This Week in WWE: Alexa Bliss and Bayley go bar for bar on the road to Stomping Grounds

RAW

Chris Novak: Raw opens up with Elias. Elias talks some trash about Anthony Davis, the smog in LA and also announces that he’s the special guest referee for this Sunday’s match at Stomping Grounds between Baron Corbin and Seth Rollins. Speaking of, Seth comes out and steel chairs the absolute hell out of Elias. He says that everyone who’s thinking of siding with Baron needs to look at this and ‘choose wisely.’

I mean, hey, it was short, it was sweet, and it was effective.

Robert O’Neill: It just baffles me that Rollins, a face, has his one big move be “beat the shit out of people with chairs”. I don’t love it.

Chris Novak: Rob, Stone Cold used to Stun every single person in sight. Let’s not get too caught up in babyface etiquette shall we?

Anyways, here comes The Miz. Why? Because Miz, Ricochet, Bobby Lashley, Cesaro and Braun Strowman are about to see who faces Samoa Joe at Stomping Grounds for the United States Championship. It’s a Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match! This is gonna take a big chunk of time and I’m here for it.

Miz gave Elias a Skull-Crushing Finale. Very funny stuff.

Robert O’Neill: Everyone hit their finisher on Elias before the match. That was hilarious.

Chris Novak: Alright! That was fun. Ricochet was victorious after eliminating Miz with the 630º. Braun Strowman quickly eliminated Bobby Lashley and Cesaro in the match, and then Lashley and Cesaro attacked Strowman later on and eventually that led to his elimination in the match at the hands of Ricochet. Strowman went after Lashley and Cesaro afterwards and got his revenge. I liked this match a lot.

Becky Lynch is next.

Robert O’Neill: She’s calling out Lacey Evans. No shock here, as they have a big rematch at Stomping Grounds this Sunday! Lacey comes out and Becky says she talks slow and is afraid to go into the ring.

Chris Novak: Evans talks herself up on the apron and eventually goes to climb into the ring. But, Becky grabs her and gives her a Bexploder Suplex for her troubles! Lynch holds the title up and then steals Lacey Evans’ hat and puts it on her as she backs up the ramp.

We then cut and see The Revival, who are dressed sharply, go into Shane McMahon’s ‘private VIP’ locker room. There appears to be a shindig going on. So, that’s how that goes.

Baron Corbin says that despite Elias backing out, he has someone in mind. He’ll reveal who that is on The Kevin & Sami Show. Seth Rollins intervenes and hits Corbin with a steel chair! He says he has more work to do. Threatening!

Hey, The Viking Raiders are alive. They’re in action next.

Robert O’Neill: Daniel Bryan and Rowan are here and Bryan vows to show the entire Raw roster why they’re the best team in WWE history, and calls the Los Angeles crowd “impotent”

Now the Viking Raiders are here. They’re facing Russ and Randy Taylor, two jobbers. Naturally, they win pretty easily

Heath Slater went into Shane McMahon’s VIP Club and chopped it up with the guys for a while, then asked Shane for a raise. Drew McIntyre beat him up. I thought we would get a 3MB reunion. Sad.

Chris Novak: Time for The Kevin & Sami Show. Baron Corbin’s here and he says that he had people lined up and were ready to be the official for Sunday’s matchup with Seth Rollins. He says that the official is… EC3!?!?!?

Robert O’Neill: Well, no. Seth beats EC3 with a chair and then… The New Day come out! That’s a surprise. Kevin and Sami aren’t particularly pleased about this, and it leads to a six-man tag match between New Day and Kevin/Sami/Corbin.

Chris Novak: AJ Styles was backstage, aiming to get cleared after his injury kept him out of action for a month or so now. In walk Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Styles points out that they made their debut in LA and beat up The Usos. Styles essentially scolded them afterwards for getting too comfortable and complacent. Liked that segment a lot. We’ll be doing Good Brothers-The Usos later tonight. Fun stuff.

For some strange reason this six-man is a 2 Out Of 3 Falls match. No idea why this is happening, but sure. Alright, so, The New Day won. Clean sweep! Baron Corbin’s bad night continues as both KO and Sami left him high and dry towards the conclusion of the match. Dont have too much of an ideas to why all this is happening. But, nevertheless, it happened.

Robert O’Neill: We go backstage to find Nikki Cross, and Alexa Bliss has a surprise for her: They have a match for the Women’s Tag Titles tonight!

Paul Heyman is here. Will Brock Lesnar cash in tonight? No. But he might soon!

Chris Novak: Baron Corbin is seen talking to ERIC YOUNG, who says he’ll “think about” being the official for Sunday’s match. Then he runs into Seth Rollins. Rollins and him talk about this, and Rollins claims he’s going to let EY off the hook. Alas… he didn’t. He hit him with a steel chair, just as he’s done with everyone else.

