This Week in WWE: SummerSlam starts to sort itself out

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Chris Novak: We are officially on the road to SummerSlam. Packed show tonight. A Fatal 4-Way between Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Naomi and Natalya is scheduled to determine Becky Lynch’s next opponent at S’Slam for the Women’s Championship. Elsewhere, there will be a huge Battle Royal to determine Brock Lesnar’s opponent at the big event in Toronto for his newly won Universal Championship. 

Speaking of, Brock and Paul Heyman are here to start the show. 

Robert O’Neill: Brock is using the belt as a boombox now! Delightful. Heyman came out last week and said Brock would cash in. Then Heyman came out at Extreme Rules and said Brock would cash in. What do you know? Brock cashed in. Heyman runs down the ten guys in the battle royal tonight, and I gotta say there are a lot of intriguing options here!

Chris Novak: There’s really no bad options here. Only ones who are better than the others. That should be a really fun main event. Up next, Ricochet is gonna be scrapping. Against whom? We’ll likely find out after the break. Well, we got okie-doked. Ricochet is teaming with The Usos against Robert Roode and The Revival. Six-Man ⅔ Man for… whatever reason.

The match was fine. The babyfaces got the win after Ricochet pinned Roode. 

The Club came out and then Ricochet jumped out and attacked AJ Styles. ALl hell then broke loose. The Usos went after Anderson and Gallows. Then The Revival went after them. The Usos stood tall and then went to dive out of the ring. Roode intervened and took him out, and then Jey was hit with the Shatter Machine. Ricochet then dove in and got everyone, and then Styles hit him with the Phenomenal Forearm.

Robert O’Neill: That was awesome. I really liked the postmatch stuff, including Ricochet doing a whole ass flip to sell the Phenomenal Forearm. Also, I kept saying he needs to find some friends, and it seems like he has! That’s good. 

Chris Novak: I enjoyed that post-match segment more than the match. Such is life. 

The Viking Raiders are up next. They squashed some dudes. Easy enough.

They flashed back to last night’s opener with Drew Mac and Shane losing to Roman and The Undertaker. Then they cut to some footage earlier today of Drew confronting some superstars, Cedric Alexander chief among ‘em. It seemed that we’re going to get Drew vs. Ceddy either tonight or down the line. All for it. 

Evidently… it’s right now. 

Robert O’Neill: Hey this should be good! Cedric hasn’t really gotten a chance to shine on Raw. Hope they let him go off here. 

They did! And he won by rolling Drew up after a spinebuster attempt. That was awesome. Use Cedric more! 

Chris Novak: I actually liked that a lot. A whole lot. Cedric getting a big win over Drew will serve him pretty well going forward, if we are to believe that big things could be on the way for him. 

Robert O’Neill: Finn Balor is facing Samoa Joe here as both men are coming off losses last night. Let’s see where this goes.

Wow, Joe won in pretty quick fashion, then went to beat Balor down after but Finn was able to get the upper hand and dispose of Joe. As he was celebrating though, the lights went out and when they came back BRAY WYATT was in the ring with his scary mask. Finn got a Sister Abigail as Bray stood tall.

Chris Novak: I don’t have any desire to see Bray Wyatt. I’m not falling for this trap again. No way, no way, no way. 

Drake Maverick is on the way to consummate his marriage. However, as we would find out after he and Renee Michelle checked into their hotel, R-Truth is at the hotel as well. That should lead to some comedy later.

Street Profits talked about the segment we just saw and hyped up the F4W later and the battle royal. Good stuff from them, per usual.

AJ Styles and The Club are facing The Lucha House Party! This… is actually pretty fun. THe match goes a little bit haywire when Ricochet comes out through the crowd and goes after AJ Styles. So, after this break, we’ll have a quick restart of things. 

Robert O’Neill: It’s a good back and forth until AJ Styles locks the Calf Crusher in on Kalisto and gets him to tap but refuses to release the submission. Good heeling! 

Chris Novak: Seth Rollins cut a solid promo backstage after being asked about tonight’s main event. Worked for me. He’s assuredly my pick to win tonight. 

The Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match to determine the #1 contender for Becky Lynch’s Women’s Championship… it’s next.

