Posts tagged Roman Reigns
This Week in WWE: Wildcard, bitches
Raw logo.png

Chris Novak: Raw’s supposed to start with Roman Reigns. This has been something that’s been heavily discussed for whatever reason this week. But, whatever. Long as this works out and has a point, it’s okay. And since one of the people he’s been feuding with (read: Shane McMahon) bounces around the shows, then I don’t see why Roman can’t.

Anyways, that’s Vince McMahon’s music. So, Mr. McMahon’s starting the show actually. I would wager this, certainly, has a lot to do with the aforementioned paragraph. Vince says it’ll be a night to remember, because he’s here. Before he can go any further, Roman Reigns comes down to the ring. Last time they shared a ring, of course, Reigns caught him with the Superman Punch.

Robert O’Neill: Vince says he better not think of trying it again, and also he’s on Smackdown so why is he on Raw right now? Roman tells him to check his tone, because he wants to leave Raw better than he found it. Vince and his kids said the fans are the authority now, but that was a lie! Vince goes to respond but DANIEL BRYAN’S MUSIC HITS!

Chris Novak: Well… if you wanted my attention, boy, you got it. Bryan says he’s spent the last month in solitude, and now hoped to have an intellectual conversation. Before he can continue, Kofi Kingston makes his way out here.

Robert O’Neill: After Bryan and Kofi goes back and forth, Vince has an epiphany! He’s instating a “wildcard rule” where three Raw superstars can be on Smackdown and three Smackdown superstars can be on Raw. Neat.

Chris Novak: Don’t hate it as a concept going forward. We’ll see how they utilize it. Don’t really have a strong opinion either way. AJ Styles comes out, and he asks him, basically, what the hell he’s doing. Seth Rollins is now on his way out, so we’re still working here on our opening promo. We learn soon enough that Styles and Rollins are teaming up to face a tag team after the break. Who will it be? I suppose we’ll find out.

Robert O’Neill: Bob Lashley and Baron Corbin! Well, that should have been expected. It’s also fine, the story is between Rollins and Styles here. The two get along for most of the long match, but Styles catches Rollins with an inadvertent Phenomenal Forearm after Corbin ducked, and then Styles left instead of helping Rollins, as he got hit with an End of Days. That told the necessary story.

Miz has pulled up a chair right outside Shane McMahon’s dressing room, as he awaits Shane’s arrival.

Sami Zayn is here! He goes on about how the crowd is dumb and bad (correct) and then he gets interrupted by Braun Strowman, who isn’t pleased with him and decides to chase him around the ring and into the back, where he threw Sami into a dumpster which then got put into a garbage truck.

Lucha House Party got a win over some jobbers. Alrighty!

Ricochet is facing Robert Roode, and Ricochet’s Money in the Bank spot is on the line. Stakes!

Chris Novak: It’s obviously nice that they addressed this. They could’ve done it last week, but oh well. The match was fine and Ricochet got his win back. Not a surprising development in the least.

They showed a recap of last week’s events between Rey Mysterio and Samoa Joe. Announced was a United States Championship Match between the two of them. Once again, not a surprising development. Mysterio and Dominick were shown backstage, and Mysterio went into his locker room while Dominick walked away. Ominously… Samoa Joe was seen walking behind him. Probably not great news for Dom, if any horror movie ever made suggests.

Joe then is seen with him. I enjoyed the air quotes around “Uncle Eddie.” I almost wish he referenced that storyline. Joe runs him down and says that he needs to send his father a message, and that’s that he will enjoy what he’s going to do at Money in the Bank.

Up next is Lacey Evans, who’s competing in a match. Her opponent is a local talent, and she wanted the entire locker room to come down to ringside. Lord knows why.

Robert O’Neill: Lacey beats a jobber and then calls up Becky Lynch, who comes out swinging! Lacey leaves before Becky can lock in the Dis-Arm-Her.

Chris Novak: I didn’t mind this segment at all. For one, the use of a squash to put Lacey over as a legitimate threat is a good one. Secondly, having her warn and threaten the MITB competitors not to pull a fast one on her was also totally fine with me too. In fact, I think it was an effective way of getting everything in the mix. I know there are people that are going to want more out of the division, but… what more can you get out of this division right now? They did Alexa vs. Naomi last week. Any throw together tag match would’ve gotten the same usual complaints that we get.

Robert O’Neill: The Viking Raiders also beat some jobbers. Oh, wait, those were Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. Enough already. You have more than enough good tag teams to get the belt off the comedy act.

Chris Novak: Friend, you need to really calm down. There’s going to be an end to these means. It’s fine. The match was also fine, but obviously dominated by the Raiders, who’ve looked good from the jump. Now that they pinned the champs, I’d expect to see them face off at MITB. Which, hey, I’m okay with it.

Robert O’Neill: This week on Firefly Funhouse, Mercy the Buzzard has something in his box but he’s hiding it from Bray. OH MY GOD HE ATE RAMBLIN’ RABBIT. Bray says it’s okay though. You can be forgiven no matter what happens. In fact, Mercy should be rewarded.

Chris Novak: RIP Ramblin’ Rabbit. Why is this stuff so ridiculous and brilliant each week? I continue to be a huge fan of it all.

Robert O’Neill: Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre are up next in a Wrestlemania rematch. This should be pretty good. I enjoyed their match at Mania quite a bit, aside from the stupid crowd.

Chris Novak: Turns out… it was pretty good! May have been Roman’s best outing since he came back, may have been one of Drew’s best outings in a long time. Really enjoyed this match, well, up until the non-finish at the end (even if it did make sense). Shane McMahon and Elias came down to beat down Reigns. Miz then came by the chase and fend them off. Shane went running, and Miz caught up with him and beat him up with a chair.

All around, very effective stuff here. Hope we get a Miz-Roman tag team match out of this against Shane and Elias. Or something of that ilk.

I have no real comment on the segment between The Usos and The Revival.

Robert O’Neill: I think they could be approaching a feud better between two very good teams but once they finally get in the ring it’ll be fine.

Chris Novak: Lars Sullivan attacked No Way Jose. Why? I don’t know.

Kofi Kingston puts his WWE Championship on the line against Daniel Bryan next. The match was really good. What a surprise, right? There was a pretty tremendous end sequence here, where eventually, Kofi caught him with Trouble in Paradise to retain. This wasn’t quite as great of a match as they had at WrestleMania but, for a lot of reasons, it was never going to eclipse that anyway. Still a very, VERY good match.

Robert O’Neill: That was a really good TV match. Nice to see Bryan back in action.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: Weird show, just from a format perspective. Have no idea what to make of this Wildcard stuff but if they don’t go OD with it, it’ll probably be just okay. But aside from that and some of the weird stuff in the 3rd hour, the work rate here was great and both WrestleMania rematches kicked ass. I’ll give this show a B-.

Robert O’Neill: I enjoyed more than I didn'’t enjoy, and that’s good enough for me. They still struggle to fill three hours, but having more hits than misses is good. Wildcard, bitches. B

Smackdown Live logo.png

Chris Novak: Alright, so we’re continuing on this Wildcard Rule stuff, and AJ Styles is back on Smackdown Live for the moment. I’ll try not to get too frustrated about this or anything. I just hope this doesn’t get too out of hand going forward, is really all that I ask. The good thing, I suppose, is that he’s over like rover. Styles talks for a moment until Sami Zayn arrives. So, Sami’s alive after being thrown in a dumpster last night. Good to know.

Zayn and Styles (which also could double as a reference to The X Factor) banter for a bit, until Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods arrive. Kingston wonders what Styles is doing here, and they get a bit contentious. Woods quotes Ice Cube, telling Styles to check himself before he wrecks himself. Kingston ponders what Styles is going to do about it before Sami intervenes. Sami suggests that Kofi not do this because the people aren’t happy for him. He’s caught in a web and also, that he deserves a WWE Championship opportunity instead of AJ.

