Posts tagged Carmella
First Black Champ: Get Flewed Out To Wrestlemania

Kofi Kingston could really be the first 100% Black WWE Champion and it's giving us chills! But before we get to that we got to talk about all the relationship highs and lows happening in the world of wrestling. Did Corey Graves destroy Enzo and Cass just to knock down Carmella? We unpack that and so much more!

Then we get get to the Oral History of Mark Henry! This is the blackest episode EVER...of the #FirstBlackChampPodcast.

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Re-booking TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2018

Normally I wouldn’t do this for a B-show PPV in the middle of December, but the direction that things have been going in for the last couple of months has been pretty poor. In that case, I might as well have some fun with it. Here’s what this Sunday’s TLC PPV would look like if The Barber’s Chair booked it.

Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin - TLC Match

Source: WWE Network

Source: WWE Network

Assuming this match will still take place, the stipulation is as follows: If Strowman wins, he will receive a shot at Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship next month at the Royal Rumble, and Baron Corbin will be stripped of his GM-elect role. If Corbin wins, he will become Raw GM permanently.

What Should Happen: The Baron Corbin authority angle was fun to me in the beginning, even with Kurt Angle being placed on “vacation”. But it’s run its course (as with all authority angles), and this is where it ends. Braun Strowman wins.

What Will Likely Happen: Braun Strowman returns, makes quick work of GM-elect Baron Corbin, and a new GM will be announced on Monday. Hopefully we get a Brock Lesnar appearance as well.

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose - Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Dean Ambrose hasn’t competed on TV since the emotional night when he turned on his Shield brothers and attacked Seth Rollins two months ago. The heat has kind of cooled off on Ambrose since then, but it’s still fresh enough to pick it back up again.

What Should Happen: If the TLC match from this past Monday is indicative of anything, Seth Rollins should lose here due to one final power play from Baron Corbin. It wouldn’t make sense to have Rollins win two ladder matches in six days, but then again what has made sense on this show since October?

What Will Likely Happen: Seth Rollins may likely be considered the unanimous MVP over the course of 2018, and he doesn’t necessarily need the Intercontinental belt at this point. It would be wise to let Dean Ambrose go over in this one as Rollins (hopefully) transitions into Universal title contention over the next few months.

Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship

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Environmentalist Daniel Bryan aka The NEW Daniel Bryan might be the favorite WWE version of the former American Dragon. He also helps solidify my theory that tree-hugging vegans aren’t as nice of people that they think.

Bryan’s heel turn has done wonders to rejuvenate his career, and his WWE title run has been fun sp far. AJ Styles has consistently been one of the best workers in the company, and I can’t really name a bad match that he’s put on since debuting in the Federation three years ago. We all know what these two can bring, and I’d love to see them top the match they had on Smackdown a few weeks ago.

What Should Happen: For someone who was as beloved as Daniel Bryan was for the last five years, if you’re going to make him a villain, you have to go all out with it. To keep AJ Styles strong, have him win by DQ as Daniel Bryan goes crazy with a brutal attack as he further cements himself as the top dog on Tuesday nights.

What Will Likely Happen: I don’t know what’s in store for Daniel Bryan as we merge onto the Road to WrestleMania, but he’ll be WWE Champion for the good portion of that ride.

Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

After legitimately breaking Becky Lynch’s face and taking her out of Survivor Series, WWE’s used the incident to propel Nia Jax towards another battle with Ronda Rousey six months later. This is one of three matches I don’t really care about, but it will have some long term ramifications to it.

What Should Happen: Make no secret that I am Ronda Rousey’s #1 hater, but the honeymoon phase with her has long passed, and I can see myself eventually having some competition if Ronda isn’t booked as someone we should care about. Jax has been positioned similarly to how she was in NXT, albeit this time she’s been given more mic time, which is another factor to me not giving a shit about what goes on in this feud. Six months after their initial battle, Rousey now has a little more experience and should be able to command the battle better this go around. She needs to look good in victory.

What Will Likely Happen: I can honestly see them formulating the matchup the same exact way that it was done at Money in the Bank, this time with Rousey actually getting a chance to close it out. Either way, she’ll be walking into 2019 still the Raw Women’s Champion.

Asuka vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair - Triple Threat TLC Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

This absolutely NEEDS to main event the show on Sunday night. (The Man) Becky Lynch has been incredible since winning the belt at Hell In A Cell, and her 2019 is already shaping up to be a great one if they book her the right way. Unfortunately, I see her dropping her title this weekend in one of two ways...

What Should Happen: Asuka started off the year strong by winning the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble, but a loss to Charlotte at WrestleMania has derailed any momentum she had until just recently. Winning her first main roster championship would help her close out the year strong at a point when it seemed her WWE career was dead in the water.

As for Becky Lynch, this would give her the opportunity to jump ship to Monday nights, as we know that she has some business there waiting for her in the form of Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey. Perhaps a Royal Rumble win is in line?

What Will Likely Happen: Charlotte wins yet again *insert eye roll emoji*. Asuka has still yet to beat Charlotte one-on-one, and it’s likely that a Charlotte victory can build to a rematch in New Jersey this spring.

Drew McIntyre vs. Finn Bálor

This stat may be shocking if you haven’t paid attention, but Finn Bálor is undefeated in PPV singles matches since debuting on the main roster (6-0). Hopefully they play up this fact, as it’s something simple that can help the fans invest into this match even more.

What Should Happen: Can we get a Demon King appearance on this PPV? Drew Mac can surely afford a loss to THAT incarnation of Finn Balor.

What Will Likely Happen: WWE seems to have Bálor be the reliable stepping stone for others at this point in his career (not that that’s a bad thing), and I don’t expect anything different this go around as the Scottish Psychopath continues to run roughshod over the Raw roster. Drew McIntyre has asserted himself as a force on the red brand since his return in April, and now seems primed to reach the heights expected of him in 2009. A win here keeps him strong going into the Royal Rumble, as he can position himself as the favorite to win the annual classic.

The Usos vs. The New Day vs. The Bar for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

I just want to get one thing off of my chest before proceeding with this match preview: Why the FUCK is this not a TLC match or at least a ladder match?

With that being said, This is a sleeper for match of the night. We already know what The Usos and New Day can bring to the table, and The Bar has slowly crept up to legendary tag team status (I recently realized that they’re in their FIFTH title reign in only two years). Should be a great match that will possibly open the show.

What Should Happen: There hasn’t been a whole lot of heat with this feud, but it isn’t necessary when you have three great teams like this. The Bar have been on a good run here, but I can see WWE wanting The New Day to set a record of title reigns (plus I’m bias), and a win here would bring them that much closer.

What Will Likely Happen: Since The Bar stood tall on the go home show this past week, that usually spells doom come the PPV. The Smackdown Tag Team belts have been playing hot potato a bit this year, so it would be smart to stick with a team and build them into the new year.

Elias vs. Bobby Lashley - Guitar Ladder Match

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Before the main event of every PPV, there’s a moment where I go “Weren’t so and so supposed to wrestle?”, only to find out that match already happened on the pre-show. This is that match and I’ll probably never watch it.

What Should Happen: Bobby Lashley has been EXTREMELY lackluster since coming back to WWE. And while the partnership with Lio Rush had some potential early on, it’s very meh at this point. Have Rush pull a James Ellsworth and help win the match for Lashley, but have him receive his comeuppance post-match.

What Will Likely Happen: A likely pre-show main event, Elias wins to hype the crowd up for the main course.

Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy for the Cruiserweight Championship

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Aside from their boss having an R. Kelly fetish all of a sudden, the 205 Live guys have been getting a lot of shine the past couple months. This past Tuesday, Mustafa Ali had a fantastic match with the WWE Champion Daniel Bryan, and while typically being relegated to the pre-show in the past, the Cruiserweight title has been defended on the main show in two of the last three Network exclusive events. Hopefully that trend continues this Sunday night, and I expect Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander to shut the place down.

What Should Happen: Continuing on with my “Let all the black wrestlers win tonight” narrative, I’m going to choose Cedric Alexander for no other reason.

What Will Likely Happen: It’s awfully soon for Buddy Murphy to drop the title, and I see him continuing his run of dominance over the Cruiserweight division. Time for some new blood to step up and present a new challenge.

Natalya vs. Ruby Riott - Tables Match

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

I don’t typically like when real life deaths are included in a storyline, but I can understand why it’s done, especially when all those involved agree with it. However, I really don’t care about this feud and can’t wait for it to end this weekend.

What Should Happen: I don’t believe crowds are invested enough in these two women enough to have Ruby Riott win. Riott has antagonized Natalya over Jim Neidhart’s death this entire feud, so there’s really only one way to end this and that’s with the Hart family name standing tall.

What Will Likely Happen: Sasha Banks, Bayley and Ember Moon aren’t doing anything noteworthy this evening. Let them help Natalya even the odds

Fabulous Truth (R-Truth and Carmella) vs. Mahalicia (Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox) - Mixed Match Challenge Finals

R-Truth and Carmella’s chemistry has been a factor in building momentum for their run through the tournament. And while Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox have slowly but surely gotten on the same page, there are some kinks that still need to be worked out if they want to close strong. It was harder to get invested in this season of the Mixed Match Challenge as injuries and kayfabe write-offs didn’t help at all. At the end of it all, the two healthiest teams from each brand persevered, and now have a shot at coveted #30 position in their respective Royal Rumble matches.

