WWE week in review – April 20 2018

So this is how it’s going to work from now on… Each Friday I am going to upload a blog of all the WWE news from the week past, and I will also add in there my own personal opinion on the goings on (the reporting of the news will be in black font, with my personal opinion replicating my actual notes in blue). This week’s begins from Sunday evening/Monday morning onwards… enjoy!!!
Sunday Evening/Monday Morning: John Cena and Nikki Bella announce they are splitting up after 6 years together. To quote Sam Roberts (wrestling podcast host and occasional WWE PPV pre-show panelist) on twitter “Love isn’t real”. I don’t have much more to say on this to be really honest. Plenty of jokes and speculation that has and could easily be made, but at the end of the day it’s sad.
Monday Evening: Undertaker vs Rusev in a Casket Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble in now back ON! If you didn’t know the original match between the two was off, and Rusev replaced by Chris Jericho, following plenty of speculation, a Lana character tweet and some interesting twitter behavior from Rusev after a TMZ interview the both did. Nobody really knows for sure, but now the match is ON! Hmm… this is all a bit odd. Nonetheless the fact that Rusev is in the match is good for him in my opinion, he is facing THE UNDERTAKER on a giant show in a casket match. He’ll lose obviously (as he has eluded to on twitter) but just being in that spot is HUGE for his ongoing rise in popularity. Still waiting for a seamlessly never-coming trigger pull on him by WWE though. We can only hope.
Monday = RAW (Superstar Shake – up)
Jinder Mahal came to Raw, and immediately lost his United States Championship to Jeff Hardy (who is now a grand slam champion). By Jinder’s standards this was a real fun match, crowd were super into Jeff (as has been the case since the dawn of time it seems).
Sasha vs Bayley was interrupted by The Riott Squad, who are all now on Raw. Shame to me this Sasha and Bayley story has seemingly been blown off via a half hearted regular TV match…
AOP squashed Slater & Rhyno again. I CBA with Slater and Rhyno anymore.
Miz TV saw Kevin Owens AND Sami Zayn come to Raw (per Stephanie McMahon’s orders). Kurt Angle announces The Miz is to go to Smackdown. I loved that Sami read an email from Stephanie over-ruling Kurt to bring Owens and Zayn to Raw, and interesting Miz is going on his own to Smackdown as they made a point of clarifying (So The Miztourage will stay on Raw), surely as was alluded to immediately the whole Miz – Daniel Bryan story will continue again.
Matt & Bray beat The Revival and will now face The Bar at the Greatest Royal Rumble for the vacant Raw Tag Titles. All good with me.
Breezango (on Raw now) give The Bar ‘Fashion Tickets’. Meh…
Natalya on Raw. She’s friends with Ronda, and now a babyface. They’re friends for real too, so this will help Ronda going forward for sure. But Nattie as a baby??? Hmm….
Ember Moon beat Mickie James (whom sold The Eclipse like a mofo). Nia Jax was on guest commentary, Alexa was supposed to be but she instead appeared via video link, claiming it was in fact Nia who was a bully. Really liked all this. Seems they’re still going with this story, but as long as Ember is incorporated more into the title scene that’s fine with me.
Dolph Ziggler is on Raw now. he came out and cut a normal Dolph promo, but was then greeted by Titus Worldwide who tried to recruit hi,m. He declined, and then DREW MCINTYRE came out to help Ziggler attack Titus and Apollo! So it appears that Drew is on Raw up from NXT, siding with Dolph and also now a heel too. I like Drew as a heel, less so as Dolph Ziggler’s heavy… but I’ll give it time because I adore Drew McIntyre.
Roman Reigns cut a promo, Samoa Joe came out and crucified him on the mic. Pretty much a repeat of last week. It was also announced Brock Lesnar will appear on Raw next week. THIS IS NOT HOW YOU GET ROMAN REIGNS OVER!!!
A tweet from Daniel Bryan was shown, making it clear they’re going with the rivalry versus The Miz immediately. This will fill the Owens & Zayn – Shane McMahon spot on the show then. been a long time coming this match so I hope it eventually delivers.
Raw main event: The Miz, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn versus Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley & BOBBY ROODE (now on Raw). Match ended when both Dallas and Axel refused Miz’s tag, and then Braun power-slammed him for the win. Fun match. Very happy Roode is on Raw and he got the main spot on this show, fingers crossed he goes up the card now…
Also on Raw:

  • Natalya vs Mandy Rose. Sonya Deville interferes. Ronda makes the save. Considering Ronda absolutely battered both Mandy and Sonya I’d presume they’re off to Smackdown.
  • Baron Corbin is also on Raw now. Vince apparently really likes Corbin so I’d expect big things for him on the red brand.
  • Breezango beat The Bar. WOW… Considering they’re in the Raw Tag Title match at GRR this result really shocked me. Maybe The Bar are moving shows too?
  • Elias did a backstage interview with Renee Young. Renee kind of buried him a little and it was a bit odd, Elias was his usual self but it was just… different… I’m not sure why so I’ll be interested to see what Elias does going forward.

Also going to Raw =

  • Chad Gable (solo) – great wrestler, little character. So good luck to him.
  • Mike Kanellis – Chuffed for him. Fingers crossed.
  • Zack Ryder – Chuffed for him. Fingers crossed.
  • Mojo Rawley – I DON’T CARE
  • The Ascension – I DON’T CARE

Jeff Hardy vs Jinder Mahal for the US title was announced for the GRR. So perhaps Jeff and/or the US title are staying on Raw after all?
Tuesday Evening: ‘Apollo’ is called ‘Apollo Crews’ again... just one of those weird, Vince decisions I guess…
Tuesday Evening: Kassius Ohno (of NXT) announced to be appearing for the Progress wretling company at an upcoming big show of theirs. Good for him…
Tuesday Evening: Daniel Bryan vs The Miz announced for the upcoming WWE Live tour of the UK. Will do wonders for the ticket sales (as his return did for the late sales of Wrestlemania tickets), not that they need help.
Tuesday = Smackdown (Superstar Shake-up)
AJ Styles cuts a promo in the ring on Nakamura and how he ruined his match with Daniel Bryan last week, he called Shinsuke out but instead was greeted by Aiden English & Rusev. English did another song, Rusev & Styles had a match but it was very quickly called a DQ when English interfered. Daniel Bryan came out to make the save. All good stuff.
Shelton Benjamin came out for a promo and asked for competition, Randy Orton’s music hit and he came down the ramp but then NEW United States Champion Jeff Hardy came out and beat Benjamin in a decent match. Jeff on Smackdown, great move imo. Clear they are giving him a push as a solo star whilst Matt is WOKEN on Raw. Anytime Jeff Hardy is on WWE TV it is a good thing so happy days all round.
Miz cut a selfie promo on Daniel Bryan. This was shown on the titantron in the arena, and pictured Miz in his home with Maryse and their new baby daughter. Miz stated he was not here tonight but would be at Smackdown next week. Simple but effective stuff this from The Miz. And Maryse telling Miz off for his language use around their daughter was hilarious.
Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose were announced as coming to Smackdown. So surely a storyline with former Absolution member and now Smackdown General Manager Paige is upcoming?
Harper beat Jey Uso in less than one minute. Rowan & Harper were ready to destroy both Usos after this, but Jimmy Uso’s wife Naomi came out & pleaded with the Bludgeon Brothers for mercy. I like everyone involved here a great deal, but there’s absolutely no believability whatsoever in The Usos regaining their titles. So they need to do more going forward to raise the stock back up of the former Smackdown Tag Team Champions ahead of their title rematch.
Sin Cara was in the ring waiting for a match. and his opponent that came to the ring to face him was… SAMOA JOE!!! SAMOA JOE IS ON SMACKDOWN!!! He absolutely squashed Sin Cara in a quick match, and then cut a promo running down a whole load of people and stating all the things he has on his agenda going forward. This promo was fantastic by the way. Joe might be one of the best promo guys in the company rn. Him on Smackdown is an AWESOME move imo! It opens up so many possibilities for some incredible possible matches in the future, very exciting stuff. I do wonder what Roman Reigns will do going forward now though, as Joe was lined up to be his opponent (for the Universal Championship) in the months ahead. Presumably he will job out to Roman at Backlash and then move on to dominate the Smackdown roster… hopefully…
SANITY were announced as also coming to Smackdown from NXT. Sadly no Nikki Cross will be joining Eric Young, Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe it seems, but I don’t doubt she will be fine on her own in NXT. I would appease Cross fans by reminding them that Carmella not going to the main roster with Big Cass and his tag team partner was the best thing ever to happen to her career. Gave her a chance to shine on her own, and she isn’t doing too bad at all nowadays. I think Sanity are ahead of that team now and I think Nikki Cross is ahead of Carmella now let alone when Carmella was in NXT. So I think Nikki Cross will be fine. Nonetheless Sanity to Smackdown is brilliant news.
Renee Young did a backstage interview with Daniel Bryan. He was eventually interrupted by the returning Big Cass, who is now on Smackdown. This is a great move for Cass imo, he’s clearly someone who WWE like so this will give him a great platform to become a huge star on. within the next 5 years I fully expect Cass to be a world champion, maybe even sooner.
Carmella had her “Mellabration” for her Smackdown Women’s Championship win last week, Charlotte came out and cut a promo, The IIconics came out and cut a promo, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay beat on Charlotte, Becky came out and made the save, Charlotte had a match with Kay and won, The IIconics and Carmella beat on Lynch & Flair, ASUKA came out to even the odds and confirm her arrival to the Smackdown roster. This was all good stuff, delighted that Asuka is on Smackdown, the women’s rosters on both brands now look pretty tidy.
Gallows & Anderson and Sheamus & Cesaro both are coming to Smackdown. Unsure what they will do with regards to The Bar’s match with Hardy & Wyatt at the GRR now but Smackdown’s tag team division now is absolutely ON FIRE!
There was a backstage segment with New Day, Tye Dillinger and R Truth (who is now on Smackdown). OK, but really who cares?
ANDRADE ‘CIEN’ ALMAS & ZELINA VEGA did a selfie promo to confirm their upcoming arrival to Smackdown! YES YES YES YES YES YES FUCKING YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The main event of Smackdown saw Styles & Bryan face Rusev & English. A decent match was ended when Nakamura sneaked out and once again gave a low-blow to the WWE Champion. Big Cass also came out and delivered a big boot to Daniel Bryan, and then stood tall over him. Renee tried to ask Nakamura about his questionable actions in an interview at the top of the entrance rampway, to which Nakamura replied with “No speak English”, using this line for the 2nd week in a row. This was all fine. Nakamura’s heel run has been very entertaining in its early days, Rusev needs to be a babyface but that is what it is, and having Daniel Bryan have what seems to be a feud with Big Cass is a good one for me. It’ll help Big Cass immensely get heat and also the things he may learn from a great like Bryan will be hugely beneficial I’m sure, plus it’s a great feud to get Bryan back into things by having your classic smaller underdog face versus the big strong bad guy.
Tuesday – 205 Live

