This Week in WWE: Missing the mark on Becky Lynch and the return of The Shield
SummerSlam has come and gone and it's time to reset! Rob and Chris dish on what happened this past week on Raw and SmackDown!
Robert O’Neill: On the heels of a fantastic weekend of wrestling, WWE continues rolling along with Raw! Newly crowned Universal Champion Roman Reigns is out to open the show and the crowd seems… quite pleased? Why didn’t they do this months ago! Anyway, Roman mentions how he said he was going to beat Brock and win the title, and he did that!
And he says he’s going to be a fighting champion starting tonight, and says he’s going to wrestle Finn Balor, who never got a rematch for the Universal Championship. Constable Corbin comes out though and says that won’t actually be happening since he wants a rematch with Balor after last night’s Demon shenanigans. Kurt Angle then comes out and says Corbin doesn’t make the matches and Roman/Finn is the main event, while Corbin has a match right now against Bob Lashley!
Chris Novak: I can’t think of a better way to put Roman over as a fighting champ than to have him have a TV title defense, especially so against Finn! Fantastic start to the show. Lashley-Corbin was… eh, not so much. Sort of dull. Lashley wound up getting the W.
Robert O’Neill: And now it’s Boss Time! And… Bayley Time! Alright, that needs some sort. Anyway, they’re having a six-woman tag match with Ember Moon against the Riott Squad.
Chris Novak: I really, really, really appreciate the fact that Bayley and Sasha’s attires are meshing together their TakeOver: Brooklyn I attires. Strong work by The Gawd, Mikaze. I dug that match a whole lot. Ruby continues to prove to be the benefactor here in this story they’re weaving together. She won with a big ol’ Riott Kick (which was sold excellently by Sasha, I might add).
Robert O’Neill: That was a lot of fun. These teams could fight every week and I wouldn’t mind it. It’s consistently great.
Chris Novak: Triple H cut a promo hyping up his match with The Undertaker at Super-Showdown. I… don’t care. Moving on.
Robert O’Neill: Yeah that was weird and didn’t really accomplish anything!
Chris Novak: Not a thing. I just cannot be bothered to care about this.
Robert O’Neill: Dean Ambrose is in action! And he’s facing Dolph Ziggler. And… ya know what, it was a good match. Ambrose has an intensity we haven’t seen in a while, and looked excellent for his first match back. They teased Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre (both outside the ring) eventually feuding, and Ambrose got the win after a chaotic sequence led to Dirty Deeds. Good stuff.
Chris Novak: Was very much impressed with Dean’s offense in this match. New look and new strikes and new everything for Ambrose. I’m totally here for it.
Robert O’Neill: Elias is here, and he’s going to perform tonight because he didn’t get to perform at Summerslam. But Curt Hawkins comes out and says that he’s from New York and he wants to end his losing streak in Brooklyn!
Chris Novak: I'll say this: When they finally have Hawkins beat somebody, it's going to be a big moment. There'll be people concerned about who he beats, but man, they're lowkey doing this thing well.
Robert O’Neill: Authors of Pain are out here to face Titus Worldwide. How new and exciting! AOP gets the victory in pretty dominating fashion.
Chris Novak: Can we just... I don't know, get on with the show here with the tag division? No? Okay.
Robert O’Neill: Stephanie McMahon is in the ring and the entire women’s roster is ringside for Ronda Rousey’s coronation as champion. Stephanie puts herself over for a bit on the mic before Ronda comes out and mentions to Steph that every woman around the ring played a part in getting the division to this point, and that she’s not going to run through all of them, just those who deserve it. Then she puts Stephanie in the armbar!
Chris Novak: Okay… so… that segment was kind of corny but it accomplished what it sought out to.
Robert O’Neill: The B-Team is in the ring to gloat about their win over The Revival, who come out shortly later to face the B-Team in singles matches. First we get Scott Dawson against Bo Dallas, and Dawson gets a victory (with a RamPaige, no less!). Then Dash Wilder beats Curtis Axel. Extremely good stuff.
Chris Novak: You’re only saying that because they actually listened to reason.
Robert O’Neill: Stephanie McMahon is with Alexa Bliss and Constable Corbin and a trainer. Kurt Angle comes in, and Steph is none too pleased to see him. In fact, she tells him to take a vacation and names Corbin the acting GM of Raw. Well then.
Chris Novak: Can I just say… if this leads to Alexa being integral in decisions… aka “Corporate Bliss...” TURN THAT UP!
Robert O’Neill: It’s time for the main event! Roman Reigns is in action against Finn Balor and the Universal Championship is on the line! It’s kind of nice to see that on the line on an episode of Raw again, isn’t it?
Anyway, the match was as good as you would expect between two of the top guys in company. Obviously Roman was going to win the entire time, but they made Balor look great. Late in the match, Braun Strowman’s music hit and he came out with the briefcase, Balor almost got the win with this distraction, but Reigns hit a quick spear. Strowman hit the ring and gave Reigns a big boot and looked set to cash in, until…
SIERRA. HOTEL. INDIGO. ECHO. LIMA. DELTA. SHIELD.
Chris Novak: HOLY SHIT!!
Robert O’Neill: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose came out in full kevlar and surrounded the ring, and Strowman succumbed to the odds, and got triple powerbombed through the announce table to end the show.
Chris Novak: That’s one way to end that show!
