It’s Thursday, you know what that means. It’s time for another edition of WWEekly, a roundup of everything worth talking about from the big three WWE programmes this week. Again, it’s been a relatively interesting week for hype, matches and talking points so without further ado, let’s get to it.
Walking with Elias
RAW opened with an Elias performance. Instantly, this is a plus as it was better than the normal in ring promo section and there was no authority figure. Elias was being Elias, until he is interrupted by Seth who is brandishing a chair. The two look to get into a fight when Jinder Mahal attacks Rollins. A beatdown ensues until Reigns comes out to make the save. We now have a tag match to start RAW. It was a pretty fun match with Seth getting a head of steam and diving to take out Jinder. A chair is introduced in to the match; Elias hits a DDT on Rollins into the chair and hits the Drift Away for the win.
This is quite a big win for Elias as he is facing Rollins at Money in the Bank (MITB) for the IC title. To already have a win over the champion, even through dubious means, is a big momentum shift. Although it is pretty unlikely he’ll actually win, it’s nice to see someone who clearly connects with fans and has a fun gimmick continuously stay in the main event scene. Plus working with Rollins, it should be an insane amount of fun to watch.
Baron Corbin: Constable of RAW
You did just read that right, Baron Corbin is now Stephanie McMahon’s appointed constable of Monday Night RAW. It’s a weird angle to take with him but it did provide some funny moments lecturing Kurt Angle and gave Kurt Hawkins a reason to appear on RAW again. Corbin first appeared on this week’s RAW by costing Kurt Hawkins a win against a jobber by getting him DQ’ed. This angers the crowd as Hawkins was going to give the crowd free tacos if he won.
He appears again later on to explain what he did and his new job role. He even scolds Angle for allowing Bayley to interfere in the six woman tag match. An interesting note to this new constable role is that there seems to be some kind of legitimacy to it as Kurt Angle has to act on what Baron Corbin has told him to do.
Also, Curt Hawkins earned his 200th loss thus further continuing that streak.
The B Team get an A
The B Team, the duo of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas, are your new number one contenders to the RAW tag team titles. They will be facing the Deleters of Worlds at MITB. They managed to win the tag team battle royal featuring the Revival, Breezango, Drew and Dolph and others to earn their spot. There isn’t really much more to add to this. Is it cool to see these two finally get a chance to do something? Yes. Are they going to win? Not a chance. The RAW tag team scene has some really big names that don’t seem to be getting used at all. Wyatt and Hardy have an excellent dynamic that could work well against a heel or no-nonsense team. The Revival SHOULD have had this; however I am willing to give the B Team a chance to shine (mainly for the potential comedy that could ensue.)
Make Your Mind Up
Is Nia Jax meant to be a heel or a face? It would appear that this is a question WWE and the fans are asking. The face Jax was back on display again as Natalya got “injured” in her match against Jax by tweaking her knee running. She then spends time worrying about Natalya and trying to look after her, much to Rousey’s annoyance. They then proceed to argue over who gets to look after Natalya and who is a better friend to her. It was really odd to watch as last week we clearly saw Jax acting like a bully towards the jobber she had to face. This flip-flopping on the character is going to get her nowhere so hurry up and make a decision on how you want her to be perceived WWE.
Not Lashing Out
What happened to Bobby Lashley? Last week he was starting to get intense and show some semblance of an aggressive side. That was nowhere to be seen this week. He was just smiling, talking Bobby again. Zayn was cutting in to him from a distance, acting like a coward and calling him out for being a supposed fake. Lashley just stood there and took this. He barely reacted and made no effort to chase down Zayn or make him pay for what he’d said. It didn’t help that the material both men are working with is awful. There’s no fire in this feud and no amount of Zayn’s promo skills is going to make it work. It just needs to end at MITB and have both men move onto better things.
Minor MITB Build-Up
So both shows featured some MITB build up. On RAW we saw Braun Strowman destroy a ladder with his bare hands and destroy Bobby Roode to a monster pop. He still looks like an unstoppable force and is my current favourite to win the match. We also saw the continuation of Kevin Owens messing with his fellow competitors, this time facing Finn Balor in a singles match. The match never really happened as KO got disqualified almost instantly. This then saw Finn Balor have a premature MITB moment by hitting a Coup De Grace off the ladder onto Owens and climbing the ladder for the big finish for RAW.
On the Blue brand, we’re still in suspense over who is going to be in the MITB ladder match from the new day. This caused a comedic moment early on as the main event was a six man tag match between the New Day and Miz, Samoa Joe and Rusev, the New Day decided to mess with the Miz by pretending to want his help. They tricked him into thinking he was helping them pick their member for the match by picking a name out of the hat, when in reality he was putting his hand in a hat full of pancake batter. He freaks out and leaves in a strop. The Miz has no allies in the MITB as his teammates turned on him during the main event after he threw pancakes at them (you can’t make this up.) Big E picks up the win for him and it seems that he will be the member in the ladder match.
