WWE week in review – May 18 2018

Friday = Charlotte Flair is forced to fly home from the WWE’s tour of Europe. On night one of the tour (last night in Germany), in a match against Carmella, Charlotte lost some of her teeth. Queen not having the best of look lately after recently rupturing an implant… ouch.

Saturday= Seth Rollins will once again defend the Intercontinental Championship on Monday night Raw from London at the O2. His open challenge this week has been answered by Kevin Owens. This match SHOULD be unreal, Seth has been on fire recently and pitting him against an in-ring workhorse like Owens should lead to a great contest.

Sunday= not much happened ngl

Monday= Shane McMahon confirms via twitter that once again AJ Styles will defend the WWE Championship, for the 4th time, against Shinsuke Nakamura. This time at the upcoming Money in the Bank ppv. As of now no stipulation for the match has been announced (Although one would presume it’ll be a Last Man Standing match given that neither man answered the 10 count in their match at Backlash, or an I Quit match maybe so someone has to say they give up).

WWE is reportedly trying to sign even more UK based talent ahead of their upcoming UK expansion (and to compete with the ITV wrestling programme). Names apparently on the WWE’s radar are the likes of: Joe Coffey, Dave Mastiff (who had been pushed as the lead heel on the first ITV pilot show), El Ligero, Travis Banks, Chris Brookes, Jinny, and Eddie Dennis. Also they have been heavily after former MYC entrant Toni Storm (as I spoke about last week). This is very exciting stuff not just for UK wrestlers but fans of the UK scene like myself, and even those not aware of it as believe me you’ll be impressed. (source: Wrestling Observer)

After appearing together at an NBC event for the WWE, Nia Jax has challenged Ronda Rousey to a match for the Raw Women’s Championship, set for Money in the Bank!!! WOW ABSOLUTE BLOCKBUSTER! It may be a little early for Ronda but nonetheless it’ll be exciting. I hope and pray she’s as good as she was at Wrestlemania, and even though I expect a screwy finish and maybe interference from Natalya to turn on Rousey or even Stephanie McMahon gets revenge for Mania perhaps… can you IMAGINE though if Rousey wins? She has to surely? Screwy finish or Rousey wins the title for me.

RAW: (Tapped edition of the show from the 02 Arena in London)