Robert O’Neill: What a show. Obviously the main event and Shield reunion will be what people remember, but this was the best Raw start-to-finish in recent memory. It hit all the notes for me and we have new fresh post-Summerslam storylines to look forward to, which is excellent news. The title being back every week is already as good as we all hoped it would be. A
Chris Novak: As you mentioned Rob, they really hit it out of the park. It’s so refreshing to have a champion around and defending it on Raw. The end angle was awesome and a great way to head into the fall with The Shield around in full force. Loved this episode. I’ll give it an A too.
Robert O’Neill: Miz and Maryse are out to start the show! This should be good. Miz says he’s retiring… from ever facing Daniel Bryan again! He’s moved on to a new part of his life which includes watching Miz and Mrs right here on the USA Network after Smackdown! Excellent.
Bryan comes out and he’s NOT happy. He goes on about how Miz is a coward and Maryse tells Bryan he should change his name to Daniel Bella, which brings Brie out! And she hits Miz a few times before they retreat, but Daniel Bryan gets back on the mic and says he and Brie will be facing Miz and Maryse at Hell in a Cell in a mixed tag match!
Chris Novak: If we get Total Bellas Bullshit out of this, it will be worth it. 100%. I would imagine we get Brie vs. Maryse out of this at Evolution, as well.
Robert O’Neill: Jeff Hardy’s here for his match with Randy Orton. This should be fun, I suppose. I’m not really into either of these two but it’ll be good.
It actually was pretty good! They beat each other up pretty good and then it spilled ringside and into the crowd. If only there were a structure that could contain that sort of thing from happening. Perhaps a cell of some sort. Holy crap, Jeff did a Swanton Bomb off a piece of storage equipment through a table.
Chris Novak: Jeff is a freaking madman. Evergreen.
Robert O’Neill: Renee Young is talking to The Bar, and they want to face the winner of tonight’s tag team title match. Not so fast! The Club comes up, dressed as Lord Alfred Hayes and Gorilla Monsoon, and announce that they would also like to face the winner. They’ll probably have a match at some point.
Chris Novak: They are! Next week! Watch the product Rob. Just kidding. Anderson and Gallows’ impersonations were ace stuff and amused me greatly.
Robert O’Neill: Naomi is in action against Peyton Royce! After a good back and forth match, Peyton gets the win after Billie Kay distracts Naomi.
Chris Novak: A big W for Peyton here. I don’t know if it’s going to lead towards anything, but a big win for her nonetheless. Nice to see Naomi on TV.
Robert O’Neill: Becky Lynch is out here to discuss her actions from Summerslam, and she’s not backing down. Good. She shouldn’t. As she mentioned, she fought for months and earned a singles title match and Charlotte weaseled her way in and ruined it all. But not she’s also mad at the fans, because she never had a hashtag and everyone cheered when Charlotte won, but that’s really not true. So this is a weird way to do this. Why is Charlotte the sympathetic one? I know you have to make Charlotte look strong for the eventual match against Ronda Rousey, but good lord. I’ll continue to say it, Charlotte is booked like people think Roman Reigns is booked.
Chris Novak: There is no other way to put this: This is an incomprehensibly stupid decision on almost every single freaking level imaginable. I don’t usually go in like this, and anyone who’s read these recaps since we’ve started doing them knows that. But this is SO stupid. READ THE ROOM, WWE. READ THE ROOM.
Robert O’Neill: We have a SUMMERSLAM REMATCH as Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega are in action against Rusev and Lana.
Aiden English got involved late in the match and stopped Almas from hitting Rusev with a chair, leading to the opportunity for Rusev to lock in The Accolade and make Almas tap.
Chris Novak: That match was considerably better than the one that took place at SummerSlam. I do wonder still if this "feud" will continue, or if we'll just keep on keeping on with the dissension in the ranks of the 'Rusev Day' triumverate.
Robert O’Neill: Renee Young is interviewing AJ Styles on the stage and he apologizes for his actions and says if Samoa Joe ever talks about his family again… we don’t get to hear the rest because Joe pulls him off the stage, puts him in the Coquina Clutch, and looks right into the camera to tell Wendy Styles that AJ won’t be home to tuck the kids in tonight. Good lord.
Chris Novak: Joe is such a piece of shit. SUCH a piece of shit. And that... that is why he succeeds as a bad guy.
Robert O’Neill: Main event time! It’ll be Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods against the Bludgeon Brothers, as Big E is still reeling from getting a hammer to the ribs at Summerslam. We had a ton of back and forth action in this one, as it was probably the best Bludgeon Brothers match since they became the Bludgeon Brothers. I think the fact it was No-DQ and the fact they were working with one of the best tag teams in WWE history helped, as well.
Chris Novak: Awesome tag bout. Not much else to say other than what you said, Rob. They made it so Rowan’s injury was highlighted since he took that bump into the barricade (although wrestling with a torn bicep probably isn’t wise). New Day are champs again, and we’ll likely get New Day-Bar out of this. So, all is pretty well.
Robert O’Neill: WWE has really started to get these Takeover Weekend formulas down pat. On paper, watching 12 hours of wrestling over four days sounds daunting and unpleasant, but no part of this weekend was. Smackdown was slightly worse than Raw, to me, but I’m also a huge Shield guy. Also the Becky Lynch stuff was enough to knock the blue brand down to a B for me this week.
Chris Novak: See, I'm the opposite, Rob. I thought this show was excellent and on par with Raw, if not better. But, there were two things that kept me from giving this an A+. #1 was Almas losing, but at least that's repairable. But this Becky Lynch angle... it's bad. The decision was bad. The writing was bad. Everything about it... bad, bad, really, really bad. I'm giving this show an A-, because it was an excellent show. But those two things, the Becky item in particular, helped it to avoid a perfect grade from me.