Kofi and Xavier roast him for how he smells like garbage. And also, Kofi adds that he considers himself a fighting champion and that he’ll defend the title against EITHER Styles or Zayn. He says it doesn’t matter which it is, because he’ll remain as WWE Champion.

Ali vs. Andrade is next.  

Robert O’Neill: That was an awesome opening segment. I like the wild card rule so far. I’m just wondering how they’re gonna keep it fresh every week, but for now it’s good.

Chris Novak: We’ll get ourselves a Triple Threat Match later out of this segment, so that will be a good deal of fun.

Ali-Andrade was a fun but short match, interrupted by Randy Orton. Orton ate some kicks from them both but then hit Ali with a pop-up RKO. Andrade then leapt at him but Orton dropped HIM with an RKO too. So, decent segment here, although I certainly wish we could’ve gotten more time out of Ali-Andrade.

Robert O’Neill: I would be interested in an Ali-Orton feud if Andrade wins the briefcase like I think he’s going to. I think they would work very well together. I liked this match but was fine with how it ended.

Shane McMahon is here to announce the new tag team champions, but first he has to talk about how he’s not a fan of what The Miz has been up to lately. He’s going to emerge from the steal cage at Money in the Bank in victory yet again.

And now it’s time to announce the new tag team champions. It’s… Daniel Bryan and Rowan! But before Bryan and Rowan can accept, The Usos come out! They said instead of Shane just handing the titles to Bryan and Rowan, they should have a match for them, to which Shane agrees.

Chris Novak: Oh, I am all the way here for this one, baby.

Robert O’Neill: The match is, unsurprisingly, absolutely awesome. The Usos are probably the best tag team in WWE history and Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler on the planet, so it all comes together and is beautiful here. Even Rowan was very good! He got the pin with the Iron Claw to get Bryan and Rowan the tag titles.

Chris Novak: God, that match kicked so much ass. One of the better tags of the entire year so far. Rowan looked great! For once!

Robert O’Neill: Shane McMahon has news about the Money In The Bank ladder matches. Before he can get to the point, Miz comes out and attacks him! But the B-Team come out to save Shane, and while Miz is fighting them off, Shane hits Miz with a chair from behind.

Chris Novak: Well… sure. I mean, sure. I don’t know what exactly he was going to announce, but I suppose that’s not the point here. Miz getting beaten down before his ultimate comeuppance works fine with me, as that’s probably going to be the plan.

Robert O’Neill: Mandy and Sonya face off with Ember Moon and Carmella next. This match was… alright. Mandy and Sonya won as Bayley was supposed to be in the match but was removed without explanation.. Perhaps there’s something more to that. Perhaps not. Who knows.

Chris Novak: Mandy gets a big win. Still wondering what happened with Bayley and Charlotte, but that’ll be a mystery I suppose. Paige came out after and said next week, Mandy and Sonya will face Asuka and Kairi. Okay, cool!

Another Aleister Black vignette aired. I’m still wondering where this is headed, but this has all worked well for me so far.

So, the WWE Championship Triple Threat Match proceeded onwards, and it was a doozy. Kingston retained after pinning Sami Zayn after Trouble in Paradise. Kevin Owens got involved, and for a little while, it was between he and Sami after Styles was out of commission for a bit. The match was fire and was, in my view, the best match all week. A good end to this show.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: I’ll save more of my comments on this whole Wildcard deal on the podcast this week. But we got some great matches out of this thing. That being said, it’s not without its faults. It didn’t disrupt SmackDown Live too much, but I definitely felt like this show needed some more zip. I’ll give it a B and keep it moving.

Robert O’Neill: Bayley and Charlotte disappearing was weird, but I liked more than I disliked, particularly the main event match. B+

This Week in WWE: The Phenomenal One rises again, KO's old habits die hard
Raw.png

Robert O’Neill: The first Raw after the Superstar Shakeup looks positively loaded, with WWE having announced a pair of triple threat matches to decide the #1 contender for Seth Rollins’ title:

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (who is on Raw now, more on that in a moment) vs. Rey Mysterio in one, and Miz vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Baron Corbin in the other.

Additionally, Cesaro (who is also on Raw now) will be facing Cedric Alexander and Becky Lynch will face Alicia Fox.

As noted, Samoa Joe and Cesaro are on Raw now. Andrade, Zelina Vega, and Aleister Black are on Smackdown.

Chris Novak: The show, officially, is starting up with Triple H. Not sure what The Game has to say/what’s on his mind, but we’ll soon see. Before he even gets started, Seth Rollins, who’s from iowa in case you didn’t know, comes out. Seth touts up the fact that he’s home, which naturally garners a loud reception. Triple H touts up his victory and points out how the landscape has changed and that he’s now the measuring stick. Rollins says he’s fine with everyone gunning for him though.

Robert O’Neill: Samoa Joe comes out and says that Becky Lynch is onto something with the double champion concept and he would like to be a double champion as well! Then Rey Mysterio comes out and says that he wants to face Seth! Then Drew McIntyre tells them it doesn’t matter what they think or what the people think, and the only reason Seth is champion is because he got to Brock first. Miz says that he’s faced Rollins before, but he’s a different man now and wants to do it again.

Chris Novak: This is pretty much your basic, stock revolving door promo. Baron Corbin comes out and says he’s the most deserving man to challenge Seth. He points out that he retired a legend at WrestleMania. AJ Styles comes on out, last but not least, of course. Styles says, of course, that he intends on winning and showing why SmackDown was the house that AJ Styles built. Seth then says he’s up for the task and will burn it down, yada yada, and now we’re on to our first Triple Threat Match -- AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Samoa Joe.

Robert O’Neill: What a damn match. These three guys are all over 40 and had one of the best TV matches of the year. Samoa Joe did a super double backdrop, and AJ Styles got the win after taking down Joe, then Styles Clashing Mysterio on top of him. That was incredible.

Chris Novak: It certainly was great.

Now we’re getting Naomi vs. Billie Kay. Last week, Naomi got the pin for the win last week in a tag team match featuring new SmackDown superstar, Bayley. Now, Naomi’s on her own. What ever will she do now? Well, for Naomi’s sake, hopefully defeat Billie Kay.

She defeated Billie Kay with a sunset flip. The match was… very short.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah that seems like it could have been a bit longer!

Chris Novak: They ran another Bray Wyatt vignette.

Triple Threat Match #2 is about to start. Unsurprisingly, this winds up being a pretty great match too. Drew showed out big time, and so did Miz. Corbin played his role pretty well here too. Lot of great near falls towards the end of this one. Corbin won after McIntyre hit the Claymore Kick on Miz. He snuck in, sent Mac flying and got the pin. Honestly, a pretty smartly booked finish. I don’t love the prospect of Corbin-Rollins at all, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Robert O’Neill: Sami Zayn is here! He’s telling everyone the truth about themselves, and accuses everyone of being in denial, then starts showing everyone all the vacations he took over the past 10 months and how happy he was. And now he’s not happy because the WWE structure sucks and the people around him suck and Des Moines sucks. He closes by saying everyone should take a trip… to hell!

Chris Novak: As usual, a legitimately funny promo again from Sami.

Cedric Alexander vs. Cesaro is NEXT!

Turned out to be a pretty solid match, honestly. Cesaro picked up the win after destroying Cedric with an uppercut. Ceddy got some good offense in but, in the end, it was Cesaro who prevailed. Dug this entirely, to be perfectly honest.

Robert O’Neill: The newly-named Viking Raiders demolished Lucha House Party. Alright then!

Becky Lynch is here now. She’s not pleased with Lacey Evans, and was kind of problematic about it. So here’s Lacey now, and she’s naturally not pleased with Becky and wants her to know to be on high alert at Money In The Bank. That was effective but, again, kind of not great on Becky’s end.

Chris Novak: I don’t think you can say “kind of.” She was problematic. Don’t care for the direction here and, quite frankly, don’t care much for the promo battle in general.

