Saturday: Saudi General Sports Authority apologizes after WWE aired an advert during the GRR that included female superstars. The advert (which featured both male and female superstars lip-syncing a pop song) was promoting that WWE will now have all their PPVs dual-branded. Part of the statement (via a ‘rough’ translation) read:
The General Sport Authority would like to apologize to the viewers and attendees of last night’s WWE event that took place in Jeddah, over the indecent scene involving women that appeared as an ad before a segment. It would like to confirm it’s total disapproval of this, in the shadow of its commitment to eliminate anything that goes against the communities values.
The authority has made sure to ban showing of any segment that involves women wrestling or any scenes related to it, and stipulated that to the company (WWE). The authority also disapproved any promotional stuff with pictures or videos showing women in an indecent way, and emphasized on commitment of this rule. And it’s a commitment that the authority would still commit to forever in all of it’s events and programs.
I’m absolutely cannot be arsed with this sort of bullshit from this whole event and everything associated with it anymore! Where do I even begin?!?!
WWE stated (in response to why Sami Zayn was absent from the event, Sami being of Syrian-Muslim heritage so bare that in mind, and speculation around that) “WWE is committed to embracing individuals from all backgrounds while respecting local customs and cultural differences around the world.” I just… I can’t….
Sunday: Drew McIntyre was absent from the event also. Apparently this was due to him not having a work-visa in time, as he has only recently of course joined the Raw roster. It was talked about that when Drew was injured in November as he lost the NXT title that he was SUPPOSED to come to the main roster back then. However he was speaking about a possible rematch with Andrade Almas and also about Alestier Black and the NXT Championship as recently as 2 days before he appeared on Raw, so maybe it was a late decision to bring him to main after all?
The film about Paige that was due for release in September has been pushed back to may 2019. Reportedly this is due to not wanting to clash with a number of big releases that were set for the same weekend. If this was the real reason then why not just put it back a couple of weeks, why EIGHT MONTHS??? Something funny going on here in my opinion…
Batista recently did an interview were he discussed a few things WWE related. And despite his very successful Hollywood acting career he still appears to want one final run in a WWE ring, as he said the following: “This is all insider stuff, and I usually don’t share. I’m really an old-school kayfabe guy… But they reached out to me earlier this year to possibly come back and do that thing with Ronda. And I said that I would be willing to do it only if we teased something for me and Hunter to go to Mania next year. And they said: ‘Yeah, that would be great. I love that idea.’ And I said: ‘Well, that’s great. I’ll come back a few times during the year, and we’ll tease it, and we’ll work it and we’ll milk it. And we’ll go to Mania, me and Hunter, next year.’ Oh, I love that idea. Let’s do it!’ So, we literally talked for about like three weeks and then they just stopped calling me… I sent a text to Hunter. I was like: ‘Hey man, I don’t know if you put any more thought into what’s going on. I’m really excited about the possibilities.’ And I literally never heard back from them. … they just don’t make it easy… They just stopped talking to me about it. Man, I don’t know what else I can do to try to… I want to end my career the right way. I’m faithful and loyal to the WWE. I’m proud of being from there and I want to do good business with them, but they just don’t make it easy. You know, they just don’t.” So some pretty revealing stuff from Big Dave there; the idea of him and Ronda teaming as a first bit of build towards Batista vs Triple H would’ve been cool, but I feel it worked out pretty well for the story in the end. Although Batista vs HHH to give Batista his final WWE send off (and also maybe a hall of fame induction the night before) would be a nice way to send him properly to Hollywood. Fingers crossed him and WWE get talking again and they can set up the match he wants for Mania next year.
Finn Balor has responded to people noticing he did not where his recent LGBTQ promotional in-ring gear during the GRR (that was in a country that has some in-different laws and opinions of LGBTQ Communities). He tweeted:
My Rainbow Gear was a statement at Wrestlemania Weeekend
Although the gear has not been worn since in 6 appearances(Hartford CT, Cape Town x2,Pretoria, Johannesburg ,St.Louise
My support continues despite any color choice, change or laundry schedule. #dirtypants
Factually this is probably true. But do I buy it for the reasoning he is saying? Not one bit. So lets leave it at that.
