This week in WWE
Chris Novak: Alright, so we start off with Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt as an Elimination Chamber Qualifier. Guess how that went?
Robert O’Neill: It was actually a pretty good match (it was a Roman TV match, duh). Bray got his moves in and reminded me that he’s actually not terrible in the right role. Then Matt Hardy came out and laughed like a moron. Segment ruined.
Chris: I’ve gathered you aren’t much of a fan of The Delete Man. But I know who you are a fan of: The Revival. They got some burn tonight against Finn Balor and “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson.
Robert: *ahem* TOP GUYS WATCH: The Revival came out, scheduled for a singles match against Finn Balor. That was quickly turned into a tag match as Finn picked Karl Anderson as his partner
Chris: And… oh, what is this? A Bayley-Sasha interaction on my TV? Hey now, Sasha’s watching her match last week, lamenting in her loss. Bayley attempts to get things out of Sasha, but she says she’s keeping her tricks to herself. Then… oh, baby, then things get SPICY. Sasha, preposterously, asks Bayley if she really thinks she can beat Asuka. So, what does Bayley say in return? “I know I can beat YOU.” !!!!!!
Robert: Have Bayley face Sasha at Mania in the Eddie Guererro/Rey Mysterio WM21 frienimies match and ride the wave all summer.
Chris: That’s all I’ve ever wanted in life. We seem to be on a collision course for that now. Especially with them referencing the Rumble. I suspect Bayley loses this match, maybe with Sasha interfering, and Bayley gets the better of Sasha at Elimination Chamber. Then, Banks snaps.
And hey, look at that, the Cruiserweights had a fun tag match. The crowd got involved. Drake Maverick is a fun guy. I think they might have finally figured this whole division out. What say you?
Robert: I was happy to see Drew Gulak, because he’s a treasure. Cedric Alexander is also fun as hell and probably should be the next Cruiserweight champion.
Kurt Angle encouraging the YOU SUCK chant makes the whole thing really lame.
Chris: It really does, doesn’t it? Hey, Alexa Bliss works here? I had no idea. Anywho, Alexa is mad now that Nia could get added to the match. Hey, what a surprise that Bliss is good on the mic.
Robert: That got kinda weird in a hurry. I get what they were trying to do but… yeah they took it a bit too far.
Chris: Not sure how much I liked the whole “sexist” bit. Poorly contrived there. HOWEVER… they addressed a lot of the complaints that people have had about Alexa (someone should write an article about her treatment on RAW) so, in that sense, I liked it. We’ll see where this takes us. I have no idea why they’re having Nia-Asuka happen, where Nia would get “added” to the match. Asuka never made her decision. Unless they’re pulling our legs, and having Asuka go to SDL after the match, thereby setting up… Alexa vs. Nia? At Mania? Hmmm.
Robert: It wasn’t the best match Bayley and Asuka have ever had, but it was fun. I like this new trend where it looks like there’s at least a chance Asuka might lose the match. Nice refresh from the first couple months of her main roster stint.
Chris: What a surprise that Very Good Professional Wrestler Bayley had a very good match. I, for one, am shocked.
No, I’m not shocked. That was EASILY one of her best matches on the main roster. Her 2017 was injury-riddled and mired in some, um, let’s call it “poor” booking and be nice about it. Yeah. Anywho, I want to see more of this Bayley going forward. The attitude. The SNARK. The aggressiveness in the ring. That was all very good.
Now, let’s shift gears. Looks like The Miz is fighting for his Elimination Chamber spot against Apollo Crews. A SummerSlam 2016 rematch!
Robert: That was fun. Apollo is good. Titus Worldwide is a lot of fun. Miz winning was probably the right decision because he can get involved with someone else in the chamber for an IC title match at Mania.
Chris: Wait, we get TWO Roman matches tonight? What a night. Jordan, injured evidently, couldn’t go, and with Rollins needing a partner… Roman shows up #outtanowhere, and nothing even needed to be said there. If I wasn’t so damn sure that Jordan was being written off TV here because of his reported neck issues (I hope he heals up, because that’s scary shit) I would say he was going to cost Reigns and Rollins this match.
And then what happened? He DID cost them the match.
Robert: Roman and Seth work well together (duh). Sheamus and Cesaro are great (duh.) Jason Jordan is dumb and Kurt Angle banished him from Raw until he “gets medically cleared”
Chris: Wait. Hold on a minute here. We had a Nia squash and an in-ring interview. Then we had Sonya versus Mickie… *does the math* SIX WOMEN’S SEGMENTS? THREE WOMEN’S MATCHES? What in the world is going on? Are they… gasp… actually rolling out with proper booking and presentation of the women? Finally? My word.
Also very intriguing that Alexa saved Mickie. Rob, your thoughts??
Robert: It’s definitely interesting, but I actually really like it. Alexa knows she needs all the help she can get in the elimination chamber, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see her continue to butter up some of her opponents.
