This Week in WWE: The King of the Ring continues on!

rawlogo.png

Robert O’Neill: It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another exciting edition of Monday Night Raw! There’s a lot set to transpire, as Sasha Banks faces Natalya, Bayley faces Nikki Cross, and a gauntlet match determines the #1 contenders for Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman’s tag titles!

IT’S BOSS TIME!

Sasha Banks is out here to explain her actions and, whew, there’s a lot to unpack here. She says she took her ball and went home because she was in a meaningless match at Wrestlemania for tag titles she didn’t care about while Becky Lynch got to be in the main event, so then Sasha had to come back and remind everyone what’s up. 

That was a fine promo. I didn’t like it as much as some people, but I get it.  

Chris Novak: So… basically they almost took the route that I was hoping they wouldn’t. Nevertheless let’s see how things progress going forward. Just aiming to see something different outta Sasha and WWE in general with these tropes.

Robert O’Neill: We begin tonight’s action with Drew McIntyre vs. Ricochet in the third Raw King of the Ring match. 

Chris Novak: Unsurprisingly, this match was very good. Ricochet defeated Drew with the 630. I had/have been saying that this match would determine your KOTR winner, and this decision does not dissuade me from that thought process. 

Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins are interviewed backstage about their Tag Team Titles victory last week. This all turns into Braun challenging Seth for the Universal Championship. Like I said last week, I dig this. They are having Braun and Seth pull double duty at Clash of Champions, because the winner of a Tag Team Turmoil Match tonight will take them on. 

Also, Braun is going to be facing AJ Styles for the United States Championship again later tonight. 

The Miz vs. Baron Corbin in our next (and final Raw) KOTR Round of 16 match is next. 

Robert O’Neill: Before we get going, Miz cuts a promo about how much winning King of the Ring would mean to him. Still very weird having Miz as a face. 

But unfortunately for Miz, he won’t make it happen this year. Corbin gets the victory with an End of Days and advances to the next round. That was kind of unexpected, no?

Chris Novak: It was… and it wasn’t. I mean, Baron is who he is. They’ll use him to move the proper pieces and whatnot. Nevertheless, match was good. Corbin gets the advancement. He’ll face Ceddy now in the semifinals. Should be fun! 

The OC were interviewed about Tag Team Turmoil. It essentially boiled down to the fact that they believe they’re going to win the match. Nothing otherworldly here. 

Bayley vs. Nikki Cross is next. This match was fine. Bayley won. There wasn’t much advancement in either direction though. Alexa was absent also, for some reason. The show goes on.

Tag Team Turmoil is next! The Viking Raiders quickly dispose of The B-Team. Now they’ll face… The OC! And... okay then. Interesting. They went at it for a while and then that led to a double DQ. So… okay then. Did not expect that one at all. Both teams are now out.

Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler, who are a team as of… tonight, are now in. And… they go on to win the whole thing. I can’t really make sense of this thing, but I’d guess off the bat here that they’re not going to be dropping the titles anytime soon then like I thought. I’m not sure if it makes it bad, but quick reaction here is that this is just kinda… lame.

Robert O’Neill: I don’t like it. I think it made a lot more sense to just have the Raiders or OC win, instead of a slapped together team. I also am very publicly anti-Dolph Ziggler, so that doesn’t help things here.

Hey Sasha Banks is about to wrestle!

Chris Novak: She defeated Nattie pretty emphatically with the Bank Statement. Little creative way of doing it by pulling her arm back and whatnot. Sasha went for a post-match Bank Statement to prove her point, basically. Decent stuff obviously. Paint-by-numbers and accomplished what needed to be accomplished. 

Cedric Alexander vs. Cesaro is next. 

Robert O’Neill: Wow that was a lot of fun. Cesaro is still so good, and Cedric was able to overcome tweaking his knee to hit a big Lumbar Check to advance to the quarterfinals against Baron Corbin next week! 

Hey! A surprise Firefly Funhouse! Aw, it’s just a clip show. 

Time for Braun vs. AJ for the US Title. And AJ has told The OC to not come to the ring with him because he can do this on his own.

Chris Novak: The match ended with AJ winning by disqualification, this after he pulled an Eddie Guerrero and lied down with Braun holding a steel chair, after he had used it to whack Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. The referee said he heard the chair shot, which is definitely a new one, and called for the bell. Creative end to the match to be honest.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: While the King of the Ring matches were good, the tag match and womens matches were enough to lower this week’s grade for me. The lack of Seth/Becky/Alexa/Mysterio/etc. didn’t help much either, as shown by the fact that they had to fill time and put Dolph Ziggler in action for a half hour. With a holiday show (not a throwaway like they used to be) and the return to Madison Square Garden looming, Raw will bounce back, but for this week, it’s a C+

Chris Novak: I’ll give this a very low B-. There was enough for me to keep me intrigued and whatnot, but there was definitely something absent and something missing from this. The lack of Seth, Alexa and Becky definitely hurt this show quite a little bit. T’was what it was though.

smackdownlivelogo.png

Chris Novak: Big episode of SmackDown Live is on the way. Two very good King of the Ring matches are on the horizon, between Buddy Murphy-Ali and Chad Gable-Shelton Benjamin. That plus Lacey Evans vs. Bayley in a non-title affair. 