An Instagram post from Corey Graves did not go unnoticed too… along with an image of an alcoholic beverage his post read:
A drink to remember that no matter how bad WE think we have it, at least our women have rights and we all have freedom of expression. 🇺🇸 #ifyougetityougetit
PREACH COREY, FUCKING PREACH!!! And as much as someone may mention it privately, I can’t see anyone at WWE reacting or punishing him in anyway for this post, because really can they argue with anything he says here? No they cannot!
Monday: The English wrestler known on WWE TV as Danny Burch has now signed with WWE NXT full time. I’m not sure if this is full-time, as in he ONLY does WWE, or a deal like the one Pete Dunne and the other UK wrestlers have where they can still do some indie dates but WWE is their priority. Either way it’s great news for him as he’s a good wrestler and… well…. he’s English!
Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio the following; the Saudi Prince apparently asked Vince McMahon to book a number of acts on the Greatest Royal Rumble show, among them: The Undertaker, Ultimate Warrior and Yokozuna as well as “the guy with the crown” (Jerry Lawler) and “the guy in the black hat” (Jim Ross). The inability to book Yokozuna for the show as apparently the main reasoning by booking relatively unknown (to the wider audiences at least) Sumo wrestler Hiroki Sumi. Just an fyi; Ultimate Warior died in 2014, Yokozuna died in 2000. The Saudi prince wanted these 2 on the show… and with that I’m officially done writing about anything GRR related ever again!!!
The American TV network Showtime have announced they are making a documentary about Mauro Ranallo. The NXT commentator has also done Boxing commentary for them and does MMA commentary for the Bellator promotion. Mauro has openly spoken about his ongoing mental health issues so I imagine we will hear much more about that along with his incredible line of work in sports and sports entertainment commentary.
Tuesday: Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley v Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn has now been added to the card for Backlash.
A possible match for Summerslam has been suggetsed by a number of sources; Raw Women’s Championship: Nia Jax v Ronda Rousey. YES YES YES YES YES! This is EXACTLY the match I want; Nia is an unbeatable champion between now and then, Ronda beats everyone on the way, and the two could have an absolutely brilliant match if the chemistry is good, might be where either Ronda or Nia have to turn heel. I’d presume Rousey as Nia just turned face, although I imagine the Summerslam crowd will favour Ronda. We shall see… lets hope this one happens!
- Smackdown Live General Manager Paige was shown backstage and, after watching it back on a monitor, she announced that following his slam from Strowman through the announce table last Friday Shane McMahon wasn’t here tonight. She then said that the WWE title match at Backlash was now NO DQ! EXCELLENT news, question is now; which one does the low blow on Sunday?
- Miz TV; Miz cut a promo on Rollins and Bryan, after responding to the crowd’s (they were in Montreal) chants for Maryse, he said he took her to Hollywood. He then introduced Jeff Hardy, they had a back and forth on the mic, Randy Orton came out and he went at it verbally with both Miz and Hardy, Shelton Benajamin came out and eventually the 4 brawled. This was just… there… wasn’t a memorable segment at all. My personal highlight was when Miz reminded Randy Orton that he was previously listed as number nine on the now seemingly defunct Smackdown Top 10 list. Orton joked that he didn’t care and neither did anyone else! THANK YOU RANDY, THANK YOU FOR SAYING WHAT WE ALL THOUGHT, GOD THAT TOP 10 LIST WAS SCH A BAD AND POINTLESS IDEA!!! Orton saying this made me laugh a great deal, PREACH RANDY PREACH!
- Jeff and Orton then beat Miz and Benjamin in a tag match that started during an ad break. Crowd were really into this, and got behind Hardy a lot. Finish came when Orton hit his signature ddt on both Shelton Benjamin & The Miz, he then gave Shelton an RKO and Jeff gave Miz a Swanton to give his team the victory. Orton then hit the US Champion with an RKO after the match had finished. Fine match, shame Miz had to lose before his match with Seth Rollins on Sunday but Jeff has been booked super strong recently so nice to see him get another win.