Good Brothers-Usos is next.

Robert O’Neill: That was good. Usos got the win with a double Superkick but Gallows and Anderson looked good. Interested to see where this goes.

Chris Novak: Likewise, if I’m honest. Not sure if this means that The Good Brothers will be sticking around. Not sure if it was a write-off, since we know they opted not to re-sign. Who knows! Intrigue, as they say.

Robert O’Neill: Roman Reigns has arrived!

Chris Novak: In essence, Roman wants to kick someone’s ass. So, he essentially invites Shane McMahon out to the ring so he can kick his ass. Shane comes up on the TitanTron and says that’s not happening, and he should worry about Drew McIntyre. Mac starts talking, but Roman starts to head towards the back! The Revival go out to meet him, but Roman takes them both out. He then enters the room and goes after both Drew and Shane.

He eventually gets the upper hand on Drew, tosses him up and down through a table!! Then he goes and beats Shane up and hits him with a Spear in the ring. He sticks the dismount, saying that he should go to the back and tell Drew he’s going to whoop his ass at Stomping Grounds.

Alexa-Nikki vs. The IIconics for the WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS is next!

Bayley’s here to watch the match at ringside. Uh oh.

Well, she meddled with things and after Alexa shoved her down, Bayley pulled her off the apron just as Nikki Cross was going to tag her in. And shoved her down on the floor! The IIconics retain, and Bayley is a chief instigator. After the commercial break, Nikki Cross was rather angered that Bayley cost them the Tag Team Titles. She wants to now be in Alexa’s corner and wants to see Alexa crush Bayley’s dreams. This is simple and effective storytelling and I’m here for it.

Robert O’Neill: That might be my most-hyped match for Sunday. Whew. It’s gonna be fun.

Oh my. Firefly Funhouse.

Chris Novak: That was… absolutely, definitely something!

As was Bryan-Rollins, which only went a couple minutes before Rowan got Bryan DQ’ed?

The New Day then come out and go after both Bryan and Rowan. Then comes KO, Sami, and The Revival. And now The Usos… it’s all chaos. The match then restarts with EVERYONE barred from ringside!

Robert O’Neill: CHAOS! How fun! The match was pretty great once it restarted, as both got in a lot of offense before Rollins ultimately pulled out the victory. After the match, Corbin attacked Rollins with a chair from behind and then hit an End Of Days, but he didn’t name the referee.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: Overreliance on the Rollins chair stuff aside, this was a very fun Raw that got me excited for the pay-per-view. That elimination match was a blast and I loved Bryan/Rollins. B+ for Raw.

Chris Novak: I think Raw was really fun. I like how they meshed in some more characters this week after weeks of overrelying on … the same people each week. While I think there are still conceptual issues that really need to die down and die down soon, this was a step in the right direction. Raw gets a B+ from me.

SMACKDOWN LIVE

Chris Novak: The New Day is gracing us with our presence to start off the show tonight. After going on a brief spiel, Dolph Ziggler interrupts. Ziggler says Kofi doesn’t deserve to be WWE Champion. Word? Not gonna agree with you there, pal. He says that New Day won’t be able to help Kofi on Sunday and adds that he’ll have to go on an apology tour afterwards because he failed without anyone else’s help. Kofi retorts by saying he knows all about cages, pointing out this journey started in the Elimination Chamber. He says by night’s end he’ll remain WWE Champion. Dolph says he’ll no longer be WWE Champion by the end of Stomping Grounds.

Hey, we’re done with an opening segment at 7:10 p.m. Beautiful.

Robert O’Neill: Two quick opening segments in two nights. This is good, do more of this.

Chris Novak: Xavier Woods fell to Dolph Ziggler after what was, all things considered, a rather good match. Ziggler hit the Zig-Zag and then tied Woods to the ropes and gave him a Superkick for the win. Liked this segment and liked the match also. Easy, effective, elementary stuff.

Robert O’Neill: That was fun. I want Woods to get more singles action because so often he seems like the forgotten third member of the New Day.

Chris Novak: They recapped Baron Corbin’s tremendously bad night on Raw. Then they cut backstage, as Corbin appears to be conducting interviews with SmackDown Live talent. We saw out there that Shelton Benjamin, The B-Team and Matt Hardy were partaking.

Moment of Bliss with Bayley is next. Alexa Bliss comes out with Nikki Cross, who you may remember is very, very mad at Bayley now. Bayley comes out with coffee for herself, which is a rather hilarious gag. Alexa says that this shows exactly why she’s selfish. Bayley says that Alexa’s just using her but both Alexa AND Nikki Cross don’t believe her. Bayley wants Alexa to say what’s on her mind to her face. And so she obliges.