Becky’s now facing Alicia Fox. I can give you a few guesses to how this match will go. It actually went… a bit differently than I expected. Even though Becky win, it certainly went longer than I expected it would. Nevertheless, she won, and Lacey Evans came in and hit her with The Women’s Right two times.

Robert O’Neill: That match went a bit long but it worked out in the end.

Ricochet is here now for a match with Robert Roode. He has a mustache now and his name is Robert.

Chris Novak: Hey, it’s a throwback to Robert Roode Inc. He also just has a stache now so he looks like Rick Rude. Is that what they’re trying to play off of? Who’s to really say?

This match went… fine. I guess. I think I’m suddenly remembering why Roode as a singles guy got really old really quickly. It’s not that this is bad. It’s just not very high-energy. The Des Moines crowd doesn’t particularly help matters, either. Also… very surprising result in that Roode beat Ricochet. That’s the… first loss that I can remember Ricochet having in a while.

Robert O’Neill: I enjoyed the match. Bob Roode is the Iowa of wrestlers, so they should have liked it more.

BRAY WYATT IS A CHILDREN’S HOST NOW.

Chris Novak: God damn that vignette was awesome hahaha. Time for Styles-Corbin.

A Moment of Bliss is set to take place next week, in which Alexa will be announcing the Raw side of things. Sure do wonder if she’s going to announce herself as one of the participants (she’s probably going to).

Okay! That was a SURPRISING result (in a good way!). AJ Styles defeated Baron Corbin with the Phenomenal Forearm. Match was pretty solid. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty intrigued

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, they got me I thought Corbin was going to win and everyone online was going to be very mad about it. This was a nice surprise.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: Just like every week, I enjoyed Raw and found myself entertained throughout. This is where it gets difficult to assign a letter grade because if you compare it to the fall when the show was actually awful, it’s night and day. Every show obviously isn’t an A+, but when most things hit and I’m not bored or displeased by everything, it deserves an A-

Chris Novak: I’m going to give this show a B. It was not nearly as bad as people thought it was going to be, and helped to set some pieces for future development. I look forward to seeing who’s going to be in MITB next week during AMOB. The in-ring action was pretty good, although the women’s matches… missed the mark for me. So that’s why I’m going to give this a B. A quality show that could’ve definitely been aided by better in-ring work in certain departments.

Smackdown.png

Chris Novak: SmackDown Live is beginning with Shane McMahon. I have a hunch that we’ll probably spend the next few minutes hearing Greg Hamilton call him the best in the world. If that sounds a little cynical, I’m sorry, but this has certainly gotten a bit old. Alright, luckily they didn’t do this for too long. Shane says he’s here to talk about Roman Reigns and what he did to Vince last week. He goes over possible options for discipline, but instead just orders that he come out here. So, naturally, here comes Roman to the ring.

Robert O’Neill: He squared up with Shane, but Elias came out from behind and attacked and the Big Dog fell to the numbers. Not ideal!

Chris Novak: Roman is going to need to find some friends. Anyways, Andrade and Finn Balor are about to face off again. The match was fun, although I think their Raw match was better. Finn got the better of him this time around after a misdial by Zelina Vega. I’m digging this feud and don’t really care that they 50-50’d it. This all really worked for me.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah that was fun. I’m here for that continuing as an Intercontinental Title feud

Peyton Royce is facing Kairi Sane as the tag scene continues to be developed. Sane gets the win relatively quickly, as the IIconics look weak for the second straight night.

Chris Novak: “Look weak.” There’s never been another setting for the IIconics, Rob. Never.

Aleister Black had a short vignette where he actually wore a t-shirt. Didn’t speak at length or anything, but I’m intrigued a bit to see where it all goes.

Chad Gable-Jinder Mahal is a match that was supposed to happen, but never did. Why? Lars Sullivan came out, beat up Chad Gable and the Singhs. R-Truth tried to avenge what happened last week, but he too caught a beatdown.

Roman Reigns was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the back. Reigns accepted Elias’ challenge for a match at Money in the Bank. So, that should be fun!

Robert O’Neill: Charlotte is here, and she’s ready to go face to face with Becky Lynch for the first time since Wrestlemania. That’s exciting. She’s not sure why she lost her title since Becky didn’t beat *her*, but Becky reminds Charlotte what winner takes all means.

But then Bayley comes out! And she’s tired of Charlotte getting all the opportunities all the time, and isn’t going to take it anymore!

Chris Novak: Two words: Fuck. Yeah. Bayley also told Becky that she’s never beaten her (Facts! At least on the main roster) before. This sets up a match between Bayley and Charlotte Flair, where the winner will get a future title shot at Becky Lynch.

Bayley and Charlotte’s match was an outstanding one. They did some great limb work with Bayley working through a bum knee that wound up being her undoing. Tremendous fire shown from her though, and great crowd chants in her direction (I’m shocked that everything reversed course here). Bayley didn’t win, as she succumbed to the Figure Eight. But she still looked great in defeat.

Becky doesn’t really have a problem with facing Lacey and/or Charlotte. Will that be her undoing? Time will tell!

Robert O’Neill: Really great match. Seems like they have big summer plans for Bayley, and I’m here for it.

Kofi Kingston vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is next!

Robert O’Neill: It was a very good match before Rusev (in a suit) interfered to cause a disqualification. Woods and Kevin Owens hit the ring to take care of Nakamura and Rusev, but the two get their shots in and it comes down to Kofi and Shinsuke yet again. Kofi takes him out but runs right into a Kevin Owens superkick! Owens spends the final few minutes of the show picking Kofi and Woods apart.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: Well, if I gave Raw an A- and enjoyed Smackdown more than Raw, Smackdown gets an A! Fun stuff this week.

Chris Novak: God this show is so good. Week-to-week. We had a great, GREAT TV match in Bayley-Charlotte, some fun matches elsewhere, and a not-so-surprising heel turn by Kevin Owens to cap off the show. I look forward to KO-Kofi down the road. Give me an A for this show.

This Week in WWE: It's time to shake things up again!
Raw.png

Chris Novak: It’s time for the Superstar Shakeup. Stephanie McMahon is here in jeans that, no, I did not give her.

Robert O’Neill: Shane is here too! His jeans are normal.

Chris Novak: Because Shane knows how to dress. He should probably have helped his sister out. Not a very good brother. Although we know he’s kind of a jackass anyway.

Robert O’Neill: Shane is speaking french now, in honor of being in Montreal, and he calls French-Canadian a “dirty dialect” Shane then shows a collage of moments of him beating up Miz and Miz’s dad, and then we find out Miz is going back to Raw! He’s also busted open, which was wild.

Chris Novak: Move makes sense on a number of levels. Firstly, it helps out Raw’s main event scene out and the IC Title scene of course. Secondly, with SmackDown Live moving to Fox, it only makes sense for him to move over to the show that’s on the network where his reality show is. So, I’m obviously cool with this move.

Becky Lynch vs. Ruby Riott is announced for later on tonight. That’s pretty dope. Then we deal in eight-man tag deals. Ricochet, Aleister Black and the new Tag Team Champions, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder are on one end. Who’s on the other? Well, we’ll find out after the break, it seems.

They’re facing The Revival and… WAR RAIDERS????? Who have a new name, ‘The Viking Experience.’ They also changed Hanson and Rowe’s names to Ivar and Erik. I’m not keen on the name change but holy God damn hell, that’s one way to change up the Raw tag scene.

Robert O’Neill: It’s a dumb name and I’m not really sure of the point, but it’s cool to see them on the main roster!

Regardless of the name, it was a really fun match that ended with Ivar and Erik standing tall and getting the victory. The Raw tag division is suddenly much better than it was a couple months ago, and that’s cool to see.

Chris Novak: Seriously, it’s actually quite refreshed now, so that rules to me.