Natalya is going to SummerSlam. Carmella went out first after Alexa swooped in and rolled her up. The match continued on for a… long time… and Natalya got Naomi with a rollup. Then Nattie made Alexa tap out. This match will get a lot of discussion because of how “bad” it was. Here’s my thing. No it wasn’t that great. But it also wasn’t awful. The pacing and agenting of it was just weird. Oh well. I don’t much care about Nattie-Becky, and none of the stuff along the way the next few weeks will probably get me to care.

Robert O’Neill: This match was a bit of a mess. Too long, and the wrong person won. Obviously I’m very pro-Alexa, but if not her, why not Naomi? I get Natalya is from Canada and Summerslam is in Canada but… I just don’t care about her.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, here’s Dolph Ziggler on MizTV. 

Alright that actually wasn’t bad. Ziggler called Miz out for being a sellout and corporate now an forgetting his roots just like his wife did, and then Miz beat him up. 

Chris Novak: A Miz-Ziggler feud in 2019 doesn’t sound all that interesting to me.

R-Truth snuck into Drake Maverick’s hotel room and won the 24/7 Championship back. The segment was pretty hilarious, I have to say. As they often are. 

Battle Royal is next. Seth Rollins won. Not too surprising of a result. They’re running it back, as they probably should be. This works for me, as long as they do the match right. We’ll see if they do!

Robert O’Neill: I don’t love the result but I also expected it. My problem was the postmatch stuff when they basically had Seth cut the same exact promo as he did leading up to WrestleMania. We’ll see how it goes, I guess.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Whew, boy. This show… didn’t work for me. Coming off Extreme Rules, I was very optimistic to start the road to SummerSlam, but between running the exact same program from earlier with Seth “I’M GONNA BE A FIGHTING CHAMPION! I’M HERE AND YOU’RE NOT!!!!” Rollins and Brock Lesnar, and the utter mess that the women’s division has turned into… yikes. The 24-7 Title stuff was fun and The Club vs. LHP was fine but other than that… yikes. D+

Chris Novak: Wow, that is way, WAY too harsh a grade in my opinion… this show was fine. It wasn’t anything to really write home about and I do think they could’ve rebounded better from Extreme Rules better. The Fatal 4-Way was disappointing, although itw as not nearly as bad as anyone thought it would be, even though the booking decision was baffling in the end. I’m going to give this a C. This was not D+ worthy and I think Rob is crazy here. I’m not sure what you’d expect here with Seth’s “story.” That’s been the whole way so far. Why change it?

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Chris Novak: Time for SmackDown Live. Bit of an intriguing show. The IIconics are defending their Women’s Tag Team Titles against The Kabuki Warriors. Also, Ember Moon and a mystery partner will face Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. For now, we begin with SmackDown’s Town Hall, which could (and I emphasize the word could here) be intriguing. Before that… we get a look at what happened “earlier” today. Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens bantered, and Shane gave KO the night off. I can only imagine where that’s headed.

Anyways, the entire roster is out on the stage right now. Yes, that includes such folks as Charlotte Flair, Buddy Murphy, Liv Morgan, among others who you may or may not have seen for the last few… weeks… or months. Shene asks who would like to fo first, as far as speaking, and to the front comes Roman Reigns. Roman says he’s not gonna be diplomatic and tells Shane to kiss his ass.

Robert O’Neill: Charlotte steps up and defends Shane “from one family to another” and lays on it on thick before Liv Morgan goes to the other microphone and tells Charlotte to shut up before Shane shuts it down. Then Buddy Murphy steps up and tells Kevin Owens to keep his name out of his mouth. 

Chris Novak: I’m enjoying this so far. Apollo says that everyone agrees with what KO said. Andrade and Zelina then step up, and it seems as though some seeds were planted to have another match between those two. Elias then steps up until The New Day cuts them off. Kofi gets the conversation going and… suddenly, his mic is cut. I’m sure that wasn’t intentional. Cesaro then comes up and says he wants to fight Aleister Black yet again tonight. So, that will rule.

Kevin Owens then showed up and Stunned Shane McMahon. Shane had a hilarious botch of the kick to the stomach. Thought that was a fun and effective enough segment. Everything else this evening will sort itself out, I reckon.