  • They began the show by announcing Rousey vs Nia for MITB… which will be… interesting… Roman Reigns then came out to the ring and naturally was booed heavily by the London crowd. Roman cut a promo saying he got ‘robbed’ last week, but this time not by WWE management but by Jinder Mahal, he then called Jinder out but instead Raw GM Kurt Angle answered the call. Kurt told Reigns that Mahal wouldn’t be coming out, to which Roman asked Kurt when did he start speaking for Mahal? Angle replied that he doesn’t speak for Mahal, but for WWE’s management before going on to say that him thinking emotionally led him to deny Mahal the chance to compete for a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match last week and then he said be thinking about (after briefly hesitating) “what’s best for business” (to which the crowd booed and groaned as it appeared Kurt Angle had gone corporate). Angle would go on to announce Mahal in a match with Bobby Lashley and Elias in a MITB qualifier for later in the show, Roman Reigns requested ti be made a 4 way, to which Angle said that would not be happening and that WWE management had told him Roman would not be getting anymore MITB qualifying chances. Kurt said that he could understand if Reigns was pissed off, Reigns responded saying he understood that kurt had to do what he had to do (as management) but that now he was going to do what HE had to do too (the London crowd then sang the goodbye song to Roman)! Roman then walked to the backstage area looking for Jinder Mahal, but Jinder threw Sunil Singh into him and went on the attack. They brawled until Mahal threw a trash can into Reigns’ rib area, Reigns then sent Jinder into a wall and onto a table of food etc., he rolled a case into Mahal as the two fought back towards the entrance ramp area, Reigns hit a Superman Punch before a load of officials broke the two up. For the first time in a long time, I’m really starting to dislike Roman Reigns’ character. He just whines and complains about EVERYTHING, got to be one of the worst booked and written characters in WWE history! He deserves so much more.
  • The first match of the show was the IC Title match between the champion Seth Rollins against Kevin Owens. Surpised this wasn’t the main event but it made sense why it went on first as the show went on. And in recent times we have seen the likes of John Cena and AJ Styles no less hold open challenges with a secondary title on the line, both times it has gone tremendously well, inflating the stock of the championship, the challengers who get a spotlight and the champion too who can continue to have great matches. This was ANOTHER great Seth Rollins match. All the usual moves and spots from these two, but it was a properly entertaining match that the crowd were really into. Finish came when KO was on the top rope, Rollins followed him up and tried to hit a superplex, but Owens instead hit a Super fisherman’s suplex causing Rollins to hit the ring floor and roll out of the ring. Owens went after him and as both men made their way back into the ring, Rollins then sprung the Curb Stomp to Owens that was enough for the 1,2,3. Seth retains. Rollins once again with an excellent match, more than staking his claim for my superstar of the year so far (blog to come beginning of June fyi).
  • They showed footage from the NBC event where Nia challenged Rousey, this was followed by Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel approaching Kurt Angle wanting a tag team title shot. They will now be known as “The B Team” (B standing for best apparently), Kurt reminded them that they’ve never won a tag team match and Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt beat them last week, to which Axel came back saying the B Team was undefeated and how could Angle turn down a title shot for an undefeated team? (EH???) Kurt gave in and said he would put them in a match later if they would leave him alone.
  • Bobby Roode then earned his place in the MITB match by winning a triple threat against Baron Corbin and No Way Jose. Corbin got a nearfall after a deep six on Bobby Roode, to which No Way Jose broke up the pin attempt after, didn’t seem like the crowd were too into this one as they were singing football chants at this stage, Corbin hit each man with a clothesline in the corner but eventually missed one and collided with the ringpost (in the most over used spot in WWE over the last 12 months), and with Corbin OOA Bobby Roode hit No Way Jose with the Glorious ddt for the win. Kind of a nothing match but right result. Be nice if Roode won the briefcase but at this stage anyone who has qualified so far would be a good winner for me.
  • Kevin Owens confronted Raw GM Angle (who I do hope is being paid per segment tonight) demanding for a rematch with Seth Rollins. Angle stated that he lost (correct) to which Owens threatened to call Stephanie McMahon. This caused Kurt to get a bit irate and state he was sick and tired of Owens threatening him, to which Owens in turn said it was not a threat, it’s about to become reality. So they always are coming back to the idea that Owens is a Stephanie McMahon guy… so maybe that’ll become a bigger thing later down the line? Remember of course it was Triple H who practically handed the Universal Championship to Kevin Owens a couple of years ago… Kurt then walked on to see Jinder being treated for rib injuries, Mahal said he couldn’t believe Kurt was making him compete tonight, Angle said the match was happening as it was “best for business”… PLEASE KURT I BEG, we were all sick of this phrase 2 years ago, don’t bring it back PLEASE!?!
  • The B Team beat Breezango in about 3 and half minutes. Axel and Dallas were sporting white t shirts with a B drawn on in black marker pen. Axel and Bo did an interview afterwards and got the crowd chanting for the B team.
  • We then had a fairly fun 6 woman tag that saw Ember Moon, Natalya and Sasha take on The Riott Squad. Natalya went for the Sharpshooter, only for Ruby Riott to break it up, Liv Morgan then hit an Enzuigiri, but Ember Moon stopped the pin before backdropping Sarah Logan over the top rope. Sasha Banks hit the Meteora on Logan, leading to Moon following up with a tope. Natalya then won the match for her team by making Liv Morgan tap out with the Sharpshooter. Kind of a bit long, and a bit filler, but it was fine. Ending part was particularly good.
  • Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler cut a promo; Dolph said Braun Strowman and Finn Balor have jumped to the head of the line by smoke and mirrors and Drew McIntyre said they aren’t there to take anyone’s food off their table, they’re there to ‘flip the table over’. Cool promo, kind of liking this team. Always adored Drew but Dolph I’ve cared little about until he tea,med up with Drew. Good stuff to come surely?
  • The Raw Tag Team Champions the DELETORS of Worlds; WOKEN Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt beat The Revival. Saddest thing about this wasn’t the result, it wasn’t Bo and Axel seen taking notes backstage, it was the fact The Revival lost AGAIN in less than 5 minutes. The only ever 2 time NXT Tag Team champions in history, The Revival, who were in some of the best matches in NXT history, jobbed out again. SIGH. Also Sasha Banks wished Bayley good luck ahead of her match tonight backstage, to which Bayley thanked her. This was terrible in the sense that it made me so sad and so furious that this feud has just been NOTHING!!!! NOTHING HAS HAPPENED! THEY’VE DONE NOTHING!!!!
  • Sami Zayn then cut a promo. The promo itself was (clearly to me) handed to him by a writer, because Sami is a great promo but this one just didn’t entertain me. It was about Bobby Lashley, and multiple references were made to that weird video of Lashley last week that showcased his Sisters more than anything, I mean… it was fine… but it felt very forced to me.
  • Next was Alexa Bliss vs Mickie James vs Bayley in a qualifying match for the Women’s MITB match. Mickie and Alexa ganged up on Bayley (who as always in England got the ‘heyyyyyyyy, hey Bayley, oh, ah….’ chants from the crowd), eventually James & Bliss argued after inadvertently hitting one another, Bayley then hit Bliss from behind and would later hit her with a Bayley-to-belly but James pulled Bayley out of the ring before she could get the pinfall, and Mickie then tried to cover the downed Bliss instead, but Bayley in-turn pulled her out. Bayley and Mickie then brawled outside the ring with Bayley getting the upper hand, she then rolled back into the ring but was immediately caught with a right hand and then her finishing ddt and Alexa Bliss got the win. Perhaps then you could have Alexa win, and her attempt at cashing in on Nia is the cause for Rousey to get the win? Maybe? I doubt that but they pushed Alexa real hard in 2016 and 2017 and for her to just be cast aside from the title picture like that would be odd, perhaps she’s a possible future challenger for Rousey…. who knows…
  • As Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh made their way out of the trainer’s room (Jinder now with his ribs fully tapped) … Roman Reigns came out of nowhere (Orton, 20??) and speared Jinder through a plywood wall. It was a really impressive looking spot (other than that it was not a REAL wall and they didn;t even try to hide that it wasn’t a fake wall, but it was still not enough to get the crowd on Roman’s side. Afterwards as Mahal was being attended to Sunil Singh pleaded with Raw GM Kurt Angle (him again) to cancel the match, Kurt though said that the match would go on & Jinder would be replaced.
  • Next match was Drew McIntyre & Dolph Zigger against Finn Balor and Braun Strowman. A really all star contest, with the UK’s own Drew getting a huge pop on his entrance. Drew kept stopping Balor getting the hot tag to Braun, Braun later hit Dolph on the chest (HARD) but then Strowman ran into the ringpost (a spot now seen approximately 123500000 times on Raw in the past few months), Balor then tagged Braun who got a nearfall on Dolph with Drew making the save. Finn then hit the sling blade, and then the woo dropkick and would go for the Coupe de Grace, but McIntyre grabbed Finn’s leg to stop him. Braun got revenge for this and went on to hit a huge shoulder block on McIntyre but in the meantime shortly after Dolph hit Balor on the top rope and got the pin shortly after. Decent match. Would be negatives of anyone taking the L in this one but it seems clear now that Drew and Dolph are well on their way to the tag titles.
  • Finally shortly before the main event it emerged Jinder Mahal’s replacement in the match tonight was none other than KEVIN OWENS! The suggestion being made was that Angle being forced to bow to pressure from above to give Owens the spot. And then indeed we had Kevin Owens vs Bobby Lashley vs Elias in a MITB qualifier. Match was ok but seemed all about Lashley up until the point when Lashley hit Owens with a big Spinebuster, before then being caught with a running knee by Elias. and then with both men knocked down, to the delight of the crowd Elias decided he wanted to give us all another performance. Jojo the ring announcer then went and gave him his guitar, but sadly Owens rolled into the ring and was hit with a knee, before Lashley broke up the subsequent pin, the crowd then chanted “LET HIM SING”. (YES PLEASE LET HIM SING). Owens then hit a really good superkick on Elias, but missed the following Cannonball, Elias then hit a top rope elbow but Lashley broke the pin, he hit Elias with a big clothesline and went for his standing suplex, KO then pulled Elias down and the 2 heels went to double suplex Lashley, only for Bobby to suplex them both simultaneously. As the match drew on Sami Zayn came down for his inevitable interference, to break up another pin attempt by Bobby Lashley, he then hit a Helluva Kick to him and with Elias still OOA, Kevin Owens hit a big frog splash on Elias and KEVIN OWENS got the win. KO is in the MITB match. Few points here, firstly Lashley got booed during the match and received little fanfare on his entrance, despite WWE clearly trying to make him seem a big deal in recent week since his comeback to the company. My immediate thoughts (having experienced a live UK Raw crowd myself last year) would be they maybe didn’t know who he was or at least his history in WWE and his work outside, or perhaps like most people they just aren’t into him as a character (which again wouldn’t be unfair, especially compared to Elias and KO). I don’t mind the result of this one at all, I really like the idea of KO winning in fact but I fear for any Raw guy who wins the case with the Roman-Brock shadow still looming large, and overall on the UK Raw it was fine. Not as good as the one I went to in November but that one was just before Survivor Series so it almost had to be a stacked show. Crowd was dead at times as a result of what was really a nothing show.