- Renee Young was supposed to do an interview backstage with The IIconics and Carmella but Carmella wasn’t there. When Renee asked where Carmella was Peyton Royce did an impression of Renee’s accent (YEP…. you guessed it, she’s Canadian of course), Young said it sounded more like someone from Minnesota, The IIconics bragged about their win over Asuka last week, Young reminded them that they didn’t beat Asuka (Beck was the one pinned), The IIconics then moved her out the way and told her to “chase a moose” (lovely bit of casual racism there…). They then brought into shot Carmella, who was confident she’d beat Charlotte at Backlash and that the three of them would also win tonight, before she moonwalked out of shot.
- The commentators discussed Daniel Bryan’s performance on Friday, and revealed he did show up for Smackdown but was told by the staff that they wouldn’t allow him to compete for fear of further damage to his wounded chest. They also showed Bryan’s post-match interview from Friday.
- Sheamus and Cesaro were in a backstage segment with The New Day. Usual stuff fro these two teams, eventual ending saw Sheamus request a match with Xavier Woods, which was set up for later in the show.
- Really interesting segment next; Rusev and Aiden English were shown walking backstage. They were then approached by Lana (Rusev’s wife of course) who was wearing a ‘Happy Rusev Day’ shirt (the crowd went absolute nuts for this). Lana comforted her Husband saying although he came close to beating Undertaker there was something holding him back. Rusev disagreed, because he has a day in his honour. Then Aiden English came back into shot and grabbed his coat before leaving. I THINK the implication here was that Lana thinks it is Aiden English that is holding Rusev back, so I think we will get a tussle between the two for Rusev’s ‘affection’ going forward, which could be good fun. For Lana more than anyone she needs this story, and she needs to be with Rusev because on her own… yeah…. not so good… but if this ends with Rusev shunning his wife it means he’s staying heel, and if he shuns English MAYBE we finally get his face turn. We shall see, should be good…
- Big Cass came out and cut a promo running down Daniel Bryan, Bryan’s music hit but a small midget dressed as Daniel Bryan came out instead, Cass made a load of short jokes, Cass beat him up, crowd called him an asshole… This was what it was… it was a midget dressed as Daniel Bryan getting beat up and Cass making short jokes…. yeah doesn’t even sound good does it?
- Renee Young appeared again, this time in the ring, and introduced WWE Champion AJ Styles. AJ said Nakamura was ‘focused on the wrong Jewels’, he rejected Young’s question to apologize as Shinsuke has asked for, and said as Nakamura has ruined their dream match at Wrestlemania and his own match with Daniel Bryan he would leave Nakamura in pieces in their no DQ match. After calling out Nakamura SAMOA JOE came out instead! Joe said Styles was making a spectacle of himself, and that he needed to ‘make peace with his upcoming destiny’ and that we was waiting for the winner of the WWE Championship match this Sunday. Joe’s music played as the two stared eachother out, then Nakamura’s music played and Joe turned around and waited for him (as he was stood on the rampway), but Nakamura… once again… appeared in the ring and low-blowed Styles. He then taunted him some more and gave him a Kinshasa. Loved this segment. Hardly surprising considering who is involved, as we look towards Bakclash surely Nakamura has been getting the better of the champion way too much for the exact same thing to happen Sunday? And with it being no DQ could we see Styles low blow Nakamura or even maybe AJ wears a protective plate of some form to protect his ‘jewels’ and this leads to AJ getting the win? Who knows but nonetheless it should be really exciting stuff.
- Becky Lynch was shown backstage and was upset at costing Asuka thier match last week, Asuka told her to forget about it and that they would fight back 3x as hard this week. Charlotte entered the fray and said she would teach Carmella a lesson in respect etc etc.
- Xavier Woods beat Sheamus with a roll up. Loads of distractions during this one, light hearted, sub 10 minutes, fine.
- They showed the video I alluded to last week of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose mocking Becky Lynch. They both were shown in live time approaching former Absolution teammate Paige, and after appearing to be happy to see one another Deville and Rose assumed Paige was going to give them preferential treatment but Paige said no. She then revealed Mandy Rose will face Becky Lynch next week. Quite liked this actually, hoping this leads to further goings on between the 3, maybe Paige does eventually give them special treatment, beens as she’s not going to be taking bumps anytime soon… only outcome I can see unless you are going to split up Mandy and Sonya?