Robert O’Neill: And we’re jumping right into Cesaro/Black. Hell yeah. 

Chris Novak: Well, this match was good again. Not as good as the PPV match, but it was good nonetheless. But that’s to be expected, right? Aleister won after hitting another really awesome Black Mass. Let’s get Black’s push rolling.

Robert O’Neill: Frankly I’m just glad they didn’t have 50/50 booking here. Let Black keep racking up wins. Good on my end. 

Chris Novak: Backstage interaction between Dolph Ziggler and Shane McMahon give way to the thought that, uh, I guess, that there’ll be some interaction between them and KO later. Okay, sure.

Charlotte Flair is facing Liv Morgan. Hell to the yeah, Liv Morgan’s getting a match. Boom!

Robert O’Neill: It was kind of short and Charlotte won, but Liv looked good! It makes sense for Charlotte to win relatively quickly, as she’s “better” than Liv. After the match Liv goes on commentary and says “When I come back, I’m gonna be REAL!”

Well alright. Cool!

Chris Novak: Color me intrigued. Color me very intrigued. Ember Moon and ??? vs. Mandy and Sonya is next. Her partner? It’s BAYLEY! This is a nice little twist. And works well for me! 

Robert O’Neill: Ember and Bayley got a quick victory, then Bayley announced that Ember would be facing her at Summerslam for the title. Huh!

Chris Novak: No she did not, pal. She just said she wanted to face her for the title, unless I missed something. And I don’t think that I did! I reckon that match happens on TV and we get Bayley-Charlotte at SummerSlam. 

Robert O’Neill: Ah, I was confused. We’ll have to wait and see what happens! 

Chris Novak: Correction… the match IS happening at SummerSlam. Very intriguing.

Robert O’Neill: New Day is here, and they all have gold! 

Big E and Xavier Woods announce that they accept Bryan and Rowan’s offer for a rematch and away we go!

Well, maybe not. Bryan and Rowan come out in gear, but both turn around and leave. But now they’re back. And now they’re gone again, but Samoa Joe is coming out! 

Chris Novak: But interrupting Joe after he gets some words in is Elias! Elias says that Joe had his shot, failed, and so he’s deserving of a championship opportunity. Then… Randy Orton comes out! Orton says that he’s going to take Kofi down with the RKO. Elias says that they can’t have a championship match, and then suggests that they have a Six-Man Tag. 

Randy Orton pinned WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. Crazy sentence isn’t it? This was a really, really fun six-man tag team match. The heels getting the W here works for the purpose of elevating Orton into title contention. I’m going to hazard this is the direction for SummerSlam, and I am all for it.

Robert O’Neill: Absolutely. There’s so much you can do with a Kofi/Orton feud. They touched on it a little in the spring, but I would love it to be full speed ahead like this seems to be.

The IIconics are putting their titles on the line against the Kabuki Warriors. 

Well, it didn’t last very long. Billie Kay was knocked out of the ring and decided to not get back in before the 10 count. Champions’ advantage! That’s good heel work. Asuka and Kairi got their revenge afterwards. 

Chris Novak: Fine with that, as a means to extend this feud on a little longer.

Andrade and Apollo grappled in a pretty quick match. Apollo won. Looks like they’re doing some mid-card stuff with them here if the last few weeks are any indications. I’m cool with that. 

Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler faced off in the main event. The match was… fine. Owens hit a Stunner on Ziggler and then hightailed it out of there, as several SDLive superstars (all heels) were at ringside and went in pursuit. Shane said afterwards that Owens was going to pay. 

Robert O’Neill: The very end of that was kind of clunky but overall I liked the match and segment and show.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: That was a fun show! The town hall set the tone for the rest of the night by getting Liv Morgan in action, Buddy Murphy in the fold, and various other things Twitter has been upset about. The 6-man tag match was fun and did a good job setting up Orton/Kofi for Summerslam. A

Christopher Novak: Fun show. Everyone got TV time which was really nice. Especially the women, as everybody in some way shape or form was able to get on screen and do meaningful things. More of that and SmackDown will be back to being the premier show that it is. This was a solid episode of television. I will give this a high B+.