  • Mustafa Ali beat Ariya Daivari
  • Murphy failed his Cruserweight weigh in, leading 205 Live GM Drake Maverick to announce a gauntlet match to decide on Cedric Alexander’s next Cruserweight Championship challenger.
  • Jack Gallagher & (the returning) Brian Kendrick beat 2 jobbers in a tag match
  • Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado beat Hideo Itami & Akira Tozawa. Kalisto came out to join his fellow ‘Lucha Houseparty’ members for the celebrations after their win.

Tuesday : AJ Styles defending the WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura at the Greatest Royal Rumble event was announced. Couldn’t say with much certainty how this one will go but I’d presume AJ will retain, but wouldn’t be surprised either way.
Tuesday: Kane has been removed from the listed competitors for the Greatest Royal Rumble match itself. This is likely due to his ongoing political commitments.
Tuesday: Plenty of controversy has emerged regarding the ticketing and seating system for the Greatest Royal Rumble event. On top of the already known facts that none of the WWE women will be performing on the show, several limitations have emerged with regards to who can sit where in the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium (in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) for the event itself. All of the best seats in the Stadium will be reserved for families, and that family must contain one adult woman. As well as that any single men wishing to go to the event were only allocated spots that were far away from the near ring seats, and they all sold out very quickly (around 10000 of the reported 52000 people who will be there for the event). I guess these are some of the things the WWE knew they were heading for when they put together this deal. They are being paid, quite clearly by how big they’ve pushed it, a LOT of money for this event so they will have to adhere to many of the Saudi’s demands. It’s a shame that in 2018 these sort of issues are still array but it’s their country I suppose… However the idea of segregating people based upon anything strikes me as being incredibly outdated and borderline criminal, but then again it is their country, they make their rules, and this is a sold how to a country’s government who wont have to worry about the monetary side. So yes, not much can be done really that sense once WWE made this deal. “It’s just Business” as a man called Vince once said.
Wednesday Afternoon : Bruno Sammartino (widely regarded as one of the most popular wrestlers of all time) passes away aged 82. No superlative could justify what Bruno did for pro wrestling in the United States. I’d compare him to El Santo in Mexico (although not as big as that’d be impossible) or at least similar in terms of his standing in his country. I’d strongly advise you take some time to look up all that Bruno accomplished, because some of it is hard to believe; WWE Champion for 2,803 days in one reign and overall 4,040 days as champion is just one of many incredible things the WWE Hall of Famer accomplished.
Wednesday : NXT
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae come to the ring for a promo to a standing ovation from the adoring Full Sail crowd. Johnny Wrestling defiantly recalls his NXT Takeover win over rival Tomasso Ciampa, he thanks his wife Candice for her ongoing support and then Candice announces she will face Zelina Vega tonight, before Gargano states his ambition to face new NXT Champion Aleister Black for the title. This was all great stuff; wonderful babyface promo from both, and the upcoming LeRae vs Vega and potential Black vs Gargano matches are absolutely mouthwatering prospects.
Killian Dain pre filmed promo ahead of his No DQ match with Lars Sullivan. Solid character work once again from the Beast of Belfast.
It was revealed that NXT colour commentator Nigel McGuinness will be absent for this episode (and presumably this full set of tapings) after he recently became a father. Lovely.
Ricochet vs Fabian Aichner. Even match with Ricochet winning with a 630 splash. Afterwards, in an interview with Kayla Braxton, he talks about having watched many past NXT stars at Full Sail University make a name for themselves, but now he wants to make a name for himself and prove why he’s the one and only: Ricochet. This guy is going to be an absolute worldwide MEGASTAR! I’d say he is already but now he’s in WWE the sky is the absolute limit for this incredible in-ring performer.
Recap of War Raiders 1st appearance (from last week). Cool.
Video hype package for EC3. This was really good.
Lars Sullivan pre filmed promo responding to Killian Dain from earlier. Again, really good character work.
War Raiders beat 2 jobbers in a squash. A potential future clash with Undisputed Era was mentioned by the commentators so surely can’t be too long until that, which would be wonderful.
NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler cut a promo in the women’s locker room to the rest of the female roster that were sat in there. She essentially put them all on notice that she was in charge now. This was really good stuff, makes her seem legit tough which as a former MMA fighter, she absolutely is. Plays the evil bully role really well.
A video package aired for Kona Reeves, who will return to NXT shortly. This guy’s character is basically him fancying himself, which doesn’t entice me to care too much for him but let’s see how he does…
Pete Dunne was seen outside of an arena and was asked some brief questions, he said that in 2 weeks he will ‘rip Roderick Strong’s head off’ (after his betrayal of him at NXT Takeover; New Orleans). Any chance of a Pete Dunne vs Roderick Strong match again is going to be good with me, so Dunne really set the tone with his upfront response here. Good stuff.
Killian Dain vs Lars Sullivan in a No Disqualification match. Sullivan won with a Freak Accident slam onto some steel chairs. This was the kind of absolute war you’d expect from 2 over 300 pound behemoths! Dain was bloody from the mouth area during the later stages, he also splashed Lars through a table set up leaning in the corner of the ring. This was great to watch, 2 big guys going to battle, awesome stuff. The result was to be expected, with Dain joining his Sanity brothers on Smackdown Live shortly, so is was only right that the man who was sticking around in NXT went over. Expect big things for Sullivan in the months to come. he’s admired by a guy called Brock Lesnar apparently, which can’t be bad can it?
There was a video package that aired recapping the rivalry between Candice LeRae and Zelina Vega, and how this factored in to the Almas vs Gargano rivalry. This was great.
The FOUR members of the Undisputed Era were seen doing a photo shoot with all their championships. Leader Adam Cole with his NXT North American Championship, Kyle O’Reilly and the newly joined member Roderick Strong with the NXT Tag Team titles and flanked by the injured Bobby Fish also. It was then revealed they will appear on NXT next week, and also Adam Cole will defend his North American title against Oney Lorcan. The more I think of it, the more I think Strong as a part of the Undisputed Era is absolutely fabulous. I look forward to see them dominate NXT for a long time to come.
The main event of show was the aforementioned grudge match between Mrs Wrestling Candice LeRae and the business associate for Andrade Almas, Zelina Vega (whom came out to Almas’ theme music as well, the continuity of this really pleased me). In the early part of the match Almas appeared on the ring apron to distract LeRae, but Johnny Gargano would quickly come out to even the odds. Match ended when Candice and Gargano each had Vega and Almas in the Gargano Escape submission in the ring, and both gave up. So Mr and Mrs wrestling send their foes packing off to Smackdown to bring the fairy-tale ending to this story. Nice that they gave the finishing touch to LeRae, gives her a good platform to begin her own NXT career off the back of. Gargano then congratulated his wife on her win, before calling out the NXT Champion Aleister Black. Black then made his way out and told Gargano “you want it, then next week you shall have it”. Gargano vs Black for the NXT title next week? That’ll be absolutely brilliant! What a dream match! Should be noted also that the only man to have pinned Aleister Black in NXT just so happens to be… Johnny Gargano!
Thursday: (today was a slow news day… so I’ll do my best)
In a match as part of the WWE Live tour in South Africa, Roman Reigns was busted up in a match with Samoa Joe. The full results for the live event are as follows:
Seth Rollins & Finn Balor defeated Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel
Cedric Alexander defeated Drew Gulak
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt defeated The Bar
Asuka defeated Sasha Banks & Bayley
Braun Strowman defeated Elias
Titus Worldwide defeated Gallows & Anderson
Nia Jax defeated Mandy Rose
Roman Reigns defeated Samoa Joe
WWE tryouts are taking place in Saudi Arabia ahead of the Greatest Royal Rumble event next week. All part of the ongoing agreement between WWE and the country.
It has been reported that Brock Lesnar will (as part of his new contract) earn between $98,000 to $127,000 per TV appearance and $492,000 to $637,000 per match he takes part in. The reports which have emerged each vary in the exact amount, but essentially Brock is being paid well.
According to PWInsider, BOBBY LASHLEY is likely to be added to the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. They state that local advertising in the Middle East has Lashley listed as one of the participants (currently it is set to be Seth Rollins defending against The Miz, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor).
Friday: (again not much going on so far today, so I’ll just preview the next 7 days head instead)
Raw next week will feature the return of Brock Lesnar to WWE for the first time since Wrestlemania, and since he re-signed with the company. As well as the first week in their new home for those superstars that came from Smackdown as part of the superstar shake-up.
Smackdown will too feature new superstar shake-up arrivals, as well as The Miz and Daniel Bryan potentially confronting one another for the first time since Bryan was cleared to return to in-ring competition.
NXT on Wednesday will feature Unsidputed Era, as well as Adam Cole’s NXT North American Championship defense. Also the match between Johnny Gargano and the champion Aleister Black for the NXT Championship will close the show.
And of course next Friday will be the day of the much talked about Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. A huge card will be headlined by AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura & Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns in a steel cage match in Wrestlemania world title re-matches, and of course the huge 50 man Greatest Royal Rumble match.
AND that was the week in WWE. Hope you all like the new format, it’s much easier for me personally to do it this way rather than recap each WWE show in detail. Let me know what you all think.
Josh. .