What Should Happen: I always look forward to a surprise #30 entrant each year, but Dolph Ziggler’s overall performance this past year made it a little lackluster. So I guess I can lower my expectations for 2019 since I know neither of the two on the men’s side have a chance of winning. Although, there’s a bit more credibility with Jinder Mahal being a former world champion which you can go off of, rather than R-Truth who has been an amazing comedic act for years.

What Will Happen: We get a Royal Dance Break at #30 as Fabulous Truth comes out of this one victorious. Should be a no-brainer, but I can’t wait to see if Truth tries to enter the Women’s Royal Rumble.

Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton - Chairs Match

Source: WWE

Source: WWE

Sidenote: I was in the 8th grade when these two first feuded on Smackdown in 2005-06. Glad to see they can both haven’t lost a step since.

Rey Mysterio has only been back in WWE for about two months, but it’s like he never left. The chemistry that he and Orton have when working together is amazing, and they won’t disappoint on Sunday.

What Should Happen: Randy Orton has been on a tear since his heel turn at Extreme Rules, and it wouldn’t make much sense to have that randomly stop here. The Viper’s run of dominance should continue on.

What Will Likely Happen: It’s a toss up as to who WILL win this match, as they can go either way with it. However, Rey Mysterio will always be in a great position to recover after a loss (see Jeff Hardy at Hell In A Cell) to where it wouldn’t be an issue.

WWE Summerslam 2018: Results, reactions and analysis
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The Biggest Event of the Summer has come and gone! Rob and Chris are here to talk about what went down in Brooklyn on Sunday night.

Andrade Cien Almas & Zelina Vega vs. Rusev & Lana

Robert O’Neill: Our first match of the preshow was a fun one, as Almas and Vega picked up the victory when Zelina pinned Lana after a distraction from Almas. I’m kind of fine with letting both of their feuds continue for a while, but I could also see this as a feud ender.

Chris Novak: Match was just okay. Nothing inoffensive. But just okay. Finish was a little bit sloppy. Not really sure who that was on between Zelina and Lana. I don’t see this being a feud continuer. This seems like a feud ender. Rusev lost to Andrade, Aiden lost to Andrade, Lana lost to Zelina, and they just lost to Andrade and Zelina. There’s only so many times you can keep going to the well with them trying to get one over on them, especially when they just keep losing. I expect the division between Rusev, Lana and Aiden English to be the next phase here. That’s a gimme. Where Almas and Vega go from here is all that’s left to really wonder. Gonna give this .

Cruiserweight Championship: Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak

Chris Novak: Now, this match was quite good. Very good in fact. Another sloppy finish with a roll-up though. Maybe someone’s trying to tell them something. Anyhow, the energy that these two brought was refreshing. Very glad they were able to show their stuff in a matchup that got plenty of time. Gulak looked great in this and, of course, Ceddy did too. I loved the finish, even through its sloppiness. Gonna give this ***½, but I’m a high grader and easy to please.

Robert O’Neill: That was excellent. Watch 205 Live more if you haven’t been. It’s excellent stuff. I agree that the end was sloppy, but the right guy won and I’m interested in seeing where they go next, and that’s really the important thing at a Big 4 PPV, which should serve as a reset button for the product.

Raw Tag Team Championships: The B-Team vs. The Revival

Chris Novak: So, this was fine from the jump as Revival did a lot of good limb work and double-teaming. As one should expect. Axel eventually got the hot tag and wound up picking up the victory after Bo barreled into a small package, which was reversed. I don’t particularly understand keeping things rolling with the B-Team as champs, but such is life in the Raw tag division. This was considerably better than the Kickoff opener but not better than Alexander-Gulak. **½ for me, but obviously, Raw’s tag division remains in the pits.

Robert O’Neill: That was stupid and had another stupid distraction finish and the B-Team won. What a dumb decision. I don’t see the point of continuing to hold down the tag division by having a comedy act as the tag champions, and I don’t see the point of making them look unbeatable. Aside from the result, it wasn’t horrendous, so hopefully it turns into a feud and The Revival eventually get the victory

Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler (w/ Drew McIntyre) vs. Seth Rollins (w/ Dean Ambrose)

Chris Novak: This match felt like it was missing something. They ran a match to start the show and did so in slow and plodding fashion. Only until later did they get into a second gear and by then, it was probably too late. There was a pretty ridiculous bump late in the match when Seth got DDT’d onto the apron. Then Seth did an inverted Superplex, which led to a spinout slam later, which was absolutely ridiculous. Action picked up at the end when Seth got near falled, and Ambrose came around to drop McIntyre off the apron and then with Dirty Deeds. Rollins hit Ziggler with a kick and then the stomp led to the 1-2-3. Seth is your NEW IC Champion. I will give this ***¾, but the finish was awesome. Just too slow in some parts for me.

Robert O’Neill: I think the last five minutes definitely made up for the first 15 or so. Everything after that back superplex spot onward was awesome, and I’m glad they told a good story with getting Drew and Dean involved, and the right guy definitely won. It was also smart to not have Ambrose turn on Rollins, like everyone seemed to have wanted to happen.

SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day

Chris Novak: I didn’t think they’d give these guys a lot of time considering how the SDL Tag Team Titles have been utilized on big shows before. However, they went and sorta proved me wrong. They went a pretty damn decent length and Big E and Xavier Woods went OFFFFFFFFF. Woods had a CRAZY elbow drop off the top rope to the outside. They ended this in DQ fashion after Rowan decided to get the mallet involved. Unfortunate finish as the match itself was real good beforehand. I will put this also at ***½ but the lack of a clean finish hurts more than it helped. That being said, it didn’t completely crater the match.

Robert O’Neill: I think they have to find a way to make the Bludgeon Brothers more… something. I don’t think dominant is the right word, because they face jobbers every week, they’re clearly dominant. But they’re missing something. Especially compared to The New Day, The Usos, or even The Bar. The match was fine, and I think Big E and Xavier Woods have become my favorite New Day tandem, but using the hammers for a DQ finish was lame.

MITB On the Line: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens

Chris Novak: Owens got absolutely blitzkrieged. Arguably the strongest Braun has ever looked, considering the opponent. He’s fresh for a cash-in attempt later. * for that. Not much to work with.

Robert O’Neill: Well that’s certainly not how I wanted that to go! But Owens should probably take some time off and rest up. And yeah, tonight is pretty interesting now.

SmackDown Women’s Championship: Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair

Robert O’Neill: A lot of people on Twitter didn’t care for the match. I thought it was pretty solid. Charlotte won after hitting Natural Selection on Becky Lynch, which is an inexcusable booking error, HOWEVER, Becky finally snapped and beat the hell out of Charlotte afterwards and the crowd ATE IT UP.

Chris Novak: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. What an indefensible situation made up for by the fact that Becky got an absolute MONSTER pop of a reaction. The match itself was pretty good and I liked it. Some of the spots were a little bit all over the place. I do like the ending now in hindsight, as Becky came close to winning, but Charlotte ruined her chance of winning by hitting Natural Selection for the 3 count. That being said, if this doesn’t end with Becky winning the title, then this was all for naught. Because, my goodness, putting the title on Charlotte was foolish otherwise. Going to give this a solid ***.

WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

Chris Novak: This was a match that, like the first match of the night, picked up towards the end. And this one REALLY picked up by the end. The match came to a close after a DQ finish, after Joe told Styles’ wife that he would be her new daddy. Styles went on a rampage thereafter. I personally loved this match and how this all was all set up along the way. I will give this ****¼, and it’s the easy MOTN so far. Job well done to both dudes here, who really picked this bad boy up along the way.

Robert O’Neill: People thought this match would be bad, too! It wasn’t. It was very good after things picked up. And the finish was pretty perfect and sets up nicely for Hell In A Cell next month. Joe is such a great heel, and to watch him keep that up for another month will be so good. Definitely my match of the night so far.

8 Years in the Making: The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan

Chris Novak: This match delivered in every possible way imaginable. Both these dudes brought their A-games with them and it showed throughout. I loved and adored the storytelling that this match had. Miz used a ‘loaded fist’ to knock Bryan’s lights out when he tried to dive through the ropes, leading to the 1-2-3. Just a freaking excellent match. Easy MOTN, and screw it: I’m giving that the FIVE. SNOWFLAKE TREATMENT. *****.

Robert O’Neill: It’s rare that something actually lives up to the hype in wrestling but good lord that was good. It was old school through and through and this feud is gonna last for a while. I can’t wait for it, personally. I think it’s a strong contender for match of the year so far.

Finn Balor vs. Constable Corbin

Chris Novak: THE DEMON RETURNED!!! I have no other thoughts about this other than THAT was great. * since it’s a squash, but it was cool as fuck.