Give Me Both
Asuka vs Carmella is a match no one really wanted. It had no real build up, more just being announced to ensure Carmella had an opponent to fight. The past two weeks however, have made it more compelling to watch. Carmella has been hiding behind the members of Absolution. Last week Asuka beat Mandy Rose despite being blind sighted by Sonya Deville. This week she defeated both members of Absolution in a handicap match. This felt more like a proving match for Deville who got a lot of offense in, only to lose to Asuka reversing her submission into the Asuka lock. Asuka still looks like a threat and Carmella got to be even more of a heel by (in not particularly convincing fashion) attacking Asuka from behind with the belt and standing tall.
Becky Gets a Win
Becky vs Charlotte happened this week and it was a highly enjoyable match. Becky actually got the win too as a bonus. She will now go in to MITB with a victory over her best friend and gives her momentum going into the ladder match. It was only a friendly competition with both remaining friends after the match was over. Overall it was a great match and a nice victory for Becky Lynch.
Smackdown was a full of little things. Almas is getting his first non-jobber match against Sin Cara after attacking him backstage. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary it was just a fun watch to see Sin Cara get beaten up by Almas and to see Almas get more traction on Smackdown. This segment gave him the chance to show his ruthless side.
There was the contract signing for the last man standing match between Styles and Nakamura. This too was nothing out of the ordinary but provided more Nakamura antics as he angered Styles to the point that he received a slap for his troubles. He eventually signs the contract after Styles is dragged off. The amount of heat going into this match indicates that it will finally be the blow off for this feud.
The last notable little thing to mention would be the fact that Carl Anderson managed to steal a win over Harper of the Bludgeon Brothers. In a very short match, Anderson cleverly rolls up Harper for the victory and scampers out of there. This gives the Good Brothers a singles victory over their MITB opponents.
Nikki Cross continued her assault against Shayna Baszler to open NXT. Baszler came out, her title returned to her, to set the record straight and issue a warning to Nikki Cross about pulling a stunt like that again. Nikki comes out to intimidate her and after some verbal back and forth finally snaps and attacks Baszler. Once again she gets the upper hand over Baszler and once again ends a segment standing tall over the bully champion of the women’s division.
Danny Burch is a truly underrated member of NXT. His match against Roderick Strong was excellent. The two played off each other perfectly. It ended in predictable enough fashion with Unidsputed Era members interfering once it looked like Burch was going to get the upper hand. Strong wins the match via a backbreaker. This led to some brawling between Burch, Lorcan and Dunne and the Undisputed Era, with Dunne brutalising Strong with forearms before falling to the numbers game and eating the End of Heartache. The Undisputed Era walk away the victors.
Sane beats ‘The Lady’
Kairi Sane is one hell of a talent. The Pirate Princess never ceases to put on compelling matches. She is always a believable underdog and this was played up massively against Lacey Evans. This feud may have been simple but it has done wonders establishing Evans as a heelish brute and Kairi gets to continue being the plucky underdog and fan favourite. She may not be in the title scene at the moment but she is staying relevant on NXT programming.
A Taste of Your Own Medicine
Gargano vs Ciampa 2 seems to have been teased and hyped for weeks now. The most heated feud to grace WWE programming in recent years keeps chugging on towards Chicago. It should be getting tiresome now but surprisingly keeps stoking the fires. Ciampa came out to end this episode to the usual chorus of boos and insulting chants. He continues to insult and cut into Gargano, intentionally irritating him. Gargano bursts out to the ring baying for blood, loosely being restrained by referees. They eventually brawl with Ciampa getting the upper hand and locking Gargano in his own submission. The title card shows before Gargano gets back up and starts to attack Ciampa again smashing him against the screens. The show ends with Ciampa locked in the Gargano Escape whilst bleeding profusely.
This week was big on hype. With Takeover and MITB fast approaching it’s not exactly surprising to see. NXT was full of hype packages and interview segments setting up matches for Takeover and as a last-minute mention, we get to see EC3 vs Kassius Ohno next week. That should be fun. Smackdown was an enjoyable watch even if there wasn’t a lot to talk about. RAW was a tad more lacklustre. They continuously confuse fans with their booking and the lack of a real main event match, especially when it’s Finn Balor and Kevin Owens, really messed with the quality of the overall show. There is also a clear absence of the Universal Title so it’s currently up to Rollins to have the top belt on RAW.
That does it for another week of WWE programming. Once again there is plenty to talk about and plenty to look forward to. Let’s hope next week is just as interesting if not better. Maybe RAW will actually have a main event.
image credit – WWE.com
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