Robert O’Neill: Finn Balor is here for a special match against the newest member of the Raw roster… Andrade!

Chris Novak: Okay, I’m completely with this honestly. Andrade and Finn proceeded to have a DAMN good match. Zelina got involved and hit Finn with a hurricanrana, which eventually led to Andrade hitting him with the Hammerlock DDT for the 1-2-3.

We’re walking with Elias next.

Elias trashed the Canadiens and then out came REY MYSTERIO! It would appear that Rey’s now on Raw. Rey fended Elias off and then… Lars Sullivan came out. Oh joy. Rey is not afraid and he went to fend him off. Naturally, Rey got bodied.

Robert O’Neill: It was fun until Lars came out. Lars is bad.

Bob Roode and Chad Gable are here looking for some opponents aaaand THE USOS answer! How fun!

What a fun match. The Usos got the win with a double splash, and the Raw tag division CONTINUES to improve.

Chris Novak: Rather solid match, although I think they’re both capable of better. But that’s just splitting hairs. I love that The Usos are on Raw. They did everything they could POSSIBLY do on SmackDown Live, so really, the move makes way too much sense.

Let’s move on now to A Moment of Bliss, featuring… Montreal’s own Sami Zayn! This should be highly entertaining. Especially because of Sami’s promo last week.

Robert O’Neill: Good lord what a segment. Zayn did his entrance three times, then spoke french to appease the crowd, then said he hated the people on Montreal, which led Alexa to say he’s the problem, not them. Whew!

The IIconics are here and they’re taunting Bayley because Sasha Banks is MIA, so Bayley finds a new partner: Naomi!

Chris Novak: I am ALL about this team! Bayley and Naomi made pretty quick work of Peyton and Billie here. Good way of making Naomi look strong and keeping Bayley upright and afloat. Love it a lot obviously.

Braun Strowman basically beat the shit out of EC3. A match never really took place.

Now Becky Lynch is here to face Ruby Riott. Non-title style.

Robert O’Neill: Ruby got some good offense in, but ultimately tapped to the Disarmher. No surprise there.

Becky is still in the ring and Natalya comes out. She congratulates Becky on winning both titles and says she wants a shot at the Raw one but Lacey Evans says she wants a shot too, and we have a #1 contenders match!

Chris Novak: Okay so, this match wasn’t awful. It wasn’t good. Somewhere in the middle. Lacey doled out a moonsault where she jumped from the second rope to the top beforehand and it was dope. Evans now will face Becky for the Raw Women’s Championship down the line. I think Becky’s gonna be a good hand for her to work with. Whatever the case, you definitely can’t say that Lacey Evans is bad. She’s just okay right now. And that’s fine.

Our six-man tag main event is next.

Robert O’Neill: Who will the mystery partner be? Dean Ambrose? Someone else? Let’s see!

Chris Novak: It’s AJ STYLES! That’s certainly a big move. So, let’s six-man now, shall we?

Robert O’Neill: Unsurprisingly, it was awesome! The faces got the win when Roman hit a spear on Bob to send everyone home happy. Really excited to see what happens on the Smackdown side now.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: I like the changes Raw made and I liked the matches on this show. A very entertaining three hours. A

Chris Novak: I’ll give Raw a strong B+. I think there were some areas where it lacked, like in-ring wise in some instances. But apart from that, this show definitely hit the right notes. Especially A Moment of Bliss with Sami Zayn. That’s the high point.

Smackdown.png

Chris Novak: It’s time for the SmackDown Live portion of the Superstar Shakeup. Much like last night, I have absolutely zero idea what the hell is going to happen. Kevin Owens is here to start the show though in his native land of Quebec. There appears to be not one, but two seats in the ring along with KO’s seat. So… that’s intriguing to say the least!

Robert O’Neill: It’s not Shakeup related though! Instead he has WWE Champion Kofi Kingston and fellow New Day member Xavier Woods on the program. Owens congratulates Kofi and then banters back and forth before Woods reveals that Big E is hurt, but Kevin Owens volunteers to join The New Day as Big O! They give him a shirt and a unicorn horn as we have an all-time great segment for the second straight night.

And now Finn Balor is here! He’s been drafted to Smackdown.

Chris Novak: Well, well. That’s not something I expected at all. There’s a rumor that Joe is sick and that’s why he wasn’t on Raw, so you can probably move some pegs around here and figure this one out. Anyways, he’s facing Ali, so this is going to be awesome.

Robert O’Neill: That was a blast. Balor got the victory after a hard fought match. Really excited to see what he can do on Smackdown, as there’s a lot of directions they can take.

Charlotte vs. Carmella is next!

Chris Novak: That was significantly better than the series of matches they had last year. You can tell both performers have grown a lot. Charlotte won with the FIgure Eight and got Little Naitch to hold the ropes up for her.

For whatever reason, Lars is here. He attacked R-Truth. Swear I thought they said he was on Raw.

Robert O’Neill: Weird. I would prefer Lars never be around.

Anyway here’s Becky Lynch.

She talks about how she’s willing to take on any challengers, and out comes Ember Moon! Then Bayley! That’ll shake things up. The IIconics come out to banter before Paige comes out to introduce her new tag team: Kairi Sane and Asuka!

Chris Novak: God damn pal, that was quite the freaking segment. We get an eight-woman tag that proved to be a real, real fun one. Kairi Sane got the win for her team with the Elbow Drop. A lot of fun here. SmackDown Live’s women’s division is totally, super-duper stacked. And quite frankly, I’m a huge fan.

Kevin Owens did Big E’s spiel before their match. It was tremendous, as expected.

Well hey, look at THAT… Buddy Murphy’s on SmackDown Live too! God damn, what a show this is.

The six-man proved to be a fun one, as expected. Kofi, Big O and Xavier won after Owens hit a Stunner on Rusev. Real fun stuff here once again. Loved how fresh this felt even while it wasn’t super fresh. I don’t know if Owens is gonna do the turn on Kofi but I’m glad it didn’t happen tonight, at least.

Robert O’Neill: And with that, it’s time for Vince McMahon’s big announcement! Who will Smackdown get to cap off the Shakeup. It’s… Elias? That doesn’t seem right!

He started to perform but he gets interrupted by ROMAN REIGNS who Superman Punches Vince and says Smackdown Live is HIS yard! What a show.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Smackdown is still SO good. And they probably won the Shakeup again, as well. The Kevin Owens stuff was incredible, and Roman Reigns having a Smackdown run is going to be excellent. A

Chris Novak: SmackDown Live will remain great after the Shakeup, which was to be expected. I enjoyed the in-ring work on this show and thought there was solid development elsewhere. So, I had no qualms whatsoever with this show. A for me, too.

First Black Champ - Check The Archives

Roman Reigns is back! Does that effect the send off for Dean Ambrose? We the 66% Shield reunion and if Dean Ambrose should have Wrestlemania plans. We also dig into Ronda Rousey and why she's just not a great sports entertainer. Bautista beat Ric Flair ass on his birthday, but Cam is not feeling Evolution explodes at Wrestlemania.

Then we revisit Triple H's "People Like You" promo on Booker T. Bang reads the transcript of what happened on 3-3-03 and we tie that and Daniel Bryan's "Yes Movement" and "Occupy RAW" moment in with Kofi Kingston getting his Wrestlemania Title Match on this #FirstBlackChamp podcast episode!

Follow Cam Quotes on Twitter: @ImCamQuotes
Follow JR Bang on Twitter: @jrbang

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Nearly Canceled: Entourage is available right now exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

Ruthless Aggression - Return Of The Big Dog

FINALLY Ruthless Aggression IS BACK to run our mouths about one of the best weeks of wrestling in ages. So many returns this week, highlighted by the biggest dog of them all: Roman Reigns. Plus, The Rock returns to RAW in 2003, Booker T gets his moment in the sun, and Brock Lesnar looks to decimate Team Angle!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 509
Smackdown 185

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

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop.
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Nearly Canceled: Entourage is available right now exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

This Week in WWE: The Big Dog is BACK!