Robert O’Neill: Whew, boy. Finn’s in the demon paint! Shit’s about to get real! And it did. He took about two minutes to pick up the win and looked super aggressive. That was great. That’s how they SHOULD use him when he has the Demon paint.

US Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy

Chris Novak: Jeff Hardy went totally bonkers. He went to hit the Swanton Bomb on Nakamura, who was lied out on the apron. BUT NAK MOVED! Hardy took an absolutely sick bump on the apron (which may’ve been very much unnecessary). Nak then finished him off with the Kinshasa. Honestly dug this match, although it was the weaker of the last few lengthy matches we’ve had. ***

Robert O’Neill: Yeah that was fine. Jeff’s probably gonna get some time off. Shinsuke’s probably gonna feud with… someone new. Orton? Who knows. Good match though!

Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey

Chris Novak: This turned out to be exactly what it needed to be. Alexa got in almost no offense, and anytime she did, Ronda no sold it. Rousey tapped Alexa out with the armbar and became the NEW Women’s Champion! So we get two women’s titles to change hands, though this one is a lot more palatable. * for me, because it was a squash, but it did its damn job.

Robert O’Neill: Ronda is so good. We go over it all the time, but it’s pretty amazing every time. Natalya came out with her, too, which was a nice touch. The match was fine, and probably the necessary result, though I’m obviously very sad as a big Alexa fan.

Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar

Robert O’Neill: Well, they finally did it. Roman looked strong as hell as he pummelled Brock early on before getting caught with a guillotine, but he got out of it! Meanwhile, Braun Strowman was at ringside and mentioned before the match started that he would be cashing in on whoever wins. Well, that didn’t go well. Both Roman and Brock took turns beating Strowman up, and ultimately, beating Strowman up is what cost Lesnar the match, as he got into the ring and ran right into a spear. Strowman couldn’t cash in because he was wounded from an F5, so Roman won and the show ended. It was a great match.

Chris Novak: Jesus, what a ride that match was. A chaotic, frenetic match. I thought Roman was going to win off the bat with those Superman Punches and the Spear, but then THAT was turned into a Guillotine Choke. It didn’t stop there though. Braun got beaten up badly by Brock, and paying attention to his possible next victim while ignoring his current threat is such a way for Brock to lose. His arrogance did him in, and he FINALLY paid the price. Roman caught him napping, and Braun was too incapacitated to cash in after. Job well done here. ***¾ for me.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: What a show. It’s rare that a 13 match show has 75% of the matches deliver, but I don’t think there was anything I actively hated, Charlotte winning aside). Everything was at least passable, and I think it’s neck and neck with the Royal Rumble for PPV of the year. All I look for after a big four show is intrigue to watch Raw and Smackdown the next two nights and that’s present here. It seems like Brock Lesnar’s time with WWE is over, so seeing where Paul Heyman goes and what the WWE title being back on TV every week means is super intriguing, as is the continuation of all the Smackdown stuff. A-

Chris Novak: So, let’s go through my match ratings here.

Rusev/Lana vs. Andrade/Zelina: *½
Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak: ***½
The B-Team vs. The Revival: **½
Dolph Ziggler (w/ Drew Mac) vs. Seth Rollins (w/ Dean Ambrose): ***¾
Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day: ***½
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens: *
Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte: ***
AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe: ****¼
The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan: *****
Finn Balor vs. Constable Corbin: *
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy: ***
Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss: *
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns: ***¾

The one star matches were just that way because they were squashes, but all of them were extremely well done and well put together. Especially the Women’s Championship Match. You have, in my opinion at least, four matches that nearly or are at four stars or higher. With one five-star match, in my opinion, with The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan. No other match, with the exception of the two on the pre-show, felt like a total stinker or just not up to snuff. That makes for a really damn good show.

The only problem I had was with how indefensible it was to put the title back on Charlotte. That being said, there’s a reason why I’ll be a LITTLE bit more reserved with that, mostly due to how the moment will be if/when Becky gets one over on her down the line. Plus the ambivalence about The Revival/B-Team. Everything else? The right man (or woman) won. It’s rare that you see that sort of thing happen in EVERY match but two, in this writer’s opinion.

A- for me as well. This SummerSlam was certainly a damn good show that I think went right up with TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 on Saturday night. Job well done.

Ruthless Aggression EP 29 - RIP Anvil
Five dream matches we want to see at WWE Evolution
Courtesy: WWE

Courtesy: WWE

Throughout the last week, speculation ran rampant as to what Stephanie McMahon's "historic" announcement would be to kick off Monday Night Raw. Stephanie, Vince and Triple H opened the show to confirm that the first-ever all women's PPV titled Evolution would be taking place on October 28th on Long Island. 

In addition to the finals of the 2nd annual Mae Young Classic, all women's championships from Raw, Smackdown, NXT and NXT UK will be on the line. Also announced were WWE Hall of Fame superstars Trish Stratus and Lita, which could give us a few clashes between past and present that we may not get a chance to see again. Here are five matches that I'd personally like to see on the big show.

 

Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte

Courtesy: WWE

Courtesy: WWE

While it would make sense to have the most high profile name in your company win her first WWE championship on this show, I'll go another route here. This match is rumored to be on the book for WrestleMania 35, but with Stephanie McMahon wanting to build up the Evolution event as the annual WrestleMania for women, a showdown between the two biggest superstars in the division is the perfect match to headline the show.

The IIconics vs. LayCool

I'm not the biggest fan of The IIconics, as they come off as a (not as good) 2018 version of LayCool to me. Because of that, the build to this one would be fairly easy to pull off, with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce playing up the ages of their adversaries. And of course, who wouldn't love to see Layla El back for one night? 😍

Nia Jax vs. Kharma

Having torn up the women's scene in Japan and TNA during the 2000s, Amazing Kong made her WWE debut as Kharma in 2011, although her run would be short-lived following a pregnancy and unfortunate miscarriage. The 2012 Royal Rumble notwithstanding, Kharma never competed in a WWE ring.

Nia Jax's run thus far has been what Kharma's should have been. This probably wouldn't be a good match, but two of the most powerful women in WWE history could be fun if kept short. There's also another opportunity for WWE/GLOW cross-promotion, which WWE hasn't been shy to take advantage of.

Beth Phoenix vs. Asuka vs. Jazz

While the previous match *probably* wouldn't be good to watch, a triple-threat between arguably the three most dominant women ever could steal the show. These superstars all are bruisers inside of the squared circle, and assuming that Beth Phoenix and Jazz can still go full throttle, this could be a show-stealer.

Sasha Banks vs. Bayley

Courtesy: WWE

Courtesy: WWE

We've seen this one before several times in NXT, but both Sasha and Bayley's time on the main roster has been kind of lackluster. With their feud starting to heat back up on the road to Summerslam, the ultimate finale in their series should take place at Evolution.

From the first-ever Women's Hell in a Cell match to the first-ever Women's Elimination Chamber, WWE's eye is always on making history during this Revolution period. The first-ever Last Woman Standing match on the main roster should be reserved for these two.

Honorable Mentions

Trish Stratus vs. Sasha Banks
Becky Lynch vs. Lita
Asuka vs. Ronda Rousey
Charlotte Flair vs. Beth Phoenix
Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Sonya Deville
Trish Stratus/Lita vs. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks

Money in the Bank guide: previews, predictions for NXT Takeover & MITB

What started as a unique concept for Wrestlemania has turned into the fifth of WWE's new "Big Five" pay per views: Money in the Bank! The big event returns to the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, but this time bringing its indie darling, NXT, along with it for a stacked card on Saturday night. Of course, the main course will be not one, but TWO Money in the Bank ladder matches - one for the men and one for the ladies. The Barber's Chair has your guide to all of the matches this weekend, including who we think will leave Chicagoland victorious.

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Ricochet v. Velveteen Dream

Pierce: This is a Dream match, no pun. Not because I've wanted to see it for years, but because I didn't know I wanted to see it this badly. This should open Takeover, and could attempt to steal the show just like the ladder match did in New Orleans. Dream has his sights set on one of two things: an NXT title or a WWE call-up. A win furthers both objectives.
Prediction: Velveteen Dream

T.C.: I didn't care for Dream's whole schtick when he first debuted, but his match with Aleister Black at War Games completely changed my opinion of him. I think he's an easy choice to face Black in a rematch in Brooklyn, so it'll be smart to keep his momentum going into SummerSlam weekend.
Prediction: Velveteen Dream

Markus Howell: Let me be the first to tell you that I might be the biggest Velveteen Dream fan just because of everything he represents and how damn good he is. Dude is a MEGASTAR. That being said, this match is a MOTY candidate for sure. Ricochet is proven between those ropes and Dream ain't too bad himself. Dream needs a win here though before he enters "Bray Wyatt" range.            Prediction: Velveteen Dream

Chris Novak: This match really fascinates me. I think it has major steal-the-show potential and will probably end up kicking things off on Saturday night. I get the sense that Velveteen Dream is going to win. Ricochet may have only started a couple months ago, but he's a big star. He can afford the loss, and can afford to put Dream over. You can easily slide Ricochet into a feud with Adam Cole for the NA Championship or even have him in a side feud with Aleister Black on the road to Brooklyn, and nobody would really bat an eye. Speaking of which, I think this Dream win will tee up Dream/Black II in Brooklyn, like T.C. said. 
Prediction: Velveteen Dream

Robert O'Neill: The first of two MOTN candidates, I really can't wait to watch these guys in person. They were the high points of the best multi-man ladder match of all time at Takeover NOLA and there's no reason to believe this match won't be awesome. Dream wins though because I think he's going to be the next #1 contender for the title and this is your start of that.

