In the aftermath of HIAC, we now build towards WWE Super Show-Down, Crown Jewel and Evolution. Rob and Chris dissect the happenings of Raw and SmackDown Live right here!
Chris Novak: After HIAC last night, it’s back to business. We’re on the road to Super Show-Down AND Evolution, as well as another Saudi show in late October. So it will be intriguing to see how we build toward all these events. Whatever the case, it’s time for another episode of Raw. And Raw is beginning with Roman Reigns! Roman wants a piece of Brock Lesnar… but instead, he gets BRAUN, who ain’t too pleased about all this, either.
Yep, figured this was coming. Braun, Brock and Roman are facing off at the next Saudi show. Which, evidently, is called “WWE Crown Jewel.” I feel as though we can do better than that name. But, hey. The expected outcome is expected. Braun is NOT thrilled, though. He says he thinks the idea sucks, that Corbin sucks, that Roman sucks and that the whole situation sucks and the entire arena sucks.
Aaaaaaand that leads to ol’ Paul Heyman, who’s come out with the door to the HIAC cage. Heyman crows about Lesnar being ‘the crown jewel’ of WWE, talking him up as the reason for their soaring stock and why they got the TV deals, etc. After Strowman goes after Heyman, Corbin informs Reigns that he’s going to face… HIM for the Universal Championship. Well then.
Robert O’Neill: Hey that was a good opening segment! Crown Jewel is a very dumb name, but the people who run Jewel-Osco would be foolish not to get some sponsorship ties in. That’s local humor for my Chicago people. I am to please.
Anyway, Heyman coming out was cool, Braun being mad makes sense, Corbin/Roman will be fun. All of that.
Chris Novak: The in-ring portion of the program begins with Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre. Hey… I’ll take it. Wound up being a pretty stellar match. Ambrose was nearly counted out, but walked into a Claymore by Drew Mac which led to the 1-2-3. Solid stuff there.
Robert O’Neill: Drew Mac is the guy. Get him away from Dolph and let him prosper.
Chris Novak: Backstage, Mac meets up with Dolph, and then Corbin shows up. Corbin tells Dolph that he should invoke his IC Title rematch. While Dolph is banged up, Corbin reminds him that Seth is too, and isn’t even here. So… he could wind up forfeiting the title. Some good ‘heel strategy’ on display here.
Apparently we’re getting a Women’s Championship Open Challenge. I’m sure many fanbases will work themselves into a shoot here.
Robert O’Neill: It would be so amazing and hilarious if it’s Sasha Banks.
Chris Novak: Chad Gable defeated Viktor in what was a banger of a match. That is one of the more unexpected outcomes I could have foreseen happening tonight. But it happened! Chad Gable is way too good, man. Way too good.
Robert O’Neill: I know we’ve been VERY pro-Chad Gable on here but yeah I never expected him to get a good match out of Viktor. That was ridiculous.
Chris Novak: Honestly though!
Robert O’Neill: The Undertaker is here to talk about why you shouldn’t wear Nik-
His match with Triple H at Super Show-Down.
Anyway, since Shawn Michaels will be in Triple H’s corner, Kane will be in Undertaker’s. Cool.
Chris Novak: Bayley beat Dana Brooke in a short but effective match. Bayley’s running knee is rather strong. I desire more, but honestly, I’m not gonna complain about that match.
Robert O’Neill: Yup that was fine. Onward.
Chris Novak: Pain was authored. NEXT.
Robert O’Neill: You won’t believe this, but Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler had an awesome match. Rollins got the win with the Blackout, and it’s cool that the Intercontinental Title is still the workhorse belt.
Chris Novak: Yeah, I really dug that match a lot honestly. The two meshed well again. All in another day’s work.
Robert O’Neill: Here’s Ronda for her open challenge. This should be interesting.
Chris Novak: Well, Natalya WAS set to answer the bell… BUT, The Riott Squad got to her first! It looked like Ruby was going to answer, but it turned into a 3-on-1 attack. That led to The Bellas arriving as the cavalry! The odds were evened and we’ve got ourselves some build to Super Show-Down!
Braun basically warned Corbin backstage, and said he knows he could kill him. Words that were uttered. Basically verbatim.
Elias came out and commanded the crowd as he is to do.
Robert O’Neill: And then Lio Rush came out on behalf of Bob Lashley and was far more entertaining and charismatic than Lashley has ever been. This is a great pairing.
Chris Novak: Lio is SO entertaining. Oh my goodness. That was really great, honestly. All of it. I’m all the way here for this pairing. Tandem. Duo. Whatever you want to call it.
Robert O’Neill: Alicia Fox and Mickie James are in the ring with Alexa Bliss in their corner and they’re set to battle Ember Moon and a mystery partner. Aaaaaand… it’s Nia Jax! That’s pretty neat. Alexa’s face was priceless. The faces got the victory, to no surprise.
Chris Novak: Pretty enjoyable contest here. Nia looked good in her first match in two months. You have to wonder if all these tag teams aligning together is less of a coincidence at this point.