Chris and Rob discuss the major happenings of the week, including the much-anticipated return of Roman Reigns.

Robert O’Neill: We begin what should be a very memorable Raw with the return of Roman Reigns to a DEAFENING pop.

Chris Novak: My face -- hot. My eyes -- sweaty.

Robert O’Neill: Roman said a lot in this promo and was genuinely touching and all-time great Raw moment, but the biggest news is that his cancer is in remission and THE BIG DOG IS BACK!!!!!

Chris Novak: Just an incredible moment. I’m not sure there’s really any other way to describe it. Thank goodness the best news was given here. Totally love it.

We apparently will be doing a deal between The Revival and the tandem of Aleister Black and Ricochet. That seems fun. It was… fun, albeit short. Black and Rick won after Aleister clocked Scott Dawson with the Black Mass.

Robert O’Neill: Yes, I’m fine with this. This is fine.

Chris Novak: Elias is next… and Lacey Evans comes out to do her cameo and then leaves. Elias is not very enthused about all this. But now as he goes to play, Dean Ambrose comes out! Ambrose says all the positivity has him feeling dangerous, so he challenges Drew McIntyre to a No DQ Match later on tonight. He eventually lays Elias out with Dirty Deeds. That segment was amusing.

Looks like we’re getting Riott Squad vs. Ronda Rousey and Natalya next.

Robert O’Neill: This seems kind of thrown together, but I guess they all… have history? And Ronda needs to be on the show since Charlotte is tied up with the Ric Flair Birthday Bash?

Chris Novak: Another pretty fun match here. Well, it didn’t quite finish out the way many expected it to be because BECKY LYNCH arrived on the scene.

Robert O’Neill: Becky unloaded on Natalya with her crutch, and then went after Ronda but was whisked out of the arena by security, as she was arrested for showing up despite being suspended. After the break, Ronda remained in the ring and screamed for Vince to come out. Instead, she got Stephanie McMahon! Ronda wants Becky to be reinstated, but Stephanie's not having any of it. Ronda called Becky a ginger douche, and then said Stephanie could do a ton for her legacy if she makes the match a triple threat, but Ronda DEMANDS Stephanie reinstates Becky.

Chris Novak: Ronda doesn’t get her wish. She goes on a spiel about what the title means and eventually drops it down on the mat and says that Vince needs to make the “right” decision. This was a pleasing and effective segment to say the very least.

Robert O’Neill: That was genuinely Ronda’s best promo in her time with the company. That was amazing.

We come back from commercial to find Jinder Mahal in the ring with the Singh Brothers. He’s not a fan of all the hype about Ric Flair. He’s issuing an open challenge to anyone invited to Flair’s birthday party.

It ends up being Kurt Angle, who defeats Jinder in a hurry.

Chris Novak: There were like three other options for this that would’ve been better but, aye, I’ll take it. That was quick and effective and satisfying.

Robert O’Neill: Now it’s time for Moment of Bliss!

Chris Novak: And the guest is none other than the new IC Champion, Finn Balor. Alexa put herself over beforehand by saying that if the McMahons want someone who will be honorable with the championship, they know where to find her. Additionally, as she talked to Finn, she pointed out that his title hides his abs. I mean… look… anyways, Lio Rush winds up interrupting the segment. Because this is Moment of Bliss, and Moment of Bliss ALWAYS gets interrupted. Lio is a sad boy because Lashley doesn’t answer his calls or texts, basically, and says he wants to get the IC Title back. Finn asks if he’s challenging him and Lio is about to disagree, but Lex asked him if he wasn’t man enough for it. That obviously turns it on its side, and then the match is ready to proceed.

Sting is here. Main Event Mafia-looking ass Sting. I know he wasn’t gonna wear the facepaint… but c’mon man!

Robert O’Neill: Finn and Lio go about having their match and it’s quite fun, but oddly slow. They should have done some more high-flying stuff, but that’s me nitpicking. Finn hit 1916 for the first time in a while, then got the victory. No shock there.

Chris Novak: Lashley and Lio have an argument backstage. Okay, maybe it wasn’t an argument. Lashley was just laying into Lio. They go out to have a match with Braun Strowman. BUT… the match never happens. Braun knocks them both on their asses and our segment concludes.

Seth is interviewed and says he’s going to ‘burn it down’ with Roman but in a different way. They’re getting drunk. That’s the “joke.”

NAITCH is here.

Robert O’Neill: And now it’s time for Dean Ambrose vs. Drew McIntyre in a no DQ match.

Drew gets the win after Elias comes down and attacks Dean from behind and then Corbin and Lashley come down for a four on one attack, but Seth Rollins comes out with a chair! But he’s not alone. ROMAN REIGNS COMES OUT AND HELPS CLEAR THE RING. They leave together without Dean, so it wasn’t a full Shield reunion, yet.

Chris Novak: Time for Bayley-Nia. Nia was rude as hell and trashed Bayley’s tubeman. Up the river she goes, IMO. Bayley threw Nia down with a hip toss early on in the match. My goodness. This was a very well put-together match that culminated with Bayley scoring yet another W after an Elbow Drop on Nia. A strongly booked Bayley is the best Bayley.

Robert O’Neill: The gang’s all here for Ric Flair’s birthday. Triple H! Stephanie! Shawn Michaels! Ricky Steamboat! Sting!

Chris Novak: And now they’re about to introduce Flair! His music hits and… he’s not out here. Surely, it must be that meddling orange-haired ass kicker Becky Lynch who’s responsible for this.

OH MY GOD, IT’S NOT! IT’S NOT BECKY! IT’S BIG DAVE! BATISTA!!! Batista drags a cameraman along to grab (read: DRAG) Ric Flair’s beaten up body out into the concourse. He screams at Hunter from the back, asking if he has his attention now. Oh my WORD… the bait and switch… the bomb drop here… that was absolutely tremendous in just about every way.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Monday night marked the 1344th episode of Monday Night Raw, and it’s safe to say that it was easily one of the best. We knew all along that it would be an iconic and memorable show, but sometimes WWE gets sloppy in its execution. That wasn’t the case here. From Roman Reigns’ tear-jerking and memorable return promo to top the show, to Batista’s shocking return and turn on Ric Flair, this show hit every single note and made me feel every possible emotion. A+

Chris Novak: A+ for me too. Just an all-around, well-produced, high-energy, damn good show. There were two humongous moments and absolutely no real lulls on this show at all, whatsoever. Just a fantastic episode of wrestling television. Love it.

Smackdown.png

Robert O’Neill: Coming off the heels off an all-time great Raw, we’re in for a treat on Smackdown as Johnny Gargano is facing Cesaro, Aleister Black and Ricochet are facing Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura, and Daniel Bryan will have a contract signing with Kofi Kingston. This should be fun!

Chris Novak: Absolutely. Plus they’re in Charlotte, and it will be… quite the scene when Charlotte Flair comes out.

We are beginning with the contract signing for Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship Match. Stephanie and Shane are presiding over. They highlight all the achievements of Kofi’s career and the last two weeks. I actually find it REALLY funny that Stephanie is giving Bryan shit right now even as a babyface.

Kofi is about to sign the contract… however, Vince McMahon has arrived. Eh boy, I wonder what THIS could mean…

OH MY GOD VINCE HAS REPLACED KOFI KINGSTON WITH … KEVIN OWENS!!!

Robert O’Neill: Look, I don’t know how much Bruce Prichard has a hand in things, but he’s been back for two shows and we’ve had two of the biggest surprises in WWE programming in recent memory. That’s amazing.

Owens will tag with Kofi later against Bryan and Rowan.

Speaking of tag teams, it’s time for The Bar against… someone? This is weird. Cesaro was supposed to face Johnny Gargano.