Prediction: Velveteen Dream

NXT Women's Championship - Shayna Baszler (c) v. Nikki Cross

Pierce: Shayna is mid to me, but they're running with her as long as they can. Nikki Cross belongs up top anyway.
Prediction: Shayna Baszler

T.C.: What the hell happened to SAnitY debuting on the main roster? I'd assume they're holding off until Nikki is done in NXT, but I can see them trying to distance her from the group at this point as she gets a run with the Women's title down in Orlando.
Prediction: Nikki Cross

Markus Howell: Seems like this match was thrown together randomly. But hey, whatever. This has all the components of a filler match until Bianca Belair is done smoking everybody else in the division.   
Prediction: Shayna Baszler

Chris Novak: Haven't minded the build to this. Nikki is crazy as hell and I think her finally getting a 1-on-1 TakeOver opportunity rules. I don't see her winning the belt though. She'll fall to Shayna, but this match should be real good.
Prediction: Shayna Baszler

Robert O'Neill: It's really hard to get a read on this because Cross is probably overdue for a title shot and Shayna really hasn't done much as champion, but they likely won't have her lose yet. Baszler retains.

Prediction: Shayna Baszler

NXT Tag Team Championship - Undisputed Era (c) v. Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan

Pierce: Burch and Lorcan are good hands but they have no business winning the tag titles over Undisputed Era.
Prediction: Undisputed Era

T.C.: Undisputed Era are flaming hot right now, and things are only looking up for the group. Burch and Lorcan have had the Undisputed Era's number the last few weeks, but it's not their time yet.
Prediction: Undisputed Era

Markus Howell: Undisputed Era > nWo. Kyle O'Reilly air guitar with the title > Hollywood Hulk Hogan air guitar with the title. Do I need to say anything else?
Prediction: Undisputed Era

Chris Novak: Markus, I completely agree about KOR's air guitar being better than The Hulkster's. This match is going to surprise a lot of people who may not be familiar with Lorcan and Burch. Then again, if you watch NXT, you probably are anyway.
Prediction: Undisputed Era

Robert O'Neill: While a lot of people were surprised that Lorcan and Burch got the title shot, I think it’s it’s pretty cool. However, I think Undisputed Era retains because they have the numbers in their favor provided Adam Cole goes to the ring with KOR and Roddy Strong.  

Prediction: Undisputed Era

NXT Championship - Aleister Black (c) v. Lars Sullivan

Pierce: Ion really fuck with Lars.
Prediction: Aleister Black

T.C.: Aleister Black hasn't really had a chance to show off as champion since winning the belt back during WrestleMania weekend, and I can't see him losing here. Lars Sullivan has laid the champion out multiple weeks now, and looks stronger than ever heading into Chicago, but Black will finally overcome the thorn in his side.
Prediction: Aleister Black

Markus Howell: This match here has seemingly gotten overshadowed with the Ricochet/Dream and Gargano/Ciampa feuds. LARS (Yes we capitalize that man name around here) has looked great in the past few months. Black has been relatively quiet waiting on this new challenger to appear and boy has LARS appeared. It's a bit too early for Black to drop the title though so look for him to hold on the strap a while longer.
Prediction: Aleister Black

Chris Novak: I'm not surprised that this match has gotten a second- or third-billing deal. This feels like Roode/Itami from last year in Chicago, in that it's a transition feud where the challenger doesn't stand much a chance. I like Lars a lot but putting Black over is the easiest choice of the night. 
Prediction: Aleister Black

Robert O'Neill: The NXT Title match is the third most hyped match on a five match card, which is odd, but also perfectly fine. This will be a good match that a lot of people will sleep on. Black retains.

Prediction: Aleister Black

Chicago Street Fight - Johnny Gargano v. Tommaso Ciampa

Pierce: This rivalry is destined to end in Brooklyn, so it's only right Tommaso wins, probably through some fuckery involving Candice Lerae. These two put on the match of Wrestlemania weekend and could do the same in Chicago.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

T.C.: Usually when someone's wife or girlfriend gets injured in a personal storyline, that's a red alert to me that they'll be turning on their partner down the line. Ciampa wins after interference from Candice LeRae, setting up a Hell in a Cell battle in Brooklyn.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

Markus Howell.: Ciampa is the best heel in the business and possibly the best heel we have seen in YEARS. Everything about this man just oozes evil and he does not care one bit. Using simple wrestling logic here though, it says he will pull out the win in a brutal, yet satisfying match and set up the final installment in this epic rivalry at Brooklyn.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa      

Chris Novak: Ciampa wins because Candice LeRae incidentally costs her husband, Johnny Gargano, the victory. No heel turn here, but she'll try to save Gargano from himself and he'll pay for it. Hell in a Cell cometh in Brooklyn.
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

Robert O'Neill: How poetic. It all comes back to Rosemont, where Ciampa turned on Gargano in the first place. It kills me to say it, but I think Ciampa wins and sets up a rubber match with all the stakes in Brooklyn.

Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa

mitb.gif

Women's Money in the Bank
Charlotte v. Sasha Banks v. Natalya v. Ember Moon v. Becky Lynch v. Alexa Bliss v. Naomi v. Lana

Pierce: Booking history tells me Natalya wins & probably cashes in on Ronda, but the superstar who needs the briefcase the most is Becky. She talked on Smackdown about falling to the back of the pack since being the first SDL Women's Champion. She needs something to reinvigorate her character, so give her the briefcase and let her have fun with it.
Prediction: Becky Lynch

T.C.: If Natalya doesn't win this, then I don't see the point in them making her a focal point with the biggest star in the division the past few weeks.
Prediction: Natalya

Markus Howell.: Okay so look, I think everybody knows I'm not a fan of this person but I'd be hard pressed to find someone who is a more "That's so WWE" pick to win this match than Ember Moon. Yes, they are setting Natalya up for another turn (she's like the female Big Show when it comes to that I swear), but Ember just screams "safe pick".                                                                Prediction: Ember Moon

Chris Novak: Have to agree with T.C. here. The obvious choice based on EVERYTHING they have put out there is Natalya, as terrible a wrestler and performer that I find her. Alexa and Charlotte have no business winning this, and neither does Lana. Ember hasn't been here long enough. And while Becky, Sasha and/or Naomi would be great choices because of the kinds of performers they are, well... it wouldn't be the first time or the last time they overlooked ability.
Prediction: Natalya

Robert O'Neill: This one certainly has me more hyped than last year’s version. I really want to see Sasha or Becky win, but it will likely be Natalya which will be dumb.  

Men's Money in the Bank
Braun Strowman v. The Miz v. Finn Balor v. Samoa Joe v. Kevin Owens v. Rusev v. Bobby Roode v. Big E/Kofi Kingston/Xavier Woods

Pierce: All of these guys would make for a great winner besides Bobby Roode, but the Awesome one has killed it the last two years and will get his long-deserved second run with the belt in due time.
Prediction: The Miz

T.C.: My head says Samoa Joe, but I'm selecting my choice with full stan mode enabled: The Miz wins. 
Prediction: The Miz

Markus Howell: Ahem. Click here
Prediction: Samoa Joe

Chris Novak: Mike "The Miz" Mizanin wins MITB for the second time in his career. I would say that he'd cash in later in the night, but this match will probably main event the show. 
Prediction: The Miz

Robert O'Neill: This is probably the hardest match of the night to pick because I could see any of the eight men winning. If I had to pick one, it would be The Miz, and I'm not even super sold/confident on that.  

Daniel Bryan v. Big Cass

Pierce: Daniel doesn't need a win here. He made Cass submit last month. I hate even steven booking but if Daniel wins here, what am I supposed to make of Cass?
Prediction: Big Cass

T.C.: Part of me wants to think they'll give Daniel Bryan the win again (especially if there's still some backstage heat on Cass as reported a few weeks back), but I'm gonna assume there's a swerve in the making with Cass evening the score against his tiny foe.
Prediction: Big Cass

Markus Howell: Outside of not giving two shits about this feud.......yeah that's all I got man. It's a warmup feud for the both of them returning from their respective injuries so whatever. Prediction: Daniel Bryan

Chris Novak: I didn't think Bryan needed the win over Cass at Backlash. But they gave him it in emphatic fashion. I don't think he needs the win here at MTIB either. But Cass has been written as kind of a dickheaded goof. So maybe Bryan will make him tap out anyway. I gave Cass a chance, and he hasn't exactly been great. Just put Bryan over again.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan

Robert O'Neill: I guess Cass could use a win over Bryan, but I'm also not sure Cass can be saved at this point. He just doesn't have "it". Whatever happens, I hope this is the last match these two have.