So then we get our main event of the evening. Roman defeated Baron Corbin to retain the Universal Championship. This was quite a bit overbooked, but it was fun too! Unlike last night’s ???? stuff, this actually was effective. Especially since it was on TV. Corbin initially lost, but like the smarmy heel he is, he restarted and made it a No DQ match. That set the stage for Braun, Dolph, Drew Mac, Seth and Dean to all get involved before Reigns hit the Spear on Baron. Pretty fun main event.
Robert O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, it was kind of overbooked and I made a Nitro joke on Twitter, but it’s fine. Nitro did it every week. WWE did it every week in 1999-2000. For Raw to do it once in a while is fine. It got the job done, plus all seven of the guys are in the most important story going on right now, so it’s fine.
Chris Novak: I’ll be completely frank. That was the best Raw in quite a few weeks. From top to bottom the show was really, really fun. I love the Lio & Lashley combo; Gable looked great in his match with Viktor; every woman got TV time; the main event was fun and we had some good rebound from HIAC. I’ll give this episode of Raw a very solid B.
Robert O’Neill: That was an excellent Raw. They answered some lingering questions after Hell in a Cell while building to Super Show-Down, Evolution and (ugh, this name) Crown Jewel. Everything worked for me on this show, and the matches were all very good and not just filler! More of this going forward would be ideal. A-
Chris Novak: Big night ahead of us. Almas-Styles, Nak-Rusev for the US Title, Becky’s title coronation and a special episode of MizTV. It’s the latter that’s about to start the show off. Miz reminds us all that he’s facing Daniel Bryan at Super Show-Down for the right to face whomever the WWE Champion is at a later date. Miz says he’s superior to Bryan and WILL beat him at SSD. Miz then introduces HIS VERY SPECIAL GUEST…
MARYSE!! Hey, any time they play “POURQUOI” is a good time for me.
Robert O’Neill: Well that was to be expected! Anyway, they talk about how they’re great and Bryan and Brie aren’t. Then Bryan comes out and goes to attack Miz but inadvertently hits Maryse, who is stretchered out. Whoa.
Chris Novak: It was a trap! Maryse wasn’t actually hurt at all. HOWEVER… the tide was turned anyway. Miz nearly ran into Maryse and was promptly clotheslined over the top rope for his troubles.
Robert O’Neill: This is quite a good feud.
Chris Novak: It’s straight out of Memphis.
Robert O’Neill: The New Day is here! And dressed like The Crocodile Hunter. Sheamus and Cesaro aren’t amused with their antics.
Chris Novak: Cesaro won with a Neutralizer. There’s no surprise here, but the match was quite good. QUITE good. These two used to have some damn good singles matches a few years ago and they definitely produced one tonight.
Robert O’Neill: Rusev blames Aiden English for losing the match on Sunday and tells him not to come to the ring later. As Rusev and Lana walk off, Aiden vents to a producer about how Lana sucks, and guess who was right behind him?!? Lana. And she’s going to tell Rusev.
Meanwhile, Randy Orton is in the production truck being a weirdo to a production assistant. Go figure.
Chris Novak: This proved to be a high-quality match. Although this wasn’t really surprising. Nak and Rusev have some pretty strong chemistry. Nakamura won with a rollup after Aiden goofed. But, Aiden had a little more in the tank for Rusev, as it turned out. He walloped him after the match and repeatedly struck him with the mic. It would appear that, for once, Rusev is the babyface in a feud.
Robert O’Neill: That was a much better way to go about things than having Lana tell Rusev what Aiden said. It’s a bit of a shame they never got a tag title run but this feud should be good.
Chris Novak: It’s Styles-Almas time!
Robert O’Neill: It’s pretty wild that Andrade “Cien” Almas has become a major player on Smackdown in such a short time. Kinda kills the whole “every NXT guy immediately gets killed on the main roster” narrative.
Chris Novak: People only like to say that when it’s convenient for them to. Anyways, that was the best TV match I’ve seen in a while. That and KO-Rollins were both bangers. It’s not surprising since Andrade is amazing at wrestling as is Styles. Put ‘em together and this is what you get.
Robert O’Neill: That was so good. I wouldn’t mind a long-term feud between these two at some point.
Chris Novak: So we ended the show with Becky’s championship coronation. Lynch called Charlotte out and kept faking her out with things she wanted to do (raise her hand, strap the title around her waist) and also said she wanted to call her queen… bitch. The two then scrapped, and Lynch got the upper-hand and left her lying in the ring after a Bexploder.
Chris Novak: As usual, tops effort from SmackDown Live. A few really good matches, with Almas-Styles being the obvious highlight. I can’t stress enough just how good this show is right now. A lot of what made it tops two years ago was because of the writing but it’s really just a lot of great in-ring work mixed with solid writing. Going to give this a hearty A- here. Really great week of TV.
Robert O’Neill: This really was an excellent episode top to bottom. Everything is working, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon. I loved that they saved the Becky and Charlotte stuff for the end, because it deserves to feel important, and it sure does now. A.