table that’s set up and ringside. That leads to sloppy and weak looking moves that stop people from going through it. We know it’s a tables match. We know a table is there. Don’t make the table the focal point of the match. Let’s see a lot more carnage before that happens. Grab some chairs or something. They keep teasing Big E getting thrown through the table.
I love when Dain flies. He’s such an athletic big man. The tease of Kofi going through the stacked up tables is really cool. Much better than the earlier teases with Big E. The double stomp by Kofi from the top rope was awesome. Dain’s Michinoku Driver to Woods on top of Big E was also awesome. This match is awesome. Except why did Eric Young lay flat on that table so long? ILLOGICAL! EY hits a great elbow drop that takes Kofi from the apron through a table on the outside. SAnitY gets the big win.
I’m very disappointed it immediately went back to the kickoff show panel instead of having SAnitY continue to demolish the New Day. This was a decently good match but the rating suffers because of that, and also due to the lack of additional weapons used besides tables.
Match Rating: Four Gold Medals
To the main show!
RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: THE B-TEAM VS. THE DELETERS OF WORLDS (c)
I predicted the champs to easily retain here, but if the B-Team keep their heads they could actually come out on top. I certainly don’t think it will happen as they seem more worried about their mind games. Nobody can beat Matt & Bray in mind games. Axel & Dallas are not dressed up like Matt & Bray tonight nor are they cutting any promos, which I think works in their favor and could mean they are more focused.
Not a good sign for the match that the crowd immediately starts chanting for Ronda Rousey. Hopefully they give the match a fair chance instead of being douches. I just hope the match is entertaining, because the wrestling between these guys hasn’t been great the over past month. Matt has been a great in-ring competitor but I think at this point Bray is the better wrestler. Matt may be more focused on the character work, which is fine, but I don’t think he’s been very good in the ring lately. He’s not bad tonight. He way overdoes the delete motion. Save it for a big moment. The crowd is gonna chant it regardless
Dueling crowd chants show that the B-Team is getting over, and also shows the crowd is invested in the match and the storyline. Always a good thing. Curtis Axel is no Mr. Perfect but he is a damn good wrestler. Bray gets a hot tag and knocks his brother around a bit, getting a good crowd reaction. Bo knocks Matt into Bray and hits his finisher for the win, shocking me and everyone else by winning the tag team belts for himself and Axel. Well shit, I whiffed badly on that one, and I’m pretty glad because that match was terrific. Two paragraphs ago I wrote that if they were focused they could come out on top, and they were focused. Great promo after a great match.
Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals
Kurt Angle says if Brock Lesnar doesn’t show up on Raw and come to terms on his next title defense, he’ll be stripped of the title. That’s great.
FINN BALOR VS. BARON CORBIN
Balor has his work cut out for him here. Baron is fast and very strong, but also gets easily frustrated. Finn needs to be a step faster than Corbin and let him make mistakes when he gets too aggressive. Finn is certainly the underdog in the match in my eyes. Baron does use his strength to get the early advantage but we do see moments where Finn is just a little faster and gets in some offense. Baron seems unfazed and easily takes control of the match.
Corbin has a ton of confidence in this match to keep letting Finn get to his feet, and it continues to work in Baron’s favor as he hits some devastating strikes before going back to keeping Finn grounded. This has to weigh heavily on Balor’s psyche that every time he seems to get a moment to strike, Corbin takes him down again. Finally Balor gets in some sustained offense and goes to the top for a coup de gras, but it ends up with Corbin hitting his chokeslam backbreaker. Balor looks completely outmatched here. Even after he hits the sling blade, he runs right into Corbin’s Deep Six.
Balor nearly does get the Coup de Gras but Corbin ends up going for the End of Days. Balor counters it with an inside cradle and keeps Corbin’s shoulders down for three and the win. This was a tough match for me to call, I went with Corbin in my predictions but I’m not surprised that Finn got the win. Corbin dominated most of the match and it doesn’t hurt him too much that Finn won the way he did. We’ll see if he uses his position as constable to make Balor’s life miserable now.
Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals
Backstage the Bludgeon Brothers take out Team Hell No putting their title match in jeopardy.
SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: ASUKA VS. CARMELLA (c) W/ JAMES ELLSWORTH SUSPENDED ABOVE THE RING IN A SHARK CAGE
Ellsworth immediately throws a chain into the ring and Asuka gets admonished for picking it up. Realistically Asuka should beat the living piss out of Carmella and win the match in three minutes, but as I said before, they are gonna fuck Asuka again. Ellsworth keeps throwing stuff to Carmella and the ref does a terrible job of keeping it out of Carmella’s hands. Ellsworth is working at opening the shark cage with a key. Byron makes the great point, didn’t anyone frisk Ellsworth? It takes him almost no time to get out, great job. He somehow gets one of the bandannas tied around his leg tied to the shark cage and gets totally stuck upside down, and Asuka takes out the guys sent to free him then takes her shots at Ellsworth while completely ignoring Carmella. Carmella knocks her face first into the cage and gets the win. It makes no sense whatsoever to have Asuka totally ignore Carmella for about two full minutes IN A TITLE MATCH. That is some awful booking. If you’re gonna have Carmella pick up a heel win, do it logically. This continues to devalue Asuka. She kicks the shit out of Ellsworth after the match, but what does that mean at this point if she keeps losing to Carmella? Someone of Asuka’s caliber would not turn her back on a match that long. She could have destroyed Ellsworth after destroying Carmella. He wasn’t going anywhere. I’m really disappointed in this. It was slightly entertaining but overall the way this was presented was really shitty.
Match Rating: Two Gold Medals
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: SHINSUKE NAKAMURA VS. JEFF HARDY (c)
Jeff Hardy will likely be the second Hardy brother to lose a championship tonight. Look for a brutal move or series of movies that WWE will use as a reason that Hardy needs to take time off to heal. It’s likely that we’ll hear the women and children in the crowd chanting for Jeff Hardy and the guys chanting for Nakamura. I love Jeff’s face paint. Nakamura hits the low blow immediately and we may have a Kinshasa as soon as the bell rings. It’d be a great way to save Jeff from having a long match and hurting himself more. Well, that’s exactly what happens, and while I’m sure people are disappointed they don’t get the match, this is a terrific way to get Nakamura more heat and get him a title he really needs.
RANDY ORTON RETURNS! He wants that US title back. Is he gonna RKO Jeff? Probably not. More likely Shinsuke comes up behind him and gets RKO’d for it.
I’m wrong again, as Randy stomps on Jeff’s balls and leaves. Didn’t see that coming. That was weird, intriguing, and has me wanting to know what happened. Well done. Certainly can’t rate the match but I’ll rate the booking.
Booking Rating: Eight Dustys
STEEL CAGE MATCH: BRAUN STROWMAN VS. KEVIN OWENS
RIP KO. I’m curious if Strowman will cash in if Lesnar shows up on Raw tomorrow. He doesn’t seem like a guy with a lot of patience so I wouldn’t be surprised. Think of that pop. Owens tries to escape a few times early. Strowman calls him a coward and tells him to fight. He hits a cannonball and a frog splash but Strowman kicks out almost before the ref gets to one. There is no keeping Strowman down. Owens’ only hope is to escape the cage, and Braun is way too fast to let that happen.
Owens is getting PUNISHED. That steel can’t feel too good, and Strowman keeps throwing Owens into the cage. Owens hits a stunner and goes for the door, but Strowman slams the door on his face. Owens is exhausted, seems to have almost nothing left. He finally gets Strowman in a vulnerable position by sidestepping his charge and hitting him with a superkick. Then he HANDCUFFS Strowman to the ropes and starts beating the hell out of him. I hate the handcuffs thing. Strowman hits a chokeslam and works on his cuffs. Owens tells Strowman to SUCK IT and blows Strowman a kiss as he climbs the cage. Strowman BREAKS THE HANDCUFF and heads up to with KO. Holy shit what’s he gonna do?? OWENS IS CHOKESLAMMED THROUGH THE ANNOUNCED TABLE FROM THE TOP OF THE CAGE! BAH GAWD! THEY KILLED HIM! AS GOD AS MY WITNESS HE IS BROKEN IN HALF! Not quite Hell in a Cell height, but god damn, that was sick. And Owens wins the match.
That was amazing. My only issue with this match was the handcuffs but it led to Strowman snapping them right off so issue erased. I LOVED this match. I can watch this one again and again. Again, it’s not Mankind-Taker, but god damn this was tremendous action and captured the spirit of “extreme rules” perfectly.
Match Rating: Ten Gold Medals
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: TEAM HELL NO VS. THE BLUDGEON BROTHERS (c)
Bryan comes out alone. Not good. But then again, maybe Bryan actually will be able to truthfullyo say, “I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!” I’m sure we’ll see Kane at some point in the match, but I really don’t like Hell No’s chances. Bryan is handling himself pretty well, but there’s zero chance he outlasts these two monsters by himself. Despite the odds, he continues to fight and outsmarts the Bludgeons with Harper hitting Rowan by accident on a suicide dive. Cue Kane’s music as he comes out in a boot/cast on his left leg from the Bludgeons’ earlier attack.