Prediction: Big Cass

Roman Reigns v. Jinder Mahal

Pierce: Is it fine to say I just don't care where they go with Roman anymore?
Prediction: Roman Reigns

T.C.: Contrary to public opinion of these two, I actually think they're really good workers. But the chemistry between the two isn't working for me as a fan. Hope this is a one and done and they both move on to something else next month. 
Prediction: Roman Reigns

Markus Howell: NOW THIS IS WHY IM HERE BABY. CONTENT. THE MAHARAJA HIVE IS HERE. DON'T HINDER JINDER. I DON'T GET WHY PEOPLE HATE JINDER. THE MAN HAS DONE NOTHING BUT WORK HIS ASS OFF TO GET BETTER AND PEOPLE HATE HIM. The Maharaja ain't losing to no dude who wear Brett Favre wranglers in his downtime man. Hell no. Prediction: Jinder Mahal

Chris Novak: This will be a better match than the crowd gives it a chance to be. I will side with Markus here and say that the Maharajah is successful.
Prediction: Jinder Mahal

Robert O'Neill: Contrary to what the likely crowd reactions will lead you to believe, this should be a perfectly fine match. Each man cost the other a spot in the MITB match, so the motivation for this match is clear and smart. I think Jinder wins with underhanded tactics and Roman gets him back at Extreme Rules.

Prediction: Jinder Mahal

Bobby Lashley v. Sami Zayn

Pierce: This is my piss break.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley

T.C.: Absolutely pointless and terrible feud. Hopefully this doesn't go more than 7 minutes.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley

Markus Howell: #FreeElGenerico
Prediction: Sami Zayn

Chris Novak: God, this feud sucks.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley

Robert O'Neill: Lashley wins and we never have to think about this feud again.

Prediction: Bobby Lashley

Smackdown Tag Team Championship - The Bludgeon Brothers (c) v. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

Pierce: The Bludgeon Brothers finally got some competition in Anderson and Gallows, and while I think the Good Brothers will get the strap eventually, now's not the time.
Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers

T.C.: Harper and Rowan have been built up as THE guys in the Smackdown Tag Team title division (rightfully so, they're the champs), and it doesn't seem like the Good Brothers have enough momentum right now to start another reign right now.
Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers

Markus Howell.: The Good Brothers and The Bludgeon Brothers. The Brothers against The Brothers. Which sounds better? Good or Bludgeon? Cool hand gestures and a dude with a nickname like Machine Gun or dudes with fake ass mallets and horrible ring gear? Yeah, exactly. Prediction: Anderson and Gallows

Chris Novak: SmackDown Live's tag division is not nearly as dead as Raw's is, but for a division that has Bludgeon Brothers, Good Brothers, The Usos, The New Day AND The Bar as well as Rusev Day, this should be a hell of a lot better than it is. I digress. The Bludgeon Brothers will likely win on the kickoff show.
Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers

Robert O'Neill: There's been a surprising lack of build to this match, but it should be pretty solid provided you enjoy watching four big dudes beat each other up. If you don't, well, it's not for you. Bludgeon Brothers retain.

Prediction: The Bludgeon Brothers

RAW Women's Championship - Nia Jax (c) v. Ronda Rousey

Pierce: I was back and forth on this until Ronda's UFC Hall of Fame induction was announced. WWE would be smart to flex her as their champion at the event.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey

T.C.: I'm sure WWE caught some early rumblings about Ronda Rousey getting inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame next month, and decided to hot shot her into the title picture ahead of the time they wanted to. Always thirsty for mainstream attention, they'll slap the belt on Ronda, get some press the following Monday, and then have Natalya cash in the following night.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey

Markus Howell: This match gonna be trash. Nia, as fine as she is, aint that good in the ring and Ronda just too green in the ring. Ronda can legitimately beat Nia ass so idk man. Having Ronda win is a real slap in the face. To who? Take your pick. Also kinda dumb how they just randomly made Nia a heel in this feud. Also dumb how much Rousey smiles and taps hands with the fans. It's annoying. Idk who wins here but for kicks and giggles.......
Prediction: Nia Jax

Chris Novak: I still don't understand why this match is happening so early but, like T.C. said, this probably has a lot to do with fishing for mainstream press. Ronda wins, but I don't think she makes it out of Rosemont with the championship. Nattie's going to cash in and win it, meaning Natalya vs. Ronda Rousey will be the summer women's program. God help us all.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey

Robert O'Neill:  Well, Ronda certainly isn't going to lose her first singles match. The big thing to watch is if there's a cash in after.

Prediction: Ronda Rousey

Smackdown Women's Championship - Carmella (c) v. Asuka

Pierce: Carmella has no business losing the belt two months in, no matter how good Asuka is.
Prediction: Carmella

T.C.: I have no idea what is going to happen here. When Carmella had the MITB briefcase, I always looked at her as a transitional champion and nothing more than that. However, she's GOLD as a character, and the belt only enhances that. I'll be safe here and say Asuka comes out with the W.
Prediction: Asuka

Markus Howell: I. Love. Carmella. As. Champ. There I said it. She's been looking better. Her mic skills are gold. Her character has improved. And her in ring skills....well......she don't need to show them because of her heel work. I love it. Asuka has lost her aura since losing at Mania and I just don't get what the payoff was for that. Not sure what's gonna happen here but Asuka aint winning.
Prediction: Carmella

Chris Novak: Carmella wins because James Ellsworth is going to return and help her get the W.
Prediction: Carmella

Robert O'Neill: Carmella’s run has been delightful and I think it continues either by countout, DQ, or underhanded tactics

Prediction: Carmella

Intercontinental Championship - Seth Rollins (c) v. Elias

Pierce: The Walk With Elias Intercontinental Title Tour is about to heat up all summer '18! Elias is crazy over... some times gimmicks don't click in NXT but they work in the Federation, and Elias has made the most of his time up. Rollins is a great guy to take the belt off, and it doesn't hurt him to lose; it only propels him to that inevitable championship match with Brock.
Prediction: Elias

T.C.: I've been huge on Rollins' run as IC Champ thus far, and a huge fan Elias' whole run on the main roster. I feel like it's time for Seth to move on to bigger and better things, but with Extreme Rules a month away, I can see them dragging this feud out until then.
Prediction: Seth Rollins by DQ

Markus Howell: It's Elias' time. Seth doesn't need the title anymore and I'm sure Elias can continue to elevate the IC title. Also, the IC title > Universal title. But anyway, this match should be a great one. I wouldn't be surprised to see Elias win clean, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see a DQ. Prediction: Elias

Chris Novak: It's time for everyone to walk with Intercontinental Champion Elias. Seth won't lose anything by dropping the belt to him. Depending on what you read into with the rumors about Brock, this could free him up for a feud at SummerSlam with him. If not, then we get a summer feud between these two. Either option is OK with me.
Prediction: Elias

Robert O'Neill: If they're going to do Seth/Brock at Summerslam, which seems to be the natural plan, why not have Elias get the win here? He has the fanbase and ability. I would like to see it

Prediction: Elias

Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship
AJ Styles (c) v. Shinsuke Nakamura

Pierce: Well we know the prediction below won't happen because the men's ladder match will reportedly end the show, but it's Nakamura's time. He's waited long enough, and the heel turn set in motion at Wrestlemania has done well in turning him from one of the most beloved babyfaces to one of the most interesting heels to watch in the company. He'll watch out of Chicago with the championship.
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

T.C.: This feud hasn't been nearly half as interesting as I thought it would be, but it's picked up a bit in the past few weeks. Please, no more. AJ Styles gets the W in a hard fought battle, but gets booked in an impromptu match with The Miz. Both MITB briefcase holders cash in within 24 hours, as WWE tries to freshen up the gimmick a bit.
Prediction: AJ Styles, The Miz cashes in and walks out champion

Markus Howell: I'm tired of seeing this. Leave it to WWE to take something good and ruin it. I don't know how they do it but dammit they are talented. Shinsuke should've been champ months ago yet they turned him into a dick punching japanese dude who picks and chooses when to speak english. I hate this company sometimes.
Prediction: Shinsuke after he hits a super kinshasa on AJ's family jewels

Chris Novak: I don't have a clue about this one. I'll say Shinsuke because they've given him enough chances over the last year to win the WWE Title and he hasn't. If not, I have no idea what they do.
Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Robert O'Neill: I think Shinsuke has to win eventually, so why not this one? He picked the stipulation so it would make sense for him to get the win.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Ruthless Aggression ep 20 - HBK Returns

Pierce Rob & Chris return to talk about RAW 470 & 471, and Smackdown 145 & 146, featuring the return of Chris Benoit after a year recovery from a neck injury, and after four long years, Shawn Michaels is back in the Federation! Plus, our thoughts on the CM Punk case, NXT Takeover: Chicago, and two really poor programs happening right now on RAW.