Chris Novak: IT’S THE HARDY BOYZ! I’m guessing there was some kind of rewrite here. Wow. Matt looks like he’s in GREAT shape right now. Crazy things are happening here.

Robert O’Neill: The Hardys won with a Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb. It’s like old times! This is great.

R-Truth is out here for an open challenge. And Andrade comes out to answer it! But Rey Mysterio comes out as well! And we’re having a triple threat match. Whew boy.

Chris Novak: Unsurprisingly, this match was quite good. Truth won after rolling Rey up after he hit the 619 on Andrade. This result works for everyone. It helps Truth become a credible champ and helps to further the feud between Rey and Andrade. Quality, quality stuff.

Charlotte is next up. She runs down Becky and Ronda for doing what they did on Monday, calling Rousey a quitter and calling Becky a fraud. She says she’s going to Raw on Monday to be crowned the new Women’s Champion. So it’s about to go down in Philly, in other words.

Ricochet and Aleister Black versus Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev is next.

Robert O’Neill: Unsurprisingly, it was a lot of fun! Ricochet and Black got the victory after about 10 minutes. They’re sure making them look like a big deal.

Chris Novak: Read between those lines, baby.

Robert O’Neill: Main event time! Kevin Owens and Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan and Rowan. Kofi isn’t pleased as he comes out with the New Day, who aren’t up to any of their antics.

Chris Novak: This match was fun, but it felt like it was missing an extra gear that SmackDown main events have had the last few weeks. In the end though, it worked out well for all parties. KO got the pin on Bryan after hitting a STUNNER~, and there was no turn. Which I thought was intriguing. Good ending.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Much like Raw, Smackdown was excellent. The surprise returns of Matt Hardy and Kevin Owens were truly unexpected, and every match was fun, even if we didn’t get the advertised Johnny Gargano vs. Cesaro match. The Road to Wrestlemania is going to be wild. A+

Chris Novak: Do you guys remember when we didn’t want more hours of wrestling TV? And the market was “oversaturated?” I feel like I want another hour of SmackDown. Something. Anything. This roster’s huge and this show was great even without some of the big timers’ presence. AND almost the entire women’s division. Good lord, the WWF is on fire. A+

The absurdity of accusing Roman Reigns of fabricating his illness

When you hear the word “cancer” come out of a loved one’s mouth, it almost freezes you. In a nanosecond, your entire life with that person flashes before your eyes, consumed with the thought that those memories could soon be all you’re left with. I’ll never forget that September 2016 call from my mom. I can remember every single important moment I ever had with my mother playing on loop in my head, from birthday parties and Bulls games, to house fires, hotels and temporary housing. The news flipped my entire world upside down.

I felt something similar last October 22nd when Joe Anoa’i - shoot name: Roman Reigns - opened Monday Night Raw and announced he was in his second battle with leukemia, having conquered the illness eleven years prior. Now, obviously I don’t have a personal relationship with Roman Reigns; he’s a character on a television show I’ve watched long before he was apart of it. However, in playing his role throughout the past six years, Joe Anoa’i has given me plenty of memories - whether I was cheering him in Chicago or telling him he sucks in Brooklyn - and at 33 years old, the thought of missing out on the many more memories to come made me sick.

On Monday night, Joe Anoa’i is expected to walk down the ramp at Raw and deliver the speech Atlanta - and the wrestling world - have been waiting months to hear: that his cancer is in remission, and that Roman Reigns will soon return to WWE competition. Given the response from fans and performers across the community, tonight is sure to be one of the most emotional nights ever in professional wrestling. It wasn’t a year ago when Bryan Danielson announced he came out victorious in his fight to be Daniel Bryan in the ring once again. From an emotional standpoint, tonight’s announcement should top that with ease.

Throughout Roman’s sabbatical from wrestling, he’s taken potshots from several fans, and even more disgustingly, former wrestlers, who believe that his illness has been a work. The latest, apparently, is Calgary [dramatic pause] Alberta Canada’s own Lance Storm. Twitter user VCR Wrestling tuned into Figure Four Daily on Wrestling Observer Radio, which Storm hosts with Bryan Alvarez. The audio is behind a paywall, and frankly I’m not giving the Observer my money because fuck no. VCR was kind enough to tweet some of their conversation between Storm and Alvarez on Reigns’ announcement, and… well… check the tweets.

Photo credit: WWE

Photo credit: WWE

It goes without saying that Lance Storm is the Donkey of the Day if he thinks Roman wasn’t that sick because he could film Hobbes and Shaw with his cousin, The Rock. If your own brother-in-law was stricken by leukemia, the first thing you should be able to understand is NOT EVERYBODY’S ILLNESS IS THE SAME. Roman Reigns not being on his deathbed doesn’t lessen the debilitating nature of his disease, the need for urgency to address his leukemia or the importance of his fight. Any belief otherwise is absurd.

Do I understand some people’s belief that everything in wrestling is a work? Sure. We’re conditioned to believe it by now. But working the public on a deadly illness, especially one that personally afflicts us all in the way cancer does, is as repulsive as it can get in wrestling (and I’ve seen Mae Young’s naked). There is absolutely no good that would come from faking cancer. Roman Reigns would not commit career suicide to get himself “over” with fans. Vince McMahon would not give his top guy a “mysterious cancer diagnosis” to promote the company’s working relationships with Susan G. Komen and Connor’s Cure, two organizations devoted to breast and pediatric cancer research, respectively.

Let’s stop there. Do you know how ridiculous that would look for Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, the founders of Connor’s Cure and the two company faces at the forefront of social progress in WWE, to be anywhere near attached to a storyline where a survivor fakes having cancer again for a few months just to get cheers from funky, obnoxious, misogynistic wrestling fans who chant “Roman Sucks!” and send hate tweets to women who aren’t “real fans” because they like Roman?

Does that make any sense?

It’s shameful we have to be saying this, but here we are. Stupidity never fails to dominate the headlines.

Alas, tonight’s news should hit every wrestling fan in the feels. Whether or not you like Roman Reigns the wrestler, Joe Anoa’i the man is a remarkable human. He’s won championships around the globe and main-evented four straight WrestleMania’s, but his biggest triumph, or at least the one that needs to be celebrated the most, is being a two-time cancer survivor.

First Black Champ - If You Don't Have WWE Network You A Cheap Bitch!

Happy Birthday to the WWE Network! It's been five years since the way we consume wrestling content has change and we are better for it with more money in our pockets! We talk about that and celebrate our new Black Champ, The Velveteen Dream! How bad was the original NXT call ups for us to get the repackaging of NXT as a traveling brand with top tier guys on RAW and Smackdown last week? We unpack that Kofi Kingston and the reason we think Roman Reigns is returning on this week’s #FirstBlackChamp podcast!

Follow Cam Quotes on Twitter: @ImCamQuotes
Follow JR Bang on Twitter: @jrbang

Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair


Nearly Canceled: Entourage is available right now exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

Ruthless Aggression - Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning came early for WWE! We talk about the recent releases and where they go from here in their careers, plus Monday's impending announcement from The Big Dawg Roman Reigns, last Sunday's Elimination Chamber PPV, the four new NXT call-ups and more!

Ruthless Aggression recap:
RAW 508
Smackdown 184
No Way Out 2003

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

Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops New Years Day 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

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

aj-db.jpg

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.

This Week in WWE: A tragic announcement by Roman Reigns owns the week

This week’s edition of This Week in WWE starts off on a somber note that, quite frankly, nobody expected. We did our best to write through this week, and we feel we did an okay job doing so.

Chris Novak: Raw is starting off with Roman Reigns, who announced he has been living with leukemia for the last 11 years. And now, it’s back and because of it, he has to relinquish the Universal Title. I don’t know what to say other than I hope he recovers promptly. I could not have ever expected this, but this sucks so much.

Robert O’Neill: This is as stunned and saddened I’ve ever been in my life as a wrestling fan. I really don’t know what more to say here.

Chris Novak: How the hell are we supposed to just watch this now?