Roman Reigns is starting off the show though. He talks with Kayla Braxton, and then says he’s going to talk about Daniel Bryan’s demands to have him apologize in the ring later.

Kofi Kingston is here now though. It was announced earlier that Kingston will face Randy Orton in a SummerSlam rematch at Clash of Champions, which was always the next point in this storyline. 

Robert O’Neill: This is the best feud in the company at the moment so I’m quite excited to see what happens here. 

Chris Novak: Orton invokes the children of Kofi Kingston in a (likely fake written) letter handed he reads off to the audience. This goads Kofi to go backstage after Orton says he’s going to pay him a visit. A brawl ensues in Gorilla until Orton gets the upper hand and drops Kofi off the table and onto the floor. That’s no easy bump to take either!

Robert O’Neill: Whew, alright that was a fun opener. Still very much into their feud. Wonder if we’ll get a match of some sort tonight. 

And after the break, we see Big E coming out of the trainer's room having checked on Kofi, and Kayla Braxton informs Big E that he’ll be facing Randy Orton tonight. I’ll take it! 

Chris Novak: This will be just their third one-on-one match against each other. Should be fun. 

Speaking of fun, Ali vs. Buddy Murphy is next. Well, that was about as fantastic as it could’ve been with the time they got. Ali won after hitting his 450 off the top rope. Just a ridiculously good match here. Buddy’s on a damn roll, and Ali showed out yet again. Just great stuff here. 

Robert O’Neill: Three straight weeks of bangers for Buddy Murphy. Him losing here is fine, they clearly know what they have in him. Excited to see how far Ali goes too. 

We go backstage to see Bayley talking to Ember Moon, but they’re NOT TALKING ABOUT Summerslam. Ember appreciates what Bayley has done for the division. Cut to Lacey Evans saying Bayley hasn’t actually done anything for the division. They’ll square off later. 

Hey, Miz is here! 

Chris Novak: Miz talks about last week’s interaction between him, Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn. He talks up how he made the IC Title relevant and important. This brings Zayn out, who talks down about Miz’s style in-ring and whatnot. This eventually leads to Nak sneak attacking Miz from behind. Zayn acts like an annoying ass hype man, which is to be expected. Nak then eventually crushes Miz with the Kinshasa against the side of the ring. 

That segment totally ruled and I’m all the way here for Zayn as the shitheel manager he’s being right now. Also, Nak looks like a beast after that beatdown. 

Robert O’Neill: Hell yes. I love this pairing so much. Excited to see where they go with it.

Time for Bayley vs. Lacey!

Chris Novak: Okay… that match was fantastic. That was rather easily Lacey’s best main roster match and another great match for Bayley in 2019. These two worked a great babyface-heel matchup with some great limb work and psychology. I may be among the world’s biggest Bayley fans but I think anyone who watched this match feels the same about it. Just fantastic stuff.

Robert O’Neill: Randy Orton picks up a victory against Big E following an assist from The Revival after the referee was distracted. With Xavier and Kofi hurt, there was no one to help Big E. 

Chris Novak: That match was pretty solid. Big E looked good in it. I am still really digging this trio of The Revival and Randy Orton. It’s probably going to be short term, but I’m enjoying the most of it.

Chad Gable vs. Shelton Benjamin, our final Round of 16 match, is going down next. 

Robert O’Neill: Unsurprisingly, Gable gets the win. It was a fun little match.

Roman Reigns is here. Will he apologize to Rowan and Bryan? Let’s see! 

Chris Novak: He does not. Because Roman showed video of Erick Rowan in the back after the first incident went down! Bryan slapped the shit out of Rowan and Bryan went to the ring to explain himself, but got a Spear for his troubles! 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Chris Novak: Excellent episode of SmackDown, up and down. Two great matches (Ali-Buddy, Bayley-Lacey) and some good development pretty much anywhere and everywhere. A for me. This was an excellent episode of wrestling television. 

Robert O’Neill: Think Smackdown gets an A from me, as well. Every match was good and while the Roman/Bryan saga might be starting to get a little dragged out, it’s still very compelling, not to mention Kofi/Orton.