Elimination Chamber 25/2/18 PPV Review

So my PPV reviews I’m going to be doing a little different, mostly because I want to watch the show and enjoy it rather than analyse it as much as I can. Much less technical analysis than my Raw, Smackdown and NXT reviews and more just my general thoughts on what I see and what it means and where I think it’ll go… particularly now we are indeed on the road to WRESTLEMANIA!!!

So we begin the show with the first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber match for the Raw Women’s Championship. The champion Alexa Bliss enters first, she doesn’t look to happy upon entering the chamber. “BOSS TIME” (Cole, 2016) next… Mickie James out then followed by Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville of Absolution next (wearing matching white gear which looked delightful) Mandy in the pod with Sonya in the ring awaiting the final entrant into the match, Bayley. Good start to the match from both Bayley and Sonya, Mandy Rose enters next to aid her best friend (check their Instagram pages, … Oh My sweet Lord…). Sasha Banks next in to even the odds. She dominates both Mandy and Sonya, including sending Mandy flying into a pod. Sasha and Bayley joined forces to launch Deville into the chamber wall three times. Mandy Rose first to be eliminated as Sasha hits the Backstabber – Bank Statement combo as Bayley stops Sonya from helping her friend so Mandy is out first (first out from the Women’s Rumble now first out in the Women’s Chamber… not ideal…).

Mickie James next in the match and does some really good offence to begin. Mickie climbs the chamber wall, eventually jumping off the top of one of the pods onto Sonya Deville to pin her and both of Absolution are out. 1st and 2nd… considering they needed a good showing here, more than any imo, not sure I agree with dumping them out at the start. Sasha Banks backstabber to Mickie, who then finds herself into a Belly-2-Belly from Bayley and Mickie James is out! That was a great little sequence and keeps James protected too.

Bayley and Sasha now in the ring with Alexa still in her pod… the plot thickens… Alexa does some really good character work and stops her pod door from entering, she escapes the pod only to run from Bayley and Sasha in a chase that leads up the side of the chamber wall. Sasha Banks and Bliss are on top of a pod, Banks helps Bayley up with a hand but then KICKS HER BACK DOWN (YES YES YES YES)!!! A Belly-2-Belly from the top rope on Banks, but as Bayley gets the cover Alexa rolls Bayley over and pins her. Bayley is eliminated!

Sasha and Alexa on the top rope, Bliss rams Banks’ face into the Perspex glass a few times, then hits a DDT to the floor on a weakened Banks for the pinfall, and ALEXA BLISS retains the Raw Women’s Championship and wins the first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber Match! A good match overall, thank GOD, and lots of potential for a few different stories now; what next for Absolution, are Sasha and Bayley still friends, who at Wrestlemania for Alexa Bliss? … After the match Alexa Bliss interview by Renee Young; Alexa teases a face turn with an inspiring speech, then finishes with ‘none of you will ever accomplish any of your dreams… nobody is better than me!” … she had us all; hook, line and sinker and it was great. Sensational promo from a supremely talented performer. On to Wrestlemania, once again as champion, Alexa Bliss goes!

Raw tag team title match; The Bar defending vs Titus Worldwide… Titus & Apollo on top early on, Sheamus and Cesaro later getting into it with their slow, methodical style to assert their dominance. The finish saw Apollo delivering a really good looking kick to Sheamus, his momentum put in him tagging distance of his partner, Apollo was hit with a chop block by Cesaro before he and Sheamus hit their tag team finisher to pick up the win. The BAR RETAIN. Not much heat or anything to this match but always going to be tough following the Women’s chamber match.

Asuka vs Nia Jax; before she walks out Nia is shown stomping on an Asuka mask. Fast paced start to the match, great chemistry and early exchanges from these 2. Crowd seem split too “let’s go Asuka, let’s go Nia” chants. Asuka gets a flying Armbar but Nia though powers up and slams Asuka into the turnbuckle; Nia then goes for a powerbomb but Asuka reverses it into a pinfall and ASUKA WINS! Really fun entertaining match this, both women looked good. After the match Nia destroys Asuka, driving her through the barricade. She walks to the back looking furious at her loss as the still-undefeated Empress of Tomorrow is helped up by referees. Alexa Bliss is shown watching the match via a screen backstage and is very pleased with what she has seen her friend do to her POTENTIAL Wrestlemania opponent. The attack on Asuka at the end still keeps Nia strong which I like, are we going to get a triple threat after all? Will Asuka go to Smackdown and challenge Charlotte even???

Charlie Caruso with an interview with Roman Reigns now; crowd response seemed… mixed… which is surprising for him I’m sure… Roman puts down Paul Heyman before declaring that ‘everything I do I back up, I *spoiler alert* will win the Elimination Chamber, I will go on to Wrestlemania and I will win the Universal Championship’. Yes Roman, indeed your ‘Spoiler Alert’ may well be true, considering it has been the worst kept secret in Wrestling for almost a year now…

WOKEN Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt followed. I love these 2 dearly but I had to try my best to stay into this match and these 2 characters who are SOOOOOOOOOO underutilised it is untrue! One highlight for me was when Bray did his spider thing in the corner and Matt responsed with “WONDERFUL” before proceeding to lead the crowd in a round of applause (this was HILARIOUS). The crowd for the majority of this one though, embarrassingly enough, seemed more entertained with the beach ball that was doing the rounds, “Rusev Day” chants and a Mexican wave spoiled a decent enough match in a story that still has plenty of room to grow and places to go. Good video package beforehand, Bray did his light trick with his graphic before entering but when he did he was just stood in the ring with Hardy’s jacket. Matt eventually blindsided him, and the match was eventually won by the WOKEN one. Not that anyone in the crowd cared. FFS!