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Rob: @RobertONeill31
Follow Chris: @ChrisMNovak

WWE Backlash recap

Robert O’Neill: For the third time in four weeks, we have a WWE PPV to write about! Welcome to Backlash!

Chris Novak: After 45 minutes of preshow talk, it’s time to get to action. Bayley gets a big pop on her way to the ring. Thank you, New Jersey, for proving to me that you’re still a great state. Ruby Riott comes on out next with the rest of the Riott Squad. So, we’re doing the 3-on-1 deal. Bayley tried to get Sasha to come out with her earlier, extend an olive branch and be the better person. But Banks was having nothing of it. Typical.

So, Bayley and Ruby have what was a… decent match. Bayley looked a little off her game, and I hope she’s alright. She was grabbing her head and neck area a bit and while it could be selling, it definitely looked like it took her out of it. Ruby wins with the Riott Kick. She’s now beaten both Bayley and Sasha Banks in the last six days. Guessing that after Nia takes care of Alexa tonight, she and the Riott Squad will pursue Nia’s title while Bayley and Banks and others pursue MITB.

Robert O’Neill: That was a fine match. Bayley looked out of it. Ruby has wins over Sasha and Bayley this week, so they’re certainly using her correctly.

Chris Novak: And away… we… go!

WWE

WWE

Robert O’Neill: The Miz and Seth Rollins are opening the show. This should be awesome.

Chris Novak: Both Miz AND Seth get great reactions right out of the gate. This New Jersey crowd is going to be hot tonight. Oh dear Lord, that match was amazing. Seth’s knee selling after hitting a high knee on the ringpost was excellent. His knee gave out, which led to a Skull-Crushing Finale near fall. Then he went for his Superplex→Falcon Arrow combo, but Miz countered THAT and hit a Skull-Crushing Finale AGAIN. But AGAIN, Seth kicked out. Seth went for the Stomp off the second rope, which led to another exchange, but Seth hit the Stomp on Miz after a reversal of a roll-up to retain. What a way to start the show.

Robert O’Neill: Holy crap that was awesome. I’ll keep saying it, Rollins needs to be the guy to beat Brock Lesnar.

Chris Novak: Seth is on a heater right now. He’s the best in the company at the moment and I don’t think there’s any arguing that right now.

Robert O’Neill: Alexa and Nia are next up. This match should be shorter than their Mania match, I would imagine.

Well. It hasn’t been.

Chris Novak: I have no clue what this matchwasis to be honest. I was sour on their WM match being long, but it was better than this. They just don’t seem to blend well this time around. Nia will move on to probably work with Ruby and the Riott Squad while Alexa likely barrels towards MITB. Probably best for both parties here. But this didn’t work for me.

Woof. And then Nia got booed afterwards for cutting what was a corny, PR-type promo. That was a bad sequence for both ladies, which stinks. But it’s not surprising that they booed it either. They’ll always boo that stuff, right or wrong.

Robert O’Neill: I think they need to move Alexa away from the title. Nia/Ruby would be fine.

Chris Novak: Alright, so here we are for the US Title Match. Jeff won with a Swanton Bomb. This was about what you’d expect from these two at this point. Nothing offensive about it, but a match that was good, not great. Curious to see what’s next for thee two. They’ll be prime contenders for the MITB match. I figure since they’ve been involving him, Shelton Benjamin may be next in line for a title shot with Jeff, which would be fun. OR Andrade Almas, which would be even more fun.

Robert O’Neill: Randy Orton is bad, so this match was good to me.

Chris Novak: Here comes Elias, the greatest performer of our lifetime. He says he’s talked to NJ icon Bruce Springsteen, and wants to perform a song for him. He goes to, but then says he wants to leave then. He has a few indecisive moments before going down to play again. “Bruce needs to hear this!”

And here comes… The New Day! They say they want to have a dual-brand concert and walk with Elias. Elias says he’s a solo act, however. New Day starts playing with their instruments (cymbals, Francesca, and a big ol’ drum). Elias says there’s something there and maybe they can open for Elias. Then he goes to perform and… MY GOD, THAT’S THE SOUND OF AIDEN ENGLISH’S HARMONIC VOICE! Rusev says there’s only one person who can celebrate a day in their honor. Not “Bootleg Bob Dylan” or “The Booty Boys.” It’s him! Elias again goes to perform… and HERE COMES NO WAY JOSE!! New Jersey let out a big pop for Jose, and him and his conga line went on down to the ring. Elias wants NO MORE interruptions… and goes to perform again…

And here comes Bobby Roode! Roode hits the Glorious DDT and drops Elias to another big pop. Hilarious and fun segment here.

Robert O’Neill: I’m pretty sure Elias and The New Day are the two most entertaining acts in all of WWE, so when you put them together and add Rusev Day and BOB ROODE, you’re in for some fun. This show has been mostly entertaining so far. I can’t complain.

Chris Novak: Time now for Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass. So, Bryan bumped like crazy for Cass and made him tap out rather emphatically. Surprising way of going about things, but the ends justify the means. Cass gets in a very good beatdown of Bryan after the match and got “YOU TAPPED OUT!” and “ASSHOLE!” chants. When that happens, you can’t really call any of this a failure. So, this worked and was effective.

Robert O’Neill: I don’t like the finish, because Cass needed a win more than Bryan, but I think the post match stuff makes up for it.

Chris Novak: On to Charlotte-Carmella, which I was not high on going into. And as it turns out, unfortunately, my preconceived notions were on the money. Carmella still has a lot to work on, but Charlotte did not help that match at all, either. Charlotte went for a Moonsault at the end of it, and landed on her feet after Carmella moved out of the way. She ‘tweaked’ her knee, Carmella kicked her in the leg and pinned her. That was definitely a wrestling match.

WWE

WWE

Styles-Nakamura III time. If AJ isn’t wearing a cup, he deserves what he gets. Welp, these two fought for a while. And then they punched each other in the nuts. And then they kicked each other in the nuts. And the match went to a double countout. Welp.

Robert O’Neill: It was a really good match up until then! I guess I get it, but I would have rather seen Nakamura win given the stipulation.

Chris Novak: Alright, it’s on to a tag match that we’ve seen… multiple times these past few weeks.

WWE

WWE

Robert O’Neill: Owens/Zayn vs. Braun/Lashley was weird because the faces won and they also kind of did the exact finish they did when this match was on Raw two weeks ago, but I guess there’s tension between Owens and Zayn now?

Chris Novak: I don’t know what to make of any of this. Even Braun couldn’t rescue this crowd at this point.

Robert O’Neill: Well, Roman Reigns beat Samoa Joe after eating a ton of Joe’s moves but ultimately got the upper hand with a spear. Sound familiar? Yup. They keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result which is an interesting strategy.

Chris Novak: Yuck, that was bad.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: Backlash was always going to be a bit of a throwaway PPV, and that’s pretty much what it was. With the exception of Miz/Rollins, which was a match of the year candidate, and the Elias segment, this felt like an episode of Raw at best. Nothing that happened really matter, and despite the best Styles/Nakamura match we’ve seen so far, the ending soured me. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe was one of the worst matches of the year, all things considered. I’m glad this Mania-Shakeup-GRR-Backlash stretch is over and there isn’t another show for six weeks. It gives them a much-needed chance to hit the reset button. C-

Chris Novak: This wasn’t the worst show ever. That being said, it was still a bad show. Even with the epic Rollins-Miz match in mind. The women’s matches were nothing special at all, with Carmella-Charlotte being positively awful. The WWE Title Match was fine, with an ending that assures this feud will continue… even though we’re nearing ad nauseum with it at this point. And they haven’t had the hit match that everyone expected them to have. The main event sucked, and they’re still doing this Roman thing in the worst possible way. This stretch from Mania to now has been dreadful, and hopefully they dig themselves out of the hole they created for themselves. C- for me as well.