Roman Reigns def. Bray Wyatt to qualify for the Elimination Chamber
Finn Balor & Karl Anderson def. The Revival
Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali def. Drew Gulak & Tony Nese
Asuka def. Bayley
The Miz def. Apollo Crews to qualify for the Elimination Chamber
The Bar def. Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan to retain the RAW Tag Team Titles
Nia Jax squashed Vanessa Floyd, a jobber
Mickie James def. Sonya Deville
Elias def. John Cena and Braun Strowman. Elias will enter the Elimination Chamber last
Robert: We were in the building for Smackdown this week, so our views may differ, because the live wrestling experience bumps everything up regardless of if it’s actually good. That’s just science.
Chris: It’s true. Live wrestling experiences are typically great and much better than watching on TV. The only bad part is the fact that you may have to deal with a bunch of dorky and sometimes uncomfortable fans.
Robert: I really want this Shane/Bryan story to have a satisfying payoff. And I want Bryan to be cleared and have a match, but damn if this isn’t starting to get annoying. It’s just repetitive. And, as I’ve noted, I like Styles/Zayn/Owens a whole bunch, but they don’t work well together.
Chris: I liked this angle a lot when there were layers to it. Now they just seem to be dragging it out unnecessarily. Kill the bait after Fastlane and get one with Nakamura/Styles. Please and thank you.
Robert: Liv and Charlotte worked really well for me. You knew Charlotte was going to win the entire time, but how they tell that story is so important. Liv tried using the numbers game to her advantage until Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan got ejected from ringside, and Charlotte was able to use her size and strength advantage to overpower Liv. You can tell they have high hopes for Liv though.
Chris: I get the sense that Charlotte’s gonna face Ruby at Fastlane. Or perhaps face all three in a Fatal 4-Way of some kind. I don’t particularly know, but it would be fun either way. That said… uh, where was the rest of the women’s division? After the absolutely brilliant usage of the women on RAW, with character developments, multiple matchups (including a very good one with Asuka and Bayley) the fact that SDL had one and only one segment dedicated to the women was incredibly disappointing. Then again, SDL’s women’s division has always either been overrated or thrown together.
Robert: It’s Wednesday evening and the Bludgeon Brothers theme is still stuck in my head. I was kind of curious as to if The Usos could have a good (eventual) match with them given the difference in size and styles, but The Usos are one of the best tag teams in WWE history, so they’ll be fine. Speaking of The Usos, they cut another banger of a promo.
Chris: That they did. You have to respect what they’ve done over the past year. Reinvented themselves and then some. The Usos-Bludgeon Brothers seems like a fair bet for Fastlane. I don’t know what’s to come after that, but The Usos have more than earned the right to be on the main card of WrestleMania.
Robert: Rusev and BOB ROODE had a fantastic match that made me believe more than once that Rusev may pull off the victory. Rusev is incredibly over with the live crowd, and it seems like just a matter of time before he gets a title, either US or WWE. Not to mention, Aiden English has put his heart and soul into the singing gimmick and made it incredible. Randy Orton coming out and RKOing everyone at the end was dumb because Randy Orton sucks.
Chris: I’m going to disagree here. I actually like the prospect of Orton-Roode going forward. Orton’s chasing after the one championship he’s never gotten (he’s basically gotten everything except for the old WWE Tag Team Titles from SmackDown and the current RAW Tag Team Titles). Even though this would be a feud where you have two guys who work better as heels than faces. I don’t know, I’ll wait until the jury’s out here.
Robert: I can’t help but to feel like they could be doing more with Gable and Benjamin, especially considering how they booked them the last two months. Being the heel jock tag team is good, I guess, but they’re very good and probably should get more action.
Chris: The rest of the tag division could certainly be booked a lot better, because these two are terrific characters right now.
Robert: Despite being beyond tired of Zayn/Owens at this point, this match worked for me. You can tell these guys have been fighting each other for most of the past two decades, and whenever Sami does the spot where he dives through the gap between the turnbuckle and the ringpost, I go crazy for it. The ending was… whatever. I would have rather seen Sami win just to get some fresh blood in the match, but Styles is winning anyway so it really doesn’t matter who they have him face. This is why having a PPV between the Rumble and Mania is dumb.
Chris: There’s always been PPVs before the Rumble tho, Rob. They gotta maketheir money somehow. Being predictable isn’t necessarily a wrong thing either. That said… God, like I said before, please just end this stuff.
Robert: The Mixed Match Challenge remains a ton of fun. The fact that Goldust is still working in 2018 is pretty amazing to me, and his laugh during the “you still got it” chant was excellent. Mandy Rose continues to be better in the ring than people give her credit for, and Naomi and Jim Uso unsurprisingly worked well together. Daniel Bryan as the guest ref was a cool touch too, even though he Pebbles Flintstone’d his hair for whatever reason.
Chris: Honestly crying at the Pebbles Flintstone comparison. Because it’s totally true. This was a fun one, but I’m still annoyed that we missed out on Elias and Bayley by a week. Cannot wait to see those two in the ring with a guitar next week. Going to be EPIC. EPIC I tell you. EPIC.
Charlotte def. Liv Morgan in a non-title match
The Bludgeon Brothers squashed two jobbers
Bob Roode def. Rusev to retain the United States Championship
Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable def. The Ascension
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn fought to a no contest