Next up is RONDA ROUSEY’S CONTRACT SIGNING (DO NOT DARE FUCK THIS UP WWE)!!! A really good video package plays before Raw GM Kurt Angle comes to the ring… followed by BOTH Stephanie McMahon AND Triple H! We are in Las Vegas as well which is famously a stronghold for UFC so should be a good reception for Ronda. As she is welcomed out it seems a mixed crowd response to the Rowdy one… Ronda cuts a promo where she seems very nervous and emotional, she seems happier though as the crowd responds with chants for her. She seems a bit ‘stumbly’ during the promo as she puts over her hero Roddy Piper, she says she doesn’t want anything handing to her and that she wants to earn the WWE crowd’s respect. HHH double checks that Ronda doesn’t want any perks? As Ronda says yes she is told she won’t just be at Wrestlemania, she will be COMPETITNG at Wrestlemania! Not a championship match (so as expected) but a match nonetheless.

Ronda says she wants to earn a future opportunity and not be handed one. Then as Ronda appeared to be being helped sign her contract by Stephanie McMahon as Triple H talks to Kurt Angle, Kurt looks on quizzically which leads Rousey to ask her fellow former Olympic medallist if he has something to say? Kurt then says a series of things which he alleges McMahon and Triple H have said recently about Ronda, in which they basically want to ‘own’ Ronda once she signs and that they have revenge in mind after Rousey attacked them both at Wrestlemania 3 years ago. As Rousey angrily goes nose to nose with Stephanie, Triple H attempts to calmly separate the two, only for Rousey to push his arm away and judo-slam him through the contract signing table. As Steph makes her escape Ronda signs the contract and throws in onto the fallen COO. Ronda walks to the back with her classic furious, face on. What appeared to be the happy, glad-to-be-here babyface turned into a fiery, badass that Ronda Rousey SHOULD be in WWE. A rocky start but we got there in the end. This did what it should have done. And with Kurt Angle already trying to expose Mr and Mrs HHH as wanting to manipulate and use Ronda are we destined for the anticipated mixed tag team match at Wrestlemania? I would no way be against that, providing Angle is in good condition that is, which those of you who saw Survivor Series will be very worried about…

And then finally we had the Men’s Elimination Chamber match; Elias is in the ring first doing his usual brilliant stuff. He quickly escapes to the sanctuary of his pod once Braun Strowman makes his way to the chamber. John Cena and Roman Reigns follow which means we begin with The Miz, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins in the ring. Miz attempts to form an alliance early on but is instead double teamed by Balor and Rollins, the 3 exchange offences in an unsurprisingly, considering what may lay ahead, slow paced start.

John Cena next in. His introduction sees a significant rise in the speed of the match. ROMAN REIGNS next to enter… good little match this, some good moves from all so far. One highlight ,being with the other 4 participants on their knees, The Miz delivered kicks to one after the other to the delight of the crowd when he focused on Roman Reigns. The Big Dog begins to take control of the match until, with the crowd chants of “GET THESE HANDS”, the main man in WWE rn enters the fray…… BRRRRRRAAAUUUUNNNNN!!!

The Monster Amongst Men goes on an absolute tear after this; downing all but Miz who runs away, that’s until he is pushed by Strowman off the top of a pod onto the other participants down below in the ring. Braun eventually pins Miz after a running powerslam and THE MIZ IS ELIMINATED BY BRAUN STROWMAN! Elias finally enters the match, albeit hesitantly. He in fact re-closes his door and remains in his pod for a short time! With Elias not yet joining the action it takes Cena AND Roman AND Balor AND Rollins to deliver a 4 man powerbomb to Braun, and then with all 4 men trying to simultaneously eliminate him he manages STILL to kick out! Then Cena hits him with an AA; 2 COUNT! Reigns hits a Spear; 2 COUNT! Rollins hits a Curb Stomp; 2 count! Balor hits a Coupe de Grace; 2 count! Strowman seemingly indestructible!

After a short time all 4 men, apart from Strowman whom is down on the outisde of the ring, are down inside and it is then that Elias chooses to enter. However he performs unsuccessful pin attempts on the 4 downed participants before running into a Braun powerslam and BRAUN STROWMAN ELIMINATES ELIAS! He then fairly soon after does the same to Cena and BRAUN STROWMAN ELIMINATES JOHN CENA! What now for the 16 time World Champion with “no clear road to Wrestlemania”?*

The rest of the match was really fun. Rollins and Balor got some great looking moves in in particular; eventually FINN BALOR WAS ELIMANATED BY BRAUN STROWMAN as despite hitting his finisher on Reigns, Braun was there to pick him up and swat him down. Seth later missed a Curb Stomp and was caught into a powerslam and… yep… SETH ROLLINS WAS ELIMINATED BY BRAUN STROWMAN! So we were left with Braun and Roman…

The finishing sequence saw Roman hit a Superman Punch (crowd began to boo the seemingly inevitable conclusion), Reigns goes for a second but is caught (much to the Las Vegas’ crowd delight), Reigns escapes and hits another Superman Punch, hits the Spear, Braun gets up, Roman hits another Spear to get the 1,2,3 and ROMAN REIGNS WINS THE MEN’S ELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH! … Obviously.

Decent match tbf to end a decent show. Afterwards Braun, as seems customary now, attacks the actual match winner and ends the show standing tall. This though doesn’t change the worst kept secret in WWE history now being a reality, as the graphic appears to show Roman Reigns will indeed challenge Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania for the Universal Championship. It tbh would seem like the last year or so was a waste of time if that were not to be the case, so at this point it is what it is. And I for one actually think the match itself will be pretty good (I urge you to read one of my previous blogs where I looked back at their Mania 31 match).

So no shock results on the show as we head to Wrestlemania. A few people’s path to the show of shows remains unclear indeed…

Key points to take home:

– the Roman Reigns “expirement” isn’t ending any time soon

– Braun is still the man and is being booked incredibly strong… but for what purpose???

– What now for Asuka?

– Ronda Rousey is a badass. And can be if WWE let her!

– What will Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman have to say to Roman Reigns on Raw? Whatever it is they are all very different from this time 3 years ago…

Conclusion:

Raw’s road to Wrestlemania is lined for Roman, Lesnar and Bliss but who knows about anyone else… lots of potential encounters which should make for an exciting few weeks of Raw tv. Next stop on ppv for them; WRESTLEMANIA!!!

Josh

*UPDATE: On Raw Talk (the aftershow panel hosted by Renee Young and Pete Rosenburg) one of their guests was a very despondent John Cena. He finished a very emotional talk about his previous experiences, his current life and predicament by saying ‘ I don’t have an opponent [for Wrestlemania] but I may have a plan, it may involve me stepping outside the proper etiquette of how we do things in the WWE” . He was asked what this meant only to respond with “I’ll figure it out” before walking off the set.

This is clearly laying the groundwork for something absolutely HUGE for Cena and Wrestlemania. And in my opinion for the 16 time World Champion there are only really 2 major things left for him to do in WWE; and with the door to a potential record breaking 17th world title closed for now, for me it leaves one final dream match, at one place, against one opponent………………

…………

*GONG*

…………

Raw 19/2/2018 Review: THE LONGEST MATCH IN WWE HISTORY!!!

Roman Reigns begins Raw tonight, he will then be the first participant in this gauntlet match. It will begin with 2 men in the ring for a match, once that has concluded the winner will then immediately be in a contest against whoever comes to the ring next… and so on and so on… the winner of the final 1 on 1 match will be declared the winner overall. And the match will be participated in by the 7 men who will fill the men’s Elimination Chamber match on Sunday. There is then a brief recap of the finish of the 5 way last week and Kurt Angle’s subsequent announcement that both Finn Balor and Seth Rollins will be in the chamber. Charlie Caruso then cuts an interview with Roman in the ring; Reigns seems confident about the match tonight, but more fearful of the Elimination Chamber structure and the fact he will have to face 6 other men on Sunday also. He does though state that he ‘can beat Brock Lesnar… I nearly did last time…’ (eluding to their Wrestlemania 31 match, see my Wrestlemania Flashback 1 blog from a couple of weeks back, which…) and had it not been for a certain someone maybe Roman would’ve beaten Lesnar… and right on queue out comes Seth Rollins!