WWE Backlash Predictions

Ruby Riott vs. Bayley

Rob: It’s cool that they’re continuing this feud between the Riott Squad and Bayley and Sasha. I still have fairly high hopes for the Riott Squad, but I really think WWE needs to pull the trigger on a full-blown Bayley/Sasha feud. Prediction: Ruby Riott

Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Miz

TC: There’s been a lot of clusterfuck booking over the past month, hopefully this signals the end of it. As much of a fan of Mr. Mizanin that I am, it’s kind of a given that he’ll lose his single’s rematch. Prediction: Seth Rollins

Robert: This is where we run into problems with this show. This match is for the Intercontinental Title, a Raw championship. Miz is on Smackdown. The United States title is the midcard title on Smackdown. The United States title match features two Smackdown wrestlers. Prediction: Seth Rollins

United States Championship: Jeff Hardy(c) vs. Randy Orton

TC: These two had a really good program about 10.5 years ago on Raw. While I don’t expect this one to equal up to that, I’m sure they can get a decent match going to hype the crowd up (I’m sure it will be the opener). Going out on a limb here and I’ll say that Jeff Hardy retains by DQ after an Orton heel turn. Prediction: Jeff Hardy by DQ

Robert: It would be really dumb for Randy Orton to win given the fact that Hardy just won the title a couple weeks ago. Prediction: Jeff Hardy

RAW Women's Championship: Nia Jax (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

TC: Not much I look forward to on Monday nights other than Alexa Bliss segments, she’s been really amazing since losing her championship at WrestleMania. Surprisingly, they had a really good match at WrestleMania, and here’s to another “clinic” this weekend. Prediction: Nia Jax

Robert: It would be really dumb for Alexa to win given how they’ve booked Nia the past couple months. Prediction: Nia Jax

Smackdown Women's Championship: Carmella (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

TC: Charlotte held the Raw Women’s title four separate times in the first 8 months of that championship’s existence, with each gap being less than four weeks long. It’ll be just under four weeks since losing to Carmella after WrestleMania, so they have to do something different here. Since it’s not Sasha Banks, it’s almost a given that Charlotte will lose here, with some assistance from The IIconics. Prediction: Carmella

Robert: It would be really dumb for Charlotte to win given how they’ve booked everything since Carmella’s cash-in. Prediction: Carmella

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

TC: There’s literally no reason to burn a Daniel Bryan vs. Miz matchup this early on, so I don’t understand the bickering fans on the internet (I never do). They’ll be complaining again after Sunday when Big Cass goes over Daniel Bryan, which is necessary for his character to build some momentum going into the summer. Prediction: Big Cass

Robert: See, this is actually kind of intriguing! I think the smart thing to do would be to give Cass the win cause Bryan is a top guy who has been made to look awesome since Wrestlemania, and Cass never really got the full push they were looking for before his injury last year. Prediction: Big Cass

Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

TC: Bobby Lashley couldn’t be any less interesting right now upon his return to WWE. A partnership (hopefully turned rivalry) with Braun Strowman is a good way to build him up going forward. Apparently, Lashley was gold as a heel in iMPACT, and they’d be smart to let him do his thing against the most popular guy on the Raw roster at the moment. For the time being though, they’ll get a win here to lead up to that. Prediction: Braun and Lashley

Robert: I’m really trying hard to be optimistic about this PPV but… we literally saw this match two weeks ago on Raw! Why are they running it again?!? I would really like to see miscommunication between Strowman and Lashley lead to a KO/Zayn win and a mini-feud between the big guys. Let’s go with that. Prediction: Owens/Zayn

Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

TC: Joe’s been on one with pulling Roman’s card for the last few weeks (all facts btw). Roman on the other hand has been on a bit of a losing streak since WrestleMania. Roman gets the win here which leads to a frustrated Joe getting himself involved in the main event. Prediction: Roman Reigns

Robert: WWE wants Reigns to be the guy but never wants him to actually win, so I’ll take Samoa Joe. Prediction: Samoa Joe

WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

TC: With SmackDown Live GM Paige announcing this past week that this is now a No DQ match, I suspect we’ll get some funky outcome in this match. Look for ol’ Joey Samoey to get involved here and assert himself into the WWE title picture going forward.

Robert: This is the most intriguing match of the night. If logic prevails (which is rare in WWE), Nakamura should win. It’s a no-DQ match and Nak’s big thing has been the low blow, which Styles hasn’t shown any ability to stop. Plus, having Nakamura lose for a third time in a month would kind of ruin this feud. Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

The fallout from Wrestlemania plays out as superstars debut, return this week in WWE

Robert O’Neill: We’re off and rolling with the post-Mania Raw! Stephanie McMahon is out putting herself over and has invited Ronda Rousey to the ring. Business is about to pick up.

Chris Novak: Andddddd Steph’s arm was ripped off again! This crowd chanting “You Deserve It!” and the “Na Na Na Na (Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye)” sing-songing is just outrageous. Away we go!

Robert O’Neill: Nia is in a tag match with… someone! Facing Alexa and Mickie. I think I know what’s coming here.

Chris Novak: EMBERRRRRRR! Ember Moon is on RAW! Heck of an addition to the division. Good little showcase here. She dropped Alexa Bliss with the Eclipse and pinned the former RAW Women’s Champ. Nice debut for her. A very nice debut.

Robert O’Neill: We now cut to Kurt Angle who… is on the phone. That’s new and refreshing. Anyway, Braun and NICHOLAS are here and they’re giving up the tag titles, because NICHOLAS has a scheduling conflict. Because he’s a child. And still in school.

Chris Novak: That’s No Way Jose! A good squash to debut him with. So, Cesaro and Sheamus are facing the winner of the “Tag Team Eliminator” in Saudi Arabia. Two matches tonight, one next week. Hmmm…

Robert O’Neill: Ahem. TOP GUYS WATCH! They’re facing The Club, which will be a hoot. They’ve had a lot of fun matches this year.

Chris Novak: The Top Guys *won* the match, no less, with a Shatter Machine on Karl Anderson. Solid win for them. Alignment of this match though says their luck might run out next week. Alas. Anyways, here’s the new Intercontinental Champion, Seth Rollins!

Robert O’Neill: BURN IT DOOOOOWWWWWWWNNNNNN. Remember how dumb that was?

Chris Novak: And now everyone loves it!

Robert O’Neill: So after like 10 minutes of great back and forth banter between Seth and Miz, Miz challenged Balor and Rollins to a 3 on 2 match against the Miztourage and Jeff Hardy came out to defend Balor and Rollins! Miztourage retreated, but I’m here for this.

Chris Novak: It’s always great to see Jeff Hardy. I’m glad he’s back. The Raw midcard is pretty awesome.

Robert O’Neill: Alright we’re gonna just keep rolling right along. Mandy vs. Sasha. Mandy’s out with Absolution. Sasha is out alone. Here we go… oh. Bayley’s coming out. Alright then.

Chris Novak: And then Bayley knocks Sasha down!

Robert O’Neill: Have we considered that Bayley is the bad friend?

Chris Novak: I’m not getting into this.

Robert O’Neill: After the match, Paige got on the mic and announced her retirement. These promos are always gut-wrenching to watch. That one was right up there with Edge’s. I hope WWE finds something for Paige in another role.

Chris Novak: Just tragic for her. She started four years ago in NOLA and now has to retire in NOLA. What a sad story, man.

Robert O’Neill: Elias performed a nice song for the fans and got interrupted by BOBBY LASHLEY! That was certainly unexpected.

Chris Novak: Lashley looks like an absolute tank. My goodness. Hopefully this turns out to be pretty great.

Robert O’Neill: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were in Kurt Angle’s office posturing for a job. Kurt told them TNA was hiring. I’m not even making that up. It was amazing. Anyways, they’re facing each other later and the winner gets a Raw contract!

Chris Novak: That TNA rib was the hardest I’ve ever laughed about anything in wrestling in a long time. Maybe ever. It was just so out of nowhere and delivered so well that it was freaking incredible.

Robert O’Neill: Heath Slater and Rhyno are out for a tag match and MY GOD. THAT’S THE AUTHORS OF PAIN. AOP wins it fairly easily and symbolically dump Paul Ellering. This was the right move. Paul wasn’t going to go on the road with them, and he did more than anyone could have ever dreamed for them. They’re in good hands now.

Chris Novak: It’s great that the big boys are finally on the main roster.

Robert O’Neill: Roman’s out to cut a promo. It’s kind of the same promo he’s been cutting the past few weeks about how Brock Lesnar isn’t there, because he wasn’t there. A short time later, SAMOA JOE comes out, and this is apparently going to be your feud of the spring, and I’m here for it. Joe is excellent on the mic and I can’t wait to see him get back in the ring.

Chris Novak: Samoa Joe cut an absolutely money promo. As always.

Robert O’Neill: Titus Worldwide has a tag team eliminator match against… Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt! That’s new and exciting, I guess. Hardy and Wyatt win and will face The Revival next week.

Chris Novak: I’m willing to give Hardy and Bray a chance here. So far, so good, honestly.

Robert O’Neill: Time for Owens vs. Zayn. The winner gets a Raw contract! They had a good match, as the previous five hundred matches between them have been, and it ended in a double countout, so neither one gets a contract!

Chris Novak: Kind of a silly and expected way to do it. I imagine we’ll keep seeing these types of matches happen as time progresses. We’ll see, though.

Robert O’Neill: We cut backstage to see Seth and Finn and Jeff Hardy coming to the ring, and they come across Matt and Bray, which leads to a very entertaining segment. My god. Am I gonna get sucked back into Bray Wyatt?

Chris Novak: That was an extremely entertaining segment! I might be getting sucked back in too...

Robert O’Neill: The faces pick up the victory in the main event, and it seems safe to say that Miz is either going to Smackdown or taking some time off to spend time with his new daughter given the amount of finishers he and the Miztourage ate following the match.

Chris Novak: My guess is paternity leave. But we’ll see! Fun Raw.

