The Week In WWE- Samoans Smash, Cruisers Fly, and Bobby Roode... Does Some Glorious Stuff
Taking a slightly different approach this week. Given that last weekend, I spent the vast majority of the time not only catching up with WWE, but writing about it, I'm going for a more condensed version where I write briefly about each weekly episode of WWE in one blog post. Hopefully, it will be around the length of a standard Raw post, but I can't make any promises. The idea is that shortening it will leave me more "me" time, as well as fitting in more family and friends time. Last weekend was a combination of catching up on wrestling and social commitments, ideally I'll get some time to completely unwind and maybe find time to catch up with people without feeling manically rushed. Fingers crossed.
-We open Raw with Steph and Foley. Serious tension between the two. I guess, now that Holy Foley has aired its first season on the WWE Network, Mick is on his way out the door. Samoa Joe is introduced to sign his Raw contract, and it's pretty surreal seeing him in a suit. Even more surreal is seeing Stephanie McMahon give a super enthusiastic introduction of the "Samoan Submission Machine" and former indy star Joe.
-Out comes Reigns to ruin the big moment and pick a fight- it wasn't long ago that he and Rollins were mortal enemies, but apparently Roman's here to stick up for his Shield brother. Reigns whips out the (easy, big fella) "It's my yard" line which he stole and regurgitated back to the Undertaker at the Rumble. Feeling more and more like that's happening at Mania, Reigns vs. Taker. As much as I'd rather get Cena vs Taker, I actually think this option is decent.
-Goldberg didn't bust himself open headbutting doors this week, and so does a decent job on the mic again. "Goldberg just made The List!" was a funny moment, and the booking of Goldberg vs. Owens was curious. I mean, it seems primarily a vehicle to get the belt on Big Bill so Lesnar vs. Goldberg III is for the Universal Title, but hopefully, WWE also use it as a means to show the WWE Universe that Goldberg can have a match longer than 2 minutes. It's a bit hard to get hyped up for Lesnar vs. Goldberg at Mania when they had the former WCW champ clearly shielded at Survivor Series and the Rumble. If Owens can't (or doesn't get the opportunity) to get 10 minutes out of Goldberg, it doesn't bode well for Mania. I think KO can pull it off, particularly with Jericho shenanigans.
-Cool to see the cruisers get two segments back to back on Raw. TJP is such a bad face, all his content and delivery screamed heel, but he never turned. Luckily, Neville out-heeled him with the fake dive. I see the increased attention on Austin Aries, suspiciously on the Road to Wrestlemania. I'm more than okay with this.
-Joe vs. Reigns was a fun, hard hitting brawl between two Samoans while it lasted. Had to know we weren't getting a totally clean finish here, being that it's Joe's Raw debut match and Reigns is Reigns, but the Strowman distraction into the spinning uranage (cool twist on that move by Samoa Joe, no pun intended) was as good as Joe could hope for.
-Normally, I'd be worried at the big "thank you Strowman" chants, but I think WWE is beginning to embrace Roman as at least having some heelish tendencies. Cool visual to end the show with the powerslam through the barricade. I haven't seen that before!
-The first image on SD is various shots of the Wrestlemania 33 logo. This excites me on a personal level. Seguing to the Cena-Orton feud, not so excting. First time on Smackdown Live, about 587th time overall.
-But Smackdown is great with openings. We're in Seattle, and Daniel Bryan opens the show. Perfect. After Bryan talks about retiring in Seattle a year ago, and becoming a dad soon, Miz interrupts. Hype for the Chamber match starts. Mauro fucks up twice in 5 minutes, calling it Hell In A Cell instead. Baron Corbin comes out, pops the crowd by telling Miz to shut up. Dean Ambrose comes out, and AJ Styles. We have a situation, and a Fatal 4 Way match is set up to kick off the wrestling action in the show. Gotta love it.
-Little worried about the "new structure" they're hyping for the Chamber. Two ways I see it going- either they're making it safer by making the steel floor extended canvas or something (lame but possible), or they're making the structure taller to allow for more high flying moves off the Chamber pods (pretty cool and also possible.