The two stare down and soak in the crowd reaction (as “burn it down” chants ring around the arena). This is followed by a LONG ‘feeling out process’ between the two, this will make sense as to why the match started very slow as we go on… Seth gets a couple of near falls, followed by a kick to the mid-section as Roman stares back defiantly. Seth later goes for a suicide dive but Roman on the outside counters with a right hand and then a drive-by kick. The Samoan attempts a Superman Punch which is countered by Rollins who in turn attempts his signature knee finisher but this too is countered out of. The Kinglslayer is though able to hit Roman with a buckle bomb, however Reigns uses his momentum to bounce back off the ring corner and deliver a Superman Punch to Rollins. An ad break is returned from with Rollins missing a frog splash on Roman who rolls out the ring, Rollins responding with 2 suicide dives in a row. Upon returning to the ring Rollins flies off the apron straight into a Superman Punch that leads to a 2 count for Roman. Roman then tries to hit a Spear but this is countered into an attempt at the Curb Stomp from Seth but it is Reigns who then reverses into a pin attempt for 2. This same move is then rolled through by Rollins and he gets the pin! SETH ROLLINS WINS THE FIRST PART OF THE GAUNTLET MATCH, ROMAN REIGNS IS ELIMINATED!

Next out is… John Cena! Cena gains dominance and is almost the victor via count out. He then urges an exhausted Rollins to “stay down”. Cena later hits 3 belly-to-belly suplexes but Seth is able to kick out of the pin. Rollins then counters an attempted Attitude adjustment into a DDT for a near fall of his own. Cena gets a 2 count again after a stunner-like move, and again nearly gets a count out victory. As Rollins flies back in to the ring he runs straight into an STF from Cena, he is able though to get out of it before hitting a Slingblade for a 2 count pin attempt. The leader of the Cenation then rolls through a suplex and eventually sets up Rollins for a 5 Knuckle shuffle which Seth counters and hits a superkick for another 2 count. Both men later find themselves on the outside in various predicaments before they both re-enter the ring only at the count of 9. Cena is then eventually able to hit his patented 5 knuckle shuffle and follows up with an AA that is then reversed into a nearfall. Rollins then locks in a crossface on Cena whom himself then has Rollins in position for an AA, Seth counters this with a inziguiri and then hits a beautiful frog splash on Cena for a 2 count only (Rollins now passing the FIFTY MINUTE mark in this match). Cena then finally hits Seth with an AA but ONLY gets a 2 count.

A baffled Cena goes to the top rope in desperation but falls victim to a suplexplex, followed up with a falcon arrow from Seth for another near victory moment. Cena then fails in two STF submissions as Rollins reaches the rope each time. An amazing moment followed where Rollins hit an AA ON Cena! Sadly this only garnered a 2 count from the referee. Rollins goes to the top rope with Cena on the floor, he misses a phoenix splash and Cena performs his AA followed by a roll through (think the finish of the amazing WWE Championship match Cena had against AJ Styles at Royal Rumble 2017) but upon trying the second AA Rollins hit his knee finisher, his superkick to the chest and then finally a CURB STOMP on Cena… AND SETH ROLLINS WINS! STANDING OVATION FROM THE CORWD! IN ONE NIGHT, BACK TO BACK, SETH ROLLINS HAS PINNED ROMAN REIGNS AND JOHN CENA!!!!!!! Truly a historic and remarkable achievement for him.

Next man to the ring is Elias, he sprints down and after a pretty short beat down Elias hits his Drift away finishing move to pin Rollins. An amazing effort from Seth nonetheless. Should also mention during this one Renee Young was shown backstage with John Cena interviewing him, I don’t like the idea of conducting interviews DURING matches. Takes all the focus from the match imo. Next down to the ring is Finn Balor (f/t red, Royal Rumble 2018, attire). Good exchanges of offence between these 2 is again interrupted with an in-match interview backstage with Renee. Rollins this time, still don’t like this concept at all! Elias in control is stopped by Balor who then hits a lovely kick to Elias to knock him off the top rope and then double drop kicks him into the barricade. They exchange nearfalls, they battle outside, it’s a very back-and forth one this. Good watch though I should say. The finish comes when Balor stomps on Elias chest in the ring, and then when both men are down Balor gets to his feet first and hits Elias with the Slingblade -> kicks into the corner -> Coupe de Grace and Finn gets the win.

The Miz is in the match next. We begin with the Miztourage distracting Balor so Miz can blindside him. Miz controls the early part here, a few nearfalls showing to that. Miz continues his punishment to Finn Balor by throwing him to the barricade before wrenching his arm on the ring ropes. (Renee Young interviews Elias… NO, NO, NO!) Miz hits some ‘yes’ kicks and does the ‘yes’ chants, but Balor is able to battle back with a nearfall of his own. He hits a series of chops to The Miz in the different corners of the ring, but Miz then attempts A Skull Crushing Finale but this is rolled up by Finn for a 2 count. The next highlight saw Finn fly over the top rope onto the Miztourage on the outside (this was a thing of beauty), Miz is though able to take advantage of Balor’s diverted attention to hit his Skull Crushing Finale finisher and The Miz eliminates Finn Balor.

Next… BRRRRRRAAAUUUUNNNNN!!! Much to The Miz’s dismay and the huge ovation from the crowd. A terrified Intercontinental Champion attempts to run away, he is though chased down through the crowd and dragged back to the ring by Strowman. Braun proceeds to pulverise Miz, only being stopped by The Miztourage delaying him so that when Braun charges into the corner Miz is able to get out the way and get his offence in (Renee Young backstage interview with Balor now). During Balor’s interview Strowman hits a remarkably good dropkick on Miz… reminder: Braun is 385 lbs!!!

Miz then uses Strowman’s momentum to send him to the outside, only for him to then walk into a huge Braun clothesline. The Miztourage then distract The Monster Amongst Men once again allowing for him to suffer a Skull Crushing Finale from The Miz. The pin attempt is though thwarted when Braun launches Miz to the outside onto Dallas and Axel. Upon re-entering the ring Miz is hit with another clothesline from Braun which is followed up with a running powerslam to give Braun the final pinfall and the gauntlet match victory. The longest match in Raw history is FINALLY over!!!

After the match Braun is interviewed and sends a warning out to Universal Champion Brock Lesnar before going back to inflict more damage to The Miz, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel (Should also mention that it was confirmed that 3 men will start in the ring for the men’s Elimination Chamber match on Sunday with the usual 4 pods).

Next Asuka makes her way to the ring to be interviewed by Renee (she must be paid per interview tonight surely). It was simple but typically effective from Asuka; she said she’ll win the title at Mania, and that her opponent on Sunday Nia Jax didn’t look so strong in their last match when she limped off injured. Nia then appears behind Asuka and after a brief brawl hits the Empress of Tomorrow with a Samoan Drop and 3 leg drops. Good little segment to make Nia look strong going into the match.

This is followed by a huge hype video package for Ronda Rousey ahead of her WWE contract signing during the ppv in Las Vegas. Yes, Yes and YES from me!!!

The Bar out next. They face Titus Worldwide in a quick match that the man fka Apollo Crews but nka… Apollo… gets the win for his team. One would highly expect a tag title match between these 2 at Elimination Chamber now. Speaking of Elimination Chamber WOKEN Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt is also announced for the card. A back and forth video promo follows between the 2. Usual stuff and good if you like these 2. Hardy keeps saying he’ll render Bray OBSOLETE in recent weeks… don’t tease us pls…

The main event of the show was a 6 woman tag team match involving the participants in the Women’s Elimination Chamber match. Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Bayley vs Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose and the Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. You’ll forgive me if I don’t go too in depth on the analysis of this one, considering what we saw earlier, so… to summarise: Mandy and Sonya played their parts well but both still green, Alexa played the role of reluctant partner to them both, Mickie looked really good in ring as did Sasha and the recently rejuvenated Bayley, match concluded with Alexa Bliss attempting to capitalise after throwing Sasha into the ring mid-rope turnbuckle, only to fall into a Bank Statement which causes her to tap.

Unsurprisingly a brawl breaks out post match; the 2 active members of Absolution eventually turning on their partner for the match Bliss, only for Mickie James (who as mentioned in previous blogs Alexa had been trying to buddy up with in recent weeks) to make the save. So going into the chamber seems we have Sasha & Bayley, Mandy & Sonya and now Alexa & Mickie as the alliances.

And that, at long last, was Raw. If ever there has been a 1 match show THIS was IT! The longest match in WWE history (longer than even any Royal Rumble match there has ever been) lasted a total of ONE HOUR, FORTY SIX MINUTES AND FIFTEEN SECONDS! Seth Rollins lasting for ONE HOUR FIVE MINUTES of the match, longer than any amount of time anyone has spent in one match in Raw history. It really was a historic match. Was it good? Imo… yeah I enjoyed it. Dropped off at times but it was bound to, overall I had fun watching it.