Robert O’Neill: Finn Balor defeated Bobby Lashley. It was a good match.

Chris Novak: Sasha Banks faced Ruby Riott in a preview of what’s to come this weekend in their six-woman tag match. It was very solid. Ruby picked up the victory, as she continues to be one of the most protected wrestlers in the company.

Robert O’Neill: DX is out here to talk about their match with Undertaker and Kane. Triple H says Halloween is a movie from 40 years ago but it’s also #1 at the box office right now so old things aren’t always bad. On another night I might have chuckled at this segment, but I just can’t do it tonight.

Chris Novak: I kind of chuckled. Make what you will of that. Kane and Taker did a vignette promo in response. If you’ve watched them over the last 20 years, you probably know how it went.

So it will be Brock vs. Braun for the Universal Championship. 1-on-1, no gimmicks, nothing. Makes sense.

Paul Heyman is next. He talks about Roman Reigns, the locker room and how they everyone is reacting towards this whole thing. And how the Universal Championship was #1, and how Roman wants the title and the show to go on.

Robert O’Neill: He manages to bring the promo back to Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman though, because the show must go on and the title must go on. He says Strowman isn’t as good as Lesnar, and then Strowman comes out and says he’s going to beat Brock Lesnar, but Drew McIntyre Claymore Kicks him from behind!

Chris Novak: If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that they were turning Braun into a babyface again.

Elias came out, played a little guitar, and then Apollo Crews came out. After a spirited contest, Elias prevailed.

Kurt Angle cut a promo about everyone else in the WWE World Cup. Honestly kinda dug this.

ELIAS IS PERFORMING AN ENCORE! Wait, no he’s not.

Robert O’Neill: Baron Corbin comes out and says absolutely not, Elias runs him down for a little bit, then leaves, but comes back and smashes his guitar into Corbin’s back! Face Elias. I’m here for it.

Chris Novak: As am I! I’m ready for this.

The Rousey-Nikki contract signing is next. The Bellas bolt as soon as Ronda gets in. Rousey says she’s not gonna go after them tonight, but wants Nikki to sign the contract so she can on Sunday. They eventually get in, and Nikki says that Ronda’s mother (who Ronda mentioned earlier in the promo) would be embarrassed for her if a “diva” beat her. Nikki signed the contract and slapped Ronda, which didn’t incite Ronda… yet. She signed and said that she’d end her, and she has her word.

Robert O’Neill: There was trash talk and slapping but no one went through the table, which is always the lone highlight of contract signings.

Chris Novak: Seth and Dean were interviewed and they put together a pretty great promo.

Ember Moon beat Nia Jax, Tamina and Dana Brooke in a Fatal 4-Way Match. Right woman won.

They did a very nice segment with Titus and breast cancer survivors.

Trish and Lita were interviewed by Charly Caruso before Evolution. Alicia came in to intervene, and then Mickie James joined in to jump them both. They got the upper hands… until they didn’t. Conspicuous by her absence was Alexa, who’s reportedly injured. That would add up if she wasn’t able to even partake in this brawl here. Hopefully she’s OK.

They then went on with the main event. The Tag Team Titles were on the line, as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins challenged Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. After a very lengthy match, Rollins dropped Ziggler with the Curb Stomp to get the 1-2-3 and the titles.

AND THEN THEY DID THE FUCKING DEAL!

THEY TURNED DEAN AMBROSE ON TONIGHT OF ALL NIGHTS!!!!

Ambrose dropped Seth with Dirty Deeds in the ring, beat his ass in the ring and out, and then hit him again with Dirty Deeds on the exposed concrete floor.

Holy shit, I cannot honestly process all this at once. That might be one of the tackiest things they’ve ever done, but at the same time… it’s absolutely brilliant. Ambrose is set for life as a villain and BOI if you thought Ciampa was a villain, Ambrose is about to ascend to another level. Everything about this was sold incredibly well. The entire Dunkin Donuts Center was in shock. You had people LEGITIMATELY IN TEARS! You don’t get that kind of raw emotion. Yes, the cost to get there was insane and probably really bad. But… holy… wow.

Robert O’Neill: That was an all-time great Raw moment. From The Shield winning the tag titles to Dean becoming the industry’s top heel within the span of five minutes, wrestling is at its best when it invokes emotion, and it’s the cream of the crop when you get your entire spectrum of emotions in a five minute span.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: I don’t know how like… I don’t know how to grade that Raw properly. I thought I was going to be in a haze after Roman’s announcement. I really did. But they lured me back in and… I don’t know. That was a wild, wild ride, and one that we’ll likely (and hopefully) never deal with again.

Robert O’Neill: Get well soon, Roman. A+

Chris Novak: SmackDown kicks off with the former SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The New Day. Before we get started, we find out that The Bar will defend their newly won titles against The New Day. Big Show was in the graphic, so he will, in fact, be involved in this match. Kofi says that they set the bar… and lowered the bar. He wonders what we’re all thinking: Big Show?!?!Xavier wonders if he’s the bar…tender. Cue Big E making a joke about how many times he flips and calls him a flapjack.

So, here’s The Bar with The Big Show. One person from each side will be facing off in singles action to start the show. As it turns out, it’s… The Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston. Show dominates this match and hits him with more than a few chokeslams. Four in particular before the match gets thrown out after The Bar and The New Day decide to just collide in the ring. New Day wind up getting absolutely smoked. Is to be expected in order to get Show over as an X-Factor.

Robert O’Neill: I really like how they’re using Big Show. I think Big Show vs. Big E is an eventual money match, but for now they can keep doing it this way, The Bar using who they needed to use to even the odds was a great choice.

Chris Novak: Usos-Bryan & Styles is next. They played an extremely well-produced video package about Roman’s announcement from last night. Unsurprisingly, this was fun yet again. The Usos won again over Bryan and Styles, this after an errant Pele Kick struck Bryan, which led to the victory.

Robert O’Neill: The Usos have been doing incredible work so far in this feud. It’s so simple and so well done. Bryan and AJ are starting to have a rift, which is what you have to do in face vs face singles feuds.

Chris Novak: They played a video of an altercation that Charlotte and WWF Champion Becky Lynch got into over the weekend. It was pretty well done and capped off with a pull-apart brawl featuring the women of NXT. I am, of course, really digging this angle. Charlotte cut a (pre-recorded) promo afterwards saying she would win back the Women’s Title. Standard fare.

Miz hosted Rey Mysterio on MizTV. Miz recapped what he missed while he was gone, essentially, and put himself over as the multiplatform star of WWE. Mysterio says he’s disappointed that he wasn’t on Truth TV, which got a few laughs. This eventually led to a physical altercation, and then that led to a really fun match. Miz fell to Mysterio after being hit with the 619.

Robert O’Neill: Miz and Rey Mysterio reigniting their Summerslam 2012 feud. Classic! It was kind of weird to do this match since both are in the World Cup and will probably face off again in that, but it was a good match.

Chris Novak: We were supposed to have a women’s tag bout between Naomi & Asuka and Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville. But then The IIconics showed up… and then everyone else showed up and we got a brawl. Asuka stood tall at the end of it. It was battle royal hype.

Randy Orton defeated Jeff Hardy in the main event. The match was pretty okay all things considered.

Robert O’Neill: Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton didn’t really do anything for me. It’s just like… we’ve seen this already a lot this year. It was a very weird decision

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: For the first time in a long time I thought Raw was significantly better than SmackDown. That’s not to say this show was bad, it just wasn’t great, while Raw was. I’ll give this a solid B-, but they could’ve put something better in for this show, I felt.

Robert O’Neill: I tend to agree, Raw was the better show this week. Smackdown was just kinda there, which is rarely the case, but it kind of felt like a big inconsequential bore. C+

First Black Champ: Roman Couldn't Wait

It's a special Midweek edition of the #FirstBlackChamp podcast! Roman Reigns announced his leukemia has returned, Dean Ambrose picks a perfect time to turn heel and Crown Jewel is still looking like anything but a good idea. Then Cam Quotes & JR Bang try to predict who will be the next Universal Champion. Remember where you all heard it first!

