This Week in WWE: A tragic announcement by Roman Reigns owns the week
This week’s edition of This Week in WWE starts off on a somber note that, quite frankly, nobody expected. We did our best to write through this week, and we feel we did an okay job doing so.
Chris Novak: Raw is starting off with Roman Reigns, who announced he has been living with leukemia for the last 11 years. And now, it’s back and because of it, he has to relinquish the Universal Title. I don’t know what to say other than I hope he recovers promptly. I could not have ever expected this, but this sucks so much.
Robert O’Neill: This is as stunned and saddened I’ve ever been in my life as a wrestling fan. I really don’t know what more to say here.
Chris Novak: How the hell are we supposed to just watch this now?
Robert O’Neill: Finn Balor defeated Bobby Lashley. It was a good match.
Chris Novak: Sasha Banks faced Ruby Riott in a preview of what’s to come this weekend in their six-woman tag match. It was very solid. Ruby picked up the victory, as she continues to be one of the most protected wrestlers in the company.
Robert O’Neill: DX is out here to talk about their match with Undertaker and Kane. Triple H says Halloween is a movie from 40 years ago but it’s also #1 at the box office right now so old things aren’t always bad. On another night I might have chuckled at this segment, but I just can’t do it tonight.
Chris Novak: I kind of chuckled. Make what you will of that. Kane and Taker did a vignette promo in response. If you’ve watched them over the last 20 years, you probably know how it went.
So it will be Brock vs. Braun for the Universal Championship. 1-on-1, no gimmicks, nothing. Makes sense.
Paul Heyman is next. He talks about Roman Reigns, the locker room and how they everyone is reacting towards this whole thing. And how the Universal Championship was #1, and how Roman wants the title and the show to go on.
Robert O’Neill: He manages to bring the promo back to Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman though, because the show must go on and the title must go on. He says Strowman isn’t as good as Lesnar, and then Strowman comes out and says he’s going to beat Brock Lesnar, but Drew McIntyre Claymore Kicks him from behind!
Chris Novak: If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that they were turning Braun into a babyface again.
Elias came out, played a little guitar, and then Apollo Crews came out. After a spirited contest, Elias prevailed.
Kurt Angle cut a promo about everyone else in the WWE World Cup. Honestly kinda dug this.
ELIAS IS PERFORMING AN ENCORE! Wait, no he’s not.
Robert O’Neill: Baron Corbin comes out and says absolutely not, Elias runs him down for a little bit, then leaves, but comes back and smashes his guitar into Corbin’s back! Face Elias. I’m here for it.
Chris Novak: As am I! I’m ready for this.
The Rousey-Nikki contract signing is next. The Bellas bolt as soon as Ronda gets in. Rousey says she’s not gonna go after them tonight, but wants Nikki to sign the contract so she can on Sunday. They eventually get in, and Nikki says that Ronda’s mother (who Ronda mentioned earlier in the promo) would be embarrassed for her if a “diva” beat her. Nikki signed the contract and slapped Ronda, which didn’t incite Ronda… yet. She signed and said that she’d end her, and she has her word.
Robert O’Neill: There was trash talk and slapping but no one went through the table, which is always the lone highlight of contract signings.
Chris Novak: Seth and Dean were interviewed and they put together a pretty great promo.
Ember Moon beat Nia Jax, Tamina and Dana Brooke in a Fatal 4-Way Match. Right woman won.
They did a very nice segment with Titus and breast cancer survivors.
Trish and Lita were interviewed by Charly Caruso before Evolution. Alicia came in to intervene, and then Mickie James joined in to jump them both. They got the upper hands… until they didn’t. Conspicuous by her absence was Alexa, who’s reportedly injured. That would add up if she wasn’t able to even partake in this brawl here. Hopefully she’s OK.
They then went on with the main event. The Tag Team Titles were on the line, as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins challenged Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. After a very lengthy match, Rollins dropped Ziggler with the Curb Stomp to get the 1-2-3 and the titles.
AND THEN THEY DID THE FUCKING DEAL!
THEY TURNED DEAN AMBROSE ON TONIGHT OF ALL NIGHTS!!!!
Ambrose dropped Seth with Dirty Deeds in the ring, beat his ass in the ring and out, and then hit him again with Dirty Deeds on the exposed concrete floor.