- Zelina Vega cut a phone promo from the outside area. She said that although everyone wanted to know when Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas would make his Smackdown debut, but we would only know that when SHE decides to let us know. She then stated that Almas would take over Smackdown. Andrade Almas then spoke up by telling everyone to stay ‘tranquilo’. CAN YOU JUST SHOW UP ALREADY PLEASE?????? 2 supremely talented performers, I hope and pray the are handled correctly. The in-ring stuff is a lock that given the chance Almas will be a megastar, but i’m very nervous about what the creative team do with them. Fingers crossed Almas and Vega are treated as the stars they are.
- In the main event Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch & Asuka beat Carmella, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. The match was really good fun to watch; Lynch gave Kay a diving dropkick, Carmella responded by superkicking the Irish Lasskicker, and then Charlotte hit a Spear on Carmella (it was great). Charlotte Flair then wowed the crowd by hitting a Moonsault from the top rope onto both Billie Kay & Carmella on the outside (it was absolutely wonderful to watch). And then Asuka hit the Asuka Lock on Peyton Royce to get the win. Charlotte and Becky celebrated with Asuka as the Smackdown Women’s Champion Carmella made her way back up the entrance ramp clinging to her title belt.
- Also shown during the show btw was another video promoting the imminent arrival from NXT of Eric Young, Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe; SANITY! 🙂
205 Live saw the following; Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher beat Akira Tozawa & Hideo Itami, Buddy Murphy absolutely destroyed a jobber as his pursuit of Cedric Alexander’s Cruserweight title continued, and in the main event Drew Gulak defeated Kalisto.
The US title match for Backlash was later announced by WWE as officially being Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton.
Kane ‘Glenn Jacobs’ publicly declares victory in the race to become the Republican candidate to become the Mayor of Knox County in the US. Given that Knox County is a largely Republican area it appears that ‘Mayor KANE’ is one step closer. After his incredible WWE service he deserves to be able to succeed in the next part of his life. Long overdue Hall of Fame induction next year for Mayor Jacobs surely?
Wednesday: May 2nd marks the 46th birthday of one of the biggest WWE stars of all time, and my 2nd favourite ever, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
Independent wrestling standout Keith Lee has now reportedly signed with WWE. He will likely be joining NXT. This is one big guy, but he’s much more than that. He’ll be great in NXT, watch out for him to make a big impact when he arrives, and likely expect him either at the next tapings or sat in the crowd at ringside at the next Takeover.
- Undisputed Era did a promo backstage; Adam Cole laughed that Oney Lorcan will get to tell his Grandkids that he once lost to him, Kyle O’Reilly dared Danny Burch to try to attack them again, Bobby Fish said that he will let his rehab doctors know that they have ‘more patients coming’ and Roderick Strong what he did to Pete Dunne at NXT Takeover; New Orleans is nothing compared to what he will do to him tonight. Another wonderful heel promo from the best faction in pro-wrestling right now… fight me!
- Kairi Sane beat Australian Shazza McKenzie in essentially a squash. It was Kairi Sane in a wrestling match so I cared little that it wasn’t long to be honest. Any time I get to see what she can do in a wrestling ring is a joy. Lacey Evans came out after, and she initially seemed to try and make peace with Sane and offered her a handshake, but as Sane considered accepting it Evans then hit her in the face. I quite like Evans too so expect a good match from these two when it happens.
- Candice LeRae did an interview about the attack her husband Johnny Gargano suffered from Tomasso Ciampa last week. She was confused as to why Ciampa was still doing this sort of thing, and got so upset about it she had to stop the interview for crying too much. I love Candice as a wrestler, love her as a babyface, but as much as I get why… I hope she is more in WWE than just Johnny Gargano’s wife.
- A video package for Lars Sullivan video was shown. The main takeaway from this was that he said he wants a championship belt. Which one he didn’t seem to mind, so I’d say he’ll probably be in some form of multi man contenders match sooner of later… My guess would be he’ll go after the NXT Title as I don’t see him against the also-heel Adam Cole as a possibility. Not in a big match surely? Who knows…
- TM61 beat The Street Profits, the finish saw Shane Thorne pin Montez Ford whilst he had his feet on the ropes (whilst also Nick Miller held his partner’s feet for an added advantage). So it seems TM61 have or are turning heel. Which given the recent departures of AOP and Sanity to the main roster, NXT needs some more heel teams. Both are good wrestlers so should be fun to watch unfold.