Quick Results

Ember Moon and Nia Jax d. Alexa Bliss and Mickie James
No Way Jose d. John Skyler
The Revival d. Balor Club
Mandy Rose d. Sasha Banks
Authors of Pain d. Heath Slater and Rhyno
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt d. Titus Worldwide
Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, and Jeff Hardy d. Miztourage

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: The Raw after Wrestlemania seldom disappoints, and this was no different. I really enjoyed everything they did, and the call-ups and returns mixed with next week’s shakeup are going to make for even more new and exciting matchups. Rollins will continue making the mid-card title feel important, and I have to imagine Reigns wins the title and brings it back to the fold at some point in the near future, right? A-

Chris Novak: God, what you said. That was a fun episode of Raw. Wegot call-ups, returns, surprises, etc. Some really good wrestling, too. Owens-Zayn was, as always, quite good. The six-man was entertaining. Looking forward to seeing what the Raw brand has dished out going forward. A-

Chris Novak: Time for the fallout of WrestleMania, SmackDown! Live edition! Daniel Bryan’s now a full-time superstar, per the Commissioner, Shane McMahon. He reveals the new GM and it’s… PAIGE!!! Outstanding. Very glad that she’s gonna be sticking around here. Her talking skills can’t really be denied, and she definitely has a very strong presence on the mic. This is a home run choice.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah this is awesome. Everyone was expecting Hogan or Jarrett, so this was kind of out of nowhere. It’s awesome to see her still being utilized.

Chris Novak: Paige says she wants to give the fans a night they won’t ever forget. So she announces that Daniel Bryan will compete for the first time on TV in three years… AGAINST AJ STYLES! Oh my God, I need a cigarette already.

Robert O’Neill: New Day/Usos #234728937 is a go! I’m not complaining, either. These two should fight forever. They’re two of the 10 best tag teams in WWE history.

Chris Novak: Two things could happen here… a call-up interferes, or The New Day win and essentially write The Usos off of SDL. Time will tell to see how this plays out. Anyhow, The Usos wound up winning. Them and New Day delivered yet again, as if that’s a surprise. Bludgeon Brothers came out and pointed their mallets at The Usos. INTIMIDATION~!!!!~!~!

Chris Novak: Nattie and Naomi had a verbal spat backstage earlier today, so now they’re going to be in a match. Hoping this is more than passable.

Robert O’Neill: It won’t be. Natalya sucks.

Chris Novak: Hahahahahaha, that Nakamura interview was just TREMENDOUS!

Robert O’Neill: Anyways, here’s Charlotte! She’s talkin’ about her match and what not and OH MY GOD IT’S THE ICONIC DUO

Chris Novak: Peyton and Billie cut a promo, running Charlotte down. They knocked that out of the park and then some. Then they proceed to beat the absolute hell out of Charlotte and leave her laying in the ring… AND THAT’S CARMELLA’S MUSIC!! She cashed in and kicked Charlotte in the head, and got the pin fall! Carmella’s the new SmackDown Live Women’s Champion!

Robert O’Neill: For as much shit as they got for seemingly not having a plan for Carmella’s eventual cash-in, that was excellent.

Chris Novak: Extremely happy for Carmella, who seems like a genuinely good person.

Robert O’Neill: Wow, Smackdown is taking place on Rusev Day. What are the odds?

Chris Novak: So, Rusev, Bobby Roode and Randy Orton are facing off to see who faces Jinder Mahal at Backlash for the United States Championship. This match is, pretty much, going as expected. And Randy Orton wins. They’ve managed to bungle this not once, but twice in three days!

Robert O’Neill: I generally don’t criticize booking, but yeah they’re being really stupid with Rusev.

Chris Novak: AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan are, really, for real, wrestling on TV. In 2018. First-run. This is incredible stuff.

Robert O’Neill: Good lord that was awesome to watch. And Nakamura interfering to make it a no-contest was awesome. I’m gonna like heel Nak,

Chris Novak: Heel Nakamura already looks awesome. This is exciting stuff!

Quick Results

Usos d. New Day
Naomi d. Natalya
Carmella d. Charlotte to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Randy Orton d. Bob Roode and Rusev
Daniel Bryan d. AJ Styles (DQ)

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: I’ll be honest, I thought I wasn’t going to like Smackdown this week. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. I had just watched like 25 hours of wrestling content in the past week and was worried about burnout. It didn’t come though. Smackdown delivered and then some. Sure, Natalya having a match was stupid, and I’m not at all looking forward to Jinder/Orton #238579, but there was more good than bad here. Heel Nak, Iconic Duo, Paige as GM, Bryan/Styles, it all worked for me. I’m interested in seeing what happens next week in the shakeup. A-

Chris Novak: SmackDown Live hit it out of the park, besides the whole Jinder/Orton screwup. Everything about this show hit the right notes. The Iconic Duo look like absolute STARS on their first night and Carmella’s moment was fun. Bryan/Styles was better than Nakamura/Styles from the weekend, and even after three years, Bryan looks like the best wrestler in the world again. What a time to be alive. A-

WWE Mixed Match Challenge preview

One of the coolest WWE things of the past few years has been the rise of unexpected tournaments. In 2017, we saw the United Kingdom Championship Tournament and Mae Young Classic. Both came after the success of 2016’s Cruiserweight Classic.

2018’s tournament is perhaps the most ambitious installment to date: The Mixed Match Challenge. Twelve teams containing one male and one female superstar will battle it out over the next three months for the prize of $100,000 to a charity of their choice. One match a week will air on Facebook Live following Smackdown every week.

 

Finn Balor and Sasha Banks

Off the bat, we have one of my favorite teams in the entire MMC. Banks and Balor have similar styles and should develop chemistry fairly easy, not to mention watching Balor square off with Shinsuke Nakamura will be a blast in the first round. Bonus points for this team if Banks does demon paint or Balor wears stunner shades as part of the entrance. While this team is fine, I probably would have put Banks with Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns and save Balor for someone I’ll touch on below.

Shinsuke Nakamura and Natalya

This team misses the mark for me, if only because I don’t really care for Natalya. I wish there was a way she could have teamed with Cesaro, despite the show difference, as a callback to Cesaro’s tag team with Natayla’s husband, Tyson Kidd. As noted above, watching Nakamura and Balor go at it will be fun, and Banks is good enough that Natalya won’t bore me as much as usual.

The Miz and Asuka

As you can see from the bracket, most real-life couples in WWE are teaming up for this. However, with Maryse being pregnant, Miz was left without a partner. He ended up with a good one. Miz is one of the most underrated workers in the company and everyone knows how great Asuka is. This is a team that could go far.

Big E and Carmella

Carmella has been misused ever since James Ellsworth got released so I didn’t care much about this pairing, but then New Day released a Rocky-style training montage complete with pancakes and music and I’m 100% on board now.

Big E can handle Miz but, uh, Carmella is probably a bit overmatched against Asuka.

Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman

My personal favorite team in this entire tournament. Just the visual of the two of them standing next to each other will be amazing, but I also really enjoy watching both of them work, and will especially like watching them each rehash old rivalries in the first-round tilt against Becky Lynch and Sami Zayn. It’s tough to bet against any team with BRRRRRAAAAAUUUUUNNNNN in a tournament like this, so they may very well end up being my pick to take the whole thing.

Becky Lynch and Sami Zayn

I really wish they didn’t face Braun and Alexa in the first round, because this is probably my second-favorite team in the tournament. Becky and Sami work well together because they’re both weird and it’s embraced and fantastic. I’m pretty sure the losing team between these two will be back in with the fans’ choice vote later in the tournament.

Goldust and Alicia Fox

Speaking of weird, how about these two? Goldust remains the same weird character he was 20 years ago (except PG, but it still works) and Fox is coming off one of her most fun runs in a while after Survivor Series. She’s cooled off a little since then, but I think the comedy between these two will be top notch.

Jimmy Uso and Naomi

We’ve finally gotten to one of the real-life couples! This will be a ton of fun. Jimmy Uso is one of the best tag team wrestlers in WWE history and Naomi has been one of the highlights of the women’s division since reinventing herself to the Feel The Glow persona. Like with Banks and Balor, I’m interested in seeing how they handle the entrance.

Elias and Bayley

Elias is a fun act that everyone really enjoys. Bayley is a fun act that everyone really enjoys. And yet… WWE dropped the ball here. Putting Balor and Bayley together was an absolute layup, and WWE blew it.

Again, Elias and Bayley will be fine and probably lead to some fun pre-match concert stuff, but the entire time I’ll be thinking about the big time missed opportunity, and that’s unfortunate.

Rusev and Lana

Real life couple, again. It’s fine. Lana’s not very good but Rusev is excellent in and out of the ring and if there’s any good in the world, Aiden English will still be the one to announce their entrance

Apollo Crews and Nia Jax

Nia wanted to team with Enzo Amore but he got sick and was ruled out of the MMC, so she ended up with Apollo Crews. That’ll be fun. They have similar styles and their first round match against Bobby Roode and Charlotte should click well.

Bobby Roode and Charlotte

Another dark horse team brought together by their love of nice robes. Roode and Charlotte are two of the most decorated NXT stars of all time and the success has translated to the main roster. It definitely wouldn’t be a surprise to see them in the finals.

Prediction

It’s really tough to predict something like this because it’s never happened before and we don’t know how the teams are going to gel. If I had to pick right now, though, I would take Braun and Alexa over Roode and Charlotte in the finals.

All photos courtesy of WWE