Holy shit, I cannot honestly process all this at once. That might be one of the tackiest things they’ve ever done, but at the same time… it’s absolutely brilliant. Ambrose is set for life as a villain and BOI if you thought Ciampa was a villain, Ambrose is about to ascend to another level. Everything about this was sold incredibly well. The entire Dunkin Donuts Center was in shock. You had people LEGITIMATELY IN TEARS! You don’t get that kind of raw emotion. Yes, the cost to get there was insane and probably really bad. But… holy… wow.
Robert O’Neill: That was an all-time great Raw moment. From The Shield winning the tag titles to Dean becoming the industry’s top heel within the span of five minutes, wrestling is at its best when it invokes emotion, and it’s the cream of the crop when you get your entire spectrum of emotions in a five minute span.
Chris Novak: I don’t know how like… I don’t know how to grade that Raw properly. I thought I was going to be in a haze after Roman’s announcement. I really did. But they lured me back in and… I don’t know. That was a wild, wild ride, and one that we’ll likely (and hopefully) never deal with again.
Robert O’Neill: Get well soon, Roman. A+
Chris Novak: SmackDown kicks off with the former SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The New Day. Before we get started, we find out that The Bar will defend their newly won titles against The New Day. Big Show was in the graphic, so he will, in fact, be involved in this match. Kofi says that they set the bar… and lowered the bar. He wonders what we’re all thinking: Big Show?!?!Xavier wonders if he’s the bar…tender. Cue Big E making a joke about how many times he flips and calls him a flapjack.
So, here’s The Bar with The Big Show. One person from each side will be facing off in singles action to start the show. As it turns out, it’s… The Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston. Show dominates this match and hits him with more than a few chokeslams. Four in particular before the match gets thrown out after The Bar and The New Day decide to just collide in the ring. New Day wind up getting absolutely smoked. Is to be expected in order to get Show over as an X-Factor.
Robert O’Neill: I really like how they’re using Big Show. I think Big Show vs. Big E is an eventual money match, but for now they can keep doing it this way, The Bar using who they needed to use to even the odds was a great choice.
Chris Novak: Usos-Bryan & Styles is next. They played an extremely well-produced video package about Roman’s announcement from last night. Unsurprisingly, this was fun yet again. The Usos won again over Bryan and Styles, this after an errant Pele Kick struck Bryan, which led to the victory.
Robert O’Neill: The Usos have been doing incredible work so far in this feud. It’s so simple and so well done. Bryan and AJ are starting to have a rift, which is what you have to do in face vs face singles feuds.
Chris Novak: They played a video of an altercation that Charlotte and WWF Champion Becky Lynch got into over the weekend. It was pretty well done and capped off with a pull-apart brawl featuring the women of NXT. I am, of course, really digging this angle. Charlotte cut a (pre-recorded) promo afterwards saying she would win back the Women’s Title. Standard fare.
Miz hosted Rey Mysterio on MizTV. Miz recapped what he missed while he was gone, essentially, and put himself over as the multiplatform star of WWE. Mysterio says he’s disappointed that he wasn’t on Truth TV, which got a few laughs. This eventually led to a physical altercation, and then that led to a really fun match. Miz fell to Mysterio after being hit with the 619.
Robert O’Neill: Miz and Rey Mysterio reigniting their Summerslam 2012 feud. Classic! It was kind of weird to do this match since both are in the World Cup and will probably face off again in that, but it was a good match.
Chris Novak: We were supposed to have a women’s tag bout between Naomi & Asuka and Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville. But then The IIconics showed up… and then everyone else showed up and we got a brawl. Asuka stood tall at the end of it. It was battle royal hype.
Randy Orton defeated Jeff Hardy in the main event. The match was pretty okay all things considered.
Robert O’Neill: Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton didn’t really do anything for me. It’s just like… we’ve seen this already a lot this year. It was a very weird decision
Chris Novak: For the first time in a long time I thought Raw was significantly better than SmackDown. That’s not to say this show was bad, it just wasn’t great, while Raw was. I’ll give this a solid B-, but they could’ve put something better in for this show, I felt.
Robert O’Neill: I tend to agree, Raw was the better show this week. Smackdown was just kinda there, which is rarely the case, but it kind of felt like a big inconsequential bore. C+