Kane tags in and hits both Harper and Rowan with chokeslams and calls for a tombstone on Harper. He can’t do it with his leg and DB comes back in with a missile dropkick on Harper. The crowd is on its feet and going nuts. I predicted the Bludgeons to retain but now I’m not so sure. The reaction Team Hell No would get for winning would be insane. Unfortunately Bryan takes a clothesline from while on Rowan’s shoulders and that dream is crushed. I figured they would lose but they really gave us hope for a moment there. I originally though that there would be a moment that leads into a Bryan-Kane feud but instead we just got one hell of a match.
Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals
The B-Team wants Roman to join them. I think it would have been better if they let him talk there instead of staring them down. As I’ve been saying, he seems to have really found his voice and has been very good on the mic and in backstage segments lately.
ROMAN REIGNS VS. BOBBY LASHLEY
In my preview I called this an unofficial number one contender match. I think one or both of these men will be in a match for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. I wasn’t too interested in this match until they had the pull apart on Raw this past week. I think that got a lot of people wanting to see them get their hands on each other tonight.
Lashley easily controls Roman early in the match with his grappling. I can definitely see Lashley winning the match, as he’s as big and strong as Roman and crushes him in grappling skills. Still, it’s Roman, and Roman finds a way. He’s wrestling very aggressively in this match. I will certainly enjoy a more aggressive style from Reigns. Less Superman punches. Assholes in the crowd chanting “we want beach balls.” Fuck you. Then go to the beach, because real fans don’t want you at wrestling shows.
We need to see more physicality in this one. More toe-to-toe striking in the middle of the ring. That’s what got people interested and on their feet last week. Roman hits his clotheslines in the corner then bounces off the ropes but right into a massive Lashley powerslam. The pace needs to pick up to keep the crowd in it, because unfortunately those dickheads don’t give the match a chance. Unlike other competitors where the crowd starts off into the match and can be taken out of it, Roman matches start with the crowd eating ass and being shithead losers, and the wrestlers have to work extra hard to make them interested. I’m glad we at least get the “let’s go Roman” and “Roman sucks” chants because it gets them paying attention. Reigns hits the best superman punch I’ve ever seen him hit. Then hits another one with Lashley on the top rope. “My yard!” Reigns goes for a spear but Lashley intercepts Reigns with a spear of his own and gets the win. Holy shit that was a great finish.
The match did need some more hard hitting early, but it certainly picked up and got awesomely physical. Don’t be surprised if Lashley gets a match against Lesnar (or Strowman) at SummerSlam. Bitchin match, and I hope the majority of the crowd appreciated it. The rest can go fuck themselves. Fucking yinzers.
Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals
RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP EXTREME RULES MATCH: NIA JAX W/ NATALYA VS. ALEXA BLISS (c) W/ MICKIE JAMES
How does Alexa get away with the championship again? I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure she will. A lot of additional elements in this match: Nia has Natalya in her corner, Alexa has Mickie James in her corner, and Ronda Rousey is in the front row. I’m sure all of that will allow Alexa to steal a win somehow. Nia is not smart to chase Alexa around the outside and gets hit with a kendo stick, but then snaps it in half. She blocks every weapon attack Alexa attempts.
The ring is full of weapons. Make them count. Nia with weapons is fucking terrifying. Alexa needs to keep running out of the ring and hope she can evade Nia, who has show she will chase her. Let Mickie help out. HOLY SHIT she press slammed Alexa onto a garbage can. Wow. I’m really amazed the crowd isn’t reacting more because this match is fucking great.
Alexa takes control by means of a trash can lid, followed by a shot with the trash can that was mangled by her own body. She should not stop hitting Nia with weapons, but instead she allows Nia to get to her feet and eats a right hand and a headbutt. Alexa evades Nia and Nia mashes into a chair that Alexa had set up in the corner. Alexa and Mickie take out Nia and in comes Rousey to help. She beats the piss out of Mickie James. They’re sloppy but effective. Bliss tries to run and Nia catches her, but Mickie takes her out with a kendo stick. Why did Mickie recover so quickly? That was bullshit. Nia goes for a Samoan drop but Mickie hits her with a weak-as-hell chair shot. Alexa hits a few more horrible chair shots, then DDTs Nia onto the chair for the win.