Key points to take home:

– Seth Rollins is going on to BIG things as we head to Wrestlemania…

– Braun Strowman should be THE GUY

– Somehow Titus Worldwide are the top contenders in Raw’s tag division… hmm…

– I’m not convinced Nia is ‘ready for Asuka’

– Alexa Bliss is retaining on Sunday. I’m almost certain! …

Conclusion

Elimination Chamber has been built to well imo. Seems like a big deal. We’re in danger though of, ala the Royal Rumble last month, having the 2 main gimmick matches overshadowing the rest of the card… but then the rest of the card isn’t exactly blockbuster. But the ppv overall should be good… SHOULD……

Josh.

Raw 12/2/18 Review: BRAUN STROWMAN SINGS!!!

So Raw this week opened up with Mr Nikki Bella to a big pop (shockingly enough) from the Raw crowd. Raw this evening emanating from San Jose, California – home town of Bayley (more on her later…). Following a brief recap of last weeks triple threat main event, that saw Cena pinned by Elias and then Strowman ending up the dominant force, Cena cut a promo to hype up the build towards Wrestlemania (including one line that he said Wrestlemania has even been known to “bring legends back from the dead… 👀”) saying that he HAD to win the Elimination Chamber match and that if he didn’t he was unsure what or even if his road to Wrestlemania would be. He was clear though that he WILL win the Elimination Chamber match and thus will challenge Brock Lesnar for the a Universal Championship in the grandest stage of them all (*SPOILER ALERT: … he wont*).

The Miz and the Miztourage come out next to interrupt, Miz telling Cena that it’s not 2013 anymore and therefore not time for Cena to main event Mania instead it is 2018: year of The Miz (totally fine with me). Miz then claims he will make history and become the first simultaneous holder of the Universal and his current Intercontinental Championships. He also then reminds us that it is John Cena himself who is a fore-father of Suplex City (Summerslam 2014 main event, if you’re ever feeling down watch that match. Cheers me up everytime).

This being a very good back and forth promo between 2 of the best on the mic in WWE was hardly a surprise. Cena eventually challenges Miz to a match immediately with the stipulation being the loser would enter the Elimination Chamber match 1st! The Miztourage then beat down Cena as Miz wants the match started for an easy win. Raw GM Kurt Angle addresses the situation by announcing said match/stipulation but banning Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel from ringside to try and somewhat even the odds, even if John Cena is by this point stil flat out in the ring.

So the match officially begins and… of course… Cena kicks out at 2. It laterly continues with both of them seeming to sail through the early stages of the contest before it is kicked into life when Cena reverses a potential Skull crushing finale into a potential AA which Miz in turn reverses into a figure 4… which Cena then reverses into an STF before Miz… gets to the bottom rope…. and breathe… The Miz then goes onto the top rope in his efforts to topple the Cenation leader before he is caught by Cena. An AA is then turned into a DDT for a nearfall by The Miz.

The momentum felt by the grand slam champion (1 thing Cena is not btw) is firmly stopped when Cena finally hits an AA. 1,2, 3? No of course not. In 2018 nobody loses to one AA. It’s not 2013 anymore indeed. Some more good back and forth offence exchanges results in Miz on the top rope with Cena, before attempting a ‘super’ Skull crushing finale, but this in turn is countered into a super AA from Cena for the pinfall and the victory. Miz enters the chamber 1st. Good solid show opener from 2 now veterans. Shame Miz didn’t get the win but a defeat won’t hurt either too much at this stage. The fascinating road for both of these stars to the Elimination Chamber… and beyond… continues…

Ads for Bayley vs Sasha and the 4 way chamber qualifier later in the show. The first match will be good. The 2nd? Could be a clusterfuck.

WOKEN Matt Hardy promo; usual stuff from him. But I’m an OG Woken/Broken warrior so I liked it. The line were he said he would render his opponents tonight “obsolete” a particular fave of mine (I miss you Jeff so so much, please comeback soon Brother Nero!).

Gallows & Anderson “Nerd-Ometer” promo now… f/t more terrible and tacky on screen graphics…. really???

Anyway the good brothers approach the ring next for their match but are attacked by their opponents The Revival before the match begins. Lots of emphasis being put on the chop block to Luke Gallows knee. Match begins with Gallows on a tear before his knee is targeted again by both Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson seperatelty. The hot tag is finally made to Karl Anderson who gets some real good looking moves in (severely under-appreciated wrestler btw, seriously watch some of his stuff from New Japan when you can). However with Gallows OOA due to his injuries sustained Anderson is 2v1 for the large part of this match towards the end, eventually succumbing to a Shatter Machine for a win for The Revival. Ok match for 2 great teams, just a shame absolutely nobody in the crowd seemed to care. Always tough with a crowd following John Cena tbf.

After a brief recap of the whole Rollins and Jordan/Reigns/Angle story last week surrounding Jason Jordan’s injury and then costing Rollins and Reigns the tag title match the Raw General Manager and father of Jason Jordan (still baffles me) Kurt Angle is shown making his way from backstage to offer a medical update and breaking news on his Son’s (don’t, just don’t please) ‘injury’ (guess we might find out if Jordan’s wife was telling the truth on Facebook or not *see Update on last week’s Raw review*).

Upon entering the ring Angle says he has mixed emotions; firstly he announces RONDA ROUSEY will sign her WWE contract to appear as part of the Raw roster at the Elimination Chamber ppv (yes yes and more yes). Next he goes on to say that following an MRI and surgery last week, Jason Jordan will MISS Wrestlemania… cue the ‘Yes’ chants from the crowd (fgs guys come on now…) . Kurt responds to the crowd with a realistic promo about as a father that he thinks if any fan takes joy from a superstar being injured they should be ashamed of themselves, that all he wants is for them to wsih his son well…

Seth Rollins then comes out… he says he’s sorry for Jordan, that he can empathise with him, recalling how he missed a Wrestlemania a couple of years back due to injury himself and that he knows how special Wrestlemania moments are. He then asks of Kurt that he needs something for elimination chamber and Wrestlemania. After turning down Angle’s suggestion of yet another new tag team partner Rollins says that he wants to not just be on Raw but BE Raw! He says he wants to be Universal champion and he wants that at Wrestlemania. He says he must win the Elimination Chamber. Eventually it is decided Rollins will enter the final chamber qualifying match later in the evening. That match will now be a 5 way… ok no problem… lets see shall we…

Bray Wyatt promo; again more of the same and good if you like him as I do (he won the wwe title inside an Elimination Chamber 1 year ago btw… *sighs*).

Next up Sasha makes her way to the ring for her match with hometown favourite Bayley (unsurprisingly big pop for her). This should be great… it begins with a plethora of pin attempts from Bayley followed by some clear heel work from Sasha who has really been back to her NXT best recently. I also want to mention the following that came from the commentators;

Coachman: Bayley and Sasha are supposed to be best friends. They said so on a podcast…

Graves: supposed to be best friends?

Coachman: you should know Corey, anything you hear on a podcast MUST be true.

Fabulous.

ANYWAY Sasha Banks takes control of the match now. Aplogies for the lack of notes on this one but as a huge fan of their series of matches in NXT I found myself just sitting back and watching this one. It really was a joy to behold. Bayley attempted a big elbow from the top only for Banks to move out the way, only to then lock in the Banks Statement which was eventually stopped when the Hugger reached the bottom rope.

The finishing part of the match was particularly well done; Bayley threw Banks face first into a middle rope turnbuckle (OUCH), Banks then makes her way to the top rope and pushes Bayley down as she tries to join her, the 2nd try is successful though and Bayley hits the Bayley to Belly from the middle rope for the win. And FINALLY Bayley has a win! Somebody won in their hometown! What a concept! … in all seriousness though this was a real good match. Hopefully it goes somewhere… hopefully…

After the match Nia Jax jumps them both to send a message to her opponent at Elimination Chamber, Asuka. Would’ve preferred a heel turn from Bayley but I’ll accept Nia Jax looking strong.

I’ll run quickly through the next few bits as I really REALLY want to talk about the title segment for this blog, so: Rollins and Reigns vs The bar backstage promo (sets up Roman vs Sheamus for later), recap of Nia’s earlier actions and subsequent interview with Renee Young followed by a really cool video package highlighting Asuka, Renee backstage with Titus Worldwide (less said about these lot the better), Alexa backstage with Mickie basically, as I explained last week, trying to gain Mickie as an ally going into the chamber; her argument being that if either of Absolution win they will just have matches vs eachother all the time, the veteran James doesn’t buy it for a second. Mickie and Alexa vs Mandy and Sonya (with Paige… *sigh*) next. Solid match (Mickie James is really good at wrestling, Bliss is good, Sonya is ok and Mandy has potential but is still very green) Mandy getting the pin on James after Alexa was distracted by Paige and Sonya Deville. Beatdown from Absolution afterwards with Bliss saving Mickie. All fine enough stuff..

