|The end of the week's best match.|
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (Raw). I'm glad t hey're not feuding anymore, but man, I'm happy if every couple of months they make an excuse to just throw them together in the ring like this. Doesn't matter that there's not much story. Doesn't matter that Zayn lost. They put on a great show filled with lots of great spots put together in new and interesting ways.
Nakamura defeats Samoa Joe in Osaka, Japan to reclaim the NXT Championship. It's easily the weakest of their three matches, and not helped in the slightest by the sense that a big chunk was cut out of the middle. And while I'm happy to see the belt back on Nakamura, they have a nother title match, this time taped from Australia, on next week's show. Let's hope Nakamura gets his two in a row and they can both move on to new things.
Jack Gallagher debuting on Raw. He's wrestling Daivari again, and it's a much shorter, simpler match than their awesome go-round on 205 Live last week, but it's a good introduction to the character, and more importantly, Daivari attacks him post match and actually gets some crowd heat for it. Characters and story in the Cruiserweight Division! Their rivalry and story continued on 205 Live, with Daivari picking up the victory after another good match based on the knee "injury" caused by the Raw post-match attack.
Rich Swann retains the Cruiserweight Title (205). This was an excellent match, with the exception of Swann spending more time than I'd prefer not tapping out to the Captain's Hook. It's not a super-impressive move, especially with the new name (Bully Choke was way more intimidating-sounding) and it needs to stay strong. The finish and post-match involved TJ Perkins on commentary, and Perkins superkicked Swann by accident, so Perkins' rematch is definitely going to be in a Triple Threat.
Tye Dillinger's sadness is aborted by Regal entering him into an eight-man tournament to determine a new #1 contender that suspiciously mirrors the Battle of the Bulls in Lucha Underground, airing this week and taped months ago. Only eight guys, though, so the qualifying matches are one on one and the finale is a fatal four-way. The participants are Dillinger, who'll face Eric Young; Oney Lorcan (?!), who'll face Bobby Roode; Andrade Almas, who faces No Way Jose; and Elias Samson, who goes up against Roderick Strong. So, Dillinger, Roode, Almas, and Strong advance, with Dillinger pinning Roode to go on to lose to Nakamura?
The apparent trend in the Cruiserweight division to make brown people heels. Ariya Daivari, Noam Dar, and apparently Mustafa Ali, if his intro video is any indication. I mean, his heel thing may be that he's resentful of the audience for booing him just for being brown, but still.
More marital troubles / love triangle stuff with Rusev and Lana, now with Enzo (Raw). As much as I loved the way Enzo reacted to Lana's distress, they just did this shit like a year ago pre brand-split with Ziggler. They need more ideas. They're not dragging it out over multiple weeks, at least, but the sequence where it turns out to be a Ruse-Sev so Enzo can get beat up in Lana's hotel room goes on for SO GODDAMNED LONG.
"Bayley Bears" and a weird match between Bayley and Alicia (Raw) over Alicia's crush on Cedric Alexander, a storyline that exists entirely in pre-shows and announcer commentary. Also, Alicia reverting to the WOMEN BE CRAY CRAY mode that dominated so many pre-Revolution storylines.
Mark Henry one-move-squashes Titus O'Neil (Raw). WHY ANY OF THIS?
Kalisto losing to Baron Corbin. Again. (Smackdown).
The weird, sudden re-injection of HHH into Seth Rollins' goals (Raw). It'd be something else if he'd come up more than twice in the entire time since he cost Rollins the Universal Championship, but it's just out of the blue because
Breezango's Fashion Police gimmick (SD) is still awful. Gable's singles mostly-squash of Breeze was pretty good, but it makes me feel bad for Tyler.
TJ Perkins talking (205).
Roman Reigns kicking out of Chris Jericho's Owens-ference-assisted Codebreaker and retaining the United States Championship in the first thing he's done with it in weeks.
The strangely dead crowd for Swann-Perkins (Raw), who actually booed Perkins at one point. Considering how they responded to Gallagher-Daivari, it was a surprise.
THE WEIRD, AMBIVALENT, AND BORING:
RAW: The Big Show is back. I don't want to shit on The Big Show, and I'm glad he's looking healthier and moving better, but he definitely needs to be used in a limited capacity, the way he was here on Raw
Sasha Banks challenged Charlotte to an Iron Man match at Roadblock. This goes in Ambivalent for two reasons. First, I'm not sure how I feel about the two of them burning through all the womens' "first time" stipulations in six months. And second, apparently, WWE likes Charlotte being undefeated at PPV's, which is why all of Sasha's wins have been on Raw. The match'll be great, but the bigger picture is iffy.
Smackdown: Natalya, Carmella, and Nikki are still bickering over who beat up Nikki. The Ascension lost to the Hype Bros to fill five minutes. Bray and Orton rebeat Slater and Rhyno in a shorter, and therefore "better", match. Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch yelled at each other for a bit.
NXT: Sanity loses Sawyer Fulton due to injury and may be picking up Irish giant Damo to replace him. Oh, and they beat Jose and Swann with Damo's help. And Ember Moon beat a jobber with a move they're still hinting might be called the Eclipse.
205: An OK matchbetween Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar establishes Dar as another Cruiserweight heel.
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