This Week in WWE: Generation N... X... T takes the spotlight

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Chris Novak: Raw has begun with Triple H out in the ring. H Man is here to talk about how we’re on the road to WrestleMania. He puts over Bayley and Sasha Banks (GOATS) and their EC victory to become the Women’s Tag Team Champions. He puts over Finn Balor and how he became the Intercontinental Champion. ALSO, Trips puts over Kofi Kingston and his efforts in the EC match for the WWE Championship and, hey, some praise for Becky Lynch, too. Also talked about how DX will be inducted into the HOF. And… hereeeeee comes the NXTers!

Robert O’Neill: Johnny Gargano, Tomasso Ciampa, Ricochet, and Aleister Black are here! How exciting! Apparently they’re all going to be in action tonight. Is this a full-time call up? Who knows! We’ll have to wait and see! In the meantime, we start the night with Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman in a tables match.

Ya know, that was good. I hated their match at Elimination Chamber but this one was fun. They got the stairs involved, the announce table, and everything in between. Strowman got the win when he throw Corbin through the table up against the turnbuckle.

Chris Novak: Will agree here. That was considerably better than last night’s effort, which is very pleasing indeed. Anyways… WE ARE GETTING EVIL DIY VS. THE REVIVAL TONIGHT, OH MY LORD IN HEAVEN. That match is going to bang. Ruby-Ronda in a rematch from last night is scheduled also.

Here’s Paul Heyman, who made his presence felt by nearly getting in a confrontation by Braun (although it was Braun who made it happen). He will apparently be speaking after the break.

So he turned to a video package (that was obviously extremely well done). They bring up how it’s not believable that Seth Rollins will beat him.

BUT HERE COMES FINN BALOR! The new IC Champ! He will either be in action after we get back or be talking. We’ll see.

Robert O’Neill: He starts talking about his Intercontinental Title victory, but Lio Rush comes out to say that it wasn’t fair to Bobby Lashley. Lashley attacks Balor from behind, and the two beat him up before Ricochet comes out for the save! That was exciting.

Chris Novak: That’s one way to utilize Rick O’Shea. Guess we’ll be doing a tag again.

Robert O’Neill: Holy crap, what a match. It started off a little slow, but once it picked up it was a PPV-caliber tag match. It’s nice to see what Lio Rush is capable of, and Ricochet is going to be one of the biggest stars in the company in the next few years. Ricochet pinned Rush for the win.

Chris Novak: Quality showcase for Ricochet to be honest.

Afterwards we got a match between The Lucha House Party and Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. As expected, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado won after Hawkins got pinned. Match was completely fine and inoffensive. Hawkins looked pretty good in spots. I’ll say as much, I can’t wait for when Hawkins wins.

DIY-Revival is N E X T.

Robert O’Neill: I can’t wait. Let’s do this.

BEFORE WE GET THERE THOUGH, Heavy Machinery comes out for an interview with Charly Caruso, then Lacey Evans comes out and does her walk down the ramp, then Tucker and Otis do the same thing, with an added Bushwhackers tribute. Then we go backstage for some banter between Gargano/Ciampa/Roode/Gable/Revival. Now it’s match time.

Chris Novak: Match was a sprint and Evil DIY got the win. Very good showcase for them both as well, to be honest. I’m digging how they’re making the NXT-ers look. Revival lose literally nothing by losing to these two either.

Robert O’Neill: I was mad about it for a moment, but yeah it’s fine. All four guys looked good. It wasn’t as good as their Takeover matches, but that wasn’t a realistic expectation.

Chris Novak: It’s all about showcasing the top talents.

Anyways, BOSS AND HUG TIME! Bayley and Sasha are out here to celebrate being the first-ever WWE Tag Team Champions. And… well, that was a segment, I guess. Bayley and Sasha talked themselves up and then Nia and Tamina came out and talked THEMSELVES up, which led to Bayley and Sasha sending them off on their way.

Robert O’Neill: Hey, D-Generation X is going in the Hall of Fame. How exciting!

Dean Ambrose is here for his match with Drew McIntyre.

Chris Novak: And… now he’s not. The match is over.

Robert O’Neill: That was quick! McIntyre won with a Claymore. No surprise there. Then we get another part of the Brock Lesnar video, followed by Rollins saying it’s all correct but it doesn’t matter because he’s still going to win. Then Ambrose runs into Rollins backstage and asks why Rollins didn’t come help him against McIntyre. Very funny.

Elias is here.

Chris Novak: And so is Aleister Black! Aleister fought Elias and unsurprisingly won via Black Mass. Match was rather emphatic.

Ronda vs. Ruby for the Women’s Championship is next.

Robert O’Neill: Well, Ronda won. But it was a really good match that showed what Ruby could do, which is a far cry from the people that said they completely ruined her forever at Elimination Chamber. This is why we let things play out.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: I really enjoyed this Raw. There was nothing I didn’t like, despite me thinking the Strowman/Corbin match would be bad. It kept me entertained and engaged for three hours and I thought the NXT infusion was a really good jolt to the program. However, something just felt like it was missing and keeping this show from being truly great.  

Chris Novak: Felt like a refreshing show but the crowd certainly didn’t take it that way! I really enjoyed this Raw to be honest. It did feel a little lacking in some regards, but this was definitely a better effort than the last few weeks. B for me too.