That was a bad ending. I guess the booking there was decent but the chair shots were among the worst I’ve ever seen. Also the fact that Natalya took one toss into the barricade and never got up, but Ronda mashed Mickie all over the place and she was up to help Alexa almost immediately. That was shit-ass booking. A bad ending nearly ruins what had been a pretty good match. The women’s matches were unfortunately booked horribly tonight.
Match Rating: Three Gold Medals
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: RUSEV W/ AIDEN ENGLISH VS. AJ STYLES (c)
Rusev has become nothing but a reaction. He’s a chant. It’s unfortunate but the crowd has made it that way with their unending chant of “Rusev Day” anytime they fucking feel like it in any match. He is not going to win. I’m glad Rusev has been taking a full heel approach to this match, but it doesn’t make sense at all anymore to have Aiden egg on the crowd with Rusev Day. It convolutes everything and screws up the feud. It hurts Rusev because as I said, he’s turned into a chant. People will probably say “Rusev is awesome,” and if you ask why, they’re only response would be “Rusev Day!”
AJ is everything that Rusev isn’t right now. Sure, people chant AJ Styles, but people can give you tons of reasons why AJ is awesome. The crowd seems tired and out of it. It is a long show, but there should be more of a reaction for a WWE Championship match. Realistically Rusev should crush AJ. He’s bigger, stronger, and he’s not as fast as AJ but he’s not a slow big man.
AJ misses a springboard 450 and runs into a kick, then Rusev nearly counters a Calf Crusher into the Accolade. AJ gets locks in the Calf Crusher but Aiden English pushes the rope closer to Rusev so he can break the hold. The ref does not see it. AJ turns his back on Rusev to chase English, and Rusev hits a belly to belly on the floor. A Machka Kick in the ring gets Rusev a very close two count. He tries to lock in the Accolade but his leg is too injured. He locks in a halfway/modified version of it.
AJ breaks the hold while English exposes the steel on the top turnbuckle behind the ref’s back. It backfires as Rusev hits it face first and Styles nails the springboard 450 for a two count. The crowd is certainly awake now. AJ takes out English with a dropkick and loads up for a Phenomenal Forearm. He nails it for the 1-2-3. The crowd goes nuts.
Excellent match. Both guys gave everything they had. I can’t think of anything that should have gone differently. This one blew me away.
Match Rating: Ten Gold Medals
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP IRON MAN MATCH: SETH ROLLINS VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER (c) W/ DREW McINTYRE
It says a lot about how WWE views Seth Rollins with the Intercontinental Championship match main eventing instead of the WWE Championship match. Of course, it could also say a lot about how they view the WWE Championship as opposed to the Universal Championship, or how they view Raw and SmackDown. Either way, I’m glad this is the main event. Most of the matches tonight have been outstanding, save the women’s matches. I expected these guys to tear the house down and close the show right. I really like how Drew stands in front of Dolph like a bodyguard during the introductions. It’s a not-very-subtle reminder to the crowd and especially to Seth of what he has to deal with tonight. Great wrestling psychology.
An old heel tactic in Iron Man matches is to give the opponent a win by beating them down with a chair or hitting a blatant low blow. The heel loses a fall but gains a huge advantage and usually ends up tying it up pretty easily, and now the face is injured. Ziggler and McIntyre don’t pull out that tactic yet. Slow start as they feel each other out and grapple a bit for the first two-three minutes of the match. We get some pinning combinations from both guys but no falls, and the crowd gives some appreciation for the chain wrestling as Ziggler rolls to the outside and Rollins does jumping jacks in the ring. Sidenote: there was nothing special about the grappling Ziggler and Rollins did, but the crowd applauded it. Funny what they’ll do for anyone who isn’t Roman Reigns no matter what he does, because he wrestled extremely well tonight and go zero kudos for it from the douche nuggets.
A buckle bomb and a cradle by Rollins gets Seth the first fall. That was a lackluster first fall, there should have been more damage done or a better lead up to it. Rollins flies over the top rope and lands on Dolph on the outside, but McIntyre looms over him. It’s big for Seth to get that first fall because now Dolph isn’t in position to trade a disqualification loss for big damage with a weapon like I mentioned in the last paragraph. The pace is picking up in the ring but the crowd seems more interested in the clock than the match. What the fuck with these yinzers? Seth goes for another buckle bomb, Ziggler escapes, but Rollins hits a Curb Stomp for ANOTHER fall to go up 2-0. I wonder how much Seth will get up before Ziggler gets a fall. He’s now up 3-0 because McIntyre attacks Rollins. That’s an awful move by Drew. He continues the attack on Seth and Rollins is going to take an insurmountable lead, because I’m sure the ref is going to call for another DQ. The ref ejects McIntyre, and he hits a Claymore Kick out his way out. I’m really amazed that the ref only gave Rollins one fall there and it remains 3-0.