-Nice to see Luke Harper get a PPV singles match against Randy Orton. He's a very talented big man and I hope he can make the best of the opportunity.
-I was going to talk about how great it is that the SD women's division is firing on all cylinders, and gets 3 PPV matches on Sunday which may be a first, but Alexa Bliss made me forget about all that analysis. That booty is life.
-Okay, on a serious note, Mickie and Becky both gave great promos (with Mickie's acting much better than the other week) and Alexa bringing her trademark attitude. Naomi was a bit of a weak link- I have no idea what "snatching her bow" is supposed to mean, and "Lexi Boo Boo" was just a strange insult/way of talking down to Alexa.
-The Ascension won a match?!?! Hahahaha wtf seriously?
-Cena vs Orton- Orton pinned by Cena in a relatively standard TV main event with the AA? Even Harper's involvement doesn't give enough of an out for that one. I really doubt they'll sell us Orton vs. Cena as a Mania main event after that (thank god).
-Big sense of purpose to the opening of 205 Live, with hype for the Fatal Five Way, and the injury to Nese allowing Mustafa Ali and Ariya Daivari a chance to do battle for that fifth spot. Ali wins with the 054, always a great way to pop the crowd. Ali definitely the more interesting option than Daivari for that five way main event.
-The Brian Kendrick gets mic time, which establishes his current character of gatekeeper, name dropping Tajiri and Tozawa. Lince Dorado gets his moments to shine, including the beautiful handspring stunner, but it's Kendrick's time to shine with the Captain's Hook.
-Aries gets more camera time (he's gotta be back in the ring soon!) and Kendrick puts over his "buddy" Tozawa in a kind of disingenuous way. Instead of Tozawa, we get the return of Tajiri! Big pop and ECW chant for the Japanese Buzzsaw, who delivers green mist and exits. Very cool.
-Fatal Five Way time! Technically, Noam Dar is the only heel in this, but TJP has also seemed kinda heelish lately, being extra cocky, and Corey Graves interestingly slights him by saying that Perkins has rested on his laurels, living on the fact he was the first CWC winner. Dar loses to showboating, Ali taps to a flying armbar, and Cedric is taken out following a bitter Dar's interference. Lots happening and the crowd is hot. Gallagher is shining with his selling of a hurt leg, and TJP is on it like a shark. A very heelish shark. Excellent nearfall from a headbutt for the Gentleman. A sustained "this is awesome" chant from the 205 Live (post SD) crowd! Despite how overused that chant is, I like the appreciation for the cruisers, and the match is of a high level.
-I wanted Gallagher vs Neville as a Mania match, but Fastlane it is! Which either means we're getting a big multi man clusterfuck at Mania, or Austin Aries will make his big return.
-Sanity are getting plenty of chances to sign. I don't really understand why the Bollywood Boys are contracted talent. Khali would be a better option to appeal to the Indian market, seriously. These guys are terrible. Luckily, Killian Dain squashed them by himself in the most literal sense.
-Liv Morgan has improved recently, and got her first win in forever! Nice. That's what developmental is all about, and putting aside the tours, NXT is still developmental at its core.
-Ooh next week on NXT, Tyler Bate vs Trent Seven for the UK Championship. Should be outstanding if given enough time.
-Dozovic and Knight have a team name! They impressed briefly in the Dusty Classic, so I'm getting on the Heavy Machinery hype wagon while there's still room.
-Roode was excellent. All the pomp and circumstance you would expect. and he was in ultimate dick form on the mic. Problem is, we need a worthy top face with Nakamura out. Has to be a highly rated competitor, a mere 8 or 9 won't cut it...
-Won't be Roderick Strong, as he ate the pin in the main event tag against Sanity. Good, he's the most vanilla option on NXT.
Very good week of WWE! I think this blog format may work, leave feedback in the Facebook comments, or in forum replies, however you'd like to get to me. I am submitting this blog late Sunday night, but I was preoccupied after scoring last minute Guns N' Roses tickets this weekend. I definitely feel like we're on the road to Wrestlemania, and next stop is Elimination Chamber, tomorrow!
Until next time, take care,