And… THEN… Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls… what followed next was one of THE most entertaining, hilarious and satisfying Raw or any WWE show segments for a VERY long time…

So… Elias is shown backstage, apparently he’s on his way to sing “Elimination Chamber Blues”… when we return from the ad break Elias is indeed in the ring, with his guitar, with a spotlight on him, sat on his stool. He did his usual stuff, and as usual the crowd go wild for him, and as usual Elias expertly retains his heel character by turning on the crowd and city he is in. He then claims he will win the Elimination Chamber. And then he gets on with his song… (at this point I am wondering if WWE pipe in the boos during his performances, cuz he’s friggin great). Then the crowd begin to cheer something , as the lights are out in the arena in order to accomadate the spotlight on Elias we at home are left… well … in the dark.

And then Jojo announces as she does Elias … “Ladies and gentlemen; Braun Strowman”.

BRAUN STROWMAN?! WTF IS THIS!?

And then indeed Braun is shown on the entrance rampway, sat on a stool, with a spotlight on him, complete and utterly ala Elias! Braun then pulls out a giant Bass, he attempts to play it like a guitar but breaks the strings in the process. And then… THEN…

BRAUN STROWMAN SINGS A SONG TO ELIAS!!!

This song, I cannot explain how funny it was. Of everything I have recommended to watch so far in my blogs, make this your absolute priority!!!

Elias looked on perplexed, and then following a brawl between the two which of course Braun dominated, Strowman would end the segment by adhering to the crowd’s wishes by using the giant Bass and absolutely smashing it over Elias’ back. Elias was left flat out and being attended to by referees, Braun did his siganture ROAR to please the fans. And that was that.

This was AMAZING! One of the best WWE segments for a LONG time! Would highly recommend you watch this!

The rest of the show now then…

Finn Balor iphone promo next… nope!

Roman Reigns vs Sheamus w/Cesaro now. This was a real physical match between 2 fierce strikers. Cesaro playing the role of coach to Sheamus throughout. Should also note for someone with real bad neck issues Sheamus sure does dish out some really hard hitting moves; the rolling senton to the outside in particular I cannot fathom how WWE allow someone with spinal issues to do moves like that?! Anyway that match was pretty much as expected, it was good don’t get me wrong but nothing about it surprised me. The ending was definitely noteworthy though; with Sheamus on the top rope he dives down only to be caught with a not so sweetly connected Spear from Roman for the victory (look up Reigns’ spear to Shane McMahon at Survivor Series 2016 for a better connected one). So yeah Roman Reigns wins. Who saw that coming…

Ivory was then confirmed as the next inductee into the Hall of Fame for this year. Lovely.

The main event was next. Finn vs Bray vs WOKEN Matt vs Apollo vs Seth Rollins. Winner enters the men’s Elimination Chamber match. I thought a fatal 4 way would be tough to take notes on, a 5 way was nearly impossible! Lots of exchanges between all the various combinations of the participants in the match (after the match begun during an ad break, NOT COOL). All 5 in this match got cool stuff in. It was a bit of a clusterfuck at times but that’s bound to be the case given 5 participants were all involved against one another. Apollo Crews in particular suprised me how good his stuff looked. It was clear throughout though that either Finn Balor or Seth Rollins were winning this one. The conclusion of the match will certainly be a talking point…

After Bray Wyatt had given Woken Matt a Sister Abigail on the outside of the ring to take him out the match Bray then sought after Apollo Crews who was perched on the top rope. Finn Balor and Seth Rollins then teamed up to perform a combo superplex/powerbomb onto the 2 of them from the top rope before Finn and Seth BOTH pinned Bray. So… they both won?! Apparently… no music plays or anything, everyone is just stood about confused… and then Raw just ends… with no answer at all.

And yeah that was Raw. Despite the lack of answers at the end of the main event a really fun show. Bayley vs Sasha was excellent, the segments and other matches throughout the show were decent enough too but this Raw will always be remembered as the night Braun Strowman SANG!

Key points to take home:

– Cena is gonna do something HUGE at Wrestlemania…

– Sasha Banks and Bayley are number 5 and 6 best female workers in the entire WWE. SO GOOD!

– I want to walk with Elias

– I love Braun Strowman

– Why the lack of answers at the end?

Conclusion:

Raw was slightly more eventful this week than last. A good show overall, go home show for Elimination Chamber next week so should be eventful still. Hopefully by then we will have more answers about whom will fill the last spot in Men’s chamber match… *

Josh

*UPDATE: It has been announced that BOTH Seth Rollins & Finn Balor will be in the Men’s Elimination Chamber match. 7 MEN IN THE CHAMBER! Not sure how I feel about that tbh… seems a bit cheap. Ah well…

Raw 5/2/18 Review: twists and turns on the road to come?

First of all apologies if this is a bit long to read. My first attempt after all at reviewing a full show. Trying to be concise when you have 3 hours of content to talk about isn’t easy. Anyway lets talk about Raw shall we?

Roman vs Bray first then. Winner is in the chamber. For a match where 95% of people knew the finish going in they did OK. Roman isn’t a bad wrestler and neither is Bray… still makes me sad to think a year ago where Bray was mind. Roman won but you knew that before reading this lbh.

Oh and after the match after being shown throughout it watching backstage the WOKEN one attempted to DELETE Bray. I like these 2 greatly, I was one who for a few months actually fought the pain barrier to watch TNA in order to follow the original BROKEN universe. I paid money to see him perform in the flesh too.

I think we are heading towards a gimmick Final Deletion/House of horros mash up at Mania, which considering is likely to last (all in all) around the 7 hour mark, those of us watching it live I’m sure will be very much greatful for some lighter entertainment.

Jason Jordan and hometown boy Seth Rollins doing a backstage promo next. If you knew the full extent of Jason Jordan’s health issues rn you’d understand whilst I really hope Jordan takes ZERO bumps in the match, they lose and he’s then written off tv for the foreseeable…

Gallows and Anderson closely followed by Finn Balor out next to the ring. The match was against The Revival. Yes sadly no Luke Gallows in this one as he had to sit it out. Although there’s not much substace to this Balor club – Revival feud I have always thought it better for someone to be doing ‘something’ on TV than nothing so lets see where it goes… Balor club won. Obviously.

Backstage next with Sasha and Bayley. Sasha again teasing the much awaited main roster heel turn. I’m so ready for this! It’d do wonders for Bayley and Sasha. Because heel/nxt Sasha Banks was awesome. And it’d give Bayley the boost she needs too if Sasha turns on her.

The cruiserweights next. I won’t say too much because tbh I don’t care. I feel something good is coming though. Having Rockstar Spud (another ex TNA star) … sorry Drake Maverick (?) as gm is something I guess and the tournament for the title ending at Mania makes it a big deal. I guess it’ll be on the pre show but still. For the record Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali beat Drew Gulak and Tony Nese with Cedric pinning Gulak. Drake Maverick was a guest on commentary.

Kurt Angle then came out to announce the participants for the Women’s Elimination Chamber match. He stuttered his way through this promo, albeit he had a lot to remember but as the gm he should know his lines better for me. The big shock here was Mickie James is in the match and not Nia Jax. Angle then explains she will instead face Asuka at the ppv and if she wins it’ll be a triple threat at Wrestlemania.

I dont mind Asuka vs Nia. Keeps Nia out the chamber if you don’t want to go that way and the stipulation makes it worthwhile. It does make me change my mania card predictions, seems now maybe Alexa vs Asuka on Raw and maybe Charlotte vs Becky on Smackdown? Still plenty of time to go and things could change but yes a suprise to me.

Alexa Bliss eventually comes out and has a real fun back and forth on the mic with Angle, Bliss basically playing the whiney, heel card and Angle cleverly using the crowd to help back up his points. I enjoyed it. It did it’s job well.

After this was… oh good…another iphone promo, Cena this time… just stop with these PLEASE! ZZZZZzzzzz….

Next up was Bayley vs Asuka. I saw thse 2 have a great series of matches in NXT and this match was pretty good also. Bayley got a lot of offence in and was on top throughout. I should point out btw (if you don’t know already) I ADORE Asuka. She can do no wrong to me.