As soon as McIntyre leaves, Ziggler covers Rollins to make it 3-1. Depending on how this goes it may have been worth it with McIntyre only costing Ziggler one fall. That’s a bad decision by the ref, because it should have been at least two. Ziggler hits a superkick and it’s now 3-2. Ziggler loads up for another superkick and it could be tied with the match not even halfway over. Rollins is ahead but he’s definitely in worse shape than Dolph. Ziggler hits a Zig Zag and we are tied at three. Three falls in less than two minutes, and Rollins is in trouble. I can’t tell what the crowd is chanting but it’s almost certainly fucking stupid. This crowd really is terrible. Few people seem actually appreciate what’s going on in the ring anymore. As the retards are counting down 3-2-1 for every single minute of the clock, Ziggler gets a pin with his feet on the ropes to take a 4-3 advantage.
This seriously is one of the most disrespectful crowds I’ve ever seen. I really wish there was a way to mute the crowd because it ruins everything, including a terrific match. Ziggler keeps Rollins in a sleeper hold and is pretty much stalling. It’s a good move with a lead. Keep it slow, ground Rollins, protect the lead. Finally some in the crowd start to chant “let’s go Rollins” but it quickly turns to counting the clock down again. Trust me, I fucking hate writing about the crowd but when they’re this awful I can’t help but address it. I love to write about hot crowds and their huge pop reactions to big moments, but I hate when they act like assholes and ignore the match to try to get themselves over.
Ziggler keeps rolling out of the ring in a very smart move but Rollins finally gets him in the ring and gets in some offense. It’s easy to see both men have hit the wall. Rollins desperately needs a second wind. He hits a blockbuster but Dolph kicks out at two. At some point the crowd randomly started chanting YES and I thought something was happening, but no, they are just still ignoring the awesome in-ring action, including Dolph drop kicking Rollins off the top rope to the outside. Rollins makes it back into the ring at nine. A Ripcord Knee gets a two count for Seth. If there’s any justice in the world the clock will turn off in the arena, but then I’m sure the crowd find something else shitty to do. I can only say the crowd because I certainly can’t call them fans. A frog splash gets another two count for Rollins.
Seth keeps looking at the clock and we’re down to six minutes. Tons of falls in the first half of the match but none since. He’s been getting in so much offense trying to tie up the match that he’s got to be exhausted by now. Rollins hits his Superplex then rolls into a Falcon Arrow but gets yet another two count at the 4 1/2 minute mark. At three minutes Rollins hits a Slingshot and rolls Dolph up to finally tie the match at four.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens if it ends tied. We know the history of Bret vs. Shawn going into overtime, so I assume that’s what they should do. Rollins locks in a Sharpshooter as Dolph crawls towards the rope with two minutes left. Rollins transitions it into a crossface in the middle of the ring, a minute and a half left. I can see Ziggler tapping at the last second. Instead Rollins lets Dolph out and goes for the Stomp but Ziggler evades and rolls out of the ring. The announcers indicate that in a tie, Ziggler would keep the title in a draw. Ziggler hits a FameAssEr for a two count, Rollins hits a stompe with five seconds left, but can’t get the cover in time as the clock runs out. They rule the match a draw and Ziggler retains
Why, with the history of the Iron Man match going into overtime in a tie, is this a draw? Thank god here comes Angle to say NO FUCKING WAY. SUDDEN DEATH! Thank you Kurt. This is how it needed to go. McIntyre comes out of nowhere to distract Rollins, and Ziggler hits a Zig Zag to win the sudden death. I really don’t like that ending. If that was going to happen, it should have happened in the last minute of the match. It has to be deflating to the crowd and piss them off terribly to have the high of Angle announcing sudden death and the Rollins immediately loses. It’s not a horrible finish, but I really didn’t like it.
Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals
Overall this show was tremendous. A couple questionable finishes but for the most part it blew me away. The build to this PPV was bad but the show itself fucking delivered.
Overall Show Rating: Eight Gold Medals
My record with my predictions: 7-5. Not great. Go ahead and tell me how much my predictions sucked, or agree or disagree with my reviews.