Ruthless Aggression - Emergency Roman Reigns announcement pod
WWE Hell in a Cell 2018: Recap, reactions and analysis

Hell in a Cell went down on Sunday night in San Antonio! Rob and Chris react to what was a great show… until a confounding ending turned up.

New Day vs. Rusev Day - SDL Tag Team Championships

Chris Novak: Okay, hot out of the gate, this PPV is. This match was on the Kickoff Show but they proved they could have easily main carded this. I really enjoyed the pace of this down the stretch. Aiden busted out some great offense that included his own version of The Accolade. It ALMOST looked like they were going to get it, when Rusev hit a Machka Kick on Big E, who was trying to break it up. BUT, nevertheless, New Day prevailed and New Day retained. Going to give this a hearty ***¾. Did the right team win? Who’s to say?

Robert O’Neill: I feel like the tag team match to open any WWE PPV never disappointed. It’s the perfect way to get things going and get the crowd into it, and there’s a reason they always make sure to have tag matches lead off.

Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton - Hell in a Cell

Chris Novak: Okay! So. That was nasty… violent… everything in between. Orton got real nasty when he used A DAMN SCREWDRIVER THROUGH HARDY’S EAR WHY DID THAT HAPPEN???? Both guys pulled off some ridiculous spots and Orton was left pretty cut up to say the least. I’m not even sure how to rate this match but it was easily the most violent HIAC match in years.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah we need to talk about that screwdriver spot. It was gross. But yeah Orton was cut up on his leg and back and then Jeff tried to do a crossbody thing from hanging on the top of the cell through a table and Orton rolled off the table. It was pretty brutal.

Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch - SmackDown Live Women’s Championship

Chris Novak: THEY DID THE DAMN THING! Becky became the new SmackDown Live Women’s Champion. She did so by countering a Spear and quickly slapped on the Dis-Arm-Her, and thus won clean as a sheet. This was a pretty terrific bout, if you’re really into limb work and psychology. And no surprise, I am just that kind of fan! I will give this **** and it’s both of these ladies’ best matches in quite a while.

Robert O’Neill: I’m kind of shocked they did this. I thought they would have Charlotte win by DQ and have Becky beat her down, but WWE deserves credit for knowing what they had (organically) and not screwing it up. It was pretty much Daniel Bryan in 2014 all over again.

Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre vs. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins - Raw Tag Team Championships

Chris Novak: OKAY THIS MATCH WAS ALSO VERY GOOD!!! Not that it’s surprising when you consider who was in it, but wow. The finish was terrific. Seth did his Superplex off the top rope, and went to transition to a Falcon Arrow, but Drew snuck in and hit the Claymore on him. Dolph flopped down on Seth like a fish and got the 1-2-3. I’m going ****½ on here. Loved how they let this match build up and loved all of the fun tag-style psychology that they had in this match. They did some different things in this match and they all really worked.

Robert O’Neill: What a shock, Seth Rollins had another great match! Credit to all four of these guys, though. This was probably the best tag match on WWE television this year, as far as the main roster goes.

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe - WWE Championship

Chris Novak: This match whipped ass pretty much. It was a little bit slow-paced but was incredibly hard-hitting. It appears they’re doing some kind of controversial finish, where Joe made Styles tap out, but had that happen AWAY from the camera angle. SO, Joe doesn’t have the belt. They’re gonna likely run this again at Super Show-Down. I will give this ****¼ as well. These two absolutely, ABSOLUTELY crushed it. I don’t know if I was expecting that tonight, honestly, but they showed OUT.

Robert O’Neill: I would like if these blood feuds would start with brawling for once instead of chain wrestling and headlocks, but beggars can’t be choosers. Aside from that, the match was good. Joe teasing the muscle buster was a nice touch and the finish leaves for intrigue for Smackdown this week.

The Miz & Maryse vs. Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella - Mixed Tag Match

Chris Novak: That match was… funbad! Some sloppiness involved, but that was probably more expected than anything. Still, the crowd was engaged and everyone played their part. Maryse won with a (sloppy) roll-up. Like I said, maybe some parts were sloppy but I had a ball watching that match. ***¼ for me.

Robert O’Neill: Maryse is the smartest worker in the company. Her only offense was the pinfall. The match was bad and their match at Evolution will be bad but whatever. It keeps the feud going.

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

Chris Novak: Alright, that was pretty okay. Rousey’s selling was tremendous and Alexa worked well enough for this match to get the job done. They did go longer than anticipated but when you have such a small card, these matches have to go long to fill time. Maybe next time they can add some more matches. Nevertheless, I’m not going to hold that against the performers here. They did their jobs and did it well. I will go with ***¼ for that one.

Robert O’Neill: That was good! It went a bit too long, but the card is short, it happens. I think Alexa being out of the title picture now will be pretty good for her, and I’m interested to see where Ronda goes next. I think they should probably start having her matches be quicker, but that can be a slippery slope.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman - Hell in a Cell for Universal Championship

Chris Novak: Alright, I don’t know if I have much positive to say about this. Brock Lesnar came back, wrecked shop, and the match ended in a no contest. A HIAC match… ended in a no contest. I’m guessing this is building toward the Saudi show, because both Braun and Roman are booked for Super Show-Down. Whatever. The match itself was fine but felt like it was lacking something. This really felt like it was planned in the last minute. I’ll give it a generous *** but to be honest with you I probably could’ve gone lower. An otherwise great show ends with a loud dud.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, I’m one of the only Brock Lesnar fans left in 2018 and it was cool to see him show up and kick the door off the cell and then use the door as a ramp, but he really shouldn’t be the one we’re talking about after a Hell in a Cell match he wasn’t in. The Lesnar stuff and the Pack/Shield fighting and Rollins/Ziggler doing the same spot Rollins did with Ambrose a couple years ago where both went off the cell through a table seemed dangerous and unnecessary. Strictly speaking about Braun and Roman’s parts of the match, it was wholly unmemorable. Mick Foley being involved makes even less sense now, and he 100% accidentally did a three count early in the match when Braun was covering Roman. They have a lot of work to do tomorrow on Raw to fix this.

Final Thoughts

Robert O’Neill: The majority of this show was good! The first four matches were excellent. Is that enough to make the entire show good? Sure. They could have made the Ronda/Alexa match shorter and done a lot different with the Braun/Roman match, but all in all this was a good way to spend four hours. B

Chris Novak: Let’s run through the star ratings again.

New Day/Rusev Day - ***3/4
Hardy/Orton - ****
Charlotte/Becky - ****
Ziggler & Mac/Ambrose & Rollins - ****1/2
AJ/Joe - ****1/4
Miz & Maryse/Brie & Bryan - ***1/4
Rousey/Bliss - ***1/4
Roman/Braun - ***

From the outside this looks like a marvelous show. And to be honest, it was! That is until the ending. I can’t really get over how mismanaged Braun-Roman was. But at the same time, it wasn’t an all-time bad ending or anything. Just a stupid one. So I’ll give HIAC a solid B+.

Ruthless Aggression EP 33 - HLA & Billy & Chuck's wedding
Ruthless Aggression EP 31 - All In preview
Ruthless Aggression EP 30 - Summerslam/NXT TakeOver Brooklyn IV recap

The crew is joined by Lincoln Ricketts to chop it up about NXT Takeover Brooklyn IV and Summerslam! Plus they review RAW 482, Smackdown! 157, and Summerslam 2002, featuring a helluva opener between Kurt Angle & Rey Mysterio, Shawn Michaels' return to face Triple H, and Brock Lesnar's WWE title win over The Rock.

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

WWE Summerslam 2018: Results, reactions and analysis
SummerSlam_(2015)_-_Logo.png

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