Tuesday=

SMACKDOWN: (Tapped edition of the show from the 02 Arena in London)

  • Show began with Renee Young in the ring and she introduced Daniel Bryan who got a massive pop from the London crowd, the crowd loved Bryan so much they chanted loudly over Young as she went to ask him a question. They both pandered to the adoring crowd for a little while before Daniel went on to say how bad it was to lose (last week), he said he was happy to be back but that was no longer enough, and he would go on to signal his intention to become the WWE Champion, which naturally the crowd chanted “YES” to. He was then interrupted by Big Cass (who APPARENTLY got in hot water with Vince backstage after his extended attack on the midget dressed as DBryan last week in which he was only told to boot him in the face and then stop there, to which Cass did not do) ANYWAY… Cass claimed that the reason he tapped out to Bryan at Backlash was so he could get out of the hold and beat Bryan down (which might be the most absurd excuse I have ever heard, and I really zoned out after this. I have been glass half full on Cass so far as I really want him to succeed, but this made me fall off on him massively, get him away from Daniel Bryan ASAP imo…). Basically the segment continued with Cass rambling on as Bryan got more and more angry, until Bryan took exception to Cass mocking the Yes chant and absolutely beat the shit out of him; punches, kicks, kicks specifically aimed at Cass’ previously hurt leg, Daniel Bryan slammed Big Cass’ leg onto a ring post, he chop blocked Cass and then locked in a heel hook, and as the refs and officials attempted to stop the attack Cass began to tap out, and tap, and tap, and TAP as much as I’ve ever seen anyone tap out (this looked like a punishment to me at least, a classic case of being punished on tv for something that was done that could’ve been dealt with privately, clearest and maybe most painful form of punishment I guess in damaging a person’s character on screen). More people came down to break up the submission, and an angry Daniel Bryan looked on as Cass made his way to the back. Bryan then led the crowd in a massive set of Yes chants. Always great to see Daniel Bryan looking strong, it certainly started the show on a good note for the crowd, and as for Big Cass… we shall see in the next few weeks just what the lay of the land is for him right now, I do worry for him rn ngl….
  • Big E and Xavier Woods (with Kofi Kingston at ringside) of the New Day faced Sheamus and Cesaro, with The Miz on guest commentary (for some unexplained reason). I’ve seen this match 1000 times in the past, I cba to see it anymore, so Woods was the one who got the pin on Cesaro after an elbow drop. As a result one of The New Day will now be in the men’s MITB ladder match.
  • A Bludgeon Brothers promo was followed by the sight of Paige backstage (which of course in ENGLAND got a big pop from the crowd). Paige appeared to be on the phone to Carmella, ahead of her own ‘Royal Mellabration’ later, as the Smackdown GM told the Women’s Champion that she couldn’t have a horse-drawn carriage later on, before she was interrupted by Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. Mandy was very pleased about being in the MITB match after her win over Becky Lynch last week, before Paige reminded her the match last week wasn’t a qualifier. Paige then did give Rose and Deville a qualifier against Lynch for later in the show, to which they were both pleased at the thought of a handicap match, before Paige clarified for them it was a triple threat match! They were not so pleased.
  • AJ Styles was backstage being interviewed by Renee, AJ (ahead of his match with Nakamura TONIGHT when the winner will pick the stipulation for their match at MITB) joked he might pick a Pole on a Pole match or a Bull Rope Hell in a Cell Inferno match, Young asked AJ if the ref could be dressed as Elvis… but Styles thought that this was too much… Eventually Styles finished saying that Nakamura can’t beat him in the house that he built. Short, simple, but I laughed… so I guess that means it was good.
  • Then we had the Smackdown debut of ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS!!! With Zelina Vega by his side the former NXT Champion quikcly beat a local jobber, before Vega took the mic and said that they were unimpressed by Smackdown Live, and she sent out a warning to the rest of the locker room about ‘EL IDOLO’ and that they were here to takeover. GOD I LOVE THESE TWO SO SO MUCH! They are AWESOME! If Almas was made WWE Champion tomorrow I would not be upset. Great. Can’t wait to see him against some of the potential opponents on Smackdown in the upcoming weeks, fingers crossed WWE main roster creative handle him as well as those in NXT did.
  • Rusev and Aiden English were backstage. English had decorated a room they were in with RUSEV DAY gear, Aiden had a new song for him but was interrupted by Lana before he could sing it, she said English should save his beautiful voice as he won’t be the only one celebrating (she has a MITB qualifier next week against Billie Kay, which is odd as they’ve been teaming on the live shows recently, and I thought Lana was a heel, but who the fuck knows), Lana declared her and Rusev would be the 1st Mr & Mrs Money in the Bank, English said it would happen on “RUSEV DAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY”, everyone was happy (break up on hold in seems, until Lana loses next week I’d presume).
  • Next We had Carmella’s Royal Mellabration. She had a town crier come out and introduce her, there were beef-eaters with one of them holding a pillow with the Smackdown Women’s Championship belt on it, then with the titantron displaying the title of the segment with a Union Jack as the background, and as she was wearing a red jacket, white trousers and high heels Carmella made her way out. Once in the ring, with a red carpet covering the ring floor, a leopard print throw on the ring corner and now the championship was on a leopard print pillow on a stand in the middle of the ring, Carmella then got her promo underway. She demanded the fans ‘bow down to her’ (I saw some in the crowd do it but the majority didn’t), she said the London crowd reminded her of the rest of the Smackdown Live women’s roster because none of them thought she was good enough or deserved it, she reminded them (she actually called the crowd ‘NOT SO GREAT Britain’ which I alughed at) that “Mella is Money” and “Mella is Champion”, and that she was better than each and every one of them and also better than Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax, and