- Video was shown War Raiders and Heavy Machinery. They will have a match next week. War Raiders great, their opponents… not so much.
- After witnessing at close hand the attack by Ciampa on Gargano last week, Kassuis Ohno vowed to take out Tomasso. A match between the two was made for next week’s episode. That will be absolutely great. Hard hitting for sure, but great to see happen.
- Kona Reeves beat a jobber. I’m so not in to this “finest” gimmick or him as a performer at all. Not excited one bit to see it happen. Hope I change but we’ll see.
- EC3 had a promo talking about how his first NXT match (the ladder match at Takeover: NOLA) was 5 stars so imagine what his 2nd match will be like. He said the sequal is always better than the original. He’ll be facing Raul Mendoza next week. EC3 is great, but I assure you all it won’t be another 5 star match I’m afraid…
- Dakota Kai was shown being interviewed from earlier in the day. She promoted herself in NXT but still refused to talk about Shayna Baszler (ffs this doesn’t make her look like someone people want to side with it just makes her look like a geek and pathetic). Vanessa Borne walked in and said Dakota was a “pathetic scaredy Cat” (PREACH VANESSA PREACH), and that she would’ve ‘slapped the hell’ out of the NXT Women’s Champion Baszler and isn’t afraid of Dakota or Shayna. Dakota then said she has issues with Vanessa Borne, which disgusted Borne enough to then walk away. God Dakota Kai needs to win this match, because she’s looking weak AF rn! She’s been partnering with Nixon Newell (who is a former British independent wrestler) on the NXT Live circuit recently so hopefully Newell makes it on to tv to give her friend some much needed help sooner rather than later.
- Bianca Belair beat Candice LeRae. Candice was seemingly not on her game here as she was still thinking about her Husband and the attack he suffered last week. Belair won with an ‘Alley Oop’ slam. Shame to have Candice get beat but makes sense for the story, and they seem to be pushing Belair so the result is non-surprising.
- The main event of the show saw Pete Dunne face Roderick Strong. Strong came to the ring first with his own music playing, but that quickly changed to the Undisputed Era’s theme song, which was subtle but really really clever for the story they are telling with Roddy. After Pete Dunne came out the match begun immediately with Dunne running across the ring and hitting Strong in the mouth. The match itself was great, two guys whose chemistry was outstanding and it showed. Eventually Pete Dunne went for his ‘finger-breaking’ move, but Roderick Strong kicked him the the outside of the ring (right near Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly) and then made another attack. Pete Dunne later snapped Strong’s fingers and went on to hit his Bitter End finisher. He went for the cover but Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly came in and beat up Dunne for the DQ. The 3 beat on the UK Champion until Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch came in to make the save and the two three’s starred eachother down to close the show. The actual match for as long as it went was really good (not surprisingly), the finish again as predictable but well done and the afters was good but it would’ve been so much better had it been Tyler Bate and Trent Seven helping Pete Dunne (as those three form a trio on the independent circuit known as ‘British Strong Style’). Although they are heavily advertising a match of some form between Undisputed Era and British Strong Style for the WWE UK Championship shows at the Royal Albert Hall over the summer so perhaps we will get more of those interactions as the summer goes on…
Pete Dunne has revealed via his social media that he is to be a father. Birdie Danielson (Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella) versus Baby Bruserweight; Wrestlemania 55, BOOK IT NOW, 10 STAR MATCH!
Sky Sports have reported that Triple H has said that there will be a WWE ppv in the UK at some point in the future. The Game is quoted as saying “we will get there. For everybody that’s waiting it seems to be forever but we will get there, I promise”. YES YES YES! GET ME THERE NOW!
Oh and it’s Backlash on Sunday. Should be a good show. Could be a big night for some people, it will be interesting to see who the WWE chose to put the big spotlight on. Let’s see…