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Chris Novak: SmackDown Live has begun in NOLA with Shane McMahon. As he makes his way to the ring, we recap what happened in the Elimination Chamber in the WWE Championship Match. Mostly, highlighting Kofi Kingston’s absurd performance. A six-man tag is confirmed for tonight, as Kofi will team with Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles against Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe and Randy Orton. I already know that six-man tag is going to bang.

Shane announces that the four NXT-ers we saw last night will also be on SmackDown tonight. So, that’s cool with me. Miz then comes out to interrupt. Miz says he used Shane because he wanted his father to be proud of him. I’m glad they’re making Shane’s desire to make Vince feel proud of him canon after all of the Twitter jokes about it. Miz thanks Shane but brings up how they lost. Miz said he let him down, and says he can’t change the past, and knows about the no auto rematch clause, but says Shane can make the match.

Robert O’Neill: Shane is hesitant though, and here come the Usos! They egg Shane on to the point where he schedules the rematch for Fastlane, in Miz’s hometown of Cleveland. Uh-oh…

Chris Novak: Next up… Aleister Black vs. Andrade!~

Robert O’Neill: Well that was a ton of fun. Aleister hit Black Mass for the win to keep the story going that Andrade has never beat him. They’re doing a great job making the NXT guys seem important.

Continuing with that, we go backstage to Kayla Braxton talking to Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa and they’re interrupted by The Bar, and we’re gonna have that match next!

Chris Novak: Aleister-Andrade was a very fun match, as is to be expected when you put those two together in the ring. They did some neat stuff and I think it’s kind of cool that Aleister’s debut in NXT was against Andrade AND his debut on SmackDown was against Andrade. Plus, they fought each other in NOLA in the same building last year at TakeOver when Aleister won the belt.

I don’t doubt that DIY-Bar is gonna be the same way, in the sense that it’ll be a good match. That match is next.

Robert O’Neill: Alright, a lot to unpack here. DIY got the victory in a good match, but the big story was Sheamus landing right on Ciampa’s knee after a top rope sunset flip. The referee threw up the X and it seemed like Ciampa was in quite a bit of distress, but he later returned to break up a pinfall and seemed to be fine, but it was a scary sight. We’ll have to wait and see if there’s an update.

Chris Novak: The update is that Ciampa and Sheamus are fine. Luckily. This match wasn’t as good as last night’s match but it was still a fun tag. It served as a reminder that DIY is an all-time great babyface tag team, as well, because they certainly put forth a great effort here.

Robert O’Neill: Asuka is out for an in-ring interview about how the focus has been on Ronda/Charlotte/Becky lately, and she’s fine with it, but she’s looking for new challengers. Enter Mandy Rose!

Chris Novak: We get a random cameo from Lacey Evans during this. Of course. Mandy and Asuka put on a pretty solid matchup here (no surprise considering it’s Asuka, who’s gonna be fine). Mandy won clean as a sheet, which I’m sure will upset people. But it’s fine. They’ll put her in a title match against her at Fastlane, I’d venture.

Robert O’Neill: Ricochet is facing Eric Young, which seems kind of random, but I’m sure it will be fun!

Chris Novak: This was a fun showcase match for ol’ Rick, who got the win after the 630. He just looks like such a star out there. They’ll fall in love with this dude in no time. Guarantee it. All of the NXT showcases the last two nights have been damn near perfect and it’s a nice little change of pace. I can’t complain that they’re giving these guys some boost. It’s obvious that they’re the big faces of the promotion and they should have some exposure on the main roster. Don’t know if they’ll cycle in anyone else over the next few weeks but I’m not mad about this at all.

Robert O’Neill: Time for the main event. Before we get going, Bryan says that after the match we’ll know who he’s facing at Fastlane, but it won’t be anyone in this match, because he already beat them all!

Chris Novak: A few stars are conspicuous by their absence tonight, no, Rob?

Robert O’Neill: We haven’t seen Rey Mysterio, Rusev, or Shinsuke Nakamura tonight.

The six man tag commences and naturally there’s a lot going on. Kofi gets the victory by pinning Daniel Bryan as it seems like they might actually pull the trigger on Kofi/Bryan at Wrestlemania after all.

Chris Novak: Very fun six-man to conclude a very solid night of wrestling for the blue brand. Kofi gets the title shot at FASTLANE, not WrestleMania, which is fine and good for me. The first one-on-one WWE Title shot of his career. The Q will be rocking in his favor, no doubt about it. So they didn’t utilize Mysterio, Nak or Rusev, but honestly it’s fine. Their replacements were good choices and this show flowed together very well. Big fan of this episode of SmackDown, per usual.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: It’s kind of amazing how deep the Smackdown roster is considering they had a great show without Rusev, Nakamura, Mysterio, Truth, Naomi, Carmella, Charlotte, or Becky. Obviously the NXT guys coming up helped, but it’s cool to see they utilize the talent on the roster in many different ways. A-

Chris Novak: God, this show is SO good. A- for me too. No matches really missed for me except Ricochet/EY and that was still even more than palatable as a showcase for him. Really just love the blue brand right now and that’s only going to accelerate more as time goes on.