Ronda Rousey. Paige then came out (crowd gave her a ‘this is your house’ chant which was nice), Paige told Carmella that she would be defending the title at MITB, to which Carmella said she would NOT, but Paige went tell Carmella that she would be defending her title against ‘this woman’ … and then out came ASUKA!!! Asuka came out as the crowd chanted ‘Asuka’s gonna kill you’ as she looked at Carmella as she did that sexy thing she does where she slowly takes off her mask and bites it and puts it towards her lips, as Carmella looked terrified before quickly making her way out the ring, Asuka stood on the ring corner ropes, she posed for the crowd, Carmella was stood on the rampway and held her title up as she trash talked towards Asuka. This segment was great, this match will be great fun, good stuff all round here. Guilty AF I loved this whole segment so much, Carmella as a character is superb, her wrestling isn’t as good yet but if she can get there she’ll be a superb all rounder, her with Asuka will be good fun.
  • Next up we had Renee interviewing Shinsuke Nakamura, when she asked him what he thought his chances were tonight Nakamura replied wondering what she meant by ‘chance’ and ‘possibility’, there was then some confusion as Young seemed to think Nakamura didn’t know what the two words meant, but Shinsuke made clear he did know what they meant, and he said it wasn’t a chance but certainty he would beat Styles, He said he’d give him ‘knee-to-face’ over and over until his nose was smashed, his cheeks broken, chin shattered, and his face was gone. And for good measure he said he’d take his title too. Probably the most heelish promo from Nakamura since his turn, and it was GREAT.
  • Next we had Becky vs Sonya vs Mandy in a triple threat to decide who of them would qualify for the Women’s MITB. Crowd were really behind Lynch as the only face in the match, Mandy and Sonya teamed up for a short time until Rose tried a sneak pin on Deville, Sonya was upset by this from her ‘best friend’ (oh btw you know they have those facts about each person appear on screen when they display their name etc. … one of Sonya Deville’s facts was that she lived with her best friend Mandy Rose… A. she actually moved out recently in order to, I presume, live with her girlfriend, and B. SHE’S IN A MATCH AGAINST HER, SHE’S A FORMER MMA FIGHTER, SHE’S BEEN IN NXT AND THIS WAS ONE OF THE ONLY FACTS YOU HAD ABOUT HER????? DPMO). Becky tried to pin Mandy Rose soon after but Sonya broke it up, then there was an ad break and the 3 had a simple pro wrestling match pretty much, was a bit… erm… off at times in terms of the in-ring stuff but it was ok… For the finish Becky Lynch moved out of the way of a knee from Mandy which hit Sonya Deville instead, and then Becky reversed a roll-up pin attempt from Mandy Rose into her Diss-arm-her submission for the win. Becky qualifies for the women’s MITB in a less than 10 minute match, it wasn’t great but not bad either so it was acceptable. Right result though imo.. why? because… well… Becky Lynch is the most underutilized female in the entire WWE and she deserves every spot she can get in big matches. That’s why!
  • They told us that Samoa Joe will face Big Cass next week in a MITB qualifier, as will Billie Kay vs Lana, and then Joe cut a great selfie promo on Cass and The IIconics did a selfie promo also. Joe’s promo btw saw him say that the only thing big about Cass was ‘his mouth’, he called him a ‘fake tough guy’ and that guys like Big Cass always come up short, and that his ambition demands he beats Cass and wins Money in the Bank. He finished by saying he would put Cass to sleep. Obviously this was really, really good… if Joe doesn’t qualify for MITB and Cass does… I don’t even know what I’ll do… I may just give up on WWE for a while or Smackdown at least… Let’s hope it goes the right way…
  • And finally we had the WWE Champion AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match, where the winner would decide on the stipulation for their next title match at the upcoming Money in the Bank ppv. Christ, this feud frustrates me so much, this being on regular tv annoys the fuck out of me, I never ever thought I;d want a feud between AJ vs Nakamura to end, but I’m over it already I won’t lie. Shinsuke needs to turn his heel nature up to 1000, and AJ needs to start ‘boxing clever’ in terms of character and in the ring. but let’s talk about this match; they gave it around 18 minutes, Styles hit a springboard forearm on to Nakamura on the outside, he then went to fly across the edge of the ring and hit Nakamura but was caught and hit with a knee strike of his own, and then he went for the cover in the ring… but AJ kicked out at ONE (crowd were absolutely on fire during this one, cheering for both men it seemed). After an ad break Nakamura was on top; he got a nearfall and then locked AJ in a Dragon Sleeper submission and then shouted to the referee ‘ASK HIM REF, ASK HIM!’ (I LAUGHED SO HARD AT THIS), AJ would eventually get out of it and hit back with a Pele kick to Nakamura, AJ hit a series of different moves but only got a 2 count at the end of it, Shinsuke then got a nearfall after a spinning heel kick and Samoan driver, and then AJ jumped onto the ropes to prepare for a springboard attack but was knocked down by Nakamura who then hit a jumping knee from the middle rope for another nearfall (this match was already the best AJ vs Nakamura WWE match). Both men then traded going close to hitting their finishing moves, AJ hit a fireman’s carry neckbreaker, Nakamura got another nearfall, Styles then went for a Phenomenal Forearm but had to stop before he almost hit the referee, and with the ref distracted Nakamura pretended that he had been hit with a low blow by AJ, and then with Styles trying to reason and plead his innocence with the referee (this little part of the match was so well done btw) Nakamura hit AJ in the back of the head, then a reverse exploder suplex, and then the KINSHASA… AND THE PIN! SHINSUKE NAKAMURA BEAT AJ STYLES! And best of all it was a great match. Annoyingly it was on free to air tv and not a big ppv, but at least we can be hopeful that the NEXT one will be THE one… although we’ve been teased way too many times with this feud already to have any real expectations of an all time classic that these two are capable of. Be interesting to see what stipulation Nakamura will pick now, lets hope it’s one where you can’t be DQ’d, counted out, and there MUST be a clear winner…. I will give up on Smackdown if we get another screwy finish between AJ and Nakamura!!!