Also I wanted to mention that during this match Jonathan Coachman on commentary made a comment which he basically, in reponse to Cole talking about what the 2 participants did in NXT, said that ‘this is different to NXT. The lights are a little brighter here… etc..’ I just felt in was really unnecessary to go out of his way to belittle NXT. NXT is in fact a far better product all round than Raw and Smackdown. The big shows they do are better than those of the main roster for sure. Not cool Coach, not cool.

Anyhow Asuka eventually overcame a Bayley comeback to lock in the submission (which was an exquisitely executed jumping armbar) for the win. The 2 had a handshake after, 2 faces so it made sense. For where it was in the show it was good stuff all round.

An iPhone promo from The Bar followed… just stop…

Miz vs Apollo Crews. Miz did a typically great heel promo before the match. Apollo accompanied by his Titus Worldwide teammates (… good lord… where do I start…). What you’d expect from this. Above average match, Apollo got some cool looking moves in. Miz won. He’s in the chamber.

So Seth and Jason Jordan are backstage and turns out Jordan isn’t medically fit… no suprise to me (for those of you who don’t know Jordan has really serious neck issues and needs surgery. Similar issues to what Edge had. He had to retire after multiple neck issues.). [SEE END OF BLOG FOR UPDATE]. Seth isn’t happy… but I guess they had to write Jordan out the match somehow and this only adds fuel to the story. Seth now needs a new partner… enter… “THE BIG DOG” (Cole, 2017).

So the match is set then… god how awful are Rollins’ trunks btw? His “Iowa’s down” tee was much better. Good hometown pop for Seth too. Roman doing double duty tonight then, he really is the big dog eh? …

This match was 4 talented guys putting on a decent match. No big suprises in terms of moves and tactics particularly from The Bar but it was entertaining enough. Eventually Roman and Sheamus are down in the ring and Cesaro and Rollins are OOA… out comes Jason Jordan. He helps Seth to his feet allowing Reigns to make the hot tag which naturally gets a big pop.

Jordan eventually trips Cesaro which leads to a near fall for Rollins. The Bar then decide they’ve had enough and attempt to take their belts and take the count out. But Jordan stops them… he then strikes Sheamus who had goaded him into it. Sheamus and Cesaro are delighted they’ve got out of jail again, Roman and Seth look on bemused, Jordan looks devastated at realising the consequences of his actions.

Afterwards Seth is backstage fuming with Jordan. Angle then comes in to try and defend his son (his son… ffs…). This leads to Kurt telling his son to go home til he is medically cleared. So we’ll see Jason Jordan next in 2019 then? I don’t mind all this… intrigued to see where it all leads… if Ambrose isn’t fit in time for Mania I’m half expecting Angle to face Seth or Jordan’s behalf… which as long as Angle can walk (unlike at Survivor Series) I’m sure Seth could carry him to a good outing.

Nia Jax vs Jobber next. No explanation needed. You know how this went. After she did an in-ring interview with Renee… my how god awful is the dialogue Nia Jax is given? No way she actually talks like that. Perfect example of someone who doesn’t need a script for her promos. Just let her speak for short, sharp bursts. Much better for monster heels. Long, drawn out dialogues are not.

Another iphone promo… Braun Strowman… STOP THE IPHONE PROMOS!!! End of.

Next match was Sonya Deville vs Mickie James. Sonya accompanied by her absolution teammates Mandy Rose (wow… just wow…) and Paige (who fyi is as good as retired. WWE just unsure what to do with her and apparently Paige hasn’t taken the news she’s got to retire too well. Another neck issue. Wrestling since you’re 14 taking it’s toll eventually I guess. Sad stuff.).

This was decent for what it was. Crowd didn’t care too much but putting the experienced James in this role makes sense. Although I’d have thought the match would’ve been better for Mandy Rose, saying that Deville has a win over Sasha Banks a few weeks back so they clearly like her a lot. Mickie eventually won with a roll up, which I thought was the wrong result but the Absolution beat down on Mickie afterwards made up for it.

Real suprise that Alexa Bliss then came down to drag Mickie James out of trouble. I presume they will play on this over the next few weeks as Bliss tries to gain allies going in to the chamber.

Main event up next. Commentary selling all night that half the winners of previous Chamber matches have entered last or second last so going hard on the prize for the winner of this match entering last.

Also next week there will be a 2nd chance match to enter the Elimination Chamber. Balor vs Wyatt vs Hardy vs Crews. Has to be Finn surely? Interesting to note that no mention of Kane who also lost a chamber qualifying match, I’d presume Glenn Jacobs is back doing politics for a bit now. Rollins was also scheduled to be in this match so I’d expect his absence to tie into whatever he does going into Wrestlemania. He missed the Royal Rumble match last year as a by-product of his Mania story so not unusual for him.

Should be a fun one this triple threat, 3 great talents. Elias does his usual thing with the crowd; Spotlight, playing a guitar, sat on his stool. Man… he’s soooooo over! Such a big surprise just how well he has done on Raw. Particularly to those of us who saw him in NXT. Triple H himself has previously said Elias all along in NXT was simply perfecting his gimmick in preparation for the main roster. A complete reverse in his fortunes really as usually a gimmick that is hugely over in NXT often for one reason or another falls flat on the main roster (Tyler Breeze, Bo Dallas, The Ascension come to mind).

Back to Elias. Typically loud response from the crowd. Always delights me how Elias sticks to the heel character by responding to crowd cheers by slagging off the crowd/town he is in. Great stuff.

Cena out next. Usual reaction for him for the last decade. “Doo doo doo doo… JOHN CENA SUCKS… etc. Etc.”. And then the star of the show… BRAAAAAAUUUUUNNNNN!!!

Anyone who has watched Raw for the last 18 months or so, and has no knowledge of any reports outside of what is shown on TV, would assume that the main man in WWE is Braun Strowman. You’d assume it is he who will win the Elimination Chamber. He who will face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Right? Well… we know that wont happen but it should! Definitely! His transformation from Wyatt family enforcer who was as green as garden peas to being the star of the flagship show has been extraordinary. All credit to him.

The match itself wasn’t the longest, 2 ad breaks during it didn’t help. Elias begun doing the classic heel tactic of shying away from Braun as much as he can. Cena tried to use his power on Braun but to no evail. I really like the dynamic between these 3. A good mix. Eventually Cena and Elias worked together to try and take out Braun; Cena used steel steps (yes, JOHN CENA used steel steps on a fellow good guy!) on Braun, Elias smashed his guitar over him and then Cena did the AA to Strowman onto the steps. So Braun was taken out… but obviously he’ll be back… this is WWE after all…

So Cena and Elias exchange offence in the ring with Strowman laid out on the outside. Eventually in culminates in Cena going for a 5 knuckle shuffle but he runs into a Braun running powerslam (who saw that coming… not me… not at all…). Braun goes to do the same to Elias but he manages to make Braun fall to the outside and with Cena still down Elias capitalises to pin the downed Cena for the win. Yes indeed ELIAS PINNED JOHN CENA! Immediately afterwards Braun deliveres his slam to Elias. Then one to Cena, then one to Elias. Then another to Elias.

I don’t mind this at all. Neither Cena nor Braun needed this win or (as commentary would have you believe it) the ‘coveted’ final entrant spot. Elias needed this a great deal more and it more than gives him worth of a spot in the chamber. And Braun ending the segment strong solidifies him as the ‘favourite’ going into the match. Or at least WWE want you to think Braun is the favourite, we all know he’s not in reality sadly. Braun ends the show standing tall.

And that was Raw. Good show. No huge suprises but an entertaining enough show. Lots of time still to build to Elimination Chamber. Fascinated now more by the Women’s Chamber than the men’s. The dynamics in the men’s should be fun but the likely result of the big dog earning his 4th consecutive Mania main event makes it already fighting a tough battle to be a good and compelling match. We shall see.

Key points to take home:

– Roman is getting a push… apparently……

– The cruiserweights still don’t fill me with any excitement

– The Women’s Elimination Chamber match is wide open now result wise. You’d presume Bliss retains but should be fun

– The IC champion going after the world title is something which I don’t like. But The Miz is world title level so I’ll accept it… for now…

– Raw is still the Braun show. And needs to be forever and ever.

Conclusion:

Lets see what the build to Elimination Chamber in the coming weeks brings. Lots of interesting potential results for a few different storylines, lets hope WWE do them justice. We can only hope.

Josh.

UPDATE: Early this evening UK time (Tuesday 6th February) reports have circulated that Jason Jordan’s wife has put a Facebook status out stating his injury isn’t as serious as some are saying, and that he will be out only for a short period of time. Remains to be seen if this is genuinely from his wife and also if it’s true. Only time will tell.