Alexa says that no one respected her in NXT, including Bayley. The only person who accepted her was Charlotte, and says that Bayley’s a liar and has a facade about her. Bayley responds by saying that Alexa just can’t handle the truth and is entitled. Alexa and Bayley keep on sparring and barring each other up until things come to blows. Nikki pulled Bayley off her and distracted her long enough for Alexa to sneak up and blast her in the back of the head. They stood tall to end the segment. That segment, by the way, kicked serious amounts of ass. May be Bayley’s best promo of all time and another great job by Alexa on the mic.

Robert O’Neill: I don’t want to call that an all-time great segment because that’s hyperbole, but it’s definitely an all-time great Bayley and Alexa segment. And probably the best promo we’ve ever seen out of Alexa. Cannot wait for this match, I can’t stress it enough.

Chris Novak: Apollo Crews went up to Zelina Vega in the back. Zelina and Apollo exchanged words, then Andrade ran in out of nowhere and beat Apollo down. Short but effective segment, as always.

Robert O’Neill: #BRUCE

Chris Novak: B-Team faced off with Heavy Machinery is next, with Daniel Bryan and Rowan on commentary. Heavy Machinery won in a short, but fun match. Afterwards, Seth Rollins came in and attacked The B-Team with a chair. Why? Well, you see, The B-Team were some of the people who were interviewing with Baron Corbin.

Robert O’Neill: I get what Seth is doing and why he’s doing it, but it really seems like overkill at this point. I don’t know. That’s just my opinion.

Chris Novak: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn confronted Shane McMahon, who was arriving backstage. All this leads to Shane saying Owens and Zayn will face Kofi and Seth later tonight in a 2/3 Falls Tag Match. I don’t get the obsession with that this week… but… sure?! Sure.

Robert O’Neill: Maybe they’re following in the footsteps of Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole in Brooklyn since it’s literally the best match in WWE history per Dave Meltzer’s ratings.

Chris Novak: Here comes a Shane McMahon segment. He’s mad enough to the point where he doesn’t even want Greg Hamilton to do his introduction. Drew Mac is talking. Here comes The Miz. We need more from this. I… guess. Okay. We’re recapping more stuff from yesterday because The Miz pointed up to it. I’m trying here. Like… I’m really trying.

Robert O’Neill: Eventually Shane makes another tag match, with Drew and Elias against Miz and a partner, but only if he can find the partner in 10 seconds. Enter R-Truth from under the ring, and we have AN AWESOME TRUTH REUNION.

Chris Novak: So, basically, Elias eliminated Truth and then several others came out to try and claim the 24/7 Championship. The shenanigans end once Truth grabbed the title from the ref and ran away, after Shelton Benjamin thought he could just grab the title. Miz was then manhandled by Drew and Elias, and lost the match for his team. Mac and Elias had a clean sweep. This made sense since Miz isn’t wrestling at Stomping Grounds, and they had to heat Mac up for Sunday. No real problems here. The match was just fine.

Oh, by the way, sometime before this, it should be said: The IIconics were walking through backstage and ran into Paige and Asuka and Kairi Sane (they do still exist after all). They bantered, and Paige announced that next week in Tokyo (a live event scheduled), the two tag teams will face off with each other. And if The Kabuki Warriors win, they earn a future title shot! How fun.

Ember Moon confronted Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville backstage while they were plugging Damandyz Donuts. This ended in a brawl that Sonya won. Short, sweet, effective backstage segment. Let’s plug along more.

Robert O’Neill: According to my count we saw 11 women on Smackdown tonight. That’s awesome. Love to see it.

Chris Novak: R-Truth was seen in the parking lot attempting to go. A referee drove up in an SUV. He thought he was with Carmella, but it turns out… that wasn’t Carmella at all! It was DRAKE MAVERICK! Maverick rolled Truth up as he went to escape, used the car for leverage, and became the 24/7 Champion!! He then drove off in the car, as he’s heading to his 24/7. Man, that was hilariously entertaining.

Main event time. A solid tag team match ends with another sweep (no idea why they keep leaning on these things if they’re going to just have sweeps but whatever) for the babyfaces. Kofi and Seth stand tall as we head into Stomping Grounds. Cool! Fun!

Robert O’Neill: The right team won. I’m ready for Stomping Grounds!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Robert O’Neill: The question with go-home Raw and Smackdowns for me is constantly simple: Did it get me excited for the pay-per-view? Much like Raw, Smackdown did that here. I particularly liked the Bayley/Alexa segment and enjoyed the first match and main event. Gonna give Smackdown a B+

Chris Novak: SmackDown was definitely a very fun show this week. I’m going to give it a strong B+ also. The Alexa-Bayley segment was the best segment of the week and among the best in each’s career. I know I’m biased, this is the most hyped and anticipated match of the weekend, no? Great stuff here.

Chris NovakComment