205Live (also tapped from the 02 in London) saw a UK division focused show; Tyler Bate beat Kenny Williams (WHO???), TJP, and Kalisto (SO HAPPY Bate got a big win on WWE TV, lets hope it means something going forward… I doubt it thought) and Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali & Flash Morgan Webster (indie wrestling guy) defeated Drew Gulak, Joseph Conners and James Drake. It was so disappointing a show, I expected more… seems none of this UK stuff for 205Live will mean anything going forward… so I wont be watching going forward (I tried before Mania when they had the tournament to decide who would be in the match to crown the new champion… it was great then and the matches were brilliant but I lost interest soon after). Sigh.

Wednesday=

At a WWE Live event in Geneva, Switzerland Ronda Rousey was due to face Mickie James in a singles match but the match was changed to a 6 person tag with Rousey teaming with Natalya and Ember Moon against James and the pair of Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott. Ronda got the win for her team by making Mickie James tap out to the armbar. So it does seem as if her very first WWE singles match will be the Raw Women’s title match at MITB against Nia Jax. Which is… bold indeed!

Carmella will apparently not be appearing in the next season of WWE show Total Divas. The Smackdown Women’s Champion has been quoted as saying “I am not on this next season,” she said, “Right now, I’m focusing on being the best champion I can be and I don’t know what the future holds”.

WWE has announced the first 8 names that will take part in the second United Kingdom tournament. The matches will take place at the NXT events at Download festival on June 8th-10th with the tournament concluding at the WWE UK Royal Albert Hall Show on June 18th. The winner of the tournament will face Pete Dunne for the WWE UK Championship the next night. The first 8 names announced for the tournament are 205live regular Jack Gallagher, Joseph Connors (who was in the first edition of the tournament) as well as UK indie stars Zack Gibson, Joe Coffey, Dave Mastiff, Kenny Williams, El Ligero and Amir Jordan. The final 8 competitors in the tournament will be announced on Friday. Great, excting times, fuck itv, lets hope WWE push on further with their UK expansion…

NXT:

  • Tomasso Ciampa came out to Johnny Gargano’s music (GENIUS), crowd were furious. Ciampa cut a promo and said Gargano may have won the battle, but he’d always win the war. He said he’d broken him and now Johnny Wrestling had gone and he has won. That brought out Candice LeRae whom grabbed the mic from Ciampa, she asked who he was and said she thought she knew him but didn’t recognize who he had become, and that she doesn’t know why he has become obsessed with ruining their lives. LeRae went on to say that he is a monster she will never forgive and that he will always know that Johnny Gargano was better than him. Tomasso responded with the line that although he may be better, Gargano was not half the man he was (he in fact called Gargano ‘that boy’). Ciampa went on to say that that was why Gargano sent his ‘cute, precious wife’ to confront him instead of coming himself, and that LeRae has always been more of a man than Gargano. Ciampa then goaded Candice in to dared her ‘mess him up’ and indeed LeRae then slapped him across the face. Ciampa smiled at her and as she walked away, Tomasso was seen to mouth “I WIN”. THIS WAS BRILLIANT! Simple as. Great segment, Ciampa is the best heel in WWE, and his march towards a second half of the year surge to my superstar of the year continues.
  • Lacey Evans came out to new music and then beat a jobber. She won the match with a very hard right hand, which appears to be her finisher now. After she was making her way to the back when Kairi Sane jumped out and attacked her, she threw her into the ring and went to the top rope for her Insane Elbow but Evans rolled out the ring and ran away. Fine. Lacey is fine, Kairi is great, and if the NXT Women’s title scene is between Kai/Cross and the champion atm then this is a decent feud for Kairi at this time.
  • NXT Champion Aleister Black was shown earlier in the day walking around the Full Sail area and spoke about potentially facing Ricochet & Velveteen Dream (either of which would be AWESOME… but… well… just read on to find out…).
  • Dakota Kai was doing one of the classic- NXT impromptu press conference type things outside the arena,same as always (she’s scared of Shayna Baszler if you hadn’t noticed) from her, she went on to say that Nikki Cross was crazy and began to speak about her strength and conditioning programming (I kid you not, one of the ‘reporters’ asked her about what she had been working on at the PC, AND SHE SAID STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING, WTF) when the aforementioned Nikki Cross came FLYING in to shot, screaming at the reporters and then in absolutely comedic fashion, then produced her own camera phone and placed it in Dakota Kai’s face and said in her manic style “I’VE GOT A QUESTION” (I was FUCKING HOWLING at this point). She repeatedly asked Kai about when she was going to face Baszler, and then told a terrified Kai to face her fears. This was somehow one of the best segments of the show, Kai still looks like a geek but Nikki Cross was absolutely sensational here. She is just so great, and as long as Kai is just a pawn in this story then I’m all fine with that…
  • Then we had RICOCHET VS VELVETEEN DREAM!!! Crowd was unsurprisingly hot for this one, and the early stages of this match was the story of Dream proving that he could stand toe-to-toe with he ULTRA talented Ricochet, but it came to a halt when they clashed heads in the corner of the ring. But before either man could get to their feet, the behemoth Lars Sullivan came out and absolutely destroyed both men, before signalling his intention to go after the NXT Championship. THIS WAS AWESOME! Great tease to the eventual full Dream vs Ricochet match, and Lars as he should looks like a monster. Wonderful.
  • Kona Reeves beat Raul Mendoza… (I don’t care… NOBODY CARES).
  • Next we had Cathy Kelley backstage attempting to speak to NXT GM William Regal, but then both the Velveteen Dream and Ricochet showed up, with both men saying they were going to ask Mr Regal for a match with Lars Sullivan before they both went in to his office (we later did have the announcement that Lars Sullivan will face both Ricochet and Velveteen Dream in a handicap match next week, which will be great fun… wonder who will win that……………………. haha).
  • Next we were shown another segment filmed earlier in the day, Heavy Machinery talking about MOTHER’S DAY AND TAKING THEIR MUM’S OUT, TM61 then came in and wanted to go for drinks with them, Heavy Machinery didn’t want to drink with cheaters, TM61 joked about Heavy Machinery being fat, and that was the set up for the match. Honestly I couldn’t believe what I was watching here, it was as if WWE tried to make a segment I could despise more than anything I have seen on WWE for a long, long time. FUCK ME THIS WAS FUCKING DREADFUL! WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT. I’m sure I will write at least 2/3 paragraphs on this match next week…………
  • ANYWAY after that pile of shit we had the main event of the show (which shockingly enough was much much MUCH better); Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong of the Undisputed Era. This was great, well… of course it was. Pete Dunne began the match with Roderick Strong but as a result of the Bruserweight’s clear intentions to do some serious damage to the man who turned on him at the last Takeover, Strong made the wise choice to tag out. The heels beat on Danny Burch until Strong began to mock Pete Dunne, and so Burch had Roddy in a waist lock so that Dunne could tag himself in… and then hit THE single best wrestling punch I have ever seen, IT WAS FUCKING AMAZING!!! Dunne then beat on Strong for a time until Cole and O’Reilly made the distraction so that Roddy could regain the advantage. Oney Lorcan then got his time in the match and went on a tear, Danny Burch tagged in and the 2 double teamed on Roderick Strong, Pette Dunne absolute smashed Adam Cole, all 6 men fought one another, Strong threw Oney Lorcan into Dunne which made the two fall the floor leaving Danny Burch on his own against the 3 Undisputed Era members. I assumed this was going to lead to the finish but Burch in fact did well considering it was 1 v 3, (I struggled to keep up with this next bit as so much happened I had to re-watch it 3 times to note it all down, not in a bad way AT ALL, it was just a lot going on and it was GREAT) so then: we had a triple submission involving them all which was awesome, Strong kicked Lorcan out from a single leg boston crab hold, this sent Lorcan flying into a Dunne and Cole (Dunne had Cole in a crucifix hold), and they in turn fell on to Danny Burch who had a crossface on Kyle O’Reilly… phew…. awesome stuff. Then we had the finishing sequence of the match; Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly had some form of miscommunication between them which led to Danny Burch hitting O’Reilly with a wheelbarrow ddt with the help of Lorcan, and then scored the pin! The faces beat the heels! I wont lie to you but I had absolutely no idea before this match what their finisher was (they haven’t won a match in… well… a long time on NXT TV) that I was really surprised when they got the win, but nonetheless a good, good match and I would presume now that Burch and Lorcan will challenge for the tag titles of Strong and O’Reilly at some point in the future.

Thursday=

The Showtime sports tv company in the US have aired an advert for a documentary about NXT and well-renowned sports commentator Mauro Ranallo. It will focus upon his ongoing battle with his bi-polar disorder as well as his incredible skill at his job. Should be great.

The USA Network whom air Raw and Smackdown in the US are reported to be dropping Smackdown Live but keeping Monday night Raw and paying a lot more for that show. Perhaps when it’s aired elsewhere Smackdown may be a little different of a show and also if the TV Network are paying a lot more for Raw then Raw may too look like a different show in some aspects… maybe… I should add the future of Raw on the USA Network is not certain at all with competition expected from FOX when the rights to air the show are up for bidding again.

Shane McMahon has undergone successful surgery on his ongoing hernia. You may recall in the build to Wrestlemania that Shane went down with a number of health related issues (an umbilical hernia during a bout with acute diverticulitis whilst also dealing with an infection as well), but was somehow still fit enough to take part. WWE.com said he was resting